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How Much Information Can One Brain Handle?!

Had a late start today so had a quick whizz around the trade show to look at some of the information available before heading to my first class of the day with Susan Renée.

Susan won a competition 3 years ago and literally hasn’t stopped since. Her class today was to talk about her story, to motivate us that if she could do it, we all could do it.

Susan played down her talents, but looking through her pictures, she really should be shouting about them from the treetops. It is also amazing that she is still working a full time job and does over 40 weddings a year.

Susan’s story was very personal as she talked about her relationship with her father, who was obviously a big influence on her life. I do not think there was a dry eye left in the room after she read a poem she had written about him while a number of her family pictures were shown on the screen. This is why photography is so important, as a way to keep memories alive.

After a quick break it was off to hear Lisa Beaney talk about Starting and Building a Photography Business.

Lisa covered a number of topics including planning, pricing and marketing. The first year of your new business is unlikely to be easy, so you need to be sure you are heading down the right path when you start. Your first step should be to create a business plan. It is also good practice to have a 5-year plan where you set goals and targets for your business each year.

In order to work out how to price your work, you should first decide how much you want to earn. One thing a lot of photographers do, according to Lisa and other photographers I have spoken to, is not value their work enough when creating their pricing structures. Value your work.

Lisa also touched on the marketing mediums that tend work best for her. She has not found phone directories such as Yellow Pages helpful, but she noted that targeted magazine advertising in local wedding magazines has worked as well as referrals, which of course is the best marketing tool around.

Your business plan should also plan for growth. As you get more successful and more work comes your way, you are going to be stretched. When you start out, as well as being the photographer, the assistant and administrative clerk, you are also the editor among other things.
Think about what parts of the process you enjoy and want to continue to do and those you would like to help with. This means that your plan should include hiring staff if you do not see yourself covering all roles.

From listening to Lisa talk, it is also very evident that you need to extremely organised so to keep on top of all your client meetings, your images as well as your presentation to potential clients. Your website and blog are your shop window so you need to ensure you keep these up-to-date and relevant. what is your personal style and image? does it fit with your photography?

Back with Brett for my second class, this time on travel, my other main passion. He takes just one camera and a fixed lens with him. This of course means being up close and personal with your subject, which of course can be rewarding as well as challenging. He shared some great photos of his trip to India. When I was taking my pictures of the Taj, I was thinking how much better it would be to be on the opposite side of the river....Brett has that photo, and the Taj does look great from the other side of the river!

Went to see the Aspire Training stand before heading home. I have wanted to do one of their courses for years, so now armed with some course information, I need to decide which one to do this year.

Last day of the Master Classes tomorrow. Does then fun have to end so soon?

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