Celebra’s many novelties also include numerous columns that we will reveal a little at a time. Our absolute favourite at the moment is: inside your studio.
Because it enables us to exchange ideas with our most representative customers, with those companies that have succeeded in creating a “magical” setting through which to channel their professional skills. Every month we will present an ambassador for this column, asking various questions about the things that intrigue us most!
The great opportunity with this column is to give voice to a world in evolution, in a state of flux. In order to get through this worldwide cultural and economic storm we have to unite, pull together all our differences and walk together through the process of change! If you would like to propose yourself for this column write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As the first ambassador we present Andrea Fusaro
What sort of space does your studio occupy and what makes it special?
In 2011, when I started my activity, I was well aware that I could not afford a shop, a photographic studio, or a city centre window. One has to make a virtue of necessity. The space that I chose to receive couples was thus my home, a comfortable place where I have the possibility to prepare a coffee or an aperitif and help put my customers at ease.
Looking back now, a couple of years later, I really think this worked to my favour. By receiving only by appointment I have the possibility of efficiently managing my time. When I fix an appointment I have nobody that disturbs me, I can talk in tranquillity for hours without the hassle of having to respect closing hours, there is no hustle and bustle of customers and you can meet at any time. Also, my “shop window” is illuminated 24 hours a day and never gets dirty: my Internet website.
How long have you been there?
Since 2011, when on the first of February my accountant sent me my VAT number. I have a digital workstation in a room at home, where I work all day on my various activities: from post-production to my Internet website, advertising campaigns, drafting of quotations, e-mail contacts, social networks, etc. I exploit the technology and as far as possible I try to do everything autonomously. I have always been accustomed to getting by on my own on the strength of my knowledge.
What sets you apart from the competition?
Possibly “me as a person”. I am talking about personality rather than the photographic aspect. The latter I share in common with all my colleagues and it is a double edged sword, because you can be excellent at your work but at the same time not have any “appeal” in relation to customers. I have the good fortune of always being myself in any circumstances and by nature I can get along with most of the people I meet. Also, each one of us has their own completely personal cultural baggage and experience, which for obvious reasons is different from that of all my other colleagues. I try to express myself as much as possible, as I really am. I like real people rather than those that pretend to be something, and I want people to get as accurate a picture of me as possible. In this way inevitably I attract people who resemble me, who share my tastes and with whom it is easier to work in close contact. I like to be sincere, transparent, clear, and give great importance to mutual trust. Generally all this is reciprocated. I have never had customers that remained too “detached” from me, and in fact sometimes it has happened that I establish strong and long-lasting relationships even after the delivery of the album. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, commercially speaking the experts might say that it is not a good idea to mix business with the personal sphere. At the moment I ignore this, and inside myself I feel that I do not want to exclude new opportunities from which I can only emerge enriched.
What is the most important perceived value that helps get a couple involved?
I always tell my customers that there are plenty of good photographers if you look for them. What they need to find, however, is a professional that can put them at ease, because this will benefit the photographic shoot and consequently the album. If they find a photographer on their same wavelength, capable of reflecting their tastes, then they should think seriously about this person because they have probably found what they are looking for.
At this time of crisis how have you helped your company?
At this time of crisis I OPENED! I went against the better judgement of many, starting from some members of my own family and people close to me, and even acquaintances who work for the Tax Office. Almost none of these individuals thought it was worth trying, and each had their own negative story to tell me: businesses shutting down, dismissals, people on social security, unemployment, sad prospects, problems, mortgages, taxes. “You are lucky! Hold on tight to your full time permanent contract! You are just married, don’t do anything rash”, these were the recurrent phrases.
Instead, so far I would say I did well: it was the right decision. I have gained in self confidence and have more time available to improve myself, not only from a photographic perspective but also culturally, physically, and mentally. I tell everybody enthusiastically, to the surprise of some, that finally I have achieved my equilibrium.
Do you use the social networks? What do you think about them?
Over time I have changed the way I think about social networks. Previously I sustained that my virtual “friends” should approximately match my number of real friends, and so I had very few. Then I realized that every virtual contact, every “like”, every “share”, etc. could become a sort of repeater aerial that would enable me to reach potential customers even very far away from home. Currently I subscribe to all the most important networks but the one I use most regularly is Facebook
. I visit daily to keep up to date with what is happening around me, receiving, for example, feeds from the major news networks and from local or national newspapers. It helps me to improve by participating, for example, in groups limited to professionals, or post production, or weddings, etc. I also use my posts to let people know my views on certain things, sometimes expressing opinions on rather delicate issues, because my aim is always to attract people who think like myself. It should also not be forgotten that Facebook is an excellent shop window for your work. I have a personal profile a professional profile and a few months ago I even created a page for my dog, Snoopy, who otherwise filled up my personal wall with all his photographs.
Do you have any suggestions for opening a studio?
Certainly: DO NOT open a studio! A large part of your earnings as a photographer will go in the rent/mortgage, taxes, and furniture. In today’s world I do not think it is essential to have a shop front in the town centre. I am the living proof of that. Opening a studio today is a difficult decision, because it generates a lot of expenses. Simply applying for a VAT number and dedicating yourself exclusively to the services is instead a more balanced decision.
If there are roses then they will bloom! But there is no need to rush in and get pricked …