The leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, and photographers everywhere are in the middle of a their busy season! Well, I am certainly hoping you are busy! Busy creating incredible images and feeding your creative soul. Of course, I am also hoping this season is a profitable one for you, too.
Yesterday I heard an interview with Dave Grohl. Grohl was the drummer in the Seattle-based grunge band, Nirvana, and then went on to Foo Fighters fame. In the interview he said “The reward of making music should be MAKING MUSIC.” He said he never did it for fame or money. He did it because it made him happy. It fed his soul in a way that nothing else could.
Many photographic artists started this way….creating images to let their spirit soar. Excitedly planning their next portrait session, finding new creative angles to let their artistic energy out. Then, some pursued this passion into a business. Planning photo shoots became planning promotions, and artistic energy turned to managing clients and bookkeeping. And at some point, the fire perhaps, dims.
The MPPA connects photographic artists. Our organization helps to reignite that which may have dimmed. Exceptional programs by artists such as Felice Boucher, marketing specialists like J. Sandifer, and industry producer Chuck Martin, have offered a wide-range of information. Our 2015 convention in Brunswick, April 10-12, is also sure to help feed the creative passion which brought us here in the first place. Won’t you join us?
MPPA President 2014-2015
Strength in numbers! We’ve all heard that there is strength in numbers. This statement has proven to be true in our amazing organization, time and time again!
Recently I was visiting with a talented photographer, and member of MPPA. As we were chatting, she recalled a story to me of something that occurred some time ago. A member had been injured from a fall during a wedding and was unable to photograph the rest of the weddings he had scheduled for that year. She told me how people in our organization came together to help. Photographers covered his remaining weddings, and provided incredible service to the couples who had hired the original photographer. Without a doubt, there is strength in numbers!
Within the last month, I have had a fellow member reach out and help me with a lighting challenge, and I was able to pay it forward and help another member with a different photography challenge. It is these types of interactions that are the strength of our group. While monthly meetings and conventions are all important, I also believe that the strength of the MPPA comes from the individuals who make up our organization.
There is strength in numbers. It’s not just the number of members, but the ‘in between’ moments, the interactions, that gives us such a quality experience. The times I have reached out and asked who had a prop I could borrow, or the times someone needed to borrow a flash because theirs broke, or the shared experiences we chat about at meetings, it is in these moments that I see the power and strength of the Maine Professional Photographers Association. I am proud to be a part of such a powerful organization!
MPPA President 2014-2015
P.S. Ann Kaplan, thanks for the graphing calculator! Good to know we don’t just lend photo stuff!
With a Little Help From My Friends…..And Our Sponsors, too!!
Last week I was in Waltham, MA, to attend a wonderful event from ACI, American Color Imaging. ACI recently acquired Lustre Color lab, and they wanted to reach out to photographers in the area. The idea was to have an afternoon of programs, and information for former Lustre Color clients, current ACI clients and really any photographer who was interested. ACI has been a generous sponsor of the Maine PPA for many years. Jim Churchill, M. Photog. Cr., CPP, (and Maine Native!) is an ACI Representative and speaker, has been an incredible friend to our organization.
As I walked through the doors of the Hilton Garden Inn, Waltham, I was greeted by Jim. He is always glad to see Maine PPA members and made me feel welcome in the sea of New England Photographers. I arrived a few minutes after the first program had started, so I quietly took a seat in the classroom. Alison Miniter was giving her HDR program. You may recall that Alison was recently a speaker for us!
After the HDR program, I got up from me seat and was welcomed by Steve and Lorraine Bedell. Steve was a speakers for Lustre Color and will now be joining the ACI speaker team. Steve was one of the first photographers to be generous and kind with his knowledge when I was first starting out. I am forever grateful for his kindness. Their warm helpful nature was evident, as we immediately began talking about the 2015 Maine convention and how they could help. Lorraine will be the next PPANE president. As we stood and talking and I asked a slew of questions, she was more than happy to offer her expertise. At the end of the program she reminded me that I could call her anytime and she would be happy to help.
The afternoon in Waltham was a great time of connecting with friends, talking shop, learning new techniques and listening to how meticulous ACI is with our images. At times, the work of a professional photographer can isolate us from our peers. We all know what that is like….sometimes I feel as though I am chained to my computer! This event was a wonderful reminder of how important those professional connections can be, not to mention the unbelievable opportunities for photographers to help each other. Thank you, ACI, for this great event!
I sincerely hope that in your work you will take the opportunities to connect with other photographers. The Maine Professional Photographers is a resource not only for education, but for connecting! Reach out to another photographer. Ask how you can help each other and see what a WIN-WIN it can be for both of you. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did!
MPPA President 2014-2015
Members! Members! Members! It’s all about our MPPA Members!
This week I was browsing a popular photographers group on social media. It’s a terrific place to look for second shooters, ask questions, and share knowledge. Someone posted about their frustration with beach photography and asked who was able to help them. I replied that I would be happy to help. The post then exploded with responses of others chiming with similar frustrations, while others also offered help.
Then, one of our members chimed in with “How about an MPPA class on this, Joanne?”
To quote Gru from Despicable Me…..”LIGHT BULB!”
I picked up the phone and called my lighting guru master, Robert Akers, of Robert Akers Photography. (If you don’t know the back story, he is the reason I joined MPPA!). Bob makes this happen.
Bob answered the phone in his happy, bright, cheerful manner. “Robert Akers Photography! This is Bob!”
I explained the social media post and then the idea for an outdoor lighting class. Within minutes, and I mean MINUTES, he had a plan. We set the date, Monday, June 23rd, and there it was…….a need from members and photographers in our area (who aren’t members yet!) and BOOM! Just like that, we saw a need and addressed it.
That, my friends, is the power of our organization. We take a virtual community online and take it to the next level. It provides camaraderie, education, networking and personal connections. Every day the board and I work to make our organization stronger and relevant!
See you at Bob’s Outdoor Lighting Class, on Monday!
MPPA President 2014-2015
“Members, it’s all about our members.’ This phrase keeps coming to mind as I go about the work of the MPPA each day. Recently, I enjoyed dinner at Dysart’s in Hermon with MPPA member, Debra Bell. I first met Debra when she attended my pet photography workshop, which was part of an MPPA series. Debra has a wonderful business photographing pets, and commercial work.
As we sat in the famous truck-stop restaurant, I wanted to hear from her. I wanted to hear what SHE was looking to get from MPPA. I firmly believe that the quality of the speakers and programs we offer will bring more people to our organization. As the president, and member of the board, the only way we will know what people want is to ASK THEM!
“Who would you like to see present a program for the MPPA?”
“If you could hear anyone in the photography industry speak at convention, who would it be?
“What changes would you like to see in our organization?”
“How can the MPPA help YOU?”
A message I have heard over and over from our seasoned members is that we are here for our members. This is something I completely agree with! Not a day goes by that the board and I are not addressing the work of the MPPA. The board works very hard for you, the members, and the profession of photographers.
Please don’t be shy! I really do WANT to hear from you! Pick up the phone (you can reach me at (207) 450-9641 or email me email@example.com. I would welcome your input, and I know the members of our board, do too!
Your board members working for you are:
We are here for you.
Oh, and back to my conversation with Debra! Over dinner we talked ‘shop’ and lots of fun client stories. The best part, however, was when she shared a couple of names of photographers she would like to hear speak for Maine PPA. They are names I hadn’t thought of, and it was a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me! I am hard at work trying to contact the folks she mentioned. This would have never happened if I hadn’t made the effort to ask.
MPPA President 2014-2015
Evening workshops are coming to your state!
PPANE is hosting a series of workshops – 1 in each New England state. Register at members.ppane.com/Events.
“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.”
No, I don’t have my seasons confused with all of this cold weather and snow in April. I’ve been thinking about all of the wonderful information that photographer Thomas Morelli, shared during his class on Sunday. YES! YES! It is possible to be a successful photographer in 2014. Yes, Virginia, there are successful photographers!
Thomas gave us important information on how to put the right tools and systems in place to make our businesses more successful. In today’s competitive photography environment, it is more important than ever to have effective tools and systems in place with a proven success rate. He showed us that his multi-step process, used with every client, yields profitable results. While every photographer will have their own system, it is always a good reminder to have a roadmap to success.
My personal road map to success had many important stops along the way. One stop, many years ago, had an incredible impact on my business, and the effects are still being felt today. What was that destination, you ask? Joining the Maine Professional Photographers Association. This pivotal point in my early business days is one of the tools that has contributed to the success of my studio. Meeting colleagues, passing referrals, learning from members, educational workshops, and the general camaraderie I have with other professionals is beyond measure.
Being a member of the MPPA has been one of the most valuable stops on my road to success. If you are reading this, then I know you also have that advantage. It is my hope you will take every advantage of your membership. If you are a new member, attend one (or all!) of our Mentor Workshops. If you are a seasoned member, reach out to another member. Pick up the phone, meet for coffee, or get together for a photo walk, these connections are so important! The MPPA is YOUR organization. It is OUR organization.
MPPA President 2014-2015
Our members are so very talented! Here is a showcase of image entries from this past image competition that scored 80 or higher! Enjoy!
Date: Sunday, February 9, 2014 | 1-4 PM (12PM Social Hour & optional lunch)
Location: Romeo’s Pizza | 201 US Route 1, Scarborough, ME
This program will explore and discuss ways to grow your business in a changing marketplace by developing your brand, distinguishing yourself from your competition by building professional credibility as you increase your sales and add new services.
We will discuss how to add volume business to a boutique studio model to gain repeatable, predictable income year after year and how to diversify your blocks of business to insulate you from slow months in studio sales.
We will cover the following topics as we work to create realistic long and short term goals for business growth and expansion into new markets:
TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED:
In the boutique portion of this program we will touch upon how to:
- How to differentiate yourself from the competition with products and services and how to add more value to your brand.
- How to find clients and staff that believe in your vision and want to tell the world. We will look at how to produce loyal customers that will return time after time and refer their friends.
- How the right lab products will leave your customers wanting more.
- Talk about why you should have a 1yr, 3yr & 5yr and even a 10yr plan for your company that includes setting attainable goals for growth.
During the Volume Portion of the program we will discuss:
- How to find clients that are open to your services. Understanding the clients you want by looking at demographics and data.
- Learn to make contact; get a face-to-face meetings and get a contract. Discover what school boards and principals want to see in your volume bids.
- Staffing considerations. Creating profitable packages, prepay envelopes for volume jobs
I photographed the job now what? Pulling it all together, talking work flow and software, customer delivery and securing contracts for next year.