BRIDES TO BE…BEWARE! Don’t let this happen to you.

I haven’t blogged in a few days.  I had to face it, I just don’t enjoy coming up with random things and then writing  like I actually care about the topic.  But I am posting today because I do have a subject that I want to write about with conviction.  Yesterday, I was told a story about a bride and her wedding photographer.  It is not a happy story, and I am both sympathetic and angry at the same time over what was done to this poor young bride.  I am sharing this story so that if any potential bride reads this blog they at least have an awareness that not every vendor has the bride’s best interest at heart.

To begin with, I obviously know the person who told me the story, but I don’t know the bride and I don’t know the photographer, nor have I ever met either one of them.  I will tell the story based on my best recollection and as straight forward as I possibly can.  Any conversation between the bride and the photographer is just a third hand paraphrase of the conversation. I will not use the name of the bride or photographer.  Draw your own conclusions about the incident.

The Story

The photographer ran a contest with the prize being free wedding photography.  The bride won the contest and the photographer shot the wedding.  A couple of weeks after the wedding the photographer contacted the bride and informed her that 360 pictures had been chosen out of all the shots taken at the wedding and told the bride where she could find the proofs online.  Then the photographer informed the bride that she could get the 360 pictures unedited for a payment of $1,500 to the photographer.  If the bride wanted edited photographs, the photographer would edit and hand over the pictures to the bride for $1,600.  The bride is stunned because she is operating on the belief that her wedding was being photographed for free.  She emailed the photographer expressing concern and dismay over the situation and wanted to schedule a meeting with the photographer.  The photographer emailed back saying something to the effect that the bride couldn’t expect the photographer to shoot for so many hours and not get some type of payment.  The photographer also informed the bride that there would be no face to face meeting and that their contact with each other was essentially over. And now the bride cannot even view her proofs online.

My Thoughts and Opinions

My thoughts and opinions are based on the facts as I know them at this moment.  I am going to look at the facts and draw my own conclusions and share them with the reader.  If facts become available at a later time that change my conclusions, I will post those changes if they occur.  Read the facts for yourself and draw your own conclusion.

In the name of fairness, I will tell the reader that I have not seen the contract, nor do I know the rules and the conditions of the contest, or the discussion on the day of the client-photographer meeting.  What I do conclude from the information I have is that the bride left the client-photographer meeting believing that she owed no money, that everything was going to be free.  If the photographer was expecting  a payment for the prints, it is up to photographer, in my opinion, to make sure the bride understands what is owed to the photographer before the client-photog meeting breaks up.  After all, the photographer IS the expert in the room and I believe photographers bear the final responsibility for the client fully understanding what she is getting and the way of service and how much that service will cost.

Let me continuew by examining the contest aspect of this story. I have seen these contests on Facebook, and I have even participated in them to help out my friends.  Contests are used all the time, from beginners in the profession to the rock stars of wedding photography, as a means of advertising and expanding their business   Now I don’t have the details of this specific contest, but let’s look at what we do know about it.  The contest was for free wedding photography.  In law, there is the “reasonable man” test.  In my opinion, a reasonable man would assume that getting free wedding photography would also mean getting the pictures as part of the package.  But let us assume for the sake of argument that the photographer meant the shooting was free, but a fee would be charged for the printing.  This photographer’s starting package is $1,500.  So if the bride gets the actual shooting time for free, but ends up paying the full package price to get the prints, where is the advantage of winning the contest?  This would be like me winning a contest for a free haircut.  A haircut runs $30 and includes a shampoo.  I go in for my free haircut and at the end my styler charges me $30 and when I say but I won the free haircut, she  tells me that only the haircut was for free, that she is charging me for the shampoo. And charging me full price.  Ask yourself, how many brides-to-be would even enter a contest for the chance to win their wedding photographed for free but the prints needing to be purchased?  At full price!

When I was starting up my wedding photography business, I took classes on the business and have talked to other professionals to get the knowledge of the best and most ethical business practices; the business practices that work and keep the customer satisfied and get those good referrals so my business can grow and be successful.  So when I was told this story, I was asked what my business practices are.  Would I do something like this photographer had done?  My obvious answer is no I wouldn’t.  I want happy brides and good reviews.  The bride’s wedding day has to be almost as special to me as it is to the bride.  So what would I have done differently?
This is what the bride would have experienced with me if I had held the contest and she had won.  This is “What if she had gone to Poole Photography…”

To begin with, I would have made sure when I advertised the details of my contest, that I provided full disclosure on what winning the contest meant.  Let’s say I have a $1,200 package.  I would state in the contest literature that the winner would get free wedding coverage worth $600, or half off my $1,200 package.  The winner would be responsible for the rest of the fee.  This would be known to anyone who entered the contest.  The winner is picked and announced.  As my bride and I start to communicate, we would set up a client meeting.  At this meeting, along with all the other client meeting items, I would absolutely make sure that the bride understood what exactly she won and what exactly she still owed and make arrangements for the payment.  My standard wedding contract, amended to include the details of the contest, would be signed by both of us.  The last agenda item of the meeting would be to review the meeting and to have one final reminder for my bride of my responsibilities  and her responsibilities.  When my bride left that meeting there would be no doubt in her mind that she was getting my photography time for free and she was financially responsible for $600 and a fee collection plan would have been in place before we parted company.

The scenario I related above is how most wedding photographers, with individual differences of course, conduct their client meetings.  A wedding photographer who is using good business practices and believes the customer is the person he or she is working for would never, NEVER leave a client meeting or shoot the wedding without the client knowing exactly what services she is getting and how much she is paying.  And more than just being good business practice and such, it just isn’t right that the bride doesn’t have full disclosure and knowledge of the services she is getting and what she has to pay.

No bride should have her memories held hostage.

FOR BRIDES

I am fortunate to have learned from some really solid professional wedding photographers.  Most of the suggestions I am going to give I learned during the classes I took from one of the better local wedding photographer, Diana Elizabeth. I tell the reader this so that you don’t think I came up with these suggestions all by myself.  Some pretty good people have taught me these suggestions and I want to pass them on to future brides so they don’t have  a similar situation put a black cloud of despair over their happy day. The overwhelming majority of wedding photographers are righteous people and have nothing but the best interest of the bride at heart.  But there are swindlers and hustlers and people who just don’t know what they are doing in the business.  A bride needs to be alert for the hustlers and such when choosing a photographer.  As the old business adage goes, “buyer, beware!”

So in no particular order of importance, here a few of my suggestions for the future Mrs’s out there.

1.  The devil is always in the details, so make sure you know them.  Don’t let a photographer gloss over anything you don’t understand that is either in what he or she says or what is in the contract.

2.  Make the photographer earn your trust.  Don’t just give your trust away to a total stranger. A little harsh, but it is a good rule to keep bad things from happening.  Now the majority of the photographers out there are trustworthy people, but make them earn your trust.  Nobody has your best interest at heart except you.

3.  Make sure you know what is in the contract.  This is kind of repeating #1, but it is so, SO important that you don’t leave the client meeting without knowing the services the photographer is providing, and how much you are paying for those services, and when you are expected to pay.  A good wedding photographer will do one final read through of the contract and have you initial all the important points of your rights and responsibilities and the photographer’s rights and responsibilities.

4.   When meeting a potential photographer, come with a list of questions for the photog.  I know this drives some photogs crazy, but Google “questions to ask your wedding photographer”, and find a list or two that you like and have them ready.  Remember, the photog is APPLYING for a job.  You are the client, and the photog wants to work for you.  He or she should be willing to answer any and all questions you have.  You are the one spending the big bucks.

A side note to the above is that it is quite alright to ask the photographer how they dress when they shoot a wedding.  A complaint about the photographer in our story was that this person did not dress appropriately.  It is up to you.  If you don’t care how they dress, don’t ask.  But if you do, ask. It’s OK.

5.  Never assume anything.  Because when you assume…

6.  See rule #3  And along with that, it goes without saying, make sure you have a written contract.  It is for everyone’s protection

FINAL THOUGHTS

My belief, and I run my business this way, is that once I have a bride as a client, I work for her.  I am also the “expert” in the room.  It is incumbent on me as that expert to make sure my bride is thoroughly informed about all the aspects of  me and my photographic services.  In the story I have told, the evidence tells me that this was not done in the case of this particular photographer and bride.

The hardest part in writing this blog was not to venture into the area of speculation as to why this happened.  I haven’t seen the contract nor have I seen or heard any of the pre-wedding communications the bride and photographer  had, nor have I seen the contest rules and regulations.

The facts as I know them right now are these: the bride won a contest for free wedding photography only to find out AFTER the wedding that the only way she could get her photographs was to pay $1,500 for 360 unedited photographs.  Draw your own conclusions.

Applying the “reasonable man” theory, if I found out ahead of time that I would have to pay $1,500 for UNEDITED pictures, contest winner or not, I would be looking for a new wedding photographer.  But our bride found out after the fact, after the wedding, after it was too late to find someone new.

My hope is that this situation gets resolved fairly and equitably and that no other brides have to go through a similar situation.

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TUESDAY

MOM AND THE BRITISH ROYALS

I have a plate that I inherited from my mother.  It was a plate she bought in 1953 commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne of England.  It always hung in a prominent  place in all the houses she lived in.  The plate passed in to me when she died. Today, it sits in my living room.

My mom, like so many others, got up at 1:00 am to watch live the wedding of Princess Diana to Prince what’s his name.  And she watched all the replays.  She loved the royals and all the pageantry.

She loved Queen Elizabeth and loved and adored Princess Di.  She also loved and adored OJ Simpson, obviously before July, 1994.  Mom passed away in April 1994.  I know she would have been devastated with the murders and the trial and been glued to the TV every minute of the trial and the reruns.  And I know she would have been downright inconsolable when Princess Diana was killed in the auto accident.  That is just the kind of person she was.

I at times had played around, like many others, with having a funny answering machine message.  I had recorded Tarzan’s call from an old Johnny Weissmuller movie.  I think my best was when I recorded “there are some who call me…Tim?” from The Holy  Grail.   But I had heard from somebody that this wasn’t a cool idea because so many messages could be of a serious nature.  So I just put up a simple, Jim Rockford type of message.  I was glad I did, because that is how I found out my mother had passed away, by a message from her husband on my answering machine.  I am always grateful that he didn’t get a wise guy message from my machine.

My mother and I didn’t always get along, like all kids and parents.  We had just been on a little family get away the week before over my spring break.  We all lose our parents.  And no matter when it is, it is always to soon.

SIMPLE SUNDAY

THE LOWDOWN, UNREAD, TIMMY THE BLOGGER BLUES!

One of the cool things about WordPress, and I am sure other blog sites do it to, is that my statistics are tracked on a daily basis.  Ideally, I suppose, the astute blogger looks at these stats and tries to figure out ways to improve the blog so he or she gets more readers.  I am not yet at that point in my blogging experience.  I have contented myself in just seeing how many people have read my blog.  I am very grateful to those who do choose to read my little blog here.  My hope is you find it amusing and insightful.  Amusing, because I do try to write in a humorous style and give a chuckle or two to the readers. Insightful as I am trying to give readers, and hopefully potential customers, a basic look at who I am as a person.  Everyone who hangs a shingle as a photography has some skills in the medium.  So many times it comes down to whether a bride likes someone or not.  I have heard a photographer talk about getting a client because on their blog they mentioned their dog.  And the customer liked that kind of dog so she picked that photographer for the job.  Hint…hint…brides to be who are Minnesota Vikings fans…just sayin’.

So I skipped Friday blogging, but made up for it yesterday.  For the first time in about 2 weeks, I really didn’t struggle to find something to blog about.  It was like when my college English teacher finally picked a topic I was enthusiastic about and I couldn’t wait to write the paper. So last night I spent about 2 hours writing the blog and uploading the photographs.  When I finished, I was stoked.  This was the blog I wanted people to remember me by, it was that awesome!  I couldn’t wait to check today’s stats.  “The Gunfight at the Cadillac Ranch” was going to go viral, baby!

As of this moment, “The Gunfight at the Cadillac Ranch”,  my blog that would quite possibly change the world of blogging as we know it, has been viewed by….. drum roll please…. no one.

Ah me.  I feel like the high jumpers I used to coach that set the bar high, only to hear the clang of the bar as they missed the jump.  That’s me.  I am now laying on the high jump pit of life, looking at the sky and feeling the cool breeze gently blow over me, the leaves in the distant trees making a rustling sound.  As I lay here, I remember the days of my childhood where win, lose or draw, we always got taken to Dairy Queen.  I think I would like a Dairy Queen cone right about now.

As I lay on the high jump pit of life, waiting for someone to spring for a soft serve cone, I am reminded of the time that I accidentally took a picture of my Canon camera strap.  I had forgotten my camera was set on 10 second delay.  So I am taking this picture, and nothing is happening and I am staring dumbfounded at the camera and then I hear it go click.  As a lark, I posted that picture on my (*shameless self promotion link alert)  Poole Photography Facebook page.  Now normally my posts on that site average 30-40 views.  My Canon strap picture had 201 views.

So what am I to conclude from these two anecdotes about those two media posts?  I conclude that if there is ever a market for photographs of camera straps, I am in.  I will corner the market.  No others need apply.

GATHER ‘ROUND THE CAMPFIRE

This is one of the other photographs I took at the Wild West Festival.  This fire pit was next to the traditional chuck wagon that was on display.

I like the textural content as well as the juxtaposition of the linear items in the composition.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I just want to clarify a couple of points I made in this blog.

The high jump bar does not clang when it gets knocked off.  The crossbars have not been made out of metal in years.  But saying “they hear the thump of the bar” just doesn’t seem to carry as much visual and audio energy into the story.

For you brides to be that are dog lovers…I am a dog lover, too!  Right now, I have two cats in my house.  You know that old saying, “Dogs have owners, Cats have staff.”  My cats have yet to give me written permission to get another dog. And If you are a cat loving bride-to-be…you understand my plight.

TONIGHT’S MUSIC TO BLOG BY:

BLACK  by Pearl Jam

LIGHTNING CRASHES by Live

SHE ‘S SO HIGH by Tal Bachman

GUNFIGHT AT THE CADILLAC RANCH

Played hooky from blogging yesterday.  Falling asleep and doing a faceplant into the keyboard is not a good thing.  Self preservation above all.  Busy days both yesterday and today.  I was away from my computer so long that I lost my place in Facebook.  My computer left a message for me that it was putting my face on a milk carton.

CADILLAC RANCH

I went to my first Chat and Mingle sponsored by the Photographers Adventure Club Friday night at the Cadillac Ranch in Tempe.  I will tell you right now, I spent most of my time in Phoenix making it a point not to go east of I-17.     I never lived more than 5 miles from where I worked. When I did travel to the east side, it was usually on a yellow school bus.  I really hated it at the end of track season that we didn’t have enough people going to State to get a bus so I ended up driving the District’s prison van. When I looked up the address for the Cadillac Ranch, I realized that I had been to the Tempe Marketplace before and knew how to get there.  Wrong. Needless to say I got lost.  But I did have a good drive in and around Tempe and saw some nice things.

Finally found the place and eventually was able to park in what has to be the most convoluted parking lot in the history of the world.  Went upstairs to the Ranch.  I had never been there before so I have to say I was quite surprised when I ordered a Coke and the waitress asked for my debit card and my driver’s license.  I almost left the Ranch at that moment.  I get a bit testy at restaurants when I think they are doing something absurd.  The waitress was asking me to violate every rule of caution that I read should be done to protect against identity theft.  But I thought, well, Poole, you are meeting most everyone for the first time, it would be bad form to tip over the table and throw a chair against the wall and leave in a huff.  They might not invite you back.  So I relented and did as required.  As we discussed this during the evening, we figured it was because there was a huge number of college kids that patronized the place.  So I don’t blame them for coming up with that practice.

But  I overcame my getting lost in Tempe and anxiety over identity theft and relaxed and had a great time.  Met and mingled with Sharon, Christine, Ash, Lisa, Les and the organizer for the night Evy.  Christine, Sharon and Ash were especially helpful with some technical questions I had, although they found out they had too speak very slowly and use small words so I could understand.  Christine shared her underwater photographs that she takes.  Everybody was showing their new I-phones.  Since I only have a Blackberry, I kept it hidden under the table when I checked it.

I am always a bit nervous when I meet new people in strange settings, but I think Evy was more apprehensive than me.  Although she knew everyone else pretty well from other meet ups and shoots, this was her first time being the organizer for the Meet and Mingle.  She really wanted it to go off well.  And it did. She was a splendid hostess, talking with everyone and making me feel very welcomed and right at home like I had been with the group forever.  I really appreciated it.  I am looking forward to the next M&M that is offered.

Photograph by Sharon Joubert on her I Phone.  Me doing what I normally do… smiling and nodding my head knowingly.  Plus working on my raising one eyebrow only skills.

WILD WEST FESTIVAL

Saturday was filled with more photographic activities.  Although many of the group went up to Oak Creek to do some shooting, I went to the Wild West Festival and Sahuaro Ranch Park.  This is my second attempt at shooting an event at Sahuaro Ranch Park, the first one being a folk and bluegrass music festival.  Sahuaro Ranch Park is a dry and dusty place.  It just doesn’t inspire me to shoot pictures there.  I don’t know if that happens to other photographers.  I was very hard pressed to choose the few photographs I kept.

GUNSLINGERS

I read every book I can about the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral.  I have seen all the movies about the event.  (I find it amazing that John Ford personally knew Wyatt Earp and had the first hand account of what actually happened that day, and yet his movie about it bears no resemblance to what actually happened.)  Yet with all this interest in the event, I have yet to go down and visit Tombstone.  Perhaps I should put that on my bucket list, if I had a bucket list.    Tombstone was the best, probably the most historically correct, version.  My one pet peeve with Hollywood is that they never seem to get actors close to the age of the participants.  Wyatt Earp was 33, Doc Holiday was only 30 and Josie was a mere 20 years old at the time of the gunfight.  At the time of shooting Tombstone Kurt Russell (Wyatt) was 42, Val Kilmer (Doc) was 34, and Dana Delany (Josie) was 38.

The WWF  had a gunslinging contest.  This prompted me to think about the most famous gunfight ever.  As you see in the photo, the shooters start out in this strange looking leaning backward position.  I do not think that the Earps, Holiday, Clantons and McClaurey’s started out in this weird looking layback position.  But maybe they should have.  The gunfight lasted 30 seconds with about 30 shots fired.  They participants were only 6-10 feet apart.  Only 7 bullets hit their target!

GUN SLINGING…GANGNAM STYLE

I saw a few posts on Facebook about something called GANGNAM STYLE.  Always wanting to be on the cutting edge of what’s going on, I searched YouTube so I would know what was being talked about.  I cannot properly do it justice attempting to describe the Gangnam dance style.  I suggest if you haven’t seen the PSY video you should check it out.  That is the only way this picture and caption will make any sense to you.  This performer was waiting for his show to start (they were 45 minutes ahead of schedule) so he just did a few teasers for the crowd while they were waiting.

One final thought.  I now have a reason to regret retiring when I did.  When researching GANGNAM STYLE, I found their were a plethora of video parodies using the song, ranging from the mom and son on the Ellen DeGeneres show, to the USNR spirit team as well as the North Korean army.  I could have showed a new video everyday in class.  I am sure the students would have liked them better than Hell March or William Shatner’s Rocket Man.

Who knew?

Blog Motivation Music for today

Gangnam Style by PSY

This is Sparta! 10 Hour Remix

The Gunfight at OK Corral by Frankie Laine, from the 1957 movie of the same name.

Cadillac Ranch by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

ANNIVERSARY DAY (kind of)

My hair styler is pregnant and due on the 15th of November. I told her my father’s birthday was November 15th also.  Then on Sunday, I got an invitation to pizza and cake for my father’s birthday on October 18th.  Slap my head, of course!  My mother’s birthday was on the 15th of  November.     I ALWAYS  got those two confused as far back as my college days.  Always had to be careful when I was sending cards.

Aside from being my father’s birthday, today is an anniversary of sorts for me.  This month, Poole Photography started its first baby steps to becoming a reality.  I had bought my first digital camera and started my first class with Dianna Elizabeth on how to use this said digital camera.  And my father’s birthday party last year was the first shakedown cruise of my Canon T3i.  My first couple of pictures I submitted for Dianna’s critique came from that birthday gathering.

It has been a fantastic year for me.  My biggest concern was would I like being a wedding/event photographer?  As Clint Eastwood counseled, I know my limitations.  If I am not enjoying my work, I cease to work.  I would have hated to spend all that money on equipment just to find out I didn’t like what I was doing.  After this year, I can enthusiastically say that this is what I what to spend my time doing.    I have not made a mistake.

In this year I have taken several classes, joined a nation wide photography group, started a website and a blog, photographed several events including  birthdays, a senior portrait session, and  a couple of weddings, the last one of which I was the  lead photographer.  Part of me says it wasn’t enough, another part is pretty darned pleased with what I have accomplished.

So now is a good time to look at where I want to be a year from now.  I have a few more classes I want to take.  I need to take time and sit down and reevaluate my goals and objectives for the next year and the future.  I want to get more involved with the Photographers Adventure Club.  I want to improve my blog writing and my photography skills.  Of course I hope to find more work, the Holy Grail for all photographers.  I want Poole Photography to get 100 likes on Facebook.   And this may seem funny, but I would like to second shoot for or assist an established photographer. I believe I will learn more by observing and helping those at a higher skill level than myself.  Sort of like classroom observation or student teaching.  There is so much I don’t know and I need to learn.  I can read and watch DVDs as often as possible, but I know I learn better when I observe someone else doing.  I will be sharing my journey’s downs and ups over the next year on this blog.    Come along and enjoy the trip.

Note to self: I also need to clean and organize my home office, which I promised myself I would do when I retired.  A little behind on that one.

MUSIC OF THE BLOG: LIGHTNING CRASHES BY LIVE

NEW POST

So, so lame, but I can’t come up with anything cute and clever to title this post.    Maybe it should be “fill in the blank” and the reader can put in his or her own title.  That is a definite possibility in the near future.

I had many plans for the day that were cut very short by a bad headache.  I don’t get migraines, but I have enough friends with migraines to know how much those bad boys make a person suffer.  Actually, I rarely get headaches at all.  And this is really one of those low grade kind of headaches, the kind that are just there and annoying.  I was able to get it together enough to do some yard work and run some errands in the afternoon, so I feel a bit accomplished, but there were many other things I wanted to get done.  Tomorrow.  Me and Scarlett O’hara.

An former classmate of mine from Azusa, Andy, commented on my last blog.  That was really nice.  Andy and I were on the football team together.  As I recall, Andy played while I made sure nobody from the other team snuck over and captured our water.  We all have our roles to play.  Andy suggested a saying to me that he had heard while in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  “Total Release Performance”.  I wish I had that little gem of a statement back in my coaching days. Thanks, Andy.

I am working at being more involved with the Photographers Adventure Club.  As I mentioned yesterday, I went to a business tip meetup on Monday and am going to two other PAC events later in the week.  One of the things Nick talked about at the meetup was the 365 day challenge.  There are a lot of variations on how it is done, but the idea is to take one picture a day, not a snapshot, but an artistic photograph.  The idea intrigued me.  I like challenges.  OK, OK, blogging 30 days straight hasn’t worked out quite the way I want, but someone said it was all about the journey anyway.  One step forward, two steps back and such.  So I am going to sit down and plan out exactly how I want to complete this challenge.  Some photographers do a different portrait everyday, or other subject matters every day, or the same subject but a different picture of it everyday.  Those were just some of the suggestions I saw when I was researching the project.  I will let you know what I decide to shoot and when I decide to start.  Another fun journey for us to take together.  If this doesn’t work out, I am blaming Nick and the PAC, and George Bush.

Another thing I am going to make a better effort at is taking and submitting photographs for the PAC daily theme shoots.  Themes are posted throughout the month, and we are allowed to submit our three best shots.  I have submitted a few times in the past year or so, but I am going to challenge (there is that word again) myself to shoot specific pictures for each theme  The following are the three I posted for the theme “fill the frame”  The flowers were shot with that theme in mind.  The flower girls weren’t.  They were part of my wedding shoot, but they fulfill the requirements of the theme.

I also got an unsolicited post with words of encouragement from my friend  Kimmie.  Those are always the best and it was nice of her to do.

Music to blog by:  Sweet Child Of Mine covered by Zepia playing the ukulele.  Her voice is very pure and soothing.  Helps the headache.

AND THE WORD IS…

My first priority is a shout out to one of my former student athletes and fellow bloggers, Jessica.  Jessica ran track for me and was one of my better athletes back when she competed.  She  read my Candy Gram blog and posted a reply.  Her post condensed everything I am trying to write about down into one unique word: authenticity.  I know that when I am writing this blog, trying to come up with topics, sometimes writing multiple paragraphs only to hit the “move to trash” button, I am searching for a certain quality, a certain standard to my writing.  I have written about the frustration I have with blogging, especially trying to do it on a daily basis, but I have had a difficult time trying to express the final result I am looking for.  I couldn’t find the right word to describe it.  Oh, the word was there, but it was always circling around the outside of my consciousnesses  like a fish circling the bait.  You know it is there, but it is under the water, bumping into the bait so the bobber moves, but just not giving the bite you need to set the hook.  Jessica’s post brought the word to the surface.  Authenticity.  I can’t write about it if it isn’t authentic.

I started putting together my blog and website because it was a class assignment.  This was my introduction of me to potential customers.  I got stuck when it came to doing the “about me” page.  I looked at other people’s blogs to see how they had written their “about pages” to see if that would give me some ideas or inspiration.  That didn’t work out very well.  I haven’t loved taking pictures since I was a little kid, I don’t have any really cute and clever anecdotes about my life I am willing to share,  I am not romantic by nature, and those few times I have been, I really don’t believe are anyone else’s business.    My favorite food is edible.  I hate yard work.  I no longer do what fueled and motivated me most of my waking hours for the last 31 years.  I have always been reluctant to “toot my own horn” about the many things I have achieved.   I will be the first person to tell you that passion is most critical to a person’s success, but the word is used by so many people to describe their feelings towards their photography that I have a hard time using the word myself when I talk about my work.

Nevertheless, I put together the required statement.  After a week or so, I went back and read my page.  It was like reading a bad used car salesman’s manifesto.  Double yuck.  I revised them immediately, trying to simplify what I had written with the idea I would go back and revise them again at a later date when I had more of a handle on where I was in the pursuit of my new career.  I couldn’t tell you what I wrote, because I have not had any desire to revisit writing that I am pretty sure is boring and trite.

It’s all about authenticity.

Trying to write an introduction to myself with my information plugged into someone else’s template is just not being very authentic.  And that is why the results were so lame.

As I said in yesterday’s post that I am revising and re-tweaking my business model and my brand.  It is time to solidify and even upgrade what Poole Photography is all about.  Time to open up the old “about page”, get the initial cringing over, and come up with a better page.

I do have a question, should I put down that I have two cats?  Does that mean dog lovers and cat haters won’t consider hiring me to photograph their wedding?  Hey, I worry about things like that, OK?

Thanks again, Jessica, for reminding me about authenticity.  Best of luck and God’s blessings on you as you embark on a new journey of your own.

 

 

COMPLETELY BAKED

In the movie “The Graduate”  Benjamin Braddock comes into the kitchen and gives his parents the great news that he is going to marry Elaine Robinson.  The parents go nuts for many reasons, one of which is they have really been pushing for this relationship to happen.  What they don’t know at the time is Elaine hates Ben because Ben has been having an affair with Elaine’s mother, Mrs. Robinson.  (By the way, this was a pretty racy subject matter for 1967.)  Ben’s dad reaches for the phone to call the Robinson’s.  Ben says not to call. Ben explains he hasn’t even talked to Elaine and that she doesn’t know about them getting married, which elicits the following lines:

“Ben, this whole idea sounds pretty half baked.”

“Oh, it’s not.  It’s completely baked.”  (cue the music:  Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair)

I kind of feel like Ben’s father when I look at Poole Photography right now.  It’s half baked. Well, a bit half baked.  Don’t want to be too hard on myself.  But to be honest, after Mallory and John’s wedding in August, I went on a mini-mental vacation from my business.  Oh I did do some menial tasks, but nothing really dramatic, nothing to really promote or improve Poole Photography.

I finally got to the point where I decided to I should sit down with myself and take stock of where I am and where I need to be if I want to get where I want to go.

I came to the conclusion that after the wedding, I had allowed myself to disengage from the business for a bit too long.  I had quit paddling the boat, pulled in the oars and laid back and just let the current take me where it wanted to.

Not exactly the Harvard MBA model of excellence.

So I stuck the oars out, shook off my lethargy and am rowing the boat again.

Started back on my business tips for photographer’s meetup courtesy of the Photographers Adventure Club and Nick Pappagallo.  Finishing up some online classes I had put on hold for awhile, and signing up for a couple of new ones in November.  I figure it is now a good time to review and revise my blog and my web page and to work on my branding.

Now let’s see if I can’t get Poole Photography completely baked!

In the meantime, here’s something we hope you will really enjoy.

I love Bougainvillea.  I cannot grow Bougainvillea.  That must be why I like to take pictures of Bougainvillea.

“I believe in fire at midnight” Jethro Tull

“These things will last forever: faith, hope and love”  1st Corinthians 13:13  This message of hope was affixed to the fence by members of Apprenticeship to Jesus in downtown Phoenix.

I will psychedelicize any of my pictures at the drop of a hat.  You can take the boy out of the 60’s but…

Tonight’s blog music:  The Graduate soundtrack.  Of course.

CANDY GRAM

 

When I sit down to blog, I am reminded a bit of the following scene from Blazing Saddles.  Mongo, played by the recently passed Alex Karras, has the entire town pinned against the wall of the saloon using the piano.  Sherriff Bart, played by the late, great Cleavon Little, shows up as a Western Union messenger with a Candy Gram.  “Candy Gram for Mongo!”  “Me Mongo.”  And the Candy Gram blows up allowing Sherriff Bart to capture Mongo.  As he was being congratulated for capturing Mongo, Bart says “that was the easy part.  The b**** was inventing the Candy Gram!”

That is exactly how I am feeling about blogging.  I can write and write and write with no problems.  The hard part is coming up with a subject to write about on a daily basis.  I am sure it will become a lot easier after my 30 days of daily blogging, but for now, a daily topic is a bit challenging, especially when my target audience are potential brides, mother’s to be, the newly engaged, the senior in high school.  I don’t think ranting about the election or the sorry state of the Minnesota Vikings football team is going to attract my target audience.

So I have decided my topic today will be about a book.  When I finally decided to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the clerk at the bookstore told me that if I liked the series, I should check out Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole (pronounced Huarry Hooola) series.  So after reading the GWTDT trilogy, I bought my first Harry Hole book.  I then proceeded to read the rest.  If you like murder mysteries, Nesbo’s books are among the best I have ever read.  I only have a couple of complaints about the series.  The first three books in the series have not yet been translated into English. I don’t know about you, but I must read a series from the first book.  I just can’t jump in the middle of something. So it  got a little frustrating when the first English book refers back to incidents that happened in the first three books.  The last I had heard is that they are starting to translate those first three for the English Market.  I am excited.

The second problem is the book is a hard read.  The action and the plot move along fast.  The plots are complex and intriguing and all the good things a mystery should be.  The problem with reading them is all the Norwegian names and places that one has to wade through and keep track of.  It is almost like one needs to have a English/Norwegian dictionary around just to aid in reading of the book.

But I am enjoying the book.  If you enjoy complex mysteries and your main characters extremely flawed, and don’t mind reading Norwegian at times, I recommend starting with  The Red Breast by Joe Nesbo.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to think about tomorrow’s Candy Gram

 

Blog music tonight:  Sunday Night Football

MAKE UP DAY

I had an unexcused absence from blogging yesterday.  My sleep habits have been a bit “Krameresque” the last couple of days.  I refer to the episode of Seinfeld in which Kramer decides to try a polyphasic sleep schedule where he sleeps 20-30 minutes 6 times a day.  This, of course, backfires on Kramer.  He falls asleep while being intimate with a mob boss’s wife.  She assumes Kramer is dead, gets a couple of her husbands soldiers to dispose of the body, and the next thing we see is Kramer waking up in the East River.

My sleep schedule wasn’t as extreme, or as on purpose as Kramer’s, but the lack of sleep the last few days finally caught up with me yesterday and today.  I did try to rouse myself and write yesterday, but after a few sleepy attempts I found myself searching for the DELETE THIS ENTIRE BLOG button, because I just didn’t want to write a blog anymore.  Fortunately, I fell asleep at the computer before I found that button.

In case you hadn’t noticed, it is election time again.  I am a political junkie, but I try diligently to stay non political on my social sites.  But I saw a post that I feel very passionate about, and I want to share my views about the topic.

It starts with Prince Amukamara of the New York Giants posting an Instagram of himself in a shirt that says “VOTE!”  As I have mentioned earlier, I coached Prince in high school and am really proud that he is now using his status as an NFL player to promote worthwhile ideas and causes.  But as I was reading the comments I saw one that always makes me bristle a little bit when I see it.  It is the comment “your vote doesn’t count.”

I guess my main problem with that opinion is I don’t understand what people mean when they say that.  I don’t understand why one would have that opinion.  I suppose if a person’s candidate lost, or proposition lost, then I guess that person might feel like his or her vote didn’t count.  From my point of view I have back a lot of losers but I have always felt that my vote counted.

I have heard some explain their vote note counting because politicians say what they think we want to hear to get elected, and do what they want after they are elected.  I agree that that happens quite a bit, in fact more than it should.  But our system does have built in accountability. If the majority of we, the people, are unsatisfied with the performance of our elected officials, we, the people, can fire the offenders in 2, 4 or 6 years, .  For example, then candidate Clinton’s first campaign ad in 1992 promised a middle class tax cut.  In 1993, President Clinton, instead of giving a middle class tax cut, raised taxes on the middle class.  In 1994 the Republicans gained control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years. Accountability.  And to be totally bi-partisan, I think everyone remembers then candidate George HW Bush’s famous “no new taxes” pledge in the 1988 campaign.  During his presidency, President Bush raised taxes.  Because of this broken promise there was a serious challenge to President Bush in the Republican primary.  Bill Clinton even used this broken promise by Bush to show evidence of Bush being untrustworthy.  Bush lost, Clinton won.  Accountability.

There may be other reasons for people saying that our votes don’t count.  I am sure they believe they have valid reasons for believing that way.  I just believe that the right to vote is a sacred right that people have fought and died for, are fighting and dying for now, and are willing to risk their lives for now and in the future.  To me, my vote has to count, it has to matter, whether my candidate wins or not  If it doesn’t matter, blood has been spilled in vain.

I remember when I turned 21 I couldn’t wait to cast my ballot.  I was gong to college in California, so I made sure I got registered to vote in California.  Voted, and took my “I voted” button to Shakey’s and received a small pizza for free.   Participate in democracy and get free food.  What a country!  When I taught, I always went to the polls at 6 am, so I could wear my “I Voted” sticker to class.  I could empathize with the Iraqi people who were voting for the first time and proudly holding up their ink stained fingers that indicated they had voted.

We are all products of our upbringing, so I am sure much of my enthusiasm for voting comes from my father.  He is also a political junkie, so I am sure that rubbed off on me.  My dad, in kind of a poor man’s Michael Corlioni way, was being groomed by my grandfather to be a politician.  Grandfather was very involved in the politics of Ohio and he had plans for my dad.  However, my dad did not share in those same political ambitions.  Except once.  He ran for mayor.  The city at the time did have a few gangland connections so that it had the nicknamed “Little Chicago.”  Sometime during the course of the election, my father was made an “offer he couldn’t refuse” that he, of course, refused.  Our landlady convinced my mom that if my dad got elected that he stood a good chance of “sleeping with the fishes” in the Ohio river.  So mom and all the family friends got a concerted effort together to make sure that my dad did not win the election.  I would say this is one time that everyone’s vote counted.  I am pretty sure even my dad voted for the other guy.

Finally, f you believe your vote doesn’t count, trust me, I have not written this as an attempt to change  your mind.  I have heard many of the reasons, but I don’t understand them, so I am not going to presume I can offer you any solid reasons for changing your mind.  I just wanted to share my reasons for voting and my belief that my vote does count.

New York Giant’s and former Nebraska and Apollo High School standout, Prince Amukamara, encouraging you to vote.

Today’s blog songs: Elected by Alice Cooper, Politician by Cream