37. Refining Your Craft with Jeremy Chou

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Braedon: 00:00 Well Jeremy, thanks so much for coming on. Happy to have you here and looking forward to having a little conversation with you.

New Speaker: 00:05 Thanks for having me.

Braedon: 00:06 Yeah man. And you are down in Mexico right now. What are you doing down in Mexico?

Jeremy Chou: 00:11 So I worked with the grand villas resort and they hired me to shoot a bridal campaign for them. They have four properties down here. So we own property number two.

Braedon: 00:29 How Fun and then how much of your work ends up being more like what you're doing there? I would consider that more commercial work even though it's similar wedding gigs, but that versus just weddings?

Jeremy Chou: 00:41 It's starting to be more. I would love to do more editorial brands and a full hotel chains and stuff like that. But I would say still 90, 95 percent of my work is still weddings. This is just something that came, kind of fell into my lap. So I'm actively pursuing these types of this type of work. But yeah, weddings, about 90, 95 percent, what to do still, you know, almost 10 years, still loving it.

Braedon: 01:04 How Rad. Well, let's just get into a little bit of your history. People are probably familiar with your work, but share a little bit about how you ended up getting into photography, deciding to pursue this as your career?

Jeremy Chou: 01:17 So I think like most photographers that started later in life, I was close to 30 when I started. In my previous life I was actually an architect. I have an architecture degree from Cal Poly Pomona and then I was a big firm for about almost 10 years. There was a little overlap at the end with photography. But yeah, I was in it for almost 10 years and uh, when I, you know, I got promoted to be a more like a project manager. So what I did more or just, you know, medium in his writing reports I staffing and budgeting and stuff like that. So my passion was to design buildings, which I didn't get to do a lie, so I just got to kind of frustrated with the whole architecture thing, but you know, they pay me really well, good benefits.

Jeremy Chou: 02:08 So I kind of stuck around and I have two daughters, so I started taking photos of them. This was before instagram, pinterest, facebook, and this was back on flicker days, so I would take photos of and put it on flicker, a old digital at the time and then slowly made it to facebook and people saw it and liked it. And I started shooting family photos, family photos, grew into engagement sessions and then shot my first wedding back in 2009, 2009 now. And Yeah, just kind of grew from there. And I quit my job a few years after that. So I've been doing this full time. Uh, uh gosh quite a while now. Yeah.

Braedon: 02:43 What was, what was the kicker for being able to. I mean, for someone listening that maybe is working in another job wanting to get in photography, what was it that allowed you to know like, okay, wow, I'm going to quit architecture gonna, lose my benefits. I'm going to lose my salary and do this full time with photography, which, which now probably been in it for 10 years. You sort of look back and be like, man, it'd be really nice having someone else pay my health insurance.

Jeremy Chou: 03:14 Yeah, yeah, definitely. All on my own now. Um, so, uh, so I know first one first sucks. You got to do, like, most people are just, you don't think can make a living doing this. He just thinks it's a hobby. You know, everybody, you know, my parents were like, you know, this is a hobbyist on a job, you know, just have fun and come back to architecture. And uh, I would just, I just got really tired of architecture. I still remember that day. I sat on my little cubicle and I was doing another excel spreadsheet and I just like had a moment of clarity or epiphany or whatever. You want to call it, it's like, can't do this for the next 30 years of my life, kill myself. So I, so, you know. So I started shooting photography and then in the beginning it wasn't anything I want to make a career out of it.

Jeremy Chou: 03:56 I just, I just knew I liked it. Uh, but very quickly, my first year I booked like, I shot like 30 weddings. So, you know, very quickly I realized, hey, if I put more time into it and effort into it, I might be able to make a living doing this and get me out of the hell hole. I called a architecture and then, um, so second year I got really serious about it and I was second year, I think I booked 35, 35, what is my second year? But it was dirt cheap. So at that point I kind of realized, Hey, my, my income from photography actually matched my, my, a fulltime job. But even at that point, you know, I talk with my wife just like, hey, you know, I really want to quit my job. What do you think? I was already married, two kids, a mortgage, two car payments, and she was like, are you insane?

Jeremy Chou: 04:41 Um, so, you know, she said, okay, you know, I know you can do it. You've done it for one year now, but do it one more year and then, you know, see if it's not a fluke. Right. So I did it again and then, uh, so I quit basically 30 months after I started. I shot my first wedding, but it was more like an income thing and I had to match my income and more before I could quit my day job to ensure our lifestyles still remain the same. And that was the most difficult part. And they were up to me. First year I would have, I would have quit my job already waiting another year. Yeah,

Braedon: 05:15 When I'm talking to younger photographers, I. One of the things that I say is don't quit your day job, at least not right away or not for awhile because I feel like there's one, there's this security which makes you not feel desperate to have to take everything that comes your way, where you can sort. I mean, when, when I first started I wasn't trying to be a wedding photographer, sort of maybe like yourself, but I only took on gigs that sounded really great. There were couples they had sort of the style, but um, do you find where you just like taking out everything because it was exciting, which also happens or do you feel like having that other jobs sort of. And obviously it was probably a lot of work, but how has that relationship for you, for someone else maybe who's looking to do this?

Jeremy Chou: 06:01 So. Yeah, so basically what, what it had to do was, hold on, I say this, I didn't really know when that transition is going to happen, uh, for architecture and photography. But I also knew I couldn't continue to would architecture. So I guess it was a I. Yeah, I took on everything. I basically, I've shot, I shall family sessions, senior sessions, engagement, anything I shot a family, their pets, their dogs, a show on everything, but I also feel like the more I shot the bitter I was becoming I guess so I shot everything and at that point my focus wasn't to make money because I still had a full time job but it was just more to like the whole my skills get be better as a photographer and then whatever the next step is, at least I'm still learning, you know, getting better at my craft which allowed me to make the jump at some point.

Braedon: 06:50 Yeah, love that. And I actually think like your wife was probably is wise just to give you the advice to hang onto it for another year and see like is this just something you're testing out and that just happened this one time or you know, I was assuming when you said your first year you shot about 30, 35 weddings. What did your to look like

Jeremy Chou: 07:10 your first year? It was my 30th second year I think right around 32. And in this third year I had 35 weddings booked if I quit my job, so you know, so it was a very, I just, I don't know, I jumped in and just all of a sudden just took off good. But again, I was like dirt cheap and I think my background is architecture kind of allow my, you might composition to be different than most people that were on the market at the time. So my photos came in. I attracted a lot of artists, a lot of creative types. They saw my photos, they're like, hey, this looks different and the composition is different to everybody else's. This looks cool. So I booked a lot of, you know, I, I, you know, I booked one day, it's like a car fabric designer. I didn't deal as a client that was a voice over actor.

Jeremy Chou: 07:53 So I booked a lot of creative types. But honestly at that point I shot a lot of, in a wide shot. So a lot of context, a lot of surrounding. The real reason was because I didn't know how to pose my clients yet. So. So I shot. I still like basically compensated by creating something that's composition is strong but lacking emotion, but you know, that, you know, at that point I, you know, I just, I just knew how to do your standard promposals that's pretty much all I knew and it shot a lot of, you know, uh, surrounding photos in the photo of the context and clients liked it and that's kind of what allowed me to book

Braedon: 08:26 you host a lot of workshops and you educate younger photographers trying to do this when with your architecture background and that. Do you talk about sort of how that has impacted you and maybe other people trying to do that sort of thing?

Jeremy Chou: 08:40 So yeah. So, so why do workshops? I do. What I tell them is that hey everybody, you're different, like whatever your life experience has been led you to this point. So that's why you had to lean on. That's what you have to use if you use to be like, you know, that this is a photography abuse and it used to be a psychologist or something. Um, so if that's, if that's something that, you know, that's your experience, your past, whatever that is, whatever it brought you to this point, that's what you use, right? Uh, so my background's in architecture. If your background's in sports marketing, whatever it is, I'm just used that to kind of separate yourself from everybody else that's on the market. Um, so my work obviously in like most photographers, it has changed quite a bit throughout the years. Uh, so my work in the beginning, it definitely was very architectural, very composition, strong m and a lot of the I still do today, but it just, you know, adding a more human element to it. But for people that take my workshop yet again, just, you know, use whatever your strengths are and then just kind of really developed that.

Braedon: 09:40 Yeah, it's neat because I would say my background is more music photography, fashion, lifestyle for brands like that. And so a lot of my first clientele were people that had that background or they'd see more of my editorial site and if they were either musicians or from the fashion world or design, but they were people that I was able to connect with because Oh, like we have language exactly. Which, which, you know, and that makes it fun because those, those are the sort of people that really resonate with like my heart resonates with what they're doing and what they're excited about. So it makes the whole thing really fun.

Jeremy Chou: 10:15 Right. But, and that's exactly how it was for me in the beginning. I'm, most of my clients are the creative type stuff as well. So we speak the same language, you know, we get excited about different texture on the wall. You just stuff like that. Uh, yeah. You definitely attract the type of, the type of clients with the kind of work that you put out there.

Braedon: 10:31 Yeah. Which then plays into, I mean there's, there's so much, I think with instagram and blogs and whatever, that there's so much emulation of people trying to look like somebody else. Whereas there's a, you know, if, if you're listening and you're trying to build your own brand is like such, such a better, stronger thing to actually use your own voice or find your own voice and what actually resonates with you versus trying to be like Jeremy and shoot just architect, you know, and all that. Yeah.

Jeremy Chou: 10:59 But it does take a lot for me to get to a point. I think especially as artists to get to a point where you're comfortable with yours, your artistic self, I guess at that. I mean people don't think it's a process that takes a long time to get there because like I always say take me like five, six years is shooting all the time, full time to get to a point where okay, this is what I like and I'm going to start refining this and I would, I, you know, I would say I would never stop trying to refine my craft because there's always know comes to like the smallest details of how do you make your photos, how do you make the mood of your photos different than everybody else?

Braedon: 11:36 Yeah, totally. And it's almost a comparison of playing an instrument where you have to do the boring stuff of learning the scales and learning chords and, but eventually, once you are able to master those, then you can start improvising, you know, it's like you start low, you know, most kids today are learning like that new John Mayer Song or whoever, you know, like you're, you're learning these songs of other people. But then you're able to eventually find your own voice and start writing your own songs, her to start making your own, you know, licks. But same deal I think that happens with. Did he ever take any formal photography classes?

Jeremy Chou: 12:11 No, I didn't. So, you know, I play around the 35 millimeter of when I was in high school and it's just, I think everybody did it, but it was definitely nothing. I didn't, I didn't have a discretion to be a photographer. And he's like that. Um, my, uh, so I, I still, like I said, well I was born with architecture and I have two daughters. So I actually bought my first point and shoot camera up to shoot my shoe, my girls and I had a friend back then who has a digital camera and who's already shoot a very shallow depth of field and I saw a photo of like, wait, how do you make the backyard so blurry? And you told me how he's like, this is the lens is the lens I. But he's, he's like, but you can't get it with your point issues. I got an slr and then, you know, just kind of learn from there. Yeah.

Braedon: 12:50 Delete when, when did you start experimenting with film and the Loving Film and all that.

Jeremy Chou: 12:56 So I think it's going to be similar to a lot of film photography stories because I, you know, I started in the digital age, but I've always been attracted to the film look. But I just didn't know people actually shot film. I'm sure she's named because mission every Bot, podcasts like Jose via a. When I first looked at his, uh, images, I mean I had an emotional connection to his photos, but I didn't realize it was film. I just thought it was, I was like, well, preset to use, so I, it took a while to get to a point where it was filmed and I then I started trying to edit your photos like that, but he never does and I mean you can get pretty close, but it never really truly looks like film. My wife knew I wanted to try film, so she bought me my first, uh, like a real 35 millimeter camera. It's the Kennedy [inaudible] v Eight, which I still have. So I started shooting 35 millimeter film for just for fun for my kids and, and I shot, I use it at a family photo session, wines. I shot a little boy and then that way when I came back I was like, this is exactly what I'd be looking for. And I just got lucky with that shot because the, I spent the next two years trying to figure out how I did it.

Jeremy Chou: 14:04 I got in the meter, I didn't know any of these. So, uh, anyway, so I would say I started shooting film. Maybe they play with me five years ago. And in like four years ago is I really got serious about it and I, I will say around maybe six months after is when I really started intentionally should more and more and more film. So right now you know, for all of portrait sessions I should, it's on film, like you know, I'm shooting a campaign for the hotel here is on film and then for weddings I shoot film pretty much all the way up onto a reception and I still shoot on key moments in film, like cake cutting, first dance. But other than that it's a digital. But you know, I would say 80, 85 percent of my work is all film now.

Braedon: 14:46 That's great. Hey, I, yeah, I tell couples, listen, I do shoot some digital but it's probably during the day 90 percent film, 10 percent digital. And then it flips at the reception where it's about 10 percent film, 90 percent digital. Say So. And so with, again probably thinking back for someone listening that is like, Hey, I want to start incorporating film into my workflow. And let's say you were already shooting 30 to 40 weddings a year. How did that transition look where you started incorporating film? Did you just make the switch? Did you change your rates? Did you start including as a separate part of your package? How did that work for you?

Jeremy Chou: 15:24 I just ate. I just ate the cost. So basically I had a. I'm right handed. So basically I had a digital camera by right here. I had a digital camera here and film camera right here. Right. So like all the. I just have two cameras. I'll shoot this. I come back to here, shoot this, come back to the other side. I did that for about a good year and then I do have an assistant, will do film for me. I'm almost assistance assistance, shout digital. Um, so I, you know, I will shew maybe three roles of a wedding at that point. Just basically why remember I'll do it, but at some point that became too much. I just don't remember doing it. I just can go back and forth, back and forth. So, you know, slowly I switched to film, came out to my ride digital, came out to my left and it's like become shooting more film and digital as a backup.

Jeremy Chou: 16:10 I'm so not, I don't even show digital backup by second shooter, shoot digital backup. I shoot film all day because I just can't go back and forth. Um, but yeah, my regular change in a sense I didn't feel it was fair to pass the cost to my clients because I was basically experimenting with film. So I just kind of ate up the cars and realize, you know, totally crap. This thing that expensive. So slowly obviously raised my rate, but I don't think raising my rate was solely because I shall fail my things because my quality of my work actually got better because I was shooting film. And honestly most clients don't care if you shoot film with digital digital want the look, they really can't tell. Right. But for me, you know, is more than just the look. It's also the creative process that Kinda, you know, I love the creative process of shooting film more than digital and that's why I shoot film. But yeah, so that, that's your initial. It's very, very slow. Maybe I would say maybe took a year and half for me to actually get comfortable shooting majority film. Yeah.

Braedon: 17:06 Yeah. And so now when you're shooting, do you have similar. Tell me about your setup with what you're shooting with, how you shooting? Do you have an assistant that's just loading? Do you have still second tutors? They're cheaters. How does that work?

Jeremy Chou: 17:19 Yeah, so I assume so I kind of have to work with my clients a lot on my time and because I wanted to shoot everything myself. Um, so I basically have them staggered a timeline. So basically I show up, I should have boys getting ready first and I go shoot a girls getting ready and put a dress on and first look at Abbott. But I'm shooting everything from start to finish. I do have, I always have a, a system with me who lost my field, follows me around all day, just lots of film. And the only time my second shooter at war, well I'm actively should be shooting is doing ceremony because I just can't be at two places at one time. Um, so, you know, if I the back, the second is in front. Um, so, uh, you know, I do apply for weddings up to maybe 100 feet, 150 people or more than that. I'll get a second, a second shooter who's actually the shooting, but I'm the only one shooting film all day and my second shooter bases just shouldn't digital backup.

Braedon: 18:12 Got It. Yeah. Yeah. It makes such a difference having an actual assistant helping load film and makes the world difference. Yeah. How neat. And then, so you now shoot a lot of destination events. I don't know if it's always been the case, but can you talk about that? How did you start getting destination gigs and. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So I, so I think naturally as you, as you raise your rates, you have to expand your market because at some point you're,

Jeremy Chou: 18:43 I live in la so I just know I'm top dog in my market. I mean there's, there's a lot of high end. What is your, um, but you do have to kind of cast a wider net to get clients at different areas of, to some, you know, it's kind of nature of the business. Um, I didn't start it on a business wanting to shoot destination weddings. I actually don't enjoy it as much because I think for kids I have two being gone. It's hard, you know, it's all right now, you know, about 20 weddings a year I would say 15 of. And I got a flight too. So it's a very high percentage. I'm going to lie. So the way I got into it is that I, I, I booked this one client who it, who were originally from San Francisco, but now they live in New York.

Jeremy Chou: 19:28 They went to Boston college and they have this one group of friends that they all dealt doctors and lawyers and engineers. I mean, it's a very professional group or a group of friends and I got into one couple in their group and then front that one, one cup light shafts, four or five of their friends. So that network now slowly girl as well from that four or five friends. So the wedding was in New York, New Jersey and Virginia, San Francisco to everywhere. So I think that kind of opened up the market. Um, so I also have done quite a few weddings in Italy. I opened it the market by. I hosted a workshop there and I can make connection with the local vendors there who in turn, you know, look, luckily they liked working with me. He's only referred me to weddings. And then, um, so I've done a few weddings over there because of that, because of that.

Jeremy Chou: 20:13 Um, I think, yeah, I think there's an allure of a new photographers. One of the destination weddings is really one of those things. It's not as glamorous as people think it is for those of us that do this for living. It's a lot of work. I, you know, you're traveling with $20,000 to come in with you. You have like 150 rolls of film with you. I mean it's a lot of stuff to pay attention. Um, so I've been this resort for like a week since last Saturday. Two is a Thursday. I've been the pool once, one hour at a time and just rest these base so I can go shoot it again. You know, I'm not gonna lie, it's cool that you're going to different experience, different cultures and you get to like Steve and parts of world. But I would rather just go for fun instead of going to work. Does that make sense? He says, but yeah. But this initial weddings definitely work where my, my, my business going, I'm just rolling with it, you know, if it's the right client or right kind of wedding, you know, I'm there.

Braedon: 21:11 Totally. Yeah. I mean I, I've got buddies who are professional surfers and obviously trout, a lot of destination photographers and I do that myself. I'd probably similar deal where I'm out of 20 weddings. I'm probably traveling on planes for 15 ish, but it's, it's one of those things where I get really has the most sexy allure to it, but in the midst and I think if I was single I would love it a lot. But with four kids and my wife who is home by herself without much help at all.

Jeremy Chou: 21:45 It's a lot. It's a lot.

Braedon: 21:48 There's certain months where I'm gone four days a week, sometimes five every week for two and a half months straight, you know. So it's like I'm home for three days and barely unpacking suitcases, just washing clothes. They leave a good. Yeah. And you know, the Uber's picking Uber Drivers picking me up and he's like, well you go in for a month because I've got like five bags.

Jeremy Chou: 22:09 No, just three days. It's just a lot of stones and Carrie and I get it. If you're, if you're young and single and you just want to use this opportunity to see the world like that, that's perfect. But for, I want to say for a supportive family and uh, you know, has, do this a living a, you basically spend your profit if you just stayed out there for two weeks. Yeah.

Braedon: 22:31 So does your family like for this Mexico and I would imagine this would outside of school. This would be a perfect one to have the family down there with.

Jeremy Chou: 22:38 Yeah. So they've actually, they came, so I just did the one a couple months ago doing summary for the one, the property in Los Cabos. They actually went with me and my wife and I, she went with me to Italy wedding earlier this year as well. So they do come, they do come once in a while, but you know, again, you had some kind of fall on school days, days off, which is a little difficult to do. Sorry, I'm trying to tell my wife to ask the gardener to quit doing the leaf blower. Right. The majority of working from. Oh yeah,

Braedon: 23:07 yeah. I mean I actually have an office, but with this we had our last debate. Our most recent baby was born in December. So a school starting, my wife is trying to figure, it's either like literally hiring a full time nanny so she can pick up kids and drop them off at school or it's like I'm working from home or you know. So trying to figure that balance out. Actually, don't know. Well you got to do it. Yeah, it's hard. I mean I've, I've done both. I had an office for, I don't know, five, six years and then I decided to move back home because I was traveling so much and then it would be, I would be gone, which as you know then when uh, as you're gone you're creating work and so I would get in and not a lot's getting done with your con.

Braedon: 23:51 So you get home and then I'd have to leave and go to my office. So I'd be gone and then I'd be gone and my wife was just at a point of going like, you know, you either need to get a new career or I need to get a new husband. And He. So that I moved my office home. But then that's difficult too because it's just for product. It was actually really great because now I'm around and I'm able to help out, but at the same time it's difficult because of the. Now I'm not able to just like zone in.

Jeremy Chou: 24:22 I don't have, I don't have an eight hour straight to work anymore. It's like a chunk of time. Your chunk of time here, that's why you gotta do what you gotTa do. As a dad.

Braedon: 24:31 I find this to be the case, but one of my hardest things is, which I'm having to learn to discipline myself is like learning to stop to work and when it's. It's easy when you're leaving an office and coming home and he's like, okay, I'm home. But when it's sort of. I don't feel like I've gotten a lot done today and kids are down. Wife's maybe giving baths and creeping back into the office and working on the.

Jeremy Chou: 24:55 You find yourself just always working, you know, which is, which is I think for a lot of creatives is the hardest thing to learn. To Stop. You just always working. But you do need that time to stop and recharge and it is difficult.

Braedon: 25:07 Yeah. Can we talk a little bit about that and I don't know how good you are at doing that, but with the, you know, having been in this for a handful of years and getting to a point of success and you know, how, how old are your girls? They're 13 and 11. 13. 11. That's awesome. That you. So you're sort of out of the clear. I'm sure they can make their own lunches now. Yeah, my two older, if we just had those two life would be easy. Um, but how, how do you set up systems with either your wife or your family for how you're working? Obviously with travel and then being home, what does, what does that look like for you?

Jeremy Chou: 25:49 I'm not gonna lie. It's difficult. It's hard for us. It's difficult. It's definitely creative issues on marriage and family life. Just how much I travel. I'm a, my wife basically works part time maybe like 12 hours a week. Just some social good. Get out of the house. Basically we closed on the Saturday, but, but you know, it's, it's, it's, it's hard. I wish I could sit here until we found a perfect system, but we haven't. Yeah. Uh, it's basically you're just putting out fires left and right. I mean one of our older daughter's seeing soccer, she club soccer so she has practice three times a week and she's got games on the weekend. My other one's in saxophone and Euclidean and my older ones also on piano and then not, which is ab math tutoring on top of that. I mean it's just a lot and just juggling everything is really, really difficult. And you know, again, like I say, I could tell you how we do. We just kind of put out a fire what we see it.

Braedon: 26:43 Yeah. But do you have either like routines or says like let's say your home this week, like how does, how do you structure your work and family? Is it just day to day or do you, do you have

Jeremy Chou: 26:57 systems that you've said? Oh, I see, I see what I mean. So look again, lucky for me. You'll get to there. You get to this point later in life, but there is cool basically 8:00 until 2:00. So I do have a block of time where I can work and I usually grab breakfast and lunch with my wife and I'm just working from, you know, a good six hour window I can work and I'll do the six hours that I probably work maybe four hours out of that, just, you know, everything else to have to do and somebody's going to run errands. So when they're home, like from two until bedtime, dinnertime. I'm just dad. So I try not to work on this APP to, you know, really there's emails that go somewhere or whatever or I have a crazy deadline and stuff. I try not to work during that time and then I will work a little bit after they go to bed and they go to bed by eight to 9:00 and I'll work for a little bit and I spend time to watch tv with a wife and then we go to bed.

Jeremy Chou: 27:47 Um, but that's kind of, you know, very general sense. That's kind of what our schedule looks like. But then again, you throw the soccer practicing there, he's throwing the classes in there, basically just, you know, if I help as much as I can because I know there are days when I'm not there. Uh, so I'm home. I do take the girls to school, take them to all the classes, so I was going to a little break. Um, but yeah, traveling is definitely been difficult.

Braedon: 28:13 Yeah. I mean do you feel that you are, when you're working at your desk and the community, do you feel like you're a productive worker or are you too is like, it's something that I'm not wired that way but have had. I'm trying really, really hard to discipline myself to not be on email the whole time. He knows like do you, do you have

Jeremy Chou: 28:39 like sit down and sort of a system? So a generous be can't do a Monday. It's like my marketing emails, everything on Monday and then Tuesday, is it usually like editing the. If I get scans back on Richard's or whatever or there's some digital photos. I did edit usually Tuesday and Thursday and Wednesday album date night once. I just do. Well what did these dining just ordered on Wednesday and Friday? You know, usually a Friday's. It's just like anything, some middles, anything else like that. I need to do a submittals, a accounting, marketing, whatever, whatever pickup things I have to do on Friday. That's when I do it on the weekend. Obviously shoot weddings. Generally speaking, that's what I try to stick to. But you know what it is. It's just things come up. Totally. So let's

Braedon: 29:24 end. This is just also for other people listening, trying to think of structuring their day is let's say Tuesday, RBC you can't get through. You can maybe get through all your scans on a Tuesday, but let's say you just shot a wedding. Your home Sunday night, it's Monday. You gone through your emails, your promotion Tuesday comes around. Are you able to get through the entire weekends? Wedding on Tuesday. So

Jeremy Chou: 29:51 I don't show a lot of digital except for reception, so if I'm talking about editing, it's basically think all like, you know, I just, I tried to shoot us consistent. I can just think and it editing, if I can sit there and edit an entire white, he's Dr. finish including colon and all that. It will fly tipping to ours the entire wedding. That's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. It's just an see a lot. I'm sure. I'm sure you know, a lot of film shall we just don't overshoot. So I shoot what I want to show I have to do and what I have to shoot and then uh, as you consistently. So it really saves all the time editing. But the problem is I don't have a two hour chunk of time. The new like three weeks.

Braedon: 30:31 Oh, for shooting receptions, do you. What is, what does your setup look like are using off camera flash? Are you just using one flash? What and what sort of digital camera you shoot with?

Jeremy Chou: 30:41 Oh, so I've a five d mark three. Um, I, you know, for reception I'm pretty much switched with 24 slash seven using carbonite. Uh, it gives them a little more flexibility, you know, so I don't have to be, I'll be in the face. I do shoot off camera, flash a if it's like a, it depends on the wedding. So if it's like a more formal ballroom setting, I feel the healthcare flash looks better. Um, uh, but it was like an outdoor kind of, you know, the one you got to Italy. I just crank up the ISO and shoot it. I have a 51 point two is always shoot at one point four, one point six all night. And critic of ISO to 30 265,000. I still looks cool. Um, but you know, but yeah,

Braedon: 31:21 again, flash at all.

Jeremy Chou: 31:23 I do have, so for dancing I do the drag, the drag, the shutter things. I'll do an onboard flash ponies straight on my, my clients, my, my subjects and I'm shooting like f nine or something and then, you know, like half a second or something, whatever. It depends on the lighting. Um, yeah. So that's Kinda how I shoot. If it's an outdoor wedding where, you know, it's about formal looking, but if it's warmer I tend to go back to Africa or flash.

Braedon: 31:49 Yeah. Great. And so, I mean, some of the stuff that I really like a part of why I do this podcast is for either people like yourself and myself who've been doing this for a Lotta years and get it and to sort of, to hear war stories or other struggles, but hopefully to have like be an encouraging thing or also here like, oh man, I'm feeling that too. But are there things that like, what's besides balance and family, which might be the only thing, like what, what sort of hard right now or what is being in it for as many years as you are? And I mean we're both getting older. Uh, what, what, what is it like? Yeah, what's, what's hard right now or, and then also probably a follow up question would be, are you thinking about like the future and what's,

Jeremy Chou: 32:36 um, so yeah, so I, I think, you know, obviously you're already physically, it's very physically taxing jobs. So I do have to work out regularly, I have to like stay in shape just to, just to shoot weddings, uh, not for any other reason, which is the cycle keeps shooting. So there's a definite, a physical aspect to that, but the other ones I feel I feel with the popularity of social media, I also feel like that's really a, it's a really difficult thing for me. Social Media, um, the obviously you want to create a social media following so people can see your work, but at the same time he knows a pantages bunch of, a bunch of bs on social media. I'm actually just deactivated my facebook pages. I just couldn't, I couldn't handle it. It's too much. But I think nowadays, especially with the newer photographers, building up a presence on social media seems to be a number one priority and I called to get more followers.

Jeremy Chou: 33:30 It just like, you know, put your head down, do good work first. So it's kind of like the kids nowadays. Tyler Gray, um, I think when we started 10 years ago, they were just not social media. It's not popular. It's nothing to see. Instagram wasn't around and you know, pinterest wasn't around. We just, we, we did what we thought was good at work. But now I think a lot of new photographers, they do what they think good work looks like a eastern, really honing the craft and see what they like to know, what kind of resonate with them as an artist. So I think that's, I think that would be like the hard part from there and I just Kinda kinda walk that fine line between putting our content where, you know, people people can kind of resonate with versus staying true and I'm actually kind of private person.

Jeremy Chou: 34:16 So like I don't really devoted a lot of personal details on social media and all that. My personal views about anything. But he seems like a lot of times you always feel like you have to do that so that people can connect with you. I don't know how much of that I actually buy into because I haven't been doing that and obviously I'm able to provide a living for my family. But yeah, that's definitely uh, definitely a hard to find that right balance. And as far exit plan right now, um, I don't go. Actually, I think, you know, I think I'd probably have another good 10 years left shooting weddings. There's definitely small things I'm working on. I think creating education content for every one of them, maybe a larger, a larger platform for, for photographers as well. Um, some kind of app I got cast, I don't know,

Braedon: 35:05 when you [inaudible] you've, you've hosted workshops and you've done that, like when you have students that are other younger photographers that are wanting to learn from you, what are things that you are passionate about imparting to them? Like you wish that they would come away with this.

Jeremy Chou: 35:21 So first and foremost I tell them this is a business if you want to be getting, but it stains hard, right? Because anybody can pick up a camera and start shooting, but like to do this for 10 years, that's hard. And also to provide living for like two to other human beings I had to take care of. I mean that's hard as well. Three, that's hard to. Um, so that's the person I'd tell them. I say, you know, you guys gonna tell me how do I get more followers? You get home, I put destination weddings, but like you know, firstly I'm telling you, this is control. You got to control the subject, control the emotions that you want to project. How does your picture it made people feel and what, what makes you an artist? Like what, what speaks to you? Um, so my workshops instead of a to two days, first day he just all artistic stuff, you know, posing, lighting, composition, a heavy bulk feelings on your subject and stuff like that.

Jeremy Chou: 36:11 And the second day it's all business marketing, pricing kind of feel album is how to network. So I want my students to walk away with real life tools and how they get, they can actually make a living doing it. Like I don't think my workshops geared towards hobbyist in a sense. Um, if you just want to do a style shoe and get pretty focused on the portfolio, like my workshop is not for you, but you've got to learn how to actually do this for 10 years and still making a living doing it. This is the one for you.

Braedon: 36:39 How do you, how do you suggest people sell albums? Because I think that's something that people leave on the table a lot.

Jeremy Chou: 36:45 Yeah. So you know when I first started is those one of those things where I just like, I didn't feel right, so I don't know why I had an aversion to selling albums. But the important thing is you have, you had to tell them from day one that this is important, but you started basically talking, educating, whatever you want to call it to the client. From day one a, we meet with the, if you can show a physical product, I hit this is what's gonna feel like when you hold your album. And I don't even tell. I don't even really show a portfolio on an ipad or whatever. I showed them my albums, you know, I should, I bring two albums that shows a full wedding ones, a portfolio, a highlight wedding, a highlight portfolio. And I showed them both and I basically talked them through the hour and I want them to hold it since day one.

Jeremy Chou: 37:33 Knowing that this is what they like this, this won't be like holding your own album. And I always say, you know, this can be your first family heirloom that you got to pass on to generations. I actually have my parent's albums and I told them this is something that your kid's going to have. So you have to build up the value of testing day one, it can be an absolute bar. And also at the end of the wedding, if you want to sell hours, I tell still, you have to send them the design first. Don't sit on the floor gallery signaling design a. So to make them fall in love with design first and keep it like a week and a couple of days at least to look at it and then you send them. Um, and also there's this thing I do where I probably wouldn't buy it depends on the package, but most of them packages a lower cabinets come with an album credit. So it's gonna be $500, a thousand dollars, I think five, $300 range. Um, basically I said with this package, even though you're not getting an album, here's a $500 credit for you. So they will have to buy a $2,500 problem to claim the dollar credit.

Jeremy Chou: 38:36 So even the album, I'm still making money on $2,000 album, but at the end of the wedding you just told them, Hey, your credit, here's the album, the album for you, if you want to buy you, you find your little table and most of them will take it. That's great. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. So they got to think big and think you know, already have on the table if I don't use them or lose it. And here's a beautiful design and they will usually go for it.

Braedon: 39:04 What album company do you use? I used the Kora. Okay.

Jeremy Chou: 39:07 Yeah. I used to always phrase but they unfortunately went away. So I used, I used the car on. Yeah. Great. Them from Canada and then you know, the quality is the same and they'll. The best thing is Canadian exchange rate. It's like an extra 20 percent discount. So Lazy,

Braedon: 39:23 a little more shipping, but that's okay.

Jeremy Chou: 39:25 Yeah. Yeah, I do whichever. Yes.

Braedon: 39:28 Great. And then on the business side of things, and then I won't keep you too much longer because you're obviously in Mexico and got to get back to work, but on the business side of things, especially like talking to your students as well, like what do you feel like is the most important thing if you're going to stay and do this for longevity, what are things that people need to look out on the business side?

Jeremy Chou: 39:48 Yeah, so actually just bring group work and then continuing to refine your craft. I think. I just think that's a given. You've got to keep getting better. You just gotta you gotta network at the. At some point in our careers it becomes who we know about what we shoot or how we shoot it because we're going to do everything the same exact way. It becomes cool. We know at some point, and I'm glad that Polo right now it's. I'm not a planner, so I know the planet is from Mexico, from Europa there. That sends me work. I actually have the opposite problem, like I don't know a lot of local planners. Any log applies and lesson and give me a call. I'd love to do more local weddings, but yeah, I do a lot more distant and stuff, but at this point is just be nice to vendors after a photo shoot, like credit, everybody sending all the photos as fast as you can, don't put any like nauseous watermark on it and half the photos.

Jeremy Chou: 40:38 Everybody worked on it. Yeah. And you created that, that genuine relationship with vendors and that's how you're going to start referring to our work. I'm actually horrible at networking, like I can go to, like engage with whatever. It's just like, hey, how you doing joe? My Name's Jeremy Gimme, a GimMe Gimme a wedding, you know, I can't do that. I just not in me. So I ended up just doing shoe to a lot of people and to treat them right. Treat people right. And then um, you know, sharing your photos with them. That's how you cultivate that relationship.

Braedon: 41:03 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I, one of the things that I tell people a lot, his friends refer friends and then they wait for that to happen is to actually have, you know, it's like people or people that referring people that they know and they like, you know, so the only way to be known and liked is to be known and liked, you know, you'd be you to be out there and when you're, when you finally get the job working with that planner or that team that you really like working with you, then I have to perform and you have to actually deliver and then everything that you just said, followup the, getting the images quickly, being a pro, you know. And, and I think that that goes a long way because for the longevity, it, all, all of my business comes from the wedding planner referrals pretty much.

Jeremy Chou: 41:46 Right. Nice. Everybody just don't burn your bridges. Totally. We'll hear about it.

Braedon: 41:54 It really is. Well, hey man, thanks so much for your time. I know other, like another resource that you have four you have on your website, you can go. Is it like a photographer, Jeremy, Ciao,

Jeremy Chou: 42:04 uh, workshops and so I still have a one to kind of resources about photography workshops.com. Uh, and I actually, I, I post blog posts on 100 price. You'll sell how to still albums and stuff like that on there. So, you know, keep, my background is in corporate. I actually, I used to write tons of emails all day and what we're taught is that right every email I'll see if you go into court so you know, so and so I tend to write emails. I mean not, you know, it's not robotic, it's not cold, but I write emails to convey an idea, like kind of convinced somebody to do something. Over the years I've created 50 of those email templates, and compiled them. They’re available on JeremyChouworkshops.com. I probably have sold over 2000 copies now in about two years.

Braedon: 42:56 So for people that are like how to respond to clients, how to respond to planners, what are some of the templates that you have on there?

Jeremy Chou: 43:03 Oh yeah. So it actually starts with what you say when you get an inquiry. How do you establish that first impression in the email? Basically know that a lot of photographers like to call, but like I said, I have a lot of international clients. I just can't call all of those. I email them. And it also talks about how to up-sell albums. It talks about what happens when clients ask for the raw files. It basically takes you all the way from a get an inquiry to asking for a review at the end of the wedding after it is delivered. I will say there's three volumes. There's, I think about 40 to 50 emails in there. Just all emails I use every single day and dealing with the client.

Braedon: 43:47 How amazing and what do you like if a couple writes a review, because I've had people say, hey, can I write you a review? And it's like, I actually don't even know what I'm going to do with it. What are you dealing with? The reviews? Do you have a section on your website?

Jeremy Chou: 43:59 Yes. So I have a dedicated section on my website just for videos. I got all my website, but I usually tell my clients go to wedding wire. It's a free service. It’s still free I believe but I basically have them just go and leave a review there. So in my initial email I actually have a link to my wedding wire review site. So basically when I get the inquiry I just say, hey, thanks so much for inquiry. Will respond 24 hours. In the meantime, here's the link to hear what other people have thought about working with me.

Jeremy Chou: 44:32 Yeah. So I have previous clients sell for me first. I mean it's a first impression and then my second email becomes a little less salesy I guess.

Braedon: 44:44 Amazing. Well, thanks so much for your time and if people want to obviously follow you on Instagram, if they don't already or your website, what? You're just @JeremyChou, correct?

Jeremy Chou: 44:54 Yeah. You can go to JeremyChou.com Workshops with JeremyChouworkshops.com - I keep everything very simple.