I used to get in trouble in grade school for my incessant doodling. Looking back on it, I couldn’t be more proud of my supposed flaws at such a young age. It helps me to believe I was born an artist and that today, many years later, I am exactly where I’m meant to be.
Though my background and formal training is mainly in Graphic Design and Visual Communications, I have dabbled in photography since the late 90’s when I was finally able to afford a camera. Combining that passion of computer-aided precision and the creative freedom of photography, the dawning of the digital camera was all it took to get me to go ALL IN on this one-time hobby. The years since have become a life-changing, nation-wide crash course, training with the leaders of the industry through After Dark Education and others, with a mission of becoming the premiere portrait artist in my area.
Thanks mainly to After Dark, the last couple years have been the pinnacle years of success in moving to the next level. After operating a small hole-in-the-wall studio on Main Street New Richmond, WI, while still working a full-time printing/technology job, we renovated and moved our studio into our own 4500 sq. ft. historic building just a couple blocks away from the previous location. With the move, came the recognition that the professional brick and mortar portrait studio has returned to New Richmond and that support allowed me to take the leap to evolve to full-time self-employment at the end of 2011. My wife, Teresa, and I are not only thrilled with the growth we’ve accomplished in expanding our studio’s personalized services, professional abilities and boutique product options to our clients, but we have only pure excitement for the future in continuing to build and polish the business and make our mark as a pillar in the community that we love. We have no children, but our bulldog, Tater, is our baby.
We specialize in contemporary high school Senior portraits, sentimental family portraits, commercial product photography and edgy sports images. We believe that a portrait is more than a picture of someone, but rather an artistic expression of who that person truly is. Therefore, we pride ourselves in creating beautiful and artistic portraits, while providing a first-class memorable experience, custom designed from the beginning to best suite our clients’ goals.
I’m excited and honored to be a mentor at After Dark. Since the beginning, it has been a personal goal to be able to give back to the organization. I want to be able to bring our story and inspire the next class of After Dark attendees. Specifically how using projection sales with ProSelect can help lift your business to a profitable point and bridge the gap between being busy and being successful. I will demonstrate the projection sales process and psychology of the sale, show our sales room layout and equipment and provide a tour through the latest version of ProSelect software. I also invite anyone looking to take the leap to the next level to meet up anytime at AD to discuss what to be aware of and how to get there. Advice for the first time AD attendee: Don’t miss the orientation. Listen to Dave. Open your mind. Have fun. Don’t be shy, but don’t be rude. Take pull-back shots of the set-ups. Attend a balance of bays and pods. Don’t plan on this being a one-time thing. You’ll be back.
How did you get started in the business?
Got started in the business with sports photography. I thought I knew it all, and I was going to be cheaper and better than the other photographers when I started doing Senior Pictures. (I was a neighbor with a camera. And man, was I wrong.) Then as things got more serious, Jeff Dunn, a master photographer in my area and mentor at the first After Dark, suggested I attend this new form of photography education. So in 2009 I attended After Dark Austin, TX. It was eye opening! I learned so much in such a short time, it inspired me to keep digging and with the help of mentor, Kevin Jordan, to think positive and re-write my entire future vision. The ability to meet the leaders of the industry and befriend them was like nothing I’ve experienced before. And it showed me that starving artist was just a term used for artistic people that didn’t have a plan. That you can make a living at what you love when you work with mentors that are doing it. Without After Dark and people like Dave Junion’s willingness to share, I would not be where I am today.
After Darks Attended:
8 (Austin, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Dallas)
The very first time. Austin. There were musicians as models everywhere and the energy and chaos was awesome. They put on a concert reception that I’ll always remember. And nothing’s been the same since my trip to Austin. Second favorite is when we took Kathy Holcombe’s business-focused class, “Beyond the Image,” at AD Charlotte in 2011. We learned what it was going to take to go full-time and the difference between being busy and being successful.
What are the top 5 skills you’ll be teaching at After Dark?
- Projection Sales Overview
- ProSelect Software
- Sales Tips & Tricks
- Pricing Psycology
- Making the Leap to Self Employment
- Canon Shooter
- Studio & Outdoor Strobes & OCF
- Professional Photographer Less than 5 Years
- Graphic Arts Background
- Built Studio & Self-Employment in 2011
Majority of Business:
- High School Seniors
- Photogenic Studio Strobes / Larson boxes
- Canon OCF / Radio Poppers
- Hot Lights