by Damien Lovegrove Published 01/11/2009
We don't believe there's ever been a speaker line-up quite like this before at any photo convention - anywhere. At the pioneering eight-day long 2011 gathering, our broad church of professional and aspirational photographer visitors will have a truly enormous choice of seminars to be delivered by 100 top-rated experts from across the globe. (We just wanted to make quite sure we had covered every subject under the imaging sun!)
Of course it would be impossible to produce personal profiles for every single speaker given obvious Imagemaker pagination restrictions, so we've drawn some of these key names out of the hat to give you an exclusive 'cross-section' profile snapshot. We asked them all similar questions - and here's the result.
Imagemaker: Tell us a little about your background, your first camera and photographic experience and your subsequent emergence as a pro.
DL: I was 16 when I landed my first camera, a Pentax Spotmatic. I used it to shoot alongside my brother Harley who was a pro-shooter at the time.
I learnt my trade as a cameraman and lighting director during 14 years at the BBC, working on programmes such as The Clothes Show, Top of the Pops and Casualty.
Fifteen years on, after over 350 top weddings and countless portrait shoots I now teach photography and entrepreneurial business strategies both here and abroad.
In addition I am a published writer and regular columnist.
Because I'm not a great painter.
Film or digital? Is there still a place for silver halide?
I have been shooting digital since 2001. Film is a USP (unique selling proposition) now for some shooters, but I find it too much of a nuisance.
Canon 5D MK11. It's a good all-round camera for my kind of shooting. It's not too heavy and it's great in low light. My wife Julie uses a Nikon D700, which is probably even better in low light than my Canon.
Bit of detail about your own studio set-up/staffing. Why (as a customer) would I choose you?
The studio has a shooting room, a viewing room, a reception and an office with a catering area. Staffing includes me; my wife Julie; our picture editor and Photoshop genius Marko; website problem solver and second Photoshop editor, Luke; and our lovely P.A. Blaise -
Laura is on maternity leave and is due to return in March.
We believe our differentiator is our commitment to bend over backwards to ensure that every client has a fantastic experience - and that we always exceed their expectations.
The problem with professional photographers today is...
I believe at this moment we have more people studying photography than there are jobs in the industry. A high number of up-and-coming photographers graduating from media art colleges intend to run their own businesses, yet they often leave full-time education woefully equipped to succeed. There are other newcomers too of course - among those are photographers in their 30s and 40s who are joining the industry from other careers.
These people are more likely to experience success due to their ability to set out goals, fund training and plan for the future. Plus, they often find it easier to earn the respect of clients and are already accustomed to the relentless hard work associated with running a business.
What's the worst commercial error you have made to date?
Spending a huge amount of money on a printing machine that we were never quite satisfied with. Subsequently we are now having clients come back to us with prints that have turned a lurid shade of green. Mercifully this was on our framed portraits, not our album prints.
How did you rectify the mistake?
We cut our losses and went back to a 'proper' lab after three months of 'faffing about' and wasted time.
The lessons learnt?
It's not necessarily cheaper or better to try to do everything 'in-house'.
Are you excited by the evolution of imaging? The future: is the (imaging business) glass half full or half empty?
It's definitely half full. Mastery of light on location is the new revolution. At last technical excellence is once again in demand from the buying public.
Is it getting harder or easier to make a decent living?
Easier - all things considered. Yes, the industry has had a mini drought in 2009 but bookings are coming in super fast for 2010. Here at Lovegrove Consulting we have had our best year yet with more and more people wanting to step up and move the quality of their work to a higher level.
How do you stay ahead of the game?
I am always looking for the next best thing. If something is no longer working in our business, I find ways to change it immediately for the better. I like to keep our products and service relevant and up to date.
How do organisations such as The Societies help?
The Societies bring photographers and suppliers together for the benefit of all - and that is not an easy task.
Why is The Societies Convention such a big deal for photographers? Is it primarily about the chance to learn from the experiences of imaging icons?
For us, we get the chance to meet many thousands of photographers face to face. We listen to their successes and try to understand their needs. It is a great insight into what we need to do in the business to stay ahead of the game.
Your own mentors (living or dead)?
I don't have any. Is that bad?
Who today is leading the way in creative social photography (other than you) and why?
Chris Hanley with his new 'Cherish the Dress' brand. He has taken the American 'Trash the Dress' concept and reinvented it for the British market.
Julia Boggio - has brought a vibrant style to the UK market, genuinely original and creative. Her pin-up boudoir photography is exemplary.
If you could pick just FIVE seminars (other than your own of course!) to attend at The Societies Convention whose workshops would you attend?
Julia Boggio - She thinks outside the box and creates great expression and rapport in her images.
Joe Cornish - Exemplary landscape photography. His composition and perspectives excite me.
Trevor Yerbury - The rock star of the north with oodles of talent and a wonderful persona.
Faye Yerbury - A woman's perspective on fine art nudes.
Charlie Waite - Inspirational speaker. Never fails to inspire me with his passion and charm.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the industry?
Twitter for social communication between photographers. This will replace forums for social hang-ups.
Would you want your own children to take up the reins of your empire (or have they)?
The business that we have created has all the right ethics and balance in place. I like to think that the Lovegrove Consulting brand is one to be proud of and one with a rosy future. My daughter is still young, but who knows?
Your plans for the next five years?
Retire. (No it's not true.)
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 239 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 20th January 2021