Jason Aten is a Michigan based wedding photographer. After a career in marketing and sales management for a Fortune 100 company, Jason became relentlessly drawn to the ability to impact people’s lives through photography. So in 2001 he quit his job to start his own photography business. Jason applies his previous marketing and sales experience to his photography business and now takes the time to educate others with his “Starting Out Right” one-day intensives and resource guides. You can find more posts like this on the Starting Out Right blog.
There's a lot of talk about workshops lately. There's a lot of people that are frustrated by the perceived direction our industry is taking. There's a lot of strong feelings about different workshops, and whether they offer value to photographers and our industry.
With that in mind, I want to help share some expectations – to be sure you understand all the reasons you should consider attending a ONE DAY INTENSIVE.
But first, here are five reasons you shouldn't:
1. You want to become a better photographer. You won't. I'm not going to talk about understanding your camera, or composition, or lighting, or post processing. This isn't a workshop to help you be a better photographer, so if that's what you're looking for – don't bother coming.
In fact, no workshop will make you a better photographer. You might learn some good techniques, but in reality – the ONLY way to become a better photographer is to shoot more. Who cares about your first wedding – I got excited when I had to replace a shutter after 118,000 exposures.
2. You want to be rich. Sorry, can't help you there either. There's no secret to becoming rich. There's no fast-track or easy road. Some people get lucky… good for them, but I can't teach you that. No one can teach you. By the way, if you're thinking about starting your own small business to get rich, forget it. 95% of them fail.
3. You want to be like _______ (insert photographer here). Attending a workshop won't make you anymore like someone else – then visiting the pet store will make you more like a golden retriever. You won't leave the ODI more like me (and that's good for both of us… trust me). If you pay money to go to a workshop, hoping that some magic dust will rub off on you, you're fooling yourself and wasting your money. It doesn't work that way.
4. You want someone to tell you the short cuts. Guess what. The most successful people in ANY field – ANY industry – are the people who work the hardest, for the long haul. A workshop presenter can help give you tools, but then you have to do the hard work. There's no secret recipe, and anyone that tells you that there is – well, I think you know what to think about them.
5. You are PASSIONATE about photography. That's great. I love photography too. I also really love ice cream, but that doesn't mean I open an ice cream stand. If you're passionate about photography – by all means, keep taking pictures. It's a wonderful hobby :)
BONUS 6. You want to hang out with a SUPER successful rich, super-star photographer. Sorry, not me. I run a pretty small business focused on taking care of a small number of clients. My wife and I drive a 5 year old car, own a nice home, and spend a lot of money on diapers. Most days, I come home from my studio, and the first thing I do is change a stinky diaper, clean up crayon from the walls, and do the dishes. I'm just normal. My life is probably a lot like yours.
We're not rich. But I work very hard at treating my business like a business, and it exists to support my family. Our business does really well, and we have wonderful clients. I get to shoot some really wonderful weddings, and I love that I get paid well to do what I do. Our portrait business is thriving in a world where people tell you that you can't sell prints. But, let's be realistic – I run a studio in a town of 7,500 people. If you think that this workshop is going to be about how much money I spend on cars, or sunglasses, or new camera gear – you'll be disappointed.
By the way, you can get a LOT of the information I talk about by reading this FREE blog. So why would anyone come? Here are 3 reasons:
You're ready to build a photography business that is both profitable and sustainable.
It's easy to be to think that running a photography business is about taking beautiful photos and becoming a master of marketing. In reality, there's so much more. The average small business loses money for it's first 3 years, and then goes out of business in less than 5 years. Why? Because running a business is hard work, and it's about more than just photography. It's okay that you love photography, but if it's going to be a business, then it has to make money. The ONE DAY INTENSIVE will help give you the tools to build something that is both profitable AND sustainable.
You want to build a business around this photography thing you do that supports the life you want to live.
So many photographers (and small business owners in general), find themselves slaves to their business. They find themselves pouring their life into something, and many simply burn out. I believe that your business should support your life, instead of living simply to run your business. The ONE DAY INTENSIVE is for people who want to take care of their family by building something real.
You want to learn about best practices that you can use as you work HARD to do it right.
The One Day Intensive will teach you the business principles and best practices you need to know to grow a successful photography business. It's not about short cuts, magic tricks, or secret formulas. It's about knowing what it means to run a business. You might struggle with understanding how to control your expenses, set up your business, rationalize your pricing, managing your client experience, or sales. You're willing to invest your time by spending a day digging deep. This is no fluff. It's not a feel good workshop. It's not “fun.” But ask anyone who has attended – you're learn how to do it right.
Interested in learning more? Check out www.startingoutright.net/workshops Use code “tiffinbox” and you'll save $50.