To kick off the first episode of season three for Marketing Tip Tea Time, we welcomed John Robson, photographer extraordinaire, who discussed his insights of storytelling through media images.
Whether it be through print or digital media, the one thing he looks for is those things that tell good stories and provide good images. It isn’t so much of the image itself but the emotion that can be felt through it. He claims that his art filter is to simply “photograph the sexy things in life, which means cool people, cool places, and cool events.”
But what needs to happen when you have the media but don’t have the customers? When you are trying to reach your client base and transition from networking into lasting work relationships, Robson’s advice is to find those who value your unique style, your work, and your voice. Staying true to what you find appealing in your craft forms a personalized creative process that helps you remain competitive because it is not simply “following the trend.” Once you establish those relationships, the responsibility of following through on your work now shifts back to you. The three things that Robson suggests are to be early (never late), to stay focused on the project given to you, and to have great customer service. If you set a high bar for yourself, people will respect that.
John is also well-known for his food photography, and the happenstance of coming to be a large influencer in that world in northern Colorado started with him taking a chance through Juli and Juan, a couple who runs Juli Y Juan’s Kitchen in Fort Collins, CO. After working with them for a catering event, the relationship was born, and Robson has been their photographer for the past five years. It was a slow process to get another food gig—two years, to be exact. But Robson has continued to put himself out there for the creations he wants to be noticed for. His key elements that he looks for in his food photography are all with the naturalistic view. To “see it as it is” is his motto and making sure that what he adds to his food pieces is just that: adding to the object, not distracting from the rawness of the image.
For those who are claiming to be aspiring photographers, he gives this advice: “You are either a photographer, or you’re not. [There] is no aspiring.” Decide, right now, that you are a photographer. In fact, decide that you are whatever it is you are wanting to be, whether that is an artist, a business owner, a marketing agent. Put forth the work to start, and don’t wait for inspiration to come or for the perfect moment to arise.
And, of course, the secret sauce that Robson gave came in the advice that is universal to anyone who is in any field.
Have ambition and a similar amount of patience.
Treat others like you want to be treated.
Watch John’s full interview below!