The WordPress Photography Podcast
The WordPress Photography Podcast
Episode 76 - Branding Your Photography Business with Keith Stoeckeler


Keith Stoeckeler is the VP of Digital at MKTG, and his work encompasses web and app development, social and digital strategy, content development and video production, influencer marketing, and talent relationships, social listening and insights. Yes, MKTG does a lot when it comes to your online presence, and Keith has a great deal to do with it all. Keith is a cheeseburger addict and typeface admirer, a gin connoisseur, year-round iced coffee drinker, Boston Terrier owner and dog advocate, and a #airportliving ambassador. When it comes to branding, Keith gets it!

Visit the show notes page to answer Keith's question from this episode.

What we discuss:

  • Flashy design or simple?
  • Turnkey design or custom?
  • Home page ideas to illustrate the photography brand in minimal time
  • How would you incorporate a personal brand throughout a photographer's site?
  • Incorporating site branding, with business cards and product delivery packaging

Referenced Links:

Where to find Keith:


Transcription was done by Temi.com which means it's an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Scott: Welcome to episode 76. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and I'm joined by my guest, Keith steckler. Hit Keith, welcome to the show.

Keith: Got It. How you doing man?

Scott: I'm doing well. Um, so you're in New York City, right?

Keith: Technically, yes. I'm in Connecticut about an hour of New York. Um, but I guess, you know, linkedin calls it the greater New York City area. I go with that.

Scott: And uh, so just as a quick reminder at the end of the show, Keith will have an opportunity to ask you the listeners it question. You'll be able to answer that question on the show notes page, which will be imagely.com/podcast/ 76. Now quick introduction to Keith. He is the VP of digital at. Is it pronounced marketing? Because that's what I'm doing in my head. That's what I've been doing in my head.

Keith: It's Mktg I don't blame you, I guess that a lot.

Scott: So. So how is that? Is that not the intention of, of Mktg?

Keith: I have not found anyone that will own up to that. Either way I'll say no, I just don't know for sure.

Scott: Okay, sounds good. So keeps work. Encompasses web and APP development, social, digital strategy, content development, video production, influencer marketing, tell relationships, socialist listening and insights. There's a ton that goes on, uh, in, in Keith's day to day and Mktg does a lot when it comes to your online presence and Keith has a great deal to do with, with all of it. Um, he is a cheeseburger addicts and a type face. Admire a gin kinda sore and a year around ice coffee drinker, Boston terrier owner and dog advocate and Hashtag airport living ambassador. So when it comes to branding, Keith gets it. So we're very happy to have him on the show and to talk to him about branding for photographers. So welcome again, I'm glad to have you here.

Keith: No, I'm uh, I'm looking forward to it. You know, when you type out that bio or that introduction, it doesn't seem that long, but you know, hearing it, it's like wow, that was quite a mouthful. I bet. Shit you tackling all of it.

Scott: Yeah. You know, that's, that's how it normally goes. Like whenever I speak somewhere, I send them to the bio and then when they read it before I go on, it's like, man, did I really said that, like,

Keith: who sent that to you?

Scott: Um, so before we dive into our topic for today, what's going on with you? What's, what's new in your world and in Mktg is world. What's going on?

Keith: Sure. You're catching me mid February. So at the beginning of the year and like most businesses, but certainly ad agencies, we are scoping new projects, new programs, developing stronger relationships with all of our clients, trying to figure out what we're going to tackle this year. So we're sort of in that Q, one planning phase, um, which is equal parts exciting, but also, you know, what are we going to work on this year? And I think I'm not having much of the groundwork laid, um, you know, it's an exciting place to be. So I like working project by project really. And I like trying to figure out how we, um, do better than last year. What I don't like and what I don't ever want us to do is say, okay, we did something last year, now what's the 10 percent increase from that and that's what we're going to do this new year. So we try to throw everything out.

Keith: We don't go past a year as far as showing you know, capabilities or things we're proud of because I really want us to focus on the last 12 months and say, you know, this is our best work. So that's where we are at this part of the year and you know, just got back from San Francisco. I'm planning a couple other trips for work, you know, like I said, we do content production and shoots and things, so a lot of times we're on the road and given that we're focused in sports entertainment where you know that much more on the road, just had teams at the superbowl. So it's a fun place to be. It really is.

Scott: That's great. So you didn't get to go to the superbowl then?

Keith: No, I did not. There was not really a need for me to, um, and, and working at Mktg and sports and entertainment is one of those things where we have a bucket list, sports properties, um, like the, uh, the superbowl, I'm, you know, college world series, like all these things that people just, you know, would kill to, to work on and go to as a spectator. We do so year in and year out. And so sometimes you get a little bit of that. Um, oh, I went to the superbowl last year, I don't need to go this year, which is a fascinating place to be. How people just, I guess they're just bored or, or run down working on the superbowl year after year, but not me. That's not me.

Scott: So, so let's, uh, let's dive into, um, the first two topics that I want to talk about should be fairly quick because I feel like the, the, the answers really would work for majority of small businesses online, but specifically photographers, flashy design or simple. And the reason why I asked this is it's a topic that comes up quite often in the photo industry, in facebook groups. I see it so often where we're, we're people think, do I need to get accustomed site made for my small business, which is a photography business or, or do I need something that's simple? I turnkey, um, something, something that's like, you know, I'm just a wordpress theme that's already designed in a couple couple of tweaks. Do I need it to be flashy and custom or do I need to be quick and simple? Like what, what would a typical small business go for?

Keith: Yeah. I think you mentioned wordpress. I was also thinking of squarespace and there's a lot of them out there. So I think if, if I was squarespace, I would answer your question by saying, well, why do you have to choose? You can have both. I think they would tell you they have really thoughtful design or flashy as you've stated it, but it's done in a simple way where the owner or the user of the site, you can update things rather quickly and seamlessly. So I, I use where it's based on my personal website, I just very happy with it. Um, I have not changed the layout or theme for probably two if not three years. Um, and that's just because it works for me. I'm trying to be more minimal, but I have seen a lot of the layouts that I think are focused on restaurants or businesses or anything visual like a photographer where the front homepage is big, full bleed imagery really draws you in.

Keith: You can also include, um, like a short video reel or video clips so that something's moving in the background. You get a nice movement. So I would say you probably don't have to choose. If we were having this discussion a few years ago, you probably would because flashy would equal like a web designer to me. You'd go out and you'd find someone to build this for you. And now you really can do this on your own. Um, there are so many easy tools at your disposal. I haven't dug into, um, wix too much, but I saw that they have a, uh, had a super bowl commercials. So they clearly are doing okay financially, um, but you know, there's, there's a, there's a lot of them out there. I don't, I don't want to discount web designers and developers because I think a lot of them do, you know, fantastic work. I think the better question is, have you spent enough time digging into the squarespaces of the world? And if you have, if that's not working or you don't have the time or it's not accomplishing what you need, then you know, let's go to a developer and a web designer.

Scott: Yeah. And in wordpress there's, there's, there's thousands of free designs out there. There's thousands of pages designed. There's page builder plugins that are specifically to do drag and drop whatever you want. There's even now a page builder built into wordpress. And so it's so easy now to really have a turnkey site. I mean, all the image Lee's designs that we have for wordpress or all four photographers obviously, and they're all have these big full screen slide shows, the support video. So there's, there's tons of options out there, um, that you can have this sort of turnkey site. But then also customize, you know, a little further how you want or you can hire a designer or developer to really make something from scratch. So in my opinion, uh, when it comes to a photographer, is there any small business you should always start with a turnkey solution and then work your way up because you have more important things to do in your business, especially as a small business to worry about your website over and over again nonstop. Everyday you've got way more important things to worry about.

Keith: Yeah, totally. Majority of photographers that you talked to you, the website is really supposed to be like their welcome mat or their presence online and they don't really intend to update it all that often. Or are you finding that, you know, I want to have a website, I want to make sure I have some of my recent stuff up there as often as possible and they're looking to update it as often as they can.

Scott: It's actually a good mix. And I would say it's probably split down the middle and there are some, there's probably even another category. There's probably the, the people who really don't put a lot of time and effort into it at all and it just acts as their business card, like that's it, right? You send somebody there, they, they can see a little bit about what you do and how to get in touch with you. And that's it. Then there's the photographers who do update maybe once a year or something like that. And then there's the photographers who will be blogging every week, every month or whatever on a consistent basis, whatever their consistency is. So it's, it's a pretty good spread of, of, uh, uses.

Keith: That's fair.

Scott: Um, and of course that also depends on the genre of photography because you've got a lot of, of an image. Do we have a humanitarian photography grant that we do every year and those photographers typically are posting once a year because they just wrapped up a project and now they want a pump share that story, right? Um, but, but then you have wedding photographers who are trying to blog all the time and update things all the time to show recent wedding work. So I'm in the niche, really plays a big role in it. Um, so you, with that last answer, you, you briefly touched on a little bit of home home page design. We touched on this a little bit. So let's go a little bit more into a, let's say like three tips are so that you would recommend for photographers to think about, um, to illustrate their brand in minimal time just on their home page.

Keith: Yeah. I think the greatest tip I can say is, is try to get out of I'm a photographer, I'm a business owner and just think like a consumer because you're a consumer in, in many other aspects of your life. So if you were looking to hire somebody and let's use weddings as an example. Given budgets are big and these are a special day for people you know, what are the things that you think are important to you as a consumer and make sure you're conveying that as a photographer and as a business owner. So what I mean by that is if the front page of your website is really this first impression I haven't met you, I haven't called you, I likely haven't corresponded with you in any way I found you online. I found your website, I'm looking into your photos. This is the first impression that you're making.

Keith: So make sure it's a good one. Um, one recommendation could be show the most recent photo that you've taken or recent shot that you're really proud of. It doesn't have to be something that was recent. Maybe it's a shoot you did a year or two ago, um, but based on the kind of work that you do and the work that you want to do more of, if it was a lifestyle shot or a car shot, whatever it is, instantly understanding what it is that you do as a photographer. So if you want to go after weddings, have a wedding photo, prominent first, you know, front and center. So that's one way to accomplish it. And I really feel like as long as you remember that you're a consumer, at the end of the day, what would you want to know and what's important to you and try to make that connection for, um, you know, your customers.

Scott: Right? Right. Do you, do you think it's really important for photographers to have their headshot right there? The photographers themselves, their headshot or sort of not everywhere on their website, but in a lot of prominent places besides just the about page, right? Like another place, the home page for example. Other. Are there places besides sort of the more obvious places that you should be putting your head shot a little bit about yourself, things like that?

Keith: Yeah, you should absolutely have like an about me section. Um, people will go to that and you know, that's the other benefit of something like squarespace is, you know, we talked about a lot about design. We didn't really talk about analytics and I think some people are either into that or they're not, but I'm just, as a business owner, you want to know what are the pages on your website that are doing well? What's getting traffic, what's not, and so if you do create an about me page and people are not visiting it, you know, you have to get your information somewhere else on the page. But I do think, um, and I, and I know I keep going back to weddings and I'll probably provide a lot of examples with that, but I do think people really do care to know who you are as a person and what your background is and you know, did you, did you go to art school?

Keith: Did you kind of fall into this? Like how did you get where you are? What are you talking about? Some of the clients you've worked with, um, are you talking about your background? I mean, people do really care to understand a little bit about you. Again, especially if you're gonna potentially be my wedding photographer. I want to feel comfortable with you before I even send you an email. Maybe there's something that you can throw out there that might be relatable to other people or you know, oh, they went to the same university as my cousin like this. This feels good. Like, let me send them a note. So I do think that's important. I think another way to get at that, I was having a conversation with, um, you know, somebody else who's a photographer who said, I, I try to make sure that I can hand my iphone off to somebody and they can capture some behind the scenes of me after shoot of me taking the photos and I think, you know, the iphone, um, as I'm sure you know, is certainly comparable for that kind of photo and you know, the phone and the camera have come, come a very long way.

Keith: So I do think that's important. Um, get some perspective of you at a shoot. You know, somebody like me who might appreciate it more. We'll see your setup will see the kind of equipment you have now that's not going to be the average consumer. But I do think people want to know that I'm not just hiring somebody, you know, down the street who shows up with a dslr that, you know, they've, they've put some money into this. This is their career, this is what they do. And there's a level of importance and seeing a behind the scenes shot that can convey all of that information.

Scott: Yeah. One of the things that I, that I try to do as well whenever I do a photo session is have my assistant or my wife or whoever it is the time take my phone, take their phone, capture some things. And that gets, not necessarily always on the website itself, but that's great for instagram stories. That's great for um, sort of the more informal type things. Um, so, uh, yeah, it's uh, definitely that's definitely a good thing to, to for photographers to think about. And I think when it comes to an about page specifically, you want to, the way I like to say it, as you kind of want to share your story, um, because the story is what it's going to show who you are. And you just saying something like, I'm passionate about photography. And that's why I'm a photographer, is not, it's not gonna that's not gonna resonate with, with any of your potential clients. But if you tell them, you know, what you were just saying, where you know, where you grew up and how you grew up in and where you love to know what you like to do during the week and where you live, what kind of foods you love to eat and, and whether you're a Vegan or vegetarian or carnivore, you know, like really like telling them your who you are is really what's going to resonate better with, with your potential clients. So

Keith: I think most of these jobs you're going to get are going to involve you meeting with the client. Um, a handful of time planning, scheduling, you know, whatever it is. And if, if you're somebody who's local and you can do those meetings in person, um, you know, yeah, you could do that at a starbucks. But if I know the kind of food that you like, um, you know, per your point, you know, maybe we go out to lunch, you know, and I, I think the more you can learn about somebody, the greater level of comfort you have. And I think it makes the decision process a little.

Scott: Yeah.

Keith: And so, uh, earlier you mentioned about analytics, um, I want to point out that for anybody with a wordpress site, you can install it. You should have google analytics, Google analytics is free, um, and you can set it up on your site and there's a wordpress plugin that is also a free call, monsterinsights, which will actually connect to your google analytics to your wordpress site and write in your wordpress dashboard. You can see all your stats and you can check on how, how your pages are doing and you can check on your about page and see if that's resonating, resonating. Well in fact, you can go to Google analytics and actually see a heat map of your, of your pages, and see how, what if people are actually scrolling and reading or not, you'll know if it's, if what you wrote is too long, too short, if it's not engaging enough based on a interactivity on your site, if people are clicking, things like that.

Keith: So, um, stats are very useful when it comes to, to really anything you're doing on your site, whether it's a simple site or a more complex site. Um, so, uh, my next question to you is about incorporating site, uh, your, your, your branding, your site branding with more offline products like business cards, product delivery, packaging, things like that. Uh, let's talk about just the importance of it, some ideas of what photographers can do based on your experience, whether it's in the photo industry or not in the photo industry. Um, because there's, you know, there's a lot of overlap really between even sports in photography. There's a lot of overlap. So, um, yeah, like what, let's talk about the importance of that first, like what are your, what are your thoughts on this? Sure. I mean above all, whether it's physical or, or at any point throughout the process, the way that you communicate, everything should be consistent.

Keith: You should feel the consumers should feel like it's coming from the same place. It's got the same look, the same field, the same tone you've taken, whatever I found on your website and you know, brought that into a physical perspective and it feels like everything was very thoughtful and every touchpoint throughout, you know, my experience with you was really thoughtfully considered. So, um, you know, a way to package your files on like a drive or a USB drive. There's ways to design those really nicely. Um, you know, uh, a friend of mine who photographed our wedding, his whole branding was, was really, um, like wood and earthy. And so when I got the photos, they came on three, three or four different USB drives because they shot so much stuff. Um, but the drives were wooden and the top closed on it magnetically. And then he engraved his name on the usbs and then it came in a box with like fake moss and you opened it and it was, you know, whether he had thought about it, I'm sure that he did.

Keith: But you got to think about the couple sitting down looking at their photos. This is the first thing they take out of whatever you've mailed them and you're instantly transported back to that day. Do you want them pulling out a USB stick from office Max or do you want something very thoughtfully done where it's clear that the photographer understood how much money you spent with him or her and valued the work and really wanted to make sure that they left you with a great lasting impression. Um, business cards, you know, the same way. I mean, there's, there's ways to really convey who you are through colors and fonts and textures and you know, there's so much that you can do to really drive home and impression and if it's a, a business card and, and presumably you've yet to sign the deal. This is one of the ways you're leaving your mark with them.

Keith: You want it to stick out. Maybe it's heavy, maybe it's glossy, maybe, um, maybe it's got, you know, some type of camera functionality on it. I saw one that looked like a, like a lens as you were kind of like, you know, I'm moving it back and forth. So there's ways to get certain types of visibility or I'm drawing a blank on the word and then I'm going forward. Um, there's ways to get certain outcomes based on materials you use and the way that it's printed. So just as I'm, you know, photos are developed and things are edited. You should think about ways to enhance or edit. I'm like a traditional business card in order to stand out.

Scott: When I was at a photo plus expo in New York City, I think it was last years, uh, I, I met somebody who had a business card that was actually a negative. He actually photographed the contents of his business card on a film camera, developed a certain way, develop the negatives, and will then cut each frame out. Is this the same thing over and over again? And just each little 35 millimeter piece of film was his business card. It was brilliant and this is just a fine art photographer. So it was like sort of the perfect. I'm a way to show his brand was of, you know, that he's shooting film for, for this company based on that. So it was a very, very, very smart, very clever.

Keith: I love that. Especially coming from, you know, advertising and marketing that could have been something that happened to you last week or 10 years ago and I think you would have just as enthusiastically remembered it because it left a left a mark with you.

Scott: Yeah. Yeah. So for anybody interested in custom flash drives would inboxes even glass boxes, which are really pretty. I'm going to link to custom flash drives and a couple other places in the show notes where you can look getting custom flash drives and winning boxes in glass boxes. Uh, I, I do custom and flash drives and a beautiful sort of cardboard but like, well decorated. It's not really cardboard. It's like pretty boutique packaging whenever I deliver my images and that goes more with my brand. I do. I have tried the wooden box and it doesn't really fit more with my brand, but I do love the fact that they, like, you know, sort of embossed it into the wood, but I get mine from either custom flash drives or other places. So I'll link to those in the show notes. They're really, definitely, I definitely recommend that. Um, okay. So, uh, now is an opportunity where you have a chance to ask our listeners a question in our hope is that they go to the show notes and they enter the question and comments or on the youtube video they can answer it in the comments there wherever they like. So a, what question would you like to ask our listeners?

Keith: Well, I'll give you two. I'll give you a fun one and then I'll give you one that I'm equally interested in, but we talked a little bit about using behind the scenes photos on social and I would agree with that. I think your use of it is perfect. And so, you know, my question is have your listeners who are photographers use some behind the scenes shots on instagram stories maybe. So maybe the finished photo is on the grid or the profile and then behind the scenes that got that photo done is conveyed and showed him the, in the stories. So I'd be curious to know how your listeners are using instagram stories and if they're, you know, telling the complete story of that shoot, I'm using the platform and then my, my fun one is, you mentioned as, I'm not shy to talk about. I'm an absolute, she's burger addict and so I'm always looking for people's favorite burgers and you know, so wherever you are, if you could tell me, you know, what city you live in and where I might find your favorite burger. I would love that.

Scott: I will answer your question. You're a cheeseburger question right now. Um, so, uh, what, what did Bobby flays restaurant in Las Vegas, I forgot what it's called a, it might just be flay. I don't remember exactly, but it was like a $20 burger and it was one of those like you do it once in a once in your lifetime. It was way overpriced. Now obviously he didn't make it as chefs made it, but it was delicious and it had like, like these Jalapeno like crumbles on it and Oh, so good. I miss it.

Keith: Yeah, that's what I mean. There's the burger that you think about and reminisce about. That's the burger. I want to know where to find it. So I love that one.

Scott: Yeah. Whatever. Bobby. Yeah, I'll have to. I'll have to look up what the name of the restaurant was. Um, it's been, it's been awhile.

Keith: He's good. He's good. He's like the grill guy, so I get that.

Scott: Yeah. Um, so thank you, Keith, for joining us today. We really appreciate it. Uh, you can find the show notes where to find Keith and to answer keith's two questions at imagely.com/podcast/ 76. And don't forget to subscribe to the show on Apple podcast, stitcher, Spotify, Google play, and wherever you listen to podcasts. And by the way, I don't know if you heard this, but a Spotify just acquired gimlet media and anchor.FM. Wow. That is like, they're, they're putting all their balls into podcasting right now. So

Keith: I didn't hear about anchor. Actually. No. Mike, who founded that? I need to send them a note. I heard about the prior one. I didn't know anchorage. Jesus for him.

Scott: Yeah. Yeah. So. All right. Thank you so much for joining today. We appreciate it.

Keith: It was fun, Scott. I appreciate you having me on.

Scott: Yeah. Until next time.

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