Monday, September 21, 2009

Advice from Editor and Photographer Rep, Lara Casey

Lara Casey is Editor-in-Chief, Southern Weddings Magazine and CEO of Lara Casey Reps, a luxury wedding market consulting firm handling such photographers as Jeremy Cowart, Kyle Barnes, Jory Cordy, and Jeff Holt. She agreed to answer a few questions for us...

Here's a quick BIO:

Lara was born in Washington DC. She spent most of her youth growing up in the small beach community of Pensacola, Florida. Ms. Casey graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University and studied art and design at Yale University. Lara is a member of Mensa and an avid fitness buff. Mrs. Casey has a wide array of successes including having been a celebrity personal trainer in Manhattan and a contributor to Shape Magazine. Lara is currently Publisher of Southern Weddings magazine, CEO of event design firm Bliss Event Group and just launched Lara Casey Reps, a luxury market wedding consulting firm. Lara frequently speaks on the use of social media for business and is a self-confessed Wired magazine and Luna Bar addict. Ms. Casey lives in Chapel Hill, NC, and loves to travel.

Lara Casey. Photo credit: Jory Cordy.

Lara, Why have you chosen to work within the luxury wedding market? “Luxury” can have negative connotations. To me, luxury is about the client experience. I’m passionate about weddings and the sacred experience. I believe every couple should get not only a great product in the end, but unforgettable memories in the process of getting there. True professionals recognize this. In turn, it translates to a greater sense of value for the art that is being produced, more income for the wedding professional, and the changed lives of the couple. Luxury service can be that significant.

As an editor, what is the importance of deadlines for the photographers you use? I have a twitter account for Lara Casey Reps- @WeddingRep. I just twittered yesterday, “Responsiveness sells. Overdeliver, exceed expectation, send things well before deadlines (build it into your workflow) and you build trust.” It’s one of the most important keys to success.

Do photographers approach you about being included in your publication? If so, what are some successful tactics and unsuccessful tactics they have used to gain your attention? I could write a book about this! I get very generous gifts, long emails, strange tactics galore, and pushy publicists daily. What outweighs them all is integrity, great branding and most of all... Powerful work. If you are great at what you do and truly passionate about it... And your branding mirrors that, you can’t go wrong.

How important is reputation in this industry, and what are some things that can destroy a photographer's reputation? Reputation is key. Destroying factors: unresponsiveness, sloppy branding, not using social media in the best way possible, and poor relationships with other vendors.

What are qualities of your favorite photographers? Being the best at what they love. Don’t try to be someone else. Take time to explore your art and find what really makes your heart sing. Study, learn, grow daily, take workshops, study art and design, and just get out there and shoot! I think the mere fact of being genuine in your art, true to what you love, translates into future success and a following. I love so many photographers who have completely different styles for this reason- they are fully themselves and the best at what they do.

As a photographer rep, how do you decide who to take on, especially since you are in a specialized market? I look for very specific qualities: marketability, drive, follow-through, the ability to take criticism, and a keen sense of relationships. Building relationships with clients well can make or break you.

What is the best advice you could give to a photography student who wanted to either shoot weddings or work as an editorial photog? Get educated. Don’t just learn wedding photography- learn commercial, advertising, psychology, and art. To be a great wedding photographer you need to of course know the technical aspects of using a camera, lighting, etc, but you also have to have an intuition. You are capturing people’s most intimate public moments... Sacred experiences, joy, tears, fear and transformation.

Other than the photographers you rep, of course, who is the one photographer (living or dead) that you would like to photograph your own wedding? Jose Villa. He’s a warm, giving, wonderful person and his images make my heart take flight. They are timeless. And Jeff Newsom because he looks at the world like no one else. --two polar opposite photographers, each with their own skills and a clear passion for what they do.

I see that you are an avid fitness buff and have even contributed to Shape magazine, but I'm going to ask this anyway... if you were forced to eat an entire wedding cake in one sitting, what flavor would it be? Oh goodness! If the wedding cake was the size of a cupcake ( After you work in weddings as long as I have, wedding cake does not sound appetizing!), I’d say red velvet or carrot cake.

No comments:

Post a Comment