If You Keep Doing What You're Doing....

Someone once told me “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting”.  How simple, yet how true. 
This year I have met many new clients… most of whom are tired of ‘getting what their getting’ so to speak and have taken aggressive steps to enhance, and reinvigorate their businesses.  Change can come in many forms....a fresh look, an updated website, professional photographs, pricing and policy reviews, etc..  Those that have taken these positive steps not only feel good about the changes but, are now beginning to see results from the fruits of their labors.
One client in particular really stands out in my mind.  Her new website and portfolio is consistently wowing those that take a peek.  I was in a meeting with her and a prominent magazine editor, who was visibly impressed by the beauty of her work.  The editor stood their stunned as she was handed image after image from the portfolio.  She remarked, “You should submit this for a feature editorial in our magazine." And so she did.
Custom home builders, architects, and even other designers are among those wanting to establish new relationships with this designer.  Why?  All because she was tired of getting what she was getting!  She changed what she was doing and is now enjoying the benefits.
So, if your business isn’t what you would like, keep in mind the simple truth above. Perhaps it's the perfect time to try something new.   

Moving Forward

Recently I was meeting with a client and we were discussing a few images that I had photographed. As we talked, I asked about her marketing, as these images were going to be used on her website. “Marketing, I really don’t do any marketing. All of my business is from referral”. I smiled and asked how things were going. "Slow right now.. truthfully, it’s a little scary" she said. I mentioned a few avenues of marketing but she seemed content to continue doing what she has always been doing. It was then that my mind went back to a conversation I’d had a couple of years ago......

I was helping a colleague move. His current location housed an elaborate studio as well as a complete, state-of-the-art film processing lab. His new facility was not going to contain a traditional photo lab. "Aren’t you going to process film again?" I asked, as this was this his forte’. "No", he said.  "Not me, I’m not living in the past.. the scene has changed and I am moving forward."

I can’t tell you what a profound effect that his statement had on me. As we talked later he told me how business was down because more and more professionals were turning to digital and he realized that the need for his expert service in film processing was becoming limited. He said, "I am embracing the digital technology and am diving into it by offering fully digital lab services… and as much as it hurts, I have to re-invent myself."  And so he did. Very successfully I might add.

And that is the point. So many of us are living in the past, and don’t even realize it. What once worked for us may have little effect today, because things have changed, markets have changed, demands have changed, and so on. In order for us to be successful, we need to adapt to the new landscapes that surround our field of expertise and embrace them to ‘re-invent ourselves’.

That might mean changing the way we contact new clients, using the internet marketing techniques instead of, or in addition to mailings. Updating our websites to show new projects or ideas that might inspire a potential client to give us a call, and to show that we are moving forward. Keeping energy levels high and attitudes positive. Networking with peers, submitting samples of our work to editors, finding new places to show images of our projects etc. Setting goals and staying BUSY to accomplish them will help us look forward being at work, it will remind of us the passion that we have for our creative field and reinvigorate our minds as we move forward!

Make the Most of Your Photography

When I ask a new client how they intend to use the images I create, I am often surprised by the long silence that follows. Then, most people will say “I just want them for my website.” Now, don’t get me wrong - that is an excellent use for them. However, there are many other applications to consider. For instance, portfolios, wall art, postcards, and business cards are just a few.

If “a picture paints a thousand words”, just imagine the story that can be told with a quality portfolio. Or when a potential client walks into your office, sales center, or conference room and sees beautiful canvas wall art of your projects, or photographs matted and displayed in museum-quality frames. You might be surprised by the results!

An example: One of my clients is an incredible custom homebuilder whose quality is just superb - second to none. He called and asked to have some of his project photographed for his website. As I began the photography, I suggested that he consider a portfolio… ‘No, I don’t need one, I just need web images.’ He was actually quite insistent on this point. At the viewing, I brought him a few portfolio images so he could see them for himself. I watched as he passed them around to his office staff. They gazed at each one, commenting on various features of the home. He quickly realized that a potential client would use them the exact same way, passing them around and discussing them. He decided to invest in a small portfolio.

About a month later, he requested a few more. Some more time passed and he ordered additional prints, and so on. He currently has the largest portfolio of any of my clients. And now I know why……

I was photographing another of his beautiful homes, and was able to meet the owners. They had been living there for about a year, and were very kind and gracious. When I finished, the lady of the house asked me if I had seen all of the “beautiful paintings” that their builder had in his office. (Actually, they were not paintings, but the previously mentioned wall art on canvas.) I said yes, I had seen them. “And the beautiful portfolio of his work?” she exclaimed. As the man of the house handed me a glass of wine, he asked me if I took those pictures. Then he said with a smile, “That portfolio cost me $180,000 in extras”. His testimonial is now on my client's website.


It's February already!  So much activity is going on here...portfolios to print, images to process, meetings with clients, editors, art directors, copyists... When, then, do we set aside time for planning, for reaching our HUGE 2009 goals? What is it that keeps us pumped and inspired for the year ahead?

For me, it is the early hours of the morning. For well over a year now, I have been in the habit of getting my day started extra early. It is then, in the serenity of quiet, the peacefulness of morning that thoughts can be entertained with crystal clarity.

As the smell of brewing coffee fills the studio, I review the day's events. Just a quick mental recap of what is planned. Then I take a few minutes to look at websites - clients, competitors, as well as those who’s work in some way inspires me. We all have those sites that we enjoy visiting, no matter what field we are in. It is during that time, when admiring someone else’s work that we may ask, "Wow, how did they do that?" Or we might simply think "That’s nice..."  Something there gets our wheels turning and it is upon those thoughts that our own creative ideas are interjected for the projects ahead.

Keeping our ideas FRESH, keeping our work FRESH and updated will help us to maintain that positive, professional attitude that will have one of our peers… sometime in the early morning hours looking at our work and asking… "Wow, I wonder how they did that..."

Shot on Film: Winter Photography

I often find that those desiring architectural photography feel it is necessary to schedule their projects during the summer months in order to obtain the optimum photographic result. This is not always the case.

If a project is completed during the winter months, by all means move ahead with the photography. Interiors are especially beautiful during the winter months. Overcast skies are very much the norm, offering a wonderful, soft diffused light. This light is naturally well-balanced allowing expansive, beautifully lit interior views. If the project is scheduled to be photographed at dusk, the results will be stunning sunsets filling the windows and painting the rooms with a moody, warm inviting light.

Exteriors also have advantages during the winter months. If the property you’re considering photographing has trees in the foreground, the leaves will be down. This provides an opportunity for the photographer to highlight the architecture of the home or commercial building without the obstruction of leaves and the landscaping/trees will provide a beautiful vignette. This is especially inviting during or just after a snowfall, or during sunrises and sunsets where strong shadows can transform the ordinary photograph into a work of art. 

The image below was photographed using a Hasselblad 501C with a Carl Zeiss 80mm lens on Fuji Astia color reversal film.  

A Fresh Start

2009… A fresh year, a renewed spirit for us all to do what we love. For some, our work is our passion; hence the reason we are in the creative field. Architects, designers, custom home builders, and interior decorators all feel this inspiration that drives them to continue creating lovely, stunning spaces to live in and admire.

We have heard from many of you and, overwhelmingly, the consensus is a determination to make this year a turning point, an opportunity to catapult our fields of expertise and our businesses into the stratosphere. Most are hard at work freshening up websites, creating new portfolios, contacting publishers and designing mailings to increase their market presence. Since we are privileged to be such an integral part of our clients’ efforts in these areas, we are renewing our commitment to offer excellence in photography so as to capture and document YOUR creative vision for others to see, appreciate, and use as building blocks - a starting point for you to create their dream in their home or corporate environment.

To assist the creative professional in achieving their marketing goals, this month we are offering our most comprehensive architectural photography package at a very special rate for a limited time. It is designed to allow you to obtain stunning photography, a complete portfolio and web images for your marketing needs. It also includes a framed piece of wall art on canvas…..an image of your selection to inspire and beautify your office or studio.

So, keep in touch…. Let us know what we can do to further assist you in reaching your 2009 objectives.

Best to all,
Norman Sizemore, photographic artist
Mary Price, graphic designer