Sunday, August 16, 2009

Practical Photo Walks

Thinking Outside the Boxed-In

A friend came over to the house yesterday evening, to show me his new camera. He nearly didn't get there at all, because I put him off so vehemently when he first tried, in the morning.

It was very odd. I had woken up remembering something I'd said to a group when I was teaching Lightroom 2, a few days earlier: "When your Hard Drive crashes, you'll regret not using Lightroom's back-up on import option. It may not crash today, or even next year - but, trust me, it will crash eventually." I probably remembered it because it was, for me, such a bold (and not entirely factual) statement.

No sooner had I brushed my teeth, I began to wonder about my powers of clairvoyance. My hard drive had crashed!! Well, actually, the local profile directory had become corrupted, and I was left with a cleaned-out desktop: no emails, or addresses, no web browser bookmarks and dozens of files vanished into thin air! I was in the middle of a blue fit when my friend called and asked if I'd like to see his new G10 and some other amazing gizmos with which he was down-laden - they don't call him "Gadget Mike" for nothing!! I put him off and set about following the instructions I'd somehow managed to find and copy from the Microsoft website on how to fix my ailing computer. Two and a half long hours later - they worked and I sent Mike a text to tell him I was genius - and several years older than when he last called.

So, he brought the G10 over at the end of the day. When I say Mike is a friend - he is most definitely that - but he's also a photography student of mine, and my accountant. That makes our conversations interesting, if not a little complex: "You get manual focus by pressing, am I on the 21% VAT rate or 13.5%...did I tell you about my new teaching idea...I've always wanted that spirit level thing that sits on the hot-shoe - no Mike, I can't take it...oh, thanks very much...etc."

I got to telling Mike that I was going to run some "Photo Walks", where I would teach a small group of photographers as we walked around a local Irish location (to start with Adare Village in County Limerick) but, I was stuck as to how to make them interesting.

In some ways, I was stuck inside my own "box" - thinking that nothing I did would be appealing, or have good value for money.

Mike, in his usual helpful and considerate manner was telling me that I'd already said a few things to him about the G10 (which I'd never held in my hand before today) that were worth a few of anybody's hard earned - and increasingly scarce - Euros. "What you need to do" he offered "is to tell them what it really is - not just a Photo Walk, but a Practical Photo Walk".

In that one sentence was all I needed to know about marketing and thinking outside the box. Tell it like it is. Give the customers what they want - or what they would buy.

See the right-hand column for the fruits of Mike's lateral thinking.

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