In episode 24 of The Savory Shot, host Mica McCook chats with Jeff Brown, Photographer, Marketing Mentor and Best Selling Author. Jeff shares insight on his experience in the photography industry, and the challenges that are faced by photographers. We speak on the lack of unique branding, his program and new book!
Jeff has an impressive background in photography, and served in the military as a military photographer, ran five successful photography companies, and then transitioned into mentoring in 2015. He now writes for several industry magazines, as well as regularly appearing on photography podcasts and working closely with many of the UK Photographers.
Mica: [00:00:00] Welcome to the 24th episode of the Savory Shot. Y'all know who I am. I'm your host, with the most, Mica McCook. I announced that like I was about to walk into a boxing ring. Ooh, ooh, ooh with my little gloves. About to knock some shit out. Just kidding, y'all. I am so energetic right now. I've had my coffee.
It is made perfectly. It's got the perfect amount of caffeine. But more than anything, I'm feeling grateful. The gratitude, y'all, my heart is bursting. I cannot believe that we are so close to the one year anniversary of the Savory Shot. And this is the 24th episode.
Are you kidding me? My mind y'all is just blown. Every single time I send out an invite to a guest and they say yes, my heart [00:01:00] explodes because I have nothing to offer. I have nothing to offer but my, my gratitude and lint in my pockets.
So it means the world to me that a photographer or a food stylist or anyone who's in the industry is willing to sit down and answer all my questions. There's a lot that goes into making this podcast and the guests who come on here. They're coming on here with the goodness of their hearts.
So that means a lot to me. I can't say enough how grateful I am. Another thing that I'm super grateful for is for y'all, because, let's be real, there is no show if y'all aren't coming to listen to the show. Y'all are here, and you could be doing anything, but you're here with me.
And y'all, that means a lot to me. To know that you are taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to my show, y'all. I don't think I will ever have the right amount of words to say thank you. So thank you [00:02:00] for being here. I have one little quick announcement. I will not waste your time. I promise.
I know you're busy. I know you got shit to do, and I know you want to get to the show. So I will say this. Y'all can leave me messages on my new page. It's called Pod In A Box. It's a little experiment. Y'all can leave me voice messages in my DMs on Instagram. If you feel more comfortable with that, that is totally up to you.
But I thought this was kind of a cool little way for y'all to go to this page and tell me what you thought of each episode, since Apple doesn't allow you to comment on individual episodes and neither does Spotify. So this is a great way for you to give me your feedback and you can leave me a voice message.
You could ask me a question. You can ask what's the weather going to be like in Austin on this day and I'll give you whatever answers I can or you want to give me some feedback about the last episode. This is the page to do it. So if you go to my link on Instagram, you will [00:03:00] find the first link Pod In A Box.
But I want to talk about today's episode because y'all I'm excited to get into it.
Today's guest, his name is Jeff Brown, and y'all, this is a real treat to have him on the show. This is actually really funny because it's funny how things like come in full circle. I was introduced to Jeff Brown through Raymond, who hosts Beginner Photographer Photography Podcast.
After the interview, he messaged me and introduced me to Jeff Brown. He's like, you have got to talk to him. He is a mentor to photographers and he knows his stuff. So I was like, uh, hell yeah, I'll have him on the show. I trust you, Raymond.
So let's bring him on. Now, when I was doing my research on Jeff, I learned that I actually bought one of his books. Y'all, I love LinkedIn. I'm on it. You've heard me say it in, in Instagram stories, [00:04:00] I've said it to my friends and my family.
A lot of the big jobs that I've booked. They found me on LinkedIn. They didn't find me on Instagram. They didn't find me on TikTok. They didn't find me on any of those platforms. They found me on LinkedIn. My personal belief, LinkedIn is one of the most untapped platforms that every photographer should have a presence on.
When I decided that I was going to like make LinkedIn part of my social media content, I went out and bought a book called The Photographer's Missing LinkedIn.
And it was written by Jeff Brown. This is so awesome that this serendipitous moment happened that I bought his book last year, and then this year, through another channel, got to interview him. Y'all, when I tell you Jeff knows his stuff, he knows his stuff. He has done every niche of photography you can think of.
He also [00:05:00] happens to have this amazing knack for marketing. So he's taken... All of his experience as a photographer and all of this knowledge that he's learned about himself as a marketer, and he's wrapped this all up in this fantastic mentorship program.
Y'all, he has helped so many photographers, food photographers, wedding, portrait, product, landscape, drone, you name it. He's helped these photographers get to whatever level it is that they're trying to get to.
I know you're going to enjoy this interview. We talk about everything. About his experience in the photography industry, and the challenges that are faced by photographers. We talk about the lack of unique brandy. We talk about his Six Steps to Success program. We talk about his book, The Missing Photographer's LinkedIn.
And then he also sent me his other book, Help! My Photography Website Needs More Customers. He sent me that book, and y'all, that book is bangin too! [00:06:00] But before we get into that, let's start the show.
Mica: Thank you so, so much for being here. I was a guest on Raymond's show, a Beginner Photography Podcast, and he made the introductions to us. And he is like "You've got to interview Jeff. Like, he knows all the things about marketing, about [00:07:00] helping photographers market their business.
He's a great person to, to interview for the show." And I was like, heck yeah, let's do this. Let's, let's bring you on. From our very first conversation, I was like, yes, yes, this is happening. You've got so much knowledge to, to share with photographers, food photographers, any niche of photography. So I'm super glad that you're here.
Jeff: It's my pleasure.
Mica: Thanks for joining me at eight o'clock at night.
Jeff: It is, it is. I was doing a webinar a couple of weeks ago and that was like 10 o'clock and I've done something at two o'clock in the morning where I've actually had to go to bed at say 10 o'clock and set an alarm to get up for two.
Cuz I've been recording. Cuz I do have a lot of clients in the US. But then obviously, you know, when you work for yourself and you're working from home, you can have a sneaky sleeper, at lunchtime and have a couple of hours to make up for it.
Mica: Oh my gosh, I can't imagine being awake at two o'clock in the morning for a webinar.
My sister-in-law, she's obsessed with [00:08:00] all things, royal family, and she stayed up pretty much all night to watch when Prince Harry and Megan Markle were married. And I was like, I can't do that. I need my sleep. I'll catch the Cliff Notes on that one, you know. I hope I can dive right in because I sent you all the questions and I have a ton. So there's like so much meat and potatoes that we're gonna go through. You have an impressive background in photography, and you served in the military as a military photographer, you ran five successful photography companies, and then you transitioned into mentoring in 2015.
What was happening in your life at that time that it inspired you to transition into mentoring other photographers online?
Jeff: So it was a big change in direction. At that time, I was very successful. I had five photography businesses and my first photography niche was in wedding photography.
I photographed over 750 weddings in my career. It was about 2013, I had this amazing [00:09:00] idea, or supposedly a amazing idea that why don't I buy a country pub and restaurant, and that could be like a wedding venue. So we could actually host the weddings and do the photography as well.
Brilliant's idea. So I found the perfect place, fell in love with it. It was actually a 16th century, venue with real fires and a complete with two ghosts as well, apparently. So I bought the lease on it, fitted it out, spent, uh, about 160, 170,000 of my own money, getting it done.
And within 12 months it was failing horrendously. It was, it was bleeding money. I'd, I'd racked up another 60,000 pounds worth of debt on top of that, and I just had to get out. I had to get out and I did something stupid. I decided that I couldn't cope anymore. And one night I got extremely drunk and decided to drive the car off a bridge.
But I failed because I was so drunk. Made a massive, an attempt to, to take my own life. Woke up the next morning, realized something had to change. Luckily, I got out the pub within about three or four weeks from that, [00:10:00] and I wanted to change the whole direction and I, I felt so ashamed of my failure that, I ended up moving away from my hometown as well.
And I moved into the countryside where I live now, about an hour and 15 minutes away from where I'm originally from. It's because I had to rebuild myself and rebuild my, my whole mental state. It's now all gonna be about a lifestyle business, and it's gonna be about working online and rebuilding my whole brand. I went through a divorce at the same time as well, and they split the businesses up, obviously had all debt to deal with and then created a, an online mentoring program because marketing and branding was something I was a bit of an expert at.
I wanted to educate and inspire other photographers. I'd already done that with friends and had a mini sort of mentoring program that I ran prior to having the venue. And when I look back at it now, although at the time it was like one of the darkest time in my 52 years I've been alive.
I class it now is my best [00:11:00] failure ever because if I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have taken the direction, I wouldn't end up where I am now. And I've had so many amazing opportunities working with people in over 22 countries around the world I'm working with. I've had so much come into the business and I, and I'm in a beautiful place.
We're in the countryside. I'd always wanted to move to the countryside. And now I'm here. I have a very much lifestyle business. Spend a lot of time with my daughter. I absolutely love it. So you sort of like learn that, you know what really seems really horrendous at the time, and God, how can I cope?
How can I live with this? By God? Imagine if I'd gone through with that? What would I have missed? And now I'm at the happiest I've ever been. I don't have the 18 staff I had when I had the pub. I don't have all the photographers I had when I had the photography business. It's me, a few freelancers who work with me and my business and it's doing phenomenal. And I love it.
It's, and it's on my terms. I'm the least stressed I've been in my entire life, so, yeah, it's fantastic.
Mica: I really do appreciate [00:12:00] you sharing that with me, and I'm glad that you're here. How did your experience as a military photographer shape your career as a mentor in the photography industry?
Jeff: Well, as a military photographer, it helped shape my initial business, as being a wedding photographer because one of the things with the military is attention to detail, and being able to keep everything on time and, and, and worked tight, tight, strict schedules for that.
That set us up to be really good wedding photographers, even though we'd never photographed brides and grooms. Because my ex-business partner who, who was in the the business with me was an ex-military photographer as well. We both met while working for the intelligence services, cuz we've both worked for them for a couple of years as intelligence image analysis.
Some of the things with the mentoring side are things that the, the military has helped with it is really like the organizational and the forward planning. And then I've obviously grown on that and built on that over the years. One of the biggest tools for me , that has helped me in my business, but [00:13:00] in, in my personal life is Amazon Audio.
It's been fantastic. I looked at my audiobooks the other day and I've got 320 audio books in my Amazon library that I've listened to over the past five years.
Mica: How many?
Jeff: Yeah, over 320.
I, I, I don't listen to music in the car anymore. Whenever I drive the car, I, I educate myself.
Whenever I take a dog, my dog for a walk, and he's a hyperactive spring spaniel. He needs lots of exercise. I educate myself and the only time I listen to music is when I'm exercising. I don't watch the news. I haven't watched the news for about three years now. I don't read newspapers.
I just get updates of, of friends I know, you know, oh, we've changed Prime Minister again, or, or such and such has died, or something like that, you know, so I, I work purely on the idea of, I, I concentrate and work on the things that I have control of in my life. And anything else, I just, I don't let it bother me because I'd been at that fragile stage six or seven years ago.
I don't want to get back there. Listening to audio books and being [00:14:00] able to educate and learn, as opposed to get in and put the TV down and on and watch rubbish, that it can really progress your, your business and drive you forward so much. You can learn about anything.
It's, it's absolutely amazing. And the other thing is learning about famous people where they are because you know where they are now and understanding their story and you're like, oh my God, I didn't realize that person had went through this and went through that. All different types of businesses, all different types of people, but they're all been normal people. All come from a very impoverished background. They were dyslexia. They didn't get a qualification at school. And that just reinforces my belief and my ability that we can all achieve something absolutely amazing. But in order to do it, we've gotta take the right steps and head in the right direction and ultimately believe in ourselves as well.
Mica: What you say about listening to biographies of, of great people. It's really cool to like read about stuff like that cuz you can see yourself a little in the people that you learn about and read [00:15:00] about, and it inspires you to want to overcome whatever challenges that are coming in your life.
What has been one of your favorite biographies that you've listened to?
Jeff: Oh, I've got so many. Uh, I think, um, I, I can listen like four off the top of my head now. So, Shoe Dog by the guy who, who created Nike, and that is absolutely amazing.
$500 loan of his parents in his bedroom selling, selling trainers or as you call them sneakers. James Dyson, who invented the Dyson vacuum cleaner. He failed 5,000 times to create that vacuum. Nearly lost everything in a huge lawsuit because basically the, the vacuum cleaner industry wanted rid of him because they knew if his product succeeded, their multi-billion dollar bag industry would vanish, and that's how they made money.
So they were all in it against him. Nelson Mandela's book that was so inspirational and it makes you think, how can you ever get annoyed with anybody ever in your life again when this guy could [00:16:00] forgive the people who imprisoned him for over 20 years of his life and have no hatred.
That was a phenomenal bit and that was, it was huge as well. 27 hours. My 15 year old daughter is passionate about music and I want to help her and support her, have her career in music. I've just bought her a really nice guitar and amp that she doesn't even know about.
She's gonna get, there's a surprise this weekend because when I was her age, my dad invested 2000 pounds in me to run my first ever business, which was a mick fishing flies and teaching fly casting. So I thought if I invest 1500 pounding at my, my daughter, a really nice guitar and a nice album that she can take to edit auditions and stuff, that would be great.
So I've been listening to a few music books from different types of people and say their journey so I can help and inspire her. And I've just finished. And I'm not a massive fan of his music, but I like some of his songs. I've just finished Bruce Springsteen's book and it's read by him as well, and I'm like, oh my God.
He struggled a lot with depression, all the way through his life. Came from a really sort of, [00:17:00] hard background, an abusive father and very little support. But he was an absolute perfectionist and obsessed. Obsessed with, with perfection and being who he wanted to be.
To the point when all his friends were chatting up girls and getting drunk. He wasn't interested. He would go to concerts and stand right at the front and watch the guitarist, how the guitarist played, and then come back and play his guitar and wake up on his bed in the morning with his guitar still in his hand.
And then it wasn't until his early twenties when he discovered alcohol and, and started pain interest in women. He was just obsessed with his future and the way he wanted to be. And I thought that is, That's so amazing. I can see that in my daughter at the moment cuz she doesn't bother with social media.
She just watches YouTube and learns guitar stuff.
Mica: So she just like completely absorbs it. That's what separates the virtuosos from the dabblers. Virtuos just completely immerse themself in whatever it is that they're, they're doing. You're gonna have to tell me how she reacts when you gift her the, the guitar.[00:18:00]
Jeff: Yeah, I can't wait till Friday until she sees them cuz she's gonna be over the moon.
Mica: That's so awesome. And you mentioned earlier that your dad had invested, oh, what was it, 2000 pounds in, in your first business?
Mica: Is that something that inspires you as a mentor? That in some ways you are investing in these new photographers by giving them all of this knowledge and seeing what they do with it?
Jeff: It, it has, because my own mentoring business is very sort of bespoke. As well as my mentoring business, I've got a photography website business where we build websites for photographers. I've written three best selling books, so that brings in income as well.
And I've got sponsorships and affiliates. So with my, my own mentoring business, I only work with four or five photographers, maximum per month. It's usually about four. And sometimes I'm booked a couple of months in advance. But the good thing about how keeping it so small and bespoke is, is I can be there for my clients all the time.
And I say to them, you know, if you're stuck with anything, just Facebook message me a voice clip, "Jeff. I've gotta send this [00:19:00] quote. I dunno what I'm doing, Jeff. Should I do this? Should I do that?" And I, and, and I will always get back to you within 24 hours. The thing is, all these people who are on board in my program, they soon become friends, you know, and we have meetups and they come up here to stay. And what better way to feel good and it is to see your friends succeed.
I just love it. I get so excited when people drop me a message say, "Jeff, I've just gotta let you know I've got this contract. Oh, you won't believe." One of my clients messaged me the other day, "Jeff, you won't believe this. I'm now gonna be an ambassador for Olympus. And they've just sent me a camera." Another client messaged me last week, "Oh, Jeff, I'm gonna be on Tully."
I really feel it for, for people. Another client messaged me to say that he just landed a a 10,000 pound job. It really bigs me up when I see people get the success that they deserve. I've said this for years about my own photography, and I'll be totally honest, is when I left the military in 2004, obviously military training is as a photographer.
You have to [00:20:00] jump through quite a lot of hoops to be become a, a mil military photographer. It's 26 weeks pass or fail, 28 exams, three strikes, and you're out. So if you fail your third exam, you get kicked off. I actually failed my third exam and they kept me on. I got through just by the, by a hair's breath, you know, into to becoming a pro, a professional military photographer.
So the training was good, but be honest if I said I was never ever the best wedding photographer, the best portrait photographer or boudoir photographer in the world. I had these five different businesses. But how I did succeed is because when we left the military, you get money to spend on becoming a civilian in it.
In the UK it's at the time of seven and a half thousand pounds. So quite a lot of money to spend on training. So we spent that on marketing and branding. And the first co course I ever did was buy a guy called Charles Lewis, an American photography mentor. And that was done on CDs that would send us sort post CDs from the US, you know.
Then six month after we'd spend that money, my business partner Kev, he left the [00:21:00] military. So we got another seven and a half thousand pound history settlement, and spent that on more marketing and branding. So we became very successful in a very short space of time, and it was the brand and the message and the connection to our ideal clients and the way that we marketed that made us successful, not our photography, because all the guys, all our competitors at the time, you know, we'd been photographing ships and tanks and people with guns and stuff like that, and people running around the military uniforms.
We were just new to photographing. Brides would maybe photographed half a dozen, but we were getting the bookings. But it wasn't the photography that was getting us the bookings. It was the brand and the message but our clients weren't photographers, so they didn't look at our images the same way as other photographers were.
The guys who were looking at us were technically much better than us and more experienced as photographers in weddings, portraits, whatever, you know? But their branding wasn't, and their message wasn't, and that's the key thing that ultimately, because as photographers, our [00:22:00] customers aren't photographers.
Our customers are consumers. And that is the big difference, you know? And so, yes, I did feel like a bit of a fraud in a way because I wasn't anywhere near as talented as these other guys, but I was taking business away from them.
Mica: You're pretty bang on when you said that their messaging just wasn't spot on.
There's two sides to being a photographer. There's the side where you have your camera and you take the pictures, but then there's the other side where you have to market yourself, brand yourself.
Your personality has to match the, the brand that you put out on the internet. And if there's a disconnect between any of those things, then you know, that's not really gonna be enough to, especially now with there being so many photographers to choose from.
Standing out with just your work is not enough. What challenges do photographers commonly face?
Jeff: One of the biggest things that photographers wrongly assume is that they, you know, the set of their photography [00:23:00] business, and then they look at a few photographers in their local area and then basically copy what they've done.
They might go onto five and get a logo designed for, yeah, $20, 30 pounds, something like that. So they, and then they're like, right, that's it. That's my, that's my branding done. So now put a load of pretty pictures up and I'm just going to create a website, loads of pretty pictures. And that's it.
Now wi wait for the money to roll in. Now they've copied somebody who has probably copied somebody else who's probably copied somebody else. And all these people cumulatively who've been copying each other, they've probably spent in total about, I dunno, a couple hundred dollars on marketing and brand research.
You know, cuz nobody's doing it, they're just copying each other. Where the bigger brands in the world spend literally millions and billions of pounds on market research, understanding colors, fonts, messaging and communication to their ideal client type. And we don't look at them as photographers. We look at other photographers who are doing things wrong in the first place.
You know? So I think the [00:24:00] big misconception with a lot of photographers is, you know, I'll say like, who are you trying to appeal to? Who's your ideal client? What are you trying to sell? What are you trying to communicate? What is your brand? Because I come to your website, I see a logo, and I see some pictures, and I don't, I dunno what you're about.
I don't understand what you're doing. And then this suddenly the penny drops and they're like, ah. Yeah, because when you try and sell photographs, it's really hard. Especially, you know, with food photography, when you sell a solution, when you sell what the food photography brings to the client, then it suddenly becomes easier.
People who are are buying food photography, if it's restaurants and if it's hotels, if it's food consumers and producers and growers. What you're selling there isn't the image. You're selling visibility. You're selling engagement on the social media. You're selling food that their followers conversely taste and smell in their newsfeeds.
It looks like absolutely amazing. You're selling bums on seats in the restaurant every single night of [00:25:00] the week you're selling full tills because people are paying and buying more and tagging in their friends and saying, come on, we've gotta get down here. And when you educate people, because people who buy food photography don't buy it because they want pretty pictures.
They want a solution to a problem. And that problem is usually lack of visibility, lack of engagement, lack of customers, lack of money in the till, and that is what you sell. You sell the solution to that, and you sell what the images buy. That is all part of your brand.
Your logo doesn't say that. You need to have words and you need to communicate. So that you educate your clients and when your clients come to your website and you're speaking their language and you're saying, we know you struggle to get engagement online.
We know you want more people in your restaurant every night of the week. We understand your brand. We are gonna create images that position you as the go-to restaurant that everyone's gonna be tagging their friends in, that people can't wait to get down and eat.
I'm a big foodie myself. I used to have a food pub, like I said. And constantly going on Facebook pages of [00:26:00] different restaurants, oh my God, right? We've gotta go here, we've gotta go here in. Images of food are very powerful and they bring the right solution to the business.
You sell the solution, you don't sell the photograph. And that is the thing, educating photographers what they do. They don't take photographs, they do something else. If you're a headshot photographer, you don't take photographs. You help people create the perfect first impression and stand out online.
It's all about who you serve and what you do for those people. What are your images? What rewards, how people's life changes, how their businesses change, how their lives will be enhanced by the photographs that you produce.
Mica: That's interesting when you say photographers need to know who they serve, what they're serving, and I guess the, the why they're serving it.
How deep should photographers go when they're figuring out their brand mission?
Jeff: What I do with my clients in, I do work with quite a lot of food photographers, wedding photographers. I've even got an ice hockey photographer I work with and a classic car photographer and a [00:27:00] motorbike photographer. You know, so many different niches, golfing photographers, but it's about understanding your ideal client type.
You could be a food photographer and say, "Well, I wanna work with any business who, who wants photographs of their food." Said, "No, you don't, because there will be some businesses who have a very, very low value on your photography." You don't wanna work with the business who's gonna want a full photo shoot for $199, leave them to the, the tire kickers and the freebie hunter type photographers who do and stuff just on price. You are gonna create a premium brand. And that is one of the most important things in the world. So many photographers are terrified about price.
I hear all these excuses, but "Jeff, you work with client, you've got photographers in New York and Paris and London. I live in Extown or X City." And then I'll say, right, is there, is there Nike? Is there a Mercedes? Is there a BMW in your city? Yeah. Name some of [00:28:00] the, is there a Hilton hotel?
Is there a Marriott Hotel? And then when they keep saying, yes, yes, yes, I'll say what, there's money. There's premium brands because if every single person bought on price alone, all these premium brands that we know of would vanish overnight. They wouldn't exist because they are ultimately selling something that everybody else sells, but they package up slightly different because when you position yourself as a premium offering, premium means first class service, and high quality, and people will pay that bit extra when they believe they're receiving that.
That is one of the key things, you know, so, but photographers believe, oh, there's no money in my county. There's no money in my town. I can't do that. That's absolute rubish. It's because people will pay. Back in October, me and my daughter went to Copenhagen, for four days holiday.
We goes into the square in Copenhagen and here was this massive queue outside the shop, probably about, I dunno, about a hundred yards long. I was like, what's everybody queuing up for there? And we walked up [00:29:00] and it was the Louis Vuitton shop. It was a queue of people wanting to go in.
One of the window displays there was this huge window and which must have been about 14 foot by 10 foot.
An amazing display and in the center, this display was just around, one thing was this column with a pair of gloves. So this even window we devoted to this pair of gloves that had a, you know, you could probably buy a house for the cost of this pair of gloves. And I turned to my daughter and I, and I says, and we're supposed to be in a global recession.
Look at the queue. If people bought on price alone, that shop wouldn't be there and that queue wouldn't be there.
Mica: That is such a great example. Something you mentioned earlier that I wanna touch on that photographers need to think about, who it is that they're serving and why they wanna serve them.
And being a little bit more specific about that, what if the photographers know who they wanna serve but they don't know anything about them? How would they go [00:30:00] about finding out about their ideal client?
Jeff: Well, one of the ways is to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client. One of the best ways to start being able to serve your ideal client is understand your ideal client's fears.
What keeps your ideal client awake at night and what stops them making a purchase as well? If you're a food photographer, so what is keeping people awake at night?
Who, who need food photographs? Well, ultimately they might feel that. They're not getting anywhere online. They look around at other people's social media and see there's more engagement. There's more visibility, or they've created these beautiful products, these food products, but they never look as good on the images that they take themselves.
They don't show the craftsmanship of their beautiful artisan breads that they bake and stuff like that. So it's about understanding your client's fears. How you can position yourself, align yourself and address their fears right at the very beginning. You can say something like, you know, you, you are an expert.
[00:31:00] You're an expert bakery. You create the most amazing artisan bread, but it never looks that good on social media. It doesn't look as delicious as it looks in in the store when people come in. But don't worry. This is where we come in. You be the expert, you break the bread, we'll create the images and create that excitement and that appeal for the, for what you are making.
So you're offering a service to help and enhance that person's talents and get them seen. Think about businesses with food that have a story and a mission, because it's very hard for them to take pictures that, that tell that story in a mission because they can't compute that, they can't get that into their head.
They're just say, right, we've got this great story. Our sausages are made with this rare breed of pig that my grandfather started breeding 50 years ago, and this is the heritage within our business. But they just take a picture of the sausages but you as a photographer, I think, right, this is how we're gonna create this [00:32:00] shoot.
So this image tells a story because, ultimately, if we don't tell that story about your business, people are not gonna be able to understand why they're paying three times as much for your sausage as the one that you get from Walmart. But when they understand that your brand and your mission the story behind it, then that hence is value.
And a lot of brands that do things differently always have a story and a mission, and that ultimately aligns people into raving fans because people will pay a bit more when they believe in a business and a business has a particular mission.
There's a lot of coffee shops do that, isn't they? One of my clients took me to a, a coffee shop in London and we had a meal there, and we're drinking this coffee and she says, "Have you noticed anything, Jeff?"
I was like, "Yeah. These plates and these cups are really weird." Yeah. Because it was a very eco-friendly, sort of organic everything, coffee shop. There's a lot of vegan and vegetarian stuff, and found out that the coffee cups and the plates were made from recycled coffee beans, so you know, all the waste that comes out the coffee machine, it's [00:33:00] compacted and made into their plates and cutlery. Why is it not on the menu? Why is it not on the flyers? It wasn't communicated anywhere, so why are they hiding this? Because people would love that. The type of people who frequent that place would love to know that even down to what they're eating off is recycled and it's serving the planet. But that, that message wasn't communicated in their marketing.
Mica: Oh, that's so insane. I'm trying to envision these cups and plates made out of recycled coffee ground.
Jeff: They're very strong, but they were super light. There was like no weight to them, but they were really, really thick as well, like really chunky cups and chunky plates. Yeah.
Mica: You're absolutely right. I care about the impact that I'm making on this planet and if that's something that a coffee shop marketed, I'm willing to pay a little bit extra because I know that buying my coffee from them, I feel less guilty about the eco footprint that I'm making. I remember reading something about how a successful business can have 100 customers and that's it, just 100 customers. [00:34:00] But those are 100 loyal customers, and that is so much more valuable than having 10,000 fair weather customers. The ones that are loyal that will be there for you no matter how bad things get, I'm gonna go and get my cup of coffee from this coffee shop.
Because I want them to stay open and I'll do my part to make that happen.
Jeff: As photographers, we can turn that on for ourselves as well. A lot of my clients, when we come to the pricing aspect of my mentoring, I said, we, what we are not trying to do is get you a hundred clients or 200 clients.
What we're trying to do is maybe get you 25 clients who use you at least four times a year. Especially in the food industry, because the food industry, is a seasonal industry that menus change. You have a summer menu, winter menu, a spring menu. You have Christmas menus, Easter menus. At the moment now there's more photographers than there ever has been in the history of photography.
The market is oversaturated. 80% of photography [00:35:00] businesses actually fail in the first two years. But that is all at the very base level. That is because people are going in as generalists and freelancers, and I say to people, niche and specialize. And then when you've niche and specialized, you've chosen your sector, whether that be pet photography, food photography, wedding photography, then you become something different.
So you don't just become a wedding photographer, you become the country house wedding photographers you are specializing in people. Getting married in a country house. So you could be an outdoor dog photographer and you do all your dog photography outdoors. So you become a food photographer who helps your restaurants, food grows, and food producers tell their story. The story behind their brand.
As a photographer, you become a valued part of their business, so you become an asset to their business. So you understand, you don't take a picture until you understand all the ins and outs of their business, their story, their mission, what they're trying to communicate. Because until you know that you can't take a picture and effectively communicate that.[00:36:00]
And then what you do is sit, for instance, you have a package and this is your pa and you should, I will say, you should never charge by the hour or charged by the day or the half day. You should create packages because people don't wanna buy your time. They wanna buy a solution. So you create a solution and you may create it: spring season visibility package.
So you create this package.
And so for instance, that package is $2,499. So that becomes the price of your package. But they're not buying one day's worth of photography. They're buying three months worth of engagement on their social media, three months worth of seasonal engagement on their social media. So you sell them the whole, what they get in, you don't sell 'em that one day's worth of photography. So what you do is then you start creating loads of little seasonal customers.
Mica: They're not paying for your time, they're paying for your solution. That is just brilliant. I wanna talk about your latest book. Thank you by the way for sending your book over to me.
Just to start off, will you tell the listeners[00:37:00] what your most recent book is called?
Jeff: So my most recent book is something I've been wanting to write for ages, and it's called "Help! My Photography Website Needs More Customers," and it's how to build what I call a scroll to a sale photography website that converse visitors into customers.
At the time I started to write the book, Google was starting to change its algorithm. Which has now come in line with everything that I teach and talk about in that book and something that I've been passionate about getting photographers to create for years now.
Mica: Why did you decide to write a book specifically focused on this topic?
Jeff: Because most photographers have what I call a portfolio style website. And a portfolio style website is only good if you're trying to sell to other photographers because like we said at the beginning of the interview, somebody comes to their website, they don't know who you are, what you do, what you do for them, you can't communicate it.
Now imagine if you were gonna buy a new car and you went to a car dealership, and you went on that website and all you saw was pictures of cars [00:38:00] and a logo of the garage. That was it. You didn't know what time they opened. You didn't know how much the cars were, you didn't know what the model came with, like what features, how many miles per gallon, what color was inva available and what the terms were.
Likewise, if you went to a hotel and you just saw pictures of their rooms and that was it, and it didn't tell you how much it was, what time breakfast was, what facilities it has, whether they let pets, whether it's a kid friendly hotel. But photographers are the only industry that thinks, hang on a minute, we'll stick a logo up, we'll put some pictures and people coming by.
They won't, they want information. It's information that creates a desire and excites people. In August, Google released what was called a helpful content update. It basically said if you go and Google the helpful content update, so go for the Google and type in the help helpful content update. You'll be able to find two sort of white papers, one from, I think it was the 18th of August, 2022.
The other is, I think it's the 6th of December, 2022, and then Google is give hints and IDs and tips as to [00:39:00] what it is now looking for in the algorithm. It is now looking for websites with helpful inspirational content. Written for consumers, not for robots, and search engines that help and communicate people what the journey is, the client buy-in journey.
So giving them a solution to their problems. Google's even gone as fast to say that websites with low value content, i.e. content that's stuffed with keywords and written for robots and search engines. Or websites that have very, very small amounts of written content will stop ranking on Google and will start to be penalized.
And unfortunately, that drops all the portfolio style of photography websites into that category. When you write what I call a stroll to a sale website, and that's what my business, the photographer suite, all based upon. Not only are you writing to actually create desire and get your customer to take action, you also[00:40:00] give getting a big tick in the box from Google as well, because you're creating the type of content that people want.
Most other businesses do this, but photographers don't. If you continue to have this portfolio gallery style website, you will start to see a huge decline. The other thing about having a portfolio style website, it, it's hard to manage you. You haven't got a call to action.
You're not getting people to do anything. When somebody comes to your website, they can do four things. They can actually do five things, but the four things you can possibly do on any website, any type of website, any website in the world, you can land on the website and then dial the number that's on the website, call the person direct.
You can make a purchase by clicking a Buy Now or a Book Now button. You can schedule something in advance. So you can schedule a call or schedule an appointment. You can leave your email address in exchange for something cuz you're not in a position yet ready to purchase. So those are the only four forms of action you can take on a website unless you take the fifth form of action.
And the [00:41:00] fifth form of action is to hit the most used button on the internet, which is the back button. And go to the next search solution and go on a website that does give you options and does give you a call to action because if somebody doesn't phone you, leave their email address, make a purchase, or schedule a call with you or schedule a photo shoot, then that's it.
They're gone. You've got no way of tracking them and getting them back. Once they hit the back button and they'll land on somebody else's website who communicates and then prompts them to do one of those four things. They've won the business and you haven't.
Mica: That call to action you mentioned, the instructing your visitor, this is how we start the process of us working together.
What are some common mistakes food photographers make when designing their websites and how can they avoid these mistakes?
Jeff: First of all, what you wanna do is think of what the every website should have. It should have a main purpose and then a secondary purpose. My website, for [00:42:00] example, my own website for my mentor in thephotographersmentor.com. The purpose of my website is not to sell my mentoring program.
It gives enough information about my mentoring program to help people make an informed decision. It price qualifies them as well. So everybody who goes to my price, to my page knows how much my program is. There's no messing about because I don't wanna waste time spending half an hour doing a call with somebody who wants to do a mentoring program with a $200 budget.
So people come to my, come to book a call with me in the pre-qualified, but because, my mentoring program, it's like a lifetime commitment program. I'm with you for the life of your business. It has a one-off fee of 1000 year, 295 pounds. Now that fee, nobody has ever gone to my website and booked that outright because no one is gonna spend, you know, over $2,000 on a program without first speaking to somebody.
It is, it's a higher ticket value item. So what I [00:43:00] do is my website doesn't have a book now button. It has a schedule a call. The purpose of my website is to get somebody to have a call with me. Now if you look at all car websites, like most car websites like Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Ford, you will go on there.
They don't sell the car, they sell the test drive cuz the test drive is the easy step. You can't sell a 50,000, $60,000 car and somebody's not gonna go up and, oh, I'll chuck that on my basket and I'll check out unless you've got a serious amount of money. Right? The easiest solution because they know once you get there down to the dealership and you get, you sat in there and they're taking out for a drive, then the chances of that conversion are gonna be a lot easier.
So if you are a food photographer and your packages start at $2,000, you should not be trying to sell your photography on the website. What you wanna do is sell something like a consultation call, which is, we'll give you an online, branding imagery review call.
I'll give you a free 30 minute call that is your chance to impress.[00:44:00] You have a price there on your website. I'm very much up for pricing. Putting a price on the website, it's a big thing that people go, oh no, you shouldn't get a price on the website. It's the first thing a consumer wants to know.
And another thing why price is so important on a website, it filters out the crap. It means that people who get in touch with you are pre-qualified. So you could put your baseline price on there so everybody who gets in contact is pre-qualified, but you have four or five packages and the more the person spends the better value from money the package is.
And that's how the car industry works. I say for your own mental health, you must have your price on there. And the reason being is I have a lot of people and have conversations with photographers and " Jeff I'm just starting to doubt myself because I've had 10 inquiries this week and everyone's told me I'm too expensive and I'm only charging $500.
So eight prices on your website? No, but what you've done is you, are you leaving your website gates open to attract all the wrong people cuz you haven't qualified them. I says, how, how long did you have to spend on each one of these wrong [00:45:00] inquiries or type emails to. Each one of them might have been half an hour.
You've wasted five hours of your time. I would rather have one inquiry from one price qualified person who believes in me and has value of what I'm doing than 10 inquiries from people who aren't price qualified, because those tend to people when they tell me I'm too expensive.
All they're gonna do is start making me disbelieve in myself and doubt myself. And then the imposter syndrome comes in and the bad feelings. But you were never too expensive. You just had the wrong people turning up. They didn't have a high perceived value in your photography. They will never spend a lot of money in photography, and that's the thing. There were other people out there who do, if your brands right, if your brand looks premium, you'll attract premium people, and then if your price qualify them and then get them to take action, you can guarantee that most of those inquiries that come through.
Have the budget, love what you do. They hold you in high esteem because you've got a premium looking brand and they're ready to start talking about business, and [00:46:00] that is the big difference.
Mica: You hit it on the nail when you said that putting your rates on your website, it filters out the crap from the glitter. Why do you think photographers are so scared to put their rates on their website? What's the biggest fear, do you think?
Jeff: When he's selling your own stuff, you have that emotional attachment. Don't you see your own work as creative people?
And we struggle with that. We struggle with charging anything for what we do, and it's that, that self-belief. It comes down to brand. The funny thing about Brandon is we all actually know it. When I work with clients on a one-to-one basis, the first thing we do is the first model is brand.
And I say, you know, people come to me and Jeff, I wanna start my website now. I wanna do Facebook ads, I wanna do Google Ads, I wanna do this. I want more business coming in. Now, we can't do any of that yet. We gotta get your message right first, because if we start doing Facebook ads or if we start doing stuff to your website and we don't have the brand and we don't have a message, all we are gonna do is continually attract the wrong people.
So you need to know your, you need to have your right brand in the right message before you start doing Facebook ads and Google ads and [00:47:00] promotions, because you are gonna attract the wrong people. Now I've got, um, uh, a photographer who's headshot photographer in Nashville, Tennessee. Karen Elle Richards and Karen's priest increased our prices now six times.
She's now the most expensive headshot photographer in her area. But she's got her prices on her website. Her brand looks premium and high end, and because she's looking premium, high end, people think, yeah, that looks expensive. Quality, great service. The people who she's trying to attract are executives, entrepreneurs, business owners who want to look good on social media, value images of themselves.
They don't want to snap. They want to create the right first impress. They want to look like a thought leader. So they're feeling reassured by Karen's brand. And yeah, she's a bit expensive, but it's gonna be worth it cuz I'm investing in myself. It's a cost against my business.
Funny enough, since she's increased her price six times now, she has less price conflict than when she was actually [00:48:00] cheaper. Six price decreases ago, if you know what I mean. So she actually had less people worried about the price than when she was cheaper than now. She had to get any price conflict.
And now she might work for less people, but for more money. So she's got more time free on a weekend. The funny thing is, if you were to, to look at Karen's photographs from now, back to two years ago, our photographs haven't changed. Photographs are still the same. Our photography's still the same.
It's the outer packaging and the message that's changed and that's the key. The brand and the brand message has changed. She's connected. She's hit with the right people. The price is just qualified that even more further than it's premium and it's high end because people don't buy on price. People buy on perceived value.
If everybody bought on Price, Tiffany's, Mercedes, Jaguar, Hilton Hotels would all go bust overnight and it wouldn't exist. But these brands happen to go [00:49:00] on and these brands have people queuing up in Copenhagen to get in the door.
Mica: Just tie it to like the perceived value, but they also tie it to how it makes them feel when they have this. If I had Tiffany's jewelry, I'd be showing that thing everywhere.
Jeff: I was a bit stucker to get my girlfriend for Christmas, so I got a few little bits and bob's and I thought, I wanna get something really, she's always really nice and supportive to me. I thought, well, I'm. Get something from Tiffany. So I went under Tiffany's website. I thought I'll get a, a Tiffany's necklace.
And then the necklace is a beautiful, and oh my God, they're expensive. Probably like I'll get one. She deserves it. So I ordered one. And I tell you what, I've never had customer services like it from the minute the order went through the, the emails are coming through, your package is tracked now.
Bill is now busy packaging your order together and sending it to Dave, who's now gonna just look over it again. Then it's gonna John, our delivery driver. I must have had about 30 emails off that company. And then after it was delivered, more emails, you know, because with them it's right from the [00:50:00] first interaction and then afterwards that that value carries through.
But then I opened the box and I was like, oh my God, this looks is amazing. You open the box and then there's a box within a box and then that comes in another box and you open that and it's got a little pouch and then, and then by the time he cut, then you open this tiny little necklace and I'm like, what's quite small?
And in comparison to the amount of money, and I think you can't tell me that 700 pounds worth of, of silver, you know, compared to something you could get in the I street. But what did, how did that make her feel when I wrapped it up and give her to her Christmas, the perceived value, oh my God.
It's Tiffany's, you know, it's like photographs of, it's going on our, our Facebook page. But yeah, it's, people are believing in that perceived value.
Mica: It's like, look, look what I got for Christmas. I got Tiffany's,
Jeff: Anything like that, like your cars, they sell on how the car makes you feel. Expensive watches don't sell on how you're on taking time. I've got quite an [00:51:00] expensive tag watch that I wear I've got on now, and it's actually one of the worst timekeeping watches I've got.
But I didn't, I didn't buy it to, to tell time I bought it cuz I bought it as a reward for myself. If I wanted it to tell time, I would've been better off buying a watch for 10 pounds cuz it would do a better job than this one does.
Mica: I have my Apple watch and my husband thinks it is the most ridiculous purchase on the planet. And for me, I'm like, I can ping it when I can't find my phone. And that's a big deal cuz I lose my phone a lot.
I can look at my text messages if I'm in a meeting and I can decide if this is something that I need to address right now or if I can save it for later. I love this thing. I love what it does for me. It's part of my lifestyle. It's everything. I've used it for everything but telling the time.
I want your opinion on this, because I have a feeling that food photographers tend to confuse or muddle the difference between branding and [00:52:00] marketing, cuz they're two very different things.
Jeff: I have a program called the Six Steps to Success Programs.
It is laid out in a way that I don't let my clients go onto the next step till have completed the first because. It's like foundations. It's like you building a house. It's called the Six Steps, but there's about eight steps to it now cause I keep adding extra to it, but I don't wanna change all my, my, my brand around the six steps. But we start with setting goals and you set your goals first. And then once you've got your goals in place, we'll break those goals down and decide how we're gonna achieve them. Because most photographers don't set goals properly.
They'll just set a financial goal. Yeah, I wanna make a hundred thousand dollars this year. And that's it. They don't think about how they're gonna achieve that and break that down. And usually it's not the monetary goal that works. It's the root to the monetary goal that is the key thing.
I might wanna make X amount of money, but I look at where I'm gonna do that. I, if I do 30 podcasts per year, that increases my visibility, that gets me more opportunities, that gets me [00:53:00] more social media follows. That gets me more inquiries. Which will ultimately make me more money. So I don't, I don't chase the money, I choose the individual goal.
So we go do the goals first, and next thing is brand. And then the next bit is desire. So brand is your colors, your fonts, you feel in how you want people to think, feel, and believe when it, when they look at your brand. If you think of Walmart and then you think of a premium supermarket, you'll have different feelings. That concept comes from their logo, their colors, their fonts. So that is brand. Then desire is the message, the message that the brand puts at, and that is created in, in the written word.
That is the most powerful thing Now. That is your brand. Your brand is, is the words, your message, your font, your colors. Marketing is how we actually tell everybody about what we've just created. See, your brand has to be done first. And if you think about it, we're all brand experts. We all have. We know what looks expensive and what looks premium, [00:54:00] and it's the colors, the fonts, the message that we were attracted to.
I could put you in front of three different candles. And you would be able to say, oh, I'm going for that one cuz that looks quality, but it's the candle inside that glass candle it. The wax is probably just the same as all the other ones. It's the message in the you.
It's that perceived value. And there's a, even the uk, all the supermarkets have like a taste the difference or a best of range. And these are, these go on the end aisles and they're, they're in different boxes than the rest of the supermarket. Cheesecakes or, or stick tofi puddings or apple pies. But these boxes are really nice.
They use golds and purples and blacks and silvers, and platinums. These are colors, golds, purple, silver, and platinums that is associated with wealth and royalty and prestigiousness. And they use certain types of scripts and certain types of funds. So that when you look at that box, you go, oh, that looks nice, doesn't it?
Oh, but the product inside is very [00:55:00] similar to the, the cheaper products. They've just put a few swells on the cheesecake, put some flicks of chocolate on, put it in a nice box that allows them to charge a lot more for it. And that is the power of the brand. But as consumers, we've been marketed to with brand in colors, fonts. And message ever since we were little kids. So we can walk past the restaurant that we've never been to before and you can decide whether you're going to eat, then how much are you gonna pay, pay for that food just by looking at the menu without actually seeing a dish.
It's what you call curbside appeal. If you look like a restaurant and go, well, here, that I thought, oh, I like the twinkly lights. Oh, that menu looks nice. The window up. And then you've got the, you know, they're using sage greens and they've got s in their fonts and they're using a particular type of script and it just looks premium.
You've already put a perceived value of what you're gonna pay for steak and chips or fish and chips in there. Right? But you've never been in before. That's the power of perceived value and the power of branding. It's creating a feeling. And we all recognize it, but then we don't look [00:56:00] inside our own business.
Funny enough, I say to my clients, and Karen knows Tony about that headshot photographer, Karen uses the same font on her website as Chanel.
Mica: People make that connection. What are some key metrics that photographers should track to measure their website's effectiveness?
Jeff: One of the things is obviously how many people actually come to your website, and you will say, once you've started creating content that is appealing to your clients, then they will be staying on your website for longer. But what you wanna be doing is making sure they're actually taking some form of action on your website. Now by having multiple call to actions.
So you might have a, if your call to action is to book a free branding imagery review call. Then give them a secondary call to action as well if they're not ready for that. So you could get 'em to book that call, but if they're not ready for that, they could download your helpful PDF guide on how to take better photographs with your [00:57:00] iPhone of your food, or how you know, five steps to improving your online posting social media posting with attention grabbing imagery.
Anything in exchange to get their email address, because what you want to do before they go, if they're not going to, if they're not gonna get in contact with you, if they're not gonna make a purchase or they're not gonna make a call, at least get their email address so you can keep in touch with them, and then you can remarket it to them again.
Mica: That comes with the how photographers can evolve their brand over time. And you know, cuz like you said, the high value purchases, no one's gonna make that first high value purchase just from looking at your website right away. What you said right there is what can you do to capture that person's email to keep in contact with them? Once a photographer gets that client's email, what are some ways that they can stay in contact with them?
Jeff: One of the best things you can do, not only for keeping in contact with people who are on the email [00:58:00] list, but then finding future people is to write blogs. Blogs are so powerful and should become a part of every photographer's working routine. What you wanna do is write blogs that answer your clients questions at the moment of search, answer their problems. When you have blogs that answer people's questions, you're gonna get found because there's two types of search. There's direct search and indirect search. So direct search could be food photographers near me, uh, food photographers in Austin, Texas.
So there, that's somebody who's looking for a food photographer. Now another way that you can get in front of your client is people who's got a problem that haven't actually looked for a food photography yet, but they're trying how to get more engagement on my social media post. How to take better photographs of the food I make, you know, better lighting tips for photographing food.
If you can create blogs that answer those questions, you are gonna capture people at the other end. If you go to the Photographer's Mentor website, you'll see that [00:59:00] my website is optimized on the front page for people typing in photography, marketing, photography, mentor, and these are people who I've identified problems with in their business and they're looking for a mentor.
But my blog, which is called the Go to Photographer's blog, it has a name, it has a purpose, and it has a mission. If you look on there, there's 18 blogs I think on there at the moment cuz just uploaded a couple. They are, for people who at the moment, having problems within their business, haven't identified yet, they need a mentor.
But I could write blogs on, yeah, how to get more inquiries to my photography website, how to price my photography. What I'm doing is I'm capturing these people's addresses by writing blogs for them. Also within the blog, I'm directing them to another blog. If you've enjoyed this, you like, you might like this one. It'll give you more information. I also send them to my YouTube channel as well.
And you also might like this video that works alongside this blog. And then I've got three best selling books. I'll usually mention one of my books. Anyway. So you tend to find that people go through this process. If they'll read [01:00:00] the blog, they sign up to my email because they've read the blog, they'll then go along and maybe sign up to my YouTube channel to potentially purchase my book, which when they read the book, they build a bit more of a relationship.
And then maybe, I don't know, 10 months a year down the road, I'll get a call booked in and I'll jump on a call with somebody and like, hi Jeff, how you doing? You. You know what? I read your blog about a year ago and I bought a copy of your LinkedIn book, and I've been doing that for a while, and I've been following you.
Then I bought you goal setting book, and I just thought, I need to speak to this guy and, and work with you one to one. So I'm really keen to join your program. And I'm like, wow. That was quick. I might come off the, off a call in 15 minutes and this person's, they've signed up.
There was hardly any selling. They've sold themselves because my blogs and my content has done that. If you look at any of my stuff, you'd be very hard pushed to find sales posts from me, cuz I just don't sell, I give. But by giving people come back, it's all about creating that value and creating that content.
And I'm a crap salesman anyway, so I [01:01:00] wouldn't, I wouldn't be reading.
Mica: At what point should a photographer seek out a mentor like you?
Jeff: I would say it, it can be at any point. I've worked with, who've been photographers for 30 years and then all of a sudden they're, they're really struggling because things have changed.
There might have been a commercial photographer and they've, they've went from one set of clients to the next. They've always been recommended. Then all of a sudden there's new blood comes into a company and they're not using them anymore. They're this new company, ah, will get somebody from Instagram.
Like it's a younger generation. The other one is people who are just, just starting out now. You always think, well, the thing with mentoring, whether you go with me or whether you go with any, anybody else, and there's lots of really good photography mentors out there. If you get a really trusted and experienced mentor, they can not only save you a lot of money, they can save you a lot of years and they can save you making a lot of mistakes that they made.
I made some stupid mistakes. One of my most expensive mistakes in my photography business was believing that radio advertising would work[01:02:00] and spending a fortune and getting absolutely nothing from it. So I've done lots of things that I would never, ever do again. Having a mentor, they can guide you along that route of creating the perfect business and the perfect direction for your business.
And then you've got that accountability and support. When people sign up with me, they don't just sign up to get a mentor. They sign up to, to have somebody who's there who will kick their backside as well. And they've got that accountability. And I like that, drives people.
Cuz I can teach everybody what they need to be a real success within their business, but it's up to them to implement it. And it's very much like joining the gym. You can pay for gym fees, but if you're gonna sit at home and eat Dominoes pizzas, and not go, then it's not gonna, it's gonna, it's not gonna make any difference. It's the people who implement my program and do it who see the results. If you don't do it, you won't see the results. It's as simple as accurate.
Mica: What would you say is the biggest breakthroughs that they have are one of the biggest breakthroughs they have?
Jeff: One of the biggest things is when [01:03:00] realizing that how sometimes for years they've overthought the success period, the success thing, you know? And it's about setting the goals and then taking steps towards it. I've had wedding photographers where we've created the brand and then they said, right, what you're gonna do is you're gonna app approach five or six wedding dress shops and create a joint venture with them.
So every time a client comes into theirs and they speak to them, they go, they go behind the till, get out a special VIP voucher to give to their client. That will give them $800 off the cost of a wedding photography package. But when that client comes to your studio with his voucher, you then reward the person in the bridal shop, $50 or a hundred dollars.
That's gonna make them work even harder. We had that, that process with a, with our wedding business and, and one bridal shop alone got us, was getting with about 40 weddings per year. Another bridal shop we had, we worked with there, got us. One girl in the bridal shop got us 24 weddings in a year because she was being financially rewarded.
[01:04:00] If you want people to recommend people who already serve your ideal clients, then it's gotta be mutually beneficial for both people. You can utilize other people's network and there's a big thing now in business and is visibility.
Visibility is credibility. The more visibility you become, the more credibility you have. The more credibility you have, the more authority you command and the more you can ultimately judge. I have quite a big network on LinkedIn. I've got over 50,000 on Facebook, I've got close to 50,000.
So I've got about a hundred thousand followers plus across social media. But I didn't get that overnight. One of my, my clients who's a food photographer, Emma Dunham, you know, 18 month ago, she had 75 followers on LinkedIn as she's got 12 and half thousand. She's written a bestselling book. She's running food photography courses for photographers. She's, she's just in a, uh, uh, a broad speaking events, uh, of someplace hours doing some speaking events down in London last week.
And that's all come from [01:05:00] visibility. By getting ourself out there, and we gotta remember now, we, we have more opportunity than we've ever had at our fingertips. We can, we can speak to anybody we want, but it's how we deliver and the way we approach people that will ultimately decide if you deliver correctly and you put you pitch to anybody.
And I've pitched to some huge companies, you know, big, big brands, and they've turned around because the pitch has been mutually benefit for both people. And I've come from a place of value as opposed to what's in it for me. Most people have said, tell you what, Jeff, let's have a chat about it. Because what's the worst people can say is no.
So if you don't ask, you don't get. But there's so much opportunity out there and, and it's on your doorstep. You just gotta. Push. And I see, I see that so many times by photographers and then they get a yes and they're like, oh God, I'm gonna go and approach this podcast. I'm going to approach my local newspaper.
I'm gonna approach this charity and do some work with them. I'm gonna ask this person if they're gonna endorse my brand, I'm gonna ask this, this camera [01:06:00] company if I can become an ambassador for them. And it's all this stuff just keeps on and it's there cuz it happens for other people. Why can't it happen for you?
But it won't happen if you don't, if you don't take time to seek the opportunity.
Mica: And it's like you said, all it takes is that one. Yes. It takes looking at no, the answer no differently. When someone says no to you not to look at it as something with so much finality, like, no, not right now.
So make a mental note. One of the things that I utilize like hell is, Google's schedule send. Sometimes when I reach out to a guest that I'd like on the show, and they're just, it's just really busy and they've, they're like involved in a cookbook shoot or they've just got projects lined up and they'll tell me, look, I'm really busy right now, but hit me back up in September and let's connect then.
So I'll say, absolutely, I'll send you an email then. As soon as I [01:07:00] send that email, I type up another email, like a follow up email, and I schedule it to go out in September, and that way I don't have to put it as a to-do on my checklist. It's already out there in the world. It gets sent out and that's how, I've booked some of the photographers and, and food stylists that have been on the show so far.
Just taking that, no, as a not right now. I wanna close out this interview with looking back on your career as a photographer and mentor, what are some of the biggest lessons you've learned along the way?
Jeff: You can't do it all yourself and nobody's outta reach.
Go for big brands, give value, and then people buy into you. Really look into the, the people who already serve your ideal client and type and start to build relationships with them. Look after your clients. A lot of photographers just class themselves as a commodity and they're just like the same as any other [01:08:00] photographer.
And I think what you gotta do is, is pick an area that you're really strong at and then grow on that be different. My brand grew because I became so well known on LinkedIn as a photography mentor. Nobody else in. In photography was using LinkedIn. Even some of the big, the big names on LinkedIn don't, in photography industry, don't have anywhere near as many followers as me.
And then I thought, right, I'll take it to the next level and wrote a book. It's about changing your perspective. You know, now I've got a lot more authority because I'm a specialist on LinkedIn and I'm an our bestselling author. I'm commanding photography with within my own niche.
And there's that old there, if you can help people achieve what they want, you can achieve whatever, whatever you want. I still do calls for people for free. I give a lot my time for free. Not with the idea that, oh, somebody's gonna come on and, and, and book me because even if they go away and they, they can't afford to work with me, or they, they don't book me, they've become [01:09:00] a bit of a fan.
They'll like all my, my stuff on social media, they'll recommend me to somebody else. They'll give me a great testimonial and they might come back in two years time and say, you know what, Jeff, I've got a bit more money now. I'd love to work with you.
Mica: What do you hope listeners learn from today's episode?
Jeff: Definitely to understand, uh about the power of brand and the, as food photographers, you're not selling pretty pictures of food. What are you ultimately selling? You know, that. Takeaway, we think about it, what, what do the clients get? And then definitely go and, and, and Google that.
Google helpful content update. Find out some more bad. If you head over to my, my, my, photography website, website, the, um, the photographer suite, he can download a brochure and find a bit more information about what, what, uh, scroll to a sale website is. And you can create it yourself if you don't wanna get one from us.
But it's all about getting that content on there, communicating. Don't think that your images alone are gonna bring you business, cuz they're not. It's your brand, your message, [01:10:00] and what you do for the client that puts that perceived value in your images.
Mica: Oh man.
Thank you. Where can the listeners follow you and support you and learn from you?
Jeff: So that my website is the photographers mentor.com. My photography website company that creates websites for photographers is called the photographer suite.com. And then you just have to go to LinkedIn, check out Jeff Brown, the photographer's mentor, or Jeff Brown, the photographer's mentor on Facebook, or the photographer's mentor on YouTube.
And drop me a message. Drop me a connection. Find me on Facebook. If you do have any questions, just message me. And I always reply with a voice clip, so I am genuinely here to help. I have three books out on Amazon as well, so if you wanna check out any of my business books, my next book, you'll probably gonna be out at the end of the year, my fourth book, which is all about passive income from photography.
Mica: Okay. I can't wait for that one to come out. I, I'm so excited for that one. Man, Jeff, thank you so [01:11:00] much for being on the show, for taking time out of your evening and for dropping all this knowledge on us in this episode. This was really awesome and I'm so glad that you've been, that you're on the show.
Jeff: Absolute pleasure, and I hope everybody's enjoyed it. Thanks. Thanks for having me on board.
Mica: Y'all, was that an incredible conversation? Or what? That was some chunky, meaty, full of protein y episode.
Thank you for joining me on this hot mess express of a journey. Remember, head over to Pod in a Box and leave me a voice message. The link is in my bio and go check out Jeff. Go follow him on Instagram. If you are wanting to add LinkedIn to your social media plan, which you should [01:12:00] be, then I highly recommend that you buy his book. That's the show, y'all. Until next time, adios, buh bye, bye, cha cha cha. What other ways is there to say goodbye? Oh, yeah, hasta la pasta!