Sorry for the long tittle, but I couldn't find a shorter one to describe what was an amazing weekend learning the secrets of the photography business. The type of information we walked away with would take a long time to learn on our own. The "Survival Guide" workshop was given by John Keatley a photography genius and an artist I have long admired and followed. The workshop is run in collaboration with Nichelle Keatley, Keatley’s wife and Taylor Reed, Keatley's producer. It happened in St. Louis, Missouri in the amazing PRO EDU photography studio.
I traveled from New York City on a short 2 hour flight (+ the 40 minutes taxiing in La Guardia airport) to St Louis and from there to the hotel. We all met around 5:00pm at RGG Edu's, where we were greeted by our workshop hosts with a variety of drinks and snacks which led to a long table (last supper style) dinner. I can't remember where the vegetarian food came from but it was unbelievable (this coming from a shameless carnivore).
John started the Survival Guide with a nice introduction about himself and what motivated him to organize this workshop. I joined the photography community a few years ago, originally as an enthusiast, and later on as a serious contender in the market. I was gladly surprised by photographers' willingness to share knowledge in a way I haven't seen in any other profession. John Keatley was extremely open about his experience since he became an established photographer, from all its ups and downs to the bunch of follow-up questions we drilled him with.
To summarize the weekend, Saturday and Sunday was a series of lectures and hand-on exercises about bidding, marketing, legalities with the photography profession, and of course how to become a successful photographer by developing your own style. Nowadays the technology around photography has developed to an extent that it has become easier to get decent shots even with a cell phone. Professional photographers differentiate from the rest by being artists with their own style. That is the added value of what we sell as artists and that is what we have to promote to make a living within this industry.
On this note, I don't want to forget an incredible highlight during the workshop. John and Taylor took time do 1-to-1 portfolio reviews. For me the take-away from their critique was as important as the whole workshop. It gave me ideas, focus to fix my own work’s shortcomings and I look forward to a cleaner path for my career.
To end this blog entry I include Nichelle's thoughts in John's blog about the Survival Guide Workshop here.
Along with the rest of my colleagues and newfound friends I have deep gratitude towards John, Taylor and Nichelle for opening my eyes to the many aspects of the photography industry. This workshop is allowing me to focus more on the important things necessary to succeed from a business perspective while I pursue my art.
Below I included some of the pictures from the "Survival Guide" workshop by Mr. John Keatley