Spreading the word for the Spread the Love Tour

November 24, 2009

<a href=”http://www.justinmarantz.com/”>Justin &amp; Mary Marantz</a> are coming to Charlotte in January for their Spread the Love Workshop and on Black Friday, seats will only be $50!!  After Friday, seats will be $150, so make yourself a reminder to do a little quick shopping online before heading out to shop and wait in hour long lines.

Here’s what they had to say about the workshop:
<em>Spread the Love is not a photography workshop…It’s a LIFE workshop. So you don’t have to be a photographer to attend! Florists, planners, basically anybody who owns their own business can benefit from Spread the Love. In this seminar, we’ll cover everything from marketing, branding, building relationships, business 101, financial health, balancing life &amp; business, creating systems that stick. and so much more. This is the time for a fresh start, and what better way to kick it off than getting inspired to get back to what you love about not only your business, but more importantly…to what you love about your LIFE again? </em>

For each city to remain on the map, at least 50 people will need to sign up for that city, so help them spread the word and invite all your friends to come along!

We’ll be kicking everything off in our own backyard: Beantown, aka Boston on January 5th!

Spread the Love Boston: January 5th
Spread the Love NYC: January 6th
Spread the Love DC: January 7th
Spread the Love Richmond: January 8th

***We’ll be heading to Nashville here to be in town for Imaging/DWF. For any of you guys that are planning on coming to Imaging and can’t make any of the other stops (or just want to come twice!!) we’ve planned the Nashville stop to be the day after the conferences end, just for you!! Well….and all the Nashville people! 🙂

Spread the Love Nashville: January 14th
Spread the Love Charlotte: January 15th
Spread the Love Atlanta: January 18th
Spread the Love Jacksonville: January 19th
Spread the Love Houston: January 22nd
Spread the Love Austin: January 25th
Spread the Love Dallas: January 26th
Spread the Love Phoenix: February 2nd
Spread the Love San Diego: February 4th
Spread the Love LA: February 5th
Spread the Love San Fran: February 8th
Spread the Love Seattle: February 11th
Spread the Love Salt Lake City: February 15th
Spread the Love Denver: February 17th
Spread the Love Kansas City: February 19th
Spread the Love Chicago: February 22nd

***We’ll be taking a break here to get ready for WPPI 2010 where we will be speaking for the very first time! Bleh….I feel like throwing up already!! 🙂 🙂 And then we will wrap up the tour after WPPI with our Maine stop, when hopefully it will be a little warmer up that way!

Spread the Love Maine: March 24th


Becca Bond Photography – Charlotte, NC & Fort Mill, SC

September 23, 2009

Meet Becca, a Nikon user who uses both eyes to shoot with.  Becca mostly focuses on kids, babies and families, but has recently ventured into doing boudoir, engagement and weddings.  She uses Manual Mode, shoots in RAW, and aside from some Lightroom presets that she invented, she loves using Sesame Ellis’ presets with some tweakage.


Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
I recently found an old book where I had journalled about my decision to become a photographer.  I was 13 years old.  If I hadn’t packed the journals back and put them back in the attic I would copy the excerpt.  Since my school didn’t have a darkroom, I worked with a teacher to set one up so I could be the yearbook photographer and took classes outside of school.  I went to SCAD to get my degree in photography then moved to NYC to work in the industry.  After a while, I left it to do graphic design and have recently reunited my hands with cameras about 2.5 years ago.


What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
how important it is to stay true to yourself as an artist.  Find your own voice and embrace it.  The right clients will find you.  It’s so easy in the beginning to become dazzled by all the amazing photographers out there and emulate what you see.  That is an important learning step, but listen to your heart to know where you should go.


What makes you different from everyone else?
I think every photographer struggles with this from time to time.  For me, I would have to say that it’s my interaction with my subject that sets me apart.  At least that’s what I like to think!  That and my processing.  It’s a little wacky sometimes.  I strive to reveal a feeling or mood instead of what was in front of me that day.


Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
I have to plug one of my best friends, Alicia Williams.   I love watching her evolve as an artist, she is amazing and has a very creative way of seeing.  We bounce ideas off of each other and push each other.  Every time she shows me her work, I am in awe.


One item you can’t live without?
well, my contact lenses.  I guess that’s two items– the left and the right!  Without them my work would be pretty blurry, and I don’t mean in a bokeh way.

Your best bokeh image and why?

I almost always shoot 1.8-2.8 when a single subject is the focus.  I’d say my favorite right now is this one of my baby enjoying a popsicle because it’s all about her and it’s summer and what’s not to love about a yummy red popsicle.

Why did you want to be included on The Bokeh Pot?
It’s such a great collection of talent!  There are so many wonderful photographers to discover here.  Why not/?!


Favorite book?
this month: the Red Tent

Favorite movie?
it changes but this month: Slumdog Millionaire

Where do you find inspiration?
my two Roses: my baby, Willow Rose, and my grandmother, Rose Gaggini


What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
2 things: persistence and client relationships.  Persistence because I believe the one thing that sets apart success from failure is persistence.  Client relationships because it is such an honor to be invited into people’s lives as their photographer.  They put their trust in me to create these reflections for them, and I approach each session with a huge sense of gratitude.


Do you use a second shooter?
As of right now I do not.  However, there is a team forming 🙂

If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
I second shoot with Piper Warlick a lot and love it, she is awesome to work with.  My dream gig would be to second shoot with some of the Australian photogs that I love: Rachel Devine, Sheye Rosemeyer, Jinky of course 🙂


Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
Does belonging to the Charlotte Photographer Divas count? 🙂  No awards.

What did you have to do to actually take the leap?  Did you have any hoops to jump through?
Taking the leap for me came naturally.  I have a degree in photography which hadn’t been put to use in a decade almost, the mortgage company that I was working for closed down, and I became a mother in the period of a month.  Picking up a camera again just made sense.  The whole world has gone digital so it was like starting all over again.  There were lots of things to get used to.  But I love the fact that it’s so easy to take a single image in a million different directions.  So much easier than film.  It’s addictive.


Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Learn as much as you can and practice constantly.  Value what you do.

What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
Hmmm… for my market, being on a Mommy networking board is helpful.  Other than that, word of mouth.


Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)?  If for, who have you had the most success with?
I’m completely for advertising!  I believe in the “10 foot rule” that they talk about in sales strategies, every person within 10 feet of you should know what you do.  It’s free too!

What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
It involves sharing stories, vino, and image critique.

Anything else you would like to share?
Bokehpot is awesome!!!!  Thank you ladies for doing this!!!!


**Enjoy this feature?  Please leave a comment to let us know!**

Amanda James Photography – Charlotte, NC

April 29, 2009

Meet Amanda James, recently turned Amanda Byrd (she recently got married and she’s currently in the processing of recruiting her husband to be her second shooter!).  Amanda currently focuses on children and family photography, but recently has had the opportunity to branch out to do maternity, engagements, and pups, and will also be shooting her first weddings this year.  Amanda uses Nikon equipment, and her left eye.

my-photophoto by the Husband


Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?

I have a full time job, and do photography as a second career.  It can be very time consuming, but I think that there are some things in life that you just know are right, so you don’t mind spending your time doing it.  Photography is just one of those things for me.

2-bokeh-pot50mm, 50mm, ISO 640, 1/100, f4.5

What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?

Be patient and believe in yourself.  Things just don’t happen overnight.  I am so incredibly lucky to have an amazing husband that supports me through it all and has more patience than anyone I know.  He is a great role model. Oh and one more thing-  step away from the computer when you get frustrated, things always seem to look better after a good night’s sleep than at 1 o’clock in the morning.

What makes you different from everyone else?

I’d like to think that I have a style that is unique to Amanda James Photography.  Plus, post processing is very important to me-  I spent countless hours there to get my images looking just right.  At the end of the day though, I hope that my clients not only come back because they love their images, but more importantly because I treated them as if they were my only customer.

3-bokeh-pot17-55mm, 55mm, ISO 400, 1/160, f2.8

Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?

Hmmm, that’s a very tough question.  I am discovering new photographers all the time and am constantly amazed at their skills and creativity.

One item you can’t live without?

My 50mm 1.4.  It doesn’t seem to matter what other lens investments I make, I always go back to that lens.  I love primes.

Your best (favorite) bokeh image and why?

1-bokeh-pot-bokeh-image85mm, 85mm, ISO 200, 1/1250, f1.8

I just absolutely adore this image for a few reasons.  First and foremost, because it is an image of my nephew when he was just over a year old.  I’m pretty sure you can see right into his soul in this photo.  In my biased opinion, I think he was born to be a Gap baby:)  I think the Photography Gods were smiling down on me when I took this image.

Favorite book?

I hate to admit it, but I haven’t read a book in it’s completion in quite awhile.  I’ve never been much of a reader.

Favorite movie?

I’m a huge fan of chick flicks!  I think I’ve recommended “Knocked Up” to everyone I know 🙂

4-bokeh-pot50mm, 50mm, ISO 800, 1/60, f2.0

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m always inspired by other great photographers (Audrey Woulard, Jesh de Rox) but it seems that I get the best images from interacting with the wonderful families I get the privilege to photograph.  No matter how many ideas I’ve prepared the night before, the images I usually end up loving the most are the ones that just sort of happen at the session.  It is really great to see the love a family has for each other come out through an image.


50mm, 50mm, ISO 1600, 1/4000, f2.8

What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?

I’d have to say my dedication.  I try to be very accessible to my clients and go above and beyond what they expect.  If I tell them I’ll have their images in 2 weeks, I’ll make sure I bust my butt to get them those images.

8-bokeh-pot150mm, 50mm, ISO 400, 1/1250, f1.8

If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?

Anyone that is willing to share their knowledge and experience openly.

How would you suggest that photographers wanting to second shoot/assist/shadow you or others go about getting the gig?

Shoot me an email or call me-  I’d love to talk to you!

9-bokeh-pot50mm, 50mm, ISO 200, 1/500, f1.8

Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?

No… but I do have an image on a billboard on I77 in Charlotte!  I felt as though I had won a prize when I saw it for the first time!

What did you have to do to actually take the leap?  Did you have any hoops to jump through?

I’ve been slowly easing in to the business, as I do have a full time job.  I think there will always be obstacles, but you can’t be afraid to really put yourself out there.  That I find is the most difficult thing to do, but the customer won’t know that they need your services if they don’t know that you offer them!

10-bokeh-pot50mm, 50mm, ISO 400, 1/60, f1.6

Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?

Go for it!

What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?

To build my wedding business, I have been offering a free engagement session, to get to know me and my style of photography.  This has been a great way to form a relationship with my clients and gain their trust in me as a photographer.

5-bokeh-pot50mm, 50mm, ISO 1000, 1/125, f2.8

What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?

Wine and photo talk 🙂

6-bokeh-pot50mm, 50mm, ISO 1600, 1/100, f3.5

David Ziser: Digital Wake Up Call

April 28, 2009


Visit: http://www.digitalwakeupcall.com/ for more details!!!

picture-3picture-1picture-5Visit: http://www.digitalwakeupcall.com/ for more details!!!

picture-7picture-8Visit: http://www.digitalwakeupcall.com/ for more details!!!

AsukaBook Free Seminar

April 14, 2009

AsukaBook sponsors the following photographers’ events throughout the year.  Below is the latest schedule of their events where you are able to learn more about AsukaBook products and possible win a free book of your own design!

For more information visit http://asukabook.com/home_events.html

April 21, 2009 and April 22, 2009  Boston, MA  Area Seminar

April 23, 2009 Brooklyn, NY Seminar

April 24, 2009 Manhattan, NY Seminar

April 25, 2009 Philadelphia, PA Seminar

April 27, 2009 Baltimore, MD Seminar

April 28, 2009 Charlotte, NC Seminar

April 29, 2009 Atlanta, GA Seminar

May 1, 2009 Orlando, FL Seminar

Laura Manzare Photography – Charlotte, NC

April 2, 2009

First, let me say that I hope you all enjoyed the April Fool’s feature yesterday.  I debated whether or not to do it, but when I realized the schedule for a wednesday posting fell on April 1, I just couldn’t resist!  Many thanks to my friend Ryan for allowing me to use his name and likeness.  He was very proud to be a part of the joke.

I don’t want to leave the prank up for a whole week on top, so it’s perfect timing to welcome back our fabulous contributor Laura Manzare!  She took a little hiatus for a few weeks, but she’s back and ready to help keep the blog’s events updated.  Please welcome her back and help her by emailing her any events/seminars/workshops you know about!  Without further delay…


Meet Laura, a wedding and portrait photographer in Charlotte, NC who shoots with Nikon with her left eye.  She shoots fully manual in RAW and loves Kubota Actions.

crystals-las-vegas-wppi-2009-232-of-333Photo by Crystal Genes




Twitter – lauramanzare

Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?

About a year after I bought my D200 I really wanted to find any job related to photography. I missed working in the studio.  I saw an ad for a local company to be there in house photographer.  It was for a bridal one stop shop sort of thing.  I had never wanted to shoot weddings before, but I decided to see what the owner had to offer.  During my interview I saw the work other wedding photographers had produced and said to myself “just try it”.  After my first wedding I was stoked.  I loved everything about shooting weddings. The amount of love and energy that aluminate on a wedding day is magnificent.


What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?

I learned that in the beginning you will make mistakes.  You have to see how things work best for you and you alone.  Just because Joe Schmo does things one way, doesn’t mean that way will work for you. I also learned to research research research before making a purchase or commitment. The thing I wish I did do in the very beginning is research great lenses.  I have lenses I like, however when I first began I did not plan on shooting weddings.  I never dreamed I would even like to.  When I bought a lot of my equipment, it was for personal use.


What makes you different from everyone else?

I am who I am.  There will never be someone just like me.  This is what sets everyone apart from each other.

Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?

Crystal Genes, she is so creative in ways I only dream to be and she has drive that goes beyond obsession.


One item you can’t live without?

A pen. I make lists like it is my job.  I write on napkins, envelopes, my hands, paper, post it’s… the list goes on and on.  If I cannot write lists of ideas or to dos or doodle…I am useless.  This is business and personal wise.

Your best bokeh image and why?


It’s my favorite because I had this image in my head and it came out just as I wanted it to.  It was one of the first times I had bokeh on purpose.

Favorite book?

I absolutely love the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  I also am smitten with Eat Pray love by Elizabeth Gilbert and of course I am a sucker for Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.

Favorite movie?

Fried Green Tomatoes, Can’t Buy me love, Say Anything, The Notebook.


Where do you find inspiration?

I like to read other photographer blogs (just as everyone else) but I find inspiration with my clients.  A session I do with one client, I probably could not pull off with another.  Each individual or couple are so unique, I pull from their energy!


What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?

I am an overly organized person.  I need a schedule and a plan.  I need all my ducks in a row or I will feel like I cannot accomplish anything.  (You may think this isn’t a very good thing to share or something to be valuable…).  I say this is the best aspect of my business.  Anyone one can take great photographs.  A person needs organization and plans to run a business.

If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?

Jessica Claire, the Image is found, Gabriel Ryan photographers, Jasmine Star…they are all absolutely amazing in so many ways.


Do you use a second shooter?

I do use second shooters.  I love second shooters. I am only one pair of eyes; I can only be in one place at a time.


How would you recommend someone who wants to second shoot with you get the gig?

If you want to second shoot with me then tell me.  I am a very blunt outgoing person and I cannot read minds.  I am looking for people who have their own equipment, who I love their work, who I enjoy their time (this is where friends come in).  I would much rather shoot a wedding with a friend than someone I don’t know very well. And someone who is dependable.

Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?

I am a first year member of WPPI.  I have not put myself out there, honestly, to even win an award. (I need to bite the bullet and just do it)


What did you have to do to actually take the leap?  Did you have any hoops to jump through?

I am still very much part time.  I am currently taking the leap.  I started off slow and bumpy.  I think everyone (in the beginning) doesn’t know where to start.  I also had trouble deciding what I wanted for my business and how I would go about doing so.


Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?

Have an idea and a plan of where you want to go.  Even if you do not end up exactly in the place you wanted, at least you had a path to get there.


What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?

This is really not creative at all and it is very small.  When I eat out at a restaurant I leave a good tip and also leave my business card.  Its worked out so far.  It beats the lame conversation “I am a photographer…no really I am”.

Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)? If so what have you been successful with?

I currently do not advertise.  I have heard a lot of negative that goes along with it.  I’m sure it works for some.  I would rather build a client base off of word of mouth, that way a prospective client has someone else telling them how their experience was.   For anything, just not photography, I would buy something a friend suggested and loved, before going blindly into a purchase.


What is your idea of the perfect photographer network date?

The more I hear networking the more nervous I get.  I honestly do not like that word.  I was at WPPI this February and Jessica Claire spoke about how she doesn’t really “network” she has friends.  I’d rather make friends than make business associates.  So if I was going to have a friend date… I’d like to do something that my friend and I enjoy doing together.  Example, Crystal Genes has taken me all over town trying crazy meals I never would have planned.  Ethiopian cuisine!

Anything else you would like to share?

What else do you want to know?  I am an open book.


Crystal Genes Photography – Charlotte, NC

March 31, 2009

Hi everyone!  Many people have asked why I do not have a profile on my own blog.  I didn’t really want one on here for myself, personally.  I made this for all you fabulous photogs out there!  You also may have noticed that we have a new contributor, Laura Meyer!  Laura was profiled on the blog back in January.  She’s helping out with posting events and starting our new random bits category, so please welcome her aboard!  Today is also her birthday, so send her some birthday love!  And help her out by letting her know of any events, seminars, or workshops you know about that need to be added.  Laura has insisted that my profile be posted as well, so here you go:)


Meet me:)  I am a Charlotte, NC wedding and portrait photographer who shoots with my right eye using a Nikon camera.  I shoot JPEG and I’m not ashamed to say that I shoot 95% of the time in Aperture or Shutter priority with the use of the exposure compensation control.  I don’t use many actions except for getting punchiness, but occasionally I’ll use some Kubota or TRA.  I also have a few that I made for myself.

crystal-and-ben-227Photo by Laura Manzare



Twitter – Crystal Genes – follow me!

Facebook – be my fan!


Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
About 4 years ago, when my friend volunteered me to shoot her friend’s wedding, I had no interest. I considered it for a while, did a little research about it, and realized that wedding photography was a LOT different than I had assumed, and I started to get excited. I shot the wedding at-cost and really enjoyed it. I continued doing research, bought some equipment, worked on a website and other online marketing tools, and kept the idea of one day pursuing it as a career in the back of my mind. The next year, I booked 5 weddings really spontaneously through word of mouth, coworkers, old college acquaintances, etc. I enjoyed all of them, but still didn’t really think to start pushing it as a business… just something I could see for the future. The next year, I didn’t do nearly as many weddings, but many more lifestyle, children, and maternity sessions. Towards the end of the year(last year), I realized I really missed all the excitement of shooting weddings and as I was walking in to my day job one day, I thought to myself, “I do NOT want to be making this same walk into work five times a week, at this time next year”.  I used my meager savings, purchased a few advertisements, and really started pushing myself.  Literally every single moment that I am not at my day job, I am working on something related to growing my business, unless someone prys me away. I’m still in the process of getting to my goal, I probably chose a bad year to start pushing, but it’s going very well so far considering, and I’m excited for the future and the day that I can consider this my only full time endeavor.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-24-of-9118-70, 46mm, 1/80, f4.5, ISO 200

What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
Learn all that you can and listen to others ideas, but then use all the information you get to make your own way.  Not every great photographer’s “idea” of how things are, will be, or should be in the industry are correct for everyone.  Do what feels the most right to YOU.  Oh, and don’t stay up late trying to edit images when you are dead tired.  You’ll end up having to go back over all the work you did in the morning!

the-bokeh-pot-faves-65-of-9150mm, 1/30, f1.8, ISO 1000

What makes you different from everyone else?
The same thing that every single other person has said:)  I think it’s time to retire this question… though when I added it to the profile, I meant it more in a sense of “what makes your images different?  Your style.”  So, for me, back in film days, I was always a big fan of black and white images.  When I had to take color photography for college, I was so bummed.  I just KNEW I would hate it.  But I was wrong.  I LOVED it SOOOOO much.  I have always been really good with color in real life (clothes, decorating, etc…) so it made sense that I SHOULD like color photography. I haven’t really looked back since. I constantly strive to acheive more and better color in my images. I also enjoy it most when my images have some aspect of quirkiness to them.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-43-of-9112-24, 24mm, 1/160, f6.3, ISO 200

Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
Actually, I think my friend (from college days) who was featured last week and lives in Charleston now is AMAZING and for sure has a bright future ahead of her!  Tracy Turpen

the-bokeh-pot-faves-33-of-9150mm, 1/1250, f1.4, ISO 400

One item you can’t live without?
My toothbrush and moisturizer.  I have the driest skin.  Photography wise, most people will say their 50 1.4, but I am really not the biggest fan of that lens… I’d much rather have my Tokina 12-24mm wide-angle.  I LOVE that lens.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-45-of-9118-70, 52mm, 1/500, f4.5, ISO 500

Your best bokeh image and why?

the-bokeh-pot-faves-7-of-9118-70, 70mm, 1/60, f5.0, ISO 200

This image doesn’t have wide open bokeh circles, but more subtle.  This has always been one of my favorite images because of the larger reflection in the mirror… you can see her pulling in her dress as her mother ties the sash and the expression on her face is perfect.

Favorite book?
I love everything by Wally Lamb and Julia Alvarez.  I also love “I was Amelia Earhart” by Anne Mendelsohn and “The Diaries of Adam and Eve” by Mark Twain, and I am currently really enjoying “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffeneger.

Favorite movie?
When Harry Met Sally, Me You and Everyone We Know, Best in Show,  and Wild Strawberries

the-bokeh-pot-faves-74-of-9150mm, 1/90, f1.4, ISO 640

Where do you find inspiration?
Things from the past tend to inspire me a lot on a personal level, even new things that remind me of the past (mine or others). When I feel homesick for the old days… memories.  Old photographs (mine or ones I pick up at the flea market).  New photographs that look old.  My notion of what the deep south is or was like, would/have be/been like to live there.  Trees, especially evergreens… old weepy ones.  I’m not saying that any of this is reflected in my work, rather these random things tend to spring me to action.  They get my passion sparking.  And I love looking thru photographers work that is not wedding related, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Laurie Simmons, and Seydou Keita are my favorites.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-21-of-9118-70, 18mm, 1/8, f3.5, ISO 320

What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
My eyeballs and eyesight. Seriously, not a day goes by that I don’t worry about damaging my eyes. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do this at all. I would wear safety glasses all the time if people wouldn’t think I was crazy. Also, if I lost an arm, how would I hold the camera? If I lost a leg, or both legs, how would I manage? Of course, my clients are very valuable as well, because without them, I wouldn’t be anything either, but I wouldn’t even be able to get clients if I didn’t have eyesight.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-87-of-9150mm, 1/500, f1.4, ISO 200

Do you use a second shooter?
Yes, my fabulous boyfriend, Ben, when he is available (since he’s back in school it’s a little more difficult). Hopefully when he’s done, he’ll join me full time as well:)  But, I am constantly on the lookout for backup second shooters!

How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
They need to be dedicated and responsible and thorough to begin with… they need to have work to show that they can produce nice images, and they need to really explain why they want to work with ME specifically:)  And gifts are always nice too:)

dsc_305412-24, 18mm, 1/90, f3.5, ISO 100

If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
Tracy, Cliff Mautner, Image is Found

Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
PPA.  I did have a solo show in college in the student gallery, and had work displayed in Hayes McMillan Art Gallery, and Wilkesboro Art Gallery.  One of my goals for this year is to win at least one award of sorts.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-37-of-9118-70, 70mm, 1/250, f8.0, ISO 100

What did you have to do to actually take the leap?  Did you have any hoops to jump through?
I have not yet officially taken the full leap.  I do dream about it every second of the day though.  I know what I have to do before I can take that next step, it’s just a matter of acheiving the first part first.  I calculated every little bill I have in a year (rent, utilities, car, insurance, netflix, etc…), added in a few estimations like gas for my car, food, and came up with a number that is the bare minimum I can survive on.  Then I tacked on to that about 25 percent more to account for federal/state taxes and 8 percent more to account for sales tax.  Once I’ve booked enough jobs to make that number, I can make the leap and jump thru the hoop.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-56-of-91112-24, 19mm, 1/1500, f4.0, ISO 100

Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Dedication.  You have to have it.  At least during the transitioning stage.  It’s not going to be easy at first and you’ll have a lot of dirty work to do before it gets easy, so you have to have enough passion and long term dedication to your goal to get there.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-29-of-9150mm, 1/320, f1.4, ISO 100

What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
I try to do little things to get my friends talking about me. At my job, we help a lot of brides, so if I hear a coworker talking to a bride about whether or not she’s already booked a photographer and they end up leaving with my card, I will buy my coworker any kind of coffee drink they want.  It’s a fun exchange and I love to hear it when it happens.  I also send out $5 coffee cards and Crystal Genes Photography referral cards to past clients.  The client gives the referral card to someone interested in photograhpy services and if it makes it back to me with a booking, the new client gets 10% off, and the old client gets either $20 cash for a portrait session booked or $100 cash for a wedding booked.  At the end of the year, the person who gave out the most cards that came back to me will get something super special.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-76-of-9112-24, 19mm, 1/60, f4.0, ISO 250

Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)?  If for, who have you had the most success with?
I’m not really sure about this one right now.  I dished out a lot of my savings when I took that first step to purchase an online ad on a company’s site that had been recommended highly to me.  I have booked zero clients from that expensive ad.  I have however had luck with facebook advertising.  2 weeks after I signed up for it (I get charged an average of 5-8 dollars per week based on pay per clicks) I booked one of my highest wedding collections.  I think it’s a matter of what site it is and what area that site is most popular in.  Maybe if I was in another city, the expensive ad would be fruitful, maybe not.  I think though, at any rate, it’s a matter of figuring out what works for you.  Don’t do something or don’t do something just because it’s what works for someone else.  It’s all about trial and error and trial and error is all about what makes you more successful.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-15-of-9118-70, 34mm, 1/160, f4.0, ISO 400

What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
I enjoy early mornings out to get the day started.  Coffee and desert would be nice, maybe followed by a little photo shoot, or not.  On the other hand, I enjoy going out with other photographers and not talking much about photography at all.  Driving around location scouting is fun too, and always better with someone else.

the-bokeh-pot-faves-53-of-9112-24, 19mm, 1/250, f4.0, ISO 200

Anything else you would like to share?
I’m a vegetarian, I love decorating magazines and books, I love food, especially authentic ethnic foods usually found in the more sketchy neighborhoods, I love to cook, I love contra dancing, and I love the banjo:)

the-bokeh-pot-faves-48-of-9112-24, 18mm, 1/40, f3.5, ISO 500