WHAT IF CONFERENCE

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to consider us for the What If Conference.

There’s two of us so I’ve changed the I’s to We’s and Us’s 🙂

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1. We dream about helping photographers live a remarkable life by using the combination of photography+business to reach their goals and dreams.

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2. We are a husband and wife team with a story to share plus a passion for teaching and helping creative business people achieve their goals and dreams.

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3. Our story is … we met, dated and got married all within 3 months. Yep, from meeting to married in less than 3 months.

Matt quit his job 3 days before our wedding to go full-time with his video production business. In hindsight … not the smartest move but we made it through. That was 6.5 years ago and we’ve been working together ever since.

In the first few years of our marriage Katie ran a successful portrait photography business. In the final year of that business Katie did $260,000 in family portraits by herself without a single loss-leader promotion or free-shoot-voucher giveaway. All in a small town with over 100 photographers.

The downside of that year was Katie collapsing at the end of it from burnout and exhaustion and not being able to work for 4 months afterwards.

For those 4 months, Katie was mostly bed-ridden per doctor’s orders and Matt needed to run both businesses. This was the beginning of Matt’s photography journey as he had to start shooting family portraits and running Katie’s business while she recovered.

During those months Matt fell out of love with video and in love with photography. Against doctor’s orders Katie did a little bit of work designing a new website and brand for our wedding photography. That’s how Matt and Katie Photographers began.

We’ve run successful photography businesses for the last 6.5 years. Our portrait business was founded on doing awesome sales without having to be sleazy salespeople.

Our market in Toowoomba and Brisbane is crazy competitive and really saturated.

Last year (2011) we shot 40 weddings. This year (2012) we’re doing another 40! Out of those 80 weddings, 75 of them were booked over Skype. For the last year we’ve averaged around 50 wedding enquiries per month. Yep … 50 per month!

We live a simple life and live in a simple home by choice. For 2 years our home didn’t have a kitchen or an inside toilet. Not so bad in summer but venturing outside in winter in the middle of the night to pee is not much fun at all. It’s not that we don’t make enough money to live a fancy life. It’s that we always want to have the freedom to travel and to only do work that makes our souls sing.

In the last 12 months we’ve spent nearly 4 months overseas. Our photography has taken us to many amazing places such as Thailand, England, Wales, France, Greece, Italy, Turkey, America, Canada and New Zealand. This year more countries will be added to our ever growing list of destinations, including Nepal and Fiji.

Matt is a teacher at heart as well as a problem-solving analytical thinker. Katie is the most genuine, non-business-y, non-sales-y person you’ll ever meet. Everything we’ve developed together has been to give Katie all the tools she needs to achieve her goals and dreams as a photographer in spite of her suffering from anxiety and the fact that she doesn’t have a single business bone in her body 🙂

It’s this mash-up of life experience, creativity, business knowledge, problem-solving and analytical thinking, plus our passion and skill for teaching that makes what we have to offer so unique.

The combination of Photography + Business has helped us to live a pretty amazing life so far and we love equipping and encouraging other people to give them the chance to do the same.

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4. We work in the wedding industry as photographers. We also teach and coach wedding/portrait photographers and creative business-people.

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5. We are creatives because there’s nothing else we could possible be and there’s no better way we can think of to live a remarkable life.

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6. We will share (topic/bullet points/ideas)

Topics we can cover (or tell us a gap you’d like filled and we can do it)

– Your Business is a Chain – HOW to strengthen every link
– Work/Life Balance – at the end of 2009 Katie collapsed and was hospitalised from burnout and exhaustion, and couldn’t work for 4 months
– Running an Unconventional Photography Business – Work from Home, Run Your Business Over the Internet, Book Clients over Skype, Travel the World

– How to Use Systems to Minimise Your Short-Comings – we talk about Katie’s anxiety and how systems make it possible for her to run a stress-free and successful business
– Using Photography + Business to Achieve Your Dreams and Goals
– Wedding Day/Couple Portraits – our formula/recipe/foundation/system for consistent and creative portraits
– How to Rock Your In-Person and Online Portrait Sales – without being a sleazy salesperson – just launched in our Online Store
– Documentary/Reportage/PJ Wedding Photography – Our Approach

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7. We expect … that we’ll meet lots of amazing people and be inspired by their stories. We expect that we’ll receive more from the experience than we could ever possibly hope to give.

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8. Pick us because …. well … you shouldn’t even need to ask because it’s common knowledge that the more Australians at any given event the more awesome said event becomes! But on second thoughts … you might not be able to handle one Aussie, let alone three! 🙂

Seriously though … we’ll actually be in America at the time of What If Portland. We’re doing a series of workshops in the US during July/August – we were planning one for the same time as What If but we would ditch that idea if you wanted us on board.

In August we’re speaking with Steve and Jen at the Nikon AIPP Event in Australia. In September, Katie will travel to Nepal to document an orphanage for girls who have been rescued from the sex slave trade.

The timing of the What If Conference in Portland fits in perfectly with these plans. Maybe some things are meant to be? 🙂

We are passionate about filling a gap we’ve seen in the photography industry when it comes to conferences and workshops.

There’s no shortage of inspiration and motivation but what has been lacking educationally is practical, hands-on, step-by-step, advice that actually makes a difference in photographer’s lives and businesses.

Too many photographers come away pumped up and inspired from conferences and workshops but then they get home and don’t know how to implement what they’ve learned.

Whenever we teach we clearly cover: WHAT we do, WHY we do it, and then … HOW to do it yourself. HOW to implement what you’ve learned in a specific, practical and step-by-step way.

As we’ve mentioned, Katie was one of the least confident people you’d ever meet and on top of that she has an anxiety disorder. Phone calls triggered panic attacks, let alone the thought of shooting weddings and being a “salesperson”. Katie readily admits that she doesn’t have a single business bone in her body.

Everything in our business has been developed to help Katie succeed as a photographer. To see Katie’s journey from being incapacitated by anxiety to traveling to Nepal … that is nothing short of amazing.

We’re not rockstars. We are Matt and Katie from Toowoomba, Queensland. The photography industry doesn’t need more rockstars. What it needs is teachers. If Matt hadn’t started his video business 6 years ago he would have completed his teaching degree. Funny how life turns out and brings us full circle.

We would be honoured to be a part of the What If Conference. As we said, we’ll actually be in America at the time and we will work our faces off doing and teaching whatever the organisers want us to. Anything and everything we can do to add value to an already amazing event.

If Portland doesn’t work out … maybe 2013 then.

The world is full of infinite potential and life is too short to not be chasing your dreams. We’d love to play our small part in helping the What If Conference attendees achieve theirs.

Much love!

~Matt and Katie~

p.s. scroll down to see our wedding photography spoof video, Katie seeing snow for the first time, some of our photos plus testimonials and behind the scenes workshop photos.

Our Wedding Photography Spoof Video

Katie Sees Snow Falling From the Sky for the First Time – Telluride, Colorado





Some Behind the Scenes workshop photos and testimonials