026: Mimika Cooney – Portrait Photography Success Through Business Relationships

Mimika Cooney; photography book author, wife, mum, marketing expert, business trainer, photographer and has had to start her business twice… on different sides of the world. In this interview, we cover a lot of ground but the big takeaway for me was you can achieve portrait photography success through business relationships.

Mimika started her original, primarily wedding photography business in the UK before moving to the USA because of her husbands work. Although a daunting thought, it was also the chance to put all the lessons she learnt the first time round behind her and start afresh with a clean slate. She started her marketing right away, SEO, research, social media marketing and began to build new relationships, all before leaving the UK.

One big lesson that surprised Mimika was that her awards meant absolutely nothing to her prospective new clients. It turns out the very best thing she did was build relationships with the right people – and that's exactly what we go deep into throughout this episode of the photography business podcast.

Here's some of what we cover:

  • how to stay productive with so much happening and so many distractions
  • multi tasking is not an effective way to work
  • making the leap from part time to full time photography
  • why NOT competing on price is so important for business success
  • relocating and starting over with a photography business
  • research and know your market before moving there
  • photography awards and why they make no difference to your bookings
  • how relationships lead to bookings
  • making the change from portraits to weddings and why it was a good business (and family) decision
  • having related vendors promote you and your work
  • wasted money on bad advertising
  • using video to promote your personality and photography style
  • standing out in your market place and why it's so important
  • rebranding and how it can affect your photography business
When the question of embarrassing moments came up in the 10 quick questions segment, I was surprised to hear another “pink knickers” story and more surprised to hear about Mimika's hair being caught on fire at a wedding shoot!  I trust you'll enjoy this interview, pick up a bunch of useful business advice and have a few laughs with Mimika too – make sure you check out the freebies on her website too.

Mimika Photogrpahy Podcast Interview

What is your big takeaway?

Following the interview, I'd love to know what your biggest takeaway was – what is the one thing that you'd like to implement or remember from what Mimika had to share? Let me and other listeners know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

What have you implemented so far?

Last week I asked you to leave me a voicemail message letting me know one thing you've implemented in your business as a result of the podcast. Although it was lovely to receive a message, it was more of a “hello” from an anonymous caller.

What I'd REALLY love to know though, is what have you actually implemented since becoming a listener to the podcast? If you have it in you, use the voicemail tab to the right of the page and let me know. If you're happy to, I'll share your recording on a future episode of the podcast.

Mimika Photogrpahy Podcast Interview

iTunes ratings, reviews and Shout-Outs

Five fantastic ratings and reviews were left for the show this week and I am truly grateful for every single one. The reviews make a big difference in helping other wedding and portrait photographers find the podcast in the iTunes store. A big THANKS to every one of you fantastically awesome people!

portrait photography podcast reviews

If you have the time and are happy to leave an honest rating and review, head over to iTunes.

Also, a few shout-outs to photographers/listeners that have made contact via email or social media this week:

Jerome from http://jeromecole.com.au

Lisa from https://www.facebook.com/LisaEasterPhotography

Sash from http://desiren.com.au

Alyssa from  www.liveloveluxe.com.au

Albertine of http://www.artofalbertine.com

Andy from http://www.kissandtellphotography.com.au

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.

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

Mimika Cooney's website – http://www.mimikacooney.com

Mimika on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mimika.cooney Mimika Photogrpahy Podcast Interview

Mimika's Facebook Fan Page – https://www.facebook.com/MimikaCooneyfans

Mimika's Freebies – http://www.mimikacooney.com/freebies

Mimika's Book – Boutique Baby Photography: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Success in Maternity and Baby Portraiture

Queensberry Wedding Albums – http://www.queensberry.com

Anne Geddes Baby Photographer – http://www.annegeddes.com

Sarah Petty Photography – http://www.sarahpetty.com

Ben Marden Episode – https://photobizx.com/ben-marden-wedding-photographer/

Matt and Katie Episode – https://photobizx.com/MattAndKatie

That's it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you. I'd love for you to leave a comment below to let me know what you took away from this interview.

Speak soon


By | 2017-02-13T18:18:08+00:00 August 12th, 2013|Podcast|31 Comments
  • Great episode, Andrew. I discovered your podcast not too long ago and so over the past 2 weeks I’ve gone back and listened to almost all of your podcasts. I have to say that this interview is by far one of my favourites.

    I agree whole heartedly with Mimika’s sentiments on standing out, not following the crowd and building a brand around your own personality and style.

    I also think that this interview has some of the most practical pieces of advice that photographers can put into action immediately out of all of your episodes. Would love to see more episodes follow suite with actual actionable pieces of education vs just hearing the backstory on the interviewee. Just some food for thought!

    • Hi Bryan – thanks for your comments and great to hear you enjoyed this episode. Not sure about listening to the back catalogue in two weeks, that’s crazy! 🙂

      Happy to hear your constructive criticism and I’m hoping you’ve noticed and will continue to – a move away from the WHOLE backstory thing that I started out doing. I believe it may be relevant in some cases but I am making an effort to minimise the “fluff” and get into the good stuff.

      Speak soon


    • Thanks for your comment Michael I’m glad to hear you found it useful. Yes I am a crazy busy bee- my hubby says I have 2 gears: full throttle and full stop (that’s when I crash). I don’t know what I would do without my diary and coffee?
      The cultural differences are quite contrary sometimes, I think it comes down to how we are raised. In South Africa we call it “the lobster syndrome” where as soon as you get too far ahead there are some who will bring you down, but us South African’s are a stubborn bunch and don’t take no for an answer 🙂 That was my biggest shock coming to the US from the UK when someone said to me “it’s not what you know but who you know”. I thought she was joking but she was right! However no matter our location the basics of business and relationships still trump all things.
      Keep up the gr8 work!
      Mimika 🙂

    • Thanks Bryan you are too sweet. Wow your best interview so far I’m honored!!! We can be salmons: swim upstream against the current and you only get stronger, more determined and reach the prize of your goal.
      If we all encouraged each other to dream big, follow our passions and be ourselves we would all be happy bunnies:) Only YOU can be YOU, no one else can imitate you with success. Be YOU and the right people will be magnetized to your real self-expressed self!

  • Andrew,
    Another great interview.
    Her confidence to be herself and encouraging others to do the same was my big take away.
    I really liked how she spoke of the 2 year honeymoon period because I know how true that really is.
    She seems to be really in tune with how the whole photo biz works and how the general public interact with the Photographer.
    But my biggest take away was being inspired to not give in to all the price shoppers out there and to be more confident about my work’s value without coming across as too proud or arrogant.
    Thanks, Andrew!
    And thanks Mimika for being so awesome. Love your personality! The whole interview was a blast to listen to.
    Take care,
    Joey Joiner

    • Hey Joey, great to hear from you and happy to hear you enjoyed the interview with Mimika – isn’t she fun!
      Love your take away and it’s something that a lot of photographers struggle with, particularly in the early days when they really want every job that comes their way. Sticking to and being confident in your prices is how, I believe, you will get the good reputation and rise to the top.

    • Thanks Joey I’m tickled pink you enjoyed listening, Andrew did a great job in bringing out the important points. The 2 year honeymoon period is indeed a shocking reality especially when it’s over but keeping our eyes open offers the best chances of success. I’m a great believer in education, that’s why I’m passionate about teaching other photographers how to avoid my mistakes:) Believe in yourself you CAN charge what you’re worth and be paid for living your dreams!!!!

    • hi

      i agree with Joey Joiner and not give in to price shoppers and price droppers, I think set your target from the beginning. Also some fantastic marketing advice from you Mimika, got for the target that your style is in brilliant, thanks again and inspiring.

      • Fabulous Paul! So glad you found it useful advice. Hindsight is indeed 20/20 :)))

  • I kind of agree with Bryan. I definitely prefer education over backstory but I still think there needs to be a good balance of both. The big takeaway I got from Mimika (other than having a beautiful name) was how active she was in building connections and how smart those connections were. I mean actively trying to get her baby photos in doctors waiting rooms and getting referrals from sonographers is just so clever.
    I’ve also now stalked Bryan and I like his classic style of photography (ie no flare and nice levels of contrast and saturation). I also think he doesn’t sell digital files and showcases his albums and prints in the investment section of his website, something discussed in Brian Chapman’s interview not long ago. Bryan do you find it hard at all to compete with other wedding photographers who offer shoot and burn packages?

    • Hi Andy – thanks for the feedback (see my comments to Bryan) and hope you will notice a slight change in my approach in coming episodes.
      Love that you “stalked” Bryan and checked out his work. Hopefully more of that is happening behind the scenes with other listeners.

      As for Mimika, she sure does have the business relationship/networking thing well and truly sorted. Glad you enjoyed the episode.

    • Hi Andy glad you found the referral strategy useful. It was definitely my most effective “marketing campaign” ever. No matter the genre, think how your client would think: where does he/she shop, hang out, who does he/she trust? I make relationships with the influencers and offer them VALUE and they are too happy to brag:))
      You don’t have to compete with the shoot n burners, create your own packages based on what you believe and seek out like minded client. There seems to be a misconception amongst photographers that everyone wants files, it’s simply not true. Think of it like music: I like different styles and will seek out my favorites to spend my money on. Just my 2 cents worth!

      • Hey Mimika
        Thanks for taking the time to respond to some of our comments! Really appreciate interviewees who take a little bit of time out of their busy days to do this.

    • Thanks for the kind words about my photography, Andy. I really focus on keeping my imagery simple, clean, crisp and pure. I am appreciative that that comes across even to other photographers!

      With regards to competing with other photographers – I am a big believer that you aren’t really “in competition” with anyone but yourself. There is no other “Bryan Caporicci” and no one else has the same “vision” as I have, and so if I don’t book a couple it’s because I didn’t connect with them or detail my unique talents.

      I book couples who believe in the same things I believe in – clean, crisp imagery and that there’s importance in PRINTING photos. As such, all my couples get beautiful wedding albums from their weddings.

      Mmm … I love me a beautiful wedding album!

  • Hi Andrew,

    Michael here from RammellPhotography.com – Just wanted to drop you a line to say great episode this week. Mimika seems to have bundles of energy which is always great to see. Far too often we hear people who just don’t have the time or the energy to go out and make things happen. Well, the time is there, you just need to make it.

    With regards to this episode, one of the things I found quite insightful was the difference between the US, UK and SA markets with respect to the way business is done and the way you can portray yourself online. Mimika eluded to it that if you shout about how amazingly successul you are in business then people in Oz and SA tend to be a little negative about that? I find that odd and astounding. I’m not sure Mimika found that to be the case here in the UK too, but I find it every now and again myself.

    With regards to the general positivity of things in the US, I can only agree with what Mimika saying, at least from what I’ve seen. Those guys really do tend to support each other and appear far more positive over there Stateside.

    Looking forward to the next episode, really can’t wait.


    • Hi Michael

      Thanks for your comments, great to hear you enjoyed the interview this week. It is funny how some people are able to get so much done when we all have the same number of hours in the day. I guess it comes down to priorities and commitment.

      In Australia, we refer to what you mention as the “tall poppy syndrome” where you will get support and help all the way up until you start to stand out and get noticed, then it’s time to get cut down. I think it’s part of our culture here. It’s pretty sad really and from what Mimika said, totally different in the U.S.

      I’m not sure why it exists or why it’s so different in the States. Maybe someone else has some ideas?

      The next episode promises to be a ripper, I’m sure you’ll love it.

      Speak soon


    • Thanks for your comment Michael I’m glad to hear you found it useful. Yes I am a crazy busy bee- my hubby says I have 2 gears: full throttle and full stop (that’s when I crash). I don’t know what I would do without my diary and coffee?
      The cultural differences are quite contrary sometimes, I think it comes down to how we are raised. In South Africa we call it “the lobster syndrome” where as soon as you get too far ahead there are some who will bring you down, but us South African’s are a stubborn bunch and don’t take no for an answer 🙂 That was my biggest shock coming to the US from the UK when someone said to me “it’s not what you know but who you know”. I thought she was joking but she was right! However no matter our location the basics of business and relationships still trump all things.
      Keep up the gr8 work!
      Mimika 🙂

  • Pauline Davis

    WOW! Totally loved this episode! I agree with Bryan and Joey…this episode stands out as one of my favourites for all of Mimika’s wonderful and practical ideas with building the human relationship. Mimika, you are one savvy lady!!!! I loved listening to your sparkling personality 🙂 I can see how your clients would flock to you. If only it could be bottled!!! 😀 Andrew, well done (again) and yes, I like listening to “back stories” as they help someone learn by putting everything into context but it is also nice to get a lot of working, practical and present stuff as well. You can’t do anything wrong – just go for it!!!! Love it! Thanks Mimika, you are wonderful and would be a fantastic educator 🙂

    • Thanks Pauline you’ve made my week! I’m so glad my quirkiness can help make it a fun learning experience. I sure love to talk (could you tell?) so I can talk a hind leg off a donkey! Especially about marketing I just love it it’s so fascinating!

      I too love practical steps and I’m all about the list: 1, then 2 then 3. It makes it so much easier to learn don’t you think?

    • Thanks Pauline, love your support and confidence in me 🙂
      I’ll definitely keep the backstory questions if I feel they’re relevant. My main focus will be the business side of things though.

      And I agree – how good is Mimika! Some great ideas she shared that we can all use.

  • Hi Andrew, I have finally caught up on listening to all the pod casts and I just have to say a MASSIVE thank you to you for doing this. I have learnt so much and now I’m having a little bit of withdrawal until the next one is posted.

    This podcast with Mimika really meant something to me. When she talks about spending time with her family, I thought, that’s what I want to aim to do. I am moving away from weddings and pushing more portraits (esp babies) so that my weekends will be free to spend with my family. Mimika talks a lot of sense and her warm personality really shone through, no wonder she is so successful.

    I’m off now to listen to all the premium content I need to catch up on 🙂

    Thanks again Andrew!!!

    • Hi Lisa – withdrawals already. Don’t tell me I have to do more than one episode a week!:)

      So good to hear you’re enjoying the interviews and getting something useful from them, hearing comments like yours makes me feel like what I’m doing is making a difference and that’s very cool.

      The family time/work time balance is a tough one, especially for wedding photographers. I know I’ve missed a lot of sporting events and other social things with the family because of my work. It’s probably politically incorrect but I think it would be even harder for a mum to miss some of these things.

      Hearing Mimika talk about the way she changed her business to fit around her family made total sense. Her personality combined with her business/networking skills make her business success understandable.

      Enjoy the premium content and be sure to leave a voicemail if you actually implement something you hear or learn.

      Speak soon


  • Hi Andrew! Sorry its taken me so long to join in the fun in the comments here!

    Loved this interview (this is how busy ive been im so behind!) my biggest take away is how organized to be and how to get on top of your target market! Loving the premium membership too! Well worth it to anyone!

    I may leave a voice message if I can gather up the confidence! Hehe!

    • Hey Claire – great to hear from you in the comments 🙂
      Good that you’re busy and there’s no hurry to get through the episodes – I hope you’re getting something you can use in your business from each interview.
      You HAVE to leave a voicemail now! I know you can do it. Channel some Mimika and you’ll be great.

      • Love the “channel some Mimika” you crack me up Andrew! Glad to hear you enjoyed it Claire!!!

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  • This was a great podcast! Listened to and loved everything she said. My wife and I were shocked to hear that she lives in Charlotte now because we do as well! We will for sure be looking her up to see if we can get together and soak up some of her knowledge.

    The way she talked about managing her business and time will transform the way we run our business and I believe will help us to stay on task and eventually get to full time! Thanks Andrew for bringing her on!

    • Hi Devin – Mimika is a cool chick isn’t she, I love her enthusiasm plus she’s full of great ideas!
      How great that she lives nearby, I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.
      Not sure if you know but Mimika has a great website full of photography business tips including Mimika TV where she interviews photographers: http://www.mimikacooney.com/tv
      Great to have you listening and thanks for adding your comments Devin.
      Speak soon.

    • Hi Devin
      Thanks for your comment so glad to hear you’re in Charlotte too! I’m tickled you found the interview useful. I hope to share my failures and successes to help others like you. Hope to meet some time.:)
      Keep watching Mimika TV at http://www.mimikacooney.com for more inspiring ideas from other artists.

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