Passionate Photographers Choose AsukaBook
AsukaBook is proud to shine the spotlight on our customers! We love the great images these photographers capture and the high standards they set in the industry.
Tell us about your company or studio.
The story of TPS Photography is long and complex, but I will give you the quick version. TPS Photography is located in Morganton, North Carolina, about an hour northwest of Charlotte and an hour east of Asheville, and has been open since May of 2000. We specialize in children & family portraits primarily, with a few weddings and senior portraits here and there. We were lucky enough to have the extremely talented Cathy Anderson come on board with TPS Photography in April 2012, and her edgy style of portraiture has added a breath of fresh air to our senior & fashion portraits. We also do a good bit of school & sports photography, which fuels our custom portrait and wedding business. With the blending of styles and specialties, we are able to be a true full-service studio covering a broad range of photographic genres. I am a third-generation photographer, and Cathy is a second-generation photographer. (Both of our fathers (and my grandfather) had photography studios before us.)
Chris - My biggest inspiration is an imaginary Koala named Tikiko that I run all of my business ideas by. Without his wisdom and guidance, TPS may have failed years ago. In all seriousness, with my family in the business since the early 1960s, photography is what I have been around all of my life. Although I somewhat rebelled and decided to take my life in a different direction during college, I always had a hunch that I would land back into photography. After a couple of years of writing and copy-editing at some metropolitan newspapers, I decided that wasn't the life for me. I called my dad (who operated a mid-sized color lab at the time) and told him that I wasn't enjoying my career. He suggested starting another portrait studio, so I moved back to my hometown of Morganton, NC from Pittsburgh and opened our new studio, which was named The Portrait Shoppe at the time. After a couple of years, I decided that I didn't like the name and changed it to TPS Photography. My inspiration was simple: a lifetime immersion into the photographic industry by my Dad.
Cathy - Just like Chris, my father is the sole inspiration for my photographic career. I remember "growing up in a darkroom", a small room at the back of our community drug store. Watching my dad develop film photographs was truly magical to me as a kid, and I remained intrigued with the art throughout my college years. I left photography for a bit to pursue a career in medicine, but for many reasons that didn't work out (for which I am forever grateful!). I was always drawn back to something creative, especially photography. My creative heart is what fuels me. If I don't put 110% into every photograph I create, I feel like I've failed my clients. My passion for the art, plus a desire to put our clients first, is my main focus. Most importantly, I want to give our clients an EXPERIENCE, not just a photograph. Everybody has a camera these days, so we have to differentiate ourselves in a big way. I'm a big dork behind the camera, and that makes my clients incredibly comfortable to be exactly who they are. I am constantly reinforcing the awesome things they accomplish during my sessions, so they never feel awkward. My biggest drive is to make everyone feel beautiful just the way they are. It tears me apart seeing society define the word "beautiful" and making people dread photo sessions because they feel like they have to live up to the standards of supermodels in fashion ads. Not here. If my clients don't feel beautiful in their own skin and have a fabulous time, I've failed. This is the experience I was referring to--the knowledge that a photo session is still fun and that they don't have to dread coming to our studio. It will set us apart and create a strong buzz in the community.
Why do you use AsukaBook?
The personal connections and correspondences we have with AsukaBooks are truly uncanny. We are very excited about some of the new products, and can't wait to get some of the Zen Layflat EXD Books for our senior portrait market very soon!
We also love the USB Book. My favorite thing about the book is the fact that you can bridge the gap between a digital and printed product so beautifully. It has a combination of a sleek USB drive AND customizable album, all wrapped up in a beautiful package. This product is a great option that marries digital and print media, while offering our clients something different; it's something that our local competitors do not yet offer.
Any selling tips for other photographers?
Be confident in your product! It is very easy to feel like your product isn't worth the price you are asking, but confidence in its quality provides a perceived value that can't otherwise be implied. After all, it's more about the EXPERIENCE you are selling instead of the photograph. It's about making them come to you because you are different, and not just another blip among hundreds of photographers on Google Maps' radar.
What else should people know about you?
Cathy and I have a very unique working relationship, but the one thing we know how to do is to stick together and make things work. I think without our "big brother/little sister" dynamic, we couldn't survive. Some days, we literally want to strangle each other, but we know we have a great product that couldn't exist without both of us. Our level of commitment to our studio and to the industry of photography motivates us to push ourselves to constantly improve. In this day and time, so many photographers are fighting each other, trying to outdo each other, backstabbing, undercutting. It is driving the industry down big-time. We actually have taught seminars on how to, instead, work together to utilize each others' strengths and build a business, joint venture or strategic alliance to help each other rather than destroy each other. We often utilize interns and part-timers for assistance during sessions, but our best work is produced when we actually work together on a session...and it is always a BLAST! We can put our heads together and come up with composition and lighting that we couldn't have conceived independently. Of course we have some great stories, but the best involves Cathy, a wedding, and an electric fence. Email us and we'll elaborate!
We get calls all the time (as all of you do, too, I'm sure) about making donations to large charities, and while we support their causes, we are just a little ol' photography studio in small-town NC. Our donations would just be a drop in the bucket compared to the amounts they get from large corporations. Instead, we focus our charitable efforts on a local effort called the Backpack Ministry. We work directly with local churches and schools to fill backpacks full of food to give to kids in our communities who might not otherwise have food between school lunch on Friday and school breakfast on Monday to take home over the weekends. We have a "drop box" for food right inside the front door of our studio, and we have events such as "Free Facebook Friday" where we do complimentary Facebook profile photos for people in our community in exchange for a food donation. We believe in supporting our community directly, and it is a very rewarding feeling to know that all of our efforts are truly effective and help improve the lives of certain kids in our area.