Open Letter to Andrew Hellmich

Welcome to Iconic Photography. My name is Nicholas Brown and I am a Canberra wedding photographer.

Earlier this year I subscribed to a podcast called PhotoBizX. Each week, the host Andrew Hellmich interviews a photographer or someone who helps to market photographers. Below is the Open Letter I sent to Andrew to say thank for the assistance his podcast has provided me with. Heck, without Andrew – I might not have meet you lovely people.

Dear Andrew,
Thank you for your Photobizx podcast. Starting out in the wedding photography industry is daunting; very daunting. There is a plethora of talented photographers out there, particularly Canberra wedding photographers. Before transitioning to wedding photography, I had been doing landscape and commercial photography, but I didn’t love it. I still loved photography, but not the type of photography I was doing. I compare it to ice-cream. I love ice-cream, but I love some flavours more than others. To me landscape and commercial photography was vanilla, but wedding photography was bubblegum. Colourful, full of life and exciting. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out.

After the first few months of transitioning to wedding photography, I almost turned back for a number of reasons: I read and heard complaints about the influx of new wedding photographers impacting on the livelihoods of established wedding photographers, I reached out to some local photographers I highly respected and got no reply and I was having no luck getting bookings or building a profile. But then you came along Andrew. One afternoon, I was flicking through iTunes looking for photography podcasts I could listen to for inspiration and there was your smiling face asking me “Do you want to have a profitable wedding and portrait photography business?” It was like the movies. I could hear angels singing, ahhhhhh, and then I realised it was just my fridge beeping at me because the door was open. That evening, I downloaded the first 20 episodes of the Photobizx podcast and listened to all 20 within four days. Since then I haven’t looked back. I have listened to every episode and some episodes twice.

You, your guests and the Photobizx website has given me the photography community I was looking for. Straight away I could not only listen to, and read, wonderful advice, but I had people I could ask questions to. And not just any people, but some of the greatest photographers and marketing specialists in the photography industry. Exposure to these people and their resources has been priceless. For this Andrew, I thank you. I also thank you for the encouragement (aka kick in the pants) you give to the listener every week to implement what you hear. I firmly believe that if you listen to your podcast and don’t implement anything; then you are just being entertained. However, if you listen to your podcast and implement the advice you hear, you will grow as a photographer and take your business to the next level. Importantly, you encourage people to implement slowly. If I tried to implement everything in one week, I would have failed and given up, but thanks to your encouragement to implement things one at a time, inch by inch, I have come so far.

Proof of this is that many of the changes to my website didn’t happen after the first time I heard it. However, after I heard the same suggestions mentioned by multiple guests, I couldn’t sleep until I had done what they recommended. It’s like a light went on. I would lie in bed thinking, “How can I sleep without having an auto-responder set up on my website? What am I, crazy? Get up and do it right now you idiot! I don’t care if it’s 3 am and you have a 3 month old baby. Implement it now!” Ok – so maybe I wasn’t that bad, but it was close.

Some of my biggest take-away messages have been the technical tricks and tips. For example, the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), auto-responders and the big one, WordPress. Pre-Photobizx, I had a website that I had developed myself, from scratch, and it was difficult to maintain and optimise for SEO. Now, I can just concentrate on content: photos and words. That is all I need to control thanks to: WordPress, my ProPhoto theme (thanks for the idea from Nick Evans) and the WordPress SEO plugin.

The podcast also offers more than just technical tricks; it inspires. For example, Kevin Mullins idea of the “Why I love this photo” blog encouraged me to do something similar. Also, I have started a personal project to take a photo of my son every month and tell a story about being a dad and his development over the past month. So for about one hour every month I sit down and smile as I write a blog about my son and my family. It has been an eye opening and rewarding experience. For this Andrew, I thank you.

Another excellent example of the power of your podcast has come from the interviews you’ve done with Steve Saparito. You and Steve have changed my way of thinking about photography. Photography isn’t just a service, and we aren’t just machines clicking a button. We are providing an opportunity for people to cherish their relationship. This didn’t sink in until the second time I listened to the interview with Steve, but once it does sink it, WOW! That’s a powerful change in mindset for a photographer. I still don’t know how I can best convey this and educate potential clients to see the world from my new perspective, but I hope that in time I will.

The change I have gone through wouldn’t be possible without you Andrew. Thank you for your enthusiasm, open-ended questions and cheerful personality which makes people feel comfortable enough to share their trade secrets. Not just anyone could do what you do. You should feel very proud to have created such a wonderful podcast and community. I hope you continue to cheer up my Monday’s for many years to come.

Kind Regards,

Nicholas Brown

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Thanks for visiting Iconic Photography. My name is Nicholas Brown and I am a Canberra wedding and family photographer. I am also a husband, a father and a bit of a nerd. What I love about wedding and family photography is getting to know people, listening to their stories and then helping them tell their story. Oh … and I also love coffee. So, if you’d like to sit down over a cup and tell me your story, I would love to hear it and help you share it.
  • Hey Nicholas

    I’ve just stumbled across your letter and am lost for words.
    Thank you.

    When I started the podcast, I know it sounds corny, but I had a vision of being able to provide photography workshop like content to any photographer that wanted it on a weekly basis at a fraction f the cost of attending workshops.

    Reading your letter makes me feel I’ve achieved that plus so much more.
    You’ve not only made my day, you’ve made me feel like a true success.

    It’s inspiring for me to know your listening each week.
    Wishing you every success for your future!

    Speak soon

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