The Truth Behind Why I Organize Weekly Model Shoots and am Promoting the VIP Monthly Membership So Aggressively

The truth is it is very difficult to get your first several paying clients (by paying clients i mean people who are willing to pay you $6000+ for weddings, or $600+ to do modeling portfolios for themselves)

I work full-time as a pharmacist. But my real passion is photography. Im not trying to quit my day job bc i love what i do, but i wanted to pursue photography and get paid for my hobby

So in February, i filed for a LLC and started my photography company and put up my website www.expressionsbyericwang.com

I didn't know anything about photography or DSLRs really, and i knew jack shit (even now) about lighting

I spent literally $5000+ on Facebook advertising (you have to spend money to make money, right?), and i got a crap-ton of likes (1300 likes) but ZERO paid work

Then, i tried something else. I signed up for meetup and started Philly Photography Field-Trip Meetup. And i started doing weekly shoots with amateur and wannabe models, and posting the photos from the shoots weekly on FB, both on my personal page and my business page

Within 3 weeks, i got my first paid gig!

A model was willing to pay me $20 to build a professional portfolio for her

Excited to finally get paid work as a photographer, i spent 3 days shooting her at various locations, even paying for her hair and makeup ($250 altogether).

And, i kept doing these shoots with amateur/decent-looking models, and paid work would gradually trickle in....$10 here, $30 there, nothing huge

But i just kept at it

Then, I realized after 6 weeks, dude this is exhausting....im busting my ass, retouching pics, posting weekly on FB and getting paid minimum wage. Actually much less than minimum wage

So, im like....something needs to change. I need to market to rich people. So i started hiring professional and stunning looking models(paying them $300-400 per shoot) and shooting them in visually stunning locations, i.e. the rooftop of a luxury hotel

And to subsidize my little experiment, i started charging photogs to attend these shoots, $40-70 per shoot, mind you, still bleeding money, because it took on avg $800 to put together a shoot, and i was putting on a shoot a week

Couple weeks, nothing happened.

Then, out of the blue, i get a text from a 40 yr old, asking me to help her build a professional portfolio to try to get her in Ford Models, and she asked me how much i charge for that

Just for shits and giggles, i said $600

Within 15 secs, she texts me back, "ok sounds good, send me more details"

Im like holy shit!!!

 

And since then, Ive done 4 weddings (even tho initially i didnt want to do weddings - too stressful), averaging $4000 each

Without exception, these weddings are all people i dont know (not family friends or coworkers' friends) who found me via the photos i was posting on my FB page

Sorry got a little carried away with the story, but long story short, i realized the key to getting paid work (esp from rich people) as a photographer is regularly posting top-notch photos of top-notch models in top-notch locations

Rich people, the ones who are actually willing to take out their wallets and pay decent money, only want the best...and when you shoot and regularly post your photos of top-notch models in top-notch locations, you create the perception that you are an in-demand photographer

And in business as in life, perception is reality

So basically this monthly membership is $48/month, and $24 to attend a shoot (as opposed to the avg price of $90-$120 to attend a shoot as a nonmember)

As a member, your monthly rate will NEVER increase so long as you choose to stay a member

Theres no signup or cancellation fees. Even better, if you decide to cancel within the first 60 days, you can get a FULL refund. Every penny you paid for the membership

And even after the initial 60 days, you can cancel your membership anytime without penalty, no questions asked

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO GET THE MEMBERSHIP FOR $48 / MONTH. AT MIDNIGHT, THE PRICE WILL JUMP TO EITHER $54 OR $60 / MONTH DEPENDING ON HOW MANY PEOPLE SIGN UP BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.
SIGN UP NOW AT www.expressionsbyericwang.com/vip
 

Positive Alchemy: Turning Sh*t into Sugar

Positive Alchemy: Turning Sh*t into Sugar

When my friend Nadia Bodkin was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) in 2010, she was faced with a decision. With her diagnosis, she finally found out the cause of her chronic, debilitating pain. Pain so intense she would faint and black out when doing everyday tasks like going to the grocery store. 

The Money Shot

The Money Shot

I work every day. Some people consider me a workaholic. And, that's okay. Maybe I am. 

It's because I love what I do. As a pharmacist, I get to make a difference in people's well-being. As a photographer, I get to capture the moments that remind us of how beautiful life is.

I am lucky. I get paid to do what I love every single day. 

But, in the end, it's not about getting paid. Yes, money helps. But it is a means, not an end.

Photography as Therapy

Photography as Therapy

Ever since my dad passed away March of 2014, March has been a tough month for me emotionally. Each March, I try to keep things together, and I've found the best way to deal with it is to drown myself with a non-stop waterboarding of work, so that I don't have a chance to come up for air and think about how f*cking sad I am.

A close encounter with death is often the defibrillator shock that jolts us back to life from the robotic 9-to-5 zombies that the everyday grind of life can reduce us to. The people in my life who have the most "life" in them  - my mom, my friends Nicole Palma (www.facebook.com/nicolepalmamodeling) and Nadia Bodkin (www.edsers.com), and my tech Lisa at work - are the ones who've had to stare death in its ugly face - whether it be due to a horrible disease such as cancer or Ehler Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or watching a loved one being taken too early.

Something about being faced with one's mortality puts everything in proper perspective. Things that used to bother me seem trivial now. The only people that matter are the people that love you and support you. I have no time for the haters, the users, and the abusers I used to put up with. Life is TOO short for that BS. 

--

Soon after my dad's passing, I scrambled to find all the photos of my dad - some hidden in photo albums in the attic, others in old, old boxes in the basement. I stayed up late, some nights completely without sleep, and scanned the photos - 892 photos in all - into my computer, and backed them up on 2 externals and no less than 5 (yes, five) separate cloud services. These 892 photos captured the life of my father, one of the most caring and genuinely kind-hearted people I've had the privilege of living alongside for 25 years of my life.

--

We take photos when we are the happiest, best versions of ourselves - at a party, on a vacation, or celebrating a special occasion.

All I need to do when I'm having a rough day is to look at a couple photos to remind me how lucky I am to be alive and afforded the opportunity to do what I love every single day, as a pharmacist and as a photographer. 

Looking at photos and taking photos is therapy that calms, soothes, and focuses you on the moment we call life - it is visual meditation. 

--

When my friend Nadia approached me to collaborate with her to help her raise money for her foundation (EDSers United, www.edsers.com) and lead classes and group sessions on the power of using photography as therapy, I was all in right away. 

Since she was diagnosed in 2010 with EDS (a disease that renders her in chronic pain and makes simple tasks like walking up stairs nearly impossible), Nadia has dedicated her life to making a tangible difference in the world.

Many people talk about changing the world, wanting to help find a cure for cancer, etc. Nadia actually lives and breathes that every single day. 

Nadia works with CEOs of pharmaceutical companies to raise money to develop treatments for genetic diseases such as EDS and speaks at conferences such as the World Orphan Drug Congress to raise awareness and funding to develop actual treatments which can improve quality and life and potentially prolong life.

This Saturday 3/19 evening, at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ, Nadia and I are hosting our first EDS charity shoot. 75% of the proceeds will go directly into funding medical research. For more info, please visit and RSVP at http://www.meetup.com/PPFTMU/events/229581363/

For additional info on how to support this cause, feel free to text or call me (Eric) at 856-426-5702.

If you live in the New Brunswick area or would like to support our efforts, please donate to EDSers United via our secure donation portal at www.expressionsbyericwang.com/eds

PHOTOGRAPHY AS STORYTELLING: Be the Story You Want Told

PHOTOGRAPHY AS STORYTELLING: Be the Story You Want Told

 

 

When models approach me to do a shoot for them, I always ask them a vital but all-too-often neglected question: What is the story you are trying to tell?

Then I tell them - be the story. It's like method acting for models.

 

Since prehistoric times, oral tradition(read: storytelling) was the way parents taught lessons to their children, generation after generation. Stories were told to instruct, to guide, to entertain. Stories are our way of trying to make sense of our crazy lives.

 

With the advent of photography in the 19th and 20th centuries, photography (and videography) has become modern storytelling - Storytelling 2.0, if you will. Magazines and visual media tell us stories about what we should look like. News outlets tell us stories about what we should be afraid of. Corporations tell us stories about what we need to buy.

I'm not going to get all conspiracy theory on you. I just want you to think for yourself.

 

What is the story that is being told about you? What are your photos on Instagram and Facebook telling about you? And, more importantly, is that the story you want told?

Between the Netflixing and the chilling, I feel many of us have lost our way. We don't take an active stance in our storytelling. And unfortunately for us, too many others - bosses, corporations, parents, family - are more than eager to tell our story for us.

 

We need to take back control. We need to be our own PR firm.

 

When a loved one passes, it's the photos that remain long after their spirit has arisen from the corpse that tell their story. Let's take our stories back from the ones who have co-opted them for their own purposes. Let's own our story. Let's live it every day.

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To schedule a shoot with Eric, contact him at eric@expressionsbyericwang.com or 856-426-5702

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DEAR GLEN: Multimillionaire, Mentor, Friend.

DEAR GLEN: Multimillionaire, Mentor, Friend.

I do most of my photo editing at a Starbucks by my house. It's safe to assume that, if I'm not working or traveling or at the gym, I'm probably there. I know most of the regulars there by name. Some are students. Some are retired. Most are completely non-functional without a Starbucks drink or two.