By Focused AF
Focused AFNov 16, 2023
Episode 021 - Andrea & Richard Flores
In today's episode, learn how Andrea & Richard Flores grew their little photography passion into a full-fledged, full-service photography studio, allowing them maximize their revenue-per-client and balancing a hectic home life with 3 kids and 50 chickens!
Today's drink is a salted-caramel apple cider old fashioned
- 1 dash angostura bitters
- 1 tsp salted caramel
- 2 oz bourbon
- 2 oz apple cider
- Garnish with apple slices, and toasted cinnamon and star anise
Episode 020 - Wedding Planning Tips for Couples & Vendors (Part 2)
We continue our talk about finding/hiring the perfect photographer, the power of print, and how we can pro-actively get ahead of venues/bridal attendants who go rogue!
Episode 019 - Wedding Planning Tips For Couples & Vendors (Part 1)
This episode is for all the brides & grooms! (and also the vendors who love 'em).
These are all the tips that you're not going to find on TheKnot, WeddingWire or a Google search. In this episode, we talk about finding the perfect:
- Hair & Make-Up Artists
What are some of the hallmarks of great vendors? What are some of the things you should look out for? Do you agree/disagree?
Today's drink is a Grapefruit & Rose Vodka & Tonic with Rosemary
- 1 oz Grapefruit & Rose Vodka
- Top off with tonic
- Garnish with rosemary
Episode 018 - Marvin Flavien
If you're not leveraging video in your marketing, you're missing out on a HUGE opportunity to reach your audience in a powerful and impactful way - and Marvin Flavien tells us why.
Marvin will also be sharing the stage with us at the Focused AF Summit next January 11th, and you can get tickets here: https://focused-af.com/summit.
Today's drink is a Dark & Stormy (with Hail)!
- Fill cup with ice
- 1 oz dark rum
- Top off with ginger beer
Episode 017 - Let's Talk Pricing!
"How much should I charge?"
It's one of the most commonly asked questions, especially for newcomers and transplants alike. As we discuss in today's episode, sometimes it's not so simple as seeing what others are charging in your market, and then simply going from there. When it comes to pricing yourself properly, it's not just your product, or what anyone says your work is worth.
We get it - you don't want budget clients, and you simply want to make sure that you're fairly compensated for your hard work, experience, and craftsmanship.
In today's episode, learn how we've priced ourselves and our own businesses, how/when we raised our prices, and all the calculations that go into making those decisions; all while maintaining a solid inquiry volume with our dream clients (while screening out all the price shoppers in the process!).
Episode 016 - Nikisha King
In today's episode with Nikisha King, we talk about the importance of having the right people around you, having the right mindset, and having the right systems and processes in place to help you succeed in your business, while serving your clients (and others around you) in a meaningful way.
Nikisha will also be sharing the stage with us at the Focused AF Summit on January 11, 2024, which you can check out here: https://focused-af.com/summit.
You can check out Nikisha's work here:
For bloopers, highlights, and BTS, follow us here:
Got some tea? We'd love to hear it!
Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might share your story on a future episode!
Episode 015 - Serving Your Customers
Remember that moment during the initial consultation where you promised the clients that you'd always go "above-and-beyond" for them, and that your customer service is probably the best thing since sliced bread?
Did you really mean it when you promised them all those things?
Or do you find yourself waving your contracts in their faces when they require a little bit more of you later?
If you've been in business long enough, you'll find that most days are fun and easy, but others can be draining and demoralizing. At the end of the day, you're in the service industry. Happy clients is what provides you with longevity in this business and it starts with serving first.
In this episode, we also talk about:
- What we do when clients ask us to do more than we're contractually obligated to provide.
- How do deal with difficult vendors.
- That one time where the 2nd shooter slept with the groom! (eek!)
We're still going virtual at the moment, so no drinks for this episode. But we'll be back in the studio in no time!
Episode 014 - Let's Talk About Traffic & Bookings
How's everyone doing with their inquiries and bookings?
In today's episode, we get into some real talk about what's been working for us and the 4 photography brands that we have between us.
As you'll learn - not only do we all get our inquiries in very different ways, our clients book us for all very different reasons. Goes to show, there isn't one "correct" way to do anything when it comes to your business. You simply have to find a way that works for you and your working style.
**Sorry about the poor audio quality, we were testing our remote/virtual set up!**
Episode 013 - Prioritizing Your Clients Over Your Portfolio
Every time you snap a photo, ask yourself this (and be honest): are you doing it for the clients, or are you doing it for yourself, your brand, or your portfolio?
As artists and business owners, we all have our own reasons for doing things the way we want to do them. But at the end of the day, it's nearly unanimous that a "service-first" mentality is the one thing that will bring you success and longevity in your business.
In today's episode, we talk about how we serve our clients in the most meaningful ways, that turn them from customers into some of our biggest, raving fans.
For this episode, we are enjoying Mo's Special Slider:
- 1000 lbs of ground beef
- 1000 slices of American cheese
- 500 slider buns
Episode 012 - Moses & Steph of Moses Cruz Photography
In today's episode, we are joined by our very good friends Moses & Steph of Moses Cruz Photography, another husband-and-wife wedding photography duo who loves cheeseburger sliders and escape rooms as much as we do!
In this episode, we talk about how they started their photography journey with a modest $60 job, transitioned into second shooting (for EVERYONE, including your co-hosts), and eventually built an award-winning wedding photography brand right here in New Jersey.
We also learn about all the crazy dynamics, sacrifices, and compromises that go into working with your spouse, one that very few solo-preneurs ever get to experience (but one that other husband-and-wife teams can surely relate to).
Today's beverage is Ro's Special Sangria! If you want the recipe, tell us your favorite part of this episode in the comments below, and Ro will personally share with you his top-secret (and super delicious) recipe!
Episode 011 - State of the Wedding Industry
Is business really slow, or is it our imagination?
In this episode, we explore the state of the wedding industry as it currently exists in this "post-COVID" world.
- If there's a slowdown in your business, we explore some of the reasons why and how we can possibly "fix" them.
- We revisit some of the lessons from veteran photographers who fizzled out after 20-30 years of running a successful business.
- We also talk about tipping, passing CC fees to clients, and much more!
Today's drink is last episodes Philly-Adjacent Wooter-Ice!
- 1 oz cherry vodka
- 1 dash of grenadine
- top off with sprite or ginger ale
Episode 010 - Nathan Desch
Here's an industry secret that very few talk about: one can actually second-shoot their way to a full calendar and eventually into an incredibly successful career. Join our interview with Nathan Desch today as we talk about:
1. How newcomers and veterans can transform themselves into more attractive candidates for hiring primaries and studios.
2. Some common mistakes that photographers make when presenting themselves to hiring primaries and studios.
3. Why he created the platform https://shootwith.me to help studios & primaries find associates and second-shooters, and how photographers are now leveraging this platform to fill their calendars.
Today's drink is the "Philly-Adjacent Wooter-Ice"
- 1 dash of grenadine
- 1 oz cherry vodka
- Top off with Sprite or ginger ale
Episode 009 - Rylan Earle-Lott
How do you affirm, celebrate, and serve the LGBTQ community in the wedding industry, the right way? What's "Rainbow-Washing"? How can we do better?
Meet Rylan, an openly trans wedding photographer who stopped by the podcast studio to share his thoughts about all of these LGBTQ topics, and a whole lot more. Wanna learn more about Rylan? You can check him out here:
Today's drink is the Sbagliato (the correct way!)
Equal parts dry vermouth, campari, and prosecco. Garnish with orange wheel. Enjoy!
Episode 008 - How to Get More Vendor Referrals
It's a common misconception that referrals come solely from happy customers; however this mindset overlooks a huge swath of potential referral opportunities that are sitting right in front of us. In this episode, we explore all the ways we can leverage what we do, in order to get everyone to shout our names from the rooftops. We also talk about all the easy ways you can get yourself on everyone's poop-list.
If you are a wedding vendor who doesn't get a whole lot of referrals from your fellow colleagues, this episode might be worth a listen!
Today's drink is Ben's Sbagliato (the *incorrect* way of making this drink).
- 1 oz dry vermouth
- 1 oz campari
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz prosecco
- Slice of orange (optional)
Come meet your hosts in person! https://focused-af.com/focusedafsummit/
Episode 007 - How to Build a Successful Associate Team
Work less, earn more. It's the American Dream, right?
Well, not so fast.
In today's episode, we take a deep dive into starting, growing, and managing an associate brand. Karis & Ben started their associate brand, Pearl Paper Studio back in 2013, and have since grown their team to 14 photographers, documenting over 80+ weddings/year in one of the most saturated markets on the planet. Learn more about their struggles and business philosophy which has helped shape their team to what it is today. Pro tip? Owning & managing an associate brand is not for the wary, and it's definitely not as easy as it looks!
Today's drink is an Amaretto Sour.
- 1 oz Amaretto liquor
- .5 oz simple syrup
- .5 oz lemon juice
Combine all ingredients over ice. Stir. Garnish with cherry.
Episode 006 - Emily Rochotte
On today's episode, we are joined by Emily Rochotte, a social media strategist and professional blogger who shares with us some of her tips & tricks on creating a marketing strategy in today's quickly-changing wedding marketplace. We also talk about outsourcing, ChatGPT, and even a phenomena known as "Posting & Ghosting" (and a million reasons why you shouldn't be doing that).
This episode's drink is a Pina Colada. Here's how you make it!
- Two generous squirts of coconut cream
- .75 oz coconut rum
- .75 oz white rum
- Top off with pineapple juice
- Garnish with cherry
You can serve this iced or blended (we didn't have time, so we went iced today!).
Episode 005 - How We Use AI In Our Work
As business owners, we are always looking for ways to make our lives a little easier, earn more revenue, and run our businesses a little more efficiently. This is where AI comes in. Over the past couple of years, AI has completely transformed the landscape of the wedding industry, especially in the wedding photography space. Grab a seat and your favorite beverage, join us, and learn about all the ways that we use AI in our work.
Today's drink is a Orange Blossom-Rose Vodka Tonic with Blueberries & Thyme
- 1 oz Ketel One Botanicals Orange Blossom Rose Vodka
- Top off with tonic
- Garnish with blueberries & thyme
Episode 004 - Mike Zawadzki
Mike Zawadzki is a wedding photographer based out of Northern NJ. Listen to his inspirational story of hitting rock bottom, then eventually climbing to the top through perseverance, hard-work, and finally surrendering to his destiny and role in this world. We also talk about building an associate team, his best marketing tips, and the importance of authenticity and service as an entrepreneur.
Today's drink is the Cran-Orange Tonic with Berries & Thyme
- 1 oz orange juice (extra pulp)
- 1 oz cranberry juice
- 1 oz tonic
Pour all the ingredients into an old-fashioned glass, and garnish with berries & thyme (the thyme is the secret here!)
Episode 003 - Jennifer Molina & Rolando Molina
Who were Jenn & Ro before they became globe-trotting, award-winning, wedding photographers? Learn more about Ro's life of crime, Jenn's ambitions to become an Apple genius, and the scenic route they took to get to where they are today.
This episode's drink was the Aperol Spritz!
Equal parts aperol, prosecco, and club soda. Garnish with orange wheel. Enjoy!
Episode 002 - Ben Lau & Karis Lau
Who were Ben and Karis before they were Ben AND Karis? Learn more about their humble beginnings, hear about their disastrous first date, and how they turned an accidental business idea into three thriving wedding photography businesses today. We also make a major announcement in this episode!
You can learn more about that announcement here: https://focused-af.com/focusedafsummit
Aperol Spritz Recipe
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Prosecco
- 1 oz Club soda
- 1 orange wheel
- Fill large red wine glass with ice
- Combine ingredients
- Garnish with orange wheel
Pilot - Why We Started a Podcast
Ben, Karis, Jenn & Ro talk about how they met, the evolution of their friendship, and why they started a podcast. This episode also features Ben's World Famous Bengarita! (recipe below)
- 1 oz Tequila
- 1 oz Triple Sec
- 1 oz Fresh Lime Jucie
- .75oz Simple Syrup
- Rimmed glass tumbler with equal parts sugar, salt and lime zest
Shake ingredients with ice, and pour into prepared glass tumbler.
Focused AF Podcast Trailer
From marriage bed to marriage desk; what do you do when you have two husband-and-wife wedding photography teams who get together every week to talk about life, work, industry gossip (and occasionally cute outfits you can wear to work)?
You give them some fancy drinks, four mics and a podcast, that's what :).