Guest Interview with Olga Geidane

Jul 27, 2023 | Coach Guest

“Show Notes”

Episode 15 Olga Gidane

Olga Geidane is a highly engaging and sought-after expert speaker on mindset
transformation and change.

She shared her infectious energy and wisdom on self-leadership across five
continents at conferences and personal development events of all kinds, both
online and in-person.

She helps individuals to perform at their peak through her 5-step transformative
mindset coaching as well as her courses and Olga is very passionate about helping
couples to rebuild their relationships through her Stay Forever Together
Relationship retreats.

A background in modelling has given Olga the confidence to really use
photography to promote her personal brand and finds it easy to collaborate and
communicate with photographers. And an important part of the process is having a
strong two way dialogue with the photographer.

Marcus discussed Olga’s live as a model and though she remembers the time with
fondness she notes that it was hard work and it really was 24/7. A great term that Olga discusses the notion of “camera ready” – to be on point.

Olga recommends seeking out a style and colour consultant before the shoot to
really nail the look. A great tip for photographers if you see a client who has
changed their say, hairstyle. Get in touch with them to see if they need more

On the shoot itself Olga really suggests that the photographer visits the location to
see if any extra lighting is needed. Sam discusses the importance of that pre-
production form/chat to really dive deep into the details and needs. And on the
shoot itself to allow time so that you are not rushed. And at the end of the shoot
review what you have done – you may have missed something!

This is also a great time to go through, with the client, the story behind the shoot
and make sure the images flow.

The mood board – a collection of images that can inspire the mood of the shoot.

Olga makes a great point about the best side of your face and make sure this faces
the camera and is lit accordingly.

She goes on further to discuss how she has built her personal and how
photography is crucial in that – choosing photographs that are authentic.

This has helped her living her dream as a digital nomad, living in lots of different
locations and having adventures with her husband.

You can find more what she offers her clients here:

“Show Transcription”

Sam: Hi, Marcus.

Marcus: Hello there, Sam.

Sam: Right. We have another guest today, Marcus. I’m very excited today we’ve got Olga Gidan, and she does so many things, I’m not quite sure how to describe what she does. So I think the best thing is we’ll ask Olga to introduce herself. Olga, welcome to the podcast.

Olga: Thank you so much, Sam. It’s a pleasure to meet you as well, Marcus.  It’s absolutely a delight to be here. I will introduce myself in a very short way because I don’t like to do a big WUHA out of who I am. I’m a mindset coach and a motivational speaker, and in everything that I do is all about transformation and change, whether it is couples retreats or my courses or my books or anything else. So it’s all about transformation and growth.

Marcus: That’s fantastic. Olga, what a great resume you’ve got there. And though we haven’t met before, I’ve had a good look through the website and your material and I just noticed that you use photography really well. Your personal brand is super strong. And as this show is aimed at photographers, maybe you could give a few tips, a story of how you arrived at that point.

Olga:  Absolutely, yes. I’m more than happy to help that. Well, I think my modeling background really helped me when it came to my current work because being before I learned how to pose, I learned how to use camera or how to be in front of camera, how to be a friend of the camera, but also how to collaborate with photographers. Because I know photographers very often they struggle with models because they don’t know how to pose. And models, I don’t mean only professional models, I mean anybody who wants a camera is always a model, right? And it’s always about collaboration. It’s always giving permission to photographers and just saying them, could you please advise me where to put my hands, where to put my arms, what’s best? Because if we don’t give permission to our photographers to do that, they will not do that because they can do it. They don’t have the feeling they can do it. Right? So it is about giving permission to photographers that, hey, we are here to collaborate. You want to create the best photos ever? I want to look the best ever. So let’s just collaborate. Let’s just talk about what do we want to achieve. And I think the really important bit when it comes to collaboration with a photographer is giving as many details as possible to the photographer about what exactly you want to achieve. Right? So then a photographer can prepare because it’s not the same to get pictures in the museum versus a hotel versus outside. You need to have different outfits. It’s about the lighting and stuff like that. So it’s really important to give as many details as possible to the photographer. But also, photographers must ask questions, right? Because if you don’t ask questions about what would you like to achieve? What is the outcome? What are you going to use these photos for? How are you going to receive the information? Marcus: Yes, I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head there, Olga, about this diving in deep. And we’ve talked about this from the show before with the client and having these conversations about exactly what both parties want. What’s the outcome from it? I really just have to go back in your conversation, and obviously my ears pricked up. When you started talking about modeling, being an ex-fashion photographer, tell me a little bit what it was like being as a model for you.

Olga: Well, there’s a reason why I’m not modeling anymore, right? Because being a model is not being a coach. It’s not being somebody who has a very strong personality. Being a model means you are super mega adaptable. You don’t really have your own lifestyle as such because everything is based and worked around and planned around your castings, around your shoots, around your visits to your agency and stuff like that. So you don’t really have independence because you’re constantly dependent on what’s the next job, what your next job is, and what should you have for your next job. But also, from another point of view, it was really helpful for me to be a model in the past because I learned lots of different tricks. For example, how to work with a camera. That’s one of them. The second thing is how to always be camera ready. That’s the thing people forget about—how to always be camera ready. A camera can capture you from any point, at any moment, wherever you are. So you got to be always camera ready. And it’s so funny how sometimes I will travel with my friend, and whenever it will be about doing some pictures in front of some stuff, some statues or some beautiful background, I would just stand and I’m ready. And she would take some time to take off her scarf and take off her shoes and change her handbag, and I would say, no, be camera ready all the time. And for her, that was like, I don’t understand what you mean. So it really helps when you just learn how to be camera ready. Okay? If somebody takes a photo of you, and especially when you’re in a business, especially when you’re a public person, you don’t want to be captured. You don’t want to be captured on a picture in a way that you don’t look very presentable. Right? So be camera ready. Be camera ready.

Marcus: This is a great notion, and I’ve not heard that term before, but I think you really encapsulate what it’s about—about capturing that moment. Camera ready. Yes. I really like that. So,

Sam: Olga, the idea of camera ready sounds really interesting. Can you give some tips not for photographers, but for sort of people in front of the camera? What do you mean by camera ready? What can people do to be camera ready?

Olga: Great question. Thank you so much. Well, first of all, ask yourself a question: If somebody would take a photo of me looking like that, would I be okay with that? And if it’s a no because oh, my hair is not done. Well, do your hair. If it’s a no because my nails are not done, then do your nails. If it’s a no because your jeans aren’t looking the best on you, then change your jeans. Whatever it is you think you would not like to be captured in a camera, then go and change that right away. And in fact, I would say the most important thing before even being camera ready, go and do color and style consultation. Why? Because when you’re wearing the right colors, when you’re wearing the right style clothing, that means you are already 50% always camera ready. So this is really important. And another tip, I would say just make sure you smile.

Sam: Cool. That’s really useful for people going in front of the lens but also for photographers to give that as information out. I mean, “Are you camera ready?” would be sort of an amazing free download that photographers could give to engage their clients, engage leads, and stuff.

Olga: Oh, I love that. Yes, download. Yes, again, because as a person for a client, you would like to receive as many tips as possible from your photographer so you can achieve the best result. And again, from my side, I’m always camera ready because it’s a habit, right? It’s from modeling.

Marcus: I think really what you’re talking about here is also as a photographer, as an artist, it’s well-known this idea about working with your muse and it’s a process and it’s a creative process. I think you build that process up. We talked about this in the show we did about subscriptions, about how working with a client on a regular basis, you get to know each other better, you get to know what works and it’s an ongoing process.

Olga: It really is. And that reminds me of the amount of times I have changed my hairstyle and hair color and that meant I would have to go to the photographer back again, again. And here’s a little tip for the photographers: keep in touch with your clients. If you see on social media they have changed their style and you know, they should be on a camera for one reason or another—you know, they’re a public person, you know, they use their social media for business promotion and stuff like that—just remind them, “Hey, I see you changed your hairstyle, I see you changed yourself. Would you like to do another photo shoot?”

Marcus: Boom. Obviously when you’re working with these photographers, both as a model and as a coach, as you are now, when you’re working with the photographers, how do you make sure they capture those moments that you’re talking about?

Olga: It really helps when we have previous discussions whether I have a photographer at my event, which I do like to have them, because, again, selfies with the audience is not the same as a professional photographer. Right. It’s allowing, if it’s possible, speaking with the venue beforehand, allowing the photographer to come to the venue so they can look around before the event, they can see what is the lighting, because they will have to bring different lighting if it’s not the way how it should be in a room. It’s very different between just being in the room and listening to the speaker versus a photographer taking pictures, right? Not always the lighting is the same.

So when it comes to my collaboration with photographers right now versus back in the time when I was a model, it’s about giving them as many details as possible, allowing them to come to the venue, if possible, beforehand, telling them what exactly what I want. Do I want a picture with the audience from behind me? Do I want the photographer to capture more pictures with the engagement of my audience? What do I want? Because typically a photographer, and you know this really well, will take about 1000 pictures. But you don’t need 1000. You don’t need 1000 pictures. You need only a few out of the entire thousand. But that means they’ll need to take many, many pictures for you to select one or two, maybe five, maximum, out of their thousand.

Them, right? But if you don’t guide them, if you don’t tell them what exactly you want from that venue, from that event, from this photo shoot, they will not be able to create what you want and you will walk away disappointed and the photographer will not feel they have done a great job because for them it’s an art. For them, they are creative. And because I’m a big lover of photography, I’m not a photographer myself, I’m just using it as a hobby. I know how much satisfaction you get when you get the photo. Exactly. In a whole perfection as it could be, right? But it doesn’t happen that often.

Sam: I was going to say an interesting thing there, Olga. You’re saying you need to tell the photographer what you want from the photo session. You need to make sure they know. But I think also we have to remember a lot of people maybe only have one photo session every couple of years or once a year or something. So although you need to tell the person, the photographer also needs to ask, doesn’t he? In some ways, the person having the photos doesn’t always know straight off what they need to tell the photographer. That the photographer needs to take that responsibility, I think, to make sure that they get that information from the customer. Do you agree with that?

Olga: 100%, if they would have. I only came across once a photographer who had a form which I had to fill in with multiple questions: what are you going to be using the pictures for? What is the mood? What is this? And that was super mega helpful because that gave me clarity. So I think if photographers will go into more details before the photo shoot, that will help them to deliver an outstanding job as well. So 100% they should take responsibility as well. It’s not only about the client telling them what they want, but it’s also about the photographer asking as many questions as possible and what’s really important on the day. Clarifying that again, because circumstances can change, the mood can change, the weather can change, but clarifying again what we agreed on. Are you still okay to do that? Or maybe something has changed. We all know that we change our opinions frequently, right? So I think clarifying on the day what was the pre-agreed circumstances or outcomes or what you wanted, your wants and your wishes versus what are they now? Do you want to drop something? Do you want to add something? And building that meaningful relationship so it’s a friendly photo shoot, it’s not when you feel stiff and the photographer is just clicking the button and now we are done. No, but making that mini relationship work for two people.

Sam: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I guess that also needs time. So the photographer needs to be there not just two minutes for the photo shoot, right? “Are we ready? Let’s go.” They need time, don’t they, to build that relationship, to spend the time beforehand, to chat to you before the event, even if it means they have to turn up, talk to you, and disappear for an hour and then come back when the photos are done. They need that time, don’t they? Rather than just it being a rush.

Olga: Absolutely. 100%. And for that reason, very often I would invite photographers to come to my events where I’m speaking or performing earlier than everybody else, for them to have the feel of the rooms, for them to get different angles, test their cameras, and stuff like that. Because it’s not like you come and start doing the job. Any professional will need some time to settle, to build a mini studio, whatever it is, right? I would never sit in front of the client and say, “Okay, let’s go.” It’s about putting the things, opening my iPad, preparing, opening the client details on my laptop, putting the light, putting things together. So even that takes some time, maybe not 3 hours, right, but it still takes some time. The same for the photographer. And we have to respect that. We really have to respect that. They need some time to prepare and again, give them the opportunity to prepare.

Marcus: So really, what we’re talking about here, the crucial things on a photo shoot are doing the research beforehand and finding out what the client and the photographer want. Secondly, it’s about maintaining a communication where ideas are going back and forth. And on that notion of ideas, I think that is really important as well. The photographer has got to have ideas. If something’s not working, you’ve got to come out and say, “Look, this isn’t working. Let’s try something different.” Or if a client might say, “Okay, what can we do here?” The photographer has got to come with an idea of something that’s going to suit the brand of the person. Would you agree with that, Olga?

Olga: 100%. And I would like to give a little tip here, because I learned the hard way. When you are still on the set, before you leave, or before you change the location, because sometimes you will go from one corner to another, one location to another, check what you have done. I know photographers usually do check for the lighting, for composition, but that’s what the client is looking for, right? So I think what’s really important is, as the photographer is checking a couple of previous slides on their camera, it’s really important to show the client to say, “Are you happy with this?” Because it could be a matter of just, “Oh, let me just do the same, but with my hand in a different angle.” Right? And that is really important because you might rate a photo with fantastic lighting, with everything looking great from the photographer’s side, but from the client’s side, I might think, “Oh, we should have told me to move my leg to the side.

Marcus: Yeah, I think that’s really good. When I’m shooting Rin Rye clients, I shoot tethered, and by that I mean I shoot directly to the computer so the client can see the photographs as we’re shooting them. But more importantly, to go along with what you’re saying, we can look at the photographs in a grid on the computer screen, large altogether, and see what the story is that we’re creating. We can look at one photograph and say, that’s going to be great for a header, but what do we need that’s going to show this? And we can start building it like a palette in front of us.

Olga: Yes. That’s fabulous. And also what I think would be really helpful—I have never been asked this question before, but I know it works with hairdressers, for example—is when you go to a salon and you say, I want to change my style. This is what I’m looking for. How about bringing this to the photographers? Would that help photographers? I’m sure it would. If we just come to photographers and we say, this is what I’m aiming for, I would like to get this. And also as a photographer, don’t be afraid to ask for that. Is there anything particular you’re looking for? Do you have an idea? Do you want to send a picture of what you’re looking for so I can actually look at the photo, find the right angle, find the right location, or whatever else? Studio? Okay. What lighting should I use in the studio in that case? If it is outside, what camera should I take with me in that case? Right. So I think it just could be applicable as many times we do it in the hairdressing salons, it could be also applicable with photographers. What do you think?

Marcus: Yeah, I think you’re exactly right. And I think we’re talking about something that we both know from the world of fashion, and that is the mood board. Creating a mood board, be it on Pinterest or whichever way you’re going to do it. Is that what you’re talking about, Olga?

Olga: Yes, totally. Yeah, the mood board. I like the word. Yeah, the mood board. Yeah.

Sam: For those of us who aren’t sure about a mood board, can you expand a little bit?

Marcus: Yes, of course I can. When you’re working—and this is when the research and the planning stage—you’re going to get together and say, what’s the mood of the shoot? Okay, it’s going to be dark and moody. It’s going to be light and airy. And what we would do is, in the old days, we would get magazines and cut them out, stick them on a board. So we got the mood, and we get the board, and we stick them on a Holly board. And on the photo shoot, we’d be using those as a reference, not copying them, but using these photographs as a reference. And then I think the modern equivalent is creating something on like a Pinterest page. You can do that as well.

Olga: I’m sure you can. Or even just taking screenshots and sending them screenshots via WhatsApp or whatever. Yeah, whatever.

Sam: It’s just about getting the idea across of what you want. We do a similar thing with websites. When we build a website for somebody, one of the first questions we ask is, right, send us three websites you like and tell us why you like them and what you like about them. And also send us three that you don’t like and tell us why you don’t. And that really gives us a good idea of what they’re looking for.That’s a really good idea. I never thought of that.

Olga: Yeah, I love that. Well, actually, speaking about what I don’t like, I would like to bring one point which really helped me. One photographer told me many years ago that it’s about good side and bad side, apparently. And I was talking about this, and it really is true. Apparently, everybody, obviously, we’re all asymmetrical. Our bodies are not symmetrical at all. And everybody has a better side and a worse side. So it is about finding your best side, whichever it is, and making sure you are facing the photographer with that side. And also, if you know something is not working—for example, I’m quite tall, so some postures or some positions of my legs will not work every single time, like it would work with some other people. Right. So knowing what works, what doesn’t work foryou, and letting know about that photographer in advance will be really helpful too, I think. And when it comes to your bad side or good side, knowing that even as a photographer, if you see, okay, this person’s photos are much better from this angle or that angle, just say that to that person. Because chances are this person has no clue what is their bad side, what is their good side.

Marcus: Yeah, that’s excellent, Olga. And just as we’re coming towards the end of the show, I mentioned earlier how struck I was with how excellent your personal brand is. And the way you’ve used photographs to build your personal brand may just go through our listeners how you have achieved this, how you built your personal brand with photography.

Olga: Well, by definitely using the best thing that makes sense, but also being there as a human being, anybody right now working with anyone they work with. Also being there as a human being, anybody right now working with anyone, they work with humans. Right. And I can read about you as much as possible on your website. But if I don’t see what you look like, I can’t build impression about you. If I don’t see what you sound like, if I don’t hear it, if I can’t observe you in action again. Every profession is different, every websites different, every business is different. Right. But if it’s something more personal like in my Is, it is I’m coaching people. It’s very personable. Right. For me, it’s important to show people what I am like, who I’m like. And if you don’t like me, that is fine. So this is just giving opportunity to people to see with whom are you going to be working? And that means goes to those photo shoots, select those pictures which show your personality at its best. It doesn’t have to be perfect picture. I never aim at perfection. Perfection is fake. We know it from Instagram. Right. But I aim at is this photo representing who I am. This is what matters to me most.

Sam:  Amazing. Thank you. And its also Olga, interesting to hear a little bit because we’ve talked a lot about photography, about your travels and stuff, so your kind of business and you as a person don’t really have a home base. I think it’d be interesting for our listeners to hear a little bit about that.

 Olga: Absolutely. Well, technically I don’t have a home. I have a storage. And that means that I have a very gypsy lifestyle. That’s true. Well, let me tell you one thing. This is the lifestyle I was dreaming about. And when Lockdown hit and they announced we have to close our offices, it was a blessing in the sky because my intuition told me close the office completely. Don’t just temporary, but permanently, because it will be long term. And frankly enough, you want to travel full time, so why would you hold on to your office? So closing the office, shutting down, that completely was one step closer to my dream of traveling full time. And that’s exactly with my husband right now. Him and I, we both travel for work a lot. Sometimes together, sometimes separately. It sometimes is easier, calmer. But the bottom line is that we really love our lifestyle. It means we are never at the same place for longer than this, which is fun. Yes. We really feel excited when we can unpack fully because it happens very rarely that will be very honest a common here. But in time it’s adventure because you learn so much about cultures. You are there, you take, you go sightseeing, you work. We still work all the time. It’s not like a holiday all the time, because I’ll get bored if I’ll be holidaying all the time like that. But it’s like working within our working hours and then the evenings or weekends, we explore. We see things, we do things. And it really was my dream. And it’s not for everybody. It looks very glamorous, it looks very exciting. It’s not for everybody because not everybody can let go of their attachment to staff. Not everybody can let go of the feeling of lack of safety when they don’t have a home, for example. Right? So it’s not for everybody, but it is for us. And it works and we are happy. And my favorite location is where I haven’t been yet. And I keep saying that because I want to see more.

Sam: Amazing. And where are you now?

Olga: In Montenegro. That’s where I am now. Until Monday. On Monday, we are going to Sweden. Amazing. That’s really interesting.

Marcus: Brilliant. Love it. And just one more thing, just to finish the show up. Olga, if I may, what is the future hold for you? What is the dream in, say, 510 years’ time?

Olga: In more traveling, even Big Impact, more books will be written and I’ll be even more happier.

Marcus: Oh, and I’m sure you will be fantastic.

Olga: Thank you.

Sam: It has been amazing speaking to you, Olga. Thanks so much. You’ve given so much to our listeners and I’ve really enjoyed it.

Olga: Thank you, Sam. Thank you, Marcus. It was a pleasure being on your show. It really was a pleasure. Thank you.

Sam: Thank you.