Posts Tagged ‘wedding photography’

SmugMug + SnapKnot’s Camera Giveaway

June 2, 2014 11 comments

Photographers are always looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest equipment, and no pro can say they’ve got too many cameras. Well, today you’re in luck! We’ve partnered with SnapKnot, a sweet website that matches engaged couples to photographers like you, to give away a brand-new Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mark III to one lucky random winner.

HOW TO ENTER: Simply visit their Facebook page to see more details and to get your entry in. Earn more bonus entries by sharing with your friends, too.

Hurry, because the contest ends this month. Good luck!

Let’s Connect at WPPI 2014 in Las Vegas

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

If you’re a portrait or wedding photographer bound for WPPI next weekend in Las Vegas, please come see us! SmugMug will be hitting the expo floor from Monday, March 3rd through Wednesday, March 5th, so stop by, say hello and ask us your burning questions. Let’s connect!

We’ll have two great ways for you to win great stuff next week:

1) Photo Critique with David Beckstead 

Become a better photographer in minutes! Submit your best wedding photo now for an in-depth critique by one of the Top 10 Best Wedding Photographers in the World, David Beckstead. Details here.

2) Snap a Smuggy Selfie

Snap a fun self portrait with one of our SmugMug Booth Babes (or just with the SmugMug logo), tag it and share to win part of $2400+ worth of prizes. Winners announced each day of the WPPI expo. Details here.

We’ve lined up an impressive list of totally free seminars and SmugMug demos led by pro photographers (who also happen to be SmugMug friends) ready to impart their knowledge of marketing, business and the craft with you. You’ll also get the chance to talk with some of SmugMug’s Product Managers, Engineers and Design teams, so bring your feedback, suggestions and a winning smile.

Find a complete list of times, dates and topics right here on the handy reference page we’ve built for you here. Bookmark it, love it, keep it close at hand.

See you soon, wedding pros!

Podcast: How to Get Paid What You’re Really Worth

June 27, 2013 3 comments

One of the most popular (and constant) debates between photographers is how to properly price your work and know that you’re not over- or under-charging for what you do. We’ve covered this topic before, but like fingerprints, no two photographers are the same. How do you know that someone else’s magic number is right for you?

Pricing Podcast with Dane Sanders

Tune in to our latest podcast with the inimitable Dane Sanders: photographer, entrepreneur, educator and author of countless business strategies for photographers like you. He’s no stranger to helping passionate people find their stride, get their businesses off the ground and turn their love into a lucrative way of life.

In this podcast, you’ll hear answers to some of the most important pro questions, such as:

  • Are you a freelance or a signature photographer, and why does it matter?
  • How do you get past the “newbie mindset” and stop sabotaging your success?
  • Are there any benefits to being new, and how can you leverage the opportunity?
  • Can you afford to accept that next photo gig?
  • How do you charge a fair price without scaring the client away?
  • Why should you trust your print lab?

Dive in to iTunes right now and start listening! Podcasts are the perfect way to give yourself a competitive edge while you’re processing last night’s photos, or while you’re stuck on your morning commute.

Bride and groom in veil by Dane Sanders

Photo by Dane Sanders

We REALLY Want You To Succeed! Listen and Win More Ways to Learn

If you’re hungry for even more photo knowledge, we’ve got a Full Scholarship* to give away for Skip Cohen University’s Summer Session in Chicago, August 11-14, 2013. One lucky winner will get a chance to fine-tune their photo and business skills, meet other photographers and recharge their creative batteries. Read more about the program here.

* Airfare and accommodations not included

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Listen to our most recent podcast with Dane Sanders.
  2. Tweet your most memorable “A-ha!” moment at us and use the hash tag #ahasmugmug

We’ll pick one lucky random winner on July 3rd, 2013.

So keep listening, keep learning and start getting more light bulb moments when it comes to your business!

UPDATE: Congratulations to our winner, Joy Michelle Photography (@joymphotography)! We’ll be in touch with you ASAP with all the info for SCU’s exciting summer session.

Webinar Alert! Quadruple Your Wedding Reach in Half the Time

March 11, 2013 2 comments

Wedding shooters: How exhausting is it to stay on top of your marketing plan? You always have to stay a step ahead and hunt for new clients while making your current ones happy. With thousands of photos to edit, you don’t have a lot of time to curate your photos, organize them in sets and send them out to magazine and blog editors.

And let’s not even talk about figuring out the best ways to harness the most powerful tool of them all: Facebook.

So why don’t you join us while we talk about it?

Same Day Edits: A Wedding Workflow Webinar with Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams

Pro wedding photographer Vanessa Joy and wedding videographer Rob Adams will share what they know (and answer your questions) about achieving the holy grail of all pro photographers: To take the right pictures, effectively market your work, and deliver the photos to your clients in record-breaking time. Win/win/win.

Here are the deets:

March 26, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
Duration: 1.5 hours
Register HERE at GoToMeeting

Vanessa will show you how to use SmugMug, SnapKnot and other tools get your SEO maximized blog post, online gallery preview, photo slideshow, 2nd photographer photos, Facebook marketing and blog/magazine publication submissions all done on the night of the wedding, and all while wowing your clients and their guests with a same-day-slideshow and same-day-album.

You won’t want to miss this 1.5-hour webinar that will drastically improve your workflow, marketing, social media and client satisfaction.

Bonus Workshop in Los Angeles

Want to learn a full day’s worth of info about this topic? Check out their upcoming workshop, “Beyond the Same Day Edit,” on April 14th, 2013. Get the details about it on creativeLIVE and enroll for free.

Here’s to kicking off the most successful wedding season, yet!

UPDATE! In case you missed it, we’ve saved the webinar so you can watch it any time on SmugMug’s YouTube channel.

All photos by Vanessa Joy Photography

Going to WPPI 2013? Come say hello!

March 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Since we’re big on meeting our customers, we love going to WPPI each year and seeing a slice of the wedding and portrait world. Viva la Vegas!

If you’re going, too, say hi! We’re here to hear what you think, share what we can and shed some light on any of your burning questions. So swing by, shake our hands, bend our ears, grab some swag and take part in the fun.

Meet Us in Booth #1529

Apart from our shining faces, you’ll see:

  • A giveaway for current Smuggers. Win a total website makeover by one of our amazing Certified Customizers: FastLine designs. It’s your chance to get the beautifully branded, professional website you’ve always dreamed of. ($665 value)
  • A giveaway for everyone: Enter to win a mind-bending prize package from SmugMug + friends, including one year of SmugMug Business ($300 value), print credit from Bay Photo Labs ($300 value), a gallery wrap print from WHCC ($300 value), two-year membership at PhotoTraining4U ($390 value,) Perfect Photo Suite 7 Premium from OnOne Software ($299 value), “Design, Print & Bind” Album from Zookie Pro ($300 value), and $150 credit from Blurb books. Whew!
  • A fun, free photo booth so you can seal the experience with a(n infamous) Smilebooth pic! We’ll have creative props for you to use and an online photo gallery to share all the fun. We don’t always believe in all that “What happens in Vegas…” stuff.

And we’ll have some big-name photographers like Jeremy and Zabrina from JeZa Photography hanging out with us to answer questions about the photo biz and share tips on how SmugMug fits into the successful pro’s workflow.

Make Time for Awesome People We Like

If you’re seeking words of wisdom from your favorite pros, here’s when you can catch them over the course of the week. Check the WPPI directory to find exact locations:

Corinne Alavekios
Photographic Essays: From Ordinary to Extraordinary
3/10/2013 9 AM – 10:30 AM

Suzette Allen
Retouching Power with Photoshop CS6
3/13/2013 8:30 AM- 10:00 AM

David Beckstead
In the Box, Through the Box, & Out of the Box with a Videolight!
3/11/2013 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Bambi Cantrell
Beyond Boudoir
3/7/2013 9 AM – 5 PM

Lawrence Chan
Content Marketing and Social Media: The Secrets to More Bookings and Online Engagement
3/11/2013 4 PM- 5:30 PM

Tony Corbell
“Between Light and Shadow”- An Educational Conversation About the Craft of Photography
3/13/2013 3 PM- 4:30 PM

Bob and Dawn Davis
Llevando un Pequeño Negocio Local al Éxito
3/12/2013 9 AM- 10:30 AM

Kay Eskridge
Beyond Boudoir
3/11/2013 8:30 AM- 10 AM

Gustavo Fernandez
Second Shooting: Learn the Wedding Business FAST
3/11/2013 3:30 PM- 5:50 PM

Mike Fulton
Wireless Flash and Strobes Tips and Tricks – Both Manual and TTL
3/11/2013 6:30 PM- 8 PM

Zach and Jody Gray
How to Avoid What Small Businesses Do: Fail
3/10/2013 3 PM- 4:30 PM

Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams
How to Start Your Photography Career Step-by-Step
3/10/2013 11 AM- 1 PM

Kevin Kubota
Pimp Your Speedlight! Location Lighting Tips and Techniques
3/10/2013 9 AM- 10:30 AM

Scott Robert Lim
Crazy, Stupid, Light: Amazing Off Camera Lighting Techniques
3/10/2013 3 PM- 4:30 PM

Denis Reggie
Beyond Cliche: A Case for Authenticity in Wedding Imagery
3/13/2013 3 PM- 4:30 PM

Dane Sanders
Going to Market: Maxmizing Portrait and Wedding Profits
3/10/2013 9 AM- 10:30 AM

Matthew Jordan Smith
10 Secrets to Building a Powerful Photography Career
3/11/2013 4 PM- 5:30 PM

Kirk Voclain
Lighting and Posing Today’s High School Seniors
3/11/2013 8:30 AM- 10 AM

Moshe Zusman
Shedding Light on the Wedding Venue
3/11/2013 3:30 PM- 5:30 PM

Are you ready for the most amazing year in the wedding and portrait industry yet? We can’t wait to meet you!


The SmugMug Family

Are All Weddings Created Equal?

March 4, 2013 52 comments

It’s a question that probably wasn’t often asked in the past. But lately, we found that there were quite a few wedding photographers wondering if it’s finally time to address the creative conundrum of photographing same-sex weddings.

So we sat down with two of the experts in this field to talk about their experiences, where they think it’s going, and what traditional wedding photographers need to consider before taking on same-sex couples as clients.

The Pioneer and the Veteran Pro

Kathryn Hamm founded the web’s leading online boutique and same-sex wedding resource, Thea Dodd has been photographing gay and lesbian couples since 2005. Together they’ve pooled their knowledge and published a brand new book, Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography, to fill the void and provide guidance to the many photographers who have been — or want to begin — taking on same-sex weddings.

Photo by Jen Lynne Photography

Photo by Jen Lynne Photography

The Art of Photographing Same-Sex Couples

In our featured podcast, SmugMug’s community director Rocky Bowles asks Kathryn and Thea why the traditional approach doesn’t always work for same-sex couples. They talk about why it’s important to not just be gay-friendly, but good at what you do to succeed in this market. Which includes serious issues to consider, such as:

  • Why you can’t use traditional wedding and engagement poses
  • Why you should be mindful of what your photos are communicating
  • What you shouldn’t assume, or take for granted about your clients
  • Navigating the potential difficulties of family relationships
  • Privacy needs and why it’s particularly important for same-sex couples
Photo by Maggie Rife

Photo by Maggie Rife

Podcast on iTunes

Take a listen to the podcast on iTunes now. The book Capturing Love is also available for purchase at their website, and is full of gorgeous, inspiring, beautiful examples of gay and lesbian photos.

The book is also a wonderful resource for couples, looking to find the right wedding photographer. So pick it up , be inspired, and be better at what you do!

Photo by Meredith Hanafi Photography and Leslie Barbaro

Photo by Meredith Hanafi Photography and Leslie Barbaro

Giveaway! Win a Signed Copy of “Capturing Love”

As we’re ramping up to the festival of love (A.K.A. WPPI 2013), we’re giving away one signed copy of Capturing Love to a lucky person who wants to learn more about this genre of wedding photography.

To enter:

1. ‘Like’ SmugMug’s Facebook page HERE.

2. ‘Like’ Capturing Love’s Facebook page HERE.

3. Then, post a comment below answering this question:

What is your one favorite thing about photographing same-sex couples?

Get your entries in by March 8th, 2013 and we’ll pick one random winner and announce it in this space.

UPDATE March 8, 2013: We spun the wheel of destiny and our random winner is… Amy Wurdock! Congrats Amy and we’ll be in touch with you via email so you can collect your prize.

Photo by Kat Forder Photography

Photo by Kat Forder Photography

Special Edition, Special Discount

The ladies of Capturing Love are celebrating their first week of national release by offering SmugMuggers a exclusive discount on their special-edition hardcover books purchased through their website.

Books will ship starting March 10th, so be sure you reserve your copy soon.

Good luck, and we hope that you all capture a little love this year!

Offer valid through March 31,2013 and cannot be combined with any other offer.

The Changing Business of Wedding Photography: Are You Keeping Up?

February 6, 2013 139 comments

Do you know Lee Morris, pro photographer, video producer and wicked-good educator? You should. He’s an incredible, seasoned commercial, advertising, fashion and wedding photographer, plus he’s co-founder of the refreshingly useful website He’s also a friend of ours who took a moment to reflect on the wedding business, why it’s so hard, how it’s changing and how pros like you can make the most of it by staying true to your heart.

by Lee Morris

Weddings, From Film to Digital

It’s hard to imagine now, but just a few years ago wedding photographers burned every image into a single piece of film. If they didn’t expose or focus the image correctly, the frame was ruined. If the film was processed incorrectly, scratched, or lost, the picture was gone forever. A single piece of film with a quality image on it was a very valuable thing and wedding photographers charged accordingly. It was common for wedding photographers to charge a single flat rate to show up to the wedding but then an additional fee for the number of images taken and processed. At the time it was very common for couples to pay their wedding photographers a few hundred dollars to take the pictures, but they would then spend thousands paying for prints and albums to be made after the event. Just a few years ago, a digital copy of a photograph, one that you could view on a computer was worthless to couples getting married. They wanted classic prints that they could hold in their hands, hang on the wall, and share with their friends, and they were willing to pay a premium for them. Times have changed.

As digital started to take over, wedding photographers were very slow to give away or even sell the files to their clients and rightfully so; for their entire careers, they made most of their money selling prints, not actually shooting. Many photographers that were unwilling to adapt their businesses actually went under because they thought they couldn’t compete with the new “cheap” digital market. What many of these photographers failed to realize was that the money was still there, in fact, as wedding photography progressed, couples were actually willing to spend more; many of them simply weren’t interested in paying for expensive prints in a digital world.

The Role of Sentimentality in Business

When it comes to managing a business as intimate as wedding photography it’s easy to let your emotions take over. I try my best to approach my photography business as I would any other business. I need to manage my time, keep my current clients happy, consistently book new clients, and make money. So many photographers fail to meet at least one of these goals. Maybe you are really good at making your current clients happy but you work too much and you don’t enjoy your job or have time to enjoy your life. Maybe you book a ton of work but you don’t charge enough and you are constantly struggling financially. During the digital revolution many photographers that didn’t change their pricing structure were incapable of making their current clients happy. Maybe their pictures were great but as digital started to take over, couples felt like they were getting nickeled and dimed after the event. If you can’t make your current clients happy, you are going to struggle to find new clients.

When I started my business years ago I learned very early on that I hated making prints and albums. I could shoot a wedding in a few hours and make a few thousand dollars but it would take me a full day to retouch a few pictures, print them myself or take the files to a lab, package them up, take them to the post office and I would only make a few dollars profit. In many cases my clients would have to wait weeks to actually get their prints because I was out of the state shooting another job. I decided that I was going to start giving away the digital files with each of my weddings. Maybe I would lose a few dollars on the back end but I was also gaining a ton of free time and my clients were happier because they could print their pictures, how they wanted, when they wanted.

As a single guy in my twenties, money was important to me but free time was far more valuable. Once I had booked my 20 or 30 weddings for the year I knew I had plenty of income to support myself and I now had the security to start working on other things. With the extra time I had gained, I created the photography website If I had focused on custom prints and albums like other photographers do I have no doubt I would have made a bit more money but Fstoppers has been far more rewarding. Creating videos for our website like Bon Jovi’s photographer behind the scenes, or Peter Hurley’s: The Art Behind The Headshot, or our newest video: How To Become A Wedding Photographer, has been the most exciting experiences of my life.

My point is that you may love your photography career (I sure do) but if you can give yourself some extra time, who knows what you will be able to create.

SmugMug = Time = Money

When I found SmugMug I realized that it filled 3 major needs in my business:

1. High resolution backups are included with the subscription.
2. It allowed me to promote my photography by giving guests and family members a place to go to see my work.
3. Bay Photo integration means I give my clients high quality prints without actually having to do any work.

By simplifying my business I was meeting all 4 goals above; I had more free time, my clients were happier, I was marketing to new potential clients, and I was making money from print sales each month.

It’s easy to think that we know what’s best for our clients. We may know that if they don’t book an album now, they will probably never get one made. But the sad truth is that many of our clients would rather put their pictures on Facebook than deal with an album. It’s important to remember that we are hired by these couples to do a service for them; if they don’t want prints, we should figure out what they do want and charge them accordingly for that. If you’ve ever bought a car before you know how obnoxious it can be when the salesman tries to sell you on something you don’t want. There are so many other ways to make money with wedding photography that may not involve incredibly expensive prints. I make far more money than I ever did selling prints selling engagment and bridal sessions, setting up a photobooth at receptions, selling video slideshows of the event, and offering a video service. Many photographers also don’t know that SmugMug makes it incredibly easy to sell digital copies of files. If you don’t want to give away your files like I do, you are able to set the size and price for each individual picture.

I want to make it clear that I love high quality prints and that many wedding photographers make a lot of money selling prints, even today. I love seeing my work printed huge, professionally framed, and hanging on a wall. My point is simply that times are changing and the current generation of brides probably do not want the same things that their mothers wanted. To stay ahead of the pack you need to deliver exactly what your clients are looking for, not what you think they will appreciate one day.

If I could sum up this article into a single point it would be this: Listen to your clients, and give them what they want. A happy bride will tell her friends how wonderful you are you will never have to worry about a shortage of work. In some cases, especially this one, it can make your life a whole lot simpler and you might even make more money.

All photos by RL Morris Weddings

Get a Boost in the Business of Love

In the spirit of wedding season and WPPI, we’re going to pick one extremely lucky winner who will sharpen their wedding photography skills and  fistbump the biggest stars of the wedding biz in Las Vegas.

Here’s what we’re giving away:

Here’s how to enter:

  1. LIKE SmugMug’s Facebook page
  2. LIKE Fstoppers’ Facebook page
  3. POST A COMMENT BELOW answering the question:

    What (to you) is the hardest part of being a wedding photographer?

Get your entries in and we’ll randomly pick one winner on February 13, 2013. So keep your eyes peeled and don’t forget to check back for when we announce it here.

Edited to add: The giveaway is over but you can still learn! We highly recommend that you check out Lee’s video, available now on the Fstopper’s site. It’s a comprehensive, 14-hour, 2-years-in-the-making tutorial covering everything you’ll ever need to do know to become a successful wedding photographer. Check out the trailer to get more details about what you’ll learn and why wedding photography will change your life.

Good luck!

UPDATE: We’ve spun the wheel of destiny and it picked… Dennis Schroader! Congrats Dennis and we’ll be in touch with you to deliver your prizes. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts with all of us in the wedding industry!

Hangout With Us and Learn the Secrets of Getting Published

October 8, 2012 9 comments

Have you heard about our friends over at Two Bright Lights? They’re the company that wants to see photographers like you get published in magazines and make your resume grow. They’re like your own personal publicity agent, getting your photos right onto the editor’s desk. All you do is gather a few images and they’ll do all the heavy lifting for you.

If you’ve ever wanted to see your images across the spread but didn’t know how to get started, Two Bright Lights is perfect for you.

Who, What and When

Join us on Google+ on Tuesday, October 9 at 8:00 ET, 7:00 CT, 6:00 MT and 5:00 PT.

You’ll get expert info about the wedding and publishing business from Shalyn Hockey, VP of Marketing and Strategy of Two Bright Lights, Jillian Clark of 100 Layer Cake and Summer Watkins of Grey Likes Weddings.

We’ll cover everything you’ll need to know to navigate the publishing industry, like:

  • What NOT to do when submitting photos.
  • What types of photos editors really want to see.
  • Why being published is so important for your photography business.
  • How SmugMug gets you in front of the right editors in just three clicks.

Ready to make your business boom? Just RSVP here and we’ll save you a seat.

See you there!


Missed the broadcast? Watch it anytime right here on YouTube.

SmugMug Success Stories: Andi Grant Photography

June 6, 2012 23 comments

The Romantic: A Wedding Pro’s Love Affair With “Events”

Name: Andi Grant
Position/Title: Owner
Name of Company: Andi Grant Photography
Location: Hampton Roads, VA
Market: Weddings, Engagements, Bridals, Boudoir
Bragworthy Factoid: Broke $100,000 in sales her first year as a pro
SmugMugger since: 2007

Career Highlights…

  • Quitting her day job at 911 to do photography full-time
  • Shooting her first destination wedding (did three last year!)

Fave Features…

From alarms to ardor

Grant was raised in a photo-friendly household, often hanging out in her father’s dark room in their Long Island home. But she never thought she would make her living shooting real-life love stories. During her first career as a 911 dispatcher, she bought her first DSLR. “I was the one at church taking all the family pictures,” she says. “Even when all I had was a point-and-shoot they’d ask, because I always had a good eye. But my business escalated with better equipment.” She apprenticed to a local pro, eventually shooting six weddings under her mentor’s tutelage. A mere year later, she left her emergency job to pursue photography full-time. People told Grant she was crazy to quit her government job during the worst of the economic downturn. She took a chance anyway, initially accepting any work she could find—weddings, engagements, but also corporate gigs. “I started my business during the worst possible time,” she says. “But it didn’t matter because I still had my clients. People were still getting married.”

Happy wife, happy life

SmugMug’s focus on customer care frees up Grant to do what she does best—keep brides happy. “I can only think of two or three instances where clients had issues with images,” she says, explaining a smudge that wasn’t and a so-so color-to-B/W conversion early in her career. “SmugMug emailed me immediately. They were so quick to react. They even offered to help with the unedited file, which I thought was amazing. At first the lack of a phone number was frustrating, but only once did someone have to call me—and the [hero] called me from his house!” Grant appreciates that SmugMug’s attention to detail matches her own. “I’m a perfectionist. Details are everything,” she insists. SmugMug’s proof delay feature helps Grant maintain her high standards. “I love proof delay because I do very little editing to my proofing galleries — none for boudoir,” she says. “So when a client orders an image I then have the opportunity to make sure it’s perfect. I especially like to be sure their cropping is correct.”

Powering her through events

Calling SmugMug’s Events feature “a dream come true,” Grant explains that she uses the tool in a number of ways to streamline her business. “Before, after my brides chose their favorite images, I’d have to go in manually and download each file. That was such a pain. Now I go into an event, download all and the client has a separate folder to work with for her event.” Grant uses the separate gallery function for all types of events, from weddings to engagements to boudoir sessions. “It’s especially convenient to build the gallery before the wedding to have the link,” she points out. “You can get the link from the event guest gallery, go over to Moo cards, [get] QR codes business cards, and make it super high-tech for your clients’ guests to link to the gallery.” Grant suggests having URL cards available for smartphone-less guests, and saving assets like extra engagement photos to hand out at weddings as stealth promotional material. “It’s a great way to get more people seeing your images.” She also suggests that colleagues who use email marketing take advantage of event-linked mandatory guest login to send newsletters and coupons.

More features to love

SmugMug archiving is Grant’s saving grace. Citing an example of a bride who emailed Grant the night before her second anniversary with a fatal computer crash in which she lost all her wedding images, Grant explains that she was able to resurrect the bride’s memories in a mere five minutes. “Most photographers would need to dig up the external hard drive and burn them a new disk. Instead, I went into her galleries, used the Download All feature and emailed her the link to her four galleries zipped into an easy-to-open file. I have a deep sense of security knowing my images are nicely organized and stored,” she says. The self-proclaimed perfectionist is also grateful for the seamless design integration between her site and SmugMug’s ordering, sharing and back-up functions. “SmugMug has done a great job over the years making customization very easy,” she says, expressing pleasure that her own storefront and SmugMug site match exactly. “I’m thankful to have my cute look on SmugMug and it was super affordable.”

It’s a family affair

Admirers have called Grant’s work “traditional,” a label that used to amuse her until she began to grasp the implicit compliment. “It’s interesting because I don’t come from a classical photography background,” she says. “Now I want to be considered timeless. My images are very clear—sharp, well-exposed images that are not over-manipulated. Very organic. People see that and like it. So many wedding photos are worked over to give them that contemporary vibe, but that can take away from the image itself.” Grant is assisted at shoots by her daughter Zoe, a photographer in her own right building a specialty in pets. “It’s wonderful having someone who knows everything I want and need. She’s amazing to work with and she’s my comic relief. When I shoot a wide angle, she gets in nice and close, so we have different images of the same thing.”

Want to read more SmugMug Success Stories? Look here!

Love Your Work Again on the Power of Passion Tour

March 29, 2011 1 comment

One of our own Smuggers, Dustin Bess, is on the road with Sandy Puc and Gerry Ghionis on their Power of Passion Tour. Here’s what he’s got to say about this incredible experience.

As photographers we are constantly called on to draw on our creative process to create compelling images. Being in this position where so much creativity is needed, one can often experience burnout and fatigue and start to wonder,

“Do I really love what I am doing anymore?”

As part of my work for SmugMug I have been traveling the country with Sandy Puc and Jerry Ghionis as they take their Power of Passion Tour across America.  I joined up with them on March 13 in Phoenix, AZ, and caught my first glimpse of the show.

I was completely blown away by the power of this event.

The Business of Photography

I have been following Sandy since January of 2010 when I started shooting with the charity Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which she cofounded. After meeting Sandy at WPPI last year and getting a chance to know her, I was even more impressed with all of her accomplishments and immense knowledge.  Sandy isn’t just a photographer, she is a true business woman and it shows in even the shortest of conversations with her. In Phoenix, as I listened to her talk about business and marketing, the things she was saying made so much sense, yet one is left with the thought “why didn’t I think of that?”.

Photographers often neglect the business side of their photography business.  I personally know amazing photographers who still struggle with bookings, not because they lack skills in the camera, but because they lack skills of getting people through their doors in the first place.

Sandy knows how to get people into her studio and this is what she is teaching at the event (among many other things).

Passion and Emotion in Photography

I had heard Jerry’s name before joining him on the tour, but must admit that I didn’t know much about him or his work.  I really didn’t know what I was missing.  As I sat through that first show and watched his images come up, I was in complete awe.  I watched him pull random strangers from the audience and evoke emotion out of them that I have never seen from even my closest clients. I knew I was sitting in the presence of a true master of the craft.  Jerry has this ability to connect with people through simple words and it is truly remarkable to watch. One minute you will be crying, and the next you are experiencing side-splitting laughter. Jerry is also a master at posing shots to create not just photographs, but true works of art.

What Photographers Had to Say

I asked my friend David Terry for his thoughts after seeing the Tour in SLC and this is what he had to say:

Two years ago I had the opportunity of attending one of Sandy Puc’s seminars in Salt Lake City.  It was so good and so worth the price I paid, that I felt bad last year when I was unable to attend due to prior commitments.  So this year, I signed up for the event as soon as it was announced.  At the time I did not know who Jerry Ghionis was, and so that did not affect my plans.  But I attended his class at WPPI a month ago and came away saying to myself that I would ‘pay anything to see him again’. And wow, what a ‘one-two punch’.  The two of them last night were awesome.  Sandy served up business and marketing tips while Jerry both taught and inspired us.  His techniques for getting the image AND the emotion are truly inspirational. I would gladly pay to see him again.

Another friend of mine, Jeremy Hall, wasn’t sure if it would be worth his time to attend because he doesn’t focus on weddings. With a little encouragement he decided to come and this is what he said to me afterwards:

After some friendly prompting from fellow photographers, I decided to attend the Sandy Puc & Jerry Ghionis workshop in Salt Lake City. Though my focus is not wedding photography, I was looking for some great inspiration I could apply to all my photography. Sandy and Jerry were excellent. I enjoyed their presentation style, the simple techniques and ideas they presented, but most of all getting the inspiration I was looking for. I now have new motivation to approach my work with more emotion, sincerity and purpose.

And here is what SmugMug’s President and Co-Founder, Chris MacAskill said:

From a purely selfish point of view, I know I’m not a specialist in any form of photography and have much to learn about each kind.  But I leave most talks feeling like I learned very little and where are the Annie Leibovitzs,  Anton Lorimers, Michael Soos, Trey Ratcliffs, and Scott Robert Lims in this world who give you something that makes a big difference?

Jerry’s evoking emotion spiel was one of those times for me when I felt like I just learned something you should have known long ago.  I was wishing I could shoot my weddings over again.  Where have I been? It’s so obvious once you hear it.

See the Tour in Your City

There are still 11 cities to go in the tour and you can save $20 by entering the code SMPP11 on the registration page.  After seeing the show that first night I have encouraged every photographer I know to get out and see it.

Because SmugMug is sponsoring the tour, I have the unique opportunity of being able to travel from city to city with these great people.  Can I just tell you: I think what truly makes this event wonderful is how much fun these two have all the time.  Whether it is getting stuck in a snowstorm and Jerry whips out his iPhone to produce Death at Pollard Flat or an impromptu Dance Party on Sandy’s bus. It is easy to tell that these two really love what they do.  They exude passion for photography and for teaching others also.  And if you thought Jerry was a good photographer, check out his basketball skills.

Simply put, if you only have time for one educational event this year, this is the one to see.

You can register for the event by going HERE.

- Dustin


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