Episode 32: Dawn Aiello of Dawn Aiello Photography – Full Transcript
Dawn Aiello 0:00
But it’s going to say that those pictures are only for personal use, which means you can’t use them in an advertising way. So you want to make sure that the photographer understands that these photos are for commercial use.
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Mark Miller 1:11
Welcome to Let’s get up to business, the podcast from Jordan law today it’s Mark doing the interview because Jordan and Heather are both in trial. So my guest today is Don Aiello say that all right. She’s a local photographer and does a lot with local businesses and making sure that they have the right headshots and that kind of stuff. Don, introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about you and how can people contact you if they need to?
Dawn Aiello 1:37
Sure. So my name is Donna yellow, my business name is Daniela photography, try to make it simple. What’s not simple is how to spell my last name. So if you’re looking for me online is Don Aiello, target calm. So last name is AI, e l l o. And then I’m just don ILO photo on social media everywhere. So I mF tog refer and I do photograph weddings and family portraits and things. But my focus the last year and a half or so has been working with businesses and entrepreneurs solopreneurs to try to create the images that they need to best represent their brands, online and in print media.
Mark Miller 2:17
And what is one thing? Let’s start with the bad know we can move to the good, what’s one thing that you see a lot of businesses doing that they should not be doing with the photos either on their website, Instagram, etc. You know, that is a problem.
Dawn Aiello 2:30
Probably the worst thing is just not having any, of course, yes. Bottom line, you need to have photos. You know that I one of my favorite examples is a consultant or I’m sorry, not a consultant, a conflict mediator for businesses. She didn’t have a single photo of herself on her website. And to me that’s that’s a major problem if you’re especially if you’re in some sort of service industry where you’re going to be working one on one with people. They have no way to get that instant connection with you through your photo on your
Mark Miller 3:06
own if I’m going to meet you if I’m meeting with the right person.
Yeah, I mean, there are plenty of those businesses in quotes online where you, Oh, it looks legit because everything says it’s legit. And it’s just a bunch of stock photography. Yeah, so so not
Dawn Aiello 3:23
having that not having photos is definitely the worst. Then just above that would be using really low quality photos using stock photos that everyone else in your industry is using just basically not putting effort into the images that you’re using to represent your company because whether you believe it or not making an impression on people visiting your website, visiting your social media. And the lower quality those images are, the less trust someone’s going to have with going into business with you. I mean,
Mark Miller 3:58
my iPhone takes 4k video and you know, I don’t even know the mega pixel size anymore. Because it’s more than my I can tell. So you would think that low quality or images would be less of an issue anymore. But
just a camera is just a tool,
Dawn Aiello 4:15
right? Yeah, of course,
you don’t know how to use that tool. Well, you could still end up with really low quality images. A lot of people obviously struggle with doing photos indoors. I’ll see some people were you know that all the lights in their office or room that they’re in are tungsten, so they have that very yellow kind of color to it. And if you’re not going for that warm, cozy kind of feeling, that’s just what it’s gonna look like in your cell phone photos. And maybe maybe your branding is all about like brightness and vibrancy and uncleanness
Mark Miller 4:48
and, and then everything looks muddy and yellow, and it doesn’t look good at all. Yeah, so open the windows folks. So now not getting to the good yet, but So the middle of the road, you said something about using stock photography on your website? Or in any of your media, why should people avoid that?
Dawn Aiello 5:09
Well, there there are advantages to stock photos. And it’s all about what your purpose is and using it. So do you need something super quick that you don’t have time to hire someone for? Well, then, you know, you don’t really have a choice, right? So there are advantages, especially early on in your business if you don’t have the funding to hire someone who can really help you with photos. So there is a place for it. But a tough thing with stock photography is that most people are going to go for the free stock photography.
Mark Miller 5:40
Yeah, I mean, it’s free. So it’s free.
Dawn Aiello 5:43
But that means that’s probably what your competitors are using. And if you go to the same, you know, let’s say it’s yoga studio, and you you’re trying to choose between two of them, and you click on them and they both have the same pictures, you’re going to start to wonder like, Well, what does this place actually look like? Like, what kind of people actually go to this yoga studio, these obviously aren’t real pictures are the same, you know, they’re the same set of people. So so you run into challenges like that, where you’re using the same photos that everyone else is using, you also run into a problem of the emotional Association people have with stock photo or with any photo, Okay, so the first time someone sees an image, they develop, like an emotional connection to that image. And if another company use that image in a negative way, when you go to use it on your website, it doesn’t matter how you’re using it. There’s still that negative connotation in that viewers mind that’s always connected, right? And so you could run into a situation like that. Another thing about stock photos that sometimes people don’t know is the exact ways you’re allowed to use those images. So sometimes, the website will say like free, royalty free images at no cost to you. But then they won’t read the fine print in the license. And they won’t realize that, oh, I can use this image of this person. But since we can see that person’s face, I’m responsible for going and getting a model release from that person saying that I can use them to represent my business.
Mark Miller 7:18
So that’s not always part of the debt free license.
Dawn Aiello 7:23
Nope. So any recognizable faces, any recognizable brands that are displayed in an image. Technically, you are supposed to have permission to use that to represent your own business and commercial use.
Mark Miller 7:38
That seems like a lot. I mean, that could be a lot of work, depending. I mean,
Dawn Aiello 7:48
there’s not like a stock photography police running around.
Mark Miller 7:52
Oh, I would disagree. I’ve gotten a couple emails from people. Oh, you’re using Yeah, I’ve, you know, built some websites here and there and Use images from flicker that were under Creative Commons. And I always attribute I know that rule, you know, put a link in the description, another link in the About page under like, you know, photo credits and whatnot. But I’ve had a couple, there’s a company I think it’s like, Pixie or something like that it’s a really stupid name. And they’ve come after me. They’re like, Oh, you use this illegally, you all a $700. And it’s like, No, I don’t like because and I’ve responded saying, No, I don’t hear the Creative Commons licenses that it’s registered under. Here’s the rules. Here’s where you can find each one of those things. And suddenly, they don’t email me anymore. I have a feeling that I mean, but that said, I’ve also seen those images from Getty Images or I stock photo or whatnot, those, you know, those emails from them saying, you always $800 for illegal use of this image and it’s like, yeah, you’re gonna have to pay up. Now usually talking to a lawyer, we can get that reduced a little bit. So if you don’t want to do that, 1500 dollars a Getty once they are sometimes willing to work with you on the price.
Dawn Aiello 9:08
But yeah so another thing that you just mentioned actually is attribution. So you might find a really great stock photo but then part of the understanding is that you need to attribute the photo to the original photographer and it just might that might not be appropriate for the way you want to use it if you want to use it in an advertisement a Facebook ad. What are you going to do like in the text of your Facebook ad like photo credit some random person and now people coming to your ad that you paid for are going to be clicking off to go see their work? Or you know, it’s it draws attention away it’s distracting. Do you ever see big companies attributing their photographer Nike doesn’t put like copyright so and so it again it kind of reduce it It could reduce that trust that people have the because it makes you seem a little less official. A little a
Mark Miller 9:57
little less legitimate. Yeah, no, it’s I mean, Nike probably has teams of photographers. But that aside, even you know, a small office like ours, we would never want to put you know, photo credit by, you know, john smith or whoever took it in that in the Facebook post or a Facebook ad, maybe on a blog post, I would be more than happy to do that. Because you know, that’s also linking back to them, which you know, and I’ll tell them that, hey, thanks for your image using the blog post. And they’ll send a little traffic our way sometimes, so that that, that would be a legitimate reason to do that. But I can see like in ads or in banners that we have, when we do events and stuff like that. I know I don’t want your name associated with my stuff.
Dawn Aiello 10:41
I have the perfect example of what I was saying earlier that there are times where it is a good idea to use is a blog post isn’t normally something you’re pouring money into in order to get that content of 40 minutes of time,
Mark Miller 10:53
maybe an hour.
Dawn Aiello 10:55
And so and your blog post might be enriched by it. Images, that kind of parallel, what you’re normally talking about might not make sense to pay someone to take those images. If this is the only instance you might use that
Mark Miller 11:08
right now I did notice you You gave a talk recently at the coffee and content at on target, digital media up in Maitland. You gave a talk where you had done a series of social media images for somebody.
Can you go back into a little bit more detail about that?
Dawn Aiello 11:29
Sure. So one of the things that really drew me to kind of adding this service to my photography business, was the fact that business life is just changing. People need to be constantly present on whatever social media platforms make sense for their business. And it’s sucking up people’s time, left and right. Oh, yeah. Think about the person who is staging that photo every single day to take a new picture themselves, whether it’s a picture of themselves, whether it’s a setup that they’ve put together. So that they have content, they have an image to attach to whatever text they want, because images perform better on various social media platforms, or you can’t post on Instagram if you don’t have an image. So that’s that’s what initially drew me into this kind of branding and personal branding photography is just a need that is becoming more and more prevalent as, as companies grow. And it’s more and more important for smaller businesses as well. And so obviously, commercial photography applies to any level of business, but I have a little bit of a heart for the smaller businesses because I’m one myself and being stretched so thin and trying to do so many things. And understand that at some point you need to take you need to decide where you have time and where you have money and can you use a little bit of money to stretch your time by by outsourcing things to someone else. And so, the example that I gave in my talk was a local yoga studio. They have a part time person who’s helping with some of their money. Marketing. And it was just a constant struggle to remember to take a picture during the yoga class, or which a yoga studio with warm low light is a perfect example of the time where cell phone pictures just don’t really look that great, right? Yeah, unless you’re in a darkened room. Sometimes there aren’t very many windows, things like that. And so they were just struggling to keep up with content because that one person couldn’t be there enough to take enough pictures or just couldn’t keep up with it. Right. And so what I was able to do, we were able to go in, we had a set of models and instructors, and we talked about what are some of the challenges that they’re having with their marketing and how can we combat those challenges. So one thing for them is they seem to get one type of customer that comes in all the time like a very specific demographic, and we wanted to widen that demographic. So we made sure the models that we had were different ages, different ethnicities. To try to show that this was something that was available to everyone. And another thing they wanted to that they feel they stand out from other studios is they have a very warm and cozy atmosphere that the highlight of their yoga studio is a salt lamp fireplace kind of area and they that to be prominent and some of the photos to just communicate that like warm, welcoming feeling that they hope people know about them. And so we were able to do that and now every day like clockwork, they have a post going out their newsletters look great. Their advertisements for upcoming workshops, all the look of everything is just so consistent and saving that marketing staff so much time.
Mark Miller 14:45
Yeah, I mean, I saw some of the images and everything that in the grid everything was pretty consistent as far as color and tone which stands out for a lot of people. I mean
Dawn Aiello 14:57
once people see your post frequently enough They’re they’re recognizing that color and tone. And so when they’re skimming through their feeds, they know it’s you without even seeing,
Mark Miller 15:07
they can kind of even go past it. But oh, that’s the yoga studio that I go to without really focusing on the image. Now, obviously, we want you to focus on the animals. But you’re still getting that feeling in that in that that recognition, which I think everybody I mean, we try to, you know, our colors are red, white, and blue. Now, granted, Fourth of July, everybody’s posting our colors, but that’s good for us because we try to brand everything else with a red, white and blue somewhere in there. So that when people are scrolling, you know, they see that they think positively of us, we hope
Dawn Aiello 15:43
is not a bad association to have.
Mark Miller 15:45
No, definitely not.
Dawn Aiello 15:48
So moving on.
Mark Miller 15:52
What is one of those things that like when I’m when I as a small business owner, if I were a small business owner, we’re hiring for tog refer, you know, I need some headshots, I need some stuff around the office. I don’t really know what else I need because you know, we this is a law firm we don’t do photography, what should I be looking for in a photographer to hire what what questions should I be asking and what questions should I expect from them?
Dawn Aiello 16:19
first, you want to look through different photographers portfolios and make sure that the quality of work that you’re seeing and the style of the work that you’re seeing resonates with you. When you’re talking to a photographer for commercial purposes, you need to make sure you disclose that it is for commercial purposes. A lot of times people will let especially businesses like crafters, they’ll or people that make shirts or something products of some sort. They’ll just book a family portrait session and have those products featured in their pictures and then say like, Oh yeah, afterwards, I’m going to just use this for my business page to show examples of my work well, a family portrait If you signed a contract with a photographer, you’re not if you read it. I
Mark Miller 17:06
mean, the terms of service were 311 pages long for the last Apple release, I don’t know why you would take.
Dawn Aiello 17:11
But it’s going to say that those pictures are only for personal use, which means you can’t use them in an advertising way. So you want to make sure that the photographer understands that these photos are for commercial use,
Mark Miller 17:23
that might involve additional fee, right,
Dawn Aiello 17:26
it might involve an additional fee, or they might just have different pricing packages, or they might have certain sets of restrictions. Like you can use these images on social media and the final files that you’re given are only social media quality, okay? And maybe you would not be able to take that and then blow it up and use it on a banner at an event or you know, use it as a high resolution file on a website. So, so just having that discussion of what you need, where you’re going to be using it and why you’re going to be using it. So You might have some photographers will do pricing for, like I said, this is for social media or this is for print ads or this is for a billboard or whatever the case may be. And if you wanted to use that image again, in the future, you might have to go back for additional licensing. Some photographers is just an all in one thing. This is where when I moved into this, like personal branding and branding photography, the realization that people need to be able to use these images across a number of platforms and I have no way of tracking if one of their posts is going to be viral and have 10 million hits or if it’s, you know, going to be seen by the same 30 people that
are there, right.
And so as a photographer personally as a photographer, I just decided I’m going to have all it’s all going to be one pricing package you use those images commercially anyway you need. Now there are some stipulations make sure you you know what those are, but you know, for me, it’s you can’t use it to in any illegal way like
to advertise for an illegal, oh,
Mark Miller 19:08
I just need some headshots of all the bank robbers I work with Please
get out there on social media and show people who they’re dealing with when I’m holding a gun on them.
Dawn Aiello 19:19
Another thing that to ask about though is is how, again, it just goes back to where you’re using the photos, there might be an additional licensing if those images are going to be in an end product that is being resold. So okay, if you’re a chef, and you’re making a cookbook, the images going into your cookbook, that’s a different level than what you’re posting on social media because you’re literally selling that book and making money off of it. Whereas the pictures and an ad are just helping you generate
So, so you want to make sure you have that all set and clear from the get go so that the initial price quote Correct and all that. Another thing you want to look for is a photographer that’s going to kind of walk you through a planning session for your images. So I like to ask my clients like I mentioned before, what kind of obstacles are you facing with your marketing? Can we address some of that through photos? What kind of emotion Do you want people to connect to your brand? What colors do you associate with your brand? So I have one client I work with who’s a health coach and her colors are orange and red and yellow and very bright and vibrant. And that’s, that’s the emotions she wants associated with it. So all of the outfits that she wore in the photos had those colors associated. When she was wearing white, she was sitting on an orange couch, like everything just comes back to that bright, happy, vibrant feeling. So you want to be working with someone who can help you work through those ideas as Specially for those smaller businesses who don’t have dedicated staff to make those decisions,
Mark Miller 21:07
if it’s, you know, the lawyer and their assistant, like they that assistant is doing all the, you know, filing and notices and all that stuff, they don’t have time to think about what’s my branding, you know, and the lawyer is doing a court and doing the mediation and everything. What’s my branding? Now? They should think about that stuff. I agree. And anybody who’s hanging a shingle, starting a business, like one of the things you need to think about, what’s my business name? What are the colors I’m primarily going to use? And then do I need a website? Yes. You also need employment contracts and business filings and everything.
Dawn Aiello 21:48
Yeah, I mean, you can’t expect the photographer to also be your marketing manager. know someone who can walk through those questions to make sure you have those answers. Because if you don’t have those answers you’re going to end up taking photos, and then trying to implement using them and realizing they’re not really fitting with what you need. Gotcha. And that’s really disappointing. For everyone involved. It’s not the photographers fault if they delivered great images to you, that you can’t use because you didn’t know what you needed. But so it needs to be a collaborative process, right? Yeah. No, and it’s it helps helps when you have a photographer who can lead you through those questions to gather that information, so that the final images are useful for you.
Mark Miller 22:33
That’s excellent advice.
Now you are a small business owner, obviously, what are some of the challenges that you faced in getting off the ground and running with with your photography company?
Dawn Aiello 22:46
Well, with photography, in particular, especially in Orlando, it is a very saturated market. There is a study that came out. It was might have been two years ago now where they ranked Cities by how many photographers they were there were, as a percentage of the population and Orlando was in like the top five cities in the United States for professional photographers. For like the saturation level.
Mark Miller 23:15
I mean, that makes sense, though. We’ve got the theme parks, where would I actually I guess, I guess I have a question there. Do they consider all like the photographers at Universal and Disney, you know, taking your shots as part of that, because I know that there are a couple hundred of those, if not more.
Dawn Aiello 23:34
Yeah, well, I wonder the same question and that was broken down, right. However, personally knowing a lot of the photopass photographers at Disney, yeah, they all have their own side business. Oh, do that.
Mark Miller 23:46
Okay, so then the answer is still yes.
Dawn Aiello 23:49
photopass photographer Disney has a side photography business, but a lot of people do and a lot of people are hobbyist photographers who’ve kind of converted it into a side hustle. Okay, so It’s difficult as a professional photographer, this has been my sole business for over five years now. It’s very difficult to compete with someone who has some other full time job and they’re just doing family portraits for $75 an hour. Oh, so because they don’t have insurance to pay, they don’t have a website to maintain the, you know, they don’t have contracts to be reviewed by lawyers. They don’t
Mark Miller 24:27
They don’t have all those professional expenses that I do. They don’t have a studio to maintain, etc, not paying taxes
out of that money, even though they should,
Dawn Aiello 24:39
but they’re probably not. So it’s difficult to establish pricing that works for my business and my business model when there’s so much competition. who’s likely not at the same quality level, but a lot of people can’t see the difference in the quality when they’re trying to hire someone or they’re not trying
Mark Miller 25:00
Oh, and even is one of those small companies, I’m sure they’re putting their best work online. And then what do you get? We recently had seen a pictures done. And you can tell that they changed photography companies from last year to this year because the quality is just a step down. I think it’s just a little blurry where they shouldn’t be or this is out of focus when it shouldn’t be, you know, stuff that like, Okay, I’m still gonna put it on a, you know, a wallet sized image to you know, send to my family, but and you won’t notice it that size. But when you know, we wouldn’t we would normally get even the five by sevens, like you’re still going to be able to tell there. So how do you what do you do to stand out against us?
Dawn Aiello 25:38
So I’ve just been deciding to focus a lot of my energy in personal referrals, getting out there meeting people, because I feel like once people meet me and talk with me that they understand where I’m coming from, they understand the quality that I’m trying to deliver for people. And then then it just becomes word of mouth, which is to me Still more powerful than online referrals, social media referrals in five years. I don’t think I’ve ever booked a client because of my Facebook posts. I know other photographers might. But that’s just not not the
channel that works for you. Gotcha.
So I most of my clients are word of mouth, especially working within the business community, going to chamber meetings and going to events like coffee and content where I can meet with other business owners. There’s another 360 networking group, you know, so just getting out there and meeting people and that’s been most successful for me, especially with this pivot of adding the branding aspect to my
Mark Miller 26:43
and then, I guess, what else do people need to know that we haven’t covered? That? You know, I, what question Should I have asked that I haven’t asked yet.
Dawn Aiello 26:56
I think this is something I probably could have added to one of your other Questions. Oh, photography is a very personal experience, it can be very, you can feel very vulnerable being in front of the camera. And so when you’re trying to choose a photographer, whether it be for family photos, whether it’s for wedding or for business photography, it really put some thought into how you feel when you’re talking with that photographer. Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel at ease? Or do you still feel kind of anxious and nervous because it’s not going to get any better when you’re in front of, it’s just going to get worse.
Mark Miller 27:32
All dressed up, I need to look great, and I’m not really sure about this person, and that’s going to come right across on the phone.
Dawn Aiello 27:38
It is and you know, all photographers try to put their clients at ease. And sometimes it’s just a matter of personal connection. You if you just don’t jive with somebody, it’s going to be a tough process all the way through. And so for me personally, that’s that’s probably my top priority when I work with clients is that they have a good experience. So I might not be my images aren’t winning print competitions you know i yet yet, you know I might not be the one that when you scroll past my images on Facebook, you’re like, Oh my god, I have to hire that person. But I hope I’m the type of photographer that you say like, wow, that was a great experience or Oh, I’m so glad you asked me those questions, I would have never thought of that. Or, you know, I feel so comfortable. Because that all comes out in your final images as well. And I think that’s also why I focus so much on referrals and word of mouth for my business because I think that just connects more with who I am and what I hope people will associate with my business.
Mark Miller 28:42
So let’s make sure everybody has your contact information again. So what was your website, email and phone number? Do you get that out?
Dawn Aiello 28:50
Sure. Okay. website is Don Aiello, photography. com. So da w n. h. e, LL. O photography. dot com. Email is just dawn at dawn. I love photography calm and phone number is 954-478-9791. And yes, I’m a South Florida girl at heart. Well, technically jersey girl at heart, then transplanted now I’m here. But feel free to call or text that number with questions
Mark Miller 29:21
as well. And we always finish our episodes up with if there’s one thing that a business owner or listener could take away from today’s conversation. What is that one thing? Take your time. I won’t edit out the Dead Space though.
Dawn Aiello 29:45
I’m going to be so cheesy and so go for a picture is worth 1000 words. There is so much you can communicate to your audience to your potential clients through images. And don’t take that lightly. You can communicate the quality of your service because people are going to associate the quality of the images they see with the quality of your services. You can communicate the emotions that they can expect from your business. They you can communicate that trust building in having that consistency with all of your images. So just don’t downplay the value and the potential of great imagery representing your business.
Mark Miller 30:29
Excellent. Don, thank you very much for coming on the show today. We really appreciate you coming by.
Dawn Aiello 30:34
Thanks so much for having me.
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