Premium Members, click here to access this interview in the premium area.

Michael Schacht of was quick to weigh in on a recent discussion on personal branding photography, happening inside the PhotoBizX Member's Facebook Group when I asked… US Members, do you know of any successful personal branding photographers? I'm looking for potential interview guests for 2020.

Interestingly, most suggestions were for people who sell and market photography courses on how to create and build a personal branding photography business, but almost no one who is actually making a living shooting this genre. I was starting to think this was a made-up genre, purely to sell courses and make money from photographers.

Pretty sad if that's the case!

Mike sent me a PM saying…

Saw your FB group post. Hope you’re doing well. I have lots of thoughts on “personal branding” if you ever want to chat on or off the record. I’m doing it. I think I’m doing it successfully. I also think it’s a made-up term. It’s certainly not something people are searching for.

I took Mike up on his offer and recorded this interview. In addition to the discussion on personal branding photography, Mike shares some great insights to growing any commercial or headshot photography business when he said things like:

If you give people preset packages, you are inherently setting limits.

Obviously, I dived deeper into this and other topics on the subject of building a more profitable and sustainable photography business and why Mike feels personal brand photographers should pursue headshot photography first and should photographers enrol in online personal branding courses.

Here’s some more of what we cover in the interview:

  • Michael's thoughts on being a branding photographer
  • Headshots have inherent demand where branding photography does not
  • No one is searching for personal branding photographer
  • Referral networks are credited with the success of personal branding campaigns
  • Why you should not aim to rank as a personal branding photographer
  • A simple workaround to successfully get bookings as a personal branding photographer
  • What images should you produce for personal branding photography clients
  • Using Acuity calendar to book shoots and get paid
  • Pricing for personal branding shoots
  • What actually is personal branding photography
  • Why setting shooting limits is not favourable for your business
  • When is the best time to up-sell to headshot photography clients
  • Michael's work and workflow process
  • Michael's approach to providing personal branding images
  • Suggesting to bring as many clothing changes as clients like for more opportunities to create unique images
  • It's not uncommon to sell 10 photos
  • How Michael treats time limits when doing shoots
  • Setting expectations on wardrobe changes during shoots
  • How Michael handles consultations with clients wanting to run through shoots
  • Why consultations attract divas and you shouldn't be offering them
  • Building a business that fits your lifestyle
  • Michaels pricing strategy for headshot and branding photography
  • Why Michael prefers to use Acuity for his bookings
  • How photographers should be advertising their personal branding photography
  • The importance to do A/B testing on headlines for Facebook Ads
  • Photographers are not the target audience for LinkedIn Ads
  • Should photographers enrol in online personal branding courses
  • How Michael deals with photographers who are interested in taking his courses
  • Why photography students fail
  • Why personal branding photographers should pursue headshot photography first to be successful

Michael Schacht Photography Podcast

What’s on Offer for Premium Members

If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this interview – the full length and more revealing version where you hear the absolute best tips and advice from every guest.

If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interviews each week, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.

Trying to explain to people what personal branding is takes a lot of words and humans don't like to read. – Michael Schacht

Plus special member-only interviews.

You'll also receive access to the members-only Secret Facebook Group where you can connect with other Premium Members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take ideas you hear in each episode and put them into action. There are also FB live video tutorials, role-play interviews and special live interviews happening in the group. You will not find more friendly, more motivated, caring and sharing photographers online.

Joining a Mastermind Group (encouraged by Andrew) has been incredibly valuable and fun, I look forward to connecting with my group members every week. Jina Zheng, Premium Member and Melbourne Children photographer.

Seriously, that's not all.

In addition to everything above, you'll get access to and instructions on forming or joining a MasterMind Group with other premium members. These groups are super motivating, make you accountable and build friendships with other pro photographers with similar motives to you – to build a more successful photography business.

Michael Schacht Photography Podcast

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Mike shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below, let me know what your takeaways were, what you plan to implement in your business as a result of what you heard in today's episode.

If somebody wants to get in to personal branding, they should do two things. One is show the work that they want to create, and two is offer to do the work that they like to do. – Michael Schacht

If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Michael or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them in the comments area below.

Michael Schacht Photography Podcast

iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs

Each week I check for any new iTunes reviews and it's always a buzz to receive these… for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!

Secondly, iTunes is the biggest search engine when it comes to podcasts and it's your reviews and ratings that help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners mean more interviews and ultimately a better show.

If you have left a review in the past, thank you! If you haven't and you'd like to, head to and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL of your website and your name.

Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast and email me your keywords or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.

Another great way to get a backlink to your site is to send a video testimonial. It doesn't need to be fancy and your phone will be perfect. Click record and tell me how PhotoBizX has made a difference to you and your photography business.

Here are the latest reviews…

This is the best photographer marketing podcast you need to subscribe to

★★★★★ in Apple Podcasts by Harbor Springs photographer, Sheri Kowalski from United States of America on December 29, 2019

This podcast has quickly risen to my favourite because I'm in need of help with my photography business.

I've been wanting to give up since I've moved to a small northern town in Michigan, but these informative shows full of successful entrepreneurs have inspired me.

I've never been good at the business side of things, but feel I do have vision and creativity that should provide income. I just haven't been able to get there yet. I'm hoping with more learning and implementing of strategies I hear on these episodes, I'll be able to start getting the inquiries I've longed for and producing the product clients want.

Thank you for providing such helpful information and having such a great voice and personality as well. I laugh out loud at the parts that are real and unedited. It's nice to know not everyone's perfect and makes you more relatable.

Love listening to you!

Best – Sheri Kowalski from Harbor Springs, Michigan

The best photography business podcast today

★★★★★ in Apple Podcasts by Paris wedding photographer, Karina Storlien from Paris, France on December 15, 2019

I’ve been listening to the PhotoBizX for quite some time, I think it’s absolutely the best business podcast for photographers available.

Not only does Andrew interview really interesting people who have a variety of experience, which makes it so interesting to listen to, but the guests are just so open in sharing business strategies and techniques, it’s absolutely invaluable, and actionable. Not a bunch of fluff, but ideas you can immediately try or incorporate into your business.

I also love Andrew’s interview style. He’s funny and professional and knows the very best questions to ask of his guests.

The only issue with the podcast is each time I listen to it I have about 10 new ideas I have to sort through to see if they could be a fit for my business, a nice “problem” to have.

Thanks to Andrew and his team at PhotoBizX and all of the amazing photographers and business owners who contribute such invaluable information, helping our community of photographers. I’ve learned so much and it’s my favourite podcast!

Thanks again! ~Karina

Michael Schacht Photography Podcast

Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:

312 Elements

312 Elements on Facebook

Michael Schacht Website

Michael Schacht on Instagram

Headshot Hot Sauce

Headshot Hot Sauce on Facebook

The Headshot Crew

Acuity Scheduling

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Episode 292: Michael Schacht – Advanced Facebook Ads for Headshot Photographers


Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery

Michael Schacht Photography Podcast

Thank you!

Thanks again for listening and thanks to Michael for coming on and sharing his thoughts and ideas on personal branding and headshot photography – and not being afraid to get controversial and call things as he sees them in regards to online personal branding photography courses and the people who run them.

The less I can limit things on the front end, that's my preference because when you get to the end of the shoot, you start going through images with them. If they're not thinking okay I'm going to use this here and I'm going to use that there, then there is no real limit other than what they're willing to spend. – Michael Schacht

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!

That’s it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!

Thanks and speak soon

342: Michael Schacht - Why personal branding photographers should pursue headshot photography first

Andrew Hellmich:      Hey, I'm here with Michael Schacht who featured in Episode 292 of the podcast. In that interview with Michael, he shared a ton of great staff and that utilizing Facebook ads to bring in headshot clients and also acting type clients as well. He's a super talented photographer, has a great business mind. He blew us away with the strategies that he shared in Episode 292 and the reason he's back on the show right now is because recently I posted a question to the member's Facebook group, and this was specifically to U S members. I asked, do you know of any successful personal branding photographers? I'm looking for potential interview guests for 2020 and that thread has over 65 comments now, and the first, I don't know, bunch of comments were all for internet marketers or photographers with courses to sell and products to push. That was saying that branding photography is a real thing. There's lots of work out there for you. Come and do my course, I'll show you how to get them. Michael sent me a PM and he had a different view. So Michael, welcome back to the show and yeah man, let's get into it. What are your thoughts when you hear the term branding photographer?

Michael Schacht:       Well thanks for having me and it really is an interesting subject. I work with a lot of photographers in setting up their marketing and their branding and one of the things that they all want to say, they all want to push this personal branding thing. And you know, I come from a search background and in terms of search, nobody's searching for personal branding. So I find it to be one of those things that I'm fighting them on, like it's a service they want to offer because as you mentioned, there are a lot of people out there saying, Hey, you're missing out on this huge opportunity if you're not in this space. And again, just relying on my search background, if nobody's searching for it, it becomes a very difficult thing to sell. So I've had to make some personal compromises, but I do recognize that there is a little bit of a gray area. I am a headshot photographer by trade. And one of the things that I like to focus on is making sure that I give people options. That's been a big focus of this year and it's been a great way to grow my business. And in doing so I've kind of stumbled into this whole personal branding thing, but it's definitely not something that I push in my marketing.

Andrew Hellmich:      Right. So when you say that you're using your skills and talents with search, you're talking about SEO there specifically. So you're looking at what other people who are looking for a photographer are searching for, is that right?

Michael Schacht:       That is correct. So one of the great things about headshots is that there's inherent demand, whether it be for businesses saying, Hey, we need you to go get a headshot, or I run a small business, I need a headshot, blah, blah blah. There is demand for it and there's search demand. So it's something we can optimize our websites for. There is nobody searching for a term anywhere near personal branding photographer. So from a marketing standpoint, whether or not people want to sell this product, it doesn't matter if you can't get in front of the people that would want it. And I'm not saying that there's not demand for having pictures of yourself that are more than just a picture of your face on a white background. I definitely agree there's demand for that, but I don't think that it's something that people are out trying to find.

Michael Schacht:       It's something that personally I try and upsell when I've got somebody in the studio. You know in our last talk you made a point of saying something along the lines of there was a lot of passion on my personal work or something along those lines. You dug the portraiture end of things and what I've done since we last spoke is really worked on melding that part of my business with my headshot business and that's where I find this space to be interesting. But it's taken a lot to get there. It's taken a lot of restructuring packages and you know, getting rid of including certain things. And I definitely want to talk about that too because I think that there's a way to sell this that results or that gives you the same end result. But I don't think that it's necessarily something you lead with.

Michael Schacht:       I don't think that this is something that people come to you realizing they need. It's something that if you sell it carefully while you've got people in the studio, you can benefit from.

Andrew Hellmich:      Okay, let's step back a little tiny bit here. So for the photographers that want to offer this service, and I've been to a bunch of their sites now because I had all these recommendations inside the group, I'm seeing blog post after blog post after blog posts, you know, with the title, personal branding photographer, San Diego, personal brand photographer, New Jersey, and it went on and on and on and on. So those terms will be possibly easy to rank for, but it doesn't really matter because no one's searching for them. Is that right?

Michael Schacht:       That is correct. Or that's been my experience.

Andrew Hellmich:      Okay. And then you talked about then the end product, which is what is that getting a booking for that style of shoot?

Michael Schacht:       Well and that's kind of what, where I wanted to get with it was I don't think that you're going to get hired to do that kind of work. At least not let me back up. Cause that's not altogether true either. I think that the people that are having a lot of success in that space are doing it via referral networks. And I think if you can create a product that makes others want to keep up with the Joneses and it becomes kind of a hip thing in specific communities, I think that it's something that can definitely take off. So I don't want to, you know, talk anybody out of that business model specifically. Because when you get to that place in your career where you're getting a lot of referral work and those people that are doing the referring are kind of setting you up. It's like, Hey, look at what this photographer did for me and this is what I paid for it.

Michael Schacht:       So by the time that they're getting to you, they're already qualified. But because most of the people I know and the headshot space come from a place of, Hey, I want to automate this. You know, I want people to find me in search and then book me online and get them in the door. Trying to explain to people what personal branding is, takes a lot of words and humans don't like to read. So at least not when they're in purchase mode. You need to be able to be very clear and concise. So I think that if you put up this huge wall of like, here's this $2,500 package, book me, you're going to turn off, you know, a great deal of potential customers. That said, I'm all for giving people opportunities to give me money. So trying to walk that line of, Hey, I've got the product that you need and I want you to book that.

Michael Schacht:       And then while you're here, I'm going to offer you a lot of options that you want. And then you can decide what's important to you. You can decide how much money you want to spend. And at the end of the day, more often than not, where I used to have people come in, they'd hire me to take, you know, one headshot of them. So we'd shoot them in one outfit or two outfits on a solid background. That's what they would come in for. And that's what I would give them. And you know, after talking at length with a buddy of mine named Tony Taafe, who's got a video coming out on how to sell headshots, but after speaking to him at length about a year ago, we actually got together and we were shooting some video content and he was watching my sales process. And the whole time I could tell I was being judged.

Michael Schacht:       And you know, he had a lot of insight that he wasn't ready to share yet. So he spent some time, I think after that kind of putting together his idea of, you know, bringing some high end sales techniques to headshot photography and you know, we'd bounce ideas back and forth and I realized that, you know, this is my opportunity. This is my opportunity to build some of this portraiture into my headshot business and it becomes easy to monetize because I'm not trying, I mean that's another difficult thing, right? I think that there are a lot of, you know, high end portrait photographers out there that have gone through any number of a hundred different internet courses on how to a high end portrait photographer and that they've come to realize that again, there's this search problem, like I don't know how to get customers. Well again, that goes back to the cool thing about headshots.

Michael Schacht:       There's demand for it. So I've just kind of taken a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And I think that I do offer personal branding photography. I don't think I that I do it traditionally and I certainly haven't reinvented the wheel. I've just made it easy to book me and then I put it on them to figure out how much they want to spend. But I don't do that until after I've taken a bunch of awesome pictures of them.

Andrew Hellmich:      Okay. Alright. I'm going to get into your sales process in just a second. So it sounds to me like you're suggesting for anyone that wants to succeed in this, this field or with this genre, personal branding, photography, it would make more sense to market yourself and go for the keywords or the search term headshot photography or headshot photographer, and then go on to upsell rather than trying to target personal branding photography.

Michael Schacht:       Absolutely.

Andrew Hellmich:      Right. That makes sense. It's funny too, so when you, I mean you sort of backtracked at the very beginning when I asked you that question about this genre, this genre existing and you said something along the lines of no one's booking it and then you said, Whoa, hang on. Well, there is a certain amount of people looking for it because of this referral network. To me, I liken the genre to day in the life photography where it's an amazing style of photography, this real true documentary portrait in the house, family photography, but the only people, well that's not fair. The majority of people booking those sessions are other photographers.

Andrew Hellmich:      That's not a big enough market unless you are on the cutting edge and you're in demand amongst other photographers. They're the ones that seem to be succeeding with that genre. This feels a little bit the same.

Michael Schacht:       I would agree.

Andrew Hellmich:      Cool.

Michael Schacht:       And I think that a lot of the education platforms are designed to push that.

Andrew Hellmich:      Yes, yes. Yeah. You can be a successful day in a life photographer like me and, and because I'm getting booked by other photographers and traveling the world doing this, this is exactly what I'm saying from personal brand photographers, you know, nearly every single site that I went to, they are offering mentorship or courses or teaching how to do the same thing. I'm like, why are you doing that if the photography is successful? I dunno. I dunno.

Michael Schacht:       You know, dabbling on that end of things too though. I think that there is a, there's benefits to, you know, making a name for yourself in the photography world also. And I think that there are people out there that genuinely want to help other photographers. So I'm a little less cynical there, but I absolutely understand where you're coming from.

Andrew Hellmich:      Yeah, I know it's going to be tough for you because you do both as well, don't you? I mean you have a photography business, but you also teach photographers.

Michael Schacht:       On a very small level. Yes, we've got a nice tight knit community, but nothing at scale like what you're, you're referring to.

Andrew Hellmich:      Right. Cool. What's the name of your group?

Michael Schacht:       You know, we actually are getting ready to relaunch, but the new class is called Headshot Hot Sauce.

Andrew Hellmich:      Headshot Hot Sauce. So this is still part of the 312 Elements?

Michael Schacht:       Now it gets confusing. So 312 Elements is my direct to consumer brand. That is where I'm selling my headshot work. And from that, uh, and from involvement and another great community called The Headshot Crew that, you know, they really focus on the how to take a picture aspect of things. I saw a need for someone to teach people how to market this stuff and we came up with a class called headshot sales and marketing, which didn't really have a, a whole lot of vava boom to it. So we have rebranded as, as Headshot Hot Sauce because it's more fun.

Andrew Hellmich:      Go it. Okay. So then what about What's that website for?

Michael Schacht:       So that is my portrait work. At some point I'm going to get back into trying to get more editorial and commercial work. But right now head shots are so hot that it would cost me business to spend the time on that that it would deserve. And it's, it really is difficult to sell a headshot business alongside a commercial and editorial business because you have to segment your customers and eventually people are going to circumvent your system. And then you've got people booking you for a headshot and they want to use it as a magazine cover and you've got licensing stuff and it gets confusing.

Michael Schacht:       So eventually I have this grand scheme of keeping those fully separate but spending an equal amount of time on both of them. Uh, currently being a father of young children and an entrepreneur, it becomes a little bit difficult to give that the attention it deserves. So right now I'm just focused on, you know, building 312 Elements up to be as big as it can be and everything that I'm doing there, I'm sharing with my group at Headshot Hot Sauce.

Andrew Hellmich:      Nice. And this is the site that we took apart and reference a lot in that initial interview. So this is the one that the listeners should get back and check out. And also that interview, because I love the way you do your retargeting and and all this stuff we talked about, but let me bring it back to personal branding photography. So when you hear that term, what kind of photography pops into your head? What do you see as an image or images?

Michael Schacht:       Well that's interesting too because I think that, you know, it depends on what you want to do as a photographer. You know, people that have a little bit of a background or interest in doing lifestyle stuff. I think that there's a place for that and personal branding, photography. I think that people that are, you know, interested in doing some type of like fine art portraiture. I think that there's a place for that for personal branding photography. So personally for me, I know that if I have to leave my studio, it's going to cost me money in terms of packing up gear, you know, driving wherever I have to go. Doing a shot, coming back, it's a much less scalable business. And I find that people are less willing to spend the money up front to justify that cost.

Michael Schacht:       But I do believe in letting people give you money. So I have an option on my page where it's, I'm just going to throw numbers out, it's $1,000 to get me to come onsite and if you want me to photograph you in your office or you know, walking the streets of Chicago, I'll do that. Like that's an option, but it's $1,000 and then I charge you per image. And the scalability of that has really been eyeopening. And that kind of goes back to conversations I've had with my friend Tony. One of the things that I took away from conversations with him was that if you give people preset packages, you are inherently setting limits. So the way that I used to run things was I had my, you know, good, better, best packages. The good package was what most people needed. I was about 45 minutes, you got one retouched picture included and we'd shoot in one outfit.

Michael Schacht:       And then it kind of built up from there. I think the biggest package towards the end was three or four pictures where you touched. And what I learned from Tony was that if you remove those barriers, then people don't come in with preconceived notions of how much they're going to spend. So that's been instrumental to me. But when I go on location and I'm shooting, you know, CEO and his office or attorney at her firm or whatever we're doing, where we're, we're getting some of the atmosphere of wherever they work, I charge a little bit extra for that. And then it's basically like, what does it cost to cover my time? And that's the set fee. And then I charge them per image on top of that. And that just came out of people asking for that. So I decided to offer it and then I realized that once I started offering that as an option, people were more inclined to ask for it.

Michael Schacht:       So you know, there's some psychology there too, but I think that if somebody wants to get into personal branding, they should do two things. One is show the work that they want to create and two is offer to do the work that they like to do. So I don't particularly like the whole, um, I'm trying to find the politically correct way to say this.

Andrew Hellmich:      You don't have to be politically correct.

Michael Schacht:       No, but I mean there is a style out there that's very glamorous and that's not my shtick.

Andrew Hellmich:      Right.

Michael Schacht:       So I don't show that work and I usually don't get booked for it.

Andrew Hellmich:      So light and airy with soft skin tones, that's not your style.

Michael Schacht:       Not so much. So I show the work that I want to do and we do a lot of that in the studio and I sell a lot of it because of the way that I've got my pricing structure.

Andrew Hellmich:      So for you, if you're booked solid in the studio, it wouldn't make any sense at all to go out on location because I mean the prices would have to be so high to justify going out. It wouldn't make sense. Is that the way you're looking at your business or are you happy to leave the studio and go and do these shoots?

Michael Schacht:       No. I would very much prefer to stay, but I have priced myself at the top of my market and in doing so I wouldn't say that I'm, you know, booked solid four shoots a day, six days a week. I do my 10 shoots a week and that allows time to go out on location and I just charge accordingly for it. But I'm with you at the same price at my regular, you know, in studio price it would absolutely not make sense to go out. So it's twice as expensive to book me for a shoot that takes me out of the studio.

Andrew Hellmich:      Got it. Okay. So do you actually use it, let's say someone comes in for a head shot with you and it's the solicitor that you're talking about, the lawyer and she wants some photos in her office, you know, she's seen the photos on the buses with the law books behind her, that cliched shop, she wants that shot. Do you use the term personal branding photography or what do you use to describe that style of shoot?

Michael Schacht:       So I like to speak to people in the terms that they're comfortable using. So whether it be either some type of in-person consultation or at the beginning of the photo shoot or on the phone or via email, I kind of let them lead that. My goal is to get them to my Acuity calendar and book me.

Michael Schacht:       That's always my first goal. And then if I can do that without having a conversation, I feel like I've won. But if it goes into conversation mode, you know we start talking about you know, what they want and if they use a term like personal branding then I'll mirror that. I'll say it back to them. But once you start, you know throwing limitations out there like okay so you know for your branding you might want, you know, something specific for Twitter and then something specific for LinkedIn and something else for your website. And once you start thinking in saying things like you could use this one here and you can use that one there, you start to, you know, inherently limit what they could potentially spend. So by just going through the shoot, like the less I can limit things on the front end, that's my preference.

Michael Schacht:       Because when you get to the end of the shoot and you start going through images with them, if they're not thinking, okay, I'm going to use this here and I'm going to use that there, then there is no real limit other than what they're willing to spend and I've found much more success that way. At the end of the day. Are we talking about personal branding? Sure, but is that a term that I think that the average consumer is terribly familiar with? I think that the term has enough context to figure out what it means, but it's very, very, very rare that somebody will, will lead with that term. I think that that's important.

Andrew Hellmich:      I'm with you all the way here, but I'm just unsure then how, let's say I'm on your pricing page and I'm going to book say the $500 headshot package that you have on your website now, but I've got these ideas in my head that geez, it'd be pretty good to have Michael come over and do some shots in the, in the law firm at the office. When do we get to that conversation? Is that after the headshot session?

Michael Schacht:       So do you see the package next to that?

Andrew Hellmich:      The thousand dollar one?

Michael Schacht:       That is that package.

Andrew Hellmich:      Oh, okay. Oh, in studio or at your office? I've got it. Okay, I've missed that. Right. Okay. So okay. Let's say, okay, I've seen that I've booked $1,000 one. You're coming to my office and then how does the shoot like do you sit down for an hour before you start shooting? Like when do you start to nut out? Okay, I'm going to be shooting four or five different backgrounds. There's going to be a couple of wardrobe changes. When do you have that conversation with the client?

Michael Schacht:       So I'm going to do that in the studio or on location. Like that's just how I roll in the, the automated email sequence that's going to come after you book me. You're going to get suggestions on things like I suggest to people, Hey, bring as much clothes as you think you might like because the more stuff that they walk in with, the more opportunities I have to create unique images and I don't want to limit them there. And honestly I'm just at the point in my career where I'm going to throw two hours on the calendar when they book me and there's going to be a half hour buffer between that time slot and the next one. So I know that I've got two and a half hours if I need it. I find that most people burn out around the 90 minute mark, but I can get through, you know, five or six looks in two hours and I, I've set up my studio now just from trial error and you know, everything in between to quickly move between backgrounds.

Michael Schacht:       So rather than, you know, bringing the camera and the lights and whatever to each, you know, stage. I've got one stage and I'm sliding, background's in and out and it makes life easy. I can shoot four backgrounds in each outfit and now we get to the end of the shoot and rather than putting all these images in a gallery and sending them home and you know, hoping that they get to me sometime in the next three or four weeks, I spend an extra 20 minutes at the end of the shoot, we go through the images and if they leave I delete the pictures. So there's a little bit of pressure there.

Andrew Hellmich:      So what about, let's say the listener is tossing up between one, two, or three different course presenters. What kinds of things would you want to know about that presenter before handing over your two, three, $4,000.

Michael Schacht:       Wow. Here's what I think. I think that the people that really have something to offer are going to provide you with enough free content. I'm going to tread lightly here.

Andrew Hellmich:      You don't have to.

Michael Schacht:       I mean I just want to make sure that I'm clear on what I'm saying. So I think that there is enough free content out there and the right programs to where if you soaked up all of the free content, if you had that kind of time and you could go hunt out all of the free content, you could probably earn enough revenue to cover that class if it was going to be a good class. And a great example off the top of my head, there's a internet marketing guy named Donald Miller and he's got a book called Building a StoryBrand and then he does in person workshops. He just started his online platform and it's relatively affordable now. But you know, if you bought the 1999 book and you watched the, you know, 20 hours of free content on the internet around his brand, you could learn a lot.

Michael Schacht:       You could soak up a whole lot of information for that $20 so my suggestion, I guess getting back to the point is if somebody really got something great, then they understand that you've got to give a little to get a little, and I want that kind of personal interaction with the person that's teaching me and somebody that really has a solid program is going to have enough free content to let you know that you really do need their help and you will benefit from it and that free content is probably going to be enough if applied properly to cover the cost of the course.

Andrew Hellmich:      Yeah. All right. Okay. I was expecting something differently. Let me make these easier for you.

Michael Schacht:       Okay.

Andrew Hellmich:      Let's say I'm looking at doing your course. Okay. On head shots, you're going to say, if I came to you and I said, Michael, I'm keen to do your course. Could you tell me how many head shots you're shooting per month? Would you be happy to give me a number?

Michael Schacht:       Absolutely.

Andrew Hellmich:      Would you be able to tell me what your average client spends? Would you be happy or would you be happy to answer that question?

Michael Schacht:       Honestly, I would say, here's my cell phone number. Give me a call, or here's the link to my Acuity calendar. Let's set up a meeting. Let's chat, let's see if I'm the right fit for you. And I absolutely will tell you anything that you think is valuable. Like I don't have a secret. It's not a, the reality is, and I'm just going to say this because I think you know exactly where I'm going. Most of the people that fail as photography students fail because they don't apply the knowledge that they're given. So at the same time that they're qualifying me, I'm qualifying them.

Michael Schacht:       Like I'll straight up tell someone that they're probably not ready for my class if you haven't done X, Y, Z. But it's to your point, I think what you're getting at is that are these people selling these classes really making the kind of money that they're promising?

Andrew Hellmich:      Yes.

Michael Schacht:       No, I don't think that they are. And if they are, it's been very specific circumstances. As I mentioned before, like they've infiltrated the group and they've found success in that group and eventually that well is going to dry up and I don't think that most of them have that next step because I don't think that there is a demand. Like that's what it is, is you have to create the demand and your ability to create that demand is going to be what makes your business successful or not. Do I think that a few of these people have created their demand in a small area? Sure. Do I think that that's repeatable across the country? Absolutely not.

Andrew Hellmich:      That's what all looking for. That is beautiful. That is perfect. I mean, yeah, you want the, the trainer, the coach, the leader to certainly to have walked the walk, you know, and be able to back that up. That's what I want to say. And also, I mean, I guess it, look, if I'm going to be registering for a course, I want to know that if I do what you say, when should I start to expect to see results in a, when should they come? Um, I was going to ask you something else. I'll say something else that just slipped my mind. I've totally forgotten. Look, they might come back to me, but Michael, I've got to say that this has been so much fun. We got on the call, I said, look, this might be a 10 minute chat, it may go longer.

Michael Schacht:       I knew it wasn't going to be a 10 minute chat.

Andrew Hellmich:      Your shared and absolute ton. I know. I'm looking forward to sharing this with the listener. You're already a member of the member's Facebook group, so I know that you're going to be.

Michael Schacht:       I love your group. It's, it's honestly, there are three photography groups that I'm a part of and like are active in, and I think that that says a lot that yours is one of them. Like I love learning there. I love contributing there.

Andrew Hellmich:      That's awesome. We love having you a part of it too, and it's really cool that we were able to chat and make this happen so quickly. I'm looking forward to sharing it. I think it's going to be a full episode, which on back to that got save some of those, uh, squirmy moments at the end for the premium members. I don't think there'll be a ton of value out of it. The point that I was gonna make that I'd forgotten for a second there was, it sounds to me like anyone thinking about pursuing personal branding photography would have a lot safer path and possibly or potentially a more profitable path if they pursue headshot photography first and expand into personal branding photography off the headshot photography. Do you agree?

Michael Schacht:       Absolutely.

Andrew Hellmich:      You do. Okay.

Michael Schacht:       Absolutely.

Andrew Hellmich:      I mean, to me that's, yeah, that's one of the things that's really come out of these chat with you. I think that's what I would do if I wanted to pursue personal branding, start a headshot photography business.

Michael Schacht:       And kind of like, I eventually got to, I didn't know where I was going, but I eventually got there. It really is about being your job as the photographer to create the demand and I feel like that's really difficult to do. Like I feel like that's biting off more than you should want to.

Andrew Hellmich:      Well, there's an audience that we know that is ready to go that wants and needs headshot photography and they're looking for it. It's a no brainer. Okay. Michael, just before I let you go, where's the best place to not only see your headshot photography work but your amazing portrait photography and also where people can learn from you?

Michael Schacht:       You know, is the place where I'm spending the most time and I respond to all of the contact form stuff there as time has gone by and what this whole personal branding thing has allowed me to do is is merge a lot of my portraiture in some of my headshot work, so I think that if you're looking to see what's hot and what's new and what not, that's probably the best place to do it. But do you have any questions? Absolutely. Hit me up. Most of the time I've got a chat bot up on the site, so if there was just something you needed a quick answer to, feel free to hit me up on that as well.

Andrew Hellmich:      Oh mate you're amazing. Thank you so much for that. I, I've said it before my, it's been a real pleasure. Thank you so much, Michael, for doing this.

Michael Schacht:       Anytime, anytime you want to talk, you give me a call.

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