[B]ecker on networking and the [b] school
What has changed in the photography industry, besides technology, since you started your business?
When I first started out, after watching those Denis Reggie videos, we went to a local PPOC meeting and encountered a bunch of people with bad attitudes. It was like nobody would share, nobody would help, nobody would even acknowledge us. I asked someone if they would look at my portfolio and they looked at me at looked at me as if I was a leper…They acted as if I was the new guy stealing their work. The old school mentality was not productive to the community and it was every man for himself. I am a believer in win-win relationships and not creating fierce competition, but healthy competition and networking with other people. All of the people that I network with are doing very very well and photographers work together better now and help each other. That helping people out attitude is a huge change… The forums and the blogs is another change. People are a lot more connected and willing to share. This is why we decided to start the [b] school, to bring photographers together.
Who is the [b] school going to be for?
The [b] school will be open to all professional and aspiring photographers… with an emphasis on weddings and building a community around that. The focus is for wedding photographers since that is what I know. But eventually all types of photographers will join since there are a lot of things that are universal. As it evolves we will see what it turns into. Weddings work so well with community because you can only do so many weddings on a day or in a year. So if I am booked, I want to refer it to a friend. As a portrait photographer if you are booked on a day you can just book them the next day or the next day because they are not date specific events. So that is why portrait photographers may not be as willing to share as they can have an infinite amount of time to do sessions. My whole philosophy does not necessarily apply to them as far as the referrals. Portrait photographers could work together if one specializes in infants but does not want to shoot toddlers, seniors, or families.
Will you continue the [b] school blog once the school launches?
Nope. The blog is the drug dealer. The first hit is free. The blog will be updated with trailers for what’s going on inside. The blog is a marketing tool to build the traffic. But once the site is built, there is no need for the blog since all the stuff will be inside.
So what is the [b] school? What is “inside?”
The [b] school is about image, images, attitude, infrastructure and always striving to get better at all these things. Everything you do to run a business falls into one of these four categories. Images are not the most important part.
We are building a $100k website, paying for it out of my own pocket. We are building what will be like a “Facebook” for photographers. There will be a referral network for wedding photographers, get together calenders, clubs, a campus store with lots of products, lots of information given away for free….It is so beyond a forum or anything like that. It is a huge, huge thing. Tell people to tune in to the [b] school blog the next few sundays. This website we are building, it is sick. We have a firm in Seattle working on it. The guy who did my [b] logo designed the entire thing. It is beautiful. This site is gonna blow all other sites away. Trust me.
What will membership cost?
The subscription price is going to be very affordable. It will be so affordable. It will be a No Brainer to join. It will be very affordable and be a HUGE value.