The last Friday in February has me dreaming about Spring and getting fired up for the “Photography for Farmers” Workshop that I have coming up with Melissa Barrick of Melissa Barrick Photography. Melissa and I met on Instagram. I was just a huge fan of what she was doing and wanted to meet her. So I reached out and invited her to come to the farm. She does a series called “Photography for Moms”. I thought it could be perfectly adapted for farmers using smartphones and she agreed!
Not only is Melissa a photographer, she is the creative marketing genius behind Heritage Chocolates. The workshop we’ve designed is practical and hands-on. I want people to walk away with real skills that they can put to use right away without having to put in too much effort. In addition to learning how to take better photographs, Melissa will talk about food/product styling, photo editing, and social media best practices.
To get to know Melissa a little better, I asked her a few questions for my Friday Feature series. And here it is:
Who would be your dream client to photograph?
I get asked this a lot! I love photographing people who are truly, genuinely happy. It really reflects back into pictures, when the smiles and reactions aren’t coached or forced. I think I would also love to photograph Prince Harry’s wedding… I wouldn’t hate that 😉
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am inspired by so many things, I cannot name a single source! As an artist, I think I am always looking to find the beauty wherever I go: a random field on the side of the road, gorgeous late-summer sunshine twinkling on a river, new flowers in spring time, people-watching, being somewhere new. I am always looking to see a new way to see things. Always. I can’t seem to shut it off!
What’s on the top of your travel wish list?
I would love to travel back to New Zealand at least once more in my lifetime. My husband and I went with our 7 month old baby several years ago on a family trip. I would have stayed there if I could have. I’ve never experienced a place like that before. Natural beauty is everywhere, the plants and animal sounds are all completely different. The people of New Zealand are the kindest I’ve ever met, and there’s lots of really great wine, too!
What’s your best piece of marketing advice?
I have a bachelor’s degree in marketing (Go Terps!), but so much has changed since then with the arrival of blogs, Pinterest and social media. I’ve learned so much in the 10 years I’ve been in business – fresh out of college!
One of the best things I can pass on would probably be to get involved with your community. Know your market PERSONALLY.
Marketing 101 says that viral marketing (word of mouth) is the most powerful form of marketing. Potential customers will take a friend’s recommendation over a Google search any day! By being active in your community, networking with others in your industry, building genuine relationships with those people – THAT is the best marketing.
This advice might be a little old school, but in such a fast-moving, digital business environment, there’s still something extremely valuable to be said for knowing your customers. Many people love to tell their friends, “Hey, I know a guy…” And you’re the one in luck when you’re the one who has put in that face time effort to establish that relationship!
Tell us something we don’t know…
For an average photo session, I spend about 5-8 hours “behind the scenes.” This will yield about 500-800 images that I then narrow down, or cull, and then edit. It takes me about 10-12 hours behind the scenes to complete a wedding! On average, each wedding yields about 2,000-4,000 images that I go through, cull, then edit. So when you hire a professional photographer and wonder about the price, THIS is where a lot of time is spent – not just shooting! We care a great deal about the quality of our work, as well as making our clients super, extra happy 🙂
Bonus question: what’s one quick photography tip that can help people improve their skills?
MOVE! Try moving your body to get a different angle of whatever you’re photographing. Squat down, kneel, lay on the ground, stand up on a ladder, etc. Try to capture your subject in a different way than how you normally would look at it. Shoot a couple different ways and see what you like the best!