introducing Jim Collins, CEO of Pictage

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If you haven't met Jim Collins, CEO of Pictage, you are seriously missing out!  A little bird tells us there's a good chance he'll be joining us for Inspire this year and we can't wait to introduce him to everyone! (and have a beer or two with this character!) We sent Jim a few sentences and asked him to finish them... as we expected, he served up a thoughtful and insightful interview, complete with a few humble and amusing asides. We are honored to have part of our conference underwritten by Pictage. We are constantly impressed by the company's dedication to the pro photographer community, and by the company's continued efforts to respond to photographers' needs and requests. Pictage has demonstrated that they are not only committed to helping photographers adapt to changes in the world of wedding and portrait photography, but also to leading the industry in shaping these changes.  Their support of community resonates deeply with our philosophy about sharing and supporting each other in our business and our art.

If you are at WPPI, be sure to look for Jim and the rest of the Pictage folks on the trade show floor or at one of their awesome events!

I am inspired... by photographers.  It’s a funny thing, but from the day this job crossed my desk as an offer the thing I was most excited about was the opportunity to serve photographers.  Not because I thought you were cool.  (I didn’t even know back then).  But because I love to look at your work.  It’s funny.  After two years and not a few trials it’s still true.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a mundane portrait session or a sweeping landscape I can sit and look at your work for hours on end and never get tired of it.  The things you do are amazing.  All the more so because you take them for granted.  Whether it’s using your craft to help with worthy causes or just giving a client the gift of a beautiful ‘them,’ the work you do is amazing and it makes me work just that much harder to help you succeed.

What I love most about my job is the interaction with photographers.  I’ve been an amateur photographic hobbyist since I was a kid.  In many respects my story is similar to the ones I hear.  My grandfather gave me an SLR in his driveway (a 1955 Pentax Asahi) when I was about 12.  I was immediately captivated by what I could do with the camera (especially after I figured out the light meter wasn’t lying).  I even ‘helped’ a friend through Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and worked for a commercial photographer in LA during my college years.  I just chickened out when it came to my own career and went an easier route working for others.  If I can help photographers in some small way, then I’ve done a cool thing. My creative outlets are most often tapped in cooking.  I don’t get to take that many pictures.  I like to shoot people and just grabbing someone and saying, ‘let me take pictures of you’ has always seemed kind of weird.  I took up cooking several years ago as a way to create a ‘buffer’ between my workday and my evenings at home.  I’m a cook.  Not a chef or a baker.  I don’t follow recipes much anymore.  I’ve cooked 7 course, wine pairing dinners for charity auctions (bring 12 of your buddies and we’ll make it a great evening for you).  One of these sold for more than $10,000.  But I prefer cooking for my friends.  Nothing is better than that moment when the meal has been served and people are talking and laughing and having a good time and I can just sit down and enjoy their company.  There are many other things I love, but these are two of them ...

I wish more photographers would pursue their own dreams.  I hear so much in this industry that sounds like imitation, like chasing someone else’s dream.  And I don’t really mean that in a critical way.  It’s more just an observation.  People who get into this industry who have the staying power to stick with it are people who are fed from an internal spring.  They do it because they are compelled to do it.  Not because they think it’s cool or because they think they’ll get rich but because they simply have to.  But there are a lot of people who are sort of around the periphery, trying to get in and the way they try is by either doing things that others say they should do or by imitating them.  In the end I guess I’d say I really don’t have an answer to the question that has any real validity.  I don’t presume to know how hard it is or how to do it better than anyone else or how to succeed.  I know some general business principles and I’ve learned a lot about the business of photography works and I’ve had some luck with my companies along the way.  I just think that ultimately if someone is doing something they love they have a better chance of finding something that feels like the thing they thought of as success.  That’s worth reaching and risking for.  Someone else’s vision?  Not so much. Pictage’s clients are unique because ... Wow.  I don’t know that I can say that they are unique, or special, or different.  I don’t know other photographers  all that well.  I know that I am amazed at the breadth of talent and the willingness to give and teach and share community.  It is very humbling in a way to serve a customer base like this.  On a daily basis these people set a standard that acts as an inspiration to all of us who work at Pictage.  When someone asks for help or advice or support they simply stand up and say, “I’m here.”  They share pricing and hints and tips on selling and photographic techniques and critiques and lots of other stuff.  When someone is down in the dumps they rally and dote and pull and push until the person is moving on again.  They just care.  I don’t know if that’s unique, but it’s pretty damn cool.

thanks for your support Jim and Pictage! We can't wait to see you at Inspire!