John Pyle – Episode 004 – A Photographer Podcast Interview
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.
Transcription was done by Temi.com 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, podcast.com 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 podcast.com 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 she’s going to be able to post these in college or be proud of these when she comes home from school and they’re hanging up. So you want to be able to have solid work mixed in with, with the other work.
Kia: [15:59] Cool. So where do you think the industry’s going, John, since you’re saying it’s going toward more portrait work and people are liking that. So what’s the next step? Do you see something specific in the future?
John: [16:15] I think the ability to create work with a lot of different tools and mediums is definitely beneficial. In my case, I have an iphone, I have to go pro, I have a drone that’s a big deal. I had my Dslr, I had a, had a actually a Fuji mirrorless for like a year and a half and just to be able to create work and not worry about, well that’s not shot with the DSLR. I mean I’ve put an iphone image in the album before, uh, because she loved it so much and professional people are shocked by that. But
Kia: [16:56] how are you shooting with an iphone during the session? Like do you just pull, because I use mine for video or for behind the scenes stuff.
John: [17:03] It’s interesting. This probably goes back to some of the psychology of it. I can have someone that’s a little bit stiff and rigid at the beginning of a photo shoot or in a certain outfit or the location. And when I put the vsl or down and pull out the iphone, I was going to go in the story real quick. I will get a completely new personalities.
Kia: [17:22] Yes, I totally agree with you.
John: [17:26] Yes. Yes. So I use that. Sometimes they’ll let me get that with a real camera. And um, so I keep the phone on me if you know, at the bare minimum I get an outfit shot for her story, for instagram story with every single, with every outfit. So it’s only during the photo shoot.
Kia: [17:47] That is fascinating.
John: [17:50] That seems to be broken. And that’s why I originally went with a mirrorless camera because it was so small, but it was with the food gx is pulling out a lot of quality with their lands. It was small and compact and there wasn’t that wild. This is a big deal. This is a big bulky, 7,200 and it’s in my face and I’m standing here and mom looking at me and we’re in the middle of downtown and cars are watching me and Oh my God, you know, that panic that sets in so I can do anything to break down the barrier and get real because, you know, these kids are used to these iphones in their faces, their friends, their own them all the time. So it’s a, it’s a normal, a normal thing for them and it definitely breaks down that barrier,
Matt: [18:38] that type of thing.
John: [18:41] Yeah, definitely more relaxed and, and I mean, I get, I get great, great shot with the call. Yeah, because you’re there show, you can see their fingers relax the shoulders drop the uh, the mouth, not as tight. You know, all these little subtle things that you don’t really think about that show up. You can see that. So once I get that, and I won’t, if I can recreate it with a Dslr, I will.
Matt: [19:09] That’s really fascinating. Let me, let me circle back to one thing that’s kind of connect to this that you were just talking about, like the difference between like what boutiques are cranking out versus what you’re cranking out. What do you think is the difference between the two that you were talking about? You mentioned like a quality difference, so as the quality difference, is it lighting? Is it posing, you know, what, what do you think is the difference that people are seeing when they see a high quality picture on one of those instagram accounts versus just something that the store owner shot with their iphone? Like what is it?
John: [19:40] Right. Well, the big thing for me is to constantly show how the medium on which the images are going to be shown. So whenever a big product comes in like a Walmart or a gallery block for an album, I love to show that because you know, my images, every image that shoot, I have to assume that it’s going to be a 40 bucks, 60 somewhere blown up. So I can’t really take a chance on just, you know, rapid vomiting out images over and over again. And hope that out of the 300 will look right for, for Instagram, I’ve got to have consistency, which is what I believe are professional duty is to be consistent and the fact that work is not going to be seen for in the consumer market in the same way that, uh, it may be seen in another market. These are, you know, this is work that’s going to be hanging on someone’s wall, that’s going to be saying in an album and it’s got to be able to pass that test and not look good on a not just good, good on a, on a small screen. So I love to show that, that look, my work is, is made to be seen other places besides a device that you’re currently holding in your hand.
Kia: [20:52] And so you do that by showing it on social media, like in your story or that type of thing.
John: [20:57] Yes. That’s the goal is to, uh, is to include it in my story and show the work being being seen on different format, different mediums, canvases, gallery blocks, albums,
Kia: [21:08] all that type of stuff. Yeah.
John: [21:09] Yes. Our album album is really hard and I keep talking about the album, but good quality albums where you are turning pages and seeing custom design work as you flipped through it, it’s of yourself or, or have your child. It’s hard to, uh, to replicate because if you think about it, someone who is not charging a lot for their, for their work is not going to use or have the money to invest in a quality album for their, for their clients. They’re either not going to have the work, it’s up to par, the consistent work of 30, 40, 50, 60 page 60 images to put an album, nor are they going to invest in the quality of an album that, uh, you know, is, is, uh, is not cheap to and sell that album.
Kia: [22:00] That’s true.
John: [22:01] So that’s why I’m big on our albums right now that, that I would say nine out of 10 of our seniors get get an album and you got to have good quality, consistent work on every picture when you’re going through that album.
Kia: [22:14] So where do you get your albums?
John: [22:18] Uh, I use Nao. I love their covers. They have like leather covers and traditional work that looks good for dogs and then they have a frilly but dazzled colorful work that covers that look good. We have the swatches here that you can touch and feel and hold. I have three or four sample albums of are different sizes and uh, so I love to put those in the hands and let people feel the leather and flipped for the album and kind of imagine if it’s their own daughter. And I’ve actually done that on several occasions. I’ve gone in and, and, and prebuilt and the album up on the, you know, in, in my opinion,
John: [22:58] yes. And screenshot it and had it at the end of their slideshows so they can say, wow, this is, these are the images and the album that he created for me, just to show them what it would look like and how the design goes. Because sometimes there is a disconnect when you come in and you say, you know, some other family or a or some other senior hanging up on the wall or your life or that looks good because it’s her. It may not look that good if it’s me, so if I can show them that, as you know with them, it’s a big deal.
Matt: [23:29] Yeah, that makes complete sense. For sure. Yeah. Sometimes. I mean, I think yeah, you just got to be careful about that disconnect because I’m in our studio, we talk about, you know, if we confuse people, that’s how we lose and so if someone doesn’t see it and some people live out literally need to see it to not be confused and so knowing your client is huge there. I’m John. I’m going to. I’m going to beat you a little bit on this real quick just just because we’ve had years of this conversation. Where do you think the industry is going right now?
John: [23:59] That’s a good question. I’m seeing a lot of things. I’m saying people loaning a lot of work and I don’t know if it’s just the way that I’ve set up or the number of images that I show, but they tend to want everything to come here and they’re going to invest and the time and the money to do this. They have a hard time leaving. Anything on the table and you know, of course my, my images have value, monetary and you know, a connection, a connection value, but I’ve had to just kind of stepped back and say, okay, this, this picture of a senior and her sister with her laugh and is not something you know or pretending to choke her, punch her play or whatever is not something that’s going to be up on a canvas, but it is something that she may want to print out on a floppy piece of paper on a four by six and tape it to her wall in her dorm next year.
John: [25:09] And who am I to deny that? I mean, why if I’ve already created the image and it and it looks amazing and they’re willing to invest to have it, then why am I setting up boundaries and hoops to jump in order for them to get that no matter the medium that they, that they want to show it on. So, you know, I’m, I’m experimenting and trying to try new things. I started off the year and I made a couple of changes and I have a certain price point where you can actually get all the images, have you not done that before, John? I have and I tried to change it up at the beginning of the year and kind of include some images at a lower price point and it actually did not work.
John: [26:03] I had a couple of lower sales because of that because some people, depending on the client are happy to get two or three or 10 or 15, but most people won’t everything and they don’t know they want it. They don’t know what they want to do with it. So I’ve actually been thinking about kind of, uh, and I’ll, I’ll, I’ll say this about my business. It’s, I struggle every day to try to make it easier. Matt, you mentioned confusion. Is, is where you lose people. It’s very difficult in my opinion to to get my pictures and I run it through my head several times because there is a phone call or email where we talk. There’s a in person consultation where we meet there is coordinating with makeup artists. There’s meeting on the day of the shoot, there’s completing the photo shoot. I’m not to mention the outfits and the stress over that, but I know people put on themselves. Then you have to meet me, you have to see me again, so the back and go through all the images with you and then I have to build everything and then you have to meet me again so you can pick anything. I love people so it’s a great. It’s fun, but at the same time it’s very time consuming and it’s a lot of work, what I call a hoop jumping, which I’m trying to figure out a process where I can eliminate some of that.
Kia: [27:38] You’re saying
John: [27:41] I’m trying to figure out a way to, to get rid of a couple of hoops and I don’t know if that’s an in person kind of face time or skype pre shoot consultation, which you know, I’m a little weary of getting rid of because then you don’t see me in person. You don’t get to see and hold the product or see them on the wall. You’re kind of coming into it blind and then run through scenarios where you know you’re going to see all your images prior to your ordering appointment. You’re going to get an, a kind of a download, a download, a watermark late the night before. You’ll see everything and then you’ll come in and you’re making decisions, which I’m weary of because I think we all know that if an image leaves your possession, the uh,
Kia: [28:27] yeah,
John: [28:28] it’s gone. It’s gone. And I don’t care if it is a 30 pigs, about 30 takes a wide thumbnail, they will, it will, it is, it has value and they will put borders around it and a puppy dog snood on it with here and send it to their boyfriends. Because, you know, on snapchat story or whatever, um, it has value. So if you release it, it is, uh, it’s gone.
Kia: [28:52] So true.
John: [28:53] So I’m, I’m weary of that. I thought about having an all inclusive price from the Bayer, but gaining that says, okay, you know, we’re going to book a John Pyle senior experience and you pay a down payment to book the session, the day obsession, you pay the remainder and then that minimum point you’re gonna have all your images and then when you come to pick up everything on the USB drive, if you choose, you have a print credit that is good for that day, only that you can order your album or order some wall art. But you know, then I’m thinking, wow, they’re getting a, you know, a tremendous amount of images for a certain payment and that’s all my work, you know. So I’m constantly trying to figure out an easier system to put in place to make it easier to get my work. But they still have the value that I’ve, that I’m known for.
Kia: [29:48] Yeah. I think it’s fun to hear you say that because what you’re really saying is I am trying to figure out how to make this work because the industry continues to change and change and how people buy continues to change and I think that’s so smart.
John: [30:05] Yes, it changes monthly. It changes from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. It changes from class to class. You know, I’ll have a situation where all have, you know, eight or nine girls from one school and then the next year I’ll have one from that same school and you’re like, what happened? And then the next year they’ll all come back in. You know, I think that’s what keeps me interested with the whole psychology aspect of it is figuring out why people do what they do, what the decisions are made, who makes the decisions, you know, who’s in charge, who is, who’s making the decisions, why did this person come to me? You know, I’ve, I’ve had to just throw out rom reason on why people come to me because there, it just went out the window this year. You know, I’ve had someone come down from New York and then I’ve had someone come up from Florida, from Tennessee, I’ve had clients from the past that wanted to go to the Virgin Islands for her senior pictures and then I have someone that, you know, hasn’t paid me and it’s been three months, you know, so it’s just, it’s all over the place.
Matt: [31:18] A little bit of everything. I want to circle back real quick, talk about, you know, John, you’re idea of keeping it simple because we’re. Allison and I are in the same spot in our business, like how do we simplify this, how do we make this easier for people to spend our money? And I watched a really cool youtube video about when Jeff Bezos from Amazon became CEO and for like the first couple of years that he became like a, like big time CEO. Obviously he was always the CEO, but when he had a huge team, he only thing he did is he walked into his meetings with his executives and just said, how do we make this easier for the customer? And that’s what he focused on for years. So now they had the one click purchases and all these other things and his whole goal is like, how do we make this easier for people to spend money, how do we make it easier for them to get our product and our, they’ve built an empire doing that and it’s just really interesting because we’re in the same spot. I’m with you allison. I meet with people all the time and it’s like, you know, you don’t know why it’s necessary in each little spot, but you’re like, is it really necessary? You know, people are busy and I’m asking them to meet with me five times and that’s just tough. So I’m right with you.
John: [32:28] Right. I mean we don’t think about what’s going on. These singers their senior year, they have something every day there’s cheater, their softball. Yeah. There’s something every day. Attention spans are getting shorter, parents are getting busier and if there’s anything that I can do to eliminate that step, it would, it would be great. I’ve just got to figure out what that is. You know, I’ve, I’m grateful because of the connection that my clients and their families have to me, but it is a kind of a double edge sword that time. I’ll give you an example. A couple of weeks ago I had a client that came by after work and uh, her daughter, the senior had something going on so she couldn’t be here. And the mom came by to pick up everything and she said, well, I think I’ll leave the album for her because I know she wants to see you and get a picture on your story with the album.
Kia: [33:22] Wow.
John: [33:23] Yeah. I’m like, wow, that’s a. I said, you know, you really need to go ahead and get it for and just send me a picture. And she goes, yeah, I guess I could do that. And I mean, I don’t, I, I love that I’m honored. I think that’s the coolest thing in the world, but you know, that’s my time. That’s another, another appointment, you know, another trying to coordinate things late in the evening, that’s going to be hard for her and for me. And I’ve got to figure out some way to streamline it, even if the, even if it’s just a little bit to make it easier for everybody.
Kia: [33:55] You’re just too popular, John, on your story to figure out how to do it. I’d be there.
Matt: [34:03] That was the agreement, the contract that John signed for this podcast with a story at least once before December. I’ll put. I’ll put you with the, uh, with the puppy dog.
Kia: [34:15] Never done that. I don’t need to be on your story, John. No puppy dog years for me.
Matt: [34:26] You’re one puppy. Puppy dog ears from just ruining Chi as brandon image.
Kia: [34:32] Oh, I’m so sorry. I know that’s sacrilegious, but don’t, don’t do that.
John: [34:37] No. Your story is arguably just as important as the image.
Kia: [34:42] Oh, 100 percent. I totally agree. Date people come in and that is what they’re thinking about. They’re worried more about the story than they are about your actual images that they’re going to purchase. Absolutely. The high school seniors.
John: [34:59] And if you think about instagram, and I’ll just say this, the engagement is so low. If I’m at nearly 13,000 followers and I have, you know, 400 likes, average, you know, do the math on that. It’s point. Oh, ridiculously low. And there’s, you know, there’s all kinds of reasons for that. You never know. I’ve tried to analyze and study what makes someone like a picture. You know, I’ve looked at color trends pleasing blues. People seem to like sunset water. Those seem that score higher, you know, all that I’ve studied and analyzed, but you really, you really don’t know and that seems like such little interaction. But if your stories are getting, you know I’m to 2100, 2100 views, all my stories.
Kia: [35:54] That’s a big deal.
John: [35:58] Confirmed, confirmed views. So that’s arguably just as important as, as a, as a post would be.
Kia: [36:05] Okay. So John, I don’t know this part of the story. So the question is what was holding you back from becoming a full time photographer? So I don’t know how long you want it to be a photographer. How did that come about? What was attractive for you to step into it?
John: [36:23] Well, you know, Emma, other industry, I’ve built up some savings and as a drug rep and built up some capital and the industry, which it still is today, so wishy washy or can implode at any second. Companies are always buying each other out. There’s generics, there’s the government involvement, their healthcare, medicare, Medicaid, insurance, different administrations can set the tone for, for healthcare. And it was just a nightmare. I mean, you would just get a phone call that says, Hey, we’re, we’re, uh, we’re going to have a conference call this Friday. Be sitting by your phone and you would know if you were going to have a job. And so, and my wife who is a man who also got the industry and we were both in it in the heyday, but I like to call it the first five years. And then it started to implode about, oh, four.
John: [37:21] Oh, five. She was laid off three times during that for not because of bad sales numbers or anything. Just, hey, we’re going to rely on the territory or we’re going to have the person in Atlanta come down and call on every doctor in Colombia. So thanks for playing. You know, you’re like, while they’re with the company car there with the insurance there went the gas there when, you know, it’s uh, it’s kind of a brutal industry because it’s one of the few jobs that when you get laid off, not only do you lose that salary but your expenses go up and um, it’s, it’s, it’s a definitely a catastrophic, panicky situation. But for me, I had built up, you know, I would have to say it was the confidence in, in my wife that said, look, we can do this. I’m tired of getting laid off.
John: [38:12] I’m already your assistant. I’m keeping, I’m answering the phone for you. I’m, you know, I’m uh, doing our books, our taxes sending brings to the lab. Let’s try this. Because if we don’t, we’re never going to do it. And I was terrified. I mean, if it wasn’t, if it wasn’t for her, I would probably still be chained to the golden with corporate America. So, um, she instilled the confidence in me and it was actually perfect timing because a, it was a little scary, but she was laid off, she was laid off and we surprised them. We were trying to have kids, but it was difficult. And when she actually left her, her job for the last time, she took a severance package during a, they’re impossible layoff. I said, you can have the severance package if you want to go, that will help us out.
John: [39:02] And she said, yes, I do. So she took it and uh, I guess stress that was keeping us from getting pregnant left and she got pregnant and we, um, she set the business up while, while after we had the baby to basically functioned as if I did not have the crutch of the other job. So I took my two weeks plus the 10 weeks and work. Obviously I spend time with my newborn, but to work is if that were my full time job. And I’m. So when I came back to it, obviously I’ve talked to your house when I senior portrait work and the business and everything, which, you know, that’s another story of where our beneficial he was to my inspiration and confidence. But man, the day, the day that I call a was supposed to come back, her called and said, hey, we’re just, you know, and this is your day and I know you’re excited to be back in the field.
John: [40:01] And I had that voice mail about [8:30] that morning. And um, I went outside in the backyard, popped open a beer and called my boss and said, uh, yeah, I’m not coming back. Yeah. That, it was scary. But I just, I mean, you know, charge forward from there. And um, you know, like I said, being able to, being in, having the business world and the psychology and emotion of, of dealing with people as a background certainly helped me out and prepared me for this. And the entire time of my, my business, even the early days, I put myself in the client’s position in a dad’s position of a senior and said, okay, how would I respond to, do you know, what would I, what would I do if my daughter wants to go to this person or my wife said that, uh, we wanted to book him and that’s Kinda been my, my litmus test.
John: [41:01] So I just charged forward and, and, and learned along the way. I tried to eradicate any left field. I am not, I don’t like shock, I don’t like surprises. I don’t like pop ups. I don’t like anything like that. So I am a planner and I’ve wanted to put things in place in the business where people are not, you know, everything’s out in the open, there’s no hidden. This are surprised that this is what it costs. This is when we’re going to do it. These are what the pictures look like. These are the outfit down to the point of saying, okay, look, if, if you know, don’t make the sales appointment. Be The time where dad, where this was the first time dad has seen the prices for my professional consumer photography portraits, you know, let whoever’s going to be here, they need to see this price list or call me or talk about or go over everything because I don’t, I don’t want y’all to be surprised and I don’t want me to be surprised.
John: [42:00] So I want everything along this and I’ve always said that if you stay on my, my railroad track through this process, you will be, you will be thrilled. But whenever someone tries to get off that track and say, well, we want to do, we want to, we want to do a sport shoot, but they won’t have their new uniforms for two weeks. Can we do that part of it later? If I jumped the track and do that, everything comes unglued. If someone wants to break up payments this way or sisters not home from college until this weekend, can we meet and do that part of the shoot? Because I may want some of those to go in the last few pages of her album. Everything comes on gluten, but if you stick with my procedure, which is kind of meticulous and stringent, you you’ll come out on the other side. Thrilled. That’s always been the goal.
Matt: [42:50] John, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
John: [42:54] I would say not to wallow in mediocrity, not to, not to live in photography, bulletin boards or facebook groups now is what you call them. You know, social media is a great place for to complain. Bitch. Throw up extreme problems for shock value
Matt: [43:18] so people can hear it.
John: [43:21] You know, nobody ever gets online and rarely do they get online and talk about what a great experience when you go out of town and you stay at a hotel, they’ve got a really well you to come back home and for you to sit down and type out a well written superb review of a resort. But if you get there and there’s roaches on the floor,
John: [43:44] clean up the room and the food is horrible. You cannot wait to bitch about that. That’s just, that’s just who we are. So if you stay in, in those, uh, those bullets and boards or I keep citing, I have no idea, I guess that’s what they used to call them, but in facebook groups with that negativity, it’s not going to help you and you know, along those lines, look outside of the industry for inspiration. Uh, don’t just, you know, try to copy and obsess over other portrait photographers. Look outside the industry, look at brand, look at retail clothing, look at restaurant, look at Ceos, you know, read other books about business. Don’t just stay in your little world where to a hammer, everything from NATO. Expand your horizon. Look outside so that you can take elements of things outside of the industry, the jury in, and bring them to your own industry, if that makes sense.
Kia: [44:42] That’s good. That’s really good. So what would you say, you know, coming from all of that is one of your personal habits that you think contributes to your success
John: [44:52] consistently engaged with clients? You know, rarely does two days go by or three days go by. Where I’m it. It’s so funny. The perception is almost hilarious because everybody just thinks I’m just this world traveler that goes all over the place. Where are you going to be this weekend in Miami or New York? And I went to Miami one time. Yeah. Or in April. And they just. And I guess it’s the story and the, uh, the brand that I create online that um, you know, in Miami every other weekend, but the consistent, she, the consistency and the positivity and the uniqueness just over and over and over again so that, that people see the brand, see the work and know and know what’s coming unexpected.
Kia: [45:40] So how do you do that? I feel like I’ve heard at one time you had like you would do a session in the afternoon and before that you would work out and before that you would spend an hour on social media saying happy birthday to people. Like do you have a schedule that you do that?
John: [45:58] Well, adderall helps.
Kia: [46:02] Oh,
John: [46:03] I, of course I love to work out because that keeps me from going crazy. But I’ll tell you something that I’ve, that I’ve been doing for years, it’s probably a good secret, but I’ll let it out of the bag if there’s an app on the ipad pro and it’s on your phone, it’s called flipboard and it’s a digital kind of, not a magazine, not an easy thing or a web magazine, but basically what flipboard is, is that it’s an app you can download and then you can pick topics and it will feel those topics with current news and information. So you set it up, you go through and you say, okay, I want to pick photography, um, drone, a pop culture, Kendall Jenner, politics, technology, science and food. And it will say, okay. And then when you pick up a clipboard and go back to the home screen, you will see all these articles that trigger those key words pumped into one little amazing board that you’ve flipped the pages through. So it highlights current things. And I spend every morning, 15 or 20 minutes with my coffee going through that because f stoppers,
Kia: [47:17] what are you doing? Like, what are you looking for? Things to post on, like repost those articles or things to talk about.
John: [47:25] Thanks to talk about reasons to post current trends so I know what’s going on and not necessarily that I’m going to post or take advantage of it, but I think it’s cool that I know that m and m threw shade to this rapper, you know,
Kia: [47:42] good news. But the news that specifically towards your business.
John: [47:47] Yes, exactly. So, um, I’ve got over towards me, my individual brand for whatever that’s worth, you know, my, my workout feed, my drones, the pop culture, food, music feed, all that stuff that is me that I love in business. You know, I may open the cover page and it has, you know, 10 tips of intermittent fasting. And then Tony Robbins says this is the key to being positive in your business. And then another article own Kendall Jenner’s top three swimsuit trends for the summer. Um, you know, so you see all this stuff and it keeps you current in a very concise, easy mobile way without, you know, kind of gives you a, a point from every day to kind of fill your heads and stuff. I have meditation things on there. I have positivity, business quotes, all kinds of things that go into my head for 15 or 20 minutes before anybody wakes up that starts my day. So I highly recommend the flipboard APP.
Kia: [48:48] That’s great advice.
Matt: [48:50] Yeah, no, that’s definitely an action step in itself, you know, just to go download it and start using it. That’s a, that’s a pretty easy one. Um, do you have any other Internet resources that you would recommend to our audience are things that you use besides flipboard?
John: [49:05] The News App on ipad pro is great, but other than that it’s, it’s flipboard and, and social media. Instagram right now is, is key. Instagram stories are key. I would say I would rank everything. Instagram then facebook and then everything starts to plummet off for my business. I’m not really engaged on snapchat. I don’t use that anymore. Twitter is a place to make political comments. Pinterest is cool if you’re extremely bored,
Matt: [49:40] but.
John: [49:43] Well I shouldn’t say that because I do have a active. Well I will know if it’s active, but I have a big pinterest page for for style, for outfit so somebody can go on pinterest and see men fashion or female fashion or workout motivation or things like that on a board that I created and sometimes I’ll go in there and add a couple of things, but you know the, the instagram and the instagram story or are key right now.
Kia: [50:08] So for facebook, how do you do that? I’ve noticed that you will post like do you post a completely separate posts from what you’re doing with your, with your actual sessions are with instagram? Is it a completely different posts than facebook?
John: [50:24] Yeah. I have to kind of step back and say, you know, every instagram post and set up to go to my facebook business page, but a little trick that I’ll do because the engagement on facebook business page is horrendous. I can get five or 600 lights and an instagram page and get one live on facebook and I’m like, how is this even possible? Like, so you’re telling me one person out of the nearly 11,000 people on facebook saw this picture and it and I just, I know, I feel like you got to pay to play from that.
Kia: [50:59] Absolutely. I don’t think that’s a feeling. I think that’s reality.
John: [51:02] Yeah. Yeah. So what I will do is I will go in and it takes a little bit of extra time, but I will go into the instagram post and click on the Arrow or the doc I can’t remember, and his share and it gives you the option to go down and copy the link. So I will copy that link and then go onto my personal facebook page.
Kia: [51:22] Yeah.
John: [51:23] So then it pops up and then I will actually go back. Then because you can’t do it from a mobile device, you have to do it from a desktop application of facebook. I will go back either on a laptop or on my pc or my Mac on my desktop and tagged the mom and the senior in the instagram post with some words that that I think do better own instinct on facebook than they would own instagram so I can tailor that message.
Kia: [51:52] So you’re essentially massaging your facebook post and reposting it to your personal account?
John: [51:59] I’m massaging and reposting the instagram post and putting it onto the facebook personal. Yes.
Kia: [52:04] Okay. Okay.
John: [52:05] And that lets me tagged with mom, Dad, the location. I can actually go in and do the activities or the emotions. A lot of times I’ll put John is and it’ll say celebrating senior year and I’ll have the camera Emoji, the excitement phase or whatever, you know, you can do a lot with that and a lot more people see it on facebook and they would be on the business.
Kia: [52:31] Very cool. So, uh, do you, are you a reader?
John: [52:35] Yes, yes. I’m actually reading Jordan Peterson’s book and let me pull up the title. It’s the 12 steps to let me pull that up. There’s actually two books that I can recommend. Okay,
Kia: [52:48] the one that says don’t lie. Yes. Okay.
John: [52:51] Yup, Yup. You know, you’re asking about another avenue or another thing that I use. Um, I think a podcast. I’ll listen to podcasts a lot when I, when I work or edit or when I work out and why I’ll talk about flipboard for the ears is a Joe Rogan’s podcast. He’s the, if he’s not the number one downloaded podcasts right now, I don’t know what it is.
Kia: [53:17] Yeah, no, he’s, he’s like, he’s number one and he’s like stratospheric number one, like no one’s even touching. Touching him is
John: [53:25] absolutely amazing and it’s a break from these little cult show pundants where you get on there and somebody tries to outwit somebody for two and a half minutes or three minutes and nobody learns anything because he, he’s different because he sits down and he talks to people from all walks of life for an hour and a half or two hours. Engaging them and asking them questions and getting their feedback. So you really have a time. You really have time to know the person and connect with the person and kind of kind of get ideas and I highly recommend listening to that and that’s where I came across a Jordan Peterson who’s a Canadian clinical psychologists who wrote the book the 12 rules of life. Um, and I’m, I’m on either eight or nine rules and it’s very heavily psychological base. It’s very wordy, uh, the audiobook. But when you get to the rules and see it, it kind of helps you see where people are coming from and kind of understand the decisions that they make and why they make that.
John: [54:34] Probably the don’t lie on A. Yeah, because it’s, it’s Kinda like, you know, don’t lie to other people, but also don’t lie to yourself, you know, kind of, you know, who are you kidding? Be Real here with yourself so you can be willing to be real with other people. If you don’t like something, why are you doing it? You know, Kinda Kinda mentality. If, if, if something is not going your way, then why are you telling yourself that it is? Why are you not altering things to make it go your way, are doing your best to do that? So it’s a very detailed, I think it looks like 12 hours long. It’s huge. And then the other book that I really like is the war of art. Yes. Opposite from the art of war. And he, he, uh, it’s just, it’s a great book. Every, every creative needs to read that break through the blocks. And when your inner creative battles, it talks about fear, it talks about majority’s and masses and a lot of people do the things they do and why fear is so prevalent and it’s just a great, great book to read. So those are the two that I recommend along with Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Matt: [55:53] Yeah, that’s a good list for sure. The second one that you just mentioned, I’m allison. I’ll be traveling here for the holidays to go see my parents in Phoenix and it’s like a eight hour drive and we’re trying to figure out which one, what book to listen to. And I think that one just got moved to the top. The one we listened to coming back the other way, coming home last time was this extreme ownership. Have you guys seen that? Have you guys heard of that book? It’s written by a navy seal and so there’s a story about how you, what happened in his career and then he implies that how that, how that should be put in place in your business. It’s amazing. It’s, it’s pretty intense, but um, it’s really cool and it basically is like, you know, you own all of this and you own your own your life and so you just need to realize that you’re in complete control. It’s really good. That’s another good one.
Kia: [56:46] Agency for your own agency. For your life. Yeah. That’s fantastic.
Matt: [56:51] That’s cool. So John, we’ll wrap up there. Any parting advice or, uh, how, how people can connect with you?
John: [56:59] Yeah. Everybody can find me. The consumer portrait part of my business that instagram is John d dot pile. I think Kai mentioned at the beginning. I’ve always had a love for flying. I have a private pilots license and before a wife and kids I used to fly all the. Now I don’t, but the fact that I love photography and flying the drone has been like the perfect marriage for that and I’ve actually incorporated that in inspections with a senior laying down, always jet ski out in the lake or on the softball field. It just adds another element. So I have an instagram account for my area was called j Dot Pyle pilot, which is, which is fine and actually grow in. So that’s. That’s cool too.
Matt: [57:44] Yeah, that’s really interesting. I saw, I saw some of that stuff bubble up a couple months ago and I forgot that you were a pilot. I mean cause you know, you and I’ve spoke at some conferences together and stuff like that and I knew that from the very beginning when I met you years ago, but I’d forgotten until just now that you actually did fly a little bit and that’s, that’s pretty cool.
John: [58:00] Yes. One day I’m going to get back up in there, but for right now the drone is a queensland. That therapist.
Matt: [58:07] Yeah. Well eventually, eventually your kids will grow up and move out. Let’s all hope that they grow. They move out and then you get back after it.
John: [58:17] Well, my goal was to actually take one of my children up in the plane and last year on my birthday, my wife Sally and surprise me and had the uh, a pilot how to show up at the airport with a friend of mine that’s the pilot and I got to fly in the left seat and take off and fly the plane while he sat in the right seat.
Kia: [58:38] Aw, that’s sweet.
John: [58:40] So Julian, my oldest got to ride in the back, so that was like a huge deal for me. So I was excited about that.
Matt: [58:47] That’s really cool. Well, hey, thanks John for being on our podcast a really means a lot to us. You know, I know you’re, you’re a mover and shaker in the industry for sure and we have a lot of respect for you, so I’m really grateful that time out of your data to be a part of this. For sure.
John: [59:02] Thank you all so much for asking me. I’ll let huge fan of both of y’all and whenever we get to talk, which is not enough on. I always pick up something, so I think this is a great idea. I can’t wait to to listen to what else is coming next from this podcast.
Matt: [59:16] For sure. Thanks John. Well, thanks everybody for listening, so we’ll see you guys next week with another guest and until then, have a great day.
Speaker 2: [59:25] Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kaiya. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create a profitable and successful business you’ve always wanted. See you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.