Diane’s passion is her photography business. That is a great cornerstone of a Founder – having passion for what you do. Diane Tisseur offers us an insight into what it’s like to work in a highly competitive, creative environment where sometimes our clients do not understand or value the process we go through (ask any graphic designer and they will tell you the same). There is also the subject of freebies, TF work (“for trade”), or “below-cost” offerings in competitive markets that, in my view, could potentially compromise the quality of what clients receive as a whole. Diane fights to win in a market where high competition, low client understanding and a wide pricing spectrum are prevalent.
Diane Tisseur’s love of photography began in high school, circa 1979, when her Dad bought her a second-hand Yashica Electro 35mm film camera. One day, during a class trip, a classmate borrowed her camera and broke it. Many years went by before she got back into photography more seriously – circa 1999 – and even more so since 2007. She got back into it so intensely that friends and family began calling her “Kid Kodak” or “The Kodak Kid.”
What inspired you to create Groovy Lens Photographic Art?
My passion for photography began in high school. I got back into it more seriously some time in 2007. In 2013, I found myself investing more and more time in photography and found myself creating a small studio in my apartment. That’s when I knew it was time. It’s called Groovy Lens Photographic Art.
How long have you been running your initiative and what have been the biggest challenges you have faced? How did you overcome them?
I launched Groovy Lens Photographic Art in 2013. The challenges are many and, for me, have proven difficult to overcome: time, money to invest in gear and marketing, for example. I don’t lack drive or inspiration, but, let’s be honest, the competition is fierce. They are many very talented photographers out there, not to mention the photographers who consistently hand out freebies and/or purposely seek to undercut other photographers. This makes it difficult for those of us who are trying to run a lucrative business. There is also the challenge of working with those “clients” who don’t want to pay and don’t understand the value of opting for a professional photographer. Once, someone told me something along these lines (not verbatim): “Why would I pay that amount when I can have someone take a photo of me with my iPhone?” My answer (also not verbatim): “You’re right. You should ask someone to do that then.” My gut usually knows who I can take the time to explain things to and potentially help them understand. On the other hand, there are those with whom, I won’t even try to explain. And let’s not even get into copyright. “What do you mean I can’t use one of the photos you took of me, crop it (in an ugly way), post it on Facebook and let people know that you were the photographer?” [sigh!] Yes, they do sign a contract. No, they don’t read it and, if they do, they don’t understand it. So, before a photoshoot, I take the time to sit down with them to go over things. Still, they don’t get it and it’s quite discouraging. And I digress.
Your photography skills are amazing. What subject interests you the most? Why?
I love everything about photography and I’m interested in taking photos of pretty much everything, save for still-life perhaps. My main interests are landscapes (urban and otherwise) and street photography. I also have a weak spot for black and white. I enjoy portraiture as well, but, right now, it’s not my main thing.
What personal habits have served you best in your years as a founder?
Passion and determination. Not having my business be a lucrative one will never stop me from wanting to do photography and improve my skills. I guess you could say it’s an innate need. Plus, it helps keep me sane. Truly!
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to an enterprise a success? If yes, what is it?
There probably is. Seeing that I also have a full-time job that has nothing to do with photography, I haven’t had further time to invest in researching business formulas. I’m somewhat of a hippie at heart and, when it comes to my photography, I just want to go with the flow at this point. I want it and I need it, so whether or not I make money doing what I love is not 100% relevant and won’t sway me from working hard to become better and moving forward. The optimist in me says if it’s meant to be, someday, someone out there will find my work worth publishing. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my way of thinking and will, at some point, go out and try to get commercial contracts for myself?!
What advice would you give to anyone who would like to start their own photography business?
I have difficulty giving myself advice; I prefer to refrain from giving others advice on this topic. If the opportunity presents itself, the advice would be tailored to the specific person I am conversing with and to the advice they are seeking. I will say, however, do your thing and don’t let others do the thinking or decision-making for you. And, practice, practice, practice!
Groovy Lens Photographic Art has been in business since 2013 and is located in Verdun (Montreal), Québec, Canada. With regards to photoshoots (portraits, lifestyle, headshots, etc.), Diane’s main goal is to make sure everyone walks away having had lots of fun and a memorable experience. The clients’ wants, ideas, and input matter. They are all part of the creative process that helps inspire her take great photos for them to enjoy and share. Forever memories! When it comes to landscapes (urban or otherwise) and to street photography, Diane follows her instincts in an attempt to photograph things that will resonate with people, create an emotion, a feeling. In her words, it’s a way of sharing one’s perception and freezing memories in time.