When I 22 years old I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Pharmacology. My parents wanted me to be a doctor but in my heart I was always a musician. Just at that moment I turned the page, right on queue, a centerfold that said "no one shoots weddings like Rocky Gunn". I knew this wedding photographer. This man who's now featured in the most famous wedding magazine in the world. It was if the universe was giving me an unforgettable sign. It was something I could not ignore so out of curiosity I pursued Rocky and I became his assistant and friend.
Eventually Rocky trained me to become a wedding photographer. I would go on to have the career he envisioned for me. He told me and said to others, "Gary Fong is going to change the world of Photography".
Wedding Photography has made me wealthy beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. I get to travel the world performing in front of live audiences as I teach techniques on how to see and change light. The products I've invented are seen everywhere and are used in Nasa missions.
The photo lab I started, Pictage, became the largest online digital pro lab in the country and have started with just a handful of employees we eventually created jobs for 150 people and sold the company for 29 million dollars.
Who knows what would have happen to me if I had no seen that magazine article that afternoon. Rocky inspired me a dream in me; one that I am proud to say I've fulfilled and now it's my turn to pass on that legacy.
My cup is overflowing and it thrills me to share my experience with so many around the world.
Read Gary's biography on Wikipedia.
The Accidental Millionaire is the memoir of Gary Fong, would-be slacker who revolutionized wedding photography, inventor of popular photography aids, entrepreneur, contrarian, bon vivant and a man who really, really didn’t want to become a doctor. A first-generation Chinese-American, Gary was raised in one of Los Angeles’ least-desirable neighborhoods and was forced to deal—in his own quirky and often very funny way—with the burdens of poverty, crime and his parents’ relentless aspirations. These issues almost overwhelmed him until he had a dramatic epiphany. Spotting a bumper sticker that read “Since I gave up hope, I feel much better,” Gary promptly did just that.
He stopped trying and started succeeding. At turns hilarious, insightful and instructive, The Accidental Millionaire is Horatio Alger-meets-David Sedaris. Turning the traditional self-help principles upside down, The Accidental Millionaire disdains the goal-oriented approaches of traditional self-help philosophies. Sometimes not knowing where you are going is the best possible way to get there.
Social media has created a myth of the a professional photographer's life as "Rockstar" glamorous. Web personalities who claim that the ticket to success is to "branding"-heavy on style, light on skill-who seem to spend more time in front of the camera than behind it. This myth is hurting a profession that already faces daunting challenges. It's harder than ever to forge success as a professional event photographer. That's why it's critical to learn the real skills and secrets that will help you succeed. Not the motivational, "Buy a BMW and believe in yourself" stuff, but practical principles that generate business in the real world.
So You Want to Be a Rockstar Photographer is for professionals, budding pros, and anyone interested in learning more about how to thrive in the real world of event photography. What you may discover is that when you stop trying to be a rockstar, and start focusing on the process of being a thoughtful, client-centered pro, you might become an outstanding success.