Jake McCluskey is a husband, father, photographer and online digital coach. After building websites for over a decade in WordPress Jake has focused his abilities on helping people create what they need online to be successful. When he is not helping people with websites he is traveling and working with some of the best photographers through Shutter Click Adventures, teaching photography, Photoshop and Lightroom.
WordPress/Photography Related News:
Mailchimp is stopping development of their popular Social plugin, which Christine raved about in episode 2. Hopefully, someone will take over the plugin, update it with some modern features and keep it going. With over 40,000 users, the plugin needs to keep going.
- Social by Mailchimp
- NextGEN Pro
- Yoast SEO
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- Genesis Dambuster
- Gravity Forms
Where to find Bryan:
Scott: Welcome to Episode 7. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and I'm joined by my co-host Rachel from FotoSkribe. Hi Rachel.
Rachel: Hey, Scott, how are you?
Scott: Good, how are you doing?
Scott: It's been a few days since our last episode, which is now live, actually. It went live this morning, which is great. That's the one with Bryan Caporicci. That was a great conversation.
Scott: Today we've got another guest. Now this is somebody who does a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff for photographers with WordPress, also runs a photography workshop company, which we'll learn about, which is really cool, and the website's run on WordPress.
Jake McCluskey is a husband, father, photographer, and online digital coach. After building websites for a decade in WordPress, Jake has focused his abilities on helping people create what they need online to be successful.
When he is not helping people with websites, he is travelling and working with some of the best photographers through Shutter Click Adventures, teaching photography, Photoshop, and Layout Room, so welcome Jake.
Rachel: Hi, Jake. How are you?
Jake: Good. Thanks for having me.
Rachel: [inaudible 00:01:13] We love your background in WordPress, and then, you know, helping photographers on WordPress is kind of our jam, so...
Scott: Yes, so before we dig in with what's going on with you, we like to start with a bit of WordPress photography-related news. For anybody who watched Episode 2, there's some sad news about a plug-in that Christine raved about in that episode. MailChimp, the email marketing company, is stopping development of their very popular social plug-in.
Now Christine loves this plug-in. She absolutely loves the plug-in. She's sort of heartbroken, the fact that MailChimp is not going to be developing any more. We also talked to Tamara about this plug-in in Episode 3, and I believe she's using it as well, but-
Rachel: I don't think she's using it, but we did, there was a section where we talked back and forth about it, so I just wanted to make a note that that is the same plug-in we're talking about here that is no longer being supported.
Scott: Yeah, so hopefully someone will take over the plug-in, update it with some modern features, and keep it going. There's over 40,000 users of the plug-in, so it really needs to keep going. My gut feeling as to why they are not going to be developing this any more, is how often Facebook and Twitter and all these social networks change their algorithms and API. MailChimp doesn't want to keep up with this, so that's my guess.
Rachel: That's actually what we talked about in Episode 3 with Tamara, is that social was the best plug-in to keep up with those things, and they had the least down time when the Facebook API or the Twitter API would change, but obviously you can see it's almost like it needs to be its own company that can keep up with that stuff.
Scott: Yeah, so hopefully someone will pick it up from MailChimp or just fork, meaning copy the plug-in and make it their own, which they can do legally under the GPL License.
Rachel: If we hear anything we'll let you know, and then Scott, what does this mean for photographers who are using it? Do you recommend that they, you know, keep it on their site and just watch for it? I mean, what do you think?
Scott: It's a tough call because typically with any theme or plug-in, you want to make sure it's up-to-date, compatible with updates and WordPress, compatible with other plug-ins, and it stays secure in case something goes wrong. Without MailChimp developing it, it's going to stay stagnant for a long time.
I would say use it until you find an alternative solution, or use it until you notice a problem on your website. Then just get rid of it and hope that something else comes along that's similar.
Rachel: If we hear anything again, we will keep you updated.
Scott: Yeah, so Jake, what's going on in your world?
Jake: You know, not a lot. I mean, having 2 kids around all the time is definitely entertaining. We just moved into a great old house, which is going to probably be the slow and painful death of me over the next 10 years. You know, fixing up a 100-year-old house is always a blessing and a curse.
You know, and it's nothing major. Luckily the house is in epic good shape, but it's all little stuff. I'm in the process of slowly hunting for a new camera. I go through cameras probably too often. I went through 3 different cameras last year, and now I'm looking for something. I can't find exactly what makes me happy when I travel and shoot, so it's kind of a trial and error.
Currently I'm running with Olympus because it's nice and small and light, and I can literally shove this in my jacket pocket and go, but as you know, a Macro Four Thirds sensor isn't always the nicest to play with, so it's, you know, I can't quite decide. You know, there's some cool stuff coming out.
Olympus is doing some cool stuff. They may actually have a full frame coming out, it looks like. [inaudible 00:05:14] just released their new series using the super new, fast XQD cards. I don't know if you've seen those yet.
Rachel: Oh, yeah. They're very nice.
Jake: Yeah, so they've got some stuff. Sony's always somebody I keep looking at, but I haven't decided yet. You know, that's where I'm at, other than-
Rachel: What kind of photography do you shoot? Landscape mostly?
Jake: Mostly panoramas, you know. I shot a lot of landscape. I shoot landscape. I'm not opposed just to shooting it, but something about seeing the whole scene, and even on a full-frame camera, I don't ever feel like I can get the epic-ness of the whole scene.
You go to the Badlands here in South Dakota. You're standing on this point, you know, with these awesome drop-offs that are insane, 30, 40, 50-foot down if you fell, and it's all these canyons, and how do you catch all that in one shot? I started shooting panos because I felt like, "Hey, I'm standing at this awesome location, but how does a single photo capture how it really feels?"
Then, you know, when I'm not doing that, I'm actually about to re-launch my site doing coaching for photographers. I deal with a lot of actual coaches, life coaches, business coaches, with WordPress only, helping them get their sites set up, how to create effective sales funnels and get the convergence that they want, get them piped to social media.
You know, it's interesting, these guys they're hugely successful, and they just don't have all the pieces in place. It's like, if you're this successful without it [crosstalk 00:06:57] WordPress. If we get WordPress running for you instead of against you, how successful can you be?
Rachel: You have a very unique perspective on WordPress in terms of what photographers need. What do you think your number 1, if a photographer had 1 thing they should do on their site, what would you recommend?
Jake: Sell photos.
Rachel: Okay, what does that mean?
Jake: No, but I mean seriously, no, I mean, that's it. There's 2 things they really need to do and they go hand in hand. I mean 1, I think they need to have their photos on their site available for sale, not piping them off to SmugMug or piping them off to, you know, [Fire in 00:07:32] America, or any of those other services, because what you're really doing is, you're competing.
You're actually building competition against you by doing that, so if somebody searches for your name, and all your photos are over on SmugMug, for instance, SmugMug has a bunch of folks there, a bunch of content. If you actually put your photos up right, with a title and description, you know, all the pieces you're supposed to, you keyword them, you send them over to SmugMug, you're actually building your own competition for people to find your site.
I'm hugely against that. I don't see why, you know, we all have a website for a reason. We want people to follow us. We want to build our name. Why are we paying hundreds of dollars every year to SmugMug to become our own competition? It just doesn't make sense to me, and so the first thing I try to do is convince them, you know, to get to NextGEN Pro and get the Pro, so you can sell your photos, take the time to do it.
The second part of that, though, is actually, get your SEO squared away with, like SEO by Yoast is probably one of my favorites, because they work hand in hand. I mean, your SEO's going to be great, but it you don't have the content there, why do you do it? If you have the content there and you don't have SEO you're...
I really think those two aren't, they're not separate, they're very much one and the same thing. That's, you know, what I try to get them to do is teach them, "Let's bring it all back to you. It's tough. They're so used to doing it a certain way, they don't want that change.
Scott: This is good for, it's good for landscape photographers who need to sell photos publicly. This is also for wedding photographers, event photographers who need to sell their photos privately.
Scott: Either way, you want to be able to control the whole process top to bottom and not outsource it to a third party.
Rachel: NextGEN Pro has that functionality, but I don't know that a lot of photographers know that. What you're equating it to is, you're equating NextGEN Pro on your WordPress site to going out and using the Zenfolio, using the SmugMugs, and having it be on their servers, because when you Google yourself, you'll come with hopefully your own website and then you'll also come up with these other sites, the Zenfolios, the SmugMugs.
You're saying that you're building competition on your own. Now, for a photographer who's new, and you know, the WordPress is intimidating, how do you think, and I know the answer to this so I'm asking you, but for someone installing NextGEN Pro and trying to sell photos on their own site, what do you think is the beginners' handbook to that?
Jake: You know, I mean, I'm just going to throw a shout out to the NextGEN guys and their YouTube channel for that. I mean, the truth is, the resources are all there. You don't need to even really go hunt for it. If you just go to the YouTube channel and start looking, it tells you how to start off and to get all the steps in a row and end, and the support like that for plug-ins, as you guys both know, isn't always the case.
I mean, even for high-end paid plug-ins, I've got a number of plug-ins I like to use, depending on the circumstances. Some of them aren't cheap. I mean they're, you know, 150, 200 bucks a plug-in, and their support isn't that good. You would think, "Hey, I'm spending $200 on this, there should be some good support." It's just not the case.
You know, what I tell people, and actually I've got a gal that I'm helping right now get set up, and she wanted to know how to do it on her own, so I actually sent her a link to YouTube for ElegantThemes, on how to set up Divvy, so she could do it. She wanted to have NextGEN on her site and eventually upgrade it to Pro, so I sent her a link to the YouTube channel for that.
She actually sat there and built her whole site without ever touching WordPress, by watching these videos in about 3 days.
Rachel: Wow, so there's resources out there. That's actually really good for photographers because they're visual learners, or at least you would assume they're visual learners, so it's probably where the YouTubes and the videos come in.
Scott: Why we record the podcast as a video.
Rachel: Although that's just awkward. I get an hour to get ready for hair and make-up, and you guys just roll out of bed.
Jake: Hey, I've been up for a little while, let me tell you. I've had enough time to make a cup of tea and drink my cup of tea.
Scott: You work with a lot of photographers with their websites.
Scott: You use WordPress for your own website, which is currently being re-done.
Scott: What are some of your favorite tools to work with, in WordPress, for the photographers, aside from what you mentioned? For example, I know that, just from knowing you there's a certain theme that you've already mentioned, but there's one theme that you like over others for various reasons. Why don't you talk about which theme that is and why you like that?
Jake: Sure, I'm a huge fan of Elegant Themes, and they do Divy, and now it's actually Divy 2, and they've just released a second one. I believe it's called Event, or something like that, I can't remember; I'll actually have to look it up while I'm talking to you, that actually uses the Divy backbone. I'm not sold as a web guy for as long as I've been doing it, I'm not sold on page builders.
Rachel: Wait, let's pause for a second and talk about, what is Divy?
Jake: Divy is a WordPress thing that actually has a very simple page-builder into it, so that you don't have to know how to code or anything to get pretty layouts. Divy's also just released a second, I say just, I think it came out in December, a second theme called Extra that's built on the Divy framework.
Essentially what it is, is you go into your WordPress site and you click on it, and you get this very simple, page-building...it's almost a drag and drop. It's [not 00:13:32] a lot of features. You don't need to know how to code. As someone that builds sites for other people, I think it's a great resource, because most people don't know how to write a simple line of CSS, and they have no desire to learn. This takes out the learning curve for them.
Rachel: Is Divy only available on Elegant Themes?
Scott: Not any more.
Jake: Divvy just released, in December when they released Extra, they released a Divy builder plug-in, and I'm actually, right now, this morning's project, I'm finishing up a project, a client was actually using OptimizeTheme or OptimizePress, something like that. OptimizePress, and we actually loaded the Divvy plug-in on top of it so she could control her site easier.
It worked like a charm. I was like, "Well, this is going to be interesting. Both of these things have very similar pieces, but no issues."
Scott: It's worth mentioning that drag and drop builders are, like you said, very useful for anybody who doesn't know how to code, doesn't know any CSS or has no desire to learn it, but there is a small drawback, 2 small drawbacks I will say. One's a little bit bigger than the other. First one being, if your page builder is built into the theme, like Divy used to be, then if you change themes you lose all that content.
Scott: If your page builder is a plug-in, and you ever disable that plug-in for whatever reason, again you lose that content. It's not just in the WordPress content area. The other issue, which is lesser of an issue but also very important is, page builders, specifically Divy, will slow your site down a little bit, because for whatever reason they designed it to run on every single page of your website, even if you're not using the...
If you just activate it, all of its scripts are running on every page, which means it's going to slow down your site, which is not good for SEO, so there's a little bit of a trade-off. If you're going to go with a page builder, definitely do some research, see which one you like the best, get one that has a return policy, or a trial period that you can be certain that you are happy with what it does.
Rachel: I laugh because you don't think of that as a digital product having a return policy, but in this case, you know, it definitely is something that, if you're going to spend the money on it, and it doesn't work or it does slow down your site, having that return policy is key, right?
Scott: Yeah, I mean at Imagely all of our products are 30 days, money back guaranteed, no questions asked. We ask anyway, "Why?" We're not going to say no if somebody wants a refund.
Jake: What I've noticed with Divvy is, I run, you know, I've not noticed a huge slowdown, but I always throw a WP-Optimize with it and EWWW Image Optimizer or something like that in there, and I've noticed that takes a lot of the slowdown if you just do stuff right.
The other one is, I usually find more with photographers, that they're loading up very large files, you know, into web, and that causes probably more damage than the builder. I mean, you know, if somebody knows what they're doing, I like Divvy, don't get me wrong, but I'm also a huge fan of the Genesis Framework.
Rachel: Yeah, but that is definitely developer-heavy, and not for the average photographer.
Scott: Out of a box Genesis Framework does not like page builders, so if you're going to use Genesis, if you have a Genesis theme and you're interested in a page builder, there is a free plug-in called Genesis Dambuster, like a river dam. It's basically busting the walls of Genesis to allow you to use a drag and drop safely on Genesis themes.
Rachel: Does that slow it down?
Scott: No, Dambuster doesn't. It just sort of changes some of the themes' layers of divs, and CSS and things like that, to open the walls up so that the drag and drop can go full width, and stuff like that.
Rachel: We should say the reason, that these are the cons, but there are pros to these page builders. They're huge pros especially, because if you do CSS wrong you can screw everything up and you can want to rip your hair out, and there's [memes 00:18:16] going around. I think I saw one from Scott where, if you're CSS and you just want to throw things, so this is a solution to that problem, but there are these slight drawbacks.
Scott: That's with everything. Everything in life. [crosstalk 00:18:34]
Rachel: Side effects.
Jake: You know, I use Divvy a lot, mostly because just because it's simple for the client. It's my goal, what I'm doing with the site, the thing I deal with and it makes me, honestly, almost sick to my stomach just talking about it sometimes, is that you get people that have paid 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, $9,000 for a website, which is a lot on any of those, unless it's a super huge site, and when they get done they don't know how to change anything. They feel like they're trapped.
I spoke with a wonderful young woman yesterday, and she spent over $5,000 on a website that's all HTML-CSS. She can't change anything. The people don't communicate back with her, and she's completely trapped. She has no way to update her site. It's all outdated information, and she's paid a large, large sum of money for a website.
Rachel: Is it WordPress?
Jake: No, the ones that she has currently is all, literally hand-coded HTML-CSS.
Rachel: Wow. I see that a lot even with WordPress is that these photographers will pay, you know, a few thousand dollars to have a custom theme built, and then they can't update and they can't maintain, and so they're looking for services. That's actually where Fötoscribe, which is a blogging service, was born because I wanted to help photographers with their WordPress sites.
It turned into needing more help creating regular content, but yeah, I think if you have a WordPress site, as a small business owner and looking for those resources, like you mentioned, those YouTube videos, in order to maintain it past that initial design phase, is how you really want to build that site out, knowing that there's going to be maintenance beyond setting it up and forgetting it, you know.
Jake: Yeah, and so one of the things I do, and it's definitely, I'm hoping that it changes and more people do it. When I'm done, I ask them what they want to be able to do. I love Gravity Forms. It's probably, and it's in my top 5. You know that top 5 changes the [opinion 00:20:35] on my situation, the order of them, but it's always the same 5.
That whole Gravity Forms that I [send out 00:20:42] and I say, "Hey, now you have access to your site and you've looked around. What are the 5 most scary things that you want to make sure you know how to do?" I get all kinds of answers. I have one person was like, "Well, I want to know that I know how to, you know, add photos to my NextGEN Pro."
Well, I can send them to YouTube, but instead I just, I've got Camtasia so I fire up Camtasia. I go through on their website, and I go through and I show them how to do their top 5 things, kind of a little 10-15 minute video, process it out, throw a bumper on each end, throw it up on Google Drive and send them the link.
Then they don't have to come back to me in 2 to 3 weeks and go, "Hey, how do I add a post?" Well, "Hey, you know what? Here's a video that's got how to add a post, how to make a change to your page, how to upload images, how to update plug-ins," all of the key components that they need to know.
I've had more people freak out after the fact when they get that than anything else, because they're like, "Well, I didn't expect this." Well, my goal isn't to build your site. Hey, don't get me wrong. I love building the sites, I love getting paid for it, but I feel like it's a disservice to say, "Here's your site. Bye."
Rachel: Yeah. I do think that [the need 00:21:50] to be a mentality shift for photographers is, a site gets built, but it also needs to be maintained. That's part of why this podcast [inaudible 00:21:59] is because we want to help you with your ongoing knowledge of WordPress.
Scott: Speaking of maintain, Jake, so you create sites for photographers. You offer coaching for photographers. Do you offer WordPress maintenance plans for photographers? If I wanted to hire you to, you know, run back-ups for me on a monthly basis, to anything that might come up if I update a plug-in, stuff like that? Do you have a plan for photographers if they contact you?
Jake: I do. I don't, I'm not advertising a direct method on the new site when it launches, basically because everybody's needs are different. What I've found is that it's really hard to say, "Here's the set plan with X and it's X amount of dollars," because what's going to fit you isn't going to fit this guy.
You may need, you know, okay, you're busy, you know WordPress, but you just don't want to deal with some of the little things, like back-ups, or if something breaks, you want to go say, "Hey, Jake, take care of it for me. I got to take care of my daughter, I got to go run this podcast, or work."
You know this other guy may say, "Hey, you know what? I don't even want to think about it. I want to load my photos up, never have to touch it, and so what I do is, I do everything based on small jobs. Basically a small job is what I can accomplish in 30 minutes, which I mean really, with WordPress 30 minutes is a lot of time.
I mean it doesn't sound like a lot of time, 30 minutes, okay, probably what it takes for me to cook lunch for my kids or something, but when we say, "Hey, what can I accomplish in 30 minutes?" Well in 30 minutes I can go get a new plug-in, load the plug-in, test it, make sure it works, and you know, probably catch a little video on how to use it so you know what you're doing, or run your back-up for you, or whatever.
I do everything based on these little 30-minute jobs, and depending on how many they need, you know, it fluctuates, but I try to keep it cheap so that anybody can afford it. I'm not trying to, obviously I've got a business, and I've got family to feed and stuff like that, but I'm not trying to take advantage of anybody.
I try to keep it relatively cheap, so it usually comes out between, usually somewhere between 30, 35 bucks a month if you just need a few minor things like back-up and stuff, to, you know, if you want me to maintain your whole thing, and basically I'd be on-call whenever you need me for X mount of hours a month, you know it could be a couple hundred bucks, if you really want that.
I have people that would usually, the ironic part is they would rather go, "Hey, I want you for 20 hours a month to handle all my website needs."
Rachel: I think it's just that peace of mind, too, and that's what the thought of outsourcing these tasks in the photography space so you can focus on the shooting and the client communications. It's just another area of, like we had Jared Bauman on, he's from ShootDotEdit, and that outsourcing the editing portion so that you can have time. I think you think about your website as a business task, too.
Scott: I think this is a good segue into the 80-20 rule that we want to talk about today as well, because really you want to do 80% of your photography and 20% on your website, maybe even less on your website.
Jake: Probably less. The 80-20 thing, basically what it gets down to is that, 80% of all of our success, all of our positive stuff, all of our results, come from about 20% of our work, our energy in our day, so the fun thing about that is, think about that. For Scott, what he does for Imagely and the social media piece, he puts about 20% of all that energy he's using is really generating 80% of the results.
What it is, what I try to teach people, is how can you figure out what that 20% is that's generating those results, so you can take all the rest of that energy you're expending and go do something else with it?
Rachel: What do you think it is for photographers specifically?
Jake: You know, it depends. I mean I was actually speaking in front of a group of photographers on Tuesday night, and we got into this conversation, and it was really interesting because I had about 20 people in this room. It was a little, local photography club in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and they're great people.
It was probably a third, third, and third; a third portrait, a third wedding, a third landscape, which was really funny because depending on what seat you were sitting in, this changed. For the wedding photographer, where's the largest expenditure of energy? Well, obviously, it's shot probably during an 8-hour period that's very, very detrimental, because if you miss the shot you can't go back.
You couldn't put enough money behind me to convince me ever to shoot a wedding, you know? You miss the shot; you're hated for life, so I think it changes. For photographers, I think what happens is, and I fall into this trap; you show up on a scene as a landscape photographer, and it's this beautiful scene.
Let's say you spend half a day there, you shoot 300 images, or 400 images. Well, you know when you're lining up that shot that it's probably not a great shot, but you shoot it anyway, right? Well, maybe it'll work good in post-processing. If it wasn't a good shot beforehand there's no amount of post that's going to make it better afterwards, but you still take the time to do it.
Then when you go back you still mess with the shot, so you know, we spend a lot of time on stuff that we probably know shooting isn't the best shot, but we want to do it anyway. I think one of the things is, photographers to figure out how to use that 20% of our energy effectively to get that 80% of the result, is honestly better time management, or better camera management, or shot management, however you want to look at it with that camera.
I mean, I'm not saying you shouldn't go walk trails and shoot stuff that's fun, but there's a line. If you take that same concept to their website, a lot of the people I talk to, I'm like... Actually I had a conversation last week with a photographer. I said, "Well, how much time do you spend on your website every month?" They're like, "I don't know. Probably 25 or 30 hours."
I said,"Okay, how many hours a week? Let's break this down here," and they said, "I don't know, probably somewhere between 6 and 8 hours a week."
I was like, "Okay, so you're on your website at least once a day. Right? Checking it, making sure there's comments, spending an hour on the site, because that's about what you're telling me."
They're like, "No," I probably get on it once or twice a week for 3 to 4 hours at a time." Instead of making a task that should be relatively simple, get on your site, check your comments, check your plug-ins, add a few new photos to push it out there, move on, they bite these huge chunks off. Really, I mean, even as a website guy, I think Scott and you both can say this, it's really hard to sit here and work on a website for 4 hours without getting out of my chair.
Jake: You know, I mean, not even with the distractions of life, but just mentally it's exhausting to sit and go-
Rachel: You're suggesting that photographers make it a system, and break it down and have it be a daily task.
Jake: Usually what I do is I tell people, "Get up in the morning, get your cup of coffee, as much as it stinks, you go through your email, so you're already on your computer. Go run through your website. Add a photo to your website. If you blog twice a week, get your schedule set, right after your email, do your blog post."
Then you're done. You can go grab your camera and go play. Go do whatever else you want to do for your business, but don't make it a secondary task, you know, and I think that-
Rachel: It's a really interesting perspective, and I think that would help a lot of business owners in all types of photography.
Jake: Yeah, a lot of them, I believe it's fear of the unknown. It's, "Oh, I don't want to learn a website. It's one more thing I've got to do. Let me hire somebody." Well, and I'm not opposed to virtual assistants. Don't get me wrong. I deal with lots of them for different people. They're great, but how much control are you going to hand over?
Actually, my partner with Shutter Click Adventures, that I do a lot of the trips with, is Blake Rudis, and we have this conversation. The other day, actually about WordPress, and so you take something as important as your website, right? In the realm of all of us, we don't have a storefront. You can't walk into a brick and mortar store.
That website is everything to us. It talks about the benefits that we can solve, our photography, our [abouts 00:30:30], how to buy the photos, our blog posts, our product reviews. I mean, it's everything we pour into this, and we take that and say, "Hey, you know what? I don't want to deal with it. I want to pay somebody," let's be generous, "25 bucks, 30 bucks an hour to do all of that for me. They're going to write my topics, they're going to do my social, they're going to do everything."
All you're going to do is sit back and take photos. I understand that frees up time, but at the same time it creates a huge disconnect. You don't know what's going on. You don't know if you're actually being successful online or not successful. I'm not saying don't hire somebody to do it, but if you do, still, couple times a week, find out what's going on.
Learn what the analytics mean. Learn what's going on. Learn what posts are working, what ones aren't working. Learn where your money's being spent. You know, I talked to somebody the other day that spent a fortune on Facebook ads. I mean, flat, I think by anybody's standard $1,200 or $1,500 a month is a small fortune on Facebook ads. You know, I mean that's a lot of money.
Rachel: Were they getting the return?
Jake: They were making next to nothing, and they'd been doing it for 3 months. They're like, "Well, I hired somebody and they're doing it for me, and they said this is going to work, but I'm not seeing the results." I'm like, "Well did you read a book on Facebook marketing before you walked into it, an eBook?"
They're out there. I've got a Kindle floating around here somewhere. I sometimes read between 5 and 8eightbooks a week, eBooks, because they're not horribly long, you know, 60, 80 pages. I'm like, "Did you go buy one of these and read it?"
"Well, I don't have time to read it." Okay, but you have time to throw away $5,000 almost, as opposed to giving up 45 minutes of a day to read an eBook so you understand how Facebook marketing, at least the basics of it. You may not be a master of it, but the gist of it. I think that's a lot of it is that we've gotten to the point of "I can just hire somebody to do it," so conveniently more with the Internet.
There has to be a knowledge. I don't think Scott would go out and hire somebody to write social media posts if he got really busy and just walk away from it. That's what he knows how to do. Now he might say, "Hey, you know what? I don't have time for this. I'm going to hire somebody to assist me," and pay attention to them, but he's not going to go, "I don't have time for this [00:32:38] any more. It's all yours."
Scott: Did anybody else hear that?
Jake: I wonder what that was.
Scott: That was really weird.
Rachel: What was it?
Jake: It's your level of awesomeness blowing through your new [mic 00:32:49] [crosstalk 00:32:50]
Scott: It sounded like a smoke detector going off for like a second.
Rachel: I didn't hear it. It wasn't here. It wasn't the cat again, I promise. I looked at Episode 3 and my cat was in the background the whole time.
Scott: Hopefully that didn't come through in the actual podcast recording. We'll see about that. Otherwise that's going to be really weird. That was very, very well said, so we, you know, we talked about a lot of different topics, about how photographers could improve, some cool tools, a theme or plug-in, drag and drop builder, we could use to make things easier, so things that really, really educational for photographers from start to finish.
Do you have any final thoughts before we close up that you want to share? Any final recommendations? Any final products? You want to talk briefly about Shutter Click Adventures, because that's something that-
Jake: Yeah, so Shutter Click Adventures, and Scott, you do have to do a trip with me some point, we do got to make this work, you know.
Jake: Shutter Click Adventures actually started because my Dad, for about 2 decades, ran a huge travel company to do sea kayaking all over the world, and I always wanted to do photography, and so he goes, "Well, we're a paddling company." I said, "Okay, fine," so last year I launched a photo company, trying to find workshops. I got hooked up, it's actually how I met Scott and met Blake Rudis.
Me and Blake have done Oregon. We're about to do Yosemite, and Acadia, and Oregon again. We stick with national parks because we feel that the United States has enough beauty in its national parks that we really don't need to travel outside of the States yet. There's just so much to see, so much cool stuff, so many cool times of year.
I mean, even here in South Dakota, you know, I get a lot of grief for living here, but come March I can drive a mile out of town and have no light pollution, and shoot the Milky Way in all its forms. I just jump in the car, grab a cup of coffee, drive down the road a mile, jump out. There's barns, there's all kinds of cool stuff to use in the foreground and shoot it.
That's what we're looking at, is how to get that. Even in the big cities there's a lot of cool stuff that people just overlook or don't even know exists, because they're not living there. We started doing that and what we did, I built the whole platform WordPress-based, and it's all WordPress, Divvy themes and Gravity Forms, and SEO by Yoast and some other minor stuff.
The gist of it was, is to how quick and simple can we make this so that if you find a trip you like, you go from trip to process. Really what it is, they're all-inclusive trips, so we rent gorgeous condos. We do all the cooking. When we were in Oregon we did I would say probably 90% of all the cooking was organic, you know, food, fruits, vegetables, beef, fish, everything.
You don't have to worry about anything. You show up on the trip. We pick you up at the airport, go to the condo.
Rachel: Is this just for landscape photographers or do you have all kinds of photographers come?
Jake: Last year was the first year I did it. The trips are all landscape, but ironically we've had not just landscape photographers come, and I'm actually working with a couple of portrait studio photographers that do composites and everything, to actually start offering trips like that, because I've had so much interest in that.
I don't have it. It's not my skill set, which isn't a big deal, because usually on the trips my job isn't to teach really anyway. I do the cooking, and make sure all the food's good, and sit back and let everybody else do their thing. It's kind of nice, but yeah, I'm hoping this year to work with 2 different photographers to do some portrait stuff.
One of the guys I want to work with actually has been, he's in the military, and he's been over in Dubai for about the last year, so I've been getting all these great shots in Dubai, and he's been doing modeling shoots and stuff in Dubai. He's from Tennessee, and he's like, "Hey, when I get back, let's talk."
He gets back in April so I don't know if that will realistically be a 2016 deal just because of the time of year, you know that we're going to hit, but maybe it does. Maybe it works. I'd like to get into that because a lot of people want to do it. It's a lot of fun. We can bring in a make-up artist, and a hair-stylist, and the clothing stylists and do that.
Then have him do the studio time and then we find somebody else for him, whoever can help you with composite work, because that's a big thing that people are starting to want to do, is composites.
Jake: Yeah, it's a lot of fun.
Rachel: That's pretty cool. It sounds like it's for photographers who want to travel and get different experience with their photography.
Rachel: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Scott, do you have any follow-up?
Scott: No. I think, you know, I'm looking forward to eventually doing a workshop with you. It's going to be a lot of fun when we [crosstalk 00:38:13]
Rachel: It sounds like, I mean I love how knowledgeable you are about WordPress and photography.
Scott: Oh, yeah, he's very knowledgeable and he's been very active in some great forums lately, which is really cool to see as well, spreading that knowledge around, so, thank you Jake for joining us today. Thank you, Rachel, for being an awesome co-host.
Rachel: Thank you Scott for having both of us on.
Scott: You can find the show notes from today at Imagely.com/podcast/7.
Rachel: 7, do you believe, 7?
Scott: Already. It's crazy, and I actually think, Jake, you've mentioned Blake a couple of times. I believe he's our next guest actually, so that's-
Jake: Oh, is he? Cool. He's a hoot, man.
Jake: Here, okay, I'm going to get, so you know where he's been for the last 10 days, right? You know this?
Scott: Hasn't he been doing the military thing?
Jake: Yeah, so he ended up getting sucked out to Hawaii for 10 days for the military, and so he's been sending me photos, "Oh it's rough." I'll get this picture from Hawaii, and I'm like, "Rough, right?" I go outside and take a picture and it's like 10 degrees out right now. [crosstalk 00:39:32]
Rachel: We'll have to hear him post Hawaii, and we'll probably have what? 8 feet of snow next week, here in the Northeast.
Jake: Yeah, it's been pretty funny, because we do a lot of stuff together and talk, and it's kind of weird when he's gone. I know this sounds funny, but when he's gone for a week I'm like-
Scott: You feel lonely.
Jake: I do, because I'm like, we're always bouncing stuff off each other, because we're doing so much, and I'm like, "Hey, oh I can't ask you. Oh no, I can't..." You know, it's really weird because you don't think about it until it's not there.
I'm working on, like I was telling you before, I'm working on relaunching my site and I've had some ideas that I think are good, but I'm like, "Who knows? Maybe they're horrible. Let me ask Blake. Oh, I can't ask Blake. I got to wait."
Rachel: We're looking forward to chatting with him. That'll be our next episode, Episode 8 it sounds like.
Scott: Yeah, I think he'll be on Episode 8, right when he gets back from his trip.
Jake: Yeah, well, he's good. He did a solid, actually. You can give him some [perks 00:40:33] on this if you like. One of the gals in our town, she was a senior, she had to, right before Christmas they gave her, 4 days before her Christmas break they gave her the chore of, she had to interview a Vet and had 50 questions.
She had to do a video interview of somebody and Blake in the awesomeness that he always has, stood up and just said, "I'll do..." I said something to him about it, he's like, "I'll do it." He volunteered. He sat with her on the phone for an hour, answered all her questions, and did everything just because that's, you know.
He was like, "I'm happy to help." It was really cool that he did it, so I'm giving him a shout out for that, because it really helped her out, and she's a good kid, and that's just how he is.
Rachel: Cool. Well, good, I look forward to talking to him, and thank you so much for your time.
Jake: Great time.
Scott: Awesome. Until next time.
— Imagely (@imagely) February 4, 2016