Gary Fong, former celebrity wedding photographer and now inventor of such things as the Gary Fong Lightsphere and lecturer spoke to a sold-out audience last night at Ryerson University. The event was part of Contact, the Toronto celebration of photography (My fellow Henry’s School of Imaging instructor and pro-photographer Michael Willems has an exhibition running right now which is also part of Contact. His IV-Intravenous exhibition is showing at the New Gallery on Queen Street West in Toronto. Hurry though as it closes Saturday, May 10th.)
But let’s get back to Gary. His workshop is aimed at up and coming wedding photographers but I (who never do weddings) found it invaluable for my special-event photography business. Gary may have just helped me figure out how to sell a million bucks of my services and products despite the recession. Even better, using Gary’s suggestions I really won’t have any competition either. Here’s a recent interview on PIFphoto blog.
Yup it’s true. Gary has figured out a way how to make the wedding photography business pay big time. Best of all, he tells all his “secrets” including how much he was making a year which at the end of his career was reported to be $120,000 a day.
So how does Gary do it? Well it’s not about how good a photographer you are! Gary was making big money ($60K back in the mid 80s) and his images were….how can I be charitable here….awful might be too strong a word….mundane, too cruel….ordinary doesn’t quite capture it. Anyway you get my drift. If this guy could figure out how to get brides to pay two, three even four times more for a Gary Fong wedding as compared to way better photographers (at the time. At his peak Gary was as good as it gets. Period.), why couldn’t you do the same thing?
The answer to that question is particularly obvious. Most people won’t do the work that’s involved. Don’t think for a moment that Gary didn’t work really hard for his success. He has a particular method for selling to brides and he doesn’t deviate from it.
Like what? Well he doesn’t shoot and burn. Shoot and burn photographers sell themselves by being cheap. They say to a new bride that they will shoot the wedding for $700 or even $1000 for the day and deliver a DVD full of high resolution of photos. Okay so they get $1000 a weddings. How many weddings can you do in a year? Thirty is a big number. Sixty if you’re not taking holidays and can find work shooting weddings in our Canadian winters (good luck). So what does that add up to? Right: $30K to $60K.
Heck I make that much teaching and I have virtually no expenses teaching.
Even working as a shoot and burn photographer has expenses. I could barely feed myself and keep my car on the road for $30K.
Gary has got all his secrets on this Gary Fong Getting Rich video. Or if you want to wait a few months his new book The Accidental Millionaire will be published later this summer. I’m buying a copy. Why? Because Gary asked me to! And, why am I buying Gary’s book just because he asked me to? Well I want to help Gary become a New York Times best selling author. (It takes 10,000 copies sold.) And I’m asking all of you to help Gary make his target of selling 10,000 copies. Why? Because if the book is anything like Gary, it will be a great read. Trust me. I’m doing you a big favour.
I went to Gary’s workshop thinking I might find this guy way over the top. Instead I sat entranced by a really nice guy who was as generous with his time as he was with his “secrets”. Gary couldn’t do enough for the new up-and-coming wedding photographers in the audience. I know this sounds corny but I feel like I just made a new friend. That’s me and my new pal Gary.
If you get a chance to be at a Gary Fong workshop run, don’t walk to get a ticket. Having said that, there’s a rumour that Gary is coming to the Henry’s Photographic, Video and Digital Imaging Show taking place at the International Centre on May 22 to 24.