San Diego SMUG with Joe and Mirta Barnet

Last week our monthly SmugMug meeting moved venues to the Handlery Hotel & Resort, and while the past host locations have been great, I must say that I was impressed with our new home.  The Group was given the cocktail lounge area (which of course is conveniently adjacent to the bar) where we were able to view this month’s presentation on a large projection screen.  Our gracious hosts provided the crew of roughly 40 people with complimentary hot wings and cheese jalapeno poppers, as well as $4 tap beer specials.  I’ve included a not-so good picture of the taps below, and must quickly note that these are all local micro-brews…..and quite tasty!

Joe and Mirta Barnet shared how they market, book, and sell in the high-end wedding and portrait photography space.  As a husband and wife shooter/designer team, they likewise presented side-by-side, giving their honest opinions on what has worked for them, and what has not, as they have built their very successful business.  Both were very open to questions, and delivered straight forward and unfiltered responses.   And as someone who is not primarily interested in wedding photography, I found their advice on not only the technical, but their candor in running a business to be quite relevant in today’s challenging environment.

Dennis from Bay Photo was also on hand with a display of some of his latest products, and as always, some very helpful advice on selling.

All in all, there were the usual suspects in attendance (a quick nod to John Durant and his sought after workshop this Sat. 6/4), as well as many new faces.  I feel like a broken record sometimes, but I see how much time and effort Michelle and Scott put into making these events a success, and I might not sleep as well if I didn’t extend my personal thanks!   Lastly, one more shout out to Oliver who has volunteered to join the San Diego SMUG team.  Looking forward to future events!!

A shot of Joe during his presentation.  I hate using flash in this situation, and I’m in a very dark room, shooting wide open (f/1.4) at ISO 1600 and 1/40th.

Mirta fielding a few questions after the presentation.

Joe offering up some advice

Attendees networking afterwards

Dennis from Bay Photo

Sweet, sweet, beer…..

About Bryan Oster

Photographer of people and food. You can see some of my work at my site (, and at my blog (
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