Sometime late last year I got an email from Kat asking if I wanted to go to Paris to do a shoot with her, Gala & Shauna. My answer was of course an enthusiastic “Oui ma Petit Filous!!” They’d bagged themselves a fabulous apartment that we shot in, but of course I also wanted some photos by the Eiffel Tower. On the Eurostar on our return, I got to thinking about the tower and its purpose in the city. Sure, it’s a big tourist pull, but I started to wonder how on earth it got built in the first place and why it’s even there at all. So I did some research on the most recognisable iconic landmark in the French capital.
Paris is a beautiful city with plenty of amazing architecture, lots of culture and umpteen things to do but before the tower was built, many of its citizens were moving away and tourists were not exactly flocking there. Commissioned for the Exposition Universelle, a world fair held in Paris in 1889, Monsieur Eiffel’s brief was to create a temporary structure to mark the entrance to the fair. Despite facing much criticism, he seized the opportunity and designed the tallest structure in the world at that time. Once completed, visitors to Paris raved about the innovative lattice tower, left armed with their photographs and talked non-stop of going up in the amazing lifts or dining in its fine restaurant with amazing views. Suddenly the fortune of Paris had improved and these visitors were filling up the hotels and cafes. People rapidly moved back to Paris and it was suddenly one of the most exciting and most visited capital cities in the world. So much so that the decision was made to never take it down, and to this day no trip to the city of love is complete without a visit.
In thinking about all this, it dawned on me that as businesses, we all need our own Eiffel Towers. That one thing that draws people to you, makes them talk about you or puts you on the map. It may be an obvious thing, like an award or major accolade, but it could be something you dream up all on your own. With the right idea and the right time and place, you could be really making your mark in the industry. Think like Monsieur Eiffel and grab any opportunities that come your way and make them as big as they can possibly be… The BIGGEST! So what if its never been done before or people feel the need to criticise? Keep building it, but build it with innovation, integrity and put all that is unique about you into it. Your passion will shine through and that is what really fires up other people and makes them want your services.
As a result of the recession, almost every freelance career is over-saturated. Certainly wedding photography is, and now workshops and training for all wedding related careers are booming too. Never before have I seen so many workshops available for people wanting to learn more about working in the wedding industry. This is fantastic of course, but making sure my workshop stood out from the crowd was becoming harder and harder. Enter Farm Week.
My idea was simple – to offer a range of classes and workshops for photographers to either fill in gaps in their knowledge or completely inspire them. Like a big pick n mix of talks and master classes, which would at the same time give people a taste of how amazing the Farm is. I knew it would be quite an undertaking, from flying guest speakers over from the US to working out how many portions of cake we needed for the whole thing. To keep costs down, I did the website myself – spending several evenings trying to force a free one column WordPress blog template into something that could handle the e-commerce, ads, a map and a blog. I had more spreadsheets on the go than The Chancellor and there were several points in the run up where I was wondering why on earth I was putting myself through it at all. It was a huge financial risk and just a few weeks before, it still hadn’t broken even.
But I kept going, I had faith in the idea and felt that it would all come together. The thing is, if you are never prepared to take a risk then you will stagnate. Photography Farm offers so much in itself but I still wanted to take it to another level with Farm Week. In the end, it was bloody brilliant and I’m still trying to process all that I learnt. But even though it was amazing, I’m still working on The Farm and thinking how I can make each event even better than the last.
A few years ago they decided to cover the Eiffel Tower in a nightly light show and it completely revived the structure yet again. The Photography Farm is my Eiffel Tower and I’m still working on it, this year I’m taking it out to UK cities with Farm Elements and will soon be launching an online version. I’m adding the sparkle, and well, I do love a bit of glitter…
If you are interested in attending the next 3-day Photography Farm (food and accommodation included), it is taking place from the 19th –21st March. For enquiries or bookings email Lisa on email@example.com or call 01273231047.