First Big Photography Client?

One of the great things about our choice to make a living in the photography business was all the interesting opportunities and different kinds of clients we would get work from. I remember thinking way back then how it might be a great idea to take the Santa Claus and easter bunny photos at the local mall. This was going to be the big money maker for us and the start of something big.

So being young and inexperienced, I figured just go talk to someone in charge down at the mall and they would jump at the chance to have us handle all their instant holiday photo kiosks. This was my first foray into the politics of business and first lesson that everything is not as easy as you think it is going to be.

After speaking to the people at the mall, I learned all about kickbacks, competition, insurance binders,liability, and so much more, and this was even before I realized what the initial investment for custom equipment and backup equipment was going to cost us. So this winded up not being such a great idea, but a great learning experience, that would serve me well in future photography business ventures going forward.

But it was not a wasted effort because the mall marketing people that I met with, who also had 3 other malls in the same corporation within 50 miles of each other offered me the job of doing all their marketing and public relations photography of all 4 malls. This wound up being an incredible opportunity for us and opened up an incredible business networking situation for us as well as all the interesting photo jobs that I mentioned earlier.

So one of the first jobs they had us do was to cover their beauty pageants which were the first stages to the Miss America pageants. We got to see just how incredibly talented so many of the young girls were and we got to photograph and meet the current and former Miss Americas at the time. Plus we were able to pick up lots of clients and extra work from the local businesses who sponsored the pageants.

We also got to know all the politicians and local celebrities as they were always making personal appearances for the marketing of themselves and the mall. It was also an opportunity to photograph all the professional sports figures as they were always doing promotions for the mall and the local businesses.

As I said, this wound up being a great connection for us as young early business owners. We did not get the contract we initially approached the mall for but wound up with something that I think served us much better. And by the way, we did wind up kind of doing the Santa Claus pics. The mall had a promo called Christmas in July, and we were there doing Santa photos in July, and so many other different and interesting shoots, who knew?

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The Photo That Hooked Me On Photography!

The photo above taken over 40 years ago is the photo that finally hooked me on photography as a lifelong passion.As I look at it now, it really was not that special, but at the time I thought it was amazing and could not believe that Iwas the person who created it.

I had just purchased a Pentax K2 camera and had been out taking photos all day at the many beaches in Gloucester and Manchester which are oceanfront towns near my hometown of Danvers Ma. Digital Photography was a long way into the future, so all the photos I took that day were with slide film. So back then Kodak sold film and slide film in 24and 36 exposure film cannisters and you needed to make your photos count or it became very expensive very fast.

This particular photo was taken at Singing Beach in Manchester Ma. and after I printed it up, I got all kinds of positive feedback and encouragement. So naturally I learned of a photo contest at the local photo shop and entered the photo, and actually won. Cool, I won $50 and got my photo displayed in their store and boy was I hooked.

From that shot and the recognition that I received, I eventually decided to try making money with my photography along with the support of my day job. My wife was working in real estate at the time and the lady she worked for owneda commercial building in the downtown section of Danvers and after doing a few real estate shootings for her was offered3 months free rent to make a go at the photography business. I worked the 11 – 7 night shift at the time, so I did that and worked all day making a go of it in the photography business.

Well my wife Sue and I kept that pace for a couple of years and had to make a decision about leaving my day job to concentrate full time on the photography business, which everyone thought was a crazy idea, except us. But it worked outand we are still at it 40 years later and have photographed over 2000 weddings, thousands of high school senior portraits,and so many other kinds of photo assignments. It’s a wonderful thing to do something you love for a living, they say it’s not like work at all, and I have to agree. And it all started with that little sunset picture in this post.