E116 Discussion - Aaron Reed & Colby Brown

Hello everyone! I hope you enjoyed this week’s conversation with Aaron and Colby. I had fun talking to them about their business strategies and we got to learn all about Aaron’s obsession with nudity and ice cream.

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The last two episodes have been great and informative. Amazing how you’ve been able to keep this podcast fresh after so many episodes.


Thanks man! I think you’ll enjoy the next two as well. Very good discussions!

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Hey Matt,

I also enjoyed this episode. Both guests are business savvy and have great ideas. It’s useful to understand their approach to marketing.

I had a question and I thought you may have spoken to them offline. Both artist have successful business selling prints and doing commercial work respectively but I noticed that both lead workshops. I wonder whether the workshops are a necessary part of their business or whether they could survive solely off their core business without workshops. It makes me wonder whether anyone can be a professional landscape photographer these days without photo educating to pay the bills?


Good question! I actually wondered that. Especially for Aaron… I don’t know, I think for some people there’s really no such thing as “enough.” Or - he’s diversifying his income streams, which isn’t a bad idea. Prints can only go so far. I think he realizes that. For Colby, I think he’s just smart in terms of having many ways to bring in money. I would not be surprised if he retired at age 45 or 50. What a dream. Meanwhile, I’m working a FT job at a non-profit which does not have a 401k program, and I’m scraping by with the podcast. Good times. =)


Hey Matt,

Another common thread on the podcast is that many photographers seem to be frustrated by social media and that the algorithms at play seem to restrict the potential audience for content producers.

Would it be possible to have a representative from Instagram/ Facebook on the podcast so that we can get an insight to what their algorithms value and what their position is in supporting content producers? YouTube seems to be transparent while Facebook and insta appear to be opaque in their policy’s


Hey man, great thoughts. I absolutely love that idea… know anyone at either organization that would be willing to chat? Haha.

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I have no contacts at either. Sorry Matt

The algo values your money :money_mouth_face:

This was a great episode! I thought it was interesting to hear how they don’t necessarily do the same things to drive business but both are successful. I’ve been working on some of the tips that Brandi shared re: mailing lists, etc. and this episode provided more ideas to mull over. Good stuff!

This was definitely an interesting one, @Matt_Payne. I’ve heard interviews with Colby before and he has a lot of great insights about working in the world of commercial clients. And same with the thoughts from Aaron–the prints game is a tough one, but he seems like he’s done well with it.

Did you guys talk offline at all about if email lists are starting to have declining reach in a similar was as social media? Personally, my Gmail inbox filters out promotional newsletter emails, and I frankly rarely check them, so I’m curious if features such as that are limiting the effectiveness of email blasts in the same way as algorithms crushing reach on social media.

Also, how you manage to produce this podcast with a full time job at a non-profit and a family frankly wrinkles my brain. I’m guessing plenty of sleep is sacrificed…

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Thanks man! We actually did not talk much about that because it seems like neither of them really rely a ton on email lists. For my gmail, I don’t use those filters, I have it set-up in the classic view, but I have heard that can really kill reach for emails.

And yes, producing the podcast is a lot of work. I mostly just sacrifice time for myself and my own photography. :wink:

Yeah, that makes sense. Frankly, I think good old-fashioned networking isn’t talked about enough these days. Sending a few emails to prospective or past clients is almost always going to be a better use of time than spending time on social media :man_shrugging:

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I think it always depends on how large your list is, how good of a relationship you have with your clients, and how long you have been cultivating it. If you’re somewhat new to email marketing or don’t have a huge list of clients, social media can be a good way to build it.

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I think that’s a really great question- Can Anyone be a pro Landscape photographer without doing education to pay the bills?

Though I think it’s theoretically possible, it seems there’s not much money in the traditional ways landscape photographers have made a living. I don’t think it’s ever really been common for many photographers to make a living from selling prints, but I know a few that made a solid income selling stock. That’s largely gone.

The education thing is a way of diversifying income streams. Who knows how it rolled in and how long it will last.

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