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Marathon Marketing Workshop: Chicago

There was a lot of learning going on in Chicago earlier this week when Marathon hosted the largest every Strategic Marketing Workshop in Philadelphia. Over 100 photographers turned out for two days of marketing planning that flew by very quickly. Mark Weber, Bill Camacho and I were joined by Marathon reps John Miele and Barb Edwards, who were very helpful such a large crowd. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard!

Next stop: Kansas City on July 14-15.

SMS Workshop

Last week I was pleased to work with a great group of diligent photographers at PPA Headquarters for a three-day Studio Management Services Workshop.

Besides having really sharp students . . .

. . . it was a pleasure to get to teach again with the always-energetic and ever-insightful Sarah Petty.

As always, the workshop went smoothly because of the great organization of Studio Mangement Services's Beth Moore and Bridget Jackson, shown below. Thanks to everyone for a very good three days!


Need Couples Therapy? Two can become ONE!

With so many portrait-wedding studios in the industry today being owned and managed by couples, it was only a matter of time before someone realized that couples need resources to help them find a balance between studio life and personal life. For several years one such couple, Jeff and Julia Woods of Washington, IL, have planned the creation of a workshop to provide this direction. Happily, it will become a reality on September 15-17. What an exciting opportunity! For details on the workshop,
click here.

Angie's Place

While I was in Dallas for the marketing workshop I was delighted to receive an invitation from Angie Weedon to visit the new studio that she and her husband, Matt, have opened adjacent to their beautiful home in the Dallas area. Angie is a member of the PPA Charities Board of Trustees, and I've had the pleasure of working with her on planing the annual Family Portrait Month promotion. Angie is an amazing lady, and her photography is fabulous; so I was very eager to see the new studio.

Here is Angie in front of the studio, which from the street looks like a lovely carriage house that blends in beautifully with the home and the neighborhood. You can see the roof line of the Weedon home peeking through the trees.

It's hard to say whether the studio is more attractive on the outside or the inside. The first thing you see when you enter the building is a stylish sitting area, located across from a drop-down projection screen that Matt uses during client consultations and sales sessions.

When the projection screen is retracted, clients see a large canvas-wrap portrait located above a rolling shelving unit that holds key specialty products.

What I like best about the studio is how well it conveys her distincting portrait style. I have long admired how Angie has managed her brand. From the beginning of her career, she has focused on black-and-white photography, and only recently has she begun to add a limited amount of color photography to her line as a means of expanding product offerings to repeat clients. What a smart way to market photography!

All of the images that Angie shows are significantly sized wall portraits that clients easily recognize as exactly right for decorative focal points in their homes. Each image is smartly framed; the image shown above features a charming
Wild Sorbet frame, which captures the mood of this portrait perfectly. To see more of Angie's images, log on to weedonphoto.com.

After walking through the studio and viewing the well-chosen gallery of images, you come to the camera room, which features a north-light window opposite a brick-faced wall, a space that any photographer would consider to be a dream studio.

In the photo above, Angie chats with Marathon's Bill Camacho, who accompanied me on the studio visit.

We lingered in the studio long enough for Matt and daughter Ava to return from an errand. It was great seeing Matt again, and especially delightful to meet Ava, a most beautiful little girl, who is a wonderful big sister to brother Cal. While Matt is a photographer in his own right, and also assists Angie on shoots, most of Matt's energy is directed toward managing the studio and working with clients.

Here is the entire Weedon family: Matt and Angie in the foreground and Ava and Cal hanging on the wall. What a beautiful family, and what a great visit!

Adventures in Flying

Anyone who flies a lot knows that the skies have not be friendly for a long time. I'm pretty accustomed to the grind, but the trip home from Dallas was something else again. Here's how the day went:

The plane that would take us from Dallas to Cincinnati was late getting in, so I had to make a dash to the commuter terminal. Made it just it time, but discovered that my 3:00 P.M. flight had been cancelled. My travel agent tells me there will be lots more regional jet cancellations, as the cash-strapped airlines lose money every time they fly the 50-seaters. So I settled in to wait for my 7:30 flight home.

Right in the middle of dinner, there was an announcement that a tornado was on the way, so we had to take shelter in the tunnels underneath the airport. The evacuation was orderly, and the airline workers did an excellent job of moving everyone underground.

There was no question about the need for our taking shelter. You could hear the cracks of thunder, and the rain was pelting down so hard that water was beginning to build up in the tunnels.

About 30 minutes later we were informed that a funnel cloud had touched down about four miles from the airport. There was hardly any light in the narrow tunnels, so I used the 3200 ISO program menu setting of my Canon G9 to catch a few shots.

Around twenty minutes later we were allowed above ground, and I shot the image below on the way out. This t-shirt wisdom seemed like an appropriate sentiment for the occasion, and I was impressed with how well the camera did on 3200.

Back in the terminal things began going from bad to worse. The schedule was a shambles, crews had timed out, so it was a scramble to see how many flights could get off the ground. As the hours crept by, lots of folks gave up for the evening and left the airport on their own. I decided to stay as long as my flight remained on the board, and eventually I was rewarded, but not until after midnight. I never did hear how much damage the tornado did near the airport, but the morning news was full of reports of multiple funnel cloud sightings and touchdowns throughout the region. But I was very grateful to be out of that weather system an back in my own bed!


Marathon Marketing Workshop: Dallas

It's always fun to come to Texas, and the Dallas workshop was full of energetic photographers who really worked hard on completing their plans. I was tremendously impressed with the quality of the work they did, and I expect great to see a lot of progress for their studios in the months to come!

Next stop: Philadelphia . . . driving distance from my home. Yeah! In spite of gas prices, it will be great to skip the plane trip. Getting home from Dallas turned out to be quite an ordeal. More to come on that subject, as it was quite an adventure.