I know many lawyers who use their hobby for client development. For some, it is a sport they enjoy like golf or tennis. I have coached several lawyers who are outstanding singers. I actually coached two lawyers who enjoyed the trapeze and both invite guests to join them.

I have coached several lawyers who enjoy photography and have used it in their client development. Selene Kreamer is one of those lawyers. When I learned about her photography interest I suggested she write about it. She did and I wanted to share what she said with you.

Integrating My Photography Hobby with My Law Firm Business Development

Every month I do a coaching call with lawyer coach Cordell Parvin relating to how to develop business as a lawyer.  This week he was talking about meeting prospective clients and referral sources while engaging in a hobby.  I talked about my love of art and photography and how lately I have been sharing this passion with my local business community.

Ever since I received a pink LeClic camera for Christmas in 1988 and ever since my dad let me borrow our family video camera in 1992 to make video collages of still shots of my friends’ senior pictures, I have been in love with capturing a moment or image with some type of recording device.

Fast-forward to 2010.  The iPhone.  Tweetpics.  Facebook.  Blogging. YouTube. Flickr.  Social Media.  I started taking pictures at client and firm events in 2010.  With a camera and video recorder now built into my handheld phone, it first dawned on me when I attended Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week (see blog post regarding my account of Ports 1961 fashion show) that I really should photograph what I was seeing and try to share it with my clients, friends, colleague constituencies that I had been building via Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.   I thought —well not everyone ever gets this chance and I wanted to share what I was seeing.

That same year, I began building my corporate client base in the fashion and retail industries.  When I would go to an industry event, what I was seeing was beauty, art everywhere.  See  Playtime New York, kicokids Spring/Summer 2011 collection, Pittsburgh Fashion Week, Tia Cibani Spring 2012 Collection, Maniac Blogger Event.I often felt compelled to bring not only my iPhone but my new, fancy DSLR 5000 Nikon digital camera.

So then it began.  I started uploading pictures from various business events to sets in my Flickr photostream.   If there were honorees at a particular event (i.e., Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame) or an event where a business person was there with a family member, I was sure to photograph them and later either email them the pictures or actually make prints and frame and mail them.  Yes it took time.  But, I was happy to do it.  My assistants always helped too.

When I advise my corporate clients about social media, I tell them— you should use tweets, photos and videos to enable your following to

  • see what you see,
  • hear what you hear, and
  • read what you read.

I guess I have been doing the same thing with my own law practice.  When I go to a conference (i.e., American Bankruptcy Conference) or visit a location (i.e. Dozen Bake Shop,West Virginia Living Magazine),  I want followers to get a visual image of what I do every day, places I go, and people that I meet.  I want to humanize myself as a lawyer, show people where I live and where I work.   See Where I Practice: Weirton, WV and Where I Practice: Pittsburgh, PA.  I want people to see who my employees are (New Firm Photos: and where we contribute some of our charitable dollars (Weirton Baseball Sponsorship).

In May of 2012, I opened up a physical law office in my hometown of Weirton, WV, a steel mill town (Grand Opening and shots of office).   I felt compelled to photograph the mill for many reasons.  I wanted to create local industrial art for my office.  I created a few collages and have been donating them to be auctioned at various community fundraisers, i.e., Weirton Parks and Recreation Auction, Weirton Rotary Mardi Gras Gala.  I just recently donated collages to the Weirton Museum and Cultural Center as well as to the Mayor.   They were warmly received.   I received numerous requests for copies of the collage and have become inspired to actually start my own Facebook Page for my photography “Through My Eyes: Salene Mazur Photography” and website.

In one day, I received almost as many likes on my photography facebook page than my law firm page!!  My friends joke that maybe I chose the wrong profession.  Ha! Actually I think not.  I found a way to blend my love for the arts with my love for the practice of corporate and bankruptcy law.   Ahh, professional nirvana!

BUSINESS OWNER:  What about you?  What are your hobbies?  How can you engage in your hobby and at the same time, solidify your brand and/or build goodwill with your clients and referral sources?

If photography is also your hobby and you have photographs you would like for me to use in a blog post, I would be happy to give you credit if I pick one to use. If not photography, what do you enjoy doing away from the office that can also be used to attract clients?