Personal Branding & Celebrity Photography with Walid Azami – Episode 21

Personal Branding and Celebrity Photography

I am discussing personal branding and celebrity photography with Walid Azami is an LA-based photographer who captured images for the likes of Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and more… From his experience of working with legendary artists in the entertainment industry, Walid now wants to help future photographers share in the success and help them start their profitable business.

Nathaniel Schooler
Well, it’s great to have you, have you on the Build Business Acumen Podcast. And we’re going to talk personal branding and celebrity photography today, because you are you are celebrity photographer.

I know you’re quite a humble kind of guy. But you’ve you’ve you’ve recently been taking photos of like, all sorts of celebrities. And you understand more than anyone how the personal branding kind of fits into the photography. And, you know, I’m just so excited to to hear more about it, really!

Walid Azami
Thank you. Thank you. I’m happy to be here. And glad we finally were able to schedule something. Yeah, I think personal branding is, it’s what gets you into every single person’s brain first, so I’m happy to talk about it.

Nathaniel Schooler
I think from from a wording point of view, a lot of the people when they come to you, they’ve already had someone say. You know this is why you’re amazing. These are the things that you do. This is what gives you credibility. This is what gives you authority, and this is why you’re different, right?

But for the people who struggle with that, I think that that’s the problem is when they go straight into photography, and they don’t brief the photographer because if someone comes to you and says :-“I want you to do some shots” You’d ask them some questions!

Walid Azami
Absolutely. Some people almost say too many questions. But I don’t think that’s such a thing.

Nathaniel Schooler
Okay, so what what would you ask me if I if I came to you? And I said, right. I need some. I need some shots. Yeah, what would you ask me?

Walid Azami
I think it’s it. I love that you put it that way as I need some shots. I think it’s kind of that’s the equivalent of going into Russia and saying “I need some food and they’ll start asking you, what’s your diet like? What do you like? What do you feel like? You want warm food? Cold food?

personal branding and celebrity photography
Walid Azami – in His Studio in LA

We start breaking it down. Most people will come to me and say:- “Hey, I need some photographs for this upcoming record cover or my new fashion brand or whatever.

And so I ask him questions that, I realise that when they come to the photographer at this point, they’ve done what they are a master in. And so they have an idea about photography, but they’re not the master in it. So anytime somebody gives you an I call it their baby, as cheesy as that might be. But anytime somebody gives you their baby and says:- “Here, I’ve done the most that I could do with it. Now I need you to help package it together.”

I take that opportunity to lead the project. And so I will ask him all kinds of questions. So I actually had a call about a music video right before this.

We talked about what do you want the viewer to see?

What do you want the viewer to feel when they first see you on screen?

What do you want them to walk away with after they’re done experiencing your video?

You know, do you want to be likeable/ hateable?

Do you want people to envy you?

Do you want people to relate to you?

I mean, so many questions that a lot of times there there’s long pauses because no one’s ever asked them that before. But it’s a good thing. And it makes them dig a little bit more. And then based on what they tell me, then we start constructing something.

But until they give me all the ingredients, they know what they want, but you have to pull it out of them. And then we have everything we put on the table and say, Okay, here’s what I’m getting. And then my expertise really comes into play as.

Okay, well, this won’t make sense. And this has already been done by a similar recording artists, this trend is at the end of its, you know, life, and then we just start building from there. You know, I love that you do this, but we can’t afford that. So what if we try something else? So, they might come to me and say, I need some shots. And then what I come back to them is with 30 questions. 40 questions?

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow!

Walid Azami
And it’s a way to kind of qualify them to, are they a serious client?

Are they really at the stage where they need pictures?

Or they just kind of feeling people out?

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, yeah. So it’s, it’s very, very rare to find a good photographer.

So the client that comes along, they might not be in the right frame of mind for those for those shots, right? So, that is going to be really tough. So you’ve basically got to get those questions answered. And then you’ve got to put them in the right frame of mind and get them to pose and to give you the right shots that you’re looking for.

Walid Azami
Yes. And so when, when you spoke about branding earlier, my branding is, I’m going to hold your hand through the entire process, other photographers, their branding is, you know, they do the whole cliche, love it, love it, baby love it. You know, I cringe at the thought of that.

But my job is to add a little bit just to humanise it and add a little bit of I guess, of psychology might be the right word. I’m not sure. But I remind me again, the question I jumped

Nathaniel Schooler
So with personal branding, it’s a similar process, like, like, I’ve done a few personal brands, it’s not something that I really advertise because I kind of I’m interested in doing other things, because now the personal branding market is just saturated.

Well, why would I even bother, like, trying to try and attempt that I just get to just do something else. For my, for my, for my income, you know, so however, I learned the process from someone who has, who’s written speeches for the president of Malaysia he has used the same process for loads of different people and business brands.

And what’s really interest is the process that you use for business or a product or a service. And the person is exactly the same.

Except for you might need to do more research when it comes to personal branding, business branding versus the personal branding, right.

But in essence, you you want those people or businesses or products or services to be able to explain the fundamental parts, which are, firstly:-

What does the product or service do?

Or the person what does it do? What do they do?

Yeah, so you come up with a load of statements that do that. Then you say, Well, you know, what, what gives them authority and credibility? Which is like, you know, who have you shot pictures for Walid, that’s your biggest star that you can talk about.

Walid Azami
I mean, I could talk about on any of them. But I mean, Jennifer Lopez or Mariah Carey.

Nathaniel Schooler
Okay, so that gives you instant celebrity status. Yeah, instant, right? Yeah.

Because you can say you’re a photographer, and you take pictures of celebrities. But until you actually say, right, these are the people. Yeah, and that’s the same with with, with a person who works with IBM, or Microsoft, or Samsung, or HP or something. It’s the same with a business. If a business turns around and says, I do this for this for these people, or these businesses, then that builds more credibility and authority.

So that can also be how many years you’ve been in the industry and the job? Yeah, could be which schools you went to. It could be, you know, a number of different number of different things, you know, but then the most difficult thing I think, is why you’re different and or better than anyone else, right?

And you have explained why you’re different and or better than anyone else just now, because,

you have explained to me why you’re different and or better than another photographer, right!

Because you have your process of asking these questions that makes you different. And you hold their hand. Yeah, so those two things make you different than someone down the road that does the Yeah, baby. Love it. Kind of rubbish. Yeah, yeah, because I can’t stand that either.

Walid Azami
So gross. Yeah, it is so gross!

Nathaniel Schooler
It’s just awful, isn’t it? It’s just so cliche.

Walid Azami
Yes. It’s just cringe. Worthy is Austin Powers. He was, you know, funny. It’s really funny, man.

Nathaniel Schooler
So what? What? So after you’ve asked them these questions, do they just let you take care of it?

And just say, okay, you go for it, just do it and just let you get on with it? Or do they try and kind of, you know, manage you in this?

Walid Azami
Well, great question. They on one hand, they, they instantly trust you more. And they’re like, oh, it is what I you know what I’ve heard about him, and he is going to hold my hand through it. So there’s a moment where they first put up a little bit of a resistance, and then they then they realise they’re in good hands. And then they relax, you know, they’re still overseeing it. And I still never forget the fact that the client makes the final decision.

But it’s my job to stop the confusion and to minimise the options for them as the best two or three options. So what I try to do is in the initial pre-production stage of it, I cut down on the clutter a lot. And I’ll tell them the pros and cons of each option.

Then I’ll tell if they ask, I don’t ever offer it first. I if they ask her their little bit stuff, then I say, if you want, I will give you my opinion. But please only open that vault if it’s not going to distract from your you know, your own thought process.

So sometimes they’ll say, okay, hold on to that for a second. Because I want to see what I think. And then sometimes I’ll say, what do you think so it’s, it’s kind of a process, but I enjoy it, I enjoy it so much. Just just helping somebody get to it.

And ultimately, what we’re trying to get to an every single consultation with every single client, whether it’s a brand new model, or somebody like a Mariah Carey, or Kanye West, or Usher.

Is that I ultimately without asking them directly, all the questions lead to what is the transformation for the viewer or the listener and everything that you do has to have a transformation.

I think that I think that it has to have a transformation for the person on the receiving end. Otherwise, why even do anything, you know, you have to make things better make them in the transformations don’t have to be life changing, it could be just something that changes their mood for a moment.

So I everything that I I do, I try to see where the transformation is. And then I think that it has the biggest impact for the client and their consumer

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow, you just think so in essence, you’re actually trying to communicate words through those pictures, aren’t you?

Walid Azami
100%. I’m trying words and feelings and look as if it’s just about pushing a button where you can buy the exact same camera that I have a rented and get the same thing, right. And that’s why I try my hardest not to follow Instagram trends and photographers.

And when I started my career, I didn’t everyone always asked me like, Oh, are you familiar with this photographer or that one? Well, now I am a little bit more but I intentionally did not study the work of any other photographer, because I just wanted to create my own path.

My own branding and direction, right.

Nathaniel Schooler
You basically communicate words in pictures don’t you?

Walid Azami
Yes, you have to communicate words. And you have to communicate stories. And I you know, and obviously the transformation.

Because the client really what they don’t know is that they need you to do that for them. And you don’t just take a pretty picture just because it’s a pretty picture. There has to be a purpose to it. And so there are words throughout the pictures. There’s a story and there’s a reason for everything.

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow. Wow. So

Excuse me.

So what’s the most exciting photoshoot that you’ve done?

Walid Azami
Oh, goodness, the most exciting photoshoot. I

I’ll tell you what the most exciting Photoshop ever done. And a lot of people think oh, is it wasn’t working with Madonna, or Kanye West?

No, it was actually an author. And his name is Bob Proctor.

Nathaniel Schooler
Oh, wow.

Walid Azami
You know, Bob Proctor? Yes. And the crazy thing about that is like, what was so crazy about it was I had decided to put my camera down for don’t know when I was just over photography, because I started to lose my own personal branding, right? And I started to listen to management and people that try to, you know, drive my career.

And they were saying things like, he’s, look at this photographer, you shoot a little more like this. Or, you know, oh, my God, it was awful. But what it is, is that it creeps up on you. And they’ll say things like, Well, look, we need bigger budgets, you know, look without really saying it.

So honestly, they say they have a big staff and we need you to pull in some bigger jobs for the bigger numbers. And so there are certain things that I didn’t want to do. I don’t want to submit for a music video where the girls and to be in a bikini and high heels on top of a hood of a car twerking. I have nieces, I’m not doing that. That’s garbage! You know.

And, and I’m not against nudity, or, or violence if there’s a story for it. But not because there’s a lack of creativity, you know, and there was a lot of like, oh, who cares, just do it. It’s good money. This is the trend, just do it, do it. And over the span of a year, a year and a half of just falling into that trap. My work nearly came to a stop, because what I was starting to do was try to mimic the style of somebody else.

Bob Proctor is going to tie into this I promise. Okay, I was trying to mimic somebody else. But I was just not being true to my own brand. And I couldn’t be them and they can’t be me. And so it got to the point of frustration that I just put my camera down. I was done. I was just done. And I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I had just opened a 5000 square foot photos studio in the heart of downtown LA. And I just thought, you know what, I’m just going to run out the studio to other photographers and productions, and it was just me by myself in this gigantic studio.

I remember thinking, and I was being lazy, and I said, I have the book, The Secret, but I also need the DVD for the secret. And I remember Bob Proctor’s part talking in the DVD. And I remember thinking, God, I just need to find that DVD.

I feel like creatively I think I’ve died, you know, and I wondered if I was still an artist it which is the worst thing you can ever get to as a creative and I wondered if I was still an artist. And I kept looking, I look for about two days through boxes, I mean, dozens and dozens and dozens of boxes of things to finish this massive studio and I couldn’t find it. And I gave up after about two, three days, I gave up the search. And I was like, do you just got to put the studio together and it was the attic of a massive supermarket was the warehouse.

So I was renovating and doing construction everything, when I’m on the third day after giving up the search for the for the DVD, because I was really this Bob Proctor’s part that stuck with me. I know that it was Rhonda Byrne’s I think that the the book The Secret but I get a call and I hear another voice on the other end she was like hi and I said yes. And she’s like, Hi, I got your number from a friend of ours. We have a mutual friend named Dustin.

We’re looking for a photographer for my clients. His name is Bob Proctor.

Out of the blue. And I just like I had to pretty much sit down, that was probably one of the most exciting moments of my life. And I had just finished photographing Jennifer Lopez the week before I was shaking with Bob Proctor because I just think is impact this no disrespect to Jaylo because her place is sealed in history.

You know, but I think I needed a Bob Proctor my life at that moment. And so I shot him. And I brought in my producer, Matt. And I said, Look, take out of my own line item on the budget. Make sure that there’s beautiful flowers and great food and drinks and everything, like take out of my paycheck if we need to do this. I just want him to feel I thought he was a gift that came down, you know, for me. Wow. And in the middle of that shoots. Now keep in mind I had I had question if I still have what it takes. Maybe Maybe I read my my luck. And that was it. You know, and I had a phenomenal year that we were doing a change of different looks and different setups. And everybody was in the hair makeup room and and the different corners of you know, it’s a pretty big studio and I was just setting up the lights by myself and the other corner and out of nowhere. Bob walks up from behind me and he says, You know, I just want you to know that

I’ve had a very long career and I photograph with a lot of people but I just feel like you need to know that you’re different and you’re an artist.

Yeah, it was numb. If someone told me the story, I would think that they were lying. But this is I’m have blogged about it. I’ve done YouTube videos about it. Everything is amazing to me the my most exciting shoot of my career because it was a rebirth at that moment. Yeah. What Bob Proctor and that was the first time I picked up my camera after like eight months. The first time I got that drive back. And after my couple years lease was done in the studio. I shut it down. And I said, Nope, I’m going back full time into photography.

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow!

Walid Azami
And it was ultimately to tie it all into this podcast is that I let my branding go. I let other people drive the vehicle. And they pretty much almost I allowed them to crush it into a wall.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, yeah. I think I think you’re right there. I think you know, it’s, it’s, it’s very, it’s very difficult to, you know, make sure that other people don’t influence you the wrong way. And we all we all suffer from it.

But I think it’s it’s working out, you know, do they have your highest good in their mind for the future? Or do they have their highest good and then where you fit in to that highest good and that’s and that’s ultimately I don’t like the word ultimately. But in this case, I think it’s important that is the problem it’s it’s it’s letting them decide on where you fit into their big picture instead of you working out where you want your big picture and the personal branding is, is crucial as part of that and I’ve made mistakes with my personal brand, we all have, you know, we all have.

Walid Azami
Can I add to that something that I do now since them to help me other one I to add to everything that you said I agree. But I always have to ask myself have they accomplished what they’re recommending that I should do have they done it themselves.

Because I think the talk is so cheap, right. But the other thing that I did after that major flub of letting somebody else grab hold of my career was I have a printout on my wall, and I have four major pillars to accepting a job. And if it doesn’t fit that because I think it’s easy for people to slip into your mind or, you know, the ego takes over, whatever.

And so when a job comes up, when a potential comes up, I look at that little chart to the right of my desk. And if it doesn’t fit it to one of them, I politely decline.

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow. So do you want to share what’s in that? Can you share it?

Walid Azami
Sure. Um, I mean,

The first one is personal branding. Does it fit my creative model? What do you what do you mean? Does it fit your creative model? Does their personal brand fit with yours the or the potential of the project yeah so well it so the first one being I have a certain style of pictures they’re they’re moody their grainy there. I’m not about that. I just don’t know how to photograph that big California sunshine smile, like for like a toothpaste ad. Right? I do a lot more moodier images so that I really, really excel.

I’m not going to pretend to be another type of photographer. So it has to do I have the business to showcase my strength ultimately, is what that is, right?

The second one artistry does this job. So it doesn’t have to check off all of them. At least one of them. Mom, the second one is artistry. Do I have the ability to grow as an artist and try something new that I’d be excited about? Because what you said in the beginning is you have to be excited about it. Or it’s not going to work.

The third one is, can it lead to additional work? If it doesn’t lead to it? I mean, that’s the businessman hat that I have to wear, then you know it. Maybe it’s not artistically pushing me. Maybe it doesn’t 100% fit that model. But can it lead to more work where I can drive it back in the direction that I want?

The fourth one is, does it open up a door to something that I want to do more of. So I’ve been, you know, just doesn’t allow me to get on more podcasts.

Like, you know, like I how you met me, it’s it I look at one of it has to fit at least one of those four things. At the very least, if it doesn’t, then I have learned the hard way that you have to leave that part of your plate empty for new things to come when your plate is full. new things. skip you over.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, I agree. can only be okay, great.

Walid Azami
Yeah. Because I feel like there always has to be a little bit of an open space in your calendar. Otherwise, you the great things are going to pass you up.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, yeah, I agree. Completely. I mean, I spent some time I was meditating the other day. And I was like, and I was like, on the same this is, this is great, valuable advice you’ve just delivered. And I’m going to just top it off with something that I that I thought about it.

And this was this was basically there are three, three things from the enlightenment that I had. Yeah. So there are three things for success. Yeah. becoming successful. Yeah, the first one? No, don’t worry. It’ll be in the podcast. I’m going to put it in the show notes.

The first one is to listen more.

Listen, More!

Do More!

Be More!

And these are the three ways to Success

Walid Azami
How long do you think for you? That? How long did that take for you to just figure out that puzzle? Or the bullet points?

Nathaniel Schooler
What those three points

Walid Azami
Yeah, that you’re like, no, this is really the the recipe for success.

Nathaniel Schooler
No idea man. I was sitting there in the bath in this big corner. Yeah. And I was and I was relaxing and I was really stressed about some project or something that I was I was doing and I literally just lay there and I was like. What is going to make me hugely successful in what I’m doing and I just and I just heard these thoughts in my head words thoughts whatever you want to call it

I think we need to listen to ourselves more you know so that listen the listen more isn’t just listen to great guests like you and friends and family is listen to yourself as well. Whatever inspiration you take from that you know, and you and you get that from God or from whoever you think is helping you if you’re an atheist you you get it from somewhere could be yourself.

Walid Azami
I’m so glad you said that. I’m so glad you said that. Because I think that that is one of those things that helped launch my career in the beginning too was, I a friend of mine, Jamie King was a creative director for brilliant guys I don’t even know how you say it. Cirque du Soleil.

Yeah, so he put together the Michael Jackson version of that he directed three or four Madonna’s world tours and Celine Dion and so many people, but he told me something that I always always try to incorporate into every single thing is that he said, doesn’t matter what you believe in,

doesn’t it matter Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Atheists, Energy, Mother Nature, whatever he’s like, don’t worry about what name you put on it. But the closest you will ever be to God, the universe, the light, whatever is when you listen to your gut instincts.

And, we as humans do an amazing job of specially in the Western culture of killing that and allowing other people to really get into our heads and allowing our ego to take over. So when he gave me that speech, I can tell you if if you could somehow chart my career on a graph, it skyrocketed. And he said, You have to learn to trust your instincts. And listen to yourself, exactly, as you said, just right now. And he said, that is the truest voice ever, ever. And he said if that voice tells you don’t get in this car right now, don’t get in that car. If that voice says accept this client with the lower budgets x, you know, versus the other one with the bigger budget.

But your instincts tell you to do that. He said, do that. That is a direct voice telling you, this is for your higher good and you want to do this, you want to call this person right now. So a lot of my business decisions, I rely on instincts. If I have to email somebody, I don’t really even shoot them an email until I get that feeling in my gut. Okay, send it now and then I just immediately put everything down and I send that email or and make that phone call. Is that crazy? But that’s what I’ve relied heavily on instincts.

Nathaniel Schooler
That’s not crazy at all. I think if you if you could, if you listen to an episode I did, I think it was number 15 or 16. I did one with with this with this guy. He’s called Jonathan Chase. And he’s his Britain’s leading hypnotist. Yeah and now he specialises in something called subconscious success, what he talks about is actually how the nine year old mind inside your head yeah the subconscious mind is a nine year old child and actually having fun is what that mind wants to do.

And the more fun you have with what you’re doing the more successful you’re going to be, providing you obviously don’t miss out things that you really have to do because in my mind he says you know you should be doing that all the time. Personally I think that there is 15% of the time where you probably have to do things you don’t like; so you know you’ve got it you’ve got to get dirty and get down there and just do what you have to do right but the end of the day you’ve got to have fun with what you’re doing or isn’t going to work right I mean that’s that’s my

Walid Azami
Yeah and you mentioned that earlier I think that’s when it just doesn’t become work it just becomes your passion and the hours fly by so; you have to have fun and I think that when you have fun, you’re doing it your way. That’s what’s making it fun. And so then that helps build your your brand of how you do your job.

Nathaniel Schooler
Totally, totally. So if you could give, if you could give people three pieces of advice for building your brand, personal brand with images?

Yeah, what would you What would you give? I mean, don’t look at my Instagram. My Instagram is just sort of very random. I just have my own style on there, right? I just do you probably have looked at it. It gives an idea of what I’m into. But say, you know, anybody who wants to build a personal brand after they’ve got their wording right in the first place? What would you what, what do you think? Three things, we need

Walid Azami
Three things that you could do for anybody, not just photographers, right?

I think you have to understand who your customer, your customer avatar, your perfect customer is. And I tell this is something that, you know, I’m teaching in my upcoming course. But it’s Who is your perfect customer, and then you really work heavily on that. So you find out who they are, where they shop, what they eat, who they voted for, what makes them angry, what they do for fun, what other brands they shop with, you know, all of that right?

Yeah, um, what I do is I have my customer avatar, and then it reflects off of that list that I just kind of read off to you. But make sure that you are serving your your perfect consumer. And in a world like social media, I liken social media to a very, very, very, very loud, the busy crowded room, like a party. And a lot of people go out there and they just start yelling things out in social media, hoping somebody will listen.

My my advice would be find out exactly who will pay attention to you and who will appreciate you then go directly to them in that room. And the room being social media, you know, if you know who your perfect customer is, you don’t have to work as hard.

And every dollar spent on ads is is hyper focused, every blog post that you put up is directed just to them. And it doesn’t matter if the majority of people don’t like it, or don’t appreciate or don’t get it. You’re serving your core customer. Yeah, so that’s the first one know who your perfect customer is. And it takes a little bit of work. As you know, we both know, like a lot of reflecting and answering questions and everything.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, and you know what, it’s interesting. I’m going to just cut in on that one. Because I I yeah, I work that out myself. Recently, after reading one of Jonathan Chase’s books, the is basically got this book.

So his book is called How to make friends with yourself and influence people. Okay, so. So it comes from a very sincere place. This is not like a hypnotist trying to sell you a lot of stuff you don’t want. This is a this is a this is a very serious book. And it helps you to go through your perfect day.

Okay, so it’s like I wake in the morning, and you and you and you’re like, right. Okay, so open the I’m in this bed. And it looks like this. And I open the curtains. And I look out on this view. And then, you know, you go through this whole process of your perfect day, you take maybe two hours. Yeah, once you’ve done that, then you go through the perfect day of your ideal client. Right. And what’s interesting is those ideal clients actually are probably very similar people to you, right? Yeah. Because you want to talk to your ideal client, your ideal client is people like you.

Walid Azami
Yes, yes, absolutely. I didn’t think of it that way. But that makes so much sense.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah. So onto your onto your number two. Sorry, I had to tell you that because it’s so relevant.

Walid Azami
That’s, I mean, we have to listen to each other, you know, and learn from each other. I think that So absolutely, find out who your perfect client is, and go for the kill. And I mean, that’s a terrible word to use. But just go for that and forget about everything else and make them happy. And there’s enough people in this world to keep your business alive.

You know, and, and, and thrive to the second point is, be human on social media. I think so many people on social media talk, but don’t listen to your point right there, too. They post they expect engagement from you, but they don’t give engagement. And you know, when you met me on wells, quote, unquote, me on when you heard me first on the Pat Flynn podcast?

I got what I should mention is over that last episode, over 200 DMs on my Instagram.

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow, mental.

Walid Azami
So unbelievable amount of people just encouraging me and you and you know, you being one of them. And it’s like, I was so touched by each person that How could I? How could I not leave each and every single person a personal voice message?

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, I really appreciated that actually.

Walid Azami
Good. Thank you. And I just think that it’s, that’s the right way to use social media is not so much. Hey, hey, hey, look at me. Look at me. Look at me. You know it. Just going back to that point of if all of social media was a crowded room, everyone is screaming, look at me, I’m better. I’m prettier. I’m shiny, or I’m, you know, going back. That’s how I view social media is a very crowded room. If you are the one that’s thoughtful, and listen to the person and gives them the courtesy and respect right back.

That relationship is more powerful than any Facebook ad anything. It’s Hey, thank you for listening to the podcast. Thank you for hearing it out, looking me up, leaving me a message. And I look at them.

And I try to say something back about what they said, you know, so and pardon me as the one.

Nathaniel Schooler
Don’t worry, it’s all good man.

Walid Azami
But what I just do is, I just make sure that that you’re human. And that’s what people really, really craving. It’s the social media, we’re connected to more people than ever, but more isolated than ever. So if you could just stand out and be a little analogue about things. And, you know, go back to the old ways of just saying, Thank you a simple sentence, a voice message that stands out, and that builds your personal brand. Oh, my God, so much faster than anything else. It’s just they get connected to you.

And then Should I go on the third?

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, go for it. Man. I totally agree with everything you’ve just said. There. The personal touch is what it’s all about. You know, I mean, I think I’m not sorry, will lead i’m not i’m not going to, I’m not going to say that using automation is a really bad thing. But what I’m going to say is using automation without having a conversation is a bad thing wrong with using automated processes and methods to engage with people. But the big mistake is when people create automation, and then they don’t actually react or engage with those people. Yeah,

Walid Azami
What is what is the whole point of it, you know, if you’re not going to be social, and I’m so sorry, I literally tried to sign out

Nathaniel Schooler
Don’t worry, it happens to me all the time. It’s okay, man. Just relax. What’s number three? what’s what’s number three Walid?

Walid Azami
Number three on my list is give, just give, give, give from your experience, get from your heart, just help people. There’s so many people that you see on their social media on their Instagram stories. They’ll put a little poll they’ll say, they’ll say,

Hey, you know, this outfit, or that outfit? Or this colour, that colour? or which one should I buy? I think the time and I try to give and just say, Hey, I saw this or even if they don’t ask for help, if I have photographer friends, or hair, makeup, friends, or whoever on social media, and they’ll put up their new work I just tried to give and you know what it is, I have a goal. And I actually have a daily planner that I go off of every single day, I have to reach out to three people and give to them somehow and contribute to their life well, and it’s something that served, I think everyone really well.

So somebody will put it’s a small thing, sometimes you just given her encouragement. Sometimes you give, you know, sometimes you give encouragement. Sometimes you give I mean advice.

Sometimes you give wisdom, whatever it is, but they need to benefit from you. And so if somebody posts a beautiful picture, I will send them a DM I’m like, I’m so impressed by the work you’ve been doing lately.

I can’t apologise enough about that, hey,

Nathaniel Schooler
it’s okay. Man.

Walid Azami
It’s so I’m just like, I can’t

I just tell them, I tell them like, great job on this, I’m really seeing the start, you know, like, good for you for doing better for saying that. And that, to me, really, really seals the deal on your personal branding. Because you know, just give in a way that it backs up your brand. And that’s what I’ve done with my Instagram of how to photograph I just try to give as much as I can and and share the success that I’ve had with other people too. And that served me very, very well.

And I’ll tell you a quick way that that’s just an example is now he gets paid. But somebody reached out to me via direct message on Instagram and said, I’m so blown away by how much you give to the photography community that I’m willing to help edit some of your YouTube videos for free.

Well, I’m another person. I had one my E-book of came out earlier in 2018, I did one day of a free download from Amazon. He sent me a message and he said, I can’t wait to get the book. But I’m waiting until tomorrow. And I said, we can get a free today. And he said, No, man, you’ve helped the community so much. the least I can do is pay for your book and not get a free download.

It’s those are people that just reached out to me. But that’s how much giving it you know, they always say gift to get back. And it’s a selfish thing we do. But when you give, and when you share your knowledge.

I just think that the universe just gives back to you tenfold. And that’s that’s what I would tell people is give. Don’t be afraid to share the knowledge. You’re not going to lose your creativity. You’re not going to lose your knowledge. And there’s enough room for everyone to win.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, I agree completely. It’s exactly why I’m doing this podcast. Because I know some amazing people. And it’s great to have such great content to to give to people. You know and that’s, that’s just so important. So I can’t thank you enough, Walid it’s been superb and I’ll let you know when the episodes life buddy. And you know if you if you need anything, give me a shout. Man. I’m always here. You know,

Walid Azami
I will thank you so much for your time. And for putting up with my forgetting the questions.

Nathaniel Schooler
So Walid I hear you’ve been doing you’re doing a course. Right? Is that is that just for photographers? Or is it for anyone that wants to learn how to take pictures.

Walid Azami
So yeah, I have a course called How to photograph from passion to profit. And it’s it’s pretty much my experiences, all my good, all my bad everything I’ve ever learned. And it’s actually everything I wish was around when I first started. So it’s put together in like a 10 week course. And it’s holding your hand. And so it’s for anybody that wants to start a photography business. And they understand that not wasting time equals more time making money. You know, I think so many people go in circles and, and they get lost on YouTube videos and everything, trying this or that. And this course, holds your hand through every single step necessary. Every step you could imagine,

Holds you and helps you set up your business and in a couple of months, and you should be up and running and making an income years sooner. Well, it’s perfect to start a business. Absolutely.

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow, that sounds great. So you wouldn’t recommend it for people that are not photographers or don’t want to become a photographer? Like, exactly, it’s not for the hobby photographer.

Walid Azami
No, I niche down on how to create an income everything from email templates to selling tactics to work, how to price yourself, even down to taking them in the studio. So we actually go through and I, we talked to the cameras like this is how you talk to the model. This is a lighting we use. And then they even get files that we shot in studio together. And then we edit it together. So everyone gets to edit on those same RAW files, the same editing techniques. So it’s literally setting somebody up from step 1 to 100, but it’s only for photographers who want to create an income with their camera or for photographers who have tried unsuccessfully for a couple of years to create a big enough income and they haven’t met their expectations are the goals. So this puts you on the right path.

Nathaniel Schooler
Well, that sounds fantastic. So how would people find how will people find that will lead

Walid Azami
If you go to how to photograph.net the very big banner on the front page, you can just click that button. And actually the daily planner that I even talked about that I use every single day, they can actually get that as an immediate free download. For me also, it’s something I’ve I use every single day. And, you know, been refining it every year, making it better and better.

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow, sounds amazing. I’m not a photographer. But I even want one.

Walid Azami
Oh, yeah. Listen, that planner is good for anybody because it takes care of your health. How many glasses of water, your personal affirmations, your daily reach outs? I say you have to learn one of the things that I did. And I would recommend this to anybody in business. Anybody. Doesn’t matter what you do. Don’t bed until you’ve learned one new thing every single day.

Nathaniel Schooler
Nice. I like that. I agree.

Walid Azami
I mean, when you compound that over the year, you’re like, oh my God. I’ve learned Yeah, three 200 an hour, many weekdays. There are more than my competition. It’s unbelievable what it’ll do to your career. It just transforms it. And that’s what I did from day one day one every single day. I learned one new thing.

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow. That’s really cool. That’s great, man. Thank you so much. And I’ll definitely speak to you soon.

HowtoPhotograph.net

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