Heather Morton Live! in Vancouver Event Update

May 31, 2011 – Vancouver was very fortunate to have Heather Morton here in town last Thursday, May 26, 2011 7:00 PM at Vancouver Photo Workshops, hosted by CAPIC National and CAPIC Vancouver Chapter. She talked about the 9 risks you were to look at as a photographer, sharing various thoughts and opinions from photographers and art buyers she’s worked with. After the presentation, she was joined by Eric Arnold from Dare Vancouver and Nora Ahern from Village & Co. for the panel.

Heather Morton’s speaking engagement here in Vancouver is the second of the CAPIC Speaker Series, which started first in Toronto. The next segment would continue sometime in Fall. The event was liveblogged by CAPIC Vancouver on this blog and on Twitter, with the hashtag #HMabYVR. Here is the link for the Liveblog: Heather Morton in Vancouver.

Doors opened at 7:00PM at Vancouver Photo Workshops. The studio quickly filled up with about 40 photographers, advertising agency personalities, and marketing enthusiasts. Here’s some pre-event photos:


Photo by Jeremy Lim


Photo by Jeremy Lim


Photo by Jeremy Lim

At 7:30PM, Chapter President Rick Etkin introduced Heather Morton briefly and she started her presentation shortly. She showed a lively presentation that shared thoughts from renowned photography industry consultants such as Selina Maitreya and Heather Elder. She shared about having a vision for your portfolio, and encouraging photographers that this process indeed takes time to develop. With that, don’t be afraid to diversify and to continue learning new skills. She mentioned, “Adding value is essential in client retention.” Don’t be left behind.


Photo by Jeremy Lim

She also talked about the ever-changing roles of photographers nowadays – you have to realize that you are also your own business person – you have to be constantly promoting. As Heather Elder mentioned, “You’re not only a photographer anymore – you’re an visual image and content maker.” She advises the photographers that, “Your promotion piece should be able to echo your vision as a photographer,” whether it be the content, the execution, or the delivery.

Heather also touched on the topic of using social media in promoting photography. She says that social media may actually break through the clutter, especially since traditional media and email marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be. Later on, Nora Ahern from Village & Co. would speak more regarding this topic, saying that while it is true that you should make use of these marketing channels to gain more exposure to your clientele, it is also essential to choose what works for you and to do that part well.

Another topic Heather mentioned was about cost-cutting. Selina shared a bit about not trimming your creative fee right way, rather take a look at the overall costs and think – what do you really need the most to make the image well. Heather added, “Judge what the job can do for you – trim a bit sometimes, but sometimes you can also say no.”

After Heather’s presentation, there was a quick break / social. Photographers were able to mingle, ask some questions, talk to Heather before they sat again for the second part of the event, the panel discussion featuring some local industry people.

Photos by Jeremy Lim

The panel discussion was lively – there were a lot of questions about the ethics of using social media as a marketing tool for photographers, what to use, and the issues involved in using it. Questions regarding how art buyers and art directors should be approached were also asked.

For more about the event, check the Liveblog of Heather Morton Live! in Vancouver.

A lot of great feedback and blog posts were generated from the event:

“The advice Heather gave would apply to any kind of photographer… Remember social media is a channel, not a marketing strategy. Photographers in the future who will be successful will see the changes as opportunities. The photographer who’s more visible and more engaged will more likely to known to the client and get the job.” – Daphne Chan

“…a big thanks to Heather for touring across Canada and bringing photographers and creatives together. As I mentioned to her after, I find her blog very very valuable and entertaining, and check it for updates often. There is a wealth of info on her blog for photographers .. Overall tone of the event: For me to see you and your work, you have to be out there. If you’re not visible, I’m not hiring you.” – Kamil Bialous

“I thoroughly appreciated the straight talk from panelists Nora Ahern, Managing Director and Founder of Village and Co., and Eric Arnold, an Art Director from DARE… It definitely wasn’t a fluffy let’s make-each-other-feel-good motivational talk. If anything, the atmosphere was pragmatic – the hopeful notes were grounded in a solid dose of reality.” – Tommy Zablan

“As an emerging photographer, I was very interested in Heather’s talk! After 3 years of study, I recently completed the courses for the Photography Certificate at Langara College, and I’m now working on developing my style and vision.” – Lloyd K. Barnes

“Thank you for organizing this event, and thank you to Heather Morton, Eric Arnold and Nora Ahern for taking the time to share with us their take on the industry today and for answering all our questions which carried on until late into the evening.” – Art Zaratsyan

Looking ahead to this year, the CAPIC Vancouver Chapter hopes to see more events like these introduced to photographers. Truly, being a photographer isn’t static, it is always dynamic, always assuming more roles, including the business side of things. Don’t be left behind, and it’s okay to ask for help. Heather also pushed an important topic which is to collaborate, and to work with your community. CAPIC provides such a community for photographers to learn and collaborate with one another, to provide an edge in the ever-changing competitive photography industry.

CAPIC Vancouver Chapter would like to thank our valued sponsor Whitebox Studios for giving 4 photographers a chance to be at the event.

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