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Mark’s Miscellaneous Monday – Studio repaint – Jasmine Star, The Fix – Street Shooting in Denver

As some people may have heard Bridalize has gone through a bit of a change this spring.  Focusing more on event planning and services the boutique shop they had was no longer serving enough purpose to justify the costs associated with a storefront like that so they closed it down. Don’t worry – Bridalize isn’t going anywhere but they are just refocusing their business (as all business’s should do from time to time).

Now for me this sucked a little bit because I had grown used to using that wonderful store front for meeting clients at.   Yes I have a studio downtown, but it’s mostly a teaching studio and it’s in an old school built in the 1950’s  – lacks a little of the charm the girls at Bridalize had managed to do with theirs place.   Still this spring I brought the albums and wall art back from bridalize and repainted the meeting area of the studio.

 

So while nobody is ever going to forget it’s in a 60 year old school building with that tile and cinder block walls – it feels a little more like home and still makes a nice enough meeting spot.

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Jasmine Star – The Fix

When I heard Jasmine Star was coming to Denver my initial choice was not to attend.  While I really enjoy reading her blog, I love that she’s as obsessed with her dog Polo and me and my wife are over our dog Porthos, and we have some mutual friends that speak highly of her, I’ve decided for my business attending every photographer touring in the off season just isn’t a justifiable expense if I’m not learning something vital to my business.  The truth is a lot of those touring photographers seem to be teaching less about photography and/or business and a lot more about motivational speaking and selling your their photoshop actions/web site platform/ etc these days than anything else.   So while I had personal reasons to buy a ticket, I couldn’t justify it from a business perspective.

But sometimes things work out in ways you don’t expect and I found myself with a free ticket to the event.  Well even wearing my CEO hat I couldn’t argue and found myself in the Sante Fe art district waiting in line with about 120 other photographers from around the region (many had come a lot further than I had from across town) to hear Jasmine speak.

So first of all the two most surprising things, neither of these are good or bad, just unexpected.

1) I so am not her target audience for her talks.   I’m a male photographer, in my forties, who has studied photography for decades, and has been in business for many years as a commercial/stock photographer , although focusing on weddings this is year 5 I think.   Now about 98% of the attendees where female (I was one of only 3-4 men I think there), in their 20’s, first year or two of business, still learning a lot about photography and business.

2) Sometimes in this industry we comment about “Rock-Star Photographers” , but I’d never really seen it first hand like this.  The hollywood event backdrop and lights setup to take pictures with her and get her autograph.  You’d have thought Bono was giving a press conference.  When I met Denis Reggie and Joe Buissink a few years back it never really occurred to me to get a photo with them and have them sign an autograph.  OK, I’ll fess up. When I saw Becker last year I got a photo with him, but that was to show off the amazing weight loss we’ve both achieved over the last few years, not to document my level of being a fan boy.  🙂

 

The Good

Jasmine is a wonderful speaker – every bit as much as she is a writer.  I also loved her stories about spending weeks in her backyard learning how to photograph in backlit situations.   She has some wonderful ideas on marketing and branding which are important to just about any business these days.

The Not So Good

Nothin really from Jasmine herself but I feel a lot of the audience was keying too much on “personality branding” ideas and not so much the “hard work” stuff like learning to shoot backlit.   There’s so many people right now who are picking up digital cameras for the first time, putting up a slick website, working on branding, getting excited at charging thousands of dollars to shoot a wedding and producing  amateurish  results.   Gary Fong had an interesting story on this recently worth reading.

 

In the end I was glad I got to go.   Jasmine is a wonderful person with some wonderful advice and knowledge to share in some areas that are important in todays business.  It’s up to the person in the audience to either decide to pick and choose what nuggets of info they can benefit from, or just assume this is a recipe to greatness that they can replicate, which they probably can’t – but who knows maybe the next JStar was sitting in that audience with me and in another year or two they’ll be at the top game here in town. 🙂

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Of course by far my favorite part of the day with “The Fix” was a photo walk with several other local photographers before the event.   I took my Fuji X100 – and while they “what kind of film camera is that” became something of a running joke it was a great way to spend the afternoon.    Here’s a few from the day.