Matthew Sweetwood Interview Part 2 On Learning Photography –  Smarter Online Marketing Podcast

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Matthew:    What I did was I took a look at the modern cameras and said they’re very, very complicated. People don’t really know how to take pictures with them. They’re computers. Let’s create an education based model which draws people back into the store.

Vickie:     Right.

Matthew:    That’s what happened. When you run an education program, people will continue to come back to you over and over again. In addition to that, you really change your relationship with the customer. Look at the relationship that we started – that you started with my company. Not just us personally, but you started with my company you don’t see us as a retail store necessarily. You see us as a resource. That is just your attitude towards the store. Many cases, a retail store is an adversarial relationship with you, right?

Vickie:     Right.

Matthew:    You go into the store, you want to get as much as you can for as little as you can. They want to get as much money from you, and get you to buy as much as possible. We sort of transcended that relationship here by creating an education based model. You view us as a teacher more than a seller.

Vickie:     Absolutely, and I agree with you with that, that you’re a resource more than just a seller of photography products. I’ll say this, okay. This changed my life. Okay. This is my Canon T4I. I love shooting with my DSLR, you can’t get depth of field with any smartphone like this.

Matthew:    They don’t really quite work as low light.

Vickie:     They don’t. You have such control of this. You made me an animal. I’m a complete shutter bug. I’ll say I took a Unique University class, and we’ll talk about this a little bit more, it was a DSLR introductory course. It introduces me to the machine, the mechanics. For me, it was learning how to fly a plane. I had no idea what to do with this, it was very scary, but I knew that I needed to get better in sharing the visuals, because I was doing a lot of work in the internet. Developing websites and stuff. I needed great content for a great website. Not just okay pictures that kind of showed what we wanted to say, but I would have control of those photos that made people really want to sink their teeth into that.

Matthew:    Absolutely.

Vickie:     It wasn’t just about how to take better photographs, but it was about learning how to use this. It was so scary to me. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Matthew:    The university program that we have here was really designed for beginners to professionals. We try to look at all area of photography. You’ll see in our programs, you’ll see classes for working professionals, you’ll see for aspiring professionals and so on. The most popular class is the class that you took. Between 500 and 1,000 people through that program to multiple classes.

If you notice the classes you took is relatively small in size. That program is designed to get the user from just leaving the camera in automatic mode. The camera on the green button. We always say we’re going to get you off the green button on the camera, right?

Vickie:     Absolutely. That little green button right there.

Matthew:    That little green guy there. Good for you. I see your camera is on manual.

Vickie:     It is. I have to give credit. Okay. Totally, I learned with Mike Downey, with Rick Gerardi who are monsters in photography. You hired these professionals that just teach you from the ground level how to take great shots and be in control of this. I never shoot in any automatic mode. I know that I shoot in AV, TV. I actually learned how to shoot with a light meter so that I can actually pop it into manual. You made me a complete shutter bug. You did.

Matthew:    That’s right. That’s the idea. The cameras today are really amazing. If you leave the cameras in automatic, you can get 70% of your pictures. You can. There’s 30% of the pictures and those are the ones that usually you want the most. You can’t get with the camera in manual – in automatic. You have to know how to manipulate the camera, and we teach you that. If you notice, that course also wasn’t just about the sort of very basic mechanics of the camera.

Part of that program was the art of seeing, where we started to talk about how you start to visualize pictures. How you start to visualize composition. You’ve been in other classes here. You see that we have a whole wide variety of ways of teaching photography. Like you said, we change lives. Unique class and forever, for the rest of your life you’ll be able to capture the most important memories, and business events. Things that relate to you better than you ever did before. That’s really a change in life.

Vickie:     Absolutely. I think really that introduction to composition and what actually is the frame of your picture, what story do you want to tell is pretty much what it boils down to.

Matthew:    Looking at you right now, and it’s funny how you sort of set your own area where you have yourself in camera. I can see it’s a photographer. How you framed it. You got the monitor in one-third, you’re in the middle third, and your say wow is in the other third.

Vickie:     I’m going to actually show you something that I keep here in my office for inspiration. Just didn’t make it to this crop frame that I have right behind me. This is actually a photograph that was taken on my very first photo excursion. This was in January 2013. I want to say with Mike Downey at the Brooklyn Waterfront. Amazing. I learned how to take a shot like that. That was me. That was like my first photography excursion ever.

Matthew:    Wow.

Vickie:     Ridiculous. Then we took another one. It just shows you that you can totally do this yourself. You just have to learn. Education is the key to anything.

Matthew:    What I’m saying is what’s really interesting is to watch how your eye has change. You’re using photographic technique to set up the set that you’re sitting in right now. I can see it. I can see how you applied the rule of thirds for the way … you see it in the rule of thirds. Right?

Vickie:     Absolutely. See it’s creeped into every aspect of my life. Even in setting up this Logitech HD webcam that I have here. I actually had to go into the advance settings and set my exposure, set my-

Matthew:    You become more comfortable with the technical aspects of things.

Vickie:     Right.

Matthew:    Absolutely.

Vickie:     You apply all of these things in everything that you do. Especially when you’re creating visual content. This video is going to live on YouTube. The podcast is going to be available in iTunes. Don’t you want to make sure that everything that you produce is great right out of the gate?

Matthew:    Absolutely. Of course. The only thing good that’s really cool about photography is that it’s fun. It’s one of those hobbies or interest or occupations that’s actually fun. You’re capturing life. You’re capturing images. You’re capturing people. It’s really a fun thing.


One comment on “VIDEO: Matthew Sweetwood Interview Part 2 On Learning Photography Smarter Online Marketing Podcast

  1. Vickie Siculiano

    The second installment of the incredible interview with +Matt Sweetwood,
    President of +Unique Photo . (It keeps getting even more awesome!) Props
    to Rick Gerrity and +Michael Downey for helping us learn how to capture
    better photos and for changing lives!

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