Brian Greenberg is the owner of Richard Photo Lab - one of the top film photography labs in the world. He has talked with and counseled many photographers and in this interview we dig into the recurring issues he sees and advice he gives to help build a better creative business.
And here’s the transcript from the interview:
Brian Greenberg: 00:00 "I feel like everybody needs to take inventory. Every business needs to take inventory. What is the whole story? Don't just come to a meet up of 10 photographers and start complaining about the bad economy. It's like that's not going to get you anywhere. You take a good inventory of your business, of the components, what's working, what's not. Be honest about how much time you spent and own it." - Brian Greenberg of Richard Photo Lab
Braedon: 01:28 So Brian, so happy to have you on here.
Brian Greenberg: 01:31 Thanks for having me.
Brian Greenberg: 01:32 Yeah, of course. And my story about Richard Photo Lab that really sticks out to me is what I first started. I made a switch to shooting film when it was. I went basically from. I used to shoot film and then I was strongly digital and that I basically made like the heart switch with about 60 weddings on my books to go full throttle film and with that I think and then I was using Richard Photo lab and I think I'm both Brian and bill who who were involved there. They're like, what? Like who is, who is this guy and what is he doing? And so they actually, I'm down in Orange County, they're up in LA pretty deep and they drove all the way down from LA to come and basically say like, Hey, who are you? And then also the thing that I took away and were sort of concerned that the pace that you're going is going to burn you out so you need to figure something out and which, which was I think a very true statement, but it was for me that the level of care that you took to drive an hour and a half probably to come and meet with me, this new guy on the field, I dunno 10 something years ago, but that, that was like the level of customer service. Like wow, these guys actually care and that, that is, I think the thing that really does set you apart as a lab. But that's my story and Intro, but I want you to give just a little bit like what is, like, what is your background and how did Richard Photo Lab Start?
Brian Greenberg: 03:05 So my background, I, for Richard Photo, I worked at a commercial lab for that really served a fine art photographers and sort of your blue collar commercial photographers guys were shooting every single day. Um, a lot of studio work, a magazine work, things like that. Fashion for sure, a ton of fashion work. And it was a, it was a fairly large lab around 150 people. And I worked there for about 10 years before that I was in, um, I was a photo assistant and I was going to school to be a photo teacher, tography teacher. And so just sort of lining all that stuff up while living in Los Angeles. And I just went one. I went from photo assistant to like working with gear and then ended up in the lab, the labs thing to sort of clicked for me.
Brian Greenberg: 03:55 Um, a lot of technical but also a lot of people's stuff and still fashion and still it wasn't so cut and dry like equipment is and it just, it just sort of stuck with me. And so I ran that larger lab for a while and then, uh, this Richard Opportunity came along and it just, it just fit really well. It was only a, that there was a, it was Richard existed, they had a mostly clients that were a music related record companies and they had like 10 a wedding photographers. And it was this cute little thing. There was five or six people, uh, they were getting ready to close and it just seemed at the time in my life and everything had to sort of fit in really well to start something and do it a little bit differently. So, uh, at the time, the way that we, the way that I really wanted to, to make it grow was to offer really great service but not to focus just on Los Angeles, which is what most of the labs in Los Angeles would do.
Brian Greenberg: 05:03 But who's the biggest photographer in la where all the big shoots, what studios are people shooting at? I just thought I'm going to let those guys fight that out. Um, the service is important and there's people all over the country that need, need this service and so it just sort of started clicking as we met people, you know, for Santa Barbara, then in Texas and then Alabama and then, you know, all the way to Orange County. So we kind of started feeling, you know, meeting people everywhere and it's a. and we're still going. So sorry, what year was that? That happened? So, uh, it's been 15 years that I've been running Richard and I'm a. and then the tenure prior for that was I was at the other lab and was it when the digital start becoming a more dominant? So digital was because I was on the commercial side before really the wedding was our main focus.
Brian Greenberg: 06:05 Um, digital is already going to put everybody out of business so that all the film companies are going to go out of business. All the labs are going to be gone. Print is going to be gone. Everything's digital. Uh, that was before the. So if you say 15 years with Richard, 10 years at the prior lab, before that digital was already going to destroy everything. And uh, so we were there the early years of my first, the first lab that I worked at, you saw it emerging, uh, and it couldn't keep pace. Some people who are early adopters and we'd go back and forth try and figure it out. Um, but I think it, it as it progressed, you started to see, um, you know, very large swings, certain industries or certain parts of the industry, really a digital fit perfectly with that, you know. So if you think about when I, for instance, when I was going to school and newspapers were still shooting film and so perfect, they need to be digital, they've got a fast turnaround time.
Brian Greenberg: 07:01 Uh, when, when we did the work for the Oscars, I'm still shooting film, like they needed that that night. We'd keep the lab open all night editors for different magazines would be in the lab sorting out all the images. It makes perfect sense. They need to be on digital. So once the digital quality caught up, a lot of different industry parts of the industry jumped on it, it totally makes sense. And then what we really saw was as people drifted away from film altogether, for some people it made sense with price and there was also just that general, you should be doing it the new way. A lot of people went that way. Uh, we started to see the labs go out of business all over the country, all over the world. A major changes with food, GM, Kodak and companies like that. Ilford goes out of business.
Brian Greenberg: 07:51 I mean, all those things that we would, we're long time, big companies were making big changes. Um, so what we found was that we had some very high end clients that we're not buying into digital. Like, you can't talk me into this, I don't like it. And not that we were trying to, but just, you know, their peers are trying to talk him into it. Oh, you're going to save money. Well, a lot of these folks like yourself, super busy, 50 weddings, 150 weddings. You can't just talk that guy that shooting 150 weddings into a digital camera a overnight. And so there were people that really stuck it out and then through that, because we've been doing it now while you started to see a bit of a resurgence and now we see film growing and uh, it's kind of funny to talking to Fuji and Kodak when we tell them it's growing up until last year, they didn't really. They didn't necessarily believe us. And uh, we had a meeting with one of them a couple of months ago and they were so excited. They got a bunch of labs together and they're like, did you know, film has grown this much? And we're like, yeah, yeah, we told you that like two years ago. But they just, it took that long for it to catch up where they saw all their film sales or both company's just growing, which is healthy. It's good for the market.
Braedon: 09:17 I wish they actually listened because both Fuji and Kodak are completely out of stock. Their main film stocks, which in the middle of summer, which is the heat of the heaviest season. So yeah, I mean it's been a 15 percent year on year growth the last couple of years, which has both those companies last year they were out of stock this year. So which means with film people are buying more film than they're making or estimating that they're going to sell, which is, I guess, a good thing for film.
Brian Greenberg: 09:46 And I can see how difficult it is from their position. They have to project this out for years. They've got to buy raw materials and minerals and all kinds of crazy stuff that we've never heard of, you know, whatever it takes to make the film and all the chemicals. But they are taking, they do take it seriously and there's a lot of people working to, to rectify problems like the running out and um, you know, to see both of them run out at different times. Uh, I hate to say, but it's almost healthy for them because you know, one runs out, it makes them look really bad. But for the other ones like, Yay, we won, and then it's like, oops, we run out to, well the other one is so it kind of evens out and there's still people making people decisions and they may miss the mark sometimes, but hopefully we're getting past that wave of content, you know, worrying about running out of stock.
Braedon: 10:37 Yeah. So as I'm always really interested in the business side of business and so as an entrepreneur and someone like I'm going to take on this new business and this thriving industry of film, which was not thriving at the, you know, it's like, it was on the decline, like what, what made you decide to stick a lab? And I'm going to be like, I'm going to keep this thing going and take it over and really be just a film centric company in, in the midst of it not being a popular decision.
Brian Greenberg: 11:06 Right. So it definitely wasn't that far. We're thinking, um, it was, it was, it seemed like a good business to get into at the time. We had some connections. I knew some people need some photographers a, but when you only have five or six people, um, you're still sweeping the floors and doing everything it takes to run a small business and about a year into it, a year. So when bill came on board, we talked about we're going to be the last one standing, meaning that we recognize everybody's going out of business. We're small, we're lean, we're hungry, we're here to give good service and we know that other people are struggling with it. So it started off with a little bit more of a negative sort of thing. It's like, this is, we're going to ride this out because we're going to write it to the end and I'm being that we were a bit smaller.
Brian Greenberg: 12:02 I think that allowed us to take on more clients more easily. And as people did start to fall off, um, it allowed us to grow. And, and curiously the folks that are in the field now processing for the, in the same arena that we are, majority of them, haven't they, they started that business from scratch after we were already around. So when we started, we were the little guy out there with all these other companies that were much bigger, a with way more funding and had been around longer and now there's been a little bit of a flip flop on that. But as far as like the, the to be an entrepreneur, I'd say it certainly we've seen this in workshops and books and things like that. It kinda has connected to how much pain can you tolerate, you know, how much risk are you willing to put in this, um, because it's often like a very high stakes gambling, um, a like a high stakes gamble where you are, you've made yet another decision that puts everything on the line at hoping that business will come and your base, a base costs the buildings and people and Internet fees and server space and all that stuff.
Brian Greenberg: 13:27 It just keeps growing. It's, it's very, it's pretty complicated. I'd say it's important though when it, when it's important I think is that still drives you back to why are we going to do this? Why are we going to wake up early? Why are we going to grind it? Why are we gonna argue about this thing that costs a dollar? Well, because we do like thousands of themm and a dollar versus $0.99, $0.95 cents might make a difference. And so you get, you have to stay hungry. It's hard. I think artists have the same thing too, like how do you stay creative? How do you stay hungry and want to do this every day? So I think like everybody, we go up and down with that, but now I see it that I have a responsibility to the families that support the lab that are supported by the lab.
Brian Greenberg: 14:19 So we have this whole group of people that had been here for many years that have a very special techniques and if I screw this up and they lose their job, they don't just get to go on craigslist and you know, in two days they have a new job. It's a little more difficult for some of these folks and out of respect to what they've done to keep the lab growing. I look at that. I take my responsibility very seriously and in there somewhere as is deciding how we're going to invest in something, the risk we're going to take, you know, hearing from the clients about what is a difficult for them, you know, we need faster delivery or we need faster this or better that or rotate one of these are clean this and we have to respond. It's not a, it's not my way or the highway. It's really figuring out what the clients need. So
Braedon: 15:14 Going to your clients now, having been involved in the photo industry for as long as you have and also knowing that you go to workshops and then you come alongside photographers because, I would assume that your photographer's success, your customers, end up being your success because as they become more successful, they are giving you more business. What are things that you have seen? What are the best things that you've seen photographers do for I guess longevity and success. And then the next question would be like, what are, what are the things that you see that really people need to change? Or like the worst things that people are doing that you wish you could come in and be like, Hey,
Brian Greenberg: 15:55 yeah, that one's, that one's almost easier to what the worst part, the worst part is because it's very universal and I think we all do it, which is, they have trouble - I think everybody has trouble with priorities and what I see as photographers, are massively dedicated to improving their craft. As a literal photographer, I need to take this image better. I need to learn how to do that and what they, what they miss. And what is hard to watch is when they put incredible, massive focus on improving that part of this business and they don't do anything on the business side. And so with that flips right to what are the biggest. Like the most exciting things I see people do is when I see these photographers that have a major hustle going on, they know they're a good photographer but they. And so they, they're going to work on that, but they're going to work on the hustle and make sure that they're booking and make sure the price is right. And the time is that they're doing the spending on the post production side is right because what we, what I see is photographers, when you're running the solo operation, it's so easy to get distracted, so easy to be told what you're doing wrong.
Speaker 4: 17:15 And I think that photographers, if they're willing to write it down and go, okay, I'm going to work this much time on the actual business, I'm going to work this much time on the craft. Uh, they'll, they'll find better balance and they'll, they'll realize it. I'll let me put it this way. I've seen a more amazing photographers, really incredible, amazing photographers absolutely go straight out of business because they have no business acumen. They have no business sense. And it's not something that I don't know that we're all born with, but it's something that is readily available that can help them. And um, and that's always what I worry about is that there's so. And there's so many places to get information about how to be a better photographer, use this lens, that filter that, you know, this program, uh, use the, you know, bounced light here and wait for that time of day.
Brian Greenberg: 18:07 But it's, those are all great if you're. But if you're going to go from being an enthusiast to be to being some or somebody that just loves photography as you'll always be a photographer. Okay? And that's different. But if you're gonna run a business and you're, and you're paying the rent, feeding the kids, the house, putting the gas in the car, we have to balance that out. And I would say that's sort of the two sides of where I see folks struggle. And, one thing I will say that's exciting is when, when I get a chance to talk to people and it's like, wow, some. I've met some amazing, amazing people. Certainly too, what I like about the industry that we're in, is that it is female dominated versus all this crazy stuff you see in the news about, you know, the wages aren't equal and all that stuff.
Brian Greenberg: 18:55 It's like, well, come into our world and women are kicking butt everywhere and when you meet them, you talk to them, you're like, yeah, she's another powerhouse. You know, they've got major hustle, they know how to build this. And it's, it's just exciting to see something that's not in the news and where the news shows how, you know, that guys makes twice as much as the girls. Like now where I work, you know, when you see these photographers there, it's head to head and it's all based on the work.
Braedon: 19:24 Oh yeah. And they're killing it. I'm basically a bridesmaid every weekend, you know, in that industry. But I think the thing that you were just saying before that piece was almost the example of when you and build drove down to meet with me because that's the whole business side versus the artist side where it's like someone who's doing a major volume. It's like, how do you survive? How do you do this longterm without just completely running yourself into the ground? But I guess what, when you talk about the business side, what does that really look like for someone? If someone who doesn't, who's not doing that very well and they're very talented and they're an artist and they kill it on the photography side or whatever their art or craft is, what does it look like to like on a healthy level, run a good business? Does that. It's a vague question, but it's also like it's very important.
Brian Greenberg: 20:28 Where do you start? Right? Where do you start with a situation like that? And what, what I would say when a situation like that is in front of me, where I really started, you know, how much somebody makes is irrelevant to me. I don't care if you are looking to make 30,000 or 300,000, but tell me what you want to do and are you happy with what's, what's happening now? So I started with just that. Are you happy? And inevitably, you know, with, within five minutes you can get somebody to just, to kind of come clean. It's like, well, I love the business, but you know, either I'm working too many hours or I'm not making enough, and I need this particular thing to change. And so I feel like it's a pretty common thing that it's because it's like all of us as humans, when you don't have somebody you're accountable to, you just either you need to define the hunger inside to go after it.
Brian Greenberg: 21:28 And so there's so many motivational speakers that'll help you get that going. And that's really what sort of taught me to, get up and stop complaining about it and do something about it. But it's really when I talked photographers, that's what we're going to. That's where I start, which is okay - How many hours do you work? Most common answer. They have no idea. So. Okay. First thing, let's just do it. Let's Ballpark it. Are you working? Are you working six hours a day? Five days a week? Oh, no way. I'm working way more. Okay. So let's run it out. If you're running, you know, let's say you're working eight hours a day, five days a week, 2000, 80 hours a year. How much are you making? How much did you keep? Well, I kept this much. Okay. Divide that many hours by. This is how much you kept.
Brian Greenberg: 22:11 There you go. There's how much you make. $14 an hour and A. is that enough? Starbucks? Starbucks. Sounds great with. Well that's the thing. Yeah. That's. And that's what the question is. Are you okay with that? And if the answer is no. And look, it's been, it's been $14 an hour. It's been $90 an hour, it's been all of them because I've talked to such a wide variety of people, the question is really, are you happy with it? And it does go back to what you said is like, it's almost, it's pretty easy to get it going in the beginning - the question is how long can you read it out? And certainly the, if you talk specifically on the wedding side, that has got to be one of the best startup businesses anywhere because you don't have to build anything really.
Brian Greenberg: 22:58 You can, you can do this off of a names from a few friends and you could book a few weddings and don't get paid in advance and all this kind of stuff. That's not normal. You know, the businesses that are all around us, had to come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars before you ever saw their name so you can get that easy jumpstart. But then what are you going to do with it? And so I think it, it, it just all ties together with that person. And I see people be successful with every different type of background you can imagine medical professionals that got into this and they figured out how to make this happen and you see accountants, you see lawyers and see people working at banks and they figure out how to make this happen.
Brian Greenberg: 23:40 And it, it's exciting to watch, but it's also scary because they, the ones that aren't gonna make it, and you want them to, we want everybody to make it. But the coming clean on what is it you really want out of this. You know, if you're living in southern California and you're supporting a family, you need to generate a lot of money. And you can maybe if you're in the midwest, you don't need to generate as much, but there aren't as many people. So we have to be realistic about how this is gonna work. A very common conversation where they might move, they might or they are moving in the next two years. That's tough. Like what do you have to recognize that your business can only be so successful if you're going to be a photographer that shoots in this area and you are probably moving in the near future. Like how do we figure - you got to work out a plan?
Braedon: 24:37 Yeah, I ended up stages. It's really know on one level a photography. You could be anywhere short and traveling. But yeah, that's such a hard thing.
Brian Greenberg: 24:48 Well the travel Photographers have figured that out, but what I'm thinking of is the ones that aren't travel photographers that aren't destination photographers. Someone once compared it like you're a farmer, but in so many businesses are like that. We have to farm your piece of land. Even for what I do, even though we have all these different kinds of clients. If I said, hey, we're going to start selling tee shirts, everybody be like, what? Like, well first of all I wouldn't say that because they would never think of me for selling tee shirts and then they would never buy them because it just wouldn't click together. So when I've tography is working on that business, what, what is this thing supposed to look like? And it's, it's fun to try to talk to people and to try and slice through a few of those things.
Brian Greenberg: 25:36 Um, and I know that there's amazing, amazing places for them to get that information when they, when they're willing to go out there and, and, and ask. I'll give you one example that I've asked people that are on that let's say on the wrong side of how much they want to make super talented that that person we're talking about. Is there anybody in your town that, you think you're a better photographer but they're making way more money every time I've asked that, they almost, they really want to burst out a couple of names. I'm like, I don't need to know a name. Just if you think that you're better, but they're making more money. What are they doing that's making their business successful? And I think they, that person has probably done a better job compartmentalizing. You put their CEO hat on and say, okay, the business side has to do this. The talent requires that and, and find better balance between the categories of running a business.
Braedon: 26:31 Do you think the best things, like let's say that is the case where you've got. I basically, I've always described myself as a, I don't feel like I am a great artist, but the business side is why I have been successful. But what do you feel like if there are a couple things on the business side, what are the things that, maybe the compartmentalization, but what about that would make someone more successful than the more talented person?
Brian Greenberg: 26:59 Certainly it's, it's back to basics of good service. I don't think that whether it's my client that is a photographer or the bride to be, or the family, they want good service too. They're paying a premium for what you guys do, so they expect, you know, a well written and timely emails and a product to arrive in, in a reasonable, at a time and good prices for what it is that they're doing. And I think coming up with that whole idea of what it is that you're going to offer as a company, it's a little tricky because it's one thing to talk about it, it's another to sit in front of a person that and sell them, sell them this thing. So I think that's a tricky one.
Braedon: 27:49 Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's definitely tricky. I think it works for any sort of freelance business, but relationship definitely is probably the most important thing for any sort of like if you want any sort of referral or repeat business, you know, that's sort of like the farming your land. That all comes down to referral. It comes down to relationship that comes down to. I always tell people it's like people refer people that they know and that they like. And the only way to do that is to know people and be, have actual relationships with them versus just like networking to get a job. You know, it's like, it's time and it's investing the time and it's performing. I really liked it,
Brian Greenberg: 28:29 But you're totally right. The referral, especially in the photography industry is just so powerful. Even if you're on the artist's side, it's somebody saw it and they loved it and they had a good experience with you and they just can't wait to share it. When you think about when, when each of us think about our buying experiences out in just the regular world, people love to tell like, man I had. This was so cool. I went to this restaurant and they did this and they did. They don't write down my order and there was 10 of us and they gave us. Everybody got the plate in the right spot, like how did they do that? And just when people get good service, they want to tell people about it and you know, a photographer from, from my perspective is absolutely is going to live on referrals and so you have to.
Brian Greenberg: 29:17 You have to take care of every client like that. That's, that is your gateway to the next 20 clients. It's interesting too to see how photographers disconnect from that. Even say I'm one that focuses on weddings, but they do, they, let's say they do both, but they never really bring together their marketing so they, they, they work the wedding and that's it. But then the portrait, they work totally separately. And My, what I would ask like, well that, that wedding is a family. Did you convert them into a lifetime portrait client? And most people don't. Most people, it seems like I should, I don't want to say most, a large percentage of people only do one or the other. They're hardcore portraits or they're hardcore wedding and they have a hard time bringing it together kind of destinations to. I think that's nature that we only touched on that phrase a little bit, but it is, um, I think destination people that, that go into destination as a title for their business are involved like their core.
Brian Greenberg: 30:24 Uh, I don't know that they have laid that out on the calendar. And so I would really encourage anybody that was thinking about going down that road to go, okay, this does sound great at 23 and single, uh, what's it look like? Twenty eight and engaged was 32 with a kid and for kid with four kids, um, there's, there's wonderful things because you're opening yourself up to that huge market, but you're also, you're living out of a bag and it, if that's okay with some people, it's not okay with others. And um, and I've seen a lot of folks let's say that have been really successful to five and 10 year mark really struggle with, well now what am I going to do? This was not part of the plan to be on the road for just incredible links of time and uh, just business plans stuff like talk to somebody about it and try and find, try and think about farther down the road.
Braedon: 31:22 Yeah, I think too many, especially especially something like the wedding industry, but a lot of like art and creative type industries there, there is this element of like you fall into it, you know, it's like you're, you're talented and all of a sudden you start getting hired and now you've got to, now you're getting hired a lot and now you've got a business. And so. And then it's, that's really exciting, you know, and so you are running now, now you're booking a lot of gigs and you've got a business and you're able to support yourself. Now you're full time, you're, you know, you turned your passion into your career, but then all of a sudden I've got a career, right. You know, and then there's that element of, with that whole process, I don't think enough people do what you were saying. Stop and actually like plan that out. They actually forecast out. They actually look at like, how do I, how do I do this for a while? Or how am I paying my bills? Or how much money am I actually making? Right. And I think that's all stuff that you're saying that word too. When you say artists,
Brian Greenberg: 32:24 it's a tricky word. I'm in with the people that I work with because really if you, if you charge for your services on your website and any little business license, you're really a creative for hire and an artist mean usually the rest of the world. Let's say that non photographer people associate the word artists with starving artists. And so we're really not, it is a massively artistic business that does have true artists operating inside of this business. But really when you sign up for your business license, you are signing up for something slightly different and you know, the artists in in so many ways get to do what they want. But this isn't when you sign up to a wedding, this is about what they need and it's just a. it's an interesting. I know the word is, it's a beautiful word and it's a beautiful idea, but it gets just like so many things.
Brian Greenberg: 33:19 It just sort of twists and changes a little bit and people get hyperfocused on the artist side and not the creator for hire. And I'll tell you, that's why to me when I talk to people, it just, it isn't. It is at this point, a natural way, natural way. I talk that we are here to serve. That's what I say about what I do. And that is what I think photographer sometimes forget, like, hey, you're here to serve that person. Like they don't want that. And of course we want it to be true to you as an artist, but we have to find this balance. And um, and I've seen really wonderful ways of photographers do both. And you know, there was one photographer that had, um, the east always carry around a whole guy. They're like, nobody's looking at any of this stuff. This is all me, this is just for me, the photographer, because they felt like their clients couldn't connect with it.
Brian Greenberg: 34:12 And then later down the road, that same person, those images, I can't remember how they present the, they showed them to their client. I think the client may have seen it on instagram or something like that. And they're like, oh my God, I love that. I, I need that image too. And so I think there's fun ways to introduce it, but it is a, I mean, that's the same thing. Like in our side of the business, there's a ton of creative going on, but the bottom line is what does that, what does our client need from this? So if I think it's too warm, but the client wants it, that the client gets the way they need it. So there's a lot of tricky stuff in there. Finding the right client. I know photographers always talk about that, finding the right client. But um, I think there's a lot that's a big topic. You know,
Braedon: 34:57 I, I, with that sentiment, I actually feel like it's a detriment to feel like to believe that you're an artist. Like basically what you're saying because I, I think it's a big internal struggle of feeling like you need. Like if I was to like, it's a lot of pressure, man. I, I already put a lot of pressure on myself and I know for years I had this expectation on myself to constantly produce something better than the last thing that I produced. And when you're doing a certain amount of volume for certain amount of years, it's really daunting to be able to do that. And at a certain point as I don't know what else I can do and actually if I was to do something really different than what people have seen on my site or seen from my work, I think they wouldn't be happy. There's.
Braedon: 35:47 So I think there's the balance of being able to recognize that and be like, I'm actually, this is not my avenue to be an artist. This is my job and if I want to go be an artist and create, I can do that. Or maybe it's during, during the shoot I, you know, art driver. So I, I heard him speak out at the palm springs photo expo and one of the things that's always stuck with me from that as like, hey listen, first of all like a editorial work. That's my personal work, you know, it's like they don't pay that much, but I'm always shooting for the client. And so I get what the client wants. Then I go in, I take my shot. So it's one for them that is one for me and half the time they end up liking that shot. But half the time that's my portfolio, I'm not using what the client wanted, but I'm still giving them what they wanted. So the same deals, like you can take a job as the job and in the midst of that you've got the shots that are all necessary, but then you can experiment and do the stuff that really resonates with you. But I, I think if, if you can get over that internal voice of feeling like you have to be this artist,
Brian Greenberg: 36:49 I think it's because there's, there's, there's your, you know, your personality, there's ego, there's so many strong things that play a part of that. Yeah. But I'll tell you what, why I love that, what you just said about, um, you know, I've done all these weddings, how, what am I going to do next? Like the next wedding. And I've had that exact same conversation with people and it is this. They say it exactly the same way. They want something new for me. And I say, no, they don't. They saw your portfolio. They want their face, their location looking just like that. Like you got to cut yourself a little slack in that situation. You're right that they want what they saw and, and already strivers situation. That's a great one, which is, you know, if you're going to pay $300 a day to go into some cool magazine and your cost is cost out of pocket is a few thousand dollars, was like, you're going to get what I want to shoot because nobody's making.
Brian Greenberg: 37:40 They're making the money. He's not making any money that particular day. So he can get really creative. But that's uh, you know, uh, when I talked to folks that have done the large volume for many, many years, they in their heart, they still see this as an art. It is an art. It is creative. Um, but there is a huge element of predictability. We know what's going to happen. She's gonna wake up. They didn't want to get the shot of them getting dressed. He's gonna walk over there. They're going to see that there's a, there's a dance, there's a kiss, there's a, there is a script that's going on. And that's. I see people beat themselves up over it and it's like, you know, it's okay, but the client was happy and maybe you want to go to shoot with some more creative locations and, and work with a bright.
Brian Greenberg: 38:28 It's from a slightly different demo. That's cool. But people I think beat themselves up on that when they've got a good thing that's, that's probably the piece I should have. It's most important. They've got a really good thing going and they're struggling with say that burnout or different kinds of elements. I guess it all kind of boils down to burnout. So. And when I think about burnout either for, for me or my crew are the photographers that I talk to, it's, it's so often not the thing you think it is that Burns people out. It's, you know, if a photographer could just shoot, they're probably not going to get burned out. Maybe today's wedding as a little less exciting than the one from last week. But if they didn't have to deal with all the other stuff that's bringing them down, you know, too much post production or you know, an album that's behind schedule or a client that needs a particular thing that you can't get it as fast as they wanted to.
Brian Greenberg: 39:22 There's all the other stuff. And I feel like that you see that more that that's really what is at the core of somebody's struggling. In fact, finding out what it, what's at the core of any problem inside of a business I think is always really. That's the hard part because everybody has to be honest. Like, why are you tired? Why are you not making the money? You say, or you want to, um, you know, do you, what do you want next? And does this feel great? Let's say in short, it, like you were saying before it, some, somebody starts this when they're 25 years old, fresh out of art school and now they, they've got a ton of roommates or live in. Yeah. And they're like, Hey, I'm on a plane, I'm going away again. And then all of a sudden you're 35, 40 years old, three or four kids and hey, this one's only that many years away from college and you're like, oh my God, what's going on here?
Brian Greenberg: 40:14 It's, it's a, it's a crazy business itself is crazy. I think people underestimate how difficult businesses in general. And then the creative side makes it more complicated because you can't be a creative business, doesn't, you don't just get to make something and put in a box. And so I think that's a very interesting component to it all because if you, if you open up a liquor store, you put stuff on the shelf, people come, they buy it when you make something from scratch, uh, dealing with light changes and equipment failures and personalities and, you know, really happy or really sad, bright or all the crazy stuff you guys deal with. It makes for a really exciting business. I think when it goes off the rails sometimes, yes it does. But yeah, I guess
Braedon: 41:01 if you were to wish something up like the photography community or just like the small business community or a piece of advice that you could, you may have already given it, but what would be something that you wish people would either know or
Brian Greenberg: 41:22 will do? Man, what a question. I think it maybe touches on some of the stuff we talked about where, I mean, I feel like everybody needs to take inventory. Every business needs to take inventory. What is the whole story? Don't just come to a meetup of 10 photographers and everybody starts complaining about the bad economy. It's like, that's not going to get you anywhere. Um, when that was a popular topic, what I would tell this photographers is, you know, there's like two or 3 million weddings, just the United States. Like how many of you trying to get 20? So the bad economy was not your issue. It just, you weren't in the zone of shooting stuff. And so I, I guess it's really starts with you take a good inventory of your business, of the components, what's working, what's not. Um, be honest about how much time you spent.
Brian Greenberg: 42:16 I think a lot of people, I've had a lot of fun conversations about how much time do you really work on it? And, and I asked, uh, I've asked people on the way to separate 'em because I do this too. You have to separate how much time you're actually working versus thinking about your business. And uh, I got a call from this woman. So funny she called me back after astro. Do that, just laughing. She's like, I'm so mad at you right now because you were so right. I spend, you know, 25 hours a week. She calculated it 25 hours a week worrying about her business and she spent 20 hours a week working. And so she was just laughing. She's like, that's ridiculous. I have so much to do, but I, she, she's trapped. And when you don't have a boss, let's say to crack the whip on you to say do a, B and c and do it over and over, we get lost and stuff. So I'd say it's taken inventory. What are you happy with? What he not happy with, and then that's the thing when you're in charge, if you don't like it, you're supposed to fix it. So I guess that's the first thing that comes to mind.
Braedon: 43:21 I would say my boss is just a slave driver never gives me any time off. And it's true. Yeah. So I think one of the big things is there's this myth that running your own business is this dream. It's like beat a destination Photographer. Like anything when it gets to a level is actually like, it's pretty brutal. Like running your own business, brutal. Having employees and having the responsibility of having employees that are dependent on you and like the success that you bring on and the decisions that you make that impact potentially their lives. You know, it's, it's a lot of pressure and a lot of times we fall into and don't really take that into account, but I think the advice that you gave is right on and really appreciate it and I'm sure a lot of other people appreciate it, but thank you so much for.
Braedon: 44:16 Just the advice that you gave and everything that you shared, I think it would be really powerful for people that maybe are just early in the years or hopefully even like further down their years to stop and think about where you are in your business and take your inventory and figure out where you're wanting to go and hide. You're going to get there, which I think a lot of people don't take the time to do. You sort of fall into it. Just sort of go with it and then complain about where you are and so if you liked this video, this is Richard Photo lab. Check them out there. The lab that I use I love and it was just great having you on here.
Braedon: 44:51 Thanks for having me. Really helped you love that conversation and found something. You can go apply to your own business if you didn't know. There's a ton more content from before this podcast was started over on the photo report.com or you can search youtube for the artists report through even more. There's a bunch of interviews just with amazingly talented people talking about their business and how they got there, so please, and if you did like this podcasts or liked a couple of the episodes, please go give us review on itunes. It really helps spread the word and gets this podcast notice for other photographers. Thanks for listening. Go be well and shoot well and don't forget to enjoy the journey on the way.