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How To Prepare for AD Events

Welcome to the After Dark Family, we’re excited to meet you at our event. After Dark Education combines the knowledge power of its 35 mentors with the intimate learning atmosphere of a low student to mentor ratio. Learning occurs throughout the event in both scheduled sessions as well as on the fly, small groups. By nature, After Dark has grown to be knows for its spontaneity and encouragement of hands-on creativity, so new “sessions” are constantly being added at all hours of the day and night! By staying at the hotel you ensure you’re in the heart of the action!

Once you’ve REGISTERED for your event and BOOKED your hotel room, it’s time to get down to business! Yes, that was the easy part!

If you haven’t already:

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step oneLets start at the beginning, ask yourself:

  • Does my business provide me the lifestyle I want to live?
  • Is the time and energy I put into my business being optimized?
  • Who is my “desired” client and am I attracting them?
  • What is my photographing style?
  • Do I understand the core fundamentals of my equipment (photographing and production)?
  • What is my work flow from the initial “hi can you send me your price list” to “see you next time”?

Be honest, take your time, write it down!

Define Your Goals: from your current starting point, where do you want to be in 6 months? In 1 year? In 5 years? Nothing happens overnight, make a list of one or two things you know you can alter in each time frame and make a list. Get specific with your questions you need answered in order to check something off.

Example: In 6 months, I want a structured product guide with set pricing and a sales workflow to sell these 3 main products to 80% of all clients.

  • How do I choose what products to put on my product guide?
  • Why do I use the term “product guide” vs. “price list”? What’s the difference?
  • What do I take into consideration when pricing an 8×10 print?
  • How do I guide my clients into purchasing my “core” products?

step 3Research the Mentors: everyone’s situation is unique. The beauty of After Dark is you get to ask as many of these guys your questions, get everyone’s collective information and then choose what you believe will work for your situation. Make your plan and put it into action as soon as you return home!

Read the mentors bio’s, check out samples of their work, watch their videos and listen to their podcasts. Get a feel for who they are as individuals and see if you jive with their style.

Take your list of questions and match mentors to specific areas. Make a list of questions to ask each mentor and have them accessible because you never know when they’re going to be right in front of you ready to offer you advice.

step 4Study the Grid: now that you have a set starting and desired ending point, you have a list of questions you need answered, and you’ve chosen the mentors you think will best be able to offer you the knowledge you need, study the grid and make a plan. It’s amazing how quickly the event will go by, the more you prepare before you get there, the better you’ll be able to optimize your time between the business/production pods, the studio capture bays, the on location sessions, and meet and greets with mentors and fellow participants!

step 5Things to Bring:

  • Images: it’ll give the mentors an idea of your style or help them point out specific lighting or editing techniques.
  • Marketing & Sales Pieces: it’ll give the mentors and idea of where you are currently and they’ll be able to offer verbiage, design, and business advice
  • Camera, Computer, CF Cards, Card Readers: this is a hands on learning environment, come prepared to work, learn, and play…who knows you might even be the teacher for a bit!
  • Business Cards

step 6Questions: ask questions often. There is no such thing as a “silly” question. You will encounter people at all different levels with all different desires, ask questions when you have them and answer them when you can. After Dark is a collective learning environment that provides opportunities for great growth and development while making friends and rock’n it hard!

Please post questions and comments on the After Dark FaceBook Fan Page for immediate answers from AD and Photographers who’ve attended previous events!

As with everything, you’ll get out what you’re willing to put in!