Sunday, September 30, 2012

As Sinatra Sang, "I Did it My Way"; A Farewell to My Mother.

From time to time I take a minute to post not only about business, but also about what's going on in my life. Since this past weekend has been an emotional one for me, I'd like to use this space to say farewell to a woman who was not only instrumental in my career as a photographer, but also my entire life.

This past Friday, my mother - Gloria - ended an 8-year struggle with cancer at the age of 89. Surrounded by her family, she peacefully moved from this Earth into the next phase of her journey. She defied the odds by outliving numerous doctors' predictions and assessments, but in the end, her body simply wasn't strong enough to continue.

Mom was someone who enjoyed being creative. Her talents included photography, painting, and drawing; her canvases ranged from large painted pieces stretched over frames, sketches on envelopes and scraps of paper on the kitchen table, to elaborately decorating the birthday cakes of her 7 grandchildren.While she never pushed me to get into photography, when I became interested back in high school she was there to help me dig her darkroom equipment out of storage at my grandmother's house and set it up in our basement. She often provided gentle (and sometimes pointed) critiques of my work; while we all want to hear praise and positive commentary, she was straightforward with me when I needed to hear those words as well. At a point when so many people sugar-coat their words to protect another's feelings, mom was honest without being harsh. She made me realize that I need to be serious about my work and the techniques I employed. Even as a hobbyist, she took pride in the pieces she created and wanted them to be finished properly. Today, it's something I keep in mind with every portrait session.

She loved her family and took great pride in sharing their accomplishments with others. Her grandchildren were a constant source of highlights for her to discuss, from their sports and activities to their education and career paths. She rarely missed a moment to point to a large portrait on the wall near where she spent her day and "introduce" visitors to each one of them.

Her Italian heritage was also one of hospitality; she always wanted people to feel welcome when they came to visit. She loved everything sweet, from candies to desserts. It would be a rare occasion if you left and hadn't been offered some treats during your stay with her.

And she was a bit stubborn as well. Like so many of us, she knew how she liked certain things to be done or handled. She wasn't about to let a disease beat her, much less acknowledge that it was even present in her body. This past summer she attended my wedding, even though it had been a particularly difficult week for her. Offered the opportunity to stay home, she refused; she wasn't going to miss this event.

Mom, thanks for everything you did for me (and some of the things you wouldn't do); all of that helped me become the person I am today. You've left quite a legacy in this world. You will always be missed, but never be forgotten.

- David Grupa

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Family Portraits with Sam and Patricia Gardner - THIS WEEKEND!

Don't miss this opportunity to learn from 2 amazing photographers this weekend! 
No need to be a member of the SDPPA, just call 763.390.6272 to register.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Earned Your CPP Credential, Now Market It!

It looks as if the latest round of Certified Professional Photographer applicants have been notified that they have been awarded the Credential. 

Ok, now you're officially a CPP. Congrats.

Guess what. Your clients aren't going to care one bit - UNLESS you let them know why they should care.

Certification is the most marketable credential you will ever carry, so now is the perfect time to do something with it.

1 - Send out a press release to the business section of your local newspaper. There should be one in your CPP welcome packet; if not, call CPP headquarters and request one.

2 - Post it on your blog or website. Once you receive the Certified logos, start using them on all of your marketing. Print, email signature, website, even on your business portrait on FB and Linked-in; all are great places to market your CPP credential.

3 - Include it in your bio. Rewrite it to include a short paragraph stating that you're one of a very select few Certified Professional Photographers.

4 - Head over to the website. Do a search on photographers in your state who are Certified and count them. Use the line "YOUR NAME is one of less than X number of Certified Professional Photographers in YOUR STATE."

You earned it.

Now use it to your advantage.

- David Grupa, CPP

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honoring 9/11

Eleven years ago today, just about 9:00 am, I was getting ready to take my youngest to school when I got a phone call.

"Turn on the TV."

The next 20 minutes were like nothing I'd ever witnessed as I watched, holding my 10 year old son and not wanting to take him to school. I wondered what my 12 year son - already at school - was thinking, or if he even knew.

Even though we still enjoy the freedoms that some people only dream about, eleven years ago today our lives were permanently changed.

Please take a minute today and pause to honor those who lost their lives, those who fought to rescue them, and those who continue to be on guard so that our country will always continue to be "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave."

- David Grupa