Featured Photographer: Jason Groupp

Jason Groupp is not only an amazing photographer and a generous speaker, but he also runs a successful studio in New York. In these times of economic instability, I think it’s especially important to look to photographers running a financially successful studio. The number of people who can take pretty pictures is large. The people who can turn that into a stable income for their families and their employees is smaller. Pay attention to Jason.

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Known for his easy, but highly effective, off camera flash techniques, without further ado, I give you Jason Groupp.

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How did you get started in photography?[break]
I started working for a photographer near my hometown just outside of NYC when I was 17.  After high school, I studied fashion photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.[break]

[break]Who have been your influences in photography?[break]
I’ve been fortunate to have had some great photographers I’ve worked for as an assistant after college.  They were great teachers and mentors to me over the years, and I still keep in touch with a few of them today.[break]

[break]How would you define your style of photography?[break]
Lifestyle, with an edge for fashion.[break]

[break]What is one thing that has helped you grow your business?[break]
The Fundy Album Builder of course! :) (We didn’t make him say that.)

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I think the one thing that has helped grow my business the most is the ability to follow through. When I say that, I mean staying with my clients through the entire process, from our first meeting straight through to the delivery of their albums.  Seems like an easy thing to do, but keeping in touch with EVERY client and keeping THEM on a timeline so that everyone is happy is not always an easy task.  But having a rigid structure and staying with it is SO important.

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Many of my clients go on to purchase homes and have children very soon after their wedding.  I’ve learned if the album process isn’t completed within one year of their wedding, it becomes a “hassle” for everyone.  That’s not a good position for anyone, and it definitely isn’t good for sales. :)
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What is one thing that has helped you grow as an artist?[break]
Shooting, shooting and more shooting!  If you look at some of the best professionals in sports, what’s the one thing they all have in common?  Their work ethic…
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I once read somewhere that Tiger Woods (I know, not the best example) will hit at least 200 golf balls at the end of every game.  Seems a bit redundant, no?
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Practice makes perfect, and unless you’re constantly doing it, that creative brain isn’t getting a workout.  I also have learned that you must shoot for yourself.  If you’re not working on some kind of personal project all the time, you need to ask yourself if you are an artist at all.
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What is one failure that helped you grow as a business person/artist?[break]
I once shot a family member’s wedding with strobe in bright sunlight with my shutter at 1/250th sec. on my medium format camera that only sync’s at 1/60th of a second (back in the film days).
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You do the math, and tell me what happened. :)
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I don’t work for family anymore. :)  That’s my lesson to share. LOL
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What is one piece of advice that you would give to a person that is in the first few years of their photography business?[break]
Get some education!  The barriers to entry are so low now, and I think that’s wonderful.  However, there are too many people coming into the industry these days that don’t have any knowledge about how their equipment works.  Spend some time working with other photographers, and learn your craft!  Someday you’ll be put in a situation that will throw you off, and you need to be a professional!
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Fortunately, today there are some awesome resources like PPA, WPPI, and great workshops to choose from.  I wish I had those kind of choices back when I got started!  Of course, like anything else, do your homework, and make sure the classes are for you.
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Jason has a great new DVD he just came out with called “25”.  It’s a fun DVD where he breaks down 25 easy-to-use lighting setups in a “down and dirty” way.

No fancy gear, just simple off camera lighting everyone can use.

Check it out here.

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