Tag Archives: Learning

Learning Curve

Beach Wedding by Holli Margell

Wedding Photography was easy. It was a way to use my love of Photography in a straight forward way as a service. You hired me, I did my job, and got paid. There was more to it than that, but that was the basic bones of it.

Now that I’m entering the art photography world, I’m learning as I go, without feeling confident that I know some formula for success. You get to watch my learning curve.

Art Photography – Essentially, I’m selling a product. Art in all mediums is a product. You either love it or you don’t. I think that is why it scared me to try. I know I love my photographs, because I take them and keep them because I believe they are beautiful. But, the big question I face is, “Will others love it?” And, can I sell it?  Some people don’t and hire great business managers. Others never try, and their art rests like skeletons in their closet. I’m working to figure it out for myself.

The business of art – I’ve been reading a lot about how to make money with my art photography. One of the key pieces I read by Gwenn Seemel lays things out simply, “Making a living is like making a painting.” She explains some of the tools she uses, and the fact that things take time to evolve.

Money and art – One of the joys about being a Seattlite is that there are a variety of opportunities to learn. Last month I had the pleasure of sitting in on one of Chase Jarvis’ LIVE interview of Ramit Sethi (author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”). You should invest the 1.5hrs to watch it here. Chase and Ramit share the ins and outs of pricing your work and finding your ideal clients in a passionate and conversational setting. I was not bored for a second, and even got to ask a question! Chase shares a lot of valuable information for photographers who want to make a living.

I priced my work at the show to the comfort of my stomach – knowing a coffee shop show wouldn’t bring in art collectors, but also that I wanted to make enough to donate to a good cause. I’m still looking at what sold, and who bought to understand who my audience is – who loves my work and who will likely buy it. They actually suggested this in the interview, and I’ve read about it before. Some even recommend offering the work for free to learn more about your target market. I did this slightly by giving away cards for food donations. It is fascinating to look at which cards people took when money wasn’t involved.

So, what I’ve learned so far is that women are the ones who purchase my photography art, and I’m not the only one who thinks the photographs are beautiful.

Show and Tell: I finished a Bunk Bed, failed a new muffin recipe and witnessed a case of stage fright.

I had a busy week. Instead of neatly showing off each thing, post by post and laying out the process or delving into the details I found to be most amusing or baffling, I’m trying something new today. A photo-journal of sorts…

I built bunk beds!

Finished Project: Bunk Beds

After a month of working on bunk beds, they are finished! My neighbor and friend, Amanda, had the tools, space and skills to teach me how to do it myself. It was my first ever wood-working project. I could not, would not have attempted to do this on my own.

Amanda literally guided me through Home Depot, showed me how to pick out wood that wasn’t warped, and proceeded to let me use her power tools (after showing me how and explaining safety precautions). She was a patient, helpful teacher. I really looked forward to our scattered work sessions (lasting only about 2-3 hours) as our schedules allowed. And, she did help along the way – where it seemed like I needed it. My husband even pitched in a sanding session to get these done on the one sick day I needed to stay home and rest. Honestly, it was easier than I had expected. It has wet my appetite to make other things for our home, but not enough for me to want to do it for a living.

We made the bunk beds from an Ana White plan– she’s got so many great ideas and plans for everything from an entertainment center to simple book shelf (and they’re free!). Amanda introduced me to her site, and has recently completed a head board. She’s a crafty DIY blogger herself: uffdaprojects.blogspot.com

Recipe Experiment: from muffins to granola!

Muffin Mistake

I make mistakes. All the time. The recipes I share are ones I’ve perfected and have tested on unassuming family and friends. Last week I was trying to create a new muffin recipe using some pre-soaked and roasted Walnuts (because I read that they are easier to digest). Well using pre-roasted nuts turned into burnt nuts. They were black! I didn’t notice until my taste-tester-son starting crumbling up his muffin and picking out the nuts. So, facing my defeat and frustration for  wasting all the ingredients, I suddenly realized I could follow my son’s lead. I tore them all apart, picked out the nuts, and decided to make granola. I laid out the bits onto a cookie sheet, added Ghee and Honey and baked it on low for about 2 hours. My husband ate it up, but did add some dried Cranberries and Almonds. So now, I want to try making granola from the start!

Stage fright: a first recital.

Saturday was the big day. Our daughter, Iris, is a spontaneous dancer – ever since she could stand, she’s danced anywhere, anytime when the mood strikes her.

She has been taking Pre-Ballet classes for 7 months and even enjoys the micro performance when parents get to see them demonstrate what they’ve learned.  Saturday was her first recital. She wasn’t keen on the idea of getting on a small stage for the rehearsal on Friday. But, she did like the idea of wearing her costume and lipstick and blush (we practiced applying it).  I made the mistake of assuming once she was surrounded by her class mates all would be well.

Photo by Aunt Jennifer.

I should have planned on asking my relatives to photograph and film the event – that’s what I thought as I sat back stage with Iris clinging to me in the sea of tutu’s and adorable little girls. There was a “Room Mom” for every class to keep order. But, Iris insisted that my lap was the only one she wanted. So, I grabbed my cell phone and recruited my multi-talented sister-in-law, Jennifer to be the photographer.

Thankfully, Iris’ class was not the first one up on stage. She enjoyed watching the big girls perform. But, when it came her turn, she wanted me to go on with her. Since I could not, she joined her class reluctantly, then part way through decided to exit the stage and join me. Poor thing. Really, I felt bad about it but I was glad she knew what to do about her feelings. That should could leave the stage. Everyone was really nice about it and some other Mom’s went out of their way to compliment how well Iris did. It was sweet and hopefully not too traumatic for Iris.

As soon as we got home, Iris requested music and danced her little heart out barefoot style.