She’s a photography consultant, mindset coach, and business mentor who has been consistently loud in the world of commercial photography for 20 years. She’s been there and done that—and she can help you get there and do that too.
That’s why I asked her to come on the podcast today: to share her knowledge and experience with you so that we can all become better food photographers and business owners.
Amy is an amazing woman who has been doing this work for over 20 years now and has done an incredible job of helping people create their ideal lives by taking control of their careers and business practices. She’s an inspiration because she really knows how important it is to take control of our own careers and businesses so that we can make sure that we are getting paid what we deserve for our work!
In this episode, Amy V. Cooper shares her insights as a photographer, mentor, and consultant on how to market yourself as a commercial photographer. She talks about how female photographers can be as loud as possible and why food photographers should market themselves differently than other types of commercial photographers. She also shares her many consulting services, including the Marketing for Commercial Photographers masterclass course.
Amy V. Cooper is a Creative Business Consultant and Mindset Coach. She has over 20 years of experience working in the photography industry as a photo editor, art buyer, agency owner, rep, and professional photographer for advertising, entertainment, and editorial brands. Amy is one of the top photography consultants in the U.S. and offers portfolio reviews, editing, online courses and workshops, accountability mentorships, group programs, and personal coaching. She is certified in hypnosis and also serves as a tapping practitioner. Amy has worked with brands such as MTV, UPS, Teen Vogue, Netflix, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola. Her clients have been awarded projects with brands such as Essence, Dove, Mary Kay, CBS, Esquire, GQ, and Rolling Stone magazine, among others. She currently serves as the Event Chair for Focus On Women.
How women photographers can build their assertive muscles in their everyday lives by making low risk asks.
[00:00:00] Mica: Welcome to episode six of The Savory Shot. Y'all, I can't believe we have six episodes. That'sthat's incredible. Well y'all know me. I'm your host with the most Mica McCook. Episode five was fantastic. Meekuh reminded us that we need to write the story of our own lives. Find the sauce in our work and not be afraid to break outside of the rules.
Y'all if you did not catch that episode, you've got to go back and listen to it. But let's talk about today's guest. For years y'all I couldn't find a marketing course for commercial photographers to save my life. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack until I found Amy Cooper's Commercial Photography Masterclass. Y'all, that was like finding an oasis in a desert.
So today our guest is Amy Cooper. [00:01:00] She's a Creative Business Consultant and Mindset Coach, with over 20 years of experience. Working in the commercial photography industry. Y'all she's done it all. She's been a photo editor, art buyer, agency owner, freelance photographer, and rep. You name it, she's done it. She did freelance photography for advertising, entertainment and editorial brands. Talk about multi hyphenate. Y'all I wanna say this.This episode, I'm telling you. It is loooaded-duh loaded with gold nuggets of knowledge. Y'all I took a long ass nap after this interview because my brain worked over time processing all the information and tips that Amy provided in our interview.
So grab your [00:02:00] water and a pen and a paper and buckle up cause damn. I'm telling you, I'm telling you, whew, it's going to be, it's gonna be something else. But before we unpack all of that, let's start the show.
[00:02:57] Mica: Thank you so much for joining [00:03:00] me in this episode, in this interview. Appreciate ya.
[00:03:03] Amy: My pleasure, so exciting.
[00:03:05] Mica: Yay. Yes. Yes. So just for a little context for listeners, Amy did a portfolio review with my website and gave me some super helpful, useful information that has helped me.
And so I definitely wanna have you on the show, have her on the show, because I know that any photographers out there who are trying to get into commercial food photography, this is information that we should know. And you just helped me so much in, in the portfolio review.
[00:03:38] Amy: Good. Good. I love hearing that.
[00:03:41] Mica: Yes. I wanna start off with an interview that you did on Focus On Women. So you mentioned that you worked as a photo editor at MTV. What do you remember about the day you got hired as the photo editor?
[00:03:57] Amy: Oh, wow. I [00:04:00] remember there was zero onboarding. I had no idea what they wanted me to do, and I was in a complete panic for the first week or so.
I realized that. That didn't have to be a bad thing. That I could just make up this role and do what I wanted to do. And that's eventually, I think what happened but I remember going in there, like just terrified and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing or how to do it.
[00:04:33] Mica: How did you figure it out eventually?
[00:04:36] Amy: Oh my gosh. I was so young. I just. I was just like, all right, I'm just gonna make it happen. I just have to figure it out. It was so long ago. Mica it was 1999.
[00:04:49] Mica: Wow.
[00:04:51] Amy: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:52] Mica: Wow. Wow. And you were there for how many years? About six or seven years?
[00:04:57] Amy: Mm-hmm
[00:04:58] Mica: Were there [00:05:00] anything, like any processes that you created that were still in place by the time you left?
[00:05:06] Amy: Oh, yeah, absolutely. So this was like pre-digital asset management software, but I was creating my own file naming systems for the images, because I actually transitioned the company from film to digital, while I was there. Because that's when digital really started. So when I got there, everything was film in plastic folders.
I remember seeing contact sheets of Britney Spears from 1999. So yeah, I created the folder system. I created the file naming conventions and. That server is still, or I don't. Yeah, I guess it's a server. That server is still somewhere in the building. The one that I worked on.
[00:05:54] Mica: I love that. I love that.
[00:05:55] Amy: So I was doing digital asset management before I even realized that was a thing.[00:06:00]
[00:06:00] Mica: You set the pathway for the future starting, starting that foundation. That's so cool. That's so cool.
[00:06:07] Amy: Yeah, I set up their first studio. I bought their first digital camera. I bought equipment as it was evolving. Yeah.
[00:06:17] Mica: Yeah. Would you consider yourself an early adopter of transitioning from film to digital?
[00:06:23] Amy: I don't know. I remember having like point and shoot digitals that were like less than 500 megabyte capacity for images. Yeah. so I guess maybe
[00:06:44] Mica: So another thing that you mentioned on Focus On Women. By the way, I loved where you talked about Wendy Davis and the filibuster. I remember that in 2013 and how much of an impression that made on me and still to this [00:07:00] day is just one of the most glorious moments
that I've ever seen, and I just can't help, but admire that so much.
[00:07:08] Mica: But you also mentioned that your mom modeled strength and assertiveness. How did growing up with a strong and assertive woman have an impact on you?
[00:07:20] Amy: The main thing that I got from that was that I needed to be able to take care of myself and to make my own money and not have to rely on someone. But it's interesting because my activism really comes from my dad.
[00:07:37] Mica: Oh from your dad. How so? How so?
[00:07:39] Amy: When I was growing up, when I was in middle school and my parents were separated, so I would have certain days with my dad. And there was one night, maybe it was Tuesday or Thursday, maybe once a month. I don't remember, but he was the treasurer for his local chapter of Amnesty International. [00:08:00] So he would take me with him to the Amnesty International meetings and I learned about human rights. I learned about the death penalty and I would join the group in writing what they called Urgent Action Letters to prisoners or governments where people were being inprisoned for political beliefs or political action.
So very early introduction to human rights and being aware of becoming an advocate really for people. That really stuck with me. That's why I believe, I'm still so interested in being an advocate for people.
[00:08:36] Mica: Do you think that the advocacy work that you do politically, mixes with your work as a creative consultant?
[00:08:44] Amy: Yes, absolutely. Because I was working in advertising at the time of the Wendy Davis filibuster, which you probably know from that Focus On Women podcast. And, I really got to that age where I was like, okay, I need to be doing [00:09:00] something that has an impact. This was also around the Me Too movement and Time's Up.
And I was really thinking about how can I, what can I do to amplify women with the experience that I already have? I started an all female photo agency from there. Now even as I have so many women that I work with, and I really love just like hyping them up and breaking them out of this idea that they're not supposed to quote unquote, bother people and really put themselves out there. That's really important, but also as I'm moving more into the mindset space I even have this tagline now for my business. That's a divine rebellion because I believe that, women need to show up, they need to take up space. They need to talk about what they're doing. They need to ask for the money that they wanna get.
This is gonna change the world.
The women need to ask for the money that they need to get. That is against, I don't even wanna say it's against, [00:10:00] but it just hearing that makes me go. Ooh, because I'm so used to just keeping my head down. Not wanting to be bothersome and going into business for myself has forced me to be assertive.
[00:10:15] Mica: It's not a skill that I've had or was naturally born with. So let's talk about mindset and changing mindset. My, my husband and I had an interesting conversation about mindset and manifestation. And, I've been getting into manifesting and visualizing myself reaching and accomplishing goals and he thinks it's a bunch of hooey. What side of the fence do you stand on when it comes to manifestation and mindset?
[00:10:43] Amy: I'm on the side of the fence. That's like all for it. One of the big things that I do with my clients is I have them, first of all, list their dream clients because if you don't know who you want to work for, how are you even ever gonna develop [00:11:00] your portfolio and your branding and your message if you don't know who you're trying to appeal to.
And that can be very challenging for some of my clients. Like I, there, some of 'em are like, I don't know, I'll shoot for anyone. It's like, no, you have to know who you want to work for. And then another part of my portfolio reviews is having them write in as much detail as possible, their dream assignment.
Who are you shooting for? Who's there, who's on the crew. How does it feel? What is the weather like? What are you serving in catering? How are you interacting with your client? What are they saying to you? What kind of feedback are you getting? Where is this gonna be published? How much money you gonna make? Really getting into the details.
Because I feel like the more specific you are about you, the, what you want, the faster it's gonna come to you. And that we can talk about like the reticular activating system. When you really know what you want, you start seeing it, your mind starts looking for evidence and ways to bring it in. I don't [00:12:00] believe in, you just make a wish and it happens or you just, click your heels. Like obviously there's a work that has to be put into it, but I think, a big part of manifesting being a real thing is getting really specific. And when you specifically know what you want, then you can create better tasks to get you there.
Or you can find the people who will help you get there faster.
[00:12:23] Mica: And I noticed that we did that in our portfolio review. Like you were asking me, very detailed questions, questions that I never even thought of ever, ever. But it made it more attainable, when you go from, I wanna book work and it's like, okay, great.
What work do you wanna book? And you're like, oh, shoot. I guess, I don't know. You have to think about what it is that you want. How wild do you let your clients get with their visions? When you ask them what's your perfect shoot or.
[00:12:56] Amy: The wilder and the more detailed, the better.[00:13:00] I worked with a photographer in Boston who, instead of writing his dream assignment, he sent it to me in a voice message. It was a commercial that he was directing on a basketball court. And he went into the whole script of this guy says this.
And then this guy says that and he's like talking in their voice and it just. Blew my mind. Some people are very resistant to this exercise and then some people just go so deep and it's so juicy. I love it. And then they'll be like, kinda knocking themselves out, wow, where did that come from?
[00:13:40] Mica: You said earlier that and this is me paraphrasing, that thinking in terms of like details and when you manifest and get specific about what it is that you wanna do, that it makes this tangible list of tasks, what kind of task list do you normally see with clients?
[00:14:00] Like what are, what's like a tangible thing that someone does to make something a reality?
[00:14:05] Amy: Yeah, I think getting really specific about what you want to be doing will help you then reverse engineer your way to that thing, and also getting specific. As far as task lists go, it really depends on the client that I'm working with because, some of them might be drawn to one kind of marketing and some of them might be drawn to another.
So that really depends on how they wanna get themselves out there. It's always gonna start with is my website speaking the language that this specific client uses. So that's important. The way you're gonna speak to a retail client is very different than the way you're going to speak or the language you're gonna use on your website if you're wanting to work with advertising agencies, even the names of your portfolio galleries. As far as tasks go, it could be updating your website, working on your SEO, and then it could go into social media marketing. It could go into [00:15:00] email. Yeah it just depends.
[00:15:02] Mica: That makes sense. One of the things that I've been doing as if recent, is sending out cold emails to art directors and things like that. My question is what should photographers keep in mind when it comes to sending cold emails or sending digital print to art buyers, art directors the people that make the hiring decisions.
[00:15:26] Amy: The first thing to do is really dig in into your research about that person, about that company and personalize the email as much as you can. You wanna keep it short and sweet, but also you want to mention some reason why, what's the why behind you reaching out to them. What is it that you love about that brand?
Or if you're reaching out to a magazine editor, was there an article that really inspired you that you can touch on? So making it personalized, short and sweet, and make sure that you have some kind of call to action and your calls to action should [00:16:00] become more and more bold as you keep reaching out to them.
So maybe your first call to action is can we keep in touch on Instagram? And then a link to your Instagram for them to follow and also for people to keep in mind that you never know when you're gonna be reaching someone on a good day or a bad day. And it is so, so,so normal for people to not respond to you, especially after the first email, the chances of someone responding to a first email is probably like 1%.
So keep emailing them, keep sending them new work, keep saying hello. Consistency is so important.
[00:16:38] Mica: How do you not sound salesy? When photographers send out emails to, to these art directors, is it just like, Hey, this is what I'm up to. If you have time, take a look at it. How bold can you get without being too salesy?
When you are reaching out, you're building relationships. This is what I tell my clients that you [00:17:00] are just like swiping right. Or swiping left or whatever the good.
[00:17:04] Mica: What is a good one? I dunno. I know there's a little diddle to it.
[00:17:07] Amy: So this really think about it as, building a relationship. Don't think about it as selling yourself or making a sale. Just let them know like why you're inspired, where you are, what you do and let them know that you feel like you might be a good fit for their audience. You don't have to go into a lot of detail about what you do.
Your photography should speak for itself. They should be able to go to your website and see, who you are, what you do. You don't need to describe your aesthetic to them. They can see that for themselves. Just telling them, Hey, this is why I'm reaching out to you. I'm passionate about your brand or your magazine for X, Y, Z reason.
And I feel like I would be a good fit for your audience. Check out some of my photos here. Just real simple.
[00:17:53] Mica: What do you think is the most important thing that photographers should be doing today to [00:18:00] market themselves?
[00:18:01] Amy: Consistently, like whatever platform you want to be marketing yourself on, whatever feels the best for you, just make sure you're doing it consistently. Whether that's Instagram or LinkedIn or cold emails or I don't know, wheat pasting your photos to the side of a building. Just make sure you're doing it consistently, because if you give up after one email, you've really just wasted your time. Like keep going, keep going, keep going. It can take years before someone's like, Oh, we finally have a great project for that photographer. And another thing I tell my photographers is when they don't respond to you, just imagine that they're like filing you in a folder under awesome photographers that I want to work with one day when the project is right.
Just assume the best possible thing.
[00:18:48] Mica: Yes. Yes. So consistency like being consistent, whatever platform it is, use that platform and be there consistently.
[00:18:58] Amy: Yes, there are different marketing [00:19:00] techniques that I might suggest to different types of photographers and also in different cities. SEO is probably not gonna be the number one thing to use as a fashion photographer in New York City, because it's so saturated, butSEO as for someone like you, a food photographer in Austin that can really work.
So there's different things that I will suggest there too, depending on the photographer.
[00:19:20] Mica: That makes sense. That makes sense. SEO is a great tool, but it shouldn't be the only tool.
How do you know what platform is the best for you or where your target audience can, do you think that's more of a personal choice? what platform you just personally like, or is it just deciding where your clients are gonna be.
[00:19:39] Amy: I think it's first of all, a personal choice of what platform you feel good on. What platform you feel like you can be your most authentic or you're comfortable because if you hate Instagram and you show up on Instagram, you're not gonna have good energy there and that's not gonna work for you. The other thing is look and see which marketing platforms your [00:20:00] potential clients are using the most. If your client is not posting anything on LinkedIn, but they're posting three times a day on TikTok, you know where to go.
[00:20:11] Mica: You find them where they are. What are your thoughts on word of mouth referrals?
[00:20:17] Amy: Oh, my gosh. That is the most important thing. Like face to face. Word of mouth will always, always, always be king or queen Yeah. And that, that's another thing I ask all of my clients when they do a portfolio review, where did your last paid. Where did your your last five paid jobs come from. And almost all of them say word of mouth.
[00:20:39] Mica: Yeah.
[00:20:40] Amy: Some kind of personal connection, cause that's the fastest way to build trust.
[00:20:43] Mica: So speaking of trust, how can a new photographer build trust and build word of mouth if they haven't been paid or they haven't gotten that one big job? What are some ways that they can build trust without being directly hired for a job?
[00:20:58] Amy: I would say, just keep [00:21:00] networking, keep meeting people, keep shooting. Do test shoots. When you're doing a test shoot, try and pay some people who are a little further along in their careers than you are. So for example, if you can find a food stylist who has more connections than you, and then pay that stylist to work with you on a test shoot, that can build trust.
[00:21:17] Mica: Oh, that's really cool. It's a great way to build trust and build those relationships. Is doing the test shoots. Getting away from the computer and getting right there in the same room.
[00:21:27] Mica: Cool. I love it. I love it. I don't think I ever told you how I found your website and how I found you, but you have a course that I am taking. It's a Marketing For Commercial Photographers.
[00:21:42] Amy: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Commercial Photographer Marketing Masterclass.
[00:21:46] Mica: So how did that come about and who is it for specifically?
[00:21:52] Amy: This course is for anyone who wants to be or already is a commercial [00:22:00] photographer. Honestly, I feel like it could work well for a beginner to somebody who's been in the game for a while who maybe feels like their marketing needs a reboot. The way that I started this course was I realized that I was giving the same advice over and over and over to all of my clients.
I was repeating myself so much that when I was doing portfolio reviews, I would find myself saying, wait, did I already tell you that? Because I said the exact same thing to someone a day before that. And then I realized that I had so much information that applied to so many different people. So that was my 2020 quarantine project, developing that masterclass.
I wanted to have an offering that was affordable for more people. Anyone who maybe wasn't ready or couldn't afford my one-on-one services. They could take the masterclass for a really affordable price.
[00:22:49] Mica: What are the things that you hope that people who take this class take away from your course?
[00:22:54] Amy: I hope that they gain a better understanding of the industry [00:23:00] that they wanna work in. One of the things that I have in there is glossaries of terms that ad agencies use and what kind of language art buyers are looking for when they're going to different galleries. I just hope that they get a better understanding of how to edit their websites and how to market themselves, and also feel supported and inspired to keep reaching out and be consistent and understand that things aren't gonna happen after one email, you have to keep going. You have to keep showing up in different places.
[00:23:31] Mica: Every course that I had found had been marketed and geared for food bloggers or something that's not commercial.
Or how to take a photo or something like that. And I'm like, okay, I don't need to know any of that. I need to know the commercial world because it feels like this secretive, elusive, vague world that I don't anything about. And I'm always feeling worried that. I'm coming off as an amateur.
And [00:24:00] I don't, I, how do you build trust? Like you're taking a chance on someone like me. I'm pretty unheard of. So how do I put that confidence in my client? And your course was like, has been that thing that I needed. So I know that other photographers out there will definitely feel that as well. You mentioned in your interview Focus On Women.
You said something you were doing freelance photography for two years, and you said that, you switched to photo editing, I believe, but you mentioned that you didn't have the hustle in you.
I, I chuckled at that cause I definitely have felt that way a lot of times where I'm like, gosh, I really, I just want some stability in my life and freelancing is pretty, up, down, up down. What advice would you give to photographers who feel like they don't have the hustle in them?
[00:24:54] Amy: I would say call me. [00:25:00] I would say get out of your bubble and talk to other people. I would say, journal a dream assignment every day until you get so fired up about the possibilities that you can't not put yourself out there.
Fire yourself up until you can't help, but get out there.
[00:25:18] Amy: Yeah.
[00:25:19] Mica: That's Ugh. Yes. Yes. Yes. On your website, you have energetic marketing and you mentioned that in a blog post, you said that clients can sense energy, not only face to face, but through also through print and digital marketing. How can photographers know what vibes their marketing sends to clients?
[00:25:44] Amy: I think if you're sitting down in front of the computer and you're like, oh, this person's never gonna read this. They're gonna put in the trash. They're not gonna write me back. If you're feeling that energy in your body, that's the energy you're putting out. When you sit down to do something, vibecheck [00:26:00] yourself. Am I in a good mood? Should I be writing this? I won't sit down and write a newsletter myself, personally, if I'm in a bad mood. I will get up. I will exercise or I'll put on my favorite dance playlist and dance, or I'll do some tapping and I'll really hype myself up before I put out a newsletter or before I post something on Instagram.
[00:26:23] Mica: That's really interesting. That making sure that your energy is right before reaching out. I never thought of it that way. I always thought of email as like an impersonal medium. I know it's I know it's a way to reach the most people, but I would rather send five hyper detailed personal emails, then send out a blast of like a hundred, fill in name here, fill in the blank sentence here, type of emails. But to even go a step further and to check in with myself and check my energy before sending out that email that's just woo. Ooh. [00:27:00] What are some of the challenges that you think women face today when they're trying to break into the photography industry?
[00:27:07] Amy: We touched on this a little bit earlier in the podcast about not wanting to quote unquote bother people. And I think that a lot of women have been raised to be quiet and to be people pleasers. That's something that we need to break out of. That may have been a great survival technique when you were young, but it's not working for you as an adult.
And you need to recognize that and, put yourself out there. Because when I was an art buyer in the ad agency world, men would have no problem just cold calling me on a regular basis. Asking for meetings, asking to come over, asking for work, but women were so much more timid. I would just say to them while you're sitting there being scared to send an email, there's some guy down the street just blasting it out and not caring about what the response is. [00:28:00] So just put yourself out there, trust the universe is gonna bring back what's right for you. And don't think that you're bothering someone like there are people out there who need your services to improve their business. You're not bothering them, you're offering them something that's going to be incredibly valuable for them and you're doing them a disservice by not showing up with that offer.
Would you say that assertiveness and confidence are intertwined?
[00:28:27] Amy: Yeah, I would. Yeah, I would say so.
[00:28:29] Mica: How can a woman photographer build that assertiveness in their everyday lives? Is that something that you work on with your clients?
[00:28:38] Amy: Yes, it really is practice. It's a muscle. Try low stakes, low risk asks, and we do this in Focus On Women. I have people do a quote unquote, ask for something within this group. This is a safe place ask for what you want, ask for what you need. There's also you can Google fear setting. There are fear setting practices.
[00:28:58] Mica: Fear setting. [00:29:00] What is that? Fear setting?
[00:29:03] Amy: Fear setting is kind of talking yourself through the worst case scenario and what if this did happen, how would I respond to it?
Would it really be that big of a deal? If I send this email, no one responds is the world gonna end? No nothing's gonna happen. It's fine. Another thing that you can do is I forget who came up with this idea, but I think I heard about it, maybe on the Tim Ferris podcast about this guy who would go out and just ask for a 10% discount at whatever store or restaurant he was going to. And that's a really low risk way of asking for something.
And if they say no, big deal. Noone's gonna care. Noone's gonna remember. Noone's gonna kick you out of the store, but it kinda builds that muscle in you that is, asking for what you want.
[00:29:59] Mica: Did [00:30:00] anyone give him the discount?
[00:30:01] Amy: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, he would get discounts.
[00:30:09] Mica: I'm gonna start asking for discounts now. I struggle to ask for a straw.
[00:30:14] Amy: Oh, yeah. When I had my agency, I would constantly ask people, do you have a discount for women owned businesses and you just never know? The other thing is that's why I say start with a like a low risk call to action, but make sure you have a call to action. So asking someone to follow you on Instagram, that's a low risk call to action.
They may, or they may not. If you see them do it, that's exciting and that gives you that like hit of serotonin or whatever it is. It can make you more bold about the next call to action, which maybe would be a portfolio review or a phone call or coffee.
[00:30:49] Mica: Oh, so starting with the low risk assertive asks and then building, building, building until you get to the bigger asks. I [00:31:00] wanna quickly pivot over to accountability and how that's something you offer as a part of your mentorship. How did this come about?
[00:31:10] Amy: Usually when I finish a portfolio review with a client, they then are faced with this marketing strategy that they need to execute. Let's just say you are something like 90% more likely to do what you say you're gonna do if you have an accountability partner. So I decided that I wanted to offer that where I have monthly check-ins.
In our first session, it's six sessions. It's usually a six month thing. In the first session, we break down what your goal is, whether that's a marketing strategy or building your portfolio, or becoming a better person, whatever it is. I help you break it down into bite size tasks spread across a month.
Because when you're looking at a big picture, like a marketing strategy, it can be really intimidating and you don't even know where to start. So I help them break it down into little [00:32:00] bits. So it, it looks a lot less intimidating. Then they know they have to report in with me every month to tell me what they've gotten done and that can be really motivating.
With my accountability clients, they can check in with me over email or Boxer. Anytime they need me. In between those monthly meetings, if they are not sure how to phrase an email to a client, or if they want me to look over a PDF, they're sending to someone, they know they have someone there to touch base with, to check in with to make sure they're getting the language right.
And all of that stuff.
Having that check system in place, it makes you get more intentional with everything you do and optimize your time. And it's good to know. Okay. I don't need to invest anymore additional energy on this task because it doesn't really help push me forward.
[00:32:55] Mica: Are the tasks that you work with your client or give to your clients? Is [00:33:00] that something that you come up with together or is it something that you prepare for them?
[00:33:05] Amy: We usually work through that together. I'll ask them, for example, do you want part of your marketing strategy to be direct emails? And if they say yes, I'll say, okay, how many do you feel like you can send per month? What's feasible for you because we don't wanna overshoot it and then set ourselves up for disappointment if we don't get X number done.
So yes, we work together to decide what those tasks are, how big those tasks are gonna be. And when those tasks are gonna be due.
Based on their business, based on their ability to, to time manage. Some people live alone and don't have any kids and they can email 50 people a day and then some people have kids and side business. So I really do wanna customize it to that person and their level of freedom and amount of time to invest in these tasks so that they feel good about what they're [00:34:00] getting accomplished.
[00:34:01] Mica: Okay. Okay. I love that. What are some of the best ways that a photographer can stay accountable to themselves?
[00:34:08] Amy: Have an accountability partner. Even if it's not a paid, if you can't do a paid consultant, find a buddy, a friend who's also a freelancer. I have my own accountability partner for my business and just keep checking in with each other. If you can't find a partner, just set up, have a meeting with yourself on your calendar, have a monthly meeting with yourself and you know, see what's getting done. What's falling behind, why it's falling behind, how you can both focus better. Things like that.
[00:34:39] Mica: What do you think of the differences between photographers trying to break into the industry today versus say 1999?
[00:34:48] Amy: Oh, my God. In 1999 you had to know someone, you had to have a physical address to go meet someone, or you had to have a rep to go show your stuff for you. Like you really had to [00:35:00] be out in these streets. Whereas now any photographer can just Google like rolling stone photo editor on Instagram and find a photo editor and contact them directly in seconds.
[00:35:13] Mica: Wow. Interesting conversation that I had with another fellow photographer, they felt like it's hard for them to stand out as a photographer and they felt like the internet was just a way to turn this into a buffet.
I don't agree with that. I think social media has really made opportunities even more feasible than before because I remember a time before social media. When I wanted a job, I either looked in the newspaper or I just walked into a restaurant.
I said, are y'all hiring. And then just filled out an application. and today, I can just look on LinkedIn or something if I needed a job. Or like you said Google, look up Rolling Stone Editor on Instagram and reach out to them that way. How can photographers keep [00:36:00] up with all the changes that are happening and differentiate themselves from everyone else?
[00:36:05] Amy: The best way to do that is to be really true to your own visions so that you're standing out based on what you really want to be doing. Rather than looking at what everyone else is doing and trying to replicate it, because you don't want to show a client something that they're already doing.
You wanna be the one who's inspiring them. Try and think of new ways of doing things. And don't get caught up in trying to figure out how other people are doing things. Like pave your own path.
[00:36:35] Mica: Yes. Yes. Don't worry about what other photographers are doing, worry about what you are doing and what you wanna do and mind your business.
It's all changing so quickly. There's no way to keep up with the algorithm. And when I see photographers, like dancing on reels, it just breaks my heart. It's like, no, just do your thing. Unless you really enjoy dancing, [00:37:00] do it. If it's something you enjoy doing, but yes, I agree with you.
[00:37:04] Amy: Ask yourself, is that going to inspire a photo editor? Do they care? Is there, are they gonna care about that? No, they wanna see beautiful images.
[00:37:12] Mica: Let the work speak for itself. What do you wish photographers knew before they start their career?
[00:37:20] Amy: I think it's important for them to know that the creativity, the actual producing creative content is gonna be 50% or less of their business. That they're gonna have to be marketing and accounting and producing and organizing and being an IT person and pitching. There's so much to it other than just taking pictures and you're gonna have to put yourself out there.
You're gonna have to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable. Ah, you hear that y'all be vulnerable. Being vulnerable. There's this whole [00:38:00] attitude of the faking it till you make it, but it's like what you said about energy. People can sense that they can sense when you're not being genuine, when you're not being authentic. Whew. I love that. Be vulnerable and let your work speak for itself. How do you think the online community can help photographers, specifically women photographers?
[00:38:23] Amy: There are a lot of organizations out there that are supporting female identifying photographers, and they're doing really great work. I think that, the Luupe is doing a lot. Focus On Women, Girl Gaze, Free The Work.
[00:38:36] Mica: There should be a directory of a directory for online communities. I think there might be out there. What's what's one of your favorite ways to connect with other people in the industry.
[00:38:53] Amy: I just wanna mention, there's also Queer The Lens that just started. How to connect my favorite way to connect with [00:39:00] people in the industry. I like to see people in person. Although that's been very difficult for the past few years. I have been, I've been hosting Zoom Happy Hours for Focus On Women the past year or so. That's been really cool. But just reaching out to people and asking them connect.
That's assertiveness making the ask.
[00:39:21] Amy: Yeah.
[00:39:21] Mica: For anyone who's not familiar with Focus On Women, I know we've talked about it or mentioned it several times in the interview. Will you tell the listeners what Focus On Women is and what your role is with the organization?
[00:39:37] Amy: Yeah. When I had my agency, I started a campaign called Diversify The Lens, and that campaign was to spread awareness about the underrepresentation of women in photography. When I closed down my agency, I was starting to connect with Focus On Women. We actually collaborated on a happy hour in Los Angeles, February of [00:40:00] 2020, right before it all happened, we had a really great happy hour out there.
Even though I was closing my agency, I still wanted to be a part of this mission of supporting female identifying photographers. So they asked me to join the board and I'm currently serving as the Events Chair and events are coming back. Focus On Women is a membership based organization.
When you join as a member, you have access to the Slack channel, to other photographers, to mentors, there's mentorships, there's portfolio reviews, happy hours. We're really just starting to build it up at this point, because I think COVID kinda put the breaks on for a minute, but there will be more workshops and more in-person events, but I just love that there are so many photo reps that are joining that the photographers who are part of it can come ask a photo rep anything. That's incredible access. I think. And hoping [00:41:00] to build it to include more stylists and producers. We even have like women who are accountants specifically top for photographers. So accounting, bookkeeping advice. Yeah, we're really just wanting to be a source for people to connect. And I believe there will be some directories that they're building up as well.
And of course they have a great podcast. I think we just did our 100th episode in May.
Woo. Go listen to that. I've I listened to your episode, but I was like oh my goodness. A hundred. Yes. I'm going straight to the beginning Yeah.
[00:41:41] Mica: Episode one. So there's plenty of of resources and information. So we've covered a lot in today's episode. And I just, Ugh, I'm excited to get this out to, to, to the listeners and readers.
Is there anything that we didn't cover [00:42:00] today that you'd like to mention or speak about before we end this interview?
[00:42:05] Amy: I feel like we hit, all the main points, I think. Yeah. I think you asked some really juicy questions. This is a great interview. Thank you.
[00:42:14] Mica: Thank you. Thank you. I worked really hard on my questions.
[00:42:19] Amy: I love it.
[00:42:20] Mica: Where can listeners find you and inquire?
[00:42:25] Amy: Yeah, it's Amy V. Cooper on pretty much any platform. Amyvcooper.com I am on Instagram. I'm on LinkedIn. Where else am I? Those are the two main ones. I have free consultation calls. If anybody wants to chat, you can find me with Focus On Women. That's about it. I think.
[00:42:48] Mica: Yes. You also are a tapping instructor and you offer hypnosis for creativity. You wanna tap in on that?
[00:42:58] Amy: Let's tap on that. [00:43:00] yes, I am a, I am an EFT topping practitioner and a certified hypnotist. I think those are two modalities that are really great for building confidence. With hypnosis, I use that to help my clients who feel like they're stuck or they don't really have a vision for moving forward.
And I do have case study on my website of how I've used hypnosis for helping photographers with clarity. Maybe what the next step is in their career or how their next project's gonna look, maybe breaking through limiting mindset. I know a lot of people are like, whoa, that's weird.
Hypnosis really is guided visualization. It's nothing to be afraid of. It's amazing. Oh, you can also find me on Insight Timer. I'm a meditation teacher on Insight Timer, which is a free meditation app and I will be adding more tapping audio there. On my YouTube, I actually have a tapping [00:44:00] specifically for photographers for building that confidence.
So check that out and also on my Instagram reels.
[00:44:07] Mica: I want to say thank you so much for being a guest. I'm overwhelmed by the number of people that have agreed to be a guest on the show. It renewed my faith in the photography community.
It's one of the many things that I love about being a freelancer, just the amount of support and community that is available out there. So thank you so much for being a shining example of that and for everything that you do and all the services you provide and the advocacy and all of that.
[00:44:42] Amy: Thank you for having me. And hopefully that practice of asking people to be on your podcast helped you build that muscle that we were talking about earlier, like hearing yes, over and over what a beautiful thing.
[00:44:53] Mica: It definitely. It gave me the courage to keep asking. I'm not so [00:45:00] much afraid of hearing the word, no, cause I've heard it a lot. I did theater. I did stand up ,so I'm used to rejection. It doesn't hurt me, but once I get the, yes, it's the, oh crap.
I don't want to look bad. I don't want my guests to look bad. I wanna ask them great questions that are going to help them and help listeners alike. So it's that fear, but definitely. Getting out there, putting the fire that I need to get this podcast out, ha hearing the yeses over and over.
It definitely makes me go. Yes. All right. Let's keep doing this.
[00:45:37] Amy: I love it. Good luck. I can't wait to listen.
[00:45:39] Mica: Thank you. Thank you so much. That's the show. Thank you.
[00:45:43] Amy: Bye Mica. Bye everyone.