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

Iain Sim of Hugster Family Photography and Iain and Jo – We Tell Love Stories is doing great things with his wife Jo in their Melbourne based wedding and family photography business after a rough six months when they dropped their focus on marketing and things started to slip backwards. Today, they have too many portrait photography enquiries to handle. So much so, they're utilising automation and messenger bots to help filter their leads.

I've been lucky enough to not only meet todays guest in person but spend a weekend with him and his family. They kindly offered up a bedroom … AKA… their studio… when I visited Melbourne late last year. Over the course of the weekend, I came away compelled to have them on the podcast – I was blown away by what they were doing with their photography business and couldn't wait to share why they are successful.

Since I visited in 2017, they've taken things even further and I'm delighted to say are killing it with their photography business!

All that, following a rollercoaster year.

For the first 6 months after their re-brand / brand-split… marketing took a back seat for too long. As a result, after 12 years of steady growth, their business declined…. badly, for six months. A scary thought and stressful for them when 100% of their family’s income comes from photography.

Today, they say they are better and stronger for the tough year. I know you're going to love what Iain share when it comes to marketing, branding, messenger automation or bots and managing two businesses in one.

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

  • Why Iain and Jo split their brands for portraits, weddings and a third for commercial photography
  • What really is involved with a complete rebrand and what you may not be prepared for
  • Why Iain and Jo focus more on Family Photography today
  • Setbacks and struggles you may encounter in your rebranding process
  • The indicator that made them realise things weren't going well in their photography business
  • Marketing strategies Iain and Jo relied on after the rebrand
  • How to handle the large number of inquiries following a super successful Facebook Ad promotion
  • How they capitalise on the problem of too many leads
  • How does messenger automation work?
  • How completed questionnaires can make a huge impact on your portrait business
  • What questions to utilise on your questionnaire to filter your leads and generate maximum sales
  • How to take leads from FB comments to messenger
  • How to get started with messenger automation or a “messenger bot”
  • What you must discuss during phone conversations with your prospective clients in the pre shoot calls
  • How to utilise messenger bots effectively in your photography business and what Iain is doing differently
  • Are bot messengers worth a try in your portrait photography business?
  • How to talk about products and sales in a phone call with a prospective client before agreeing to schedule a shoot

Iain Sim 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.

The phone call is important. That's where you start to build some rapport and start a relationship that's going to come through into the shoot, then into the sales session and throughout everything. – Iain Sim

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.

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.

Hey Andrew! I love everything about your site/podcast. I have learnt more in the few months listening to you and your interviews than I have in the past few years combined. Just wanted to say thanks! – Maine Dog Photographer, James Chatmas

And that's not all… you get a set of steak knives… I'm kidding!

Seriously though, 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.

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Iain 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 todays episode.

When photographers dealing with individuals need to be really, really careful about their messenger inbox automation. – Iain Sim

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

Iain Sim 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 means 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 key words or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.

Here is the latest review…

Taking action!

Via email from Caboolture family portrait photographer, Stuart Cox in Australia in answer to an email I sent hm as a new Premium Member, asking what he's been able to implement if anything since joining?

Hi Andrew, 

Yes I have been trying to implement as much as I can from the podcast and from the members area; I have access to the Facebook Ads Course and the Online Photography Sales Masterclass.

Facebook program;

– have run this a few times, and have had most success with finding the right people with my last effort using custom audiences from the pixel.

– Both IPS sessions that I have completed so far have been successful, I find it hard to push a sale so that is something I need to figure out and find the right balance.

Online Sales program;

– Have completely revised my pricing to show multi tier packages with strategic price points to entice customers to the 3rd pack.   

– Not sure if I will continue with using Shootproof or focus more on in person sales.


Ideas/things implemented so far this year;

– EP259 – Stacey Brown – Sending thank you cards and notes

– EP007 Premium – Mark Rossetto – signed up to his auto emailer with 8 videos, worked through basic fundamentals and trying to put on paper what my goals/beliefs are and how I see my business / family balance

– EP63 Peter Coulson – recycling content and having style boards

– Corey Potter – SEO health check of my site, tweaking alt text and making sure its entered in the correct spot.  Ensuring my site has SSL and is responsive (Squarespace)

– Created a separate site for my commercial work and kept my main site just for portraits and weddings

– Started a monthly mail chimp email with a mix of preparation tips, location ideas, personal work, current work

– Started creating blog posts to focus on locations and how to prepare for a photoshoot

– Anna Puma's ‘About me Page Generator‘, this was awesome and sounds like a have a personality now 

Currently working on;

– Workflows and getting a system detailed so everything flows and is consistent 

Still on the to do list

– Networking

– Grow referrals

– Would love to not rely on Facebook for anything


I think the next steps in my business are setting out my workflow and networking/marketing/keeping in contact with past clients.

I would like to hear more about setting up workflows for portrait clients, and local marketing on a budget not using FB.  

Also how about a meet up in Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, there was talk a while ago about Brisbane?

Stuart Cox

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

If you can see the value, see it going somewhere and it will makes a difference in your business then it's worth getting right down into it in learning how to do it. – Iain Sim

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

Stacey Brown Randall's 15 Day Referral Growth Challenge

We recently had Stacey Brown Randall on the podcast – teaching us how to generate referrals WITHOUT asking. 

So many listeners have told me it was a great episode and one many listeners connected with.  Your feedback on Stacey’s interview has been awesome. 

I’ve been keeping in touch with Stacey and she recently let me know about a cool, free referral challenge she is kicking off next week.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about how to generate referrals without asking.  Here are the details.  Make sure to sign up – I’ll be tackling the Challenge too!

FREE 15-Day Referral Growth Challenge

Starts: Friday, March 23

Ends: Friday, April 6

Each day you'll receive an email with a video. Watch the video to receive your daily challenge. The videos are less than 3-4 minutes and Stacey will ask you to think differently, get prepared or take action with the daily challenges.  

Stacey has made it clear to me that the challenge is bite-sized enough for us to accomplish it but big enough to have impact on our referral generation.

Who doesn't love a challenge! Especially one that has the potential to make a big difference. Hope you can join me on this one.

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

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

Iain and Jo Website

Iain and Jo on Facebook

Iain and Jo on Instagram

Nice Chat Lets Book Website

Nice Chat Lets Book Facebook Page

Hugster Family Photography

Hugster Family Photography on Instagram

Hugster Family Photography on Facebook

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

Thank you!

Thanks again for listening and thanks to Iain for coming on and sharing so much about his business, messenger automation and marketing for today's episode.

I want to make sure my photography clients are going to genuinely enjoy the process from start to finish including the sales session. – Iain Sim

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