Last week was an amazing week for me you guys and I'm so excited to share with you my personal experiences. I got to attend the Photo Plus Expo at Jacob Javits in Manhattan. It was such a great experience and when I think back to when I first attended the expo last year; it is amazing to see what a difference a year makes. My first year at the expo, I went by myself and was completely intimidated. There I was surrounded by hundreds of pro photographers some of whom I knew from blog stalking, lol. Oh how I admired their work, how could I possibly introduce myself to them? But this year, I attended the expo with a new attitude :).
On the first day of the expo, I set foot inside the Javits center and was instantly energized by the flood of photographers whizzing by me. I made my way to the first keynote seminar given by awesome photographer Chase Jarvis. Chase gave a powerful speech about using creativity as a social art form. We are now living in the age where making and sharing your art is so simple and dare I say, good for the soul. We have the tools whether it is Facebook, Youtube, or anything to put yourself out there and express your creativity. Anything that inspires you can lead you to create something from the heart. Create whatever it is you maybe feeling and do so without fear. Needless to say, I walked away from his speech feeling invigorated.
During lunch, me and a few of my friends that I just met earlier that week, sat down to chat about the expo and got to know each other better. And as I shoved the last piece of my hot dog in my mouth, my friend nudged me and said "Mera Koh". I was like "huh, where?" lol. You see Mera Koh is one of my most favorite photographers! She has inspired me in so many ways to become a better photographer and a better person :). At first I was too nervous to walk over there and say anything and then all of a sudden I found myself in front of Mera Koh introducing myself. It was awesome because she immediately remembered me from the video I submitted to her during the SOAR scholarship program. I told her how much making that video helped me to grow and showed me an inner strength I didn't even know I had. Mera Koh is such a sweet and amazing woman. I will be forever grateful for meeting her. Thanks Pamela for dragging me over there to meet her! lol. This is a shot of her giving a demonstration on the trade show floor.
And last, but not least Jasmine Star. This woman has changed the photography industry in such a profound way and I admire her greatly for it. Again, I had a little nervous moment when I spotted her from behind as she walked to the seminar room preparing to give her presentation. Despite the voice in my head yelling at me to turn around and not talk to her, I walked up to her and..."hi Jasmine, my name is Ariane". Ahhh breathe...she greeted me with a huge smile. I told her how much I admired her work and her as a person. She must've thought I was some crazed groupie or something lol. But she was awesome and invited me to walk with her to the seminar room. Jasmine's presentation was on point and very motivating. I know some of you out there couldn't make it to see her in person so I wanted to share some of the notes I wrote down during her presentation. I think Jasmine Star has really revolutionized how to market and brand yourself in order to stand out as a photographer, here's a summary:
- Figure out who you are and keep it real. Don't try to be something you're not.
- What are your top 3 liabilities? What are your top 3 assets?
- Leverage your assets in order to stand out and be different
- Figure out what inspires you and why it inspires you.
- Don't be afraid to spend money where it's most important: website, blog, logo. JS: "You can rent equipment but you can't rent your brand".
- Choose 5 words that describe YOU (not your photography). The pictures on your website should match those words i.e if you describe yourself as "funny" there should be photos of people laughing and having a good time
- Top 5 Reasons to be branded:
- 5) Differentiation
- 4) Selective Clientele (Who is your ideal client?)
- 3) Reach (gain national recognition and broader clientele)
- 2) Archival marketing (use blogging, slide shows, and comments)
- 1) Free
- Always GIVE, HELP, CONNECT, LOVE
There was so much more but these were my highlights. I pride myself on having life experiences, whether they are good or bad because I know that either way I will grow as a person. The Photo expo helped me realize that this year :). A special thank you to all of those people whom I've met and connected with in the last week: Scott Bourne, Skip Cohen, Mera Koh, Jasmine Star, Jessica Lark, Pamela Smith, Cory Brodzinki, Mariana Mosli, Donna Walker, and so many more! Here's to new friendships!
Did I miss anything?!! For all of you who were at the Photo Expo, did you hate it? love it? See anything interesting? Please share :).