Episode 9 – Keep Refining, It’s A Constant Process w/ Chamira Young

Episode 9 – Keep Refining, It’s A Constant Process w/ Chamira Young

 
 

00:00 / 42:13
 

1X

 

chamira-youngChamira Young is a self-proclaimed art nerd, Photoshop geek, and photographer with an obsession for productivity and creativity. Chamira can be found around teaching online through her website, Pro Photographer Journey podcast, Udemy, TutsPlus and now as a regular at Photofocus. Her goal is to help empower individuals and small businesses to be become more successful with as many tools and as much knowledge as she can provide.

WordPress/Photography Related News:

WordPress 4.4.2 is released by the time this episode airs. It’s a minor update that should not break any site functions. But it contains 17 bug fixes that were reported in version 4.4 and 4.4.1.

AGLOW Magazine is now available for design and photographic inspiration, from our friends at Design Aglow.

Rachel has released her blogging system, Story First Blogging, for photographers.

Referenced Links:

Where to find Chamira:

Transcription:

Transcription was done by Rev.com

Scott: Welcome to Episode 9. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz, and I'm joined by my co-host Rachel from FotoSkribe. Hey, Rachel.

Rachel: Hey, Scott, how are you?

Scott: Good, how you doing?

Rachel: Good.

Scott: You got hit with that crazy snowstorm?

Rachel: No, we didn't. Here in Boston, we totally missed it, and last year, this time, we had 4 feet of snow, so I'm really excited that we got missed.

Scott: Yeah, we got hit with about 2 feet, I think just over 2 feet, and we were snowed in for a couple of days, and now I see green on the grass again because it's been raining for the past few days, so it's been-

Rachel: Sorry. I installed El Capitan and apparently it broke everything.

Scott: Yeah.

Rachel: I apologize for that.

Scott: Today we have Chamira Young on the show. Chamira is a self-proclaimed art nerd, Photoshop geek and photographer with an obsession for productivity and creativity. Chamira can be found teaching online through her website, through her podcast, ProPhotographerJourney on Udemy, Tuts+, and now she's a regular on Photofocus, which is one of my top 3 favorite podcasts.

Then you've got to add our own podcast on top of that, so I've got 4, but, you know, top 3 of not my own podcast. Her goal is to help empower individuals and small businesses to become more successful with as many tools and as much knowledge as she can provide. Welcome to the show, Chamira.

Chamira: Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to chat with you 2.

Rachel: Welcome. We're very excited, and I love your mission statement. I feel like that's a really powerful stance to have, and you definitely live what you preach, so we appreciate you being here.

Chamira: Well, thank you for that.

Scott: Before we get into what's going on in your world, let's talk about a little bit of WordPress photography-related news. Just yesterday at the time of the day we're recording this, which will be on the show notes page, WordPress released 4.4.2. Now, this is kind of funny, I think this is the second time since we started the podcast that a WordPress version has been released, or maybe third time in fact.

Rachel: Yeah, no, we did 4.4, then 4.4.1, which was a security, and now we're on 4.4.2, so you can see how quickly these things are changing and you know, need updating.

Scott: Yeah, so the 4.4 is, that's a 1-point release, and that's a little bit faster than a major release being 4, 5, 6, something like that, so 4.4 was a 1-point release. This is sort of like a double point, really, so those come out faster. They're security fixes or bug fixes.

Rachel: Right.

Scott: This one is a minor fix. It should not break any site functionality. It contains 17 bug fixes that were reported in version 4.4 and 4.4.1.

Rachel: I don't know if you've seen it, but Matt Mullenweg who... Whoops, sorry, see I'm telling you, today is just going to be one of those days, guys. Matt Mullenweg, who invented WordPress, just recently did an article, and I think it was on WP Tavern about why they do 3 or 4-point releases every year. If WordPress isn't moving too fast, but if you're interested in it, and I'll find the link for the show notes, but it's a good discussion about why WordPress keeps changing to keep up with what's going on in the world.

Scott: Yeah, we'll be sure to include that in the show notes for sure. Again, like a little bit of technical lingo here, make sure you back up your sites before you do this update. Yes, it should not break your site, but do it anyway, back up your site. Okay, but let's move into a little bit of photography news related to WordPress. First is, AGLOW Magazine is now available.

Rachel: I have it right here. It's gorgeous.

Scott: I have mine here, too. Where did it go? Where did it go? Here it is. Here it is, so if you're watching the video, you can see Rachel and I both have the magazine on our desks. AGLOW Magazine is from the amazing design team at Design Aglow, and they're friends of ours, they're fantastic, so this magazine's going to be great for design and photographic inspiration.

The reason why I think that this is related to WordPress is because you can relate the design inspiration in the magazine to your WordPress website, and the Design Aglow team also has some WordPress templates for photographers using the ProPhoto theme.

Rachel: Yes, and they're beautiful.

Scott: They are quite beautiful. The other topic I want to mention is, Rachel has a new product coming out called Story First Blogging.

Rachel: Yes, we are launching next week, so by the time this podcast goes up it will be live, and they are blogging templates for photographers. This was my first product launch, and it was a definite interesting experience, but I used WordPress and got it all up to where I wanted it to be, so we will see what happens, but thank you for that, Scott.

Scott: Yes, so definitely check that out. That will be in the show notes as well.

Rachel: Great.

Scott: Chamira, what's going on in your world?

Chamira: Wow! What a loaded question. Well, I will say first off the bat, you know, as far as my own photography business is concerned, I just moved to a new city, actually. Christmas Eve, so at the moment I am in the process of rebuilding my client base in this new city, and at the same time continuing releasing new episodes with my podcast, still all my teaching.

I'm teaching more with Tuts+ right now as opposed to Udemy, and I'm also working on courses for my own platform as well, or for my own sites. There seems to be a lot going on and that's just in a nutshell there.

Rachel: Yeah.

Chamira: Yeah.

Scott: On that topic, you said you're creating courses for your own site. Will those be WordPress-based learning systems?

Chamira: You know, at the moment, yeah. Yes, actually.

Scott: Have you started exploring what plug-in and/or theme you're going to use for the learning system?

Chamira: I have, you know, as far as the theme, straight up I'll say that I love, love uDesign, which I don't know if you've heard of that one. It's just the letter U and then design.

Scott: Okay.

Chamira: I am at the point where I'm very familiar with it, even as far as customizing it, so that's pretty much what I use for most of my main sites, especially in our studios which is the hub of my creativity, and also for ProPhotographerJourney, which is my podcast.

Now, whenever I'm creating a site for myself on WordPress, I am just going in uDesign, and you can get a pretty good variation as far as style. As far as online teaching, I'm going to have to look up, it's an awesome plug-in that allows you to create your own online course, [new 00:07:03] WordPress, and they're actually headquartered in my neck of the woods, well, Ann Arbor, which is 2-and-a-half hours away, pretty close to me, close enough anyway.

Rachel: Let's actually start at the beginning Chamira, because this is one of my first times meeting you. Where did you move from and where did you move to for your photography business?

Chamira: Sure, I moved from Fair Haven, and it is probably a half hour, it's a half hour south of where I am now, so not that far away, but if you compare it to Port Huron, there's quite a bit of difference, and one thing I'm really excited about in building my client base here in Port Huron, is that there are a lot more businesses, a lot more resources in Port Huron, as compared to Fair Haven.

A lot of it, this is really a face-to-face type of town, really. I just went to a Chamber meeting this morning, Chamber of Commerce, and everybody knows everybody, you know, so if you're looking to build clients, I'm finding I really have to get out there and talk to people.

Rachel: Well it's so relevant, because photographers who do move from one location to another, you know, definitely struggle with that. Did your photography business start first and then your online teaching, or did it all start at the same time? What was the progression of that journey for you?

Chamira: You know, for me I would say that my photography business started first, and actually I'm going to have to back up a little bit and say that as far as my photography, well, I started learning to do photography in college, so the University of Michigan. Then after that, I went and worked for a publishing company, and I put the camera down for years, and I went back to it when I started working at a motorcycle magazine. That's when I got back into it.

That was around 2009, and so then I was a staff photographer. We find our own models, do our photo shoots, 80% of them in-house, and so I got experience working on a team, also dealing with models, booking hotels, all that stuff. There was illustration, design. They had me touching everything, which I really liked, and eventually I ended up leaving the magazine, on good terms, because I believe you should never burn bridges, and I went into business full time for myself.

When I did that, it was a mixture of photography, graphic design, and web design. Since then I'm trying to learn more focus, because I find I love doing so many different things. I can get a little bit scatterbrained, so with the past few years I'm trying to focus more on building my photography clients, but also the education piece. That's when I started creating online courses for other photographers.

Rachel: Okay, and where did WordPress come in for you in this journey? Was it something that was always there? Was it a newer thing. When did you sort of discover that for your website stuff?

Chamira: That would probably be around 2010, 2011, and really it came from me wanting to build my own site, and trying to pick a solution that gave me control but was still not too overwhelming. Now, at the same time I was doing graphic design, along with photography and stuff, and I kept getting requests for web design. It all tied in together.

A client, if they need, you know, a logo, they'd be like, "Oh, I need a website, too. Do you do that?" I was like, "Yeah, I'll learn WordPress," and so yeah, yeah. It's been years, it's been years now, and now I find that's what I'm the most comfortable in, but I do still touch other platforms as well when necessary.

Rachel: What other platforms do you work with?

Chamira: Mainly Zenfolio.

Rachel: Okay.

Chamira: Yeah, yeah, and they are really the muscle behind my photography website, so if you go to chamirastudios.com, that's the hub of my creativity, that links out to the podcast. It also links out to my photo website for clients, so that's a different audience there, right? It's for people looking for a photographer. I chose Zenfolio for that because of their, I love the galleries, I love the options you have with making them private. I also love the built-in sales system and fulfillment system that they have in there.

Rachel: Yeah, no, I mean this is a great intersection for photographers. I actually just saw this question on one of the boards, you know, I'm moving from Zenfolio, where should I go? The next logical step in my mind is WordPress, but you would design for Zenfolio websites, correct?

Chamira: Yes, yes, and you know I really want to clarify that... Okay, we'll have to back up to about 2012. I was using Zenfolio for my own site, and this is where I got into designing Zenfolio sites. After I created my own I realized... At the time, to be honest, the Zenfolio themes, templates they were offering, there was a bit lacking there, and that was a lot of the feedback they were getting.

I decided to create a site called Zenjoyable that would essentially... I created themes where you could purchase a theme that would work on your Zenfolio site.

Rachel: Oh, interesting, great.

Chamira: Yeah, yeah, so I've always been completely third party. I've never been paid directly from Zenfolio. I've never been an employee or even an independent contractor, although when I started Zenjoyable, I'm like, "Mmm, maybe I should write Zenfolio, like, "Hey, what's up, [crosstalk 00:12:45] doing?"

I figured if they had a problem with it I'd rather we cross that bridge, that hurdle, earlier than later, so I sent them an email, and I threw in there like, "If you want to promote my site to your audience in your newsletter, that would be awesome," and they did! They were totally cool with it, and since then we've had a good relationship. I got to, they flew me out to meet the crew, I think it was a year later, for one of the big photography conferences, I think.... oh, why am I blanking? It wasn't WPPI; it was the other big one.

Scott: Imaging?

Chamira: Yes, yes, Imaging USA, thank you. That was cool, because I got to meet the crew. I got to work alongside them in their booth and talk to their customer base.

Rachel: There was a need for that. It was what you saw, there was people who wanted to be on Zenfolio sites with the power, but they didn't have the design capabilities. This was all before Squarespace I think, correct?

Scott: Yeah, yeah.

Chamira: Yeah.

Rachel: Do you have any thoughts on Squarespace filling that niche, or do you really stick with the Zenfolio-WordPress sort of duo?

Chamira: You know, right now I stick with, nine times out of 10... Well, it depends on who I'm talking to, because I tend to recommend Squarespace to other small business owners who may not necessarily be in the photography space, but at the same time I have some friends who use Squarespace for their portfolio website, although I have never designed in Squarespace, so I don't know the ins and outs, you know, as far as how well they serve photographers.

I also just want to add really quick that, yeah, you mentioned at the time there was a need for Zenfolio, for me to be designing third party Zenfolio themes. I have since closed down Zenjoyable.com because Zenfolio, they have really improved the themes that they offer, the templates that they offer, and I really authentically felt like there was not a need so much anymore, but I still have a relationship with Zenfolio.

I'll actually be doing a webinar with them, showing people how to design their website coming up this month in February, so we still keep in touch, and my podcast was born out of my site Zenjoyable actually, so that's-

Rachel: Oh, great.

Chamira: [crosstalk 00:15:09] its own thing, and I was still doing that.

Scott: Here's a question, and this happens in the WordPress space as well. Zenfolio themes, they're designed for their websites, are not responsive, meaning they won't adjust on mobile, and search engines now favor websites for ranking wise for SEO that are responsive. Like I said, it happens in the WordPress space, one of the most popular photography themes for WordPress is not responsive.

A lot of photographers on Zenfolio platform and on this specific theme are in a way getting hit with an SEO penalty because they're not obeying what the search engines are saying is what they want. What are your thoughts on the fact that both, whether it's WordPress or Zenfolio, not being responsive? Do you think these developers need to get up to date, or do you think that the photographer should find somebody who can make it responsive using some custom design code?

Chamira: You know, I think they do need to get up to date, honestly. Now I will say that Zenfolio has quite a few changes that they have rolled out, especially in the past year, and they have some new upcoming ones. Now, I'm supposed to have a pow-wow with them online in the next couple of weeks to find out, to get more of those details, so I honestly couldn't tell you, you know, if and when it's coming, but I feel like it's more a matter of when. That's how I personally feel.

Scott: I hope so.

Chamira: Yeah, because it's becoming something that you have to have at this point. I mean, you know, more and more people are looking at websites on their mobile device. I mean, to say that that's something that Zenfolio is not going to ever do, that would be far out there. I feel like it's a matter of time. This may be something that we address on the webinar as well.

Rachel: Great, we'll definitely link that on the show notes, so that our listeners can...

Scott: You're in a similar situation that I'm in. You have a photography business, right, where you're serving services, photography, to consumers. They're either buying prints, or they're hiring you to photograph something, but you also have education for other photographers.

Chamira: Yes.

Scott: My website fell into this sort of trap where I had the same issue. I'm offering services, and I am educating photographers, and I actually found that I got more clients because of it, which was interesting, because they thought the education that I was doing acted as social proof, and they thought that it validated the fact that I know what I'm doing, and it got me more business.

I don't see it as a downside to doing that because I'm proof that it can work. It may not work for everybody, but it can work. My question to you is when you're laying out a website now, and this is coming at you because you've done design work. When you're laying out a website if you're in a situation like that, what would you do to work around the confusion of 4 photographers versus four clients?

Chamira: You know, I feel like that's an ongoing process with me. You know, I will tell you my current solution right now is, I have my main hub website, so Chamira Studios, if you go there, right away there's a type of not quite a landing page, but up front it asks you what you're looking for, so if you're looking for photography services, head here. If you're a photographer looking for education, then click here, and it'll take you to the podcast site.

If you're a client looking for a photographer it'll take you to my portfolio site, and I've found that sometimes one person may fit into more than one category for me, so example, I was at Chamber meeting this morning, and I met a young woman who could be a potential client. She works with hotels, and you know, I said "Hey, I'll photograph your hotel. You're just building one 2 minutes from my house," so she could be a potential client.

At the same time she's an aspiring photographer who does events, and so in the same conversation, I said, "Well, I run this podcast that's going to help you get your business up and off the ground." For her I, frankly I gave her my business card that has Chamira Studios on it, so when she hits my website, she will be able to, in one click, get to the podcast if she needs to. If she wants to see my work, then that's one click to see my portfolio.

Scott: What you're doing is you're funneling people to a certain area. Actually, we talked about this in Episode 6 with Bryan Caporicci, was the funneling idea, making sure that whoever goes to your site has a clear path to wherever you need them to go, and actually the Youngrens, who we talked with in Episode 7 I think?

Rachel: No, 5.

Scott: 5, yeah, so yeah, that's right. Oh man, wait till we get to 100, how are we going to remember these? I'm already losing track, and it's only Episode 9. They also do, you know, photography. There're four photographers, and they also funnel the same way you do it, where it's on the menu, and they can choose, the difference being, theirs, they stay on theyoungrens.com.

It's just theyoungrens.com/photographers, whereas you're funneling people to basically a different site so to speak?

Chamira: Yes.

Scott: Now the branding could all be there. It all matches and everything, and, in fact, The Youngrens, it is technically a different WordPress site. They use two different sites, it's just the theme that they're using and everything they're using matches, perfectly.

Chamira: It's cohesive.

Scott: Yeah, which is so important for branding wise, so, the funneling approach is a great one. Any other tips that you might have about this approach?

Chamira: Off the top of my head, I think as far as funneling, whatever it is, however you choose to do it, your message has to be crystal clear. I'm still simplifying that process, but it's been through, frankly trial and error. In the beginning people checked out my site, say, at my church, you know, people like to see what I'm doing.

They'll come to me and they'll say, years ago, "What is it that you do? Like I saw you have a show. What's a podcast? I don't know what a podcast is. You take photos, and who do you take photos for?" Right there that was an alert that I really needed to simplify how I was communicating on my site. It's got to be as simple as possible, because people get confused very quickly, and if there's any way they can get confused, they will find a way to do so.

Rachel: I love that you're coming at it from a designer perspective, and I love that you got that feedback from people in your church, people in your world that aren't necessarily clients, because if they're confused, then your clients are definitely confused, so that's a great... We talked about the Zenfolio versus WordPress, but can you break it down a little bit?

Somebody comes to your main hub, which I love how you describe it like that, and then, is that WordPress, and then they go to Zenfolio for your photography, and they go to WordPress for your podcast? How exactly is that structured for you?

Chamira: Sure, and actually you just pretty much said it, so if you go to chamirastudios.com it says up front, this is the hub of my creativity, and at the time of this recording, now it may change as I refine my system, but there are 3 buttons, and the first one, it asks them if they're looking for my services and if they want to see my portfolio, so they go there.

If you look at the second button, it's actually 4 art collectors and interior designers, because I'm an artist as well. I've tried to suppress my artsy-creative, or creating art side, you know, and I can't, so I'm doing that. I can't suppress it, so there's a button for them.

Then the third button is, "Are you a fellow photographer looking for resources to improve your business?" There's a button that says, "Start here for that" and so, if you click my photography portfolio button, you're taken to a Zenfolio site.

If you click on the art collector button, you're taken to another area within the same site that you started on, which is WordPress. If you click on a fellow photographer looking for resources button, then you're taken off of chamirastudios.com over to prophotographerjourney.com which is another WordPress website.

As I build out courses, by the way, it's LearnDash, LMS, [inaudible 00:24:40] and that allows me to build out courses on whatever, you know, whatever domain I want that to be on. Right now I'm still trying to decide which site I'll keep them on. I'm thinking as I develop courses for the podcast, then there's a good chance I may keep them on the ProPhotographerJourney site, you know, kind of a toss-up.

Some people like to make sure they have a domain that matches the name of their course, so I'm kind of at a crossroads with that as well, because frankly I've done it both ways.

Scott: Yeah, I found that for mine, I just put it on my scottwyden.com and I just made a store section that's 4 photographers. I'm actually fine-tuning it. I just put up a new design for one of the new Imagely themes, and I'm in the process of fine-tuning my funnel to make it more perfect.

I think you touched on an interesting note on the same sort of topic. For photographers who are not teaching, 2 photographers, but photographers have multiple niches, for example, weddings, engagements, head shots, right? A lot of wedding photographers do all those. The same principle applies. You want to funnel people to the right place, and I always come back to Bryan Caporicci's website, because to me, his is the perfect example of how you funnel within photographic niches, so I'm going to make sure I link again to Bryan's website.

Rachel: You say Bryan's photography website, not the Sprouting Photographer website, right?

Scott: Yeah, so Bryan does weddings, he does portraits, he does business portraits, engagements, so when you click on Bryan's link in the show notes and you go check out his website, and make sure you listen to his episode as well, because they talk about this too, you'll notice in the top how cleanly and elegantly he funnels people, his website visitors, into such a tight area that they have no choice but to contact him and hire him. It's really neat.

Rachel: Which is the point of what these virtual storefronts are, you know, that you ultimately want them, the client, whoever the client may be, whether they're photographers or people looking for photography services to book you, right?

Scott: Let's go into, Chamira, what themes or plug-ins you recommend. Now, you already mentioned 2. You mentioned uDesign which is a theme that you're using across your sites.

Chamira: Yes, yes.

Scott: I'll make sure we link to that. You're exploring LearnDash for your learning management system for WordPress. Are there any other plug-ins that you rely on heavily for your photography website?

Chamira: You know, there are. What's funny is, I didn't even intend to mention those 2, they just came out.

Scott: That's fine, that's what it's about.

Chamira: Quickly to add about LearnDash, they're constantly making updates and they really take user feedback well, and I'm amazed at the ways that they're improving that plug-in, so I've been really impressed so far. Now, as far as additional recommendations, I did want to mention SumoMe. I assume everyone has heard of it, but if that's not the case it's essentially free tools to help you grow your email list.

They're over at sumome.com so they have a plug-in component, and they just make it really easy to add different elements on your web page as far as collecting email subscribers, you know. I currently have the bar on the top at prophotographerjourney.com. I get a ton of people that way. I have the overlay over the whole website that comes on at a certain time, and they let you get started for free, which is really nice.

Scott: Rachel, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure every episode someone's brought up a plug-in like this, right?

Rachel: Well, it's really interesting to see the variety of it because, not only is the plug-in important, but what I really love to talk about it is the thinking behind it, because for photographers who might be listening who just have just, you know, have a photography business and that's their sole income, there's still a lot of need for these email plug-ins.

Even just as a photographer, the fact that there is so much variety means that it's something that you should be checking out and finding what works best for your business, so I love that there's been... I've heard a lot of really great things about Sumo, wait, say it again.

Chamira: SumoMe.

Rachel: SumoMe, yes, because it gives you more than just the traditional pop-up option. Again the top of the website I've heard is a really big converter. I don't know, I love that there's so much variety.

Scott: They also have social sharing icons, floating icons and stuff like that. SumoMe's got a wide variety of basically website-expanding tools for sharing, for email growing, stuff like that.

Chamira: Which by the way is huge.

Scott: Oh, yeah.

Chamira: Don't get me started.

Rachel: No, I think we should talk about it because you do education, so what is your opinion on this? As a photographer what would you recommend them to do with an email list? [crosstalk 00:30:01] Let's do it.

Chamira: I'm so passionate about this because it's taken me years to catch on. I learn the hard way, I tell you, but you know, as a photographer, if you have a list, well, you can have a list that obviously has different types of people on it. You have people who are just prospects. Say they're checking you out for the first time and it's rare that they'll come to your website, look at your stuff, and reach out ready to pay you, and say, "Hey, let's book something."

Usually they have to feel you out, so if you have an autoresponder system, Aweber, whatever, where they can opt into a list and you send them, for example, a report on how to work with a photographer, or giving them tips on how to get the best out of portrait photography, like if they're going in for a session. If you're seeking to educate them, then not only are you making them easier to work with down the line if they choose you, but they get to know you.

There's that up-front benefit right there, but also, let's say you've done a shoot and you've sent them the link to their gallery. A lot of photographers will just move on to the next person. I see this, and I've done this, you know, where you're just constantly looking for new people, but that person has already paid you money. They've already interacted with you, and if you did a good job, then chances are they're going to want to work with you again.

Now, their life is going to get busy, so if you just send them off, then you may never hear from them again, but if you put them into a sequence, you know, autoresponder sequence, where you're keeping in touch with them periodically, then you can get multiple shoots over a year. If you're doing newborn photography, that baby's going to grow quickly on a monthly basis, and so you keep in touch with that family, because they may want you to do more shoots, or more photos, six months down the line, a year down the line, the kid's going to have birthdays.

If you're doing graduation photography for high-schoolers, well they're going to get married at some point, you know. You can get multiple gigs from one person.

Scott: I'd like to say, though, if you are doing autoresponders for after a client session, make sure that you stay on top of your client's personal life because, here's two situations that you need to be wary of. First, you photograph a wedding, and then you have a set Facebook post to go out a year later saying "Happy Anniversary," or an email to go out a year later as "Happy Anniversary," what if they got divorced?

Chamira: Yeah, it's huge.

Scott: Okay? Now, and we can get more tragic, right? Let's say you photograph a newborn, what if a year, you know, when the baby is supposed to hit one the baby is no longer with us?

Chamira: Yeah.

Rachel: Yeah.

Scott: If you're going to do email responders, autoresponders, or if you're going to do social scheduling, I highly encourage you to stay on top of your clients, because you don't want to make the mistake of letting something go out that can bring back bad memories and whatnot.

Chamira: That's a great point, Scott. I'm glad you brought that up, for sure.

Scott: Vanessa Joy taught about the wedding one about 2 or 3 years ago, and I've kept that in my head ever since. Every time I am teaching about this sort of topic I have to bring it up, because it's too important.

Rachel: We actually talked to Tamara Lackey about it. We had a long discussion about... Because she, in her business model, does only manual pushes and no automatic, for that reason. I think the sweet spot is in the middle, that you set up the automatic ones, but like Scott said, keep on track, you know review them before they're supposed to go out so that you can review for those sort of life circumstances, because in 99% of the cases you hope they're not getting divorced, they're not having these major life changes. In most cases those automated emails are bold for bringing them back to you, you know?

Scott: Yeah.

Chamira: Sure, and maybe it's even just planning ahead a year for sales that you're having, for example. "Hey, it's Valentine's Day," or you know, Christmas, that's a big one, but I agree. Trying to automate everything can get a little bit dicey, so yeah, a good mix is healthy.

Scott: Yeah, what I would suggest for people who want to try to automate the anniversary or a birthday, style content, is make a calendar alert and have a template made so that all you're doing is verifying that everything's okay, and then you're manually posting the content out or sending the email. All right, any other plug-ins that you want to bring up?

Chamira: I did want to mention the one that I'm using for podcasting.

Scott: Yeah.

Chamira: Blubrry PowerPress, which, it's not like I've tried a ton of podcasting plug-ins out there, but I have been very happy with them thus far, and they make podcasting for me easy. Once I had it installed, set up, you know, my RSS feed and all that good stuff, it's been smooth sailing and they do give you metrics, and if you pay a fee they'll give you more extensive metrics, but yeah, I did want to mention them.

Scott: If you're looking to do a podcast yourself for, and we talked about this as well, doing podcasting for clients and stuff like that, if you're interested in doing a podcast check out that plug-in, listen to Chamira's show, and if you've got questions about that plug-in, maybe she'll be able to help answer them for you.

Chamira: Definitely, definitely.

Scott: As I remind her, if you want to see how we're doing the podcast, we use a different plug-in, but if you want to see how we're doing the podcast, listen to Episode 1, because we talk all about it.

Rachel: Again, I love that there's options, because the one that we're using might be too technical for somebody, and the one that Chamira's using might be easier for somebody, so the power of WordPress is that there really is a solution for every situation.

Scott: Yeah.

Chamira: Yeah, and then some.

Scott: Any other plug-ins you want to bring up?

Chamira: No, I think I'll leave it at 4. I think I'm going to have 4. I'll stop there.

Scott: Sounds good. Any final thoughts you want to share? Any final advice? Anything big going on that you're about to release? Anything you want to talk about?

Chamira: You know, as far as final advice, I would say keep refining. It's a constant process. I know some people just, they think they're going to get to a point where they've quote unquote made it, where everything's, you know, perfect, unicorns flying in the sky, and "Oh this is great," but no, it's a constant process and that's what I'm finding.

With the podcast I'm trying to refine the best way to, for example, sort questions that we get from different people who listen. Even with my own photography business I'm refining what clients I focus on, so just keep trying to make it better and better. What was the second question? It's gone.

Rachel: Oh, what's going on? Do you have any releases coming up? What's going on with your business? I mean, it's interesting because you offer products to photographers, so do you think that there's stuff coming up that photographers would want to know about? I know there is, so kind of a leading question there.

Chamira: Is it? Well, we have the webinar coming up, and that will, let me give the date, that will be February 25th, so I'm not sure when this episode will be released.

Scott: Let me actually take a look, because it might be... We're doing every other Thursday, for anybody who's just listening now, so we are a little bit, a ways out. This isn't going out until actually March, but-

Chamira: Okay, and that's not a problem because maybe Zenfolio, they may have a replay of that webinar.

Rachel: Yeah.

Scott: Yeah, so make sure you get me the link and I'll make sure I include it.

Chamira: Sure.

Rachel: What is the name of your podcast specifically? Because I think there's a lot that you talk about that overlaps with our audience.

Chamira: Sure, sure. My podcast is prophotographerjourney.com, ppandj.com if you want to type a shorter name, and yeah, you know, I'm really excited for the podcast this year so far. We have 61 episodes released. We have more than that recorded. I have to record a full quarter in advance a lot of times if I want it to keep coming out regularly.

Right now we're in the process of really compiling questions and feedback from our listeners, and we're in the research phase, so I can't say anything definitive yet, but we're honing in on a solution that may help photographers run their businesses more successfully, and even the whole marketing piece which a lot of people struggle with. That's a work in progress, but as that comes out I'll be talking about it on the podcast and it'll be on the website too.

Rachel: Great.

Scott: On a personal note I was on your show, I think I was on one of the earlier episodes.

Chamira: Ah! It was way early, before I had a decent microphone.

Rachel: I've got to get one, too.

Scott: I just want to say, you know, you're all over the place with your education, and I'm really happy to see you over at the Photofocus website on a regular basis, so congratulations on that because that's a really cool thing.

Chamira: Thank you. They're a cool group of people and they make me want to be better.

Rachel: That is a great place to be, right?

Chamira: Yeah, yeah.

Scott: We are happy to share that our first Q&A episode will happen as our next episode, Episode 10. This won't come out until, you know, and by the time that Episode 9 is live, Episode 10 will already have been recorded.

Rachel: We're planning on trying to do these check-in episodes every 10.

Scott: Every 10, yeah, so the goal is to answer about 10 questions, hopefully look at 10. I think we're at 7 questions so far for Episode 10, but the goal is to get 10 questions, because we plan to do Q&As every 10 episodes, but if you have any questions to ask at any time, please ask your questions at imagely.com/podcast/q, okay?

That will bring you to a form where you can fill in your question, and it'll just be sent to Rachel and I and we will be able to include that. If it's a question that we can answer on the show, we will answer on the show. Thank you Chamira for joining us today. Thank you Rachel for being an awesome co-host.

Rachel: Thank you Scott. I wasn't sure if there was an audio switch there. I got some weird...but we'll go back and listen, but I did want to talk into that, that the Q&A episodes will be between Scott and I and there are no dumb questions. If you really have a burning WordPress question or photography website question that you've always wanted to ask, please feel free to reach out.

We don't have to use your name, but I promise you, if you have the question there's at least 10, 12, 100 other people that have the same question, so we really want to help.

Scott: Yeah. You'll be able to find where to find Chamira on the show notes, so you'll be able to click over easily and find her there, and you can find the show notes from today's episode at imagely.com/podcast/9.

Rachel: 9.

Scott: Until next time.

Chamira: Awesome.

Rachel: Thank you so much.

Chamira: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

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