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Sandra & Johnny Swiss Alps Destination Wedding part 1

Swiss alps wedding photos in the snow

I’m super excited to share these images with you all. I still can’t believe I was able to go and photograph a wedding in Switzerland and to go and take photos in the snow was just a dream come true. Sandra and Jonathan were so hospitable and showed me some of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen in my life while I was with them in Switzerland. Sometimes I feel that photos always make things look more epic than they really are but when it comes to Switzerland I think it’s the opposite. None of these photos really capture the fullness of the magic that it was to be in the Swiss Alps with a bride and groom.

So thank you Sandra & Jonathan for having me as a part of your big day and I can’t wait to see you guys again someday soon.

(This is part one. Stay tuned for the full wedding.)

 

Trish - Manifique!

Sandra & Jonathan Switzerland Destination Wedding Part2 | Wedding Photographer | The Stag & Doe | Australia | Worldwide - […] like to see my part 1 post of the first look photos we did in the swiss alps you can find them here. This wedding has also been featured in White Magazine and you can check out their blog post as […]

Keegan Cronin - Great work! Love it!

5 Helpful networking tips for photographers

We live in an age of unprecedented technology and by and large as photographers, have benefited big time from all these advancements as our cameras have got better, our post processing software, and all of the new ways in which social media has helped us get our work out to the world. I for one am hugely thankful for technology and the way it’s helped me in my business. However I’m beginning to see a trend which we would like to believe is healthy networking but is actually not really helping anyone connect and I think it’s time we take back some ground on the way we as photographers connect with one another and do networking.

 

So here are my own personal top 5 tips for healthy networking. Online and offline

1. Invite other people into your life, offline: If you’re going to go photograph the sunrise tomorrow, throw an invitation up on your instagram for others to come along and join you. Don’t just wait for all the other “cool” instagrammers who are always road tripping to beautiful places to notice you standing alone in the corner of the room with your best dress on. Go out and be proactive shooting cool stuff and invite others into what you are doing.

2. Do get active in photographer groups and forums: Now I feel like there’s a big need for clarification on this one because there’s a whole lot of unhealthy interactions within groups and forums and keyboard warriors stirring the pot and causing a whole lot of grief. Don’t be that guy… be like bill… But seriously. If you want to build connections…

“Be prepared to give and not just receive.”

Post helpful content, ask questions, contribute.

3. Do not go on a spree adding other photographers and inviting them all to invite your business page: Networking is more than numbers of likes on your business page or a perceived fan base. Build real world connections rather than hiding behind a business persona. You probably would walk up to another photographer you haven’t met and shove your business card into their hand without say hello. would you?? correct answer is no. Build real connections and show people your work if you need feedback. We need to stop this “invite all” culture for our business pages. It’s not helping your brand and it’s not helping you connect. I currently have over 100 invitations to like business pages of photographers who I’ve never met or spoken to sitting on my Facebook account gathering dust. 

4. Do Second shoot: Don’t be too proud to second shoot, no matter where you’re at with your business, if you’ve got a weekend off and there’s an opportunity to second shoot for someone. Do it! It’s a great way to actually meet other photographers and there’s always something you can learn from shooting alongside someone, even less-experienced photographers. “Pride is the real enemy of connection, we either believe that we are better than other photographers and “above” their company or inversely we believe we are not cool enough to hang out with other photographers, both those beliefs are crushing our ability to connect.”

5. Attend workshops & conferences: Ask anyone who’s been to a photography workshop or conference that goes over a period of a few days and ask them whether the content they learn was more valuable than the connections formed and I think a lot of people will tell you that the connections were equally valuable if not more valuable. I believe that deep connections and healthy networks are something worth investing in. Maybe set aside some of your business budget each year to spend on going to places where you can connect with your peers on a deeper level? I know that we think that we have facebook and instagram now and we don’t need to leave our office to meet and connect with other photographers. But give me 5 true photographer friends who I can share my life and adventures with any day over 1000 followers or facebook friends who will never be there for me when I need them and will just fill me newsfeed with photos that I’ll inevitably end up comparing myself to.

If the budget is way too tight. Start something yourself that’s free. Start a breakfast club, dinner club, photowalk group, taco tuesdays, whiskey wednesdays.. idunno make it up. Invite every photographer you know and just start connecting in real life. Real connections are so important. Go out there and make some stuff happen!  – Josh

 

I guess regardless of whether you pick up any of these examples specifically. My main message is this. Lets get real connections happening. There’s so much online stalking going on the photography world and not a lot of real connections. We of all people should be the best at this. We make a living from observing and capturing the connections between others. “I think it’s high time we stopped living vicariously through the connections of our clients and invested in deep and meaningful connections of our own.”

Lauren Metzler - Love these tips, Josh! Do you think you will start teaching any workshops in the future? Would love to sign up for one! 😀

joshua_mikhaiel@hotmail.com - Yeah the plan is to try run one either at the end of this year or early 2017 Lauren. 🙂

Mentoring

 

 

I first picked up a camera a little over 5 years ago. I had no grand dreams of becoming a wedding photographer. I had no clue I’d ever get to travel the world holding a camera or that I’d ever be in a position to train others in photography. However over those 5 years I’ve managed to shoot somewhere around 150 weddings travel to some ridiculously amazing places and meet so many incredible people. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and craft out a bit of a unique business model. Somehow last year Rangefinder Magazine named me as one of their Top 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography.

It still blows my mind every time I get an email from someone enquiring about doing mentoring with me. In so many ways I feel like I don’t have all the answers. I’ve still go so much to learn. The more mentoring sessions I do I realise how much I enjoy teaching and love giving back to the craft that’s given me so much.

I’ve been doing more and more mentoring lately and I really love it so I’ve decided to add some more structure to my options. (Shoot me an email for mentoring prices)

Portfolio review: Is for people who just want a critique of their work and helpful pointers of how to improve.

 

One to one: Mentoring is for a bit more hands on stuff. It’s fairly open ended depending on what topics you’d like to cover and can range from:

 Manual camera skills,

Finding nice light

Post-processing,

Website / business skills

Social marketing

Client relations

Composition

Album design

How to book the “right clients”

or really anything you like.

 

Wedding ride-a-long: I also offer the option of coming to a wedding to watch me photograph a wedding, you can choose to leave your camera at home if you’d like to just soak up the experience and not be trying to think about your own photos during the process but you’re also welcome to bring your camera and shoot for your own portfolio if you want. (You do not need to give me any of the images or give them to the client) you’re primarily there to watch and learn you’re not my “assistant” or “second shooter.”

I am also in the process of putting together some workshop content so if you’ve been hanging out for a workshop don’t worry it’s in the works. Hang in there 😉

 

– Joshua Mikhaiel

Authenticity As Branding

I feel like this is something that’s been on my heart for quite a while now and I just feel like it’s worth saying. Just to clarify before you feel like I’m pointing a finger at you. I’m really writing this post in many ways as a rebuke to my former self and the way I approached the business early on and how foolish it was. 

So please hear this coming from a heart that made these same “mistakes” and didn’t do a good job of this at all but maybe in writing this I can stop you from being as foolish as I was. 

The story goes like this.. guy buys camera.. goes, ‘I like taking photos’, I’m going to make a website and show everyone what I can do. *goes off into photoshop types his name and photography afterwards in a semi terrible font and registers a domain* 

Now here is where the trouble starts. Because wordpress will just come on out and ask you for a bit of a description of what you do to help people find your site. Same thing with instagram bio area or Facebook.. And we all think.. ooh.. wordpress doesn’t know me… this is the internet. I can be whoever I want! 

And so we start typing those fateful words… “Destination Wedding Photographer” STOP! stop right there. 

I remember the day I thought that would be a good idea.. Jonas Peterson had that written on his website so I thought well I’d like to do that so I’d better throw that up into my bio… (At this stage I’ve got a Facebook and instagram account like many of you probably do with about 100 followers, all your high school friends and a few women in their forties at that stage. You’ve shot 10 weddings in your local area and thats about it. 

Now you might be thinking as I did. I don’t want people to know I haven’t shot many weddings, I don’t want people to think I’m new, I definitely don’t want them to think I’m not a superstar international sensation. (even though I’ve got no international weddings on my blog) 

We’re afraid, I was afraid. If people see me for who I really am, they’ll never hire me. 

But I’d like to propose a counter argument. I think that being really authentic with where you’re at in your photography journey, particularly when you’re starting is actually the best way to book clients and not only to book any clients but to book the best clients for where you’re at. As I’m drafting out more of these posts for later in the year I’m realising a common thread of working out who your ideal client is and working at how you can get them to hire you. It’s really important and it’s been a huge part of my short journey so far.

I’m going to make a big assumption here and say most of you reading this are probably those who are more on the photojournalism side of wedding photography, you appreciate the raw honesty of it and you think that honest story-telling is really moving and anything else is just not cutting it.

(I’d in my personal opinion I’d agree with you) 

So if you’re going to try and communicate that to prospective clients through your website… starting off with anything less than authenticity… isn’t something I’d really recommend. If you want to draw in couples who appreciate your raw, honest, story-telling, then be authentic and raw about your own story. That’s what they’ll be drawn to.

I was so concerned with trying to make people think I was more experienced than I was when I first started. But the more I met with clients and spoke to them I realised they weren’t interested in my credentials.. or my fancy “destination wedding slogans” They were interested in my story-telling. Which has been with me long before I ever picked up a camera. Clients really want to trust their photographer. And I think that most people are smarter than we give them credit for when it comes to seeing through advertising and branding tricks. We live in a world so saturated with brands trying to seem impressive.. people know what you’re trying to do and they’re not buying it. Be different, be real, stand out from the pack and be really honest with people. 

One of the best things I ever did when I first started putting myself out there was say to couples, “I’ve never shot a wedding before, but I’m so excited to shoot weddings, would you give me a chance?” I truly believe that the first few couples to ever give me a shot did so because they saw my passion and excitement to be involved in their wedding and that it was all just on the surface not hidden behind any marketing scheme. And they trusted me. And I like to think I didn’t let them down. Partly because I worked my ass off to do the best job I could… but also because they were under no illusions about my experience level and they’d taken me on, knowing full well that I wasn’t a big-shot destination photographer.

I’d like to suggest, “Authenticity is the new branding strategy.” 

Tom - We write ‘destination wedding photographers’ on our website 🙁

Javed - I really like this, man. I’m a fan of you.

Fabio - You killing it… great great great!!

joshua_mikhaiel@hotmail.com - Guys, From your little bio it looks like you’ve shot weddings allover the world. It would almost be inauthentic for you guys not to write destination photographers. That’s part of what you do. This post is very much aimed at the photographers who’ve never shot outside their country but write “destination” on their website to try and appear more experienced. Keep up the fantastic work lads. 🙂

joshua_mikhaiel@hotmail.com - Thanks so much Javed. I’m a big fan of you too!

joshua_mikhaiel@hotmail.com - thanks so much Fabio. Stay gold pony boy

Rangefinder Magazine Top 30 Rising Star

A few years back I bought a camera thinking it would be a fun hobby and also good for my journalism degree to be able to take photos for my stories. I’d not grown up around cameras but I figured you’d just point it at things and press the shutter and that was all there was to it.. I had no intentions of becoming a wedding photographer whatsoever..

Fast forward to 2015 and Rangefinder Magazine in the U.S. sends me an email telling me I’ve been nominated to enter their annual Top 30 Rising Stars of Wedding photography in the world.. I sort of laughed and left the email alone for a few days. I thought perhaps it was a ploy to get photographers interested in their magazine and that maybe they sent one to every photographer. However after speaking to a few people I was convinced that I didn’t have much to lose by entering. A few months later a return email comes back saying I’ve made this list!

Incredibly humbled and honoured to be included on a list next to some of the real hero’s of wedding photography whom I have such a huge amount of respect for. Thank you to everyone who’s participated in my journey thus far. To my clients, other photographers, my friends who’s birthday’s I’ve missed. You’re all amazing and I’m so thankful that you all have played a big part in me getting to this point in my work.

I’ve included some of the 30 images I submitted to Rangefinder in this post.

Jonas Karlsson - Just wow. That is one stellar collection of 30 images. Amazing.

nabil gobraiel - Josh
you are really talented photographer ,keep on with the blessing of God