FCM One-on-One presents: Mr. Armand Flores
One of Calgary’s TOP professional photographers.
Owner of Profolio Photography – www.profoliophotography.com
FCM: How do you attract new clients?
AF: Basically, 90% or more are referrals. People see our work, and they take our info from someone we’ve worked with, and they contact us. We joined the Calgary Bridal Association. As part of the association, we are listed in their directory. And they feature us once a while. It helped get the word of our work.
FCM: So it’s important to join an organization related to your business.
AF: It is. But your work is your standard. Your quality of work is what ultimately attracts people. Every clientele is different. We have target markets. How you market yourself is critical. But again, you need to back-up your marketing with the quality of your work. Your clients will research your work; then they’ll decide whether to hire you or not.
FCM: In this business and any business, it’s really important then to have good quality work. How do you do that?
AF: You need to have standards. For example, our photo albums, the placement for the photos, for our wedding projects are from Italy. Like the Louis Vuitton of albums. That’s what we provide to our clients.
FCM: That’s great.
AF: Weddings are very important. You’ll show it to your kids, and your grandkids. So you need high quality for weddings. And we add the engagement photography as part of our wedding package because we want to build a relationship with our clients leading to the wedding ceremony. We want our customers to be comfortable with us which allows us to capture the moment.
FCM: And Sam, your wife, works with you on this as well.
AF: She does. It’s great to be working with my wife. She captures the bride, and I capture the groom’s photos. It takes away the awkwardness. And we’re able to capture from start to finish of the wedding.
FCM: If someone is considering photography as a career, how do they get started?
AF: Photography has a broad scope. It depends on the genre. You need to ask yourself, “What’s your interests? Is it journalism, events, weddings, birthdays, etc.
FCM: How would they know?
AF: First start with nothing, then explore. You need to learn your camera first. It will become an extension of you. You need to get to the point where your camera is a part of you.
FCM: Is it easy to become a professional photographer?
AF: Being a professional photographer is tough. Back then there’s less photographer because we use film. Now we’re digital, and there are more photographers. But it’s all about your personal direction. I consider myself as an artist. Photography is a medium for me to show my art. Anyone can have a camera and take a photo, but they’re not all photographers.
FCM: What’s the most difficult thing about being a photographer?
AF: There are a lot of stages to go through as a photographer. There’s criticism from other photographers. I started just like everyone else. I struggled at the beginning. Then I went to school and learned photography. It took me years before I could say I’m a professional. Even to this day, I can’t say I’m a master. But it’s continuous learning. I learn from other artists. I communicate with other artists to get their ideas. I like to work with exceptional individuals. I want to know what inspires them. Great photos should inspire. For that to happen, I have to be inspired.
FCM: How important is inspiration to being a photographer.
AF: Inspiration is number one in photography. In school, you get the fundamentals. But you have to be inspired to capture great photos. You need to connect with other artists to know what inspires them, and then capture their inspiration and add it to your inspiration.
FCM: What other advice do you have for starting photographers?
AF: Anybody can be a photographer, but you need to ask yourself, what kind of photographer you are going to be. If you’re really serious, you need to educate yourself. Learn the fundamentals. Then ask yourself which line of photography you want to focus on, fashion, wedding, etc. Again, photography is not easy. You need to want to do it, learn how to do it, then know where you want to take it.
Interview by FCM.