Radio Interview Transcripts

MorePhotos Radio - Gayletta Tompkins for ImagingUSA


ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the More Photos’ Radio Photography Spotlight brought to you by helping professional photographers with all their internet needs world wide. Also brought to you by Finally, an e-commerce solution for professional photo labs that makes sense. Now here’s your host, Damien Allen.  DAMIEN: Good afternoon and welcome to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen and joining me on the telephone today we have Gayletta Tompkins of Gayletta’s Photographic Studio and Gallery of Nederland, Texas. Good afternoon and welcome to the program, Gayletta.
DAMIEN: You’re going to be speaking at the upcoming conference at Imaging USA, about Time Flies When You’re Photographing Fun. Could you tell us a little bit more about the topic you’re going to be covering?
GAYLETTA: Basically I’m going to just go ahead and try to share with everybody where I’ve learned things, how I’ve used it, and the results that I’ve gotten from that, and how much fun I’ve had doing that.
DAMIEN: What day and times will your class be held during the conference?
GAYLETTA: Mine will be an early bird on Tuesday, January 12th at 7:30 – 9.
DAMIEN: What do you hope your participants are going to take away at the end of the day after attending your workshop?
GAYLETTA: I hope to really just spell it out why I got into photography, the excitement of being able to produce an image for someone, how I learned more about photography through our different associations from our local and state and then on to our national associations where you get to meet so many other different photographers and then be able to share with them the things I’ve learned and how I use those in my studio and what the results have been from that. I tell people it’s on the job training, I haven’t done everything right, but I’ve been really fortunate that the things I implemented and put into place kept business coming in so that I could keep the doors open.
DAMIEN: How long have you been photographers, and how did you get started with Imaging USA?
GAYLETTA: Well November was 16 years since I opened my studio, and I worked out of my home for about a year and a half to two years before that, but I’ve always loved to take pictures, my dad always did, he always had a camera with him, and so it was just kind of a natural thing growing up, you know, I’d take pictures at church and different friends’ weddings and different things. So way back I got to assist a photographer at a wedding, and then started helping him in his studio in putting together wedding albums, and then close friends ask, you know, would you do my daughter’s wedding and it kind of grew from referral to referral, and that’s what I mean about the on the job training, because I started out with a 35 mm camera, auto focus, auto everything, had a lot of fun with people, you know, we’d be leaving the park and they’d say, we can’t wait to see the pictures, and I’d be thinking I can’t either. We had fun and then as you learn more about your craft and how to make those images to really be something to Wow over. It’s just been really exciting to get paid to have fun, I think is just really been a blessing.
DAMIEN: In deed it is. I’ve checked out your awesome website, and you seem to do it all. How did you manage to grow so fast, and what do you contribute your success as a photographer?
GAYLETTA: That’s been something that, as I mentioned, being a part of your local associations from your local guild to your state Texas PP of A on to my national Professional Photographers of America, you know, I immediately joined the Houston Guild which that’s like an hour and a half from me, hour and a half to two hours. We had a monthly meeting; I never missed any of the meetings, and I learned from other photographers, you know, from the very beginning they would say things like don’t try to reinvent the wheel, and I would study with different photographers, come back and try to implement something I learned from that whether it been a Super Monday or just from different ones and there’s two things I think that really helped my business grow so fast. One was I learned about doing a children’s contest to benefit a local charity. I started that in January of 94 which I just opened my studio, and the phone went ringing after Christmas so I got the images together and had them for a voting contest at our local festival, 80 children in the contest, had talked to some people in the area, and had selected a charity here in our area, Children’s Miracle Network, but $20 was the session fee and I donated the whole $20 to our Children’s Miracle Network, but all of these images were on display at our local festival, and over 800 people came in to vote on these images. So immediately people started seeing my work. The second thing I think that really helped my studio grow so fast was I’d learned from a Super Monday, I’ve gone with Doug Box up in Brennan, Texas, and doing specials like seasonal specials so that April of 94 I had my first season special with little live bunnies, real bunnies, and have implemented like 6 different specials through the year from summer, fall and Christmas and different ones, and through the years, I’ve been consistent at offering these different children’s specials at more of a discounted price and then also working my custom work for big family portraits or the mother baby, the first birthday and different things like that so I feel like I have been able to reach a whole range of people who don’t all have much money at certain times of their lives that they could invest in portraits to where if a special was all they could afford, they could still catch or have really nice images of their children as they grow up on to where then it’s the time they needed the special from graduation to early years, I also did weddings. So I’ve been getting my name out there in the community, being able to give back to the community and also be able to offer images at a variety of different prices for people. I think it’s worked really well for me.
DAMIEN: And speaking of giving back to your community, you’re a Rotarian, you’ve won the Small Business of the Year Award, and you’ve even completed law enforcement training in the Citizen’s Police Academy. That’s a lot of things going on. Could you please give us a couple of tips on juggling so many hats as a photographer and staying active in your community.
GAYLETTA: It is hard, and I think that’s what everybody, I guess no matter what type of profession you’re in that the thing we all have the least of, or that we want more of is more time. I’ve gone through the transition from film to digital, and that was like starting business over again. I was back to 18 hours here at the studio, because it wasn’t just learning a new camera in the camera room, but it was managing the images in the computer, and that’s something we still are working on our work flows to where we’re not spending so much time here at the studio and taking time away from your family. I think it goes back to education and taking advantages of any of those times where you can either go to your guild or get with other photographers and learn more about our industry and the time saving things you can implement, because you have to really concentrate on doing money making activities, not just staying busy trying to keep up with what is coming in, and it is a hard juggle, but I think our education and sharing with others is what will make us all be able to do it better.
DAMIEN: What’s going to be new for Gayletta Tompkins in 2010? Are there going to be more workshops and conferences to attend? Do you have any new projects coming up in the studio?
GAYLETTA: We’re waiting for our newsletter. I do two newsletters a year, one in January and one in June so that will be hitting my customers in the next week or so, but what we will be concentrating on here at the studio is to really be able to perfect our workflow so we’re not spending too much time to get these images on out for our customers to where we can work on these and making better images. We’ve got some new type of specials we are working to offer to our customers to promote our custom work, you know, any time you try to promote something people want to know well what do I get, you know, what is their special? So we’re trying to work in different product lines that make people want this even more from jewelry now to purses to different things that now with the digital world and image can go on anything these days, and we’re trying to work these into add on products to their fine portraits or their wall portraits they may get for their wall, but a way of them sharing their images to other people which the more they buy then the more that will increase our bottom line. So education is always at the top. There’s always so much to learn from computers, you know, manage your images to lighting and posing in the camera room. Our goal is just really to work harder to get a ready product for customers where we can improve or increase our product line for people.
DAMIEN: Would you kindly share your website and contact information with the listening audience, Gayletta?
GAYLETTA: My website is If you have questions, you can either email me, personally, my email is or if you would like to call the studio, the studio number is (409) 727-4988.
DAMIEN: We thank you very, very much for joining us today, Gayletta.
GAYLETTA: Thank you, I appreciate the phone call, and I’m excited about Imaging USA. See everybody in Nashville.
DAMIEN: We strongly encourage everybody to attend Gayletta’s workshop and to attend the Imaging USA Conference in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee, January 10th – 12th, 2010.    You can catch Gayletta’s conference, her workshop will be happening on Tuesday, January 12th at 7:30 am and running until 9. You’ve been listening to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen. Everybody have a great afternoon.
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