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I look for interesting details of the wedding market and report on them here. I have traveled the country this year speaking with many photographers about everything from workflow to marketing... Everyone I met was willing to participate in a meaningful way to the discussion of market trends. That showed me that you are all very passionate about the business of wedding photography! I will continue to report on trends here as I see them come up in the industry. Please bookmark my blog, pass it around to friends and of course comment on what you find here! Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate your time! Putting together a new blog over at so will be slowly transitioning to that!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Our presenters were great in Vegas, but I just thought I would pass along this post by Gary about giving a great presentation. Gary has traveled extensively and spoken to thousands of people on the photo business!


I have a number of friends who either are now or are on the cusp of becoming really famous photographers. Truth be known, you can't really make a huge name for yourself if you don't have the ability to project your message to a large crowd, effectively. I learned a few things giving programs around the world over the last 20 years, and I thought I'd share some with you. If you are a photographer and are thinking of giving seminars, I would highly recommend doing so. The reason is - the best way to learn is to teach. I know that sounds backwards, but when you have to explain to somebody how/why you do something, you actually improve. OK here's the tips:

1) SKIP THE THANK-YOU'S - going through a list of thank-you's is a great way to put the crowd right to sleep. They aren't here for that, they're eager to absorb. That's the operative word - they want to soak in whatever knowledge you are going to impart. If it isn't something they can use, skip it, even the thank-you's. Put that on your flyer or something, but skip the thanks.

2) WHEN WRITING THE PROGRAM, ASK YOURSELF, WHAT DO I HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE AUDIENCE? - the most important compliment you can hear is, "boy he really connected with the audience". This is the goal - to connect. You have to find out what you have in common with the person in the chair, and then connect with that BEFORE you start your dialog. In last year's "One Step Ahead Tour", I didn't really have a ton in common with the wedding photographers in the audience because I no longer did it. However, I did know how to make EVERYBODY in the room way more successful, but if I didn't connect right away, I wouldn't have a shot of them hearing my message. This is why I started with a videotape of Jessica Strickland talking about the all-too-common pressures of being a wedding photographer in today's market. I could just see the crowds all across America nodding along as she was talking about life as a wedding photographer. And then, when I walked on the podium, I asked "how many of you recognize a little bit of Jessica Strickland in you?" and the hands all went up. That made the connection, and from there, I could deliver the message.

3) DELIVER THE MESSAGE REMEMBERING THAT YOUR AUDIENCE HAS A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN - something should POP in their heads every three minutes. Or their minds will start to wander. Here's where your homework and research come in - make really simple charts and powerpoint slides to make your communication clear. And here's the biggest biggest rule of them all - NEVER EVER EVER SAY ANYTHING IN THE CONTENT THAT IS ALREADY SOMETHING THEY ALREADY KNOW! That is super important. Saying, "Making a living as a wedding photographer is tough..." that will lose them every time! But if you say, "If you give the client ANYTHING tangible before you deliver the finished album, your sales will only reach 1/3 of their common-sense potential..." something like that - OK now I'm listening!

4) DO NOT ALLOW QUESTIONS - this frustrates the audience like crazy! OK here's a little secret. If you came early in my tour, I let you ask questions. Do you know why? Because I don't know yet what is making super simple sense to the regular audience listener (things that make perfect sense to me may not instantly make sense to you) - so early in the program I'll allow questions so I can rephrase the topic so it hits the target more effectively faster. Then as the tour "ages", I'll allow fewer and fewer questions because I know that I have the topics ironed out. This is why when I videotape a tour, it's always on one of the last cities. It always gets better with age.

5) DON'T SUM UP YOUR PROGRAM AT THE END - PRESENT A DAYDREAM - don't go, "OK so that's the end of my program, so let's summarize..." that is so boring! PAUSE the program, and say, "Imagine a world where...." Help the audience member OWN your concept. Give them a call to action and present a challenge. Say something like, "you have the knowledge, now the rest is up to you. Next year this time, will your life be more incredible as a result of what you know, or will it be exactly the same as it is now... year after year... until they close the box over your dead body and bury you six feet under the cold, worm-filled earth?" Something like that.

Anyway, if you ever have a chance or an opening to teach, by all means, go for it. It's not about the recognition or the fame, it's about you becoming an expert at you.

If you want to see a fantastic seminar, buy my DVD. I am pretty sure that it is the best instructional DVD out there anywhere.... CLICK HERE

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