Example of creative entrepreneur who “gets it”

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My husband and I had a couple of different marriage celebrations.  The first was a traditional all-night ceremony in a tipi about 4 years ago with mostly my husband’s relatives, and another was a couple of years ago where we had both families fully represented and mixed our cultures (mine Anglo Saxon and Darryl’s Navajo).

For the second ceremony, I was looking for a great photographer to capture wedding pictures that we could treasure forever.  I have high creative standards when it comes to pictures because, as I mention often, my Dad is a professional photographer and I grew up around photography.  OK, I admit it, I am a photo snob.

So I did the usual thing … Googled "wedding photographers in Arizona."  After looking at a number of sites that had the typical boring staged shots, I stumbled upon Sergio Photographer’s site.  I was really taken aback by the photos — they had energy, color and life, and they communicated a lot of emotion.  I was intrigued.

I called Sergio and immediately felt comfortable.  He was accessible, easy to talk to and asked lots of good questions about what we were looking to capture with our wedding photos. We ended up hiring him, and I soon saw a number of things he does well that we can all learn from as entrepreneurs:

How a creative entrepreneur "gets it":

  1. He has a specific niche.  Obviously, as a talented photographer, Sergio can take shots of just about anything:  nature, nudes, children, business, stock photos, etc.  But he chose weddings because of the specific emotional content of the events, as well as the work flow that fits with his lifestyle.  I am sure that if you asked him he would also say that within the wedding photo niche he also has a particular kind of client that he loves to work with:  non-traditional, multicultural, creative and family-oriented come to mind by looking at his portfolio.
  2. He has a clearly defined style.  Rather than taking posed "say cheese for the camera" shots, Sergio acts as a photojournalist, capturing the movement and action of a wedding.  The intimate father/daughter shots in his portfolio are some of my favorites.  I cry when I look at them, even though I don’t know the people in the photos, because I can feel the tender emotion in the moment.  He also uses lights, camera angle and color in a specific way that show signature style.
  3. He is doing the work he is meant to do.  You cannot spend one minute with Sergio and not know that he is meant to have a camera in his hand.  He loves what he does, and that love shines through in every part of his business.  And he is damn good at it.
  4. He has great partners.  Sergio often shoots with his partner Kelly Rashka who also worked on our wedding.  She is an amazing artist in her own right, and the two of them work really well together.  It is nice to have both male and female photographers, since sometimes only a woman can really understand and fit into the "female bonding" part of a wedding, and only a man can capture the male equivalent.  Both flow seamlessly through many different situations, and compliment each other’s strengths and shortfalls.
  5. He understands that the way he works is also part of his brand.  One of the best things about Sergio is that he gets along with anyone.  When we first met, he said "The way I want you to feel about me at your wedding is not as a photographer, but as a family member."  And that is exactly what happened.  He laughed and joked with my husband’s relatives and my relatives, sampled the roast mutton and fry bread (it is a Navajo thing!), played with the kids and was quietly respectful with the grandmas.  This ease made everyone relax which, of course, is the key to great candid photos.
  6. He has clearly defined packages. Once we decided to go with him (which for me took about 30 seconds), he made it really easy to buy.  He outlined a very clear wedding package and sent an organized contract right away.  That made me feel comfortable, knowing that if he was organized in his business that he was most likely going to show up to the wedding on time and deliver the photos as promised.  Which he did, right when he said he would.
  7. He provides added services.  This slideshow of my wedding is an example of what he offers that is more than just a set of prints. Depending on his customer base, he could also offer custom photo books like these from Lulu.com. (just a thought Sergio!)
  8. He charges what he is worth.  He is not the cheapest person on the block, but is worth every penny.  By charging a good rate, he ensures that those he works with value his services.  He is not so busy running from cheap gig to cheap gig to pay the bills that he has time to plan and prepare for outstanding events.
  9. He has a clear brand.  His website, printed materials and blog all have a similar look and feel. They capture the spirit of who he is.  And a funny note … after almost finishing this post without looking at what he had written on his blog, I read that he described himself this way:

    "I create un-cheesy images and never say cheese.

    I have been a
    wedding photographer for about five years and I love doing this more
    than anything else in my life. I enjoy every single aspect of my job.
    From the moment I get an inquiry and everything throughout until I
    deliver the album after the wedding."

    Funny, that is exactly what I said about him as a customer!  That is true brand harmony.

  10. He demonstrates love.  For any wedding photographers out there, you know that sometimes weddings are the last places love is found.  From screaming mothers of the bride to drunk relatives to uptight grooms, they are tense emotional experiences.  But because Sergio approaches his work with an open heart and no judgment, things work out.  You can feel when someone cares about you as a human being and not just a customer.  That is not a communication technique, it is love.

Like many of you, Sergio used to be a cog in a corporate machine.  Fed up, he jumped ship to launch his business.  Each of us, in our own way, can learn from Sergio about showing up in our businesses in a big way.  Thanks for your talent, friendship and artistry Sergio!

(and FYI, he took my headshot on this blog too)

15 Responses to “Example of creative entrepreneur who “gets it””

  1. Beautiful photography, his love for the art and emotion shines through in every shot.

    And great thoughts on brand. One of the things I hear most often from artistic types about business is you can’t put a price tag on art.

    Argh! You absolutely can! And should!

    Thanks!

    ‘Chelle

  2. Sergio says:

    Pam!!,
    Happy Anniversary! (One day late)

    Your post is having, and will continue to have, a very powerful, positive effect on my personal and professional life.
    Your post helped me remember the things that I do right so I can focus on them everyday of my life.

    You are the one with the true gift.

    Thanks so much. I don’t know how I will ever be able to repay you for letting us be part of your life.

    Sergio

    Thanks Sergio! It takes two to tango, so we feel the same about you.

    Big abrazos,

    -Pam

  3. Kelly Rashka says:

    Pamela,
    Really beautiful post. Thank you. Your wedding was so amazing for Sergio and I. It’s indescribable, it was a feeling. I know that we will never forget it. I am so grateful for your post. Your description of Sergio is dead on. You described beautifully what he couldn’t say about himself because he is just Being. I know that the unsolicited confirmation of what you are, why you are is one of the greatest gifts people like us, who are describing ourselves and our clients through art, can receive. Thank you so much.

    Thank you Kelly! You both are so special to us, and will always be part of our great memories of that special day (or two days, as we all stayed overnight!)

    And you want to know something cosmic? Today is our anniversary!

    Keep up the great work. The way you and Sergio use your creative gifts is TRULY inspiring to others.

    Hugs,
    -Pam

  4. I’m building my own business powered by creativity and this list is very helpful.

    Thanks for posting it and thanks for sharing your photos, they’re wonderful.

  5. Suzanne says:

    Oooh, it’s so nice to see you, Darryl and Josh again! 🙂 The picture of Darryl on his phone is CLASSIC! I loved the slide show Pam and they were absolutely stunning photos!!!

    Miss you Slim Family!!!!

  6. Ellen Besso says:

    Pam: Really nice blog – great information for entrepreneurs plus a very beautiful picture of you at your wedding. This gives your blog a different feel.

    Ellen Besso
    Life Coach for MidLife Women
    http://www.ellenbesso.com/midlifemaze
    http://www.ellenbesso.com
    info@ellenbesso

  7. Now that’s a man that works happy. When we do what allows our talents to shine then we’ve found the love of work that alludes so many of us. Great perspective!

  8. I am amazed by the quality of his photographs and in awe of the quality of his showing up to give his gifts. What a jewel of a human being you found to take your wedding pictures!

    Rahim

  9. Paula G says:

    What a great post Pam. As a photo snob myself (I studied photography a while myself even though it is not my business, it is still a passion) – I must say this slideshow is amazing. Unbelievably captures the essence and real-deal of you, Darryl, and the people there.

    The world is a better place when people like Sergio escape the cube!

    Thanks for sharing not only a great example, but an intimate look at your photos.

  10. Pam,

    After 31 years away from the cubicle, I was struck by the way you laid out the underlying principles of Sergio’s approach in a way that transfers to all soloists! And after that much time, they were welcome reminders.

    As a guy who revels in guy stuff, your slideshow moved me deeply–Sergio’s chosen path is, indeed, who he is.

    Continued happiness. . .

    Steve: It is my job to make a tough guy cry. 🙂 I knew I could break you!

    I totally agree — these principles are really applicable to any business. It is just so fun to be able to literally SEE them through his photographs.

    The wedding was truly amazing. Powerful and gentle at the same time. And the marriage just keeps growing from that base — good to start, better every day. Boy am I thankful!

    All the best,

    -Pam

  11. Andy Pels says:

    I looked at the slide show.
    Wow.

  12. Miranda says:

    Yay!

    I’m a religious reader of your blog having escaped from my own cubicle to do photography full time a year ago.

    Today’s post is super awesome because it’s all true, and because Sergio is a friend of mine and you’ve described him to a tee. He really is one of the most genuine people I know, and is an amazing photographer to boot. We can all learn something from him.

    Cheers!

    That is so cool Miranda!!! I love it when our worlds collide. I agree — Sergio is wonderful. From the looks of your website, you guys are too! Rock on –keep up the good work.

    All the best,

    -Pam

  13. rustface says:

    Wow. Very inspiring post. A “small” idea. A niche. Some passion… Blowing the doors off ALL the competition. Quality, speed, or price, pick one, on the one day that really matters. What a deal. Great. Thanks.

  14. Susan Murphy says:

    Pamela,

    Really great post. You hit it bang on. It’s so important not just to love what you do, but to BRING love to what you do.

    I watched your wedding slideshow, and although I’ve never met you, I felt the emotion of the day through those images. Just shows what a true talent Sergio is.

    Really enjoy your blog, thanks!

  15. Lilian says:

    Thank you for this post! Really helpful! Good luck for your book!

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