What services does your company, Un Autre Regard, provide?
I do lifestyle wedding photos and video reports, books and art prints. These books are very high quality with a wide range of covers, five different styles of paper, 3 layers of pages and multiple combinations of finish. For over 10 years now, I have traveled the world to capture the magic days of people’s lives. I created my own style to provide a premium service for the bride and groom to keep timeless memories of their wedding day.
Regarding the videos, I suggest a documentary film format 30 to 50 minutes (depending on the wedding), one high emotion segment of 6 to 7 minutes (important sequences of the day) and one trailer style “movie” 45 to 90 seconds.
How long have you been working for yourself?
I have been working for myself for over 12 years now. My experience in the field of photography goes back to my childhood. I remember when I got my first paycheck, I bought my first SLR, at the time, a Minolta DLSR. This was the great era of film. I organized images as a slideshow with music crossfade … Good times.
Starting off, what was the hardest step?
I started in the wedding photo business by chance.
A co-worker who thought I made beautiful pictures (we were working at the time in a large French communications agency) suggested that we team up The first year we did four complete stories together, then the next fifteen years on our own. The passion was born …
The most difficult step was to combine the different styles of photos that wedding reportage requires: one must be a portrait photographer, a family photographer, an architectural photographer (nice pictures of church, reception halls) a landscape photographer, a photo- journalist, a still life photographer (bouquets, wedding, floral decoration, tables) a sports photographer …you get the idea, the list goes on!
If you want to do quality work, you cannot improvise wedding photography. A successful outcome, a product that really captures the spirit of the day in way that is meaningful to the wedding couple, requires experience, a lot of experience and knowing your material.
What made you realize that you could turn your talent into a business?
At the start, I was a designer. When I was young, I did drawings of landscapes and portraits. And I wanted my drawings to be a true reflection of what I saw. I drew in pencil or charcoal. That was a long time ago.
Then I discovered cameras, Self-taught, I read a lot and became passionate.
At first I did not think I had any special talent for making it into a business; it was rather a passion, a hobby. It actually was my friends and family that believed in me and pushed me into making it into a business.
There are a lot of photographers. How do differentiate yourself from the competition?
In the world of wedding photography, it is true that there are many, many photographers and with talent. When I speak of photographer, I mean someone who has a real business, a studio, a gallery or a shop.
Today, with the Internet, it is very easy for brides and grooms to find photographers (or those who claim to be.) What is less easy is to find THE right wedding photographer for THEIR wedding. When I compare myself with my competitors, I feel that I offer the substance of a business that has existed for many years, as well as a body of work that it is easy for engaged couples to view. If they look on my website, at the work I’ve done, they will know immediately if their vision of their special day is one that I can fulfill. Will I tell their story they way they want it to be told? And that can only be decided by each couple. It is my job to give them as much information as possible, so they can make a choice with confidence and feel secure about the outcome.
So how can one stand out from the bridal competition?
Always challenge and be innovative in its field!
For 5 years now I have combined photos and video in 80% of my stories. I realize in the end what I call a videorama, a report of HD pictures and video, all with music. I am honored that clients say that the result is always amazing.
And today, in the world of photography, I have the opportunity to attend many workshops with colleagues (Australian, American, Irish and French,) For me, it has been important to always keep developing myself. I have a strong aesthetic sense, and a good way of telling a story. That is not enough. I challenge myself constantly to keep up with newest technology and most innovative ideas. And I feel that this has been a good approach. I have looked at hundreds of websites of photographers and so far, in all simplicity and humility, I’ve never seen the equal of my reportage in terms of the accuracy and quality of what I offer.
How do you find clients? Do you have to invest in communication?
Today, the Internet is a great source of communication to raise awareness of customers. This is true whether it is through my own website (www.unautreregard.net) through specialized portals in marriage or through photographer networks such as Wedding Photojournalist Association (wpja.com). I also participate in some wedding fairs. Any type of communication has a cost, so even though it is necessary, I try to be reasonable.
What is the most important tool for you company to succeed?
I think right now the most important tool of my business is my eye and my camera; one does not go without the other. My eye sees the right pose, the right lighting, the right shooting angle… The camera is an extension of my eye and captures that moment.
What do you enjoy most about working for yourself?
The wedding photo reportage is unique moment for me.
You share the most special day of a couple, you share their moments of intimacy, moments of joy, moments of meditation, with their families and friends. I capture theses scenes for them to never be forgotten. This is what fulfills me the most.
Do you have any advice for other photograph entrepreneurs?
A career in photographic work is certainly one of the most fulfilling jobs. You can travel around the world, you work with people from all backgrounds and all nationalities. The most important thing is having the right equipment, to know how to use it perfectly and work hard, very hard. In the end, hard work is the key to success.