by Angelique Duffield Published 01/08/2010
In late March 2010, just after the local ski hill had closed for the season, I decided that I had spent way too long slogging away at the back-office part of my business, and what I really needed was to go out and actually discover the joy of shooting again. I called Heather to offer her a complimentary photo session for her family, and she enthusiastically agreed. Her fiance, who spends weeks at a time working on the road, was home that weekend too. Heather colour coordinated the whole herd of four kids and two adults in winter gear, and we had a fantastic time playing in the last of the season's snow. Then, typical in the Okanagan, we drove down to the beach and took some 'summer' photos in t-shirts and sandals. She loved the photos, and put a large framed print of her family up in her boutique.
That was when our relationship grew in earnest. The other photographer who had her wedding prints up in the boutique took down her images and moved on, leaving a whole wall for me to fill with my work. Heather and I planned a mini-graduation fair together with Shawna, a woman who sells vintage jewellery. I did a graduation-dress photo session, which added to my portfolio and gave us some images to display in the boutique. The event was far from successful, primarily because it was thrown together in two weeks and it was quite late in the year as most high-school graduates would have already purchased their gowns in the fall. But it didn't matter, because it was the kick in the pants I needed to focus my efforts on pricing and promotional literature, get the word about my business out, and get shooting.
More importantly, I was building relationships. The three of us went on to plan a bridal shoot at a nearby luxury hotel and spa that was due to open in the spring. I'd seen the advert in a bridal magazine a number of times, and showed everyone how gorgeous this contemporary new venue was.
It finally occurred to me that the hotel was new, not even open yet, and it would be a prime opportunity to get in there on their preferred vendor list. My co-vendors and I put together a plan that would help promote everyone involved, and the central theme was crystals and sparkliness, because the hotel was known for it's $2 million Swarovski crystal chandelier in the main lobby.
After much perseverance, and a week of waiting not so patiently to see if this would move forward, I finally got an email from the sales and marketing manager to say that the CEO had okayed a half-day shoot in June, in exchange for images to be used on their website.
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