Monday, November 1, 2010

Imagemaker Magazine article - the Power of Free

I'm excited to share my 2nd article featured in the UK's Imagemaker Magazine. The series will follow me on a "year in the life" journey that many others can relate to - having to relocate to another city/country and start their business all over again. Besides being somewhat of a journal, there will be comparisons between the North-American and British markets, business tips such as networking, and building relationships, and of course, some great images thrown in. The next article is titled "Building Foundations, Dreaming Big", and is due out in January.

It was a great honour to have my images and text published in the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographer's bi-monthly magazine, alongside many of the photographic industry's icons whom I've admired for years.

The Power of Free
Photography and words by Angelique Duffield
I took part in an amazing FREE opportunity on Boxing Day 2009.  It was a 14-hour “websummit” and it featured 28 of the most influential names in the wedding and portrait industry today. One of the “guest speakers” was Jenn & Stephen Bebb who put forward the term “client evangelists” – those clients who sing your praises, and get you the big referrals of pre-qualified leads. Another was David Jay, who demonstrated how you can use “the power of free” to create a better business and more freedom in your life.

In only a few short weeks, I’m beginning to realize what a golden opportunity I have with my network of friends and fellow vendors in the wedding industry. It’s something I’ve never had before, as outside of taking wedding workshops and attending the SWPP convention, I was more or less a lone wolf. 

The Grad Event at [Borrowed & Blue Bridal Boutique] was a total flop – it was a blustery day, and there were even less clients in the shop than usual for a Saturday. However it gave [us] the chance to bond, and throw around some ideas. That led to us meeting for coffee the following week, and our concept for a promotional bridal shoot at the brand new (not even fully opened) Sparkling Hill Hotel was born. We pitched the idea to the hotel, and in the meantime, spread the word about our project and gathered on board some more vendors to donate their services and/or products. A few days later, we got the go-ahead from the CEO of the hotel, and set a date for the shoot to take place.

Fast forward a few weeks. On the Monday June 7th, we did the bridal shoot at Sparkling Hill Hotel, with an entourage of 12 or so people. It was amazing – an incredibly brilliant (literally) hotel filled everywhere with Swarovski crystals, gorgeous models, dozens of wedding gowns, thousands of dollars in jewellery – there was eye candy everywhere and it was a photographer’s dream.

The shoot was scheduled for 3-7pm, but I was shooting flat out from 2:30 til 9:30pm, and we didn’t even make it to the penthouse suite. The last six remaining participants, including Heather’s 11 year old daughter who came along as an assistant and even set up some photos herself, collapsed at the restaurant for a quick celebratory drink before we did the 1 hour drive home.

I’d asked Heather to quickly throw together an article that I could propose to the local media to see if we could get some publicity….keep in mind that everyone contributed their time, talents and products for free, in exchange for images to use to promote their own business.

Which leads me back to “evangelists”. Everyone at the shoot felt comfortable posing (even though none of them had any experience as models), they all had fun, and everyone absolutely loved the images I showed them on location in the back of my Canon 5D. They were even more thrilled once they saw the retouched images. It suddenly occurred to me that now I had a whole group of people who were telling everyone about the bridal shoot – on facebook, in emails, talking to co-workers - and specifically discussing my photography and how easy I was to work with.

Here we are, two days later. In fact, it’s 2:33am and I’ve been working non-stop tonight when I got home from my day job, except for a few minutes to watch the last game of the Stanley Cup Hockey Playoffs while eating dinner in front of the telly. I got a call from the sales consultant at the BC Bridal Guide after she had  stopped by the wedding boutique. Having seen the snapshots of the bridal shoot that Heather showed her while extolling my virtues as a photographer, she contacted me to see if I wanted to submit my photos to the design team who decides which image is used on the cover of the magazine.

Later that same evening, I got an email responding to my article & photography proposal to Nicholas, the network manager, loved the photos. The wedding directory and e-zine is interested in publishing our story, and wants the details of all the vendors involved in the shoot.

I am so proud that not only did I do the photography for the bridal shoot, but I played a big part in arranging the whole project. Then I asked where I could get even more than I already had going for me. All I had to do was ask…and people said yes.

Article Credits:  Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographer, Professional Imagemaker Magazine Sarah Petty's "Joy of Marketing" - marketing for small business

For more information contact:

Angelique Duffield, LSWPP
Creative. Stylish. Professional.

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