Creative Marketing for Non-Conformists with Photographer Carly Romeo
To help get ready for our huge upcoming annual event, Photo Week 2015, we’re highlighting some of our favorite instructors who are part of the event.
We’re going to be sharing with you, everything from their tips and advice on how to make it in the photography business, how to frame perfect shots within their domains, how to create your unique style, and much more over the coming weeks.
Today, we’d like you to meet Carly Romeo, a pro wedding photographer and creative marketer. This Virginia based, globetrotting feminist wedding photographer has quite a genuine spin on her style of doing business. She approaches weddings as a celebration of love and community, rather than more traditional bride-centric or patriarchal views.
Because Carly strives to capture images of weddings that express who people truly are, as opposed to cutesy typical couple photos, she’s ended up building quite a passionate community for her wedding photography business.
Here’s our interview with Carly.
Q. What have been some of your favorite moments as a photographer?
Carly: “Like many artists, I can be punishingly self-critical, but I’ve had some major achievements in my career as a professional photographer. Highlights range from being asked to teach on CreativeLive, to being asked to shoot an elopement in NYC for a couple who flew from Australia with their kid, to getting my work published.”
“I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like I’ve truly ‘made it,’ as it seems like there will be no more work to be done!”
Q. I really love the way you identify non-conformist clients. Can you tell me how you first got into working with them?
Carly: “I’ve been an ardent feminist for as long as I can remember — starting in second grade at least — and my education and non-photography career background is in women’s and gender studies.”
“To me, weddings (and marriage) involve a complex interplay of gender, class, race, religion, etc., and there is a lot of tension there. So, when I decided to become a wedding photographer, I acknowledged that tension, and other people who feel similarly responded with enthusiasm and relief.”
One of the reasons Carly has been able to develop such a strong community around her business, is because she’s found a niche of consumers and truly acknowledged their biggest pain point when it comes to weddings: a lack of general sensitivity and authenticity. Her clients find her because she appreciates and understands their ideals.
Q. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Carly: “In my mid-twenties, I was working as Gloria Steinem’s assistant in NYC, and despite it being a great job, I was feeling kind of stuck. I had always had photography in the back of my mind, but was an expert in discouraging myself with thoughts like well, I already know three people who are photographers, I don’t want to step on their toes. Everyone else with photography training is way ahead of me, why even try?”
“One afternoon I confessed to Gloria that I was trying to figure out my next steps and explained why photography is something I was mulling over. Her response was, ‘Just start doing it.’ I know it seems simple now, but it’s actually a really radical thing to JUST START doing the thing you want to do. Don’t wait until you have permission, or the exact right collection of lenses, or a bunch of extra time, or you are ‘properly’ trained.”
“Just grab a camera and take photos. People too often wait for their “thing” to cross their path, but you have to take steps to find it. If you try it and it doesn’t speak to you like you were hoping, do something else.”
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