Mike Aron came to our Creative Coaching program as an emerging food/drink photographer looking to transition to being a full-time freelancer. A self-taught photographer with tremendous motivation, it quickly became clear to me (Greg Jones) that he has all the creative and business DNA required to develop a thriving practice.
I was looking for a coach who could push me creatively and help elevate my work and brand.
When we began working together we came up with two core goals. The first was to sculpt his website into a more professionally polished platform. The second was to further develop his portfolio through self-assigned projects that could appeal to his core clientele: mainly restaurants, bars, and breweries.
Greg and I started by first reviewing my portfolio and suggesting some options for images that could help make me more well-rounded and more attractive. This included a full review of my website with feedback on how I could structure it differently to be more attractive to potential clients.
Mike had previously hired a website consultant to build his site. This consultant did a great job of utilizing the website’s SEO capabilities and included the use of keyword-driven website copy as well as a blog about food photography. This strategy is especially productive for local clients to find photographers via organic search results. However, it might be a less effective presentation model for clients with more extensive budgets. For these clients, accessibility and visibility are great but the reputation and quality of the photographer’s work are weighted far more heavily in their internal confidence meter—what they use to determine which new photographer is worth the risk to bring on to a campaign. It’s these higher-budget projects that Mike was seeking.
Throughout our first two months together we made his website presentation our priority as Mike worked on his own free time to produce new portfolio work. We scrapped the blog and did away with much of the website copy that diverted attention from the work itself. We focused on developing a more streamlined brand that could quickly and effectively communicate who Mike is and what he does.
All the while, I provided feedback for Mike’s self-assigned work, giving critiques and offering ideas for shoots that could plug holes in his portfolio. Much of his previous website’s visual offerings E-comm images of wine and beer bottles. It’s not a bad idea to show off some of these to clients looking for that kind of capability. However, photographers should be careful to not over-represent the kind of work that they are less interested in pursuing. Mike and I worked together to pull back the presence of those pictures and spotlight the more creative work that can only come from Mike’s personal voice.
Finally, as Mike further developed his self-assigned projects and introduced more variety into his portfolio, we discussed the edits and categories of his web galleries to consider what each of his core clientele would want to see in a photographer’s capabilities.
We eventually achieved a website result that, while always a work in progress, felt like a strong platform that we could use to show off to new clients. Mike decided to continue working with me as we transitioned from Creative Coaching to Marketing Partner, and we are now working to identify clients, develop marketing materials, and start doing outreach to build the foundation of his business.
Working with Greg has been a fantastic experience. He feels like a part of my team and I value his opinion and insights. Greg proved his value as a creative coach and in August we switched to Marketing Partner to help take the next step in my business. Throughout our relationship Greg has provided valuable feedback that has helped progress my brand and value.