CPC2015 Speaker-Matt Ebenezer Matt Ebenezer was a presenter at CPC2014 and he’s coming back in 2015 for another round! During the 2014 conference he gave us TWO incredible presentations about life, photography, video and philanthropy. Matt’s presentations were certainly some of the highlights of the event.
Matt’s topic for next year is ‘The Heart of Business.’ It’s based on the question of why we are even photographers and business people in the first place. Often in the industry there is a lot of talk about posing, sales, etc., but we don’t talk about WHY we are doing this. Finding your voice has become the cliche of the industry but Matt is more interested in what happens ONCE you find your voice. It is a fairly big picture topic but a perfect way to kick off the convention and his topic will help us solidify and make the most from all three days of the convention.
Matt says that very few people make money for the sake of making money. We all make money because of what that money enables us to do, to pay our bills, enjoy creative freedom, spend more time with family etc … Too often our industry gets caught up in top ten lists, awards and Facebook likes, and forgets about the things that are most important. Matt wants you to think about what is possible for us as photographers and how we can change the world for ourselves, our families and for other people because of that money and our skill set.
Matt didn’t start out as a wedding photographer. His first love was videography. Does he miss it? Not really because there was always a love/hate relationship: loathing the process of editing but loving the end result. Matt knows that it is really hard work to create quality video work. That doesn’t stop him from still using video however. Instead of traditional ‘Fusion’ he utilizes video in a variety of other ways in his business and on his website.
Matt suggests there are many ways for a photographer to stand out from the crowd.
Firstly, you have to know what you believe. Another way to describe this is to know what your opinion is, or what your line in the sand is.
Many photographers want to know how to find their ideal client or target market. These are good questions, but they’re not the right questions to ask first. Define yourself first, then find the people who believe what you believe and who agree with your opinion.
For example, Matt and Katie believe that a wedding should be just that, a wedding. Not a photoshoot at which you happen to get married. They also believe that their #1 job as wedding photographers is to enable couples to spend as much time with family and friends as possible.
Due to these strong beliefs – plus many more – and the way Matt and Katie communicate them, they attract clients who agree. This makes for a really good fit and a great working relationship with their couples. Formulating your opinions and beliefs can take time plus a lot of reflection and analytical thinking.
Matt loves the word opinion because we all shoot the way we shoot for a reason. We should be able to draw a line in the sand and defend our opinion. Not to start fights on Facebook, but so that we can clearly communicate our approach to our clients.
Many photographers have their beliefs and opinions but they are not expressing them on their websites. Photographers need to do this, otherwise we all look the same. Bottom line, define yourself first and then find the people who agree with you.
Matt wouldn’t be Matt without Katie and Katie wouldn’t be Katie without Matt. They are a shooting couple. They are married and yes folks, they are madly in love. Matt was asked ‘when’ he knew Katie was the one. Basically straight away. “It’s a long story, but Katie stalked me a long time and I didn’t know that she existed. When we finally met though, I just knew the first time I met her. Something I felt inside. A few days later I made an excuse to borrow her camera. Less than three months later we were married!”
They always shoot together and approach a wedding as if they are both the primary photographer.
When asked whether or not he had a favourite memory from a wedding, he immediately spoke of one between bride from Singapore and Aussie groom. It wasn’t just a wedding, but also a joining of different families and cultures. During the signing of the register, both sets of parents came together and were crying and weeping. The bride’s dad said to the groom’s mother that he was the son they’d never had. Hardly anyone heard it – but it was a moment that Matt heard. He knows that what we see and hear, not everyone gets to experience. It is a privilege to experience these things because we share some incredible moments. On the flip side of the coin, there was an embarrassing moment for Katie. She was documenting the signing of the register and hardly any guests spoke english. The Bride’s mom came up to Katie to say congratulations (in broken english), and patted her belly. She thought she was pregnant – Matt was at the back wondering why the mom was patting Katie’s belly and causing a scene. Then the bride chimed in and started congratulating her. It took a few hours to explain she was not really pregnant. For the record, Katie says it was the dress.
Finally to finish off, Matt is very passionate about helping other photographers and helping the industry as a whole. He imagines a world in which every photographer is able to make the money they want to make and is able to tell the stories that they want to tell. When that happens, the whole world benefits from it.
We as photographers are relationship driven and he wants to see as many photographers get to that place. In the end, we create a ripple effect that that is not just for ourselves and our families, but also for others. Matt’s personal goal is to change the world one photographer at a time. That is why he speaks and teaches.
Matt loves CPC. He says there aren’t many conferences that have the feeling of community like CPC, and he can’t wait to return in 2015 … and half-jokingly he adds “2016, and 2017 and …”
“Just the facts” Matt:
Favourite restaurant: Red Fish, Blue Fish in Victoria
Favourite meal: Homemade pizza by Katie with a rye crust a la Hawaiian flavour
Favourite Movie: Shawshank Redemption followed closely by Star Wars
To Do List:
Despite Star Wars being a fav movie of Matt’s, Katie has never seen it. In addition, Katie has never been on skates. Both of these need to change. Matt has been on skates but they were ice figure skates with toe picks. They both have never been to a hockey game either. Kind of hard given that there aren’t many ice hockey arenas in Australia. This may need to be rectified when Matt comes to Vancouver for CPC 2015.