Sarah and I have been busy working on several projects since getting re-established in St. Paul. Most of my time has been spent trying to figure out how to make Brakkenwood more profitable. To that end I sought opportunities to work for other established photographers in the Twin Cities. However, during my search I found an opening at Lifetouch Church Directories for a photogrpaher/sales associate. I didn’t know much about Lifetouch before I found the position and after a phone interview with my potential boss I learned a job with LCD would be a good chance to polish those skills I would need as an independent photographer. Long story short, I got the job and this week will start shadowing a field crew on-assignment.
As mentioned in a previous post, Sarah and I upgraded to Adobe CS 6 and added Lightroom 4 to the bundle. After the install I found a workshop for Lightroom at the Mpls Photo Center. The two-day class was shorter than I would have liked, but our instructor went over most of the awesome features Lightroom has to offer. If anything the program will help me organize my images. Lightroom allows me to easily modify metadata on multiple pictures at once making it easier to search files my keyword. In addition nearly all of the ‘retouch’ functions needed to clean-up photographs are included in Lighroom so I’ll rarely have to use Photoshop again!
Sarah has been hard at work developing some products for Protene. She’s also put the finishing touches on a new website for the MN Lamb and Wool Producers Association. There have been a number of distractions though. Since we’re living so close to our parent’s homes we have travelled to visit them several times over the past few weeks. I’ve been scouting each of their properties for some landscape picture potential, but have yet to have inspiration strike. Once I get some good photos I’ll include them in the blog.
Sarah is pretty excited about the newest Adobe release. Our former version was 3 and we had been waiting for 6 to be released so we could update. We got the Master Suite so we’ve every program under the sun! There was a photo management program called “Lightroom” I was hoping would be included in the package, but we had to pick it up separate. I’m actually taking a workshop this next weekend to get a better grip of its capabilities.
Speaking of upgrades, I have also saved my pennies up for a new hard drive for my desktop computer. I typically purchase new hardware components individually so the machine is continually being improved. The old HD was about five years old and is making a lot of noise. Figured it would be time for an upgrade before something broke done permanently. The drive holds the operating system so instead of putting Vista on a new-and-improved disk I’ve also invested in Windows 7 64-bit. It will be nice to have a fresh start with a clean storage unit running an improved OS and the latest Adobe products! To quote Ghostbuster’s Winston: “We got the tools! We got the talent!” (1:15)
1300+ miles in 2.5 days! With the help of our parents, Sarah and I made the journey back to the Midwest and were able to move in to our new residence with relative ease. Unfortunately, the place we’re staying isn’t wired with coaxial cable so Comcast wasn’t able to hook us up w/ Internet service as quickly as we’d like. A second crew is slated to come this week to finish the job; hopefully everything goes smoothly and we’ll be online again soon. As for this entry, I’m writing from my family farm in SW Minnesota. It’s been two years since I’ve been home. It’s nice to see all the changes my folks have made to the homestead since I’ve been gone. I didn’t bring my camera home this weekend, but I’ll make a point to upload some items in a future post.
ASMP’s MN chapter has its Summer Social this Wed. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the local professionals and start networking. It would be nice to meet some photographers who are in need of an assistant, though just learning more about the market will be beneficial in changing our business plan to adapt to the Twin Cities.
As some know, Sarah and I went to college at the U of MN. During the move, my in-laws and I discussed how I might be able to use some of our college connections to find business opportunities. Sarah and I were both involved in the Greek community on-campus, and each year the various fraternities and sororities take formal portraits. The MN State Fairgrounds is also adjacent to the campus and the multiple functions held there often utilize photographers. Once the net is up, I’ll start tracking down contacts.
This week I notified my current employer of my plans to leave the East Coast. I’ve a few supervisors and I was concerned they would be upset with my decision to move-on. Thankfully they were very supportive, though it wasn’t clear on what action I should take towards distributing my current responsibilities. There are several colleagues I consider prime candidates for middle management, yet I don’t know if my employer plans to promote a single individual or just have random folks fill-in until a new hire can be found. For now I’ll simply assume they will re-distribute the burden until they find someone else to take over.
I figure our move date is near enough now I can begin to apply for some contract work in the Minneapolis area. Through various web resources I found a few gigs that appeal to my experience. N2 publishing is looking for photographers and field reporters to add content to their community newsletters and magazines. Their promotional video sells them as a community strengthening publication; an effort I would be happy to support. I was exited to see an opening at Wilson Leather for a product photographer. A temp-job, but a perfect way to get more experience in commercial photography. Based on the description I’m quite confident I would be able to handle their workload with other Brakkenwood endeavours. Similarly, Gladson was also looking for a product photographer. They seem more of a nationally spread company, but like Wilson I could likely keep them as a client while pursuing other work. It’s only been a few days, but hopefully I’ll hear back from someone soon.
Our apartment is a disaster! Only about a month to go before the move and we’ve started packing. I made a point to keep many of the premier boxes from our last move, but I’ve been collecting as many empty boxes as I can get my hands on. Never understood why anyone would purchase boxes when you can use recycled ones from commercial retailers. They don’t call them ‘big box’ stores for nothing! After shelves are stocked there are always huge piles of boxes they typically toss out. Regardless, all our rooms have boxes lines up along the wall with packed goods. I’d say at least a quarter of everything we own is ready to move.
Sarah had a meeting with Protene VIPs on Friday. They are one of our first solid customers and we were concerned they would be put-off by us leaving Virginia. Thankfully we live in an age where technology surpasses the problems created by distance. Remote meeting software allows us to share computer desktops with clients and quality webcams grant face-to-face meetings regardless of where we’re based. Not only was Protene eager to continue our business relationship, but Sarah got several more projects to keep her busy these next few weeks!
Sarah has done an outstanding job remodeling the Brakkenwood website. After committing to pursue freelance work full-time, she’s been pumping out all kinds of new designs.
I continue to work for my current employer in Richmond, VA, but am already eagerly awaiting our move to the Midwest. In preparation, I’ve decided to enroll in the American Society of Media Photographers. Seems the Twin Cities ASMP chapter is having a meet-and-greet BBQ around the same time we move. It will be a good opportunity to network with some local professionals and get a better handle on the market. I’m not yet considered an independent photographer so I’ve signed up for the ‘Associate’ grade membership. That should grant me access to much of the business resources that will really help as we settle-in.