From Nothing to Profit

A Photographer's Podcast


Published on:

5th Nov 2018

Scott Wyden Kivowitz – Episode 005 – A Photographer Podcast Interview

Read Show Notes

Today we interview Scott Wyden Kivowitz.  Learn about his story of working full time at Imagely, the wordpress photography people ( and part time as a photographer.  It is important for Scott to continue to love photography, which is why he keeps it part-time.

Scott is starting to shift his business to personal brand photography, a fast growing genre. He says, “There’s the potential for a personal brand photographer to make the same, or more than, a wedding photographer. There’s actually a lot less time away from the family and you gain your weekends back.” The opportunities here are limitless.

Scott also uses lead generation to find the clients he wants to work with and refers the rest out. Some really great tips here.

You can follow Scott on Instagram at  and also on his website

Books that Scott Recommends:

All Gary Vaynerchuck Books, especially:

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (

Ask Gary Vee (

Resources from the show:

Scott has podcast – wordpress photography podcast – about websites and using them for business.  Check it out here:

Scott’s Lead Generation class:

Coupon: FNTP for 20% off
Coupon is valid until 12/31/18
Jamie’s Swanson Personal Brand info:

Additional Free Resources at

Read Full Transcript


Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Scott: [00:01] This is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and you are listening to from nothing to profit.

Speaker 2: [00:04] Welcome to from nothing to profit a photographers podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Welcome

Kia: [00:20] to go from nothing to profit hosted by Matt Hoagland and Kira bonderant. We are so excited to welcome Scott Wyden Kivowitz today, and here we go.

Scott: [00:32] Scott is a father, photographer, blogger, and educator from New Jersey. A storyteller. What? The camera growing up, he was always photographed by his parents and his grandparents while playing in bands. He started photographing bands that played at the same event he decided years ago to document the lives of others so that they can enjoy and be cherished forever. Scott offers family portraits, cakes, mass essence headshots and personal brand photography to his local clients. He’s also the chief community officer at imagely, the photo press photography people. He’s also the chief community officer at imagely, the wordpress photography people. So welcome Scott. Thanks for having me. So is there anything else after reading your bio that we kind of missed about you, that you wanted to include? I mean, do you want to say a little bit more about imagery or anything like that? Sure. Um, so, so I am a part time professional photographer.

Scott: [01:20] I decided years ago to, to not go full time with it, uh, for various reasons, which I’m sure we’ll get into. But I am working, I do work full time frame. Actually imagely makes plugins and themes for photographers, turnkey sites for photographers, things like that basically were just, uh, we call ourselves the wordpress photography people for a reason. We are just anything that our photographer needs and wordpress, that is what we are aimed to, uh, to deliver for them. So that’s pretty much everything in a nutshell I guess. Yeah. And that’s, that’s Kinda where I’m at you from is from some facebook groups that we’re in together and you’ve been such a valuable resource to all of us because I know you really have your pulse. You really have the pulse of the industry for sure. So thanks. Yeah,

Kia: [02:03] and I’m excited, Scott, because we’ve never met and uh, whenever I’ve looked through your website and looked at all your different interests and I think you have such a variety of knowledge that I think you’re going to have a lot to share with us. So, uh, my first question for you is share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as a photographer we probably should.

Scott: [02:30] So I’m starting to shift a as kind of mentioned I’m, I’m starting to shift. So a lot of my business to personal brand photography. This is something that is definitely becoming more popular in the industry. It’s still not, it’s still probably one of the least popular genre of photography, but it’s definitely growing. And I think one thing that people need to realize that if they’re considering the switch or if they just are learning about personal brand photography, is that there’s actually the potential for a personal brand photographer to make the same salary or more than a wedding photographer. And there’s actually a lot less time away from the family and you gain your weekends back. You don’t have to do your sessions on weekends because a lot of the people that you’ll be photographing for personal brand photography are solo, preneurs entrepreneurs that can do it whenever they want, so

Kia: [03:25] probably better for them to do it during the weekday. It’s really.

Scott: [03:29] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, depending on what they do, if they’re, obviously, if they’re like a, a personal chef who does a lot of corporate, you know, events where they’re doing lunches and stuff that obviously, you know, that time is not gonna work for them, but for the most part they have the flexibility to really do it when they want, which is, which is a beautiful thing. So you’re talking a lot of them. You can make a really good salary, a lot of money with all of your time back to see your family and your weekends back. That’s the three big wins that a lot of people don’t realize. So real quick kind of explain how. How do you see the difference between like personal brand photography and just like headshots? I mean, because I know they’re so there’s some overlap there, but do you see there’s a difference between the two?

Scott: [04:14] Oh yeah, so head shots here. You’re basically literally just doing head shots, whether it’s all location or in studio. Personal brand photography is you’re spending an entire day or two or whatever you. Your contract is with your client and you’re doing full body shots. You’re doing headshots, you’re doing lifestyle shots, you’re doing potentially studio shots. If you have a studio, you know you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re doing it more than just, you know, shoulder up, your typical headshot, your, you’re also delivering more. You’re giving them, you’re giving them like depending, again, depending on whatever the contract is that you do your. You could be doing a month worth of photos for this person. You could be doing quarters worth of photos for this person instead of a headshot where you’re delivering one or two head shots to the person and you’re also delivering the photos for every social media channel that they utilize. You’re basically delivering them a product that is going to be easy for them to use across every channel that they need with a license that covers that aspect so you know, they don’t have to worry about any legality issues and you don’t have to worry about suing them for any reason. Everything’s like, you know, in a laid out, there’s no real gray areas.

Kia: [05:29] It’s always good to figure out ways to not sue your clients for sure. So Scott, when I was looking at it through your website to get to know you better, that really intrigued me. Your personal branding, like what you talked about. And so it looks to me because when I think about personal branding, I think, oh bloggers who want you to do it for free and they’ll put your name on their site. But I noticed that you did a lot of really good education on that. And so where did that come from? Like, you know, because I haven’t really seen that much. Like you said, it’s something that people don’t really know. So where did all that? That whole concept start?

Scott: [06:08] So I first, I first thought I’ve, I’ve, I’ve known about this for a long time, but I didn’t think it was gonna be a genre in photography until, until Jamie Swanson really start teaching. I started teaching about it and I had a lot of great conversations with Jamie and I learned a lot from her just in that little bit of time of talking with her different conversations and you know, she’s got a whole video series on it and she’s got a course on it. She has a facebook group all about it, but there’s also people who have been doing it for a long time. So I just did a lot of research. I just googled the heck out of it and came up with some content that I think would connect with the potential clients. And um, yes, I mean, so far so good. You know, I, you know, it’s, it’s, when you think about it, if you’re someone who’s been doing family portraits and you’ve been doing head shots and you have been doing things like that, you’ve already been doing personal brand photography.

Scott: [07:06] I’ve already been doing it for years with specific clients. I tell them we’re going to do this for your business and we’re going to do this and yeah. Yeah, so it’s. It’s a the mindset. I mean the, the, the artistic side of it is the same. It’s the business side. It’s the business mindset part that’s a little bit different when you say, okay, this is a personal brand photography, so the contracts are completely different than every other type of contract. I don’t have to worry about a person’s sales. I don’t have to worry about selling prints. It’s not really shoot and burn. It’s shouldn’t post it. It’s, it’s strategic for the business person, which is kind of funny because you’re, you’re being strategic to a person who is also being strategic in their own business, so it’s just a good match. If you find some, find people who get the value of personal prayer photography to somebody who understand a photographer who understands the value of it and how to deliver it. It’s just a perfect, perfect

Matt: [08:06] a situation. Perfect match so well and I think in the industry we’ve known this is coming for awhile, you know, because one of our industry is one of the cutting, cutting edge industries in terms of like using social media and branding ourselves that way. And so I think we knew it was coming, it was just like in some aspects we had to wrap our head around how to do this and then we also had to wait for the rest of the world to realize how big brandon on the Internet was going to be. So now they realize that they need the branding type sessions to support what they’re trying to do. So it’s really cool. I really think it’s starting to finally come together on all avenues and it’s an awesome thing that somebody could add to their business and just run with it.

Scott: [08:44] Sure. I think, you know, and I have to give a lot of credit to Jamie Swanson because she kinda, she, she sort of kicked my butt into the, into that direction. Um, so that, that transition is still happening. It’s not like I’m finalized. And now on a personal brand photographer, the transition’s underway. I’m building that side of my business now and hopefully eventually I can get rid of the other stuff. Yeah, that’d be awesome. Okay.

Kia: [09:06] Are you done with the. What was it? I was like, Oh, you are trading in the personal branding for the cake smashes. I was just teasing. So before we finish from that, because I feel like the name of this is from nothing to profit and Scott, what you’re doing is taking nothing because that’s not something that you’ve been specifically doing and turning that into profit. So I just have a question on it. I saw that your pricing structure is like a package. Correct? And so, or well I assumed it was a package because you asked a question like are you willing to spend, you know, this certain amount of money. And so I assume it was a package. Is your ideal client someone who would become, you would set up a subscription or something where they come, you know, every three months or something like that?

Scott: [09:55] Correct? Well, uh, yeah, so, so I have three different packages. One is an Allah cart, but it’s still started, $2,000 and 1000 or 2000 to 2000. It’s a one off personal brand photography session, a one day session. And basically I have quarterly packages that save your money and give you more. And so, so that’s just, that’s just the way that I decided to structure it off the bat. What I did though, because I am starting that side of my business from nothing, uh, I did offer for a, for a couple people promo pricing for a month’s worth of images for $500 and I’ve got those books and I’m just waiting for them to fill out the questionnaire and you know, do this,

Kia: [10:43] follow that. Will you put that on your blog or. Oh, of

Scott: [10:46] course. Yeah, that’ll be, that’ll be the um, and I’m hoping to do. I do a lot of youtube education as well, like for photographers. So I do a lot of youtube videos and I’m hoping to document, uh, that whole behind the scenes of it and everything for, for you to use as well. So. Very cool. Very cool. Okay, so let me move on to the next question and we may not be moving on very far, but the next question we always ask is kind of what’s working now and we’ve kind of talked about it. I don’t know if there’s anything else in particular you wanted to talk about what’s working now in our industry or if that’s kind of what you were thinking? Yeah, so, um, I was working for me, at least for, you know, for my business in general, is that I rely heavily on lead generation through my website and from word of mouth from existing clients.

Scott: [11:33] So I built a system on my site which I now teach to photographers as well. And the system that I built generates about 10 leads a week on average between cake smashes families, headshots. That’s everything. And I take those, I take, I take the clients that I can, that one that I feel that are a good fit. Again, I’m a part time professional. I only have so much time because they do have a full time job. So I take what, what’s a good fit and I’ll take those on. And then I’ll actually refer the other leads to other photographers in the area, which means a lot of photographers in the area are getting people that I’ve been putting the effort in to get. Um, but that’s fine. And your friends. I bet it’s really interesting as I here, let me do a bunch of work to get somebody to raise their hand and be interested in photography and then I’ll hand them to you.

Scott: [12:18] You know, you should never have to buy a drink in your town ever again. That’s for sure. That’s for sure. So now that I’m actually shifting my business to personal prep talk, we’re trying to. I’m rebuilding my lead generation system for the new genre and I’m building up a new client base of course. So that’s all you know from nothing to profit. So. But yeah. So, so lead generation is being struck again, being strategic about it. Not just, you know, hey, you know, let’s have a conversation that’s not going to do it. You have to. You have to really be strategic from, from top to bottom about the entire process. Using a well thought out lead magnet. Tying that into the rest of your site, promoting the heck out of it and in various ways there’s a whole lot you can do. That’s awesome. So do you want to give one specific example?

Scott: [13:07] I mean, I don’t want you to give away everything because I know you have a lot of information on your site and stuff, but one specific example that you think is working really well, whether it’s a lead magnet that’s working well or one part of the process that’s working. So what I can tell you is for families, um, what I’ve done is I’ve created a lead magnet that is offering preparation advice for families. And sometimes I’ve done this where it’s a download, but what I’ve done more recently is I’ve converted it to an actual page that’s hidden from search engines and whatnot. So people can’t just find it. They’d have to know exactly where to look and find it. So yeah, they have to opt in. They gave me their email address and once they give me their email address, they are then sent to this new page where they can see all this information about preparing for the session and then they’re also sent into a whole automation campaign working now, nurture that lead further with more education. So I’m now emailing them on a regular basis for about two weeks about various things. And then at the end of that they get a very light pitch to a, have a conversation about, about the family session. So it’s um, that’s a, a very summed up version of, of the system, but there’s definitely a lot more that goes into it than just that though, because that’s really awesome.

Kia: [14:25] Well, what I was going to say is I think that’s good because not everyone understands what that is. Even though they probably opted into how many lead generation systems themselves. Not everyone really knows what it is or that people can use


Published on:

29th Oct 2018

John Pyle – Episode 004 – A Photographer Podcast Interview

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Ever sold an iPhone picture in an album?  Maybe you should. John Pyle explains why…

In this episode, we talk to John Pyle. John Pyle specializes in senior portraits, lifestyle photos and model work. He’s been a photographer for over 10 years and recently became a licensed drone pilot.

You’ll love this episode because John has a psychology Masters degree and has some really fascinating views on human interaction.

He also has some amazing tips on how to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to pop culture (important for senior photographers) and how to keep your photographs fresh and on point.

John talks about how he uses different mediums to photograph a senior such as his DSLR, his iPhone, a mirrorless camera, a go pro, and a drone. He also talks about some of the companies he uses for his albums and products.  Plus how to make great money in the senior portrait industry using social media.

Resources from this episode:

Finao Albums (

Flipboard app (

Joe Rogan’s Podcast (


Books that John Pyle Recommends:

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos By Jordan Peterson (

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles By Steven Pressfield (

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink (

Additional Free Resources at

Read Full Transcript


Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

John: [00:01] Hey, this is John Pyle, you’re listening to from nothing to profit.

Speaker 2: [00:04] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster.

Kia: [00:20] Welcome everyone to from nothing to profit with Matt Hogan and Kia Bonderant. Today we are interviewing John Pile and we’re looking forward to a very entertaining and educational interview. John Pile is an award winning professional portrait model and lifestyle photographer in Columbus, Georgia and he specializes in senior portrait experiences and you will love his lifestyle work too as well. You can check him out on instagram and you’ll see a lot of great work under John d pile and we’ll talk about that later. John has been a photographer for over 10 years and I have to tell you that I’m pretty sure that he talked on the phone to my husband about starting his photography business at the very beginning. So I’ve seen John grow in the industry to be in one of the best photographers out there and he is also a licensed commercial drone pilot. And he is married to Sally Ann and has two little girls who are nine and five. Oh my gosh. They’re really grown up John.

John: [01:24] No.

Matt: [01:26] And there’s one more thing we can talk about. John, how about those bulk? How about those bulldogs? They look real good, don’t they?

John: [01:32] We look awesome but we haven’t been tested

Matt: [01:36] so we’ll see. But

John: [01:39] Lsu away. Huge. We will say, but we look great right now. I don’t mind that.

Matt: [01:44] Right, exactly. And by winning by a lot. So

John: [01:47] yeah, I’ll try.

Matt: [01:48] Awesome. Anything else you want to share with us, John, about, about yourself or we can even just jump right in and you can kind of tell us what your expertise is and what people should be watching.

John: [01:58] Yeah, maybe a little bit about my background would help kind of give an idea of where I came from because I have an Undergrad and a master’s degree in psychology field and uh, really love the human interaction and studying humans and connecting with people and came out of graduate school and work for awhile in a counseling type environment. And then I actually became a pharmaceutical rep for 10 years after working so closely with the, uh, psychiatrist where I was working after Grad school and a drug rep came in one day and was detailing its own on a medication. Then he left and I thought, well, I can do that and I can do it 10 times better. And so I was in that industry for 10 years and five years into that industry, started the photography business and started building it up. So I guess I always tell people that a lot of the human behavior and emotions and connections that I studied and learned about and in graduate school, uh, helped me along with the business and marketing side of the pharmaceutical industry. So I kind of come from those, those two worlds. So, uh, but I always think that’s a good idea to share that.

Kia: [03:13] Yeah. And you can see that in your work too, you can see the, your understanding of how people interact and catching those, those moments. So that’s, that’s pretty neat to think that you came from that side of it.

John: [03:26] Yes. Thank you. Thank you. It’s two different worlds combined to a meeting in another world, but it helps. It does help.

Matt: [03:35] Yeah. So, so kai and I have known each other for a long time, but uh, some of our listeners won’t know. So talk a little bit about like your expertise or what you’re known for and things like that.

John: [03:45] Well, when I started, uh, you know, I grew up with my dad who was a college chemistry professor, but he loved to travel so he was kind of an advanced hobbyist and one of the things that always grabbed me was after a trip, if you remember back in the eighties, everybody went to Europe. That was like the big travel boom that took place. So he dragged us to Europe and I could not wait for like a month after we got home because on Sunday afternoon we would go to church, come in and have lunch and he would pull out the big slide projector with a big screen and the carousel and the lights would go off and we got to relive that entire trip with all the images. It’s like a big surprise. It was like going on a trip all over again to be able to see those images and um, you know, that’s where my love for photography came from was the emotion that I felt from, from seeing those images.

John: [04:41] And I was the guy at Georgia at college that always had a camera with me. People would kind of joke around and be like, well, there’s pile with his camera again, but the ones that made fun of me for the ones that would be the first in line to see the pictures from a ballgame or from a weekend out in downtown Athens or at the beach or wherever. So when I started taking pictures and creating work, the only thing that really seemed to enjoy or that I enjoyed was, uh, people that wanted to get their picture, made a involved in wedding or things like that. Everybody was self conscious. They will put their hand up. Don’t take my picture, get the broad. I don’t want to be in a picture. And I was just so frustrated, like, why do you. I mean, that’s what we’re here for. This is a, an occasion. What are we doing? Why are you hiding from the camera? So when I came across seniors and people proudly or excitedly stood up to get their picture, made him want to be photographed, like the light bulb went off and that’s where I landed in the senior team and a little bit of family market.

Matt: [05:46] And so just quickly, why do you, why do you think seniors come to you? You know, I know that’s a big part of your business. So why, why do you think they come to you?

John: [05:54] Sometimes I’ll see on twitter, you know, if you’re familiar with twitter, you know, how volatile it can be. But uh, I remember a couple of years ago somebody posted up, John, if John Pyle can’t make you look good, which I thought was funny. I don’t know if that was a compliment or not. It’s probably a passive aggressive towards somebody. But I kinda, I kinda liked to think that then it’s my job to make you look and feel amazing no matter who you are. And um, I think that seniors, high school seniors, girl and guys come to me because they trust that they are gonna look and feel amazing and so do their parents. So I would say they, they know that the end result is going to be quality.

Kia: [06:38] Yeah, I love that. So John, so you’ve kind of told us your area of expertise is and the seniors and the lifestyle and that type of thing. I think also something that you’re known for is your connection to what’s really in style and fashion and I remember just watching you grow your instagram account and how you immediately were tagging and you know, the high end brands. And so I feel like that’s something that is part of your expertise as well. Would you say that’s true?

John: [07:12] Yeah. I feel like I want to stay ahead of the curve and, and current and pop culture and you know, even though I’m in the, well let’s just say I’m not a passed over 40 now

Kia: [07:25] baby.

John: [07:27] I need to stay current in that field or in that area with, with the quality brands that, that has lasted throughout. Not just pop up, but with, with quality brands like you mentioned Ralph Lauren, uh, things that have stood the test of time from, from music to the locations to hotel brands, luxury brands, things that have, have proven their worth over decades is what I like. So I want to stay dialed into those so I can bring that into my work.

Kia: [07:57] I definitely feel like you identify yourself with them really well. So tell us, John, like the story of what is working now in your business or like one of the greatest ideas you’ve had and how that’s turned into success?

John: [08:10] Honestly, right now they’re the combination of the work that I’m bringing because I’m able to own a session, get a lot done, but I am able to bring in kind of some, some lifestyle work.

John: [08:27] Thank you. Thank you. And you see a lot of it on instagram so people relate to it. But I want to, you know, I love my lifestyle work to make you either wish you were there or which you were with the person that is there in the picture. So I want to grab that attention. But I also want to make sure I get quality, sellable work that parents and grandparents are going to love all. So. So I say what works, what’s working for me right now is the combination of, of those, uh, those genres is classic portraiture combined with, with lifestyle has been really successful in selling our albums because people come and see their work, you know, a picture of them laughing with her hair hanging in their face or you know, jumping off a wall or swinging a bat may not be a 40 by 60 canvas that mom’s gonna hang up. But they also don’t want to delete that image. I mean it’s, it’s important and yeah, as part of that story. So when, when you see those images and you see the story of the whole day and how, if you have one of our albums, you know, you flip through that and it’s in there and tell that story of the work is, is great and everybody seems to be happy.

Matt: [09:42] So how do you strike that balance? I’m like, just mentally, what are you thinking through? I don’t know if you think about it in terms of percentages of, you know, pictures for mom and pictures for the senior and like how, how do you kind of strike that balance?

John: [09:56] The first thing I do is, is always like to start out with a good solid headshot with the first outfit and the person look because that’s when they’re coming straight from hair and makeup down here in Georgia and it’s hot pretty much a 50 weeks out of the year. Here we are in the early October and it’s 93 today.

Kia: [10:16] Down here.

John: [10:17] Yeah. We’re in the middle of a heat wave. So, but there’s a hurricane coming which is kind of scary. About three hours away is Destin, Florida where we do a lot of our destination sessions and uh, there’s a tropical storm coming out of a goal that hadn’t, hadn’t right there. And we’re gonna get going to get some writing from that. But uh, back to the original point that it’s always hot and a little bit humid or not a little bit, a lot humid here. So I like a good fresh makeup before the hair curl start to fall, before they start to sweat underneath the hair or skin gets mad at or gravy and loses that matte finish. So I like to start off with some good solid headshot work that I know is going to either look good at the first page of an album or is going to be the quote unquote senior picture that they’re going to hang up in the home.

Kia: [11:05] Yeah. I feel like they really want that. Now I feel like, you know, went toward more candid lifestyle and that was something that other people couldn’t create and now I feel like they want to look like they went and got senior pictures done.

John: [11:21] Yeah. I would agree with that because I’ll tell you what I attribute that to is, is kind of the boutique clothing industry. I see a lot of repetitive volume work of girls that are modeling for the boutiques and they’re just kind of standing there looking off to the side, laughing with the, with the hill or with a, with a foot on my tip toes showing off the outfit. And you say that over and over and over again. So it is nice to see a, a picture that has a point to it. Like, you know, this is made, this is my, this is my hair, this is a, this is a headshot of me always going to be in place.

Matt: [11:59] Yeah, I agree. That’s awesome. So let’s, let’s take a break right there real quick. Okay. We’ll, we’ll come back in just a second and we’ll talk about what you see is going on in the industry. I know that’s one thing you and I have always talked about is what’s going on in the industry and then we’ll do some lightening round stuff and figure out if there’s any resources and stuff you can recommend to people. So we’ll be right back.

John: [12:18] Awesome.

Kia: [12:19] Hey everyone, tell me if this sounds familiar. You look at your calendar and notice you need clients now so you do a little marketing and get some phone calls. You get busy helping those new clients. They scheduled sessions, they place orders and life is good, but once they’re done, your calendar is empty again. The reason is you didn’t have time to market while you were busy. Sometimes your business feels like a rollercoaster, and let me tell you something. It is, and believe me, you’re not alone. Photographers everywhere have the same problem, but I have some great news. Matt’s business, Allison Ragsdale, photography after years of trial and error has cracked the code. It works so well. He’s created a new class all about it. It’s called get clients now a dead simple approach to getting photography clients. Everyone add from nothing to profit is excited to share this info with you because this system helped Matt and allison book hundreds of clients this year at their studio, and the best part about this system is that it’s simple to set up and it works while you’re sleeping.

Kia: [13:14] No hard selling or creepy marketing. All you have to do is help your clients answer their most pressing questions. Clients love the system and say it is the number one reason they book with Matt and Allison. If you’re interested in learning more about this system, go to photo, forward slash simple. Matt has created a short free video that introduces this system, if you like what you hear podcast or listeners get an exclusive discount on the full class, so make sure you go to photo forward slash simple and sign up for the free video. It will help you book more clients now and create the business you’ve always wanted.

Matt: [13:48] All right everybody. Welcome back. So we’re speaking with John Pile and I have probably the most interesting question I want to ask him and that is John, what are you fired about up in the industry right now or what have you seen in the industry that you’re really paying attention to?

John: [14:03] We mentioned they actually call, you mentioned a little bit of it earlier and that is the kind of the, the return of good solid portrait work, um, because a lot of people are quote unquote photographers and boutiques are pumping out a iphone, pictures of models wearing their clothes over and over and over again with the same pose is looking to the side laughing, fingertips on the sun, hat on with the toe kick up on the side, mark. All those kind of Tan lifestyle, they are forced fun. I like to call them a fourth fun shots. The volume of that actually helps because when you see a good, beautiful portrait come through on a, on a feed or a website or social media account, uh, it really stands out. So I think bringing that yes, yes. I think bringing that back and being able to create that at a high end quality level mixed in with some lifestyle work is what’s, uh, what’s making everybody happy because you gotta remember you’re the senior portrait.

John: [15:12] Morgan is Andrew is interesting because you’re, you’re satisfying several clients. A, you’re satisfying dad who’s paying, and again, I’m speaking from stereotypical, but dad, who’s paying mom who wants to see sweet baby girl and senior who is trying to break free, you know, she’s, this is her senior year. That’s a big deal. These images, um, she’s going to be posting and sharing maybe throughout her senior year. You want them to have, uh, some, some link to him that...


Published on:

22nd Oct 2018

Rose Coleman – Episode 003 – A Photographer Podcast Interview

Read Show Notes

Today we interview Rose Coleman.  Learn about her story of growing up in the industry and after years, switching from a boutique photography studio model to a volume studio based on club sports.  She said no to overhead and yes to profit.

It is important for Rose and her husband to stay debt free.  She shares some great ideas on how to have less debt and more profit.  As Rose says in this episode, it is all about the money you keep not the money you make.  

Rose is known for photographing athletes, sports, dancers, and gymnastics.  Where she makes piles of cash is photographing 11 club teams in one night. Listen to her explain why this is such a profitable business model.  

You can follow Rose on Instagram at @RoseColeman or @centerstageportraits and also on her website

Books from the Episode

Strength Finders 2.0

Brendon Burchard

Girl Wash Your Face

Other Resources

Matt’s Ant Farm YouTube side note:

Additional Free Resources at

Read Full Transcript

Rose: [00:01] This is Rose Coleman and you’re listening from nothing to profit.

Speaker 2: [00:03] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Today

Kia: [00:20] we are going to be interviewing Rose Coleman and rose has been part of the photography industry for over 18 years. I’m going to say more than that because she’s actually grown up in the industry and I’ve known her for forever it seems like, and I’m so excited to have her on here. She’s a as, as I said, she’s grown up in the industry and been a part of it, but what she’s done as a business owner, after her second child was born, she left behind the boutique studio business model and created a fast paced sports photos, photography company with her husband in 2015. She is known for her clean, beautiful work with dancers, gymnastics and athletes. And if you follow her on Instagram, you’ll see some of that amazing work. And just recently she and her husband purchased a five acre homestead that they are going to live on with their three darling children and they plan to create their dream studio there. So I’m assuming it’s going to go back somewhat to the boutique business model but still incorporate her love of sports photography. Is that true rose?

Rose: [01:31] Yes. We have been looking for a piece of commercial property and rent is very expensive and so kind of our business model has a lot to do with just our financials, like kind of more more of our decisions as we’ve kind of grown and evolved has been majority focused on like is this profitable enough? Like when we were in the large studios space, um, a lot of it went to general expenses and employees and overhead and upkeep of things. And as we continue to kind of move forward and we kind of gotten to a spot where it’s like we’re going to have in two years we’re going to have to have something and we rent only like two months out of the year when we need to have something. So we’ve always kind of known if we can get our hands in something local that has a home property, but also has a place for an exterior building, a metal building barns, something of that sorts with some land that was my ultimate dream and I’m kind of where we’re at those very expensive.

Rose: [02:32] So it’s like either commercial property or just can we evolve that into having it in a space or home. So, you know, most of our expenses would be, you know, linked into together and just be more efficient, be more profitable. So yes, we close actually next week on Friday and move into that building. It has five acres. I’m an older home that we’re going to fix up, but it has um, five acres and it has a barn because it was actually a ranch, like a horse ranch. And so there’s a 40 by 60 large barn, um, that they had stalls in and we’re going to convert that all into a studio space that we can shoot out of, you know, so we don’t have to use rent, we don’t have to continue to look for commercial property. Where are you guys located at? We are on the southwest side of Oklahoma City. Cool. Cool. Yes. This is so exciting.

Matt: [03:23] So one of the things that you mentioned in your bio that we didn’t mention roses, something about, um, kind of, you mentioned something about being debt free type of thing is so, and you were talking about finances when you just talked a second ago. So is, is that something you guys kind of focus on is definitely staying out of debt and does that kind of your thing?

Rose: [03:40] Absolutely, absolutely. We have not. I mean my husband will laugh and tell you that he married me. One of the main reasons is because I was debt free and everyone else has thousands and thousands of college dollar debt, a crew to them. But yeah, debt free is a big thing. Like we bought this and we’ve even talked about the piece of property, you know, it’s actually a 12 acre lot of land and work on a parcel off seven of it and sell it, you know, to cut down our expenses on that and then how we can get it actually paid off in five years. Like is that a doable thing? You know? So yes, debt free is huge to us it is all about the money you get to keep. I feel like when you work, especially when you work for yourself. And so that’s been a huge, huge focus on vest. So I mean we don’t have card debt. I mean we just, we just have our house debt now that we know it’s going to be larger, but we’re like very, very. It’s very, very important to us to have a debt free lifestyle and figuring out how to get those things paid off.

Matt: [04:35] Absolutely. Kind of makes fun of me all the time because when I married my wife Allison, I brought lots of debt to the Chi of, refers to me as the ultimate catch because definitely married up and not only looks but also obviously in the financial world as well. So.

Rose: [04:56] Okay.

Matt: [04:56] So real quick, kind of tell us what your expertise is or what you’re known for. Kind of talked about it a little bit and I’ve been on your website and seen some of your dancing pictures and stuff like that, but tell me a little bit about what you’re known for.

Rose: [05:08] So, um, I would say that I’ve known for shooting athletes and shooting sports. I come from a big portrait background in I love, I absolutely love and adore, but in the last few years it’s all been athletes. So we do a majority of dancers, gymnastics, volleyball players, anything that’s a club level sport, which in my world there’s either little leagues which are just the masses, you know, of like tee ball players. Then there’s club which is, um, a higher level like a parent is going to spend more money to put your kid in a club sport and um, we focus on that and then you have high school, junior high levels of the same kind of things. You could be a baseball or at high school you could be a baseball or in a club or you could be a baseball or in a little league, but we focus on club because there’s generally about, you know, at least 150 to 350 most often in a club sport.

Rose: [06:04] And those are people that have already, their parents are already paying a higher dollar to have their kid be in there. So, I mean, they’re already invested, you know, you’re going to get a sale from that and they all want photos because they’re invested in this. It’s just kind of the, the nugget we go for. So we shoot a lot of those. I do a lot of dance work. Um, my parents have a dance photography business. I still help them quite a bit with that. And um, a lot of gymnastics, a lot of volleyball, but club is really what we, what we’re known for and going for.

Matt: [06:32] And so you don’t photograph like high school sports or little league, you kind of avoid that and you’re just focusing more on the club?

Rose: [06:41] Yes. Um, we do. We don’t do any little leagues. We have done one or two in the past and I’ve regretted it every time we are not set up because because it’s really important to us to operate as efficient as possible. Between Tim and I, we have a few people that will work contract for us to make an event happen. But most shoots, I mean most shoots I can roll out with myself, my husband and one other girl. So it’s like we shoot, he sells in one girl shows. So we tried to target, you know, athletes and clubs that we can fit that and run as efficiently as possible within our business. And that is keeping it as minimal as staff as we possibly can.

Matt: [07:21] So when you go into a club, how many people are you photographing? Sorry, I’m just super interested in this business model.

Rose: [07:26] Yeah. Um, it is really unique because there’s not a lot of people that I, I guess educate on club photography. So it’s, it’s been a big eye opener for me. Um, so when we roll out to a club, like for instance, I can do a, like a good size volleyball, I can shoot about 11 teams and an evening from about four to [7:30] and what each team of those is going to have 10 people on that. Samir, anywhere roughly about 120 to 150 kids depend on how many we squished in there and I can do that in a night and we shoot and show and sell that same night. Boom, boom, boom. Right together.

Matt: [08:08] That’s so interesting to me because I’ve been looking at doing some more volume stuff and figuring out what that looks like and I think it’s so interesting that you’ve like niche to out and just say, Hey, we do clubs because you’re right, you can do, you can do little leagues, you could do all the high school sports and everywhere in between. You’ve kind of found like, okay, clubs is where it’s at because the parents are invested and they’ve paid extra for the kids to be in there. They probably have a couple uniforms and stuff like that, so there’s already this culture that the money is flowing when you’re in club and I think that’s just super, super smart.

Rose: [08:38] Yeah, absolutely. A couple uniforms. It’s definitely true. My son has three different uniforms and he’s forgets them and then we’d get in trouble and all kinds of things. So expensive. I mean. Oh yes. They’re very. And so having them is not something that’s valuable for sure. Absolutely. So Rose Good. Just going back to that, are you the main shooter then for the club events? Yes. I shoot everything. So your husband is just like the male model at the shoe. I mean he has. He has the same job I have where you showed up. It looks good, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. He knows the questions. He is the Schmoozer. He is. It definitely fits into his strengths. He loves connecting with people. He could like make a friend with a wall very easily. He just like, I mean he, he is that person. They asked me about an order or paying a certain price and I’m like, go to Tim. He can, he’ll handle it for you. I don’t want to handle that. I don’t want to hear your story of why you don’t want to order tonight. No, go, go to someone else.

Rose: [09:47] You’re such a bleeding heart rose. It just makes me nervous. I’m like, I feel your story and yeah, I want to make do. And he’s just like, no. Yeah, you’re going to order to. You’re going to see him. You’re going to order him tonight. Right now. Duh, Duh, Duh. Like he, he handles that very well. So yes, I do all the photography. That’s awesome. That’s great. So, so rose been in the business for as long as you have and seeing that from, you know, from your mom being a photographer to being in a family business, to now running your own portrait business. Tell us the story of what is working now for you or share one of your greatest ideas that you’ve had today and how you’ve turned that into a success. Either way, I probably can meld the two together, so when we decided after I had my second child, I took a year off and I did a handful of sessions, but I really did not end up thinking I was going to get back into photography.

Rose: [10:39] I was just like, what’s working? Really? Yeah. I did not think I was. I got. I did not know that part time job at our church and ministry and very part time and when we had my daughter I was working all the time, obviously working with informed my parents and I was kind of working all day, going home at night, eating, schmoozing, talking, put your kids to bed and I would go right back to work because I lived right behind our commercial. I bought a house right behind our commercial space so I would go back there and I was working till midnight and it was a good year and I mean right before I had her that I was just like, this is like I’m working to death. I’m working all the time and if I was making tons of money then I could kind of justify that like okay, do it for a season, rocket hard, do it hard.

Rose: [11:25] But I wasn’t because obviously I was working with my family and we had like four or five employees at that time and I was just like, I’m just, I’m the person that has to say...

Episode 2

Published on:

21st Sep 2018

Matt Hoaglin – Episode 002 – A Photographer Podcast Interview

Read Show Notes



In this episode Matt Hoaglin talks about how running paid instagram, Facebook and Snapchat ads is making a huge difference in his business.  Tune in to learn how he is converting these ads into paying customers.

Here is a free video on what he is doing:


Matt also talks about how he is seeing some photographers go back to a 9-5 job and why that is good and bad for you.



Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University (


Books to Read:

Profit First:

Book yourself Solid:

Never eat alone:


Online Resources

Digit App:

Read Full Transcript


Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Intro: [00:00] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia, where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Okay. Welcome back everyone.

Kia: [00:17] Two from nothing to profit. This is Kia Bondurant and I’m going to be interviewing my cohost, Matt Hoaglin today. Hi Matt. How are you? Very good. So I, uh, we already recorded my interview and I didn’t know if I would like this as much, but I think I like being the boss better. I’m like, Ooh, now I’m in charge, so I get to talk about you.

Matt: [00:42] That’s, that’s perfect. You can be in charge of whatever you want, like we talked about in your interview. I can outsource everything to you.

Kia: [00:51] That’s funny. No. So I’m Matt, you and your wife Allison Ragsdale, photography and drink. Oh, Colorado. And that supports both of you and allison. Uh, even though she’s not on this, we’ll talk about her. She’s fantastic. She never wanted to do anything besides be a photographer. So she started out being a photographer from the very beginning. Is that right?

Matt: [01:13] Right from the very beginning she went to college and got her degree in photography and we started the business like the week she got out of college

Kia: [01:19] and so you’re more like me. You actually, we both have education degrees, although yours is a high school math and you managed a camera store and now you run the marketing and the operations of your photography studio.

Matt: [01:33] Yeah, exactly. So Alice and I actually met at that camera store, her part time job when she was so cool. Was that the camera store? So we met there and started dating and then eventually moved to Durango and got married and built. Built a business and stuff together. But yeah, so I taught high school math for awhile, which was really awesome. But I’m really glad I stopped doing that at the same time. Yeah. Now I just run like, like you said, operations and marketing for our business. So make sure that the phone rings in the calendar, gets booked so that she can go out and photograph.

Kia: [02:01] Yeah. And you’re able to build your life around what you love to do.

Matt: [02:05] So one of my passions, just total side note, one of my passions is fly fishing and so what I love about the business that we’ve built as I’m a I, I fly fish at least one day a week if not more. That’s awesome because I can do it on a random Wednesday when there’s nobody else on the river and I love the business that we built and the lifestyle that it’s given us for sure.

Kia: [02:24] Yeah. And I think that that’s really good to bring that up because as photographers and as small business owners and entrepreneurs with this podcast, our goal is to teach people to go from nothing to profit, but part of that is making a business that works around who you are and who you want to be.

Matt: [02:42] That’s definitely not good going from like entrepreneur to like business slave, you know, like that’s not the goal. It’s definitely, you know, to build a business that allow, that provides your lifestyle that you want, whatever that is. The lifestyle that and I wanted to build is we wanted to work together and be able to take vacations and stuff together. And if we’re working at two different, that would’ve never happened. And so it was really important for us to be on those exact same schedule. And that’s what we built.

Kia: [03:06] Yeah. And one that you can take off whenever it’s convenient for you and you don’t have to worry about spring breaks or summer vacations or things like that.

Matt: [03:14] Yeah. And we were just now after like 11 years of business trying to figure out how to like vacation and do things separately because we do so much stuff together. We traveled together a lot. Um, and this December I’m actually, uh, I have a week long fly fishing trip in Mexico for salt water fishing and she’s not going so it’ll be really interesting to see what it’s like to have a whole seven days with just my buddies and not have her there because like I said, the business and life we built was to spend a lot of time together. So it’s, it’s exciting to see what this, what this will bring.

Kia: [03:46] It’d be fun to see what she does in her seven days without you too.

Matt: [03:49] I know and she’s such a, she’s such a foodie person that I’m a, I think that she’s going to end up going somewhere where there’s like crazy good food for a week with her friends and you know, she’ll probably in the wine bill will probably be huge, but that’s okay. Don’t show love every minute of it.

Kia: [04:05] That’s funny. You know, in my interview we didn’t really talk about this, but you know, my studio is built so that I go to work three days a week and then I can leave whenever I need to and I have four kids and that’s kind of how my life has been built around making it work for them. So I started out as a photographer just right out of college and then had kids and I was a full time photographer all the way through, but I’ve always worked my business around my family and what I wanted to do with them and so that I can be at everything that they do. So that’s awesome. Well that’s fun. So it’s kind of fun with these interviews to see where things go. That was a bit of a rabbit trail, but I think it’s really valuable to know how we structure our lives to make it so that works for us. Okay. So, uh, Matt, here’s my next question for you and I’d love for you to share some of your expertise. What is the area of expertise that you are known for both maybe Allison Ragsdale and just Hugh Hoaglin as well?

Matt: [05:06] Yes, I’ll start with the studio. So we’re mostly a senior portrait studio. We’ve, we do a lot of family pictures and headshots now, but that grew out of our senior business where, you know, where you were like, Oh, here we have 100 seniors this year, we’re photographing, how can we get them back so we don’t have to market to them again because they’re already clients. And so we’re like, well, we’re going to photograph their family pictures and so that Kinda grew into this big family business. And then of course that has its own referrals. And then we did, uh, we, we kind of fell into headshots, professional headshots a lot because a lot of our parents of our kids were business owners or you know, doing the weather. They had a side hustle or they own their own business. We said, hey, can you do some head shots for me?

Matt: [05:48] And were like, course we, that kind of grew as well. And then we do a few weddings a year and most of that’s our high school seniors eventually grow up, go to college, get. And so they have us photograph their weddings as well. So we don’t do a lot of weddings. I mean like a busy year of weddings is 10, but we do a few and so we kind of have, we kind of have a business that does a little bit of everything, but it all stems from our senior portrait business where that’s most of our energy and our focus and our marketing all goes into that. Yeah. Separate than that, I’m, I’m kind of known. I’m in the speaking world for marketing. I have spoken a number of conferences. That’s where you and I first met and I spent a lot of my day here at Allison ragsdale photography, like trying to figure out how to make the phone ring and how to book up the calendar so that we can have the lifestyle we want and everybody stays busy and the bills get paid and through that I’ve come up with some really cool marketing ideas that I’ve been able to share with the photography community and I think that’s what people know me most for some people do know me for like business operations as well because I have some advice there, but I would definitely say my passion is teaching photographers how to market so that they can make

Kia: [06:55] more money. Well, and when I think of how you’ve helped me in my business, just from when we first met, sat down and talked and I feel like it’s the marketing side, but from a, like a systematic approach. So it’s kind of business operations and marketing put together so that it all works, you know, in a, in a system and it’s, it’s easily duplicatable.

Matt: [07:20] Yeah. And so the way I. There’s two things that are really important to me and marketing of which tie right into that. One of them is consistency. I want systems in place so that marketing consistently happens, so it doesn’t just. It’s not like a rollercoaster where you know your market and you get some clients and then you work with all those clients and then when they’re all done and they’ve ordered, you have no clients again because you didn’t have any time to market. So I want consistency in marketing so that it just flows. People keep falling in no matter how busy we are. And then the other thing is I view marketing as a really simple idea. It’s basically moving one person from one conversation to the next conversation, so maybe they just have some general questions and then I want to answer those questions and move them onto the next question or the next conversation. That’s important. And so, you know, they may show up in their conversation, they’re ready to have is, you know, where are we going to go take pictures. But by the time they come to order, I want them to be thinking about what they want to order as well. So you know, there’s definitely, there’s systems there as well to move people along so that they’re always knowing what’s going on and they’re always educated and we’re always, you know, always on the same page. So it does feel very systematic because I view marketing as very systematic.

Kia: [08:31] Yeah. It’s kind of like the order of operations. There’s some song or what’s, what’s the order of operations? So

Matt: [08:39] yeah. Well we just, when I taught at, we just called it Pem dos.

Kia: [08:42] Nice. Yeah. Yeah. I have a great video to send you a one of the kids I know who did a. made up a song to Das. Yes. Fantastic.

Matt: [08:54] Yeah, exactly. I never did songs

Kia: [08:56] in my classroom because I never went there, but we could do a order, a order of marketing operations song.

Matt: [09:04] Yeah. Well if we, if we find a really good one, maybe we’ll link it in the show notes, but we’ll spare all these photographers, although

Kia: [09:13] that would be fantastic.

Matt: [09:16] Yeah. Maybe next time, next time we speak together, maybe we can do that

Kia: [09:19] song and dance. All right matt. So my next question for you is tell us a story of what is working now in your business.

Matt: [09:27] So what’s working right now is that we spent a lot of time, a little over the last couple of years building lead generation tools and our business and that and I just talked about that a little bit about how we want a system where we’re leads and people are coming into our business even when we’re busy and we don’t have time to market, you know, for say market. We’ve built a lot of lead generation tools like what to wear guides and location guides that people can download and basically they just, they trade their information with us to be able to download that information to answer they’re pressing questions and that’s been working really well because then then our customer service can just kick in and we can just call them and just say, Hey, saw you downloaded our guide. You know, how can we help? And then get them in for a consultation and the whole thing happens.

Matt: [10:09] So that’s one part of it is that we have these tools that help customers raise their hand and let us let us know that they’re interested in photography, which makes our marketing a lot easier. And then the other part then the other part that’s working really well is that we’re running facebook and instagram ads to that and recently snapchat ads as well to those downloads and tools. That’s been super powerful because the amount of people you can reach with with a facebook or instagram ad and the power of targeting is really, really awesome. So those two things are really working really great in our business right now and I probably wouldn’t trade them for anything

Kia: [10:45] for sure. Yeah. I’m actually truly jealous of your lead generation process and I know you’ve told me how to do it and I’ve sat down and worked on it, but it’s something that, uh, is, takes time to put together and put in place. But I know that it’s working well for you and it will work well for anyone in the photography industry. And I’ll, and I’ll share it

Matt: [11:05] lincoln, the show notes where people can go watch a free video, you know, and kind of see what we’re doing and then I have a full class on it, but they’re all linked, allegra free video in the show notes so that people, if they’re interested in and building lead generation tools and how we do it, they can, they can see exactly.

Kia: [11:20] That would be great because I think that a lot of people, once they hear what it is and understand what it is, they can see how it’s worked on them and then they can see how that can work for their, um, to bring clients into their business. So here’s my next question for you then. What is the one thing that you are most fired up about in our industry today? Like what gets you excited when it comes to our industry?

Matt: [11:42] So right now I think there’s two things that are happening that are, I’m really excited about and I think a lot of photographers are actually really struggling with it. But one of the things that’s happening in our businesses consolidation, and since you and I have been in the industry for so long, we saw the 2000, eight, nine, 10 bubble of photographers. That was like, it was amazing. I mean so many people lost their jobs and had to go get side hustles or they decided they didn’t want to work in corporate America anymore. And so they became photographers and we just saw how many people flooded the industry. Well, I think that’s starting to change. I think Alicia, with unemployment being so low, there’s a lot of people going back to work and some of the people that just haven’t been making great money doing photography, look at it and say, well, you know, I’m staying up till midnight editing, you know, I might as well just go get a job where I can just come home at five and hang out with my family.

Matt: [12:28] And they’re just choosing that lifestyle. So I think that I’m really excited about the hard part. I think a lot of photographers are struggling with this. That means there’s a lot of photographers in your market that are actually the marketing dollars or actually leaving your market and I think that when there’s, when there’s competition in your market, we all benefit from that because somebody may be running facebook ads and they think, oh, I need to do photography, but then they know you better. They have a relationship better. So then they call you and you don’t necessarily know why they call you because.

Kia: [13:00] Oh yeah, that makes sense. So when, if when your competition markets you get, you get business from it?

Matt: [13:07] Yeah, because everybody’s thinking about photography because we’re not competing really against each other. We’re more competing against, you know, like do they come do photography with us or do they take a trip to Disney or do they buy a new boat, you know, what are, what are they going to do with their extra money and we’re one of those options. And so when everybody’s marketing, our industry is top of mind, but when, when people are, when the industry is consolidated and people are going back to work and leaving the industry, I think there’s just less ad dollars out there right now kind of keeping us top of mind. So I think there’s photographer struggling, they can’t quite figure out why they’re down and it may be they may be down 10 percent because they lost three of their competitors that we’re advertising heavily. And so some of those add some of those dollars that consumers are spending aren’t necessarily come into our industry.

Kia: [13:48] Wait, wait, wait. But why are you excited about that? You’re saying that that’s something that you’re excited about, but that sounds like a negative to...

Episode 1

Published on:

21st Sep 2018

Kia Bondurant – Episode 001 – A Photographer Podcast Interview

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In Episode 001 we interview Kia Bondurant.  Kia Bondurant has been a full time professional portrait photographer for over 20 years. With her experience of owning a large successful business and recently starting a new portrait studio from scratch, she wants to share HOPE for the photography industry!

One of the first things we talk about is what seniors are looking for today.  You may be surprised at what she is seeing.

A really neat thing Kia does each year is she has three words for the studio.  This helps guide her in decisions for what she is going to do each year. Listen in to hear what three words she picked for 2018.  This is such a simple task that you can do to grow your business.

Next, we talk about why you should and should not copy other photographers.  Tune in to see what Kia thinks is the difference.

If you are new to the industry, Kia talks about how new photographers should value their work and time.  Some really great tips here.

If you have had a business for a while, listen as Kia talks about what it takes to hire people and why it is important.


Books Kia Recommends:

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey (

E-Myth by Michael Gerber (

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Cloud and Townsend (


Link Kia’s Giveaway

Coming Soon

Read Full Transcript


Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Intro: [00:00] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Everybody. Welcome to episode one,

Matt: [00:17] Kia Bondurant. Today Kia Bondurant has been a full time photographer for 20 years. She has experience in owning a very large studio and recently starting a new brand new portrait studio from scratch and I know from speaking with her in the past that she’s always trying to bring hope to the photography industry and I know she will today. One of the first things we talked about is what are seniors looking for today and I think you’ll be surprised what she’s seen and she has some really great tips if you’re new to the photography business and you want to figure out how to value your work and your time, and she also has some great tips for people that have been around for awhile in terms of hiring new people and why it’s important to have a staff. So let’s jump right in it.

Kia: [00:56] Yeah, I thank you Matt for asking me to do this. I have wanted to share more often and in a more structured way, like a podcast for quite a long time and I just was too nervous to make it happen myself. So when you asked and gave me the opportunity, I was super excited. There’s so much that we can give back to the industry and to help make the industry better in the future and so I can’t wait. Can’t wait.

Matt: [01:22] Sure, I agree. I mean you’ve been in the industry for 20 years and I’ve been in the industry for 11 years and I just think there’s so many photographers out there that, you know, feel alone and really could use some expertise from people that have kind of been through what they’re going through now and just kind of maybe give them the shortcut or just given us some really solid advice on what they should be doing in their business. So let’s jump right in real quick. So if I were to introduce you to somebody, how would you, what would you say you would be? You’re known for in the industry or you know, what are people, when they think of your brand, what do they think of

Kia: [01:54] in the photography industry? I would say that I’m kind of known in two ways. The first definitely is senior portraits and fashion inspired senior portraits and then also family and children. Portraits that are more like fun and playful. More stylized.

Matt: [02:12] That definitely resonates with me because I don’t, I think I’ve told you the story, but I should definitely tell guests the story is that, you know, when we first got into the business, my wife and I, Allison, she, uh, she was a huge fan of your work and she was one of your, one of the first people she followed on instagram and all these different things and she loved your working. Anytime we were kind of searching for ideas or we’re rethinking our business or whatever, we always pulled up your website and always lots of inspiration there for sure. So

Kia: [02:42] that’s exciting.

Matt: [02:43] Well, because you can definitely see the fashion inspired senior portraits in your business and that was just all it was resonant resonated with us for sure. So real quick for the audience, tell, tell us what’s working right now in your business. You know, you’ve had 20 years of experience and you know, as you know, every, every year and every week is a new adventure. What would you say is working right now if you had to give our audience like kind of a little nugget?

Kia: [03:08] Well, I think that what’s working right now, our actual microtrends I feel like if we’re going to get like kind of go deep right away and for a little while, senior portraits walking on the street outdoor only was the thing and the only thing that people wanted. Whereas now the seniors are wanting studio, they’re wanting lighting, they’re wanting things that sets. And so uh, if they’re moving away from all of the lifestyle look and wanting things that are a little bit more commercial and portrait and I think that might just be what we’re creating ourselves and that that’s just the, the look that are actual seniors are wanting rather than being a trend overall. But that’s something that’s working specifically right now for us is creating more of a, a styled look within the studio rather than doing something more lifestyle.

Matt: [04:04] So how, how do you think about that? Because I think so many times we get stuck in ruts as photographers where we’re like, okay, we’re just going to go stand on a street or an alley again and take, take the stereotypical senior picture. The only thing that changes is whatever the senior kind of brings to the session, whether it’s their own look or their own props and stuff like that. So you know, how are, how are you thinking about it in your studio so that you’re kind of consciously making sure you don’t go back to the the old way if you will, and just given them what you’ve given everybody else for years.

Kia: [04:32] Well I think that’s probably one of the keys that make me different than other people. And it just kind of goes back to how I approach each year and the business. So one of the things that growing up I was, I would get in trouble if I ever said I was bored. And, and with my own children, I do the same thing. If they come to me and they’re like, mom, I’m so bored. I’m like, okay, you can do this, this, this, this or this. And I give them options that are work and options that are not work. But being board was kind of the, it was the ultimate. No, no. And so I don’t really allow myself, um, in the, uh, in the work that I do. And so each year I come up with ideas of things that I want to do and I have lists in my head.

Kia: [05:14] I find them by, um, obviously instagram is so great because you can kind of curate your experience by who you follow. But I look through physical magazines a lot. Sometimes I’ll get through, go through a patch where I watch a bunch of like music videos, uh, even just watching movies and how they found those. And I get, I just have a list of ideas of things I want to try and new things that I think are going to be interesting. And so I feel like lifestyle was such a huge thing and it still definitely is. I think people have seen that so much that they’re ready for something new. And so that’s really what we’ve done this year is my staff and I have sat down and thought, what can we do that people aren’t seeing? What, what do we do differently, what, what is our brand? And so our three words for our photography brand and you know, kind of are me personally, are vibrant, authentic and inspirational and so keen off the vibrant word. We’ve done a lot of really bright, fun colored backgrounds and playful experiences. And so that’s, I feel is drawing our clients right now.

Matt: [06:20] You know, I hear those words and I think you know, obviously those words mean a ton to you and it’s helping you steer. But some of those words of what I was, what I’ve always seen in your work. And so in a sense, you’re staying true to your brand. You know that you’ve always had, so you’re not like taking a 180 degree turn, but at the same time you know you’re interjecting new and fresh ideas so. So you’re not getting bored because I would say you’re a brand has always been authentic and vibrant. You know, that’s what I’ve always noticed. One thing that’s different about ours is you’ve always had a lot of color in your and your brand and your pictures and we don’t do a lot of that. We do a lot more like monochrome or really muted tones and it just kinda depends on what you like. It doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just whatever your how to stay true to your style is what I’m trying to say.

Kia: [07:09] Well, and I definitely think there is right and wrong and this and I think what’s wrong is when you straight up copy someone else and try to put that into your business, and I don’t mean that in an accusatory way at all, but in more of a, it’s not going to work for you if it’s not who you are. It’s not going to look authentic, it’s not going to feel real and your clients aren’t going to be drawn to that if that’s not really who you are. And I’ve, I’ve seen a lot of that over the years where, you know, photographers will take what someone else does and just do it exactly that way and then the next you know, trend will come up and they’ll do it exactly that way and then the next trend and so when you look through their work, it’s just a trend after trend after trend or for certain person’s style and it doesn’t reflect who they are. And I think for you to have a really truly enjoyable and rewarding photography career, then you need to develop who you are and find those clients that want what you create.

Matt: [08:11] Yeah, I agree. Because otherwise it just feels like you’re reinventing yourself every single year and that can just be exhausting. And then also you don’t necessarily know why you’re down 20 percent or whatever and it could because that trend is kind of the ship is sailing and you gotta reinvent yourself and you know, I think there’s some time at the beginning of your career where you can explore those different looks and try to figure out who you are but eventually kinda stick to exactly. You know, like you said, who you are authentically and that way you just naturally do it and it build, it comes across like this is naturally what my art looks like. I mean allison could never pull off the look that you do everyday in your studio because it’s beautiful and I love it, but it’s just not who we are, what we naturally do every day.

Kia: [08:52] Yeah. Because Allison is more of a natural outdoor, the type of person I feel like, and I, I, I think she could do it, but would it be rewarding to her and would it connect to your clients? That’s the key. That’s really the issue I think.

Matt: [09:06] Yeah. I think it’d be fun for a couple of weeks or maybe she might be able to pull it off for a year, but then eventually I think it would just become exhausting trying to be somebody that she’s not, you know, it will require work and maybe maybe for a short term that would be fun because it would just be all this creativity flowing into the business, but it wouldn’t. I don’t think it’s sustainable and I think that’s what happens with a lot of photographers and that that’s one way we can tell whether a competition every year it’s going to stay or leave is like how trendy is their stuff and if it’s super trendy where like well they may not make it through the next trend change where other people that kind of. When you, when you look at their work and it feels really authentic, you’re like, oh, they might. They might have some staying power for sure. Yeah, definitely true. Okay, so let me, let me go move on to the next question I want to ask you. When you think about our industry today, like what? What has you excited about it or you know, when you tell people about our industry, what do you, what do you tell people about or what are you watching? Just tell me what, what your mindset is about the industry.

Kia: [10:03] Well, I think a couple things. One is if you’ve been in the industry a while, then you’ve seen so many changes and the way you know, because I started out shooting film and then we started shooting digitally and then we started doing things on social media, started selling, you know, digital versus a actual prints. All those things have changed and then, you know, the actual economy has changed so much. And so I feel like people can get into the, the, uh, mindset that what we do isn’t a viable business anymore. That people aren’t actually willing to pay for it. And I feel that’s not true at all. People want beautiful pictures and they are willing to pay for them.

Matt: [10:49] What do you think’s going on when people think that somebody doesn’t necessarily want to, that nobody. That nobody wants to purchase a photographs that anymore. Like what? What do, what do you think’s going on there like it? Is it a confidence thing or is it just like, I don’t know. I mean I just don’t know the. I don’t know the mental game. What’s what’s happening for people that are struggling?

Kia: [11:08] Well I think then on the other hand, there are the new photographers to the industry and they don’t understand the value of it because they haven’t tried to do it as a business and so when you’re coming in and doing it as a hobby or something as a sideline, then you don’t need to make a certain number of dollars per hour and it more becomes the etsy game where you’re selling something for $10 that takes you 10 hours to create. And so I think that both sides are rubbing against one another. The people who’ve worked in the business for so long and have this idea of how the process should work and then the people who are new in the business and don’t understand what the value should be for what they’re doing and it kind of, you know, they rub and forth and kind of create a negative ideas on both sides. And so I think coming at it from an artist standpoint that what you’re creating is beautiful and has value and if you’re coming at it saying this has value, I think it has value. Here’s how much you need. You would need to pay for it. People are willing to pay you for something that they think is beautiful.

Matt: [12:14] No, I agree. And I love how you’re saying value because a lot of times when you go to conferences or you speak to other photographers, all they want to do is talk about your prices and how to in that you have to raise your prices, but it’s not necessarily totally about price. Obviously you need to make a decent wage and you know, but I don’t think there’s a wrong or right answer in terms of business models in terms of price either. And so I like, I like the idea how you said you have to think about it from an artist standpoint where you’re bringing, you know, where you’re bringing your artists value to it and creating something that’s, that’s worth money now what it’s worth, you know, that may change over your career and may change depending on your client, but I think it definitely has some value and has, has a lot of worth, that’s for sure.

Kia: [12:55] Well, and when you think back to the old masters and the painters back in the day they were commissioned to create a piece of art and I do think that that’s something that’s changed is we’re no longer creating a commodity where we’re creating a piece of art. I think that how we work, how our business models that photographers really are going to have to change somewhat because we are more like the old masters essentially because not everyone needs a senior portrait. Not everyone is going to get one.

Matt: [13:29] No, I totally agree with that because the other thing is is that there’s clients for every price range in every level of value. You know, there are customers out there that want to treat photography like a commodity and they would purchase it like they purchase apples at Walmart, but there’s other people that will purchase it like it’s art and so you just have to figure out who your customer is and what will you do in our businesses. We just break it down. We don’t spend a lot, you know, we say how many, how many sessions do we need to do this year? And we just kinda break it down. When you start thinking about how many you have to do in a year and then how many is that a month and how many is that a week? It’s really not that many. You don’t have to find that many people unless you’re doing a lot of volume and then the model is different, but that’s definitely not the business that you and I have chose.

Kia: [14:11] Yeah, absolutely. I think if you want to do it like a commodity, then you need to create the processes and the price points and everything like it as a commodity and that’s totally doable as well from photography. I think there’s, there’s a great business model for that, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.

Matt: [14:28] All right, so let’s switch gears real quick....

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About the Podcast

From Nothing to Profit
From Nothing to Profit join Matt and Kia as they interview professional photographers and found out what is working now for their photography business
A Photographers Podcast with Matt Hoaglin and Kia Bondurant