Featured Photographer • G.E. Masana Photographer
September 25, 2014
G.E. Masana is a New York-based photographer who takes his craft extremely seriously. His goal is to capture his clients’ true emotions and allow them to completely immerse themselves in their wedding or relationship while he’s shooting. We love the passion and intensity behind these photographs, as well as the unique lighting and treatments.
How did you get started in photography?
Through sheer quirk of fate, I grew up living over a wedding photo studio in Queens, NY. Anyway, I was working in commercial art and one day while visiting my folks, the studio owner was hanging out and we chatted. He asked if I needed work as I was temporarily between assignments. In the commercial art field that’s technical jargon for “right now, I’m unemployed.” So I said, “why not,” not realizing it would be the start of a journey that would one day end up with me hitting it big time as a Featured Photographer right here on the Fundy site.
What has contributed to your success?
I’d like to say it’s talent, savvy, dogged determination and perseverance in the face of one slap after another. That’s what I’d like to say, but more than likely my success is attributable to my genetic disdain for having what my dad calls “a REAL job” – which is true motivation to make this work. You know, I’ve been at this for over 30 years and you can either build on what you learn over 30 years or repeat the first year over 30 times. I chose to build and learn.
What is the most important thing for your continued success?
There’s a thousand voices out there and I have a knack not to listen to them. I heard once the majority is usually wrong so I follow my own inner voice and filter the rest through that. It’s a well-honed inner voice, via trial by fire refined through hands-on experience. For example, I learned a way to do post-wedding album photo sales and got that to where I was making additional four-figure sales working with regular everyday wedding couples. Then I thought to get Fundy Album Builder to make the process faster and easier, and get this…this year alone two weddings so far hit as high as $10,768 and $15,000 in additional album photo sales. Fundy ignited my sales methods because Album Builder made it a breeze to design, show and sell way more images in a fraction of the time than before. I know that sounds like a big-time plug for Fundy, and I guess it is, but it’s completely unsolicited. I didn’t change a thing to the way I conduct my after-wedding sales. Just added Fundy to the mix, and the by-product of that when mixed with a good sales system, exploded my sales higher.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
I’m always getting great advice. I’m in a mastermind group with a few select business people from literally around the world, all having done very well, from other industries and professions and we freely advise each other, usually stuff about our own businesses we don’t see ourselves because we’re so close to our own operations. I hear information we wouldn’t necessarily get from the comparatively smaller world of just photographers. Tons of wisdom passing around there. I’m also an avid reader of business and sales books. I don’t read fiction or anything to be entertained. I read to know about things. I ingest knowledge. I don’t even watch TV. I’d rather be learning something. So best advice ever? Maybe along those lines, “poor people have large TVs, wealthy people have large libraries.”
What is most important in your photography?
It has to please me. I’m my own worst critic. If I’m not happy with a photo I don’t know how to expect my clients to be OK with it. Then maybe part of that is it looks like something. That it means something. I grew up painting and sketching so I grew up absorbing Vermeer, Rembrandt, J.W. Waterhouse, Dürer. I’d cut high school to hang at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and study the paintings exhibiting there. All this gets imprinted into your brain and then one day you see a real life scene at a wedding and you think, hey that looks great, that looks like something, and you grab it out of thin air and put it into the camera. And come to find out you got yourself something that looks like maybe a Vermeer or a Degas. And that’s why you grabbed it. That’s why you thought it looked like something. Because art is burned into your circuits.
What do you love most about your work?
What’s with fixating on one thing? There’s LOTS of things. That’s the thing about love objects, there isn’t any one thing you love most about them. You love everything about your love object. Their eyes, their nose, the way they laugh. As soon as you say “oh, I love how clients’ faces light up when they see their images for the first time,” you realize you also love how she reaches over and grabs his hand as she’s looking at her wedding images. And then another day you see a couple whose wedding you photographed 10 years ago, they’re at a wedding you’re on, and they tell you how the portrait you made for them is hanging in their living room, and you love that. For the last 10 years, while you weren’t thinking about your stuff hanging on their wall, they’ve been looking at it every day, and every day something you created has been a part of their world. There’s nothing not to love about any part of this.
For additional tips, rants, thoughts and advice about sales and business for wedding and portrait photographers from G.E. Masana, sign up here to get free emails. “It’s my hard earned experience and stuff I’ve learned firsthand, what I know is true and works. You could say it’s ‘The Business According to Me,’ ” said Masana. You can also view more of his work on his bridal website here.
All photos © G.E. Masana