Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Get the Goods: Studio Business Management Course

Efrain Cruz, one of my favorite instructors, has left his position as Operations Manager at the Denver Darkroom to begin his own photography school, Illuminate Photography Workshops. The new school will offer workshops, classes and clinics on Digital Photography, Studio Lighting, Photoshop and the Business of Photography for photographers of all skill levels.

Efrain's departure is a terrible loss for the Denver Darkroom, but I'm very proud of his new endeavor. I actually found out about his new goals when we bumped into each other last month at a South Metro Denver Small Business Development Center workshop on starting a home business. He truly listens to his students to discover what they need to progress. When he asked me what kind of classes would be helpful in bolstering my photography career, I told him I could use some direction from a professional photographer on how to run a studio or business. Being a great photographer involves one set of skills, but not necessarily those that are needed to be a good business owner or entreprenuer. I needed to learn how to create a solid business plan for potential lenders, keep records and books, and market myself.

Efrain wrote everything I said down in a his little notebook....and the next thing I know, he's offering a "Managing Your Photography Business: Passion + Profits" course -- an offering I haven't seen in any other local photography schools' programming.

I often tell people how Efrain's unfailing confidence in my ability to succeed was the reason why I am a photographer now. You see, Efrain was the instructor of my first Digital Photography course taken at the Denver Darkroom. I was so overwhelmed and intimidated with all the information that was thrown at me that I told Efrain I wasn't sure I was coming back. I feared I would never be able to learn as fast as the other students who clearly had had experience in digital photography before. Their ability to effortlessly speak the lingo with Efrain during that first class scared the heck outta me. I went home that night and had nightmares...as if my mind still couldn't figure out what aperture meant!

What I remember most about Efrain was his calm response when he told me that I should come back to class, that I WOULD get the hang of it, that he could already see that I had the energy and excitement that would pull me through. And he said all that after only spending those first few hours with me in class when I know I had a strong "deer caught in the headlights" glare in my eyes. He saw something in me, and if he did, then I had to be brave enough to at least try too. And throughout the month long course, I held on to every push Efrain gave me, every statement he made in class about my growth. He even said I was brave once for having the nerve to get under a Jeep and take some macro shots of the transfer case with my brand spanking new $1000 Rebel XTi! At the end of the course when my self-portrait was voted as one of three finalists for "Photo of the Month," I knew I was onto something if I just had the faith to believe and the courage to keep getting educated. (see the photo below).



Thank you Efrain, for being my lighthouse in an internal storm of insecurity. And I wish you luck in your business!

3 comments:

Diane said...

I love your header image! you've got some really nice captures!
-diane of snapfactory
(found you through BlogRush :)

Sheba Wheeler said...

Hello Diane! Thank you for stopping by and for commenting (especially for the kudos on my images!) It's also good to know you found me on BlogRush too. Stay in touch.

Efrain said...

Wow, Sheba. What a great writeup, Thank You. I appreciate all your kind words. I'm very proud of your photography and the work you've done since that first class. Keep up the energy. Keep up the fantastic work.

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