065: Oli Sansom – Photography Business Start Up Success after a Push

Right after this episode of the photography podcast was recorded, Oli Sansom was named Capture Magazine's “Emerging Photographer of the Year” for 2014, as well as taking out the portrait category and being a finalist in the documentary/journalism & wedding categories. In this interview, Oli shares everything about his photography business start up success after a push when his last employer left him without work.

Although Oli isn't a making a million from photography yet, he's on his way  however and isn't following the path of his peers, instead, choosing to bash down his own path by shooting the way he likes and attracting clients that gravitate toward his dark, moody and experimental style.

Here's some more of what we cover:

  • Learning the hard way about pigeon holing yourself with a photography style by what you show on your website
  • Getting the push to make photography a full time business and not simply a creative outlet
  • Why Oli still “freaks out” at the start of every bridal location shoot and thinks he can't do this
  • Taking risks with your clients work – the pay offs and the fear involved
  • Film is not dead – shooting film at weddings for a point of interests and total experimentation by shooting expired film on old World War 2 cameras
  • How shooting a personal project totally changed the way Oli shoots and had the single biggest bearing on his road to photography success
  • Simplifying wedding packages to simplify the booking process for clients
  • Why Oli has decided on no albums for clients so he can focus on the photography and the shooting and why he's thinking about introducing albums now
  • Planning ahead to not fill up a calendar and leave room in the diary for fear of losing the passion to create and shoot personal projects
  • Aiming for a $300,000.00 turnover and ways to achieve that by not over shooting
  • Setting up a workflow to shoot a wedding on Saturday and have all the post work done by close of business Monday
  • Getting a great start with booking by networking with other photographers
  • Bridal blogs and blog post syndication for bookings and brand building

This interview will have some real “light bulb” moments for any photographer that wants to release the creative beast within and simply cut loose with your paid client work. The bad news is many photographers listening this episode of the podcast won't be in a position to take the same risks Oli is.

Being young with few commitments leaves Oli in a unique position where he's able to put photography and the tools that go with the trade before ANYTHING else in his life.

You'll be left with two choices. Be inspired to create, shoot personal projects, adapt, experiment and let the goodness infiltrate your usual workflow and shooting methods. Or. Wish you were younger, be jealous and think yeah, it's easy for Oli.

It's your choice but I'm about to go out and book another creative shoot and start planning my personal project – what about you?

Oli Sansom Photography Podcast Interview

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 episode where you can hear lots more implementable content from where we left off and started focusing on the exact area that Oli is attracting most of his clients today.

Here's some of what Jim shares for premium members.

  • Awards and their relevance to emerging photographers and why Oli never shoots especially for awards
  • Oli's workflow process and the one thing that he describes as his biggest game changer
  • Social media strategies that are working and how Oli is getting his photography in front of people that matter
  • Advice on how to take your photography to the next level and what Oli specifically does to stay inspired, creative and always improving

Oli Sansom Photography Podcast Interview

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I'd love to know what your biggest takeaway is – what is the one thing that you'd like to implement or learnt from what was shared? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

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

If you'd like an easy way to show Oli your thanks, and support for the show at the same time, click the link to create a tweet and automatically let him know you're listening: https://photobizx.com/tweet

NEW Video and Audio Transcription Service

It's apparent after listening to guests on the photography podcast like James Schramko, Gabriel Machuret, Matt and Katie plus others, that video on your website is a great way to differentiate yourself, to get your personality across and super helpful for SEO and getting your website ranking higher.

The other big point is that it's not difficult to do – all you need is your phone, a mic, and something to talk about, teach or share.

Once your video is uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo you can create links to your website or blog which helps your site's SEO.

You'll also want to transcribe your audio to add both closed captions with your video and as a transcript on your blogpost. It's this text that really helps Google to “understand” your message and rank your post and video relevance for different search terms.

Now you can have your video/audio transcribed quickly and without fuss by my staff. Simply email me a link to your video and once transcribed, you'll have a plain text document emailed back few days later.

The cost of transcription is $10 for up to 5 minutes of audio or video.

If you have questions or a video to transcribe, email me andrew@photobizx.com with the subject line transcribe.

Send in your questions for Matt and Steve

In the last couple of episodes I mentioned I'll be having both Steve Saporito and Matt Ebenezer (of Matt and Katie Photographers) back  on the podcast to answer YOUR questions.

There have been some fantastic questions coming in and there is still time and space to have your questions answered. This is your chance to ask a photography business related question that specifically applies to you and your business. Do not miss this opportunity to hear two different points of view from two different experts in the field of photography.

Steve, better known as the Portrait Doctor is a working studio transformer who knows his stuff when it comes to turning a studio into a profit making machine.

Matt and Katie have been one of the most popular interviews I've done on the show and are working photographers and workshop hosts.

I'll collate the questions and ask both Matt and Steve the same questions on different episodes to get a different perspective from both. Neither of them will have heard the others answers. It should be fun.

Oli Sansom Photography Podcast Interview

The Resources Page

Remember the ever expanding resources page that has a listing of products, programs, hardware, books and directories mentioned in each episode of the show. If you’re looking for something that a guest has mentioned on a previous episode but just can’t remember who or what it was – you’ll find it listed in order on the resources page.

iTunes ratings, reviews and Shout-Outs

Each week before recording the podcast I check iTunes for any reviews and each week I'm excited to see what you've had to say about the podcast. This week I was blown away to see five fantastic reviews! Thanks you so much to:

Ben Hurt from Brisbane Australia – http://www.benjaminhurtphotography.com.au

Emily Straw from Loveland Colorado in the United States – http://emilystrawphotography.zenfolio.com

Barefoot Al Gauthier from Victoria Australia of http://www.greatportraits.com.au

Sincerely, thanks so much for your ratings and reviews, I appreciate the time you've taken and it's a big help for the show. It's these iTunes reviews that make a big difference to the podcast being ranked well and found in the iTunes store. If you have the time and are happy to leave an honest rating and review, head over to iTunes.

Photography Podcast Reviews

Don't feel your comments have to be long, involved or gushy, an honest opinion is all I ask. Don't be shy about leaving your business name in the review either – that way I can add a link in the show-notes and show my appreciation with a proper thanks and a Google loving back-link to your website.

Get in Touch or Leave a Voicemail Message

If you'd like to get in touch, ask a question or make a suggestion for the show, you can email me andrew@photobizx.com, find me on Twitter https://twitter.com/andrewhellmich or on Facebook at https://photobizx.com/facebook – I'd love to hear from you!

Oli Sansom Photography Podcast Interview

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

Oli Sansom main website: http://olisansom.com

Oli Sansom wedding website:  http://www.olisansomweddings.com/

Oli Sansom Photography on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/olisansomphotographer

Oli on Twitter: https://twitter.com/olisansom

Oli on Instagram: http://instagram.com/olisansom

Oli on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/olisansom/

Two Bright Lights to syndicate blog posts around the world – http://twobrightlights.com

Polka Dot Bride – Australian Wedding Blog – http://www.polkadotbride.com

Nouba – Australian Wedding Blog – http://nouba.com.au

One Fine Day wedding Fairs – http://onefinedayweddingfair.com.au

Aero Ektar Camera

Heidi Thompson from Evolve Your Wedding Business – NEW Inner Circle Membership Community and Training

Oli Sansom Photography Podcast Interview

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

If you've been enjoying the podcast, I'd love for you to tell another photographer about it – it could be in a Facebook Group you're a part of, a photography forum, with a photographer friend or on twitter.

If you do have a twitter account, simply click here: https://photobizx.com/tweet or use the share buttons below.

Thanks and speak soon


By | 2017-02-13T17:52:46+00:00 May 12th, 2014|Podcast|17 Comments
  • wow, what a great interview. Very unique and incredible style. Great info. re: blogs and two bright lights too. You sound like a really well rounded guy Oli and very inspiring. keep up the great work mate and looking forward to that App!

    • Oli

      Thanks a bunch mate 🙂

  • Hi Andrew
    Another great interview…Oli sounds like a pretty cool, laid back guy. His photography talents are there for all to see and congratulations to him on his recent awards!

    I was very interested in his ideas about networking with other photographers in the area….something I’ve tried in my area but to date I haven’t had any success. I’ll keep trying and see what transpires.
    Oli’s pricing structure was interesting, as were his comments on using 2nd shooters, workflow, albums, etc…all good stuff, thanks Oli.

    Finally, I’d like to acknowledge your gesture to refer a recent client to Andrew Cooney…I’m sure he was rapt with the referral and a big thumbs up to you Andrew for your generosity.


    • Sounds like some great take aways Russell – thanks for adding your comments.

      Andrew hasn’t booked any weddings from my referrals yet but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. I don’t know why I didn’t think to refer these couples to a photographer I know earlier.

      Keep trying with your networking attempts and maybe start with a coffee and a chat rather than talking networking and referrals right off the bat.

    • Oli

      Thanks a lot mate. Andrew is bang on, any goodness I’ve received from an exchange has always, without exception, started with a mutual love of the craft or just enjoying the company. I guess that means it can kick off a bit slower too but the referrals/relationship are always stronger for it.

  • Oli seemed like such a guy’s guy! Very likable indeed.
    I did find myself wanting to get past the audio issues. But I did my best .
    So on this “Two Bright Lights” thing. So if I invest $150 USD would I be getting multiple do-follow links back to my site which might increase my SEO rankings to some degree? I am not too interested in getting bookings in Italy, I just want Google’s algorithm to notice that all these other blogs around the world (probably blogs with a good amount of authority) are pointing back to me so when someone googles “Fort Worth Wedding Photography” Google might be more inclined to put me higher up.
    Joey Joiner
    Fort Worth Wedding Photographer

    • I’m sure there will be some definite SEO benefits from having your images or blog posts syndicated Joey and although you’re not interested in booking weddings in say Italy, there are probably going to be flow on effects from being published everywhere.

      Links will be one benefit another becoming more well known an d people liking your photos on say Instagram, Facebook and sharing your work if it appeals to other people. All this “social proof” will help your SEO.

      I emailed the guys at Two Bright Lights and asked them about having duplicate content shared around the internet and being penalised by Google as a result. Here’s the very prompt reply I received from Ragan:

      Thanks for your question! Blog posts featuring your photography would not be syndicated – if you submitted to multiple non-exclusive editors, each acceptance and eventual publication of your work would mean an original post. As these posts are not “spam,” you wouldn’t be punished by Google. Does this answer your question?

    • Oli

      Thanks a bunch for covering all that off Andrew – for me that’s a good rundown of the benefits I think, and it lets your back-catalogue of weddings continue to work for you, rather than just being published once or twice. I’ve gotta give credit to my insanely talented pals @ Bayly & Moore for that insightful little nugget of joy.

  • Oli, i remember seeing your very early work. it was good however your current wedding work is truly beautiful.

    Keep creating & growing buddy. Thank you for sharing.

    I’ll need to relisten to the interview again back in the office – once I download the premium goodness!



    • Oli

      Thanks so much mate, super glad you enjoyed :).

  • Wow. Those images. I totally get it, Oli! Amazing.

    • Oli

      Thanks a bunch legend 🙂

  • Awesome interview, made the two hour drive back from Wellington fly by!
    I picked up heaps from this interview but the one thing I am aiming to put into practice straight away is blocking out either a Monday or Tuesday to select/edit/package the wedding from the weekend while it is still fresh and hasnt been overtaken by another ‘more exciting’ wedding to edit! Also lowers those simmering stress levels in the middle of summer.

    Also was great to hear someone talk about stressing out before the bridal shoot! That is me constantly, also never being 100% happy with any wedding is something I struggle with.


    • Hey Brad, great to have you listening and thanks for adding your comments.

      Great takeaway and something easily implementable right away. Love to hear how it goes for you. I interviewed Dean Dampney a while back and he has a similar approach and a very cool lifestyle as a result – definitely worth a listen as his approach was a little controversial with listeners.

      That 100% happy thing doesn’t really go away but does get easier. There is always something we could have done differently (or better) in hindsight and you can’t do everything you know how at every shoot. I used to try so hard to do everything for every couple that I started to feel it was affecting the wedding experience for the couple. Now I go more with the flow, get the safe shots first and go from there.

      As long as in the editing session you feel like you’ve done a great job (like Oli said), there’s nothing to be unhappy about. You can focus on doing something different or better at the next shoot.

      • Thanks for the reply, have implemented the workflow strategy pretty much straight away with my commercial work and it definitely does make a difference. Getting all those small jobs selected/edited/sent asap after the shoot not only keeps my brain happy but the clients love the speed too. Biggest hurdle – the internet!

        Thanks again

    • Oli

      Glad you got something out of it mate, would love to hear how it goes. Definitely agree about that internet hurdle thing – one of the best things i signed up for to fix that was Self Control to block sites for fixed periods of time that i know I can’t help myself habitually checking, check it out here: http://selfcontrolapp.com

  • This was a brilliant interview. I love the fact that Oli is so honest. I bet this does wonders when it comes to booking clients. I have just been looking at some of your photos Oli and I am very impressed.

    In response to Andrew’s idea about getting together with other photographers in your area, I am more than happy to start a Canberra, Australia catch up if people in the area are interested? Get in touch with me if you are.