EP153 It Takes Work And Life Would Be Boring Without Sarah

There are many factors to success and I have listed many in these podcasts, but the brutal reality is that it takes hard work.  Lots of it.  There isn’t a silver bullet, no matter what every influencer, marketer, salesman, advertorial or Facebook campaign might try to convince you – and AI ain’t gonna fix it either.  All I wish is that I could stop seeing the ads that tell me otherwise!

Before all that, though, I head up the episode with a quick chat with Colin Jones, CEO of The Societies Of Photographers. This is one more in my series of interviews-from-the-photography-show (I need a snappier title) and it’s interesting that once more, training and education are at the forefront of his thoughts.

Also, I mention a brilliant app called EVOTO.AI in this episode.  At some point I’ll do a deep-dive into it but rest-assured, this is well worth exploring if, like me, you create portraits for a living.  The guys have kindly given me a link you can use that gives you thirty free credits when you register: https://go.evoto.ai/PaulWilkinson One great thing about this app is that you only burn a credit up when export a finished image – you can test it out on as many as you like.  This means those thirty credits could be enough for you to play around with as many images as you want until you’re happy and then go ahead and run an entire portrait session through!

Let me know what you think!


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Episode Transcript

Introduction to Colin Jones

[00:00:00] I’m Colin Jones. I’m the CEO for the Society of Photographers. Excellent. It’s lovely to see you as always, Colin.

The Photography Show Experience

[00:00:06] Tell me why you come to the photography show. Oh, the photography show is a great show. It’s great to meet up with all the trade, seeing all the latest products and services in the industry and getting to network with other photographers.

[00:00:17] It’s a great show to come to.

Passion for Photography

[00:00:18] So, tell me why you love this industry so much.

[00:00:21] Oh, I love the industry. I’ve always been part of the photography industry. It’s been part of my family since my granddad and my dad, and it’s an industry full of amazing people, creative people, uh, and, you know, so much passion for, for, for photography and for the craft of it.

[00:00:35] And I love seeing people excel in the industry as well.

[00:00:37] So that’s all of the positives.

Industry Improvements

[00:00:38] But if, like everything, there was always things we could do better as an industry. If there’s one thing, just one thing that you could change in this glorious passion of ours, what would it be?

[00:00:48] I think I’d like to see photographers get more training, invest more time in training and more, more money in training. Uh, you know, I see, when we see people take that step and really invest in training to push not only their photography but their business, we see so much success. Uh, so I’d love to see training be more, , forefront of the industry.

Importance of Training

[00:01:04] When you’re talking about training, what aspects do you think, photographers in the industry, certainly the industry we spend most of our time with, which is the UK industry, what do you think is the weak spot? Which direction do you think the development would be most applicable.

[00:01:19] I think, uh, quite a lot of photographers, if they’re in business, uh, that’s where we see a lot of photographers really struggle getting clients through the door, marketing their services, uh, so that’s, that’s always been a big passion of mine, is getting photographers more training in the business side, but, you know, I, I genuinely think training of any kind, whether it’s lighting and posing, or even just networking with your peers, uh, and getting training that way, just by talking to other photographers, uh, is a, is a real bonus.

[00:01:43] Excellent.

Interview Conclusion

[00:01:43] Perfect answers, as always, from one of the nicest guys in the industry. Thank you, Colin.

[00:01:47] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Uh, so that is one more of those little interviews I did at the photography show earlier this year. That was Colin Jones, the CEO of the Societies Of, Photographers. It’s always interesting talking to people like Colin. I mean, not just because he’s a really lovely guy. But he hears from hundreds, possibly thousands of photographers, uh, on a scale that most of us can only imagine.

[00:02:11] And yet the themes still seem to be consistent.

[00:02:15] It’s all about education.

Podcast Introduction

[00:02:17] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: And learning I’m Paul and this is the masteringportraitphotography.com podcast.

[00:02:22] [00:02:36] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Well, it’s been three weeks since the last episode and yesterday, yesterday.

Wedding Anniversary Anecdote

[00:02:45] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: It was mine and Sarah’s 21st wedding anniversary. She sent me a card and it simply said, imagine how boring life would be without me. Literally in quotes. Imagine how boring life would be without me. Well, this morning, She bit my toe, I was fast asleep. She bit my toe now I sleep with my feet. Out of the bottom of the duvet.

[00:03:09] I’ve always done it. And I’ve no idea why, but I do. This morning. She bit my toe. And this isn’t really a unique event. I think she probably does it a few times. A year I am asleep, then rudely I’m awakened. With pain. There is nothing in between those two moments except a searing sensation that someone has sunk their teeth. Into my big toe. I don’t really know which bit hurts the most, the initial bite or the moments I react and pull away leaving tooth marks. This morning. She bit my toe.

[00:03:46] It’s true. Sarah is right. Imagine how life would be without her. Imagine how boring. It would be, frankly, I can’t imagine it. I can’t picture. How things would be without every morning. They’re being the risk that she’s going to sink her teeth into my toe. But Sarah is the person who makes me laugh the most.

[00:04:07] She is the person who allows the extrovert in me out. She’s the person who props me up when I’m down. And she’s the person who keeps a lid on me. When I’m up. That sounds really weird, but you get the gist of it. Um, you know, I can be quite full on, I think, and it, Sarah, that just keeps things nice and steady.

[00:04:28] And so thank you Sarah, for 21 years of marriage, 33 years of hilarity between the two of us. So, yes, life would be really boring without her.

[00:04:41] Anyway, in the past three weeks, what has happened in our diary.

Recent Portrait Sessions

[00:04:46] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Well there have been 22 different portrait sessions, which is lovely, including one, uh, just this morning, beautiful family. Uh, so a mom with her two children and her two grandchildren. Um, just lovely out in the sunshine, a quick drive over to their house. Shot in the garden.

[00:05:05] What was funny about it was every single shot. She wanted her front door in the images. Which, uh, I’ve had sort of, you know, big Manor houses and different things about to be part of a shoot, but I’ve never had one where the front door has to be prominent, but it was a joyous shoot, beautiful people.

[00:05:23] They made me very welcome.

[00:05:24] Cannot wait to show them their pictures. And one of the two little girls -she’s three years old -was wearing a Liverpool FC football strip. Now on two levels that just filled my heart, with joy. On the one level. It’s Liverpool, which happens to be the team that I also have always supported all my life I’ve supported.

[00:05:46] And when I say supported, what I mean is occasionally I’ve looked at their headlines and seen the score. Or occasionally, you know, a key match comes up and I might watch the first 20 minutes of it, before it gets way too stressful for me, and I leave the room. I’m not really a supporter in the supporter sense of the word. But if I’m ever, if ever I’m asked, and this is since I’ve been about five years old, it’s been Liverpool. And she was wearing a kit this morning and the kit was almost identical to a kit I was bought for Christmas when I think I was about eight. There’s something about the styling of the current, the current kit, the red with the white collar. The cut of it, the styling of it, that’s almost exactly the same as it was all of those years ago when it was Kevin Keegan and the boys playing. And so that made me happy.

[00:06:36] The main reason, it made me really happy. Is isn’t it amazing. Oh, is it amazing or isn’t it about time?

[00:06:43] Maybe it’s about time. Maybe we’re just getting there. That a girl turned up at the door. She’s three years old and she’s a football fanatic. And I know now the way it will be for her is so very different, than for instance, if my sister, when she was that age wanted to play football. Now my, my sister, cause I was a drummer, my sister wanted to play drums, but the girl’s school, she went to said that wasn’t lady like. How heartbreaking is that? I know we’re going back quite a long time, but how heartbreaking. Is that, that you can’t do something. Because it’s not lady like. You can’t do something because because of your gender, it doesn’t fit in. It’s just ridiculous.

[00:07:25] And so it is so heartwarming this morning. To see this little girl in bright red, bright red Liverpool football strip, kicking a ball around the garden and loving every single second of it. And unlike my sister, where I think life in that particular time. In the late eighties, early nineties. You know, Society’s, it was sort of prevented things like that. I know this little kid that won’t be the case. For her, at least. I trust it won’t be the case for her.

Hearing Dogs Shoots

[00:07:57] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: So wonderful shoot this morning, 22 portraits shoots over the past three weeks, we’d done five Hearing Dogs shoots. Uh, two of those have been out on a location and they’ve been so joyous, so profoundly joyous. Um, the one yesterday was of one of our recipients whose Hearing Dog has essentially. Been a lifesaver.

[00:08:18] I mean, I, I hear this quite a lot, but I really do think, uh, the lady I photographed with her dog yesterday, she’s in her mid twenties. Um, Is just, was just an inspiration, really the relationship with the dog, the way they were, the joy that dog has brought, um, And it was just a magical shoot. And one of the things about these all, I mean, all portrait shoots, I think, but in particular with shoots like the Hearing Dogs is as much as I’m providing a service, as much as I’m providing images that they can use for fundraising and publicity and PR and marketing and all of these things. Is, they provide me with a sense of, what’s the right word, they energize me. They give me energy and positivity. I come away from these shoots so much more full of life than I do when I arrive at them. I just think. It’s just incredible. The joy that a photography can bring, not just to the people I’m photographing, but also, uh, to me.

[00:09:22] Uh, we’ve had five cleanse that was a bit abrupt, sorry about that. I don’t know. I maybe I just couldn’t think of a good point to wind up on, but being a portrait photographer is a thing of joy.

[00:09:33] It is a thing of life is a thing of positivity and energy. Um, and I suppose that’s what I’m trying to get to. It really is something, but it’s not a one way street. I get as much energy and joy out of these shoots as my client’s do.

Client Reveals and Workshops

[00:09:48] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Uh, we’ve also had five client reveals. Uh, just wonderful. I love it when the clients come to see that images, we never quite certain what we’re going to sell. But, uh, it’s just a lovely thing to see the reaction to people when they see their pictures sometimes surprise. In fact, nearly, always surprise at how beautiful the pictures can be, I don’t know why they’re surprised they’ve come to us. They’ve come to us because they’ve seen what I can do for others. Um, and yet still the surprise very often it’s clients who’ve been to us before, and they’re still surprised. Maybe I should work harder at explaining what we, what we do, but that element of surprise. It’s a lovely thing when it’s done in the, in the reveal room and tomorrow we’ve got a little wedding, it was just a two person wedding uh, who are coming to see their pictures. And again, massively looking forward to that. Uh, we’ve run one one-on-one masterclass.

[00:10:37] I love the one-on-one masterclasses. Because of course, every topic, every topic can be on the table. We don’t need to worry about. Uh, suiting or fulfilling the requirements of four or five people. It’s just one person and we can play, we can talk, uh, we can jump between different topics. We can try different things out depending on their needs.

[00:10:57] Anything from business all the way through to how to prep your files for Photoshop. It doesn’t really make any difference to us. And so for that, it’s just a wonderful thing to do.

[00:11:07] We’ve also done a, an off-camera flash workshop. Now the off-camera flash workshops are by far the hardest. Even this morning, a little shoot. Um, when I met bumped into the little girl, Uh, in her Liverpool outfit, Liverpool kit. I decided one of the shots we would do would be, uh, like a FIFA or UEFA. Uh, footballer’s pose because all footballers are contracted to do these things so that when, uh, the, the, the TV companies roll out or, or show the team list or whatever, or feature a player, there’s footage of every player walking into shot and standing a very particular way, they lit a very particular way. Um, and you can do that quite happily out in the garden with some off-camera flash.

[00:11:50] So even this morning I was using. Off camera flash, and you have to sort of pause a little bit and think, okay. And you, you have to build the shot setting by setting. Then it’s not as straightforward as it is just using TTL. You could just use TTL on your flash guns. Uh, but you get sort of slightly erratic results if you do that. You have to understand how, uh, the shutter speed, the aperture, the ISO, they all interact to give you the output you’re looking for. And this morning absolutely nailed it. But when you’re trying to teach it, trying to get those principles across in a way that is clear, a way that is concise and a way that is repeatable so that you will delegates can leave. And use that, those techniques themselves. Isn’t trivial.

[00:12:41] It’s the, of all the things we teach here at the studio, I think. It’s the hardest. And I know it’s the hardest because when I’m suddenly faced with having to get the settings right for myself on a shoot, invariably I’ll change the wrong thing at the wrong moment. And it’s like, oh, bugger. bugger Having to go back. And figure it out. Uh, so it was, it was lovely to do a brilliant day, lots of laughter and one that Sarah was away for.

[00:13:07] So thank you to Katie and James who stepped in. And Katie stepped into the role of, of Sarah, because she had to go and look after my in-laws new puppy for eight days, honestly, she’s come back exhausted that, that Sarah, that is not the puppy. Uh, she’s come back. Absolutely exhausted. The puppy goes to sleep at midnight. The puppy wakes up at six and there’s very little in between. It’s on and off. Uh, and it’s on from 6:00 AM to midnight and it’s off from midnight til six. She was absolutely shattered. So, uh, she was away the week when we running the workshop, unfortunately. And it couldn’t be helped, not a lot of sidestepping, but Katie, thank you very much for stepping in. And being sort of a surrogate, Sarah and helping me make sure that everything ran. Uh, smoothly.

BIPP Qualifications Judging

[00:13:53] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Uh, also this last week we have done a full day of qualifications judging for the BIPP, the British Institute of Professional Photography. Um, It’s a wonderful thing. Qualifications are such an amazing thing to be a part of. And I mean, that from both sides of the line.

[00:14:12] I kind of draw inspiration from the candidates, the people putting their images in for assessment and I draw inspiration from the judges, but in very different ways.

[00:14:24] The candidates, of course. It takes quite a lot of bravery, I think, to submit your images. I mean, we’ve all been through it, but it still is quite a thing to do. To submit your images in for assessment as qualification, because you don’t know, you don’t truly know, even the mentors don’t truly know, whether a panel is going to be successful or not.

[00:14:45] , we did eight panels in a day. I’m chairing it.

[00:14:48] So I’m not really a judge in that sense anymore. I chair it and make sure it’s run smoothly And the process is meticulous in the way we do it, so that it’s fair and equitable for every single candidate.

[00:15:03] Firstly, the candidate sets up their panel and the judges, get to assess the images. At the end of that first assessment , we take a vote. Then have a discussion and then we take a second vote. And the reason we do it like that is so that the judges get to make up their minds independently with no influence. They’re just assessing the images on their own. And on an individual basis. Then we vote. And then as a discussion and in that discussion, It’s about the judging team, the panel of judges arriving at a decision that is, a combination of their own independent view and the views of the other four judges. And it’s important that it’s done like that because every judge has a different experience, different influences and skills for how they assess the images.

[00:15:53] And so when the judges talk, each judge gets the opportunity to address the panel, and talk about why they think their decision is the right one. But they’re also listening to the other four judges and taking into account, maybe things they haven’t noticed or maybe things that they just don’t prioritize quite the same way.

[00:16:17] And listening to these six judges or five at a time, but the six judges in discourse, listening, giving their views, knowing when to be brave and when to stand their ground, but also know when to flex, and acknowledge that may be another photographer, another judge has more experience in an area or a spotted, something that they haven’t, that that was exhilarating in the extreme, because the panel of judges each time there was a discussion , they came to decision and the whole panel doesn’t have to be unanimous, but the whole panel of judges respects and understands the outcome of the process.

[00:16:56] Now, of course the delegate might not. That is other candidate rather than might not. That is true. And it wasn’t a hundred percent pass, uh, in terms of each of the panels. And it’s always heartbreaking. I wish the candidates could see behind the curtain while we come to the decision. That’s not part of the process that we’ve opened up just yet. Um, that may come in the future as we get our arms around a way of doing that, that is. Uh, fair. But genuinely when a panel was unsuccessful, you could almost hear everybody in the room, you can almost hear their hearts. Breaking.

[00:17:37] When we say, we’re sorry. We mean it. Because we would love every single panel to be a successful panel. We would love that. But in the end. It’s a, it’s a balancing act between making sure that we reward the endeavor, we reward the work. But the standards have to be high. They have to be. Consistent. They have to be something that when people look at the letters you put on the wall. They mean something and sadly they can only mean something.

[00:18:12] If we hold our ground, on, uh, the standards, the process, and the reasons why certain panels will succeed where other panels may not make it this particular time, but what an absolute what an absolute privilege to be in the room with those judges, looking at those panels, the panels were stunning. Even the ones that were unsuccessful this time round, the panels were stunning.

[00:18:34] So a huge, thank you. To the six judges who came and provided their skills, their eyes, their experience to, assess each of the candidates work

[00:18:47] And what a beautiful thing to be a part of.

[00:18:50] Um, what else? What have I written in my notes?

Personal Reflections and Future Plans

[00:18:52] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: So, yeah, I’ve drank a little too much this week and exercised a little too little. That’s something I’m now feeling very guilty about. And this afternoon, it’s Saturday afternoon. And I sat and thought. Shall I go home and get on the exercise, bike or shall I record a podcast.

[00:19:06] And I thought, oh, I better record this podcast, but trust me when this is recorded. I’m going to go home and do a little bit more exercise than I have this week. This week I’ve barely slept. I’ve been working in London. I’ve been working in Essex. I’ve been working here locally. This stuff has got to go out.

[00:19:23] I’ve written an article for professional photo magazine, big shout out to those guys, by the way, the online magazine looks fantastic that’s Professional. Uh, Photo Magazine. Uh, but what, uh, what a week it has been,

[00:19:36] uh, final note, . Final note this week. Um, it’s been a real run of it just at the moment in that.

Product Reviews and Recommendations

[00:19:43] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Lots of photographic suppliers have been approaching us to feature their product on either the podcast or masteringportraitphotography.com, or just getting it into our hands so that we can talk about it. And I have a really strict policy here, um, that I’ll only talk about things and promote things that I use that are part of our business, part of our workflow, because if they are worth talking about, then trust me. I’ve already had a look I’m already using it.

[00:20:11] So this one has, this came in yesterday. Um, and I’ll put the link in the show notes. We use a bit of software, or we’ve been exploring a bit of software called EVOTO – E V O T O, which is it’s an AI retouching package.

[00:20:27] Now I know I can feel a few of you are hackles going up and bloomin’ AI. retouching automated and all of those things. Why do I like it? Well, I like it because you have total control. So in the same way that we use actions in Photoshop, we put up, um, check layers. And do dodging and burning. This takes some of that drudgery out.

[00:20:50] I say, drudgery that, sorry, that sounds dreadful. I don’t mean it to sound like that because actually I love retouching.

Balancing Business and Creativity

[00:20:56] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: I love it when I’ve got an hour. And a beautiful picture that I can just work up, but my business model, doesn’t allow me to do that for 22 portrait shoots in three weeks. It just doesn’t.

[00:21:08] Now I could outsource it, I suppose. But I’ve never been really that happy with the results when I’ve done that. I find, I find things, come back, just looking a little bit plastic. Um, of course I could pay really high-end retouches, but I work in social photography, not commercial retouching. Obviously, if it’s going to be the cover of Vogue, I can spend thousands on a single image being retouched, but that’s not my world.

[00:21:31] My world is a very solid, very dynamic, very successful social photography. Uh, outfit and. Although I like the images to have a really high fashion look for an awful lot of my work, trying to find techniques to do that quickly is not straightforward.

Discovering EVOTO: A Game-Changer for Retouching

[00:21:48] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Um, so when EVOTO suddenly emerged a few months ago, it’s still sort of in beta, at least a lot of the functions are. Um, it’s E V O T O you can go download it.

[00:21:59] Um, this particular piece of software allows you a huge amount of control and there are two. Uh, bits of Photoshopping that I really don’t enjoy. I don’t mind. I love I say. I don’t mind. I love skin retouching. I love working at the colors. I love all of that side of it. I really don’t like fixing crosshairs, and I don’t like fixing creased clothes.

[00:22:21] So there’s a two things there, there are others, but those are two things I really just find irritating for whatever reason.

EVOTO Features and Benefits

[00:22:28] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Well, EVOTO on its own, it would be worth the effort of just fixing those, um, it does crosshairs brilliantly and it will take the majority of creases out of pretty much any type of clothing.

[00:22:41] And even if that was all it did, that would be worth the money, but it does so much more. It helps me in so many ways. It’s helping us automate and create a higher finish. But it’s still looking natural, still looking like they, the images haven’t been retouched, I’ll do a deep dive into it at some point. Uh, but the guys have been in touch, and I do have a promo code. Uh, if you fancy it again. Uh, put that in the notes, but it’s https://go.evoto.ai/PaulWilkinson capital P capital w all one word, Paul Wilkinson. And if you go there and sign up. Uh, you will get 30 free credits, which allow you to have a play.

[00:23:28] So you’ll get 30 free credits. The other thing about the software, which I really like is that you pay to finish the image so you can load it up with as many images as you like and run your, your settings on it and run. Basically all of that, the whole of the software. But you only get charged when you export the finished images out.

[00:23:50] Now it’s not perfect yet. Uh, only works on certain types of files. It won’t work on PSD files. It works on TIFs or RAW files. Uh, or JPEGs, but trust me, it’s an absolute godsend. Uh, particularly if you don’t overuse it, if you just keep on the right side of the line. The images look natural, they look polished. They look finished. That you’ve got no crosshairs and even the clothes can get a little bit of an iron. So I’ll put that link in the show notes. And if you follow the link, you will get, uh, 30 free credits. By the way, I get no kickback on this. I’m getting nothing out of it. It’s just, I talked to the guys. Because I use the software. And I said I would happily, uh, promote it because I think it’s, it’s absolutely. Uh, brilliant.

[00:24:37] And then anybody, the whole point of this podcast is to make life a little bit easier for anybody, uh, doing portrait. Uh, photography.

Navigating the Photography Business Landscape

[00:24:44] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: So anyway, on to what is, I suppose, as much as it ever is the topic of a podcast, these are just, you know, It’s the diary of a working pro in stuff that occurs to me as we, as I get all my life. Um, but here’s the primary topic of this particular. Uh, podcast and in a sense. It’s a little bit of a moan. I just, I don’t like to moan.

[00:25:07] It’s not my style, but this is just a little bit of a protest protest. Sounds better than moan. Maybe. A little bit of a protest.

Evaluating Business Advice and Authenticity

[00:25:15] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Which is the sheer number of adverts I get in all of my social feeds with people telling me they have the answer. They can make my photography business successful. They can find me thousands of clients.

[00:25:29] They have a six-figure photographic business. They can tell me how they did it. No one, no one has the answer. It’s all lots of small parts. And when I’m looking for help, I look basically for three. Three things more or less. And these. These are three things that it would have to have if I’m going to use someone for some help.

[00:25:48] Firstly, do I admire their pictures? Do I admire their pictures? Do I want or understand why they create what they do? Is it something. That’s in tune. With me and what I want.

[00:26:01] A couple of people have come into our studio and said, well, you could do it like this, you could turn the whole space into two working studios, have two photographers in each run, eight shoots. Uh, in each, uh, part of your space per day, that’s 16 shoots. Per day, you need to get a sales team onto the calls, do cold calling to lead generation, and you could run a multi-million pound business. Well, I could. But I don’t want to. Because those photos are not the photos that I want to take. Um, and besides I want to take them, I love creating pictures. That’s part of why we do this. The idea of not creating pictures anymore is not part of my business plan. What I’ve got to always figure out is how to make this business as profitable as I can, given the caveat, I left a very well-paid job in the city to do it. I left a career and a life of money and shares and shareholder value, and watching stock markets and being a partner in a firm.

[00:26:56] I left all of that behind me because it wasn’t, what I wanted. What I wanted to do was create beautiful images and make life just a little bit better for people myself included. Um, so that the idea of doing that, so. I will only ever look for someone who’s creating pictures. I truly admire.

[00:27:12] Secondly, , does that business, the business they’re describing, does it look like my business vision?

[00:27:18] So whatever it is, they’re trying to sell me. Is that part of my vision.

[00:27:23] And thirdly, do I like the person who purports to give me that information.

[00:27:29] If those three things are true, there may be, I’ll dig into it a little bit further, but if any, one of those isn’t true. I’m not going there. And I get so many ads with people, waving their camera around, telling me some number or rather. You know, I don’t know.

[00:27:43] I’ve created a six figure business in three weeks. Um, I did it all from the comfort of my own home. I mean, there’s even ads. Now I get the, tell me they don’t need a photographer. You can set up. A headshot business without ever using a photographer. And if I get one more of those ads from someone who clearly doesn’t understand. What. Personal branding really is it’s the clue is in the title, personal. It’s not AI generated.

[00:28:09] I know you can change hairdos and suits. And I use AI everywhere. Trust me. But there’s a big difference in the, if you think about the one word you have to have in personal branding, authenticity is at the heart of it. An AI can’t give you that. I mean, you can’t synthesize authenticity. There’s no such thing. Synthetic authenticity is an oxymoron, it is not a thing it’s either authentic or ain’t. So, uh, I’m sort of very. They’re very cynical about those things and they, and these people are always waving a camera around at me, sometimes with the lens cup still on. I assume that it’s because the Metta or social media algorithms reward, people waving a camera around.

[00:28:53] So it gets it higher up in my feed and it definitely works as long as it’s aimed at me. So I’ve got hundreds of these things. And they’re always, there was a very particular type of person. They’re always very bouncy and extrovert and energetic. And I like that. I’m bouncy and energetic and extrovert. Um, but I’d like to know, that their business has been running for 10 years or 15 years.

[00:29:17] I’d like to know. That they consistently do these pictures with real clients, the kind of clients that we find, the kind of clients that are in tune with our business. Um, Now of course, when I dig into them and actually have a hunt around. 99% of them are paper thin. There’s nothing underneath there’s no, it’s not substantiated by any real world. Business acumen or business experience. Some of them will have been successful, but you can feel that they are now going into training because the success of the business has probably beginning to wane.

[00:29:51] I’m looking for a long-term sustained business. If what I want to run is a longterm sustained business. I’m looking for somebody who can do what I want to do. Um, Now it is true. It is true that you can be a great coach without being a sporting star on your own or vocal coach to rockstars. They’re not quite the same thing, being good at something and being able to coach in it. Not quite the same thing as being a star in it.

[00:30:18] I understand that. But I really do want to know that the war stories I’m going to learn from are real, that someone’s been out there, someone’s done it. That they’ve walked the walk and ideally are still walking the walk I’d much rather learn from a business than from a trainer. If you get what I mean. I want to go to a consultant . Who’s still running up business. They’re still learning. They’re still evolving. I mean, goodness knows. In the UK, we’re about to go into a general election. The dates of that have just been released, and if there’s one thing I know about elections and anything sort of like, um, referenda, anything like that. Is the phones, just go that little bit quieter. So no matter what happens up until July the fourth, which is the election date, I know that the market will be ever so slightly suppressed because people don’t wake up during election campaigning and think first as they wake up, I need to get some photos. That’s just not what happens.

[00:31:16] People wake up and thinks, you know, What’s Rishi Sunak said today, or where are we headed with the election or any one of a million other things, but photography just gets down the list a little bit, further. So I know we’re about to go into a quiet period and what I want is someone who’s been through that knows that’s what’s coming knows that the little intricacies of running a business over a long period of time are far more than you can do something like this in 42 days, or in just three weeks, you can have this success or with just one camera and one lens and working from home, you can telemarket to a thousand people.

[00:31:49] I don’t care about any of that. What I want to know is do they run a business that looks a little bit like mine? And I know that they’ve been there, seen it, done it and are still doing it. Um, now.

The Importance of Hard Work and Superpowers

[00:32:00] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: A couple of episodes ago, I talked about four things, four things, I think are consistent to successful. Photographers that’s energy, optimism, enthusiasm, and confidence.

[00:32:12] I stand by that. They’re very much there, but they’re not all of it. And I did say that in a podcast, they’re just the foundation stones. That, not the whole building there. The bit. They’re the bedrock or the foundation, everything can be built on, but they are not. The whole building, maybe I’ll get over the coming months to talk about each of the different areas that I think you probably need to get to map it out.

[00:32:35] Maybe that’d be a good idea. if I draw it all out. Uh, maybe actually create a little bit, maybe I should stand in front of a camera and wave my camera around with my lens cap on and say, I’ve got the answer for you. I don’t, I don’t have the answer. I’ve just spotted some things that are consistent with people who are successful, energy, optimism, enthusiasm, and confidence. But you’ll also need some other stuff.

[00:32:58] And one of them is just hard work over a period of time. Call it, practice. Call it graft, call it wherever you want. It’s doing it over a long period of time so that you have your chops down. You graft at it. You’ll get some breaks. You’ll miss some breaks. You’ll have a bit of good luck, you know, have a little bit of bad luck. That’s life. There isn’t a silver bullet for this, and you really do need to plow through it. So these little ads that come up and say, I’ve got the answer for you in the next three weeks, you can do this. Um, then just, I’m just doubtful.

[00:33:32] I certainly don’t buy into them. And every time I have sort of investigated, they’ve come up short now we all have superpowers. We do. But we don’t all have the same superpowers and there’s no one superpower you need, you need a suite of them. But you can’t have everything. It’s just not possible to be good at everything. Um, my superpowers, I suppose, are I am a grafter I work hard. I can read light. I love, I love technology. I know it’s slightly ironic that I’m muttering about some of the AI stuff given I’ve got a PhD in AI. I adore technology. And I get on with people. Well, mostly I get on with people. But I am not for instance, an avant-garde creative photographer. I’m not edgy. I’m not a visionary. I’m certainly not a master, of marketing or a sales.

[00:34:22] I’m non of those things, but I work hard. At it, I love doing it. And so I do a lot of it. And I particularly love being amongst people. And I love being amongst people when I’ve got a camera. And if I’m, I suppose I, if I think about it, I can create a portrait. In almost any light. If I can see it. Well, probably I can use it. Those are my superpowers, but everyone will have different superpowers. Some of you will be amazing at business. Some of us will be amazing at marketing and sales. Some of us will be amazing photo shoppers. And fine artists things that I’m not. Um, but that’s my superpower. Those are my superpowers. Uh, I’m a grafter can read light love tech and I get on well with people.

[00:35:07] But even then in and of itself. that’s not enough. It’s a damn good start, but it’s not enough. I’ve got to learn and I have learned as much as I can about everything else. I’m still learning. I’m still on that journey. We’re still running. Uh, business that I’ve learned how to do it alongside Sarah. Sarah. and myself, we’ve worked out how to do it.

[00:35:27] We’ve had a corporate background. So we were exposed to the fundamental principles of running businesses, which is really useful. But I’ve learnt how to run our little business, how to sell. We’ve learned how to sell stuff. We’ve learned how to market, we’ve learnt how to do those things. Using what I would consider to be natural tools. Um, so using the S the superpowers that we have, the ability to get on well with people, the ability to create a picture, actually, after that, you don’t need to do too much on the sales side, a couple of little bits and pieces.

[00:35:55] There are techniques. But for us, we’ve just lent into our natural talents. Um, of really liking our clients and really enjoying being there with them and really enjoying, creating images of them. Uh, and so that’s how we’ve learned how to run a business and we’re still learning.

[00:36:12] But I do wish I could stop receiving ads from people, waving a camera at me telling me that they all 25 years old of them. Are the answer. Well, they may be the answer, but they’re not the answer. that I would look for. They can’t change my business only I can change my business and I’m very, very picky. About who I take advice from.

Final Thoughts and Farewell

[00:36:37] Paul – Studio Rode Broadcaster V3: Anyway, thank you for listening.

[00:36:39] If you have enjoyed this, please do let us know. Please do leave us a rating on iTunes or wherever it is, you get your podcasts and also please do subscribe. So the minute we publish the next one. Bang. There is. In your in-tray or in your list, on your library, on your latest or on your alerts or wherever it is. That it pings up when you listen to your podcasts, please also head over to mastering portrait photography.com, which is. the spiritual home of this podcast. But also of course includes a ton of stuff all about the love. The passion, the creativity in the business of mastering. Portrait photography. If you’re curious about any of the workshops and one-on-one masterclasses that we run, um, where there’s a whole suite of them. I go back to the thing I said earlier, though. If you think we’re the kind of thing you’d like to do.

[00:37:23] If we creating pictures that you’d like to learn how to do, and if you think actually you’d like to learn it from us. And then please do head over to, uh, paulwilkinsonphotography.co.uk. And there you will find the, um, Coaching section, but just Google paulwilkinsonphotography.co.uk workshops and you will find us.

[00:37:41] So on that happy note, I’m going to go, I think. And have a beer in the sunshine with my wife. And lament the fact that I’ve got one very sore, big toe. Whatever else you do. Be kind to yourself. Take care.

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