PRINT THE DANG PHOTOS

I had a marketing meeting this morning. It’s a local group that gets together a couple of times a month for breakfast. I enjoy the people, I’ve gotten business from it and it’s a fun way to start the day every other week. There’s one girl that I just love. She’s young and vibrant and beautiful and she just makes me laugh. I always sit by her and really enjoy her conversations…. She’s also breaking into modeling a bit. I’ve done her photos and have another shoot planned just so we can PLAY. I follow her on instagram and see that she actually has a lot of shoots…. mostly with her pickup which is just a really cool looking pickup, so beautiful girl with a groovy pickup equals tons of people wanting to take photos. It’s a perfect “storm” that really isn’t stormy as long as she keeps her wits about her. (And she has…coz I have a momma hen complex and I watch…)

Today we were discussing her upcoming shoot and what we plan to do….when she was talking about all the photographers that she knows. This is when it becomes interesting. I know most of the photographers in this area. I’m involved in the local PPA which is professional photographers of america. I know them. We’re all friends and we go to workshops together and we learn together (even if we’re on different levels so one is learning one thing while one is learning another…) We are all in it together. We all know each other and we all respect and generally like each other. So when she’s talking about people I’ve never seen/heard of/met/nothing…I go to “person with a camera” over “photographer” which is a leap, not a full proof assumption but generally, I’m right. She knows a lot of guys with cameras. She’s explaining how they take photos and I’m “weird” because I sell prints. “Nobody else does that.”

Only, every photographer that I know, does that. It’s our work. We want it displayed and also we want it to last. It’s also how we make money. She says “my world of modeling is different than yours of photos. People only do digital. They send them to me, I put them on instagram and tag the photographer. That’s it. Always.”

OKAAAAAYYYY…..I’m not gonna hate on that. Do what you wanna do to fit the shoot. Sometimes, it’s what you do….So from a photographer’s standpoint….you do you. HOWEVER: There’s this adorable, fun, smart, vibrant, and beautiful girl who when she’s in her 40s or 50s and wants to look back or wants to show her child her photos….WILL HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW OR SEE. Nothing. No prints for her grown kids to find after she passes. No photos to show of her adorable youth and free spirit. Nothing to show of the outdated pickup that was her world. Nothing. She’s relying on facebook and instagram and her cell phone to hold her memories. Social medias change. Technology gets lost. Phones die, get dropped in water or go obsolete. She’s young and doesn’t see how “times change” (now I sound 112 years old) but they do and QUICKLY.

So I harp on her to PRINT THE PHOTOS. It doesn’t have to be an alternative process that will last hundreds of years (but if you wanna do that…I have workshops) even an inkjet print from a box store is better than nothing. Heck, go to mpix and upload your photos and have PRINTS. You can look back at them. You can show your kids. You can show your friends one day, but GET THE DANG PRINTS….

It’s my service announcement for the day…print the phone photos. Print the cheap photographer photos. BUY the prints from the more expensive photographer but GET THE DANG PRINTS….THESE ARE YOUR MEMORIES FOR POSTERITY!!!!

GET. THE. DANG. PRINTS!DSC_0349a

No more POPSICLE-ING!

WHAT? Yep. Popsicle-ing, which really should be popsicling. What’s that? Well, after “yay you rule” week and dumping straight into the “we hate you because you rule” week…

I froze. I didn’t even realize it. I jumped into sales and marketing videos, I read sales and marketing and lighting and photography and self help books…I decided to completely reinvent myself since my normal me wasn’t really working.

Yeah.

My normal me was fine. I need to maybe not feed into the weirdness and strange energy of everyone around me. I over educated myself (which is okay…I’m all about education) but I was doing it so subconsciously avoid either failing or succeeding. I realized I’ve actually been doing this for a while. If I don’t “fail” then I’m good, and if I don’t REALLY succeed, I’m still good! Nobody can be mad or jealous…

I was a popsicle.  You know the kind. Just sugar and water frozen with maybe some coloring? They’re good. They’re not offensive to anyone. They’re just frozen nothing. They’ll never be dippin’ dots, because they’re just gonna stay sugar water, nothing revolutionary there! They aren’t going to be yogurt or have fresh fruit or be something actually HEALTHY and good…. But by the same token, they aren’t “DIET” popsicles which will CLAIM to have no sugar, yet hide the fact that means it’s all chemicals and water, which is deceitful and bad. I wasn’t that. Nothing revolutionary. Nothing amazing. Nothing bad. Just non offensive frozen sugar water.

I. Will. Be. Damned.

What I did wake up to this week is that I’ve been doing that for a while. My CPP? I passed the exam but let the time expire on image submission. So I sort of did it, but didn’t achieve it so I’m above nobody. When something bad or great happens? I really don’t speak of it. I stay in the neutral zone. My week of immense reboot….taught me that I don’t need to change myself, I need to GET BACK TO MYSELF! Popsicles suck. They’re great until you need something real. I’m pretty sure in the bible it even says, “man cannot live on sugar water alone.” Or maybe not. I don’t know. Maybe in the Koran? The Dhammapada? Surely somewhere. Because it’s true.

So today. This day. This monday. I woke up at 6:30. I didn’t read and sink into videos and books like I’ve been doing. I went to the YMCA to join it. yep. I need to get out. Get moving. Get the blood flowing and the energy back UP! I did it. This sounds teeny, but I live in a little town. The YMCA is over half an hour from me….but, I did it. Their system was down, which means I brought the paperwork home, and it’s all good to go back tomorrow. I was planning on that anyhow. There will be yoga or pilates or zumba or something fun, so I’ll be there anyhow.

I created some gift vouchers. I will be taking these to the Chamber to have them included in each “new resident” package for our town. My studio isn’t even IN the same town as the chamber and I don’t even CARE! haha! It’s one town away, so I’m READY TO SHOOT!!!!! Marketing!!!!! I’m DOING IT!!!!! I also signed up for a luncheon. I am typically “too shy” to do these things. PFFFFFFFT. Shy be DAMNED. Shy was my friend that kept me from outshining anyone. She’s great, she’s loyal, but I need more friends now other than Shy.

I’ve edited. I’ve also input pricing into some new software that I’ve literally had since last year. Do you see how much I’ve put off in the name of popsicling? I’ve not marketed, I’ve not CREATED my own path. I’ve sat drinking beers with Shy (she’s a popsicle, too) while people told me I was amazing….or that I kinda sucked because I was amazing. The universe kept on sending people to me. Maybe to remind me of what I could do?

SO TODAY. It’s a new time. I know all the numbers I need. I know the editing I need. I know what I need to do to learn and create and yes, be AMAZING. I’m gonna be Dippin’ Dot, helado, fresh fruit, probiotic, vegan, badass, gluten free, whole meal in a damned popsicle kind of popsicle.

I AM GOING TO BE SPECTACULAR. No more freaking sugar water. I’m coming for the whole freaking produce section and we’re gonna revolutionize that damned snack.

And, no. I don’t have a photo of a popsicle. I googled. They were all dirty, and not in the “dropped in the mud” kind of dirty…ya know? So, this blog, is popsicle-less, maybe in homage to no more popsicling! So….here’s a groovy cantaloupe instead…DIG IT!RobinThompson_Crichton

Learning curves and hold my beer!

Does it ever stop curving? Yeah, I don’t think so. Not for me! It switches direction. It’s a learning “S” curve, so to speak. Last blog post, it was curving to the left…learn this lesson. People want to be heard. People COME to you to be heard! Hear them…listen to them…mentor them…help them…show them…do you in the best way that you can it all will be GOOD!!!!! Right? I mean, that was what I said, RIGHT!?

So I did. I was full of confidence…that curve to the left? It was MINE. So then the universe smiled. It chuckled. As I went on that curve to the left OWNING my left hand curve, the universe snickered and said “watch this. hold my beer.” and started drawing the curve to the right. Yeah. It did.

It threw in resistance, which is always fun, and not something I’m particularly good at dealing with. It threw in the nay-sayers. They came in the form of jealousy and snide remarks. Everyone loves YOU. YOU’RE the favorite. Sure, everything goes perfectly for YOU….

I stopped. I froze. Was this bad? Is it bad to be liked? Is it bad to be good or successful or helpful? That curve to the left….was it WRONG? Because the immediate curve to the right is undoing my left! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?!?!?!?!?!?

Then, my aunt passed away. This meant, in order to go to her funeral, I had to take a 5 1/2 hour car ride to her….and a 5 1/2 car ride home. Alone. In one day. ELEVEN HOURS ALONE IN A CAR, only broken up by going to a funeral and spending time with family. It meant leaving at 7am…getting home the following 2:30am. Long day. Lots of thinking time.

I thought, reflected, pondered, felt sorry for myself, pitied myself and got over it. I’m owning the curve to the right. Those mean things? They aren’t mean. I need to OWN them. I do have a lot of friends, I am giving, I’m going to be loved and love it. I decided in those hours to embrace the truth and let the others keep their feelings on it. Those aren’t for me. Those are for them.

SO, right hand curve? I GOT YOU! You hold MY beer! I will keep moving forward, without you in my brain. i know there will be a left hand curve that will probably go over a hill, but it’s okay. I recently heard Sue Bryce say, “You’re only as successful as the pain you’re willing to endure.” Right hand curve was painful, but only because I let it be. My eye is on success, so bring on some pain, some curves, some hills and…well, as I mentioned, we all have a beer during this, so it’s not ALL BAD, right????14291723_691932814293944_1445617698067253385_n

Goal Setting 101

It’s been an interesting time since opening my studio. I’ve gone through some goals, nailed some, altered some, need to refocus on some. I’ve gotten too busy, I’ve had slow times, you know how it goes… But there’s one thing that keeps happening to me time and time again. And I believe the universe tries to point you to different paths, if you listen.

Last month, I attended Imaging USA in San Antonio. This is a HUGE conference where I was one of 11,000 photographers who signed up to get a week’s worth of education in shooting, business, networking, you name it. I met some AMAZING people. Some were just like me, some were astounding, some were a series of “aha moments” as I listened to them. Some of the information came from speakers and teachers in classes and some of the information came from conversations with new friends and conversations over meals or drinks or merely sitting side by side waiting on our next adventure. I bonded with people quickly, as we all had a common thread of learning about our craft. I made friends that I know will STAY friends for a long, long time. It was such a beautiful week. I was inspired, I was excited and I was simply HAPPY.

I came home and immediately met a few new photographers. One? Spent their time telling me how much THEY knew. Smirking at me with a pity face when I’d speak and they’d interrupt with “well, I’m sure that’s fine for YOU, but….” and so I listened to them. I listened to the condescending way they spoke.

I met some that speak only of the negative. “This photographer does this…or that…” and they judged. Sometimes judging someone who’d shot a job they’d have LOVED to shoot. They complained about their business. They complained about their customers.

Then I had a few that I didn’t know, that reached out to me saying, “can I come to your studio? Can you show me HOW you do what you do?” “Please help me.” I loved it. I welcomed them. I told them all I knew, I learned what they knew. I listened to what they said as they left my studio and there was a common theme. Which, when wrapped up as a nice gift along with the other people I’d listened to, was very eye opening.

It actually showed me something and taught me something. Be kind. Listen. Every person wants to be heard. Every person wants to feel like you value them. This is true with whomever you are taking a photograph and every person from whom you are learning and every person with whom you are conversing. It’s actually one of the best business models.

As I listened to Sue Bryce and Lindsay Adler and Gary Box and Tony Corbell speak. This was a lesson as the “learner”. They all made you feel heard. As I listened to the people who spoke from insecurity and not compassion, and I didn’t feel heard, I didn’t like it. I took away nothing. They people that came to me WANTING to be heard, we got much more accomplished when we heard each other. When a client comes to me, I have to HEAR THEM, or I miss capturing them as they truly wanted. Sometimes, they don’t know. They simply want to feel amazing. I hear that.

When my daughter came to me wanting maternity photos, this was the case. She isn’t a photographer, she just wanted a great experience. She wanted to feel “beautiful” in a sliver of time where she doesn’t feel that way daily. It’s no different than the rest of us, really. As she had hair and makeup done, as she had her shoot, her little girl watched her beautiful mommy feel AMAZING for a day. She wanted that, too. A bit of powder in the hair and makeup room, letting her stand in while her mommy changed clothes, had that baby girl feeling heard and amazing, too. Her little brother? Well, he wanted in on the action, too. He wanted to look STRONG. So, it was incorporated.

My takeaway from the past month? We all have something to offer. From wanting to feel strong, to wanting to feel pretty, to wanting to feel helpful or even just wanting to have someone say, “I get ya. Me, too…” There is the desire. So when I put this all together, I see this: We must all keep listening. We must all keep learning. We need to empower each other, because, in the end. It’s our biggest gift. As an artist, it’s not always my photograph. It’s the experience of getting the photograph. It’s that person, seeing themselves in a positive way, of having a print that reflects THAT and also, a beautiful memory of the photographic experience. Listen. Learn. NEVER get so wrapped up in “yourself” that the other person isn’t heard, because, well, then you’ve missed it.

On this note, I will share with you the experience of doing my daughter’s maternity session. Our experience, our laughter, our beautiful day that offered more memories from the day than merely just the photograph.

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