Hi, my name is Trenton and I’m finally out of the woods.
It’s been three months since I’ve blogged anything. I also hardly sent any emails nor made any phone calls. Weird, considering the holiday season… With that in mind I want to offer an explanation and a quasi-apology. I say quasi, because I’m not sorry for what I’ve been doing, but I am sorry if any of my readers have felt neglected.
In early October I finally relocated back to Atlanta after an unexpected six year long journey to Eastern Europe.
Since then I’ve got a place to live, a car to drive, photographed a few events (including several mitzvahs, a high profile fundraiser and a cover shoot) and started filling up my 2016 calendar. Oh, and also gave an interview on FujiRumors.
Slowly, but things are a-movin’. Simultaneously I’ve been processing the queue for my Belorussian clients (it has been a busy year!), developing a portal website for my own clients, another one for my friend… And getting back on the grid.
Building a high end boutique business on a shoestring budget is nothing new to me. Been there back in 2000 when I first came to the States, then in 2010 when I realized that I’m stuck in Eastern Europe, and now again, back stateside…
But this time around it’s going to be quite a bit harder – mostly due to that unplanned Russian/Belorussian odyssey of mine. You just can’t build a reputation, then suddenly disappear for 6 years and expect to pick it up from where you left it.
Finding a great family photographer is a painstaking process, and ideally should be done only once in a lifetime. Over the years quite a few of my clients hired me for all of their kid’s bar and bat mitzvahs, some even managed to get me for a mitzvah and the wedding… You can’t just take a time out in this market!
Like A Plumber
…It took me years of painful and expensive trial and error to find a really good plumber. I’ve been wholeheartedly recommending him to all my friends ever since, and everyone was happy until… He died.
You know, sometimes you just can’t help it but feel quite differently from the way you should’ve been feeling as a civilized person? That happened to me when I’ve learned about the plumber’s demise. I wasn’t sad, nor was I grieving – not even remotely. It all came later, but my first reaction was… anger. I was totally pissed by the fact that I’ll have to start that search all over again.
I completely understand if some of my old clients felt the same way about my “short” trip to Russia in 2009, which was originally planned to last no more than 2 months. I was assured by all parties involved that it won’t take longer than a month… yet it took six years. Force majeure such as death, war or stupid acts of the government (latter in my case) shouldn’t really be preventing anyone from doing the things they love, so I have no real excuses here. Especially considering that I’m a security nerd.
Department Of Redundancy Department
Decades ago, when I booked my first “way in advance” kind of event (it was a bat mitzvah booked 3 years ahead, if I remember correctly), my whole concept of “operations security” regarding event photography have changed dramatically.
Meditate on it for a few minutes. There’s an event in 3 years that you absolutely have to attend while being in top shape physically, emotionally and professionally. That’s what you do for a living. Does it fit your current lifestyle?…
Over the years I’ve built a very robust operations security system. It includes multiple redundancies (lesson learned from the flood in a colleague’s retail studio), advanced logistics and automation – I have a plan for any possible and many impossible scenarios, including a fully autonomous bot that will get a replacement photographers for all pre-booked events in case of my sudden disability, disappearance or death.
As it turned out, there was just one thing that I didn’t have a plan for: Russian bureaucracy.
Dang. Six years. Six freakin’ years!… But let’s turn the page already.
Out Of The Woods
The main reason I’ve stayed so quiet for the last 3 months is that I was getting back on the grid. It’s nearly impossible to conduct any serious business when 2 out of 3 major credit bureaus forgot (!) your SSN, your bank accounts have been closed “for inactivity” (what?!), your driver’s license is a non-laminated printout and your car has a temporary tag issued in a wrong name… The list goes on and on, but you get the idea.
Well, I’m happy to report that I’m out of the woods and back to being an all-American entity. And I’m here to stay.
Right now I have a huge advantage when compared to my colleagues in the same market segment: I am not yet booked for years in advance, so I’m probably available for your date (please ask about my availability here).
Another positive side to me being underbooked: no event is too small. Seven years ago I was hesitant to book $500 photoshoots, especially on weekends – with my busy schedule back then I would’ve rather booked a $7,500 event and take a second day off… Well, that’s no longer the case; let me repeat – no event is too small.
No event is too big, either – the biggest event I’ve ever photographed was a wedding with over 2,500 guests.
So If You Are…
- Planning a wedding or bar mitzvah of your own – contact me ASAP to reserve your date!
- Professional event planner or coordinator – get in touch with me here or on Facebook (alternatively you can use my personal profile if we are friends on FB). Let’s form an alliance to help your clients capture the perfect moment without spoiling it!
- Competing Studio – contact me to discuss how I can help your business. I like subcontracting as a first or second shooter, and B2B clients say that I’m quite good at replicating other studios signature styles (still working on my Monte Zucker impersonation though). Other services include workflow solutions and education.
- Reading this text out of sheer curiosity – spread the word, share this post!
- Just want a casual photo session at the location of your choice – scroll down to the very end of this post :)
Thank you for reading this mess! I know that it took some effort on your part, and I truly appreciate it. My English is pretty rusty, as I haven’t used it for (you’ve guessed it!) six years. It will get better, I promise!
PS: By the way, my experiment with mini sessions in early October resulted in a total surprise: 100% of participants chose the “Mini session on demand with digital negatives” option! Well, since y’all liked it so much, from now on it will be offered as a standard package, $465 flat rate for Atlanta and North Metro area. Just send me a message and let’s start planning!