Mont-Tremblant Family Photographer
By Allen McEachern.
Christmas is 36 days away, crazy, I know. Everything just seems to speed up at this time of year. Anyway, with Christmas comes family. Why not plan a family photo session when everyone is in town? This is a great way to capture your time together, and makes a wonderful gift for all. Mont-Tremblant offers a beautiful outdoor setting or we can stay warm inside. Professional lighting can quickly and easily be set up at any location. Usually, a 90 minute session is usually enough time to get the job done without feeling rushed. Images are easily shared via a private on-line gallery, with all images downloadable. I can also help you with any custom printing and framing you might like. Do you want to find out more? Let's get in touch and check the dates.
By Allen McEachern
1. Follow Your Passion, Not The Money
I made the mistake of starting my photography career in debt, fresh from a return to university. I then moved to a part of Canada that I had never been to, where they spoke a different language. I know, not the brightest, but it happened. As a result of this I had to chase the money a bit more than I would have liked. I shot a variety of subjects for a wide base of clients. I never turned down a photo job for the first few years. The positive was that I experienced a variety of revenue streams within the giant realm of photography. The negative side was I was not following my passion, and it showed in my work. I should have followed my passion. I lost two years that could have been better used developing my niches. Specialist = deep niche. Generalist = wide market spread. Both work, one is more profitable.
2. Assist An Established Photographer Who Shoots What You Want To Shoot
I read that approximately 9000 people graduate every year from photo related studies in Canada. I don't know if this is true, but it seems possible. Lets assume it is true. How many of those graduates would do a paid masters degree if they could? To me, this is what it is to assist an established professional photographer. I suggest two years if you can handle it. Assisting will teach you more about what you already know. You will also learn about operating a studio, and how to treat clients. Your knowledge of customer service, value creation, networking, pricing, licensing, and negotiating will increase. For me, the time was hard, because I didn't want to mop floors, but I learned a lot that I might not have gained otherwise.
3. Invest In Learning About Business, Marketing, and Sales
Lets go back to those 9000 graduates. They all learned about lighting, cameras, lenses, post-production, shooting styles, etc. How many learned best business practices? Did they study contract negotiation? What about licensing their work, marketing, sales, small business financials, investing...the list goes on. The reality is as a photographer you need to be a business person, even if you take a staff job somewhere (if these even exist anymore). The more you can learn about business the better off you will be. Do you have a marketing plan, a business plan, a financial plan? The public library is a great place to start. I would recommend ASMP's "Professional Business Practices in Photography" as a good entry read. ( http://www.asmp.org)
4. Buy The Equipment You Need, As You Need It
I see photographers all the time who have gone to the camera shop, loaded up the credit card and filled their bags with everything cool. New lenses, the best flash, the big cameras, and so forth. We all love the gear, but start to act like a business. Buy what you need, as you need it. I always look through the local classifieds first. Sites like Craiglist, Kijiji, and others are a great starting place for good gear. I stay local because I want to be able to meet the seller in person and see the gear first hand. Think back to those 9000 grads...how many went on to start photography businesses or careers? How many of them went broke? How many of them are selling their equipment to pay off their debts? My last word on gear is this...save for the equipment you need. I know I will need to replace my computer every three years, my cameras every two years. I plan for this. I bank 10% of every contract right of the top and invest it in a small term deposit account that pays about 3% interest. This account is there for equipment and other business emergencies.
Protect yourself, your clients, your equipment, your studio, your health. Commercial insurance is a must. I know it sucks to pay, I have paid about $1000 / year since 2005. But I sleep better, and work better, knowing I am completely covered regardless of what happens. There are many options available to photographers. I recommend policies that cover the replacement of your equipment along with commercial liability. I have a worldwide coverage for 365 days a year. No matter where I am in the world, I'm covered. Shop around for the policy that meets your needs. Speak to other photographers. Contact photographer associations such as EP, CAPIC, ASMP, NPPA, and so on...
Do you have something to add? Resources to share? Please feel free to leave a comment.
By Allen McEachern
Two of my favourite annual events to photograph are the Mont-Tremblant Chambre de Commerce Pre-Gala and following Gala d'Excellence. These two events are about a month apart. The Pre-Gala is a casual 5-7 cocktail where the finalists from various categories are revealed. The categories range from Employee of The Year to Business of The Year. The Gala d'Excellence is a more formal affair, with each year having a specific theme. Last year was the 1920's, this year is a Masked Ball. The winners of each category will be announce and honoured for their achievements and contributions to the community. I enjoy these events because of the members of the CCM-T. Mont-Tremblant is a small community, with a tight business network. Many of the members have known each other since grade school. The dynamic is fun, relaxed, but business like. This relaxed approach to business networking is great. People are more at ease, which creates more opportunity to connect. Below are a few shots from the night. There are many more of my photos from the night on the CCM-T Facebook page.
By Allen McEachern
Someone once asked me what my elevator pitch was. I replied..."I help companies of all sizes visually communicate their brands, products, and services with their current, and potential clients." This past week I had the wonderful experience of helping a Mont-Tremblant based small business owner visually communicate. Meet Karen Sampson. Karen is a dynamic person in almost constant motion. She teaches swimming to my children, that is how we met. Karen also gives numerous outdoor aerobic classes at Domain St.Bernard throughout the week. I joined her to documented two of her classes. My mandate was to create a series of images that Karen could use in her social media marketing. My focus was on the diversity of her clientele, the natural beauty of where she teaches and to capture a few great shots of her in motion, along with a headshot or two.
By Allen McEachern
Meeting people is one of the elements of photography that I love. Back in July of this year, I had a contract with a company called Timbercreek. Timbercreek owns and operates a number of senior residences, one of which is in St.Leonard, Quebec. Part of my mandate was to shoot a series of natural light portraits of some of the residence. Here are a few of my favourites.
By Allen McEachern
July 4, 2014, marked the ten year anniversary of when I registered Allen McEachern Photography as a business in Quebec. Looking back on those ten years I realized what it is that I love about commercial photography, or, what has kept me going. Here they are:
1. A Love of People. As a commercial photographer, I get to meet, collaborate, direct, and react to some very interesting and talented people. From heads of states, to celebrities, to every day folks, photography has put me in front of many people I would normally never had met.
2. Problem Solving. Common sense, and experience are powerful together. Every photography contract, assignment, call it whatever, comes with unique challenges that require individual solutions. I love the daily challenge of solving these problems both through planning, as well as on the fly as they arise.
3. International Events. Shooting international sporting competitions is one of the biggest joys I take from working as a photographer. International media to speak with, compare notes, the fans, and access to world class athletes all combine to create something dynamic. Not to mention the precision, beauty, and excellence of professional athletes in motion.
4. Visual Communication. Capturing a moment is one thing. Telling the story that surrounds that moment is another. Being able to visually communicate with a viewer I think is the reason we are there.
5. Creative Collaboration. When I work, I may appear to be working alone, but I am often not. Take for example runway fashion. I love to shoot runway because I am looking at the finished product in all senses. The design of the clothing, the craftsmanship of the garment, the hair and make-up on the model, the lighting, the decor, the sound, and so on. All of these elements combine to add a bit more to the final product. I love shooting fashion for this collaboration.
6. Physical Work. Never let anyone tell you photography is not physical. Often we work building sets, painting, setting up rigging, lighting, remote power generators, walking into remote locations with many kilos of gear on our backs. Look at photography and try to figure out how the shot was made. Think rock climbing. I love the physical challenge.
7. Travel. Who doesn't like to travel? I have to admit, this was one of the things I thought I would do more of, but the market has changed a bit. I still get to travel a few times a year for assignments, contracts, but nothing compared to the stories I heard from guys in the 70's and 80's. The beauty of travel is being able to take great shots, meeting new people, and the visual stimulation that comes from experiencing new surroundings.
8. Lifestyle. I have a family, wife, and three kids. We live in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. The largest ski resort in Eastern North America is five minutes from my house. Often, on non shooting days in the winter, my wife and I take an hour or two to get about 5-7 runs in after we get the kids out to school. Not many people I know working traditional 9-5 can not do this. Photography has given me a very flexible schedule and the time to do the things that make us happy for which I am grateful!
9. Technology. I am not a geek! But I love new glass, updated camera systems, new software, gadgets, apps, and so forth. I don't go too crazy, but you need to keep up to what is happening.
10. Client Satisfaction. Photography is a great gift when done well. Delivering a completed job to a client can often be very rewarding, especially if prints or similar products are involved. We sometimes loose this with electronic delivery, but even then the same sentiment is alive. As photographers we are often working individually within a team. When the photo looks good, we all look good. The pressure can be great at times, the release is hearing the sincerity of a client's approval.