Christmas fireside chat with Marcus and Sam

Dec 21, 2023 | Marketing

“Show Notes”

Sam and Marcus have a cozy fireside Christmas chat about the podcast over the last year. Marcus refers back to ⁠our very first show ⁠ Degree or disagree. Marcus loves this for the content of the show and for the pun. This is always a debate that stirs up a lot of emotion.

Sam refers back to the ⁠show on networking⁠. As networking is such an important part of your marketing for photographers. Marcus thinks thinks networking in person will be a great place to focus for 2024. He is going to try to do more face to face networking next year. He touches on the idea that it can be better to have a small strong community than a wide shallow pool of connections.   Marcus then talks about the show we did with ⁠Colin Smith the listening guy⁠ Marcus thinks that taking part in the show has made Sam and him better listeners and better podcasts hosts. Sam talks about the ⁠show with Donna Green⁠. That show stands out for Sam because she was so organised. She had all her processes and systems very well organised.

“Show Transcription”

Marcus: Well, hello, podcast listeners, lovely to be here with you. Yeah, here we go. It’s Marcus from shoot to the Top, a podcast aimed at commercial photographers. And I’m joined in the studio, as per normal, with my esteemed colleague, Sam Hollis. Sam, how you doing?

Sam: I’m good, Marcus, thank you and happy Christmas. I know you’re trying to avoid the subject, but it is Christmas coming. Marcus, we do have to say happy Christmas to the listeners and happy Christmas to you. So, yes, this is our final show of the year. End of season one, I think, Marcus, we could call it.

Marcus: Yeah. Well, how many shows have we got in the can, Sam? Is it about 40 or something?

Sam: Mid 30s.

Marcus: Okay, well, do you know what? I’ve got to say, it just goes to show, sometimes when you do things with other people, for me, it works out better, Sam. And I must admit, if I’d have been doing this on my own, I don’t got past two shows at the most.

Sam: Excellent. Well, yes, it has been lots of fun, Marcus, and today we are going to go back, aren’t we? Thought we’d talk about a couple of shows we’ve done, kind of review, give some people ideas of things to listen to in the past, and then obviously, if you’ve got ideas for the new year, send them to us. We always like to listeners ideas. If you’ve got topics you think we could do in the new year, if you’ve got people you think we should interview in the new year, if you think we should interview, please, please let us. Yep. All the contact details, stuff in the show, notes, you can get hold of us. Go to the website, shoot to the top.com. You can get hold of us there. So, Marcus, are you going to kind of talk about a couple of the shows we’ve done?

Marcus: Yeah, I am. I’m going to go for the very first show we recorded, which was one of my favorite titles as well, which was a degree or disagree. I always like a pun.

Sam:  Marcus does like a pun.

Marcus:  I do like a pun. The reason why I picked that show is twofold. Firstly, it started as going, and I’m very proud of that. And secondly, it’s a subject that I think I return to quite a lot. Our regular listeners will know that I always intrigue to find out if any of our guests have got a degree or if it’s helped them out a lot. So it’s something that’s close to my heart. It’s also one of those subjects that you see that comes up that stirs up a lot of debate. And we like a good debate, don’t we, Sam?

Sam:  Yeah, definitely. I think that happens in a lot of businesses. Don’t let people go. Should you have a degree in business? Should you have a degree in marketing? Should you just pick it up and learn as you go along? And you’re right. In all of those cases, there’s usually very strong, very strong opinions in both directions, when probably in reality, it needs a bit of a harder look and a closer sum up to try and work out what’s for the best.

Marcus: Yeah. With all these things, you’re right. It’s not black and white. It’s somewhere in between. And it all depends. But it’s more about that idea that if you’re going to do a creative subject like photography, you’ll be better off doing a marketing degree, which that’s what I have issues with.

Sam:  I guess it depends what you’re doing and what you’re studying, doesn’t it? You need the marketing. Don’t you want the degree in it? Yeah, there’s all sorts of options, but if you want the full debate, then you will have to go to the show. Otherwise, if we carry on too long, Marcus will have the whole debate now. So we do have to.

Marcus: You’re quite right. You see how passionate I am on this one. Do you want to go next? Sam, give me one of your favorites.

Sam: Yeah, I was thinking back and I thought the one we did, so we’re talking first about ones without guests. The one we did on networking was really good, really interesting, because I think networking as a photographer is such an important skill, such an important thing to do, especially because as photographers generally, you are geographically based. You have to physically go somewhere to take those pictures. And for some people, that is around the world, but for a lot of photographers, that is, people on your doorstep, and networking is just such an important part of that.

Marcus: Totally agree, Sam. And I think moving forward to 2024, I think networking is where we’re going to get the most gains for our business. Of course, social selling and all that kind of thing is really useful word of mouth, of course. But networking, getting out there, getting that face of your brand out there so people get to know you, I think is going to come even more important. And certainly where I’m going to be putting my efforts in for next year.

Sam:  No, I think it’s definitely a good way to go and definitely it’s sort of embedding yourself in that local business community, isn’t it? Getting to events, being seen. I don’t know if maybe you should go to a networking event with a camera around your neck, even if you’re not taking people’s pictures.  

Marcus: Maybe

Sam: May be take a camera and not get paid. I don’t mean even to take pictures, I mean just to like as a massive visual prompt as to who you are, if you know what I mean.

Marcus: Like a handbag?

Sam: Yeah, like a handbag, effectively, yeah. I wasn’t thinking of taking pictures, I was just thinking of it just being there.

Marcus:  Okay.

Sam:  Although maybe it might.

Marcus:  Yeah, the reason, go on, Marcus. Yeah, sorry, no, the reason, I’m going to sort of put my efforts into networking and I’m going to try and move away from doing Zoom networking, which I’ve done a lot of, and do more face to face networking. It’s because I suddenly becoming more aware that on LinkedIn, I think like you, Sam, we’ve both got big following, about 3000, 4000 people I’ve got. And I think really it’s better off just have a few people, maybe like half a dozen that you know really well and hang out with, have coffee with, have meals with, whatever. And I think just build up stronger connections with those people. That’s what I’m going to aim at for next.

Sam:  Yeah, that is a lot, lot more effective. And I think maybe we could do a show about that. You’re right, having that and yeah, it could be a bit more than that, a bit less. But you’re right, having a much stronger connection with a smaller number of people is far more effective than kind of having a very loose network of vast amounts of people who you barely know their name and you’re kind of flicking through LinkedIn going, who is this person? What are we to, what was I talking about? Yeah, maybe you should do a good thought on a show as well, Marcus. Yeah. Everyone to do in the new year. That kind of building that tight network, not just a kind of wider network. I’ve just realized, actually the idea of keeping taking a camera to the networking event, it might make some people not want to speak to you because they fear you might suddenly want to snap their photos. Be like hiding behind the coffee urn, in case you decide to use it.

Marcus: Yeah, I think a camera is like a microphone, isn’t it? You shove it in someone’s face, they’re going to run a guest.

Sam:  Marcus, do you want to chat about your. You were going to throw up one of the guests on one of the shows.

Marcus: Yeah, okay. The one I’ve chosen is a fairly recent one and I’m sure you remember him. It’s Colin, the listening guy.

Sam: Yeah, definitely. Interesting. Really interesting show. Yeah, loads and loads that we learned in that one. Yeah, I felt a bit like afterwards I needed to go to his website and sign up to something as there was just like so much more to learn.

Marcus:  Do you know what, Sam? I think since that show, both you and I have been a bit different with our guests. And we, I would like to think, have given our guests a bit more space to talk and we’ve become better listeners just by hanging out with Colin on that 125 minutes episode. I think it was quite profound. The difference it makes.

Sam:  Yeah, no, definitely. I’ve known him for a little while. I had a few one to ones and always when you’ve had a one to one, you kind of come away with this kind of sort of calm, serene feeling at the end of it.

Marcus: Yeah, I think again, we banged on about this a lot in the shows, the importance of listening. And you know what, I’m seeing a bit of a connection here, aren’t we, Tom? I’m talking about being more authentic by meeting people face to face, becoming better at listening. Are these all skills really that somehow maybe have been diluted during the COVID years?

Sam:  Yeah, possibly when you’re kind of separated away. And like you said, networking went to Zoom and things. I guess in some ways, though, it was very good in terms of forcing people to experiment. So before then, Zoom networking was weird. While now it’s kind of people are going for a mix and I think that mix works well, doesn’t it? Where sometimes things are on Zoom and some things are in person, you kind of pick and choose being on what works for you. While before COVID it was very much everything had to be in person. Doing completely everything in person is very time consuming, isn’t it?

Marcus: Yeah. My idea of business before COVID didn’t really exist because I, ah, started off doing the branding photography just around when Covid started. Before that, I was at a university doing my thing. But, yeah. Interesting what you’re saying there, Colin. What about you? Any favourite guests of the year?

Sam: And I’m Sam, by the way, not Colin Marcus, but yes.

Marcus:  Oh, shit. That’s right. Last time I did. I keep calling you Colin. Don’t listen. So. Right, yeah, loads of nice guests, I think.

Sam:  First one say all the guests have been amazing. I’ve had some fantastic guests, so it is really hard to pick out individuals. I think one that stuck in my mind was Donna Green. She’s a photographer up from Scotland and just. She was so organized and so methodical and I can hear her accent in my head while I’m thinking about what she said. And she just knew from the moment she spoke to somebody to the moment they left. And this whole process in between, she had it all nailed down so well. She had an amazing process, clearly got fantastic pictures, but she had it also organized and also planned so that nothing was missed. The people going through the process clearly felt involved and she just had such good systems and organization in place just to make all that work so well. And I think a lot of people can learn from that.

Marcus: Yeah, brilliant. Well, I brought Donna in. She’s a very good friend of mine. We both have regular conversations and egg each other on, as it were. And you’re right, there’s one thing about Donna she’s really good at. She’s organized, she’s got a very busy family life and it always amazes me how she fits it all in together. But she’s made that as part of her practice, this idea about being organized and getting the work out there. And with her customers, they come to her because that’s what they value as well. They’re not just there for the photographs, they’re there for all the other extra bits that Donna can do for their.

Sam: Yeah. And I think that’s come through with nearly all the Photography guests. Is that the photography part of it is such a small part of it? Yes. If you give them rubbish photos, they’re not going to be happy. But there is so much more, isn’t there? Before, afterwards, during the relationship, so much extra, while there is so much photo focus on that photography. And I think that’s part one things we’re doing in the podcast. We are talking about the photography, definitely, but we’re not going into why we’re trying to go into the tiny details of what f stops and tripods you should be using. We’re more trying to give that big picture.

Marcus: Quite right. Connie said again, then it’s a shame I got an edit button. Sam. Yes, quite right. I mean, that’s what, when we came together with the idea of the show, it was always about marketing and the aesthetics of photography. We didn’t want to go down the technical route of how to take a photograph, and we didn’t want to go deep, deep dive into marketing. The idea of the show wasn’t it was to put both together.

Sam: Definitely. That’s it. Cool. And yes, so there has been some amazing shows, hasn’t there, Marcus? And I’m looking forward to more. We already have a guest calendar stacked up until the end of February. We already have actually quite a few guests recorded that we’ve recorded in December that have not gone out yet. So the number of shows ready to go is quite big and the number of guests is huge. So like we said, if you want to be a guest, if you can think of good guests, please, please get in touch. Just go to the website shootthetop.com. You can get in touch with us there. Be really good. Dear ideas, views and we’re looking forward to 2024 and series two of shoot to the lot.

Marcus: Thanks, Sam. Thanks for being a great co host.

Sam: Yeah, had an amazing time. Marcus, thank you so much. Have a fantastic Christmas and listeners, too, have an amazing Christmas and new year, and we look forward to doing much more podcasting in 2024.

Marcus: Indeed we do. Thank you. Bye.