Skip to main content

photo & video

Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Lesson 17 of 22

The Truth About Marketing

Joel Grimes

Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Joel Grimes

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

17. The Truth About Marketing

Lesson Info

The Truth About Marketing

What I want is to start by thinking about well, I was a very shy kid when I started, you know, growing up in life and even by the time we got to college I still had a lot of reservations about sort of exerting myself and um so I was like personality I wasn't natural outgoing person so when it came to the part where I had to go out and recruit uh, work is brutal, so what I want to do is I want to take us through it kind of a journey that, um what I've sort of found that what keeps us from doing that yes, my personality may be shy but there's a lot of things that keep us from even if I'm not a shy person there's this thing that happens because we are human so I love to be I love to study humanity can have observer of people and how we act and respond in the world around us and what's interesting when I was in school you like even with history, you know, you take history in high school or whatever and you're kind of board at least I was and then you get older and you realize how important...

history is right and so, um same thing with sort of human behavior and if this plays out really big in our everyday life, how I react to people and so that's why I want to go through and explain some things about you why it is that we have uh you know, problems going out and creating income and why we get worked up while we go into a closet and crawl in a ball and start crying and so um but the truth about marketing so what what is the truth about so um I don't have a master's in marketing or a ph d uh but uh here's what I've discovered that if you don't have to be brilliant or a marketing genius to survive in the marketplace right? So that's number one it doesn't hurt to have and understanding how the marketplace works from an economic or you know from a marketing standpoint but you don't be brilliant so that's number one little set that aside in some ways having street smarts can be a lot better than having a phd but so what is the biggest single most um the biggest reason why we fail and marketing does anybody have an idea of what that might be not getting off a couch? Okay, well that's a good one being a little bit lazy right? Really it's hard to sell yourself a tartar brag on yourself and that's true too because you feel like if you brag on yourself then someone looks at you like you're kind of full of yourself, right? Okay that's a good one rejection uh did you read my notes? Okay the single biggest reason we fail it market is called the fear of rejection now think about it okay, wait we are human right? Does anybody like to be rejected? No now when you grow up and use you you notice that some kids are a little bit more bold and then you know you say you saw but there's always a point in which we I have had enough right? So if I'm selling vacuum cleaners door to door knock knock, knock, knock right I get rejected rejected let sam pretty bold keep going keep going there's a point in which if I don't make a sale I'm going to come to the end and say I'm done with this you know and so, um but fear rejection plagues us all so without exception every human on this planet is to some degree and we suffer from being weak, fragile, insecure I'm gonna repeat that because this is so important understand everyone this room everyone out there and you know the world including me were weak, fragile in secure some of us are better at hiding it at others and some of us do have and built in a ability to just sort of take on the world but there's at some point we all suffer from being weak fragile is secure now the good news is we don't have toe live there all the time right so when I get rejected and I go I don't have to like camp out there for three days find a tall bridge and say I'm gonna jump um if you're lost in the wilderness so they tell you if you're out there are a hundred and he gets lost the first thing you gotta do is say I'm lost hello and then you make and set your course toe where you get out you know but you have to recognize your lost so the first thing that they recognize your human and you're weak, fragile, secure nothing's wrong with that so where do you go from there? Um and so that's that's the beauty is that we don't have to camp there and there's ways of overcoming that I'm gonna get into that um it's a hundred percent guarantee that if you step out in the real world you will be rejected and we all know that like so so even if I'm not say an artist going out in the real world trying to make a living when you're a young kid and you have a crush on a girl and you're like I want to ask her out and then you get the nerve and you say how would you like to go out me and she says, what go of you but you know you're like oh, you know you crushed right? So we've experience rejection our whole life but in the real world you can't avoid it so if you're a photographer if your and grab a designer if you're you know selling whatever it is you're gonna experience rejection so when I speak at art center or brooks at our solitude and I talked to the graduating classes coming out and I just say that to them guess what? You've paid a lot of money to have a degree in photography but guess what that means nothing in the real world you're going to be rejected is one hundred percent guarantee and we want to hear that but that's the real world so I'm just going to let you know that if you want to go out and make a living photography you will be rejected now again that's okay once we understand that um it's one hundred percent guarantee that if you don't overcome rejection you'll never achieve your dreams and aspirations all your goals you set for you you said I want to be this well if you don't overcome the rejection part you'll never make it it's that simple lot hinges on this I didn't realize this when I started out I wish someone had told me I see so many people with broken dreams I don't like to see that but guess what? It came down to that point where they couldn't handle rejection I'm gonna tell you someone's I know someone's out there is that says oh I don't suffer from being weak, fragile, secure I'll prove it to you right now, okay? How many in the air have put images up on flicker facebook where you have someone that responds and makes a comment right? So here's what happens when I first put upon flickered and only say oh man julia rock this's amazing you're the best blah blah, blah blah right ninety nine praises then comes the one you suck get out of photography keep your day job blah, blah, blah, blah right when you go to bed at night what do you remember? The one kartik and what happens is when someone praises you you know billy bob photo thank you, billy bob photo but what billy bob photo gives you critique what do you do? You click on billy bob photo and you go look at billy bob photos images just to see if that person has any credibility, right that's how we are as humans but we got it we go and come undone by the one critique. So you think wait a minute, does not ninety nine if you weigh it out on a scale, doesn't ninety nine praises outweigh one critique? It doesn't cause we're weak, fragile and secure so that's who we are as you are in our humanity so it's okay because we don't have to live there. So again, going back to fact that don't be surprised when you go out to the real world, you're going to be, um, projected so it's impossible to market effectively without picking up the phone and make it a cold call now or cold, whatever it is, you know, you go out, you have to exert yourself to someone, even if it's like across the room, you got to go. Oh, hi, I'm joel grimes, I'm a photographer. Oh, you have a gallery I want to be. You know, I haven't exhibit you got exert yourself to someone you don't know you never talk to. So if you don't have that ability to exert yourself to someone, that is like saying cole call or whatever you can't survive. Sorry, folks. It's impossible. And so when I started out, I was extremely fortunate that I had a studio with a buddy who was and I would say that, um, there's a certain percentage of people on the planet that are by nature, very gifted at marketing. And this this is my friend steve wass. And so steve taught me a lot, but the first thing steve taught me was this we had a two two sawhorses with the door in our studio uh we had this in denver, colorado and we had one phone I don't remember but they were used the phones that had a line to the wall you know, put the phone in there in the middle and we went to the library got aa book top five hundred corporations of colorado at his request I know he's doing and we sat down to start being a phone calls he started a fire started disease or whatever was and he make a phone call I think make a phone call and so there's a steve barbara but he was just smooth as silk my turn I was shaking my tongue felt like fifty pounds and it was stick to the roof of my mouth and I'd say hi, this is I couldn't get my name out that's how hard it was and I kept thinking why? Why? Well number one I'm gonna make mistake number two they don't want my services so they're gonna reject me so all these fears built up inside of me so and I was very apologetic I said, hey, I'm a photographer and new starting out I know you probably never want to work with me I'd like to show my portfolio sometime the next ten years I mean I was very apologetic I don't want you don't want to bother them whatever so steve sat me down and said okay to wait here's how you do it number one you have something that offer number two the person on the other end needs what you're offering for the most part maybe not right now but at some point they may need it they're human being they make mistakes so I started making phone calls the first fifty the first hundred the first five hundred calls were brutal the leisure little leisure by the end of the year my first year in business I made over three thousand cold calls if I had I'm gonna tell you right now if I hadn't done those cold calls, I wouldn't be standing here today that launched my business in terms of my getting over that hump of be rejected now is just the beginning I'm telling another story about my first portfolio showing in a minute but I'm saying had I not learned that I could have ever survived in the marketplace especially commercial advertising so that's how creative critical it is for you to develop the skills of picking up the phone and making a phone call call now today after thirty years I have a situation maybe I hear of it at uh how did you see doing a campaign and I go I'm perfect for the campaign maybe I get the our director's number somehow are the his name or her name and so I looked at my phone my phone sitting there right and I go make the phone call it's not easy right I look it and I go do my kids uh want to eat do my kids I want to pay for my kid's college or whatever it is I pick that phone up and immediately dialed and I'm going to go hide this joel grimes this is what I do or whatever and I begin to make that conversation it's still not easy still brutal hard it's easier than it was thirty years ago but it's still difficult so what my point is this is you look at the phone and you have to say I have to overcome that fear to be able to be a success in what I do sat critical even if you have an uncle who owns that ad agency who has an art director who's working on campaign that fits you perfectly and he gives you the number and says call that our director it's still difficult to talk someone that you two you as you don't know and you gotta spill give your little spiel it's not easy but with practice it's possible to overcome that it's possible to um um go go over that hurt all right so studies have shown that only five percent of creatives market effectively okay which we'd say five percent of people can actually pick up the phone to make a phone call comfortably, I don't know whatever it is, but there's only five percent. This is the studies and is back in the eighties, when I was getting a photography, there was a article I read, and it said five percent of creators mark effectively. I want you to remember that five percent figure, because we're gonna come back to amend a minute and that's not a very big percentage, right? Studies have shown that most people fail to make more than two attempts to solicit a put potential client case on the tail of story. My brother and I I was about thirteen years old, my brother was twelve, and I had this brilliant idea in my neighborhood. My dad was a fireman, and he said some passing, he said, you know, we got a call at night, we're going, try and look for an address, we can't see it, you know? And so I went, wait a minute, what if I built this little shoe box and put little slots in it? Dragon put it'll stencils numbers, and I thought, ok, so my address was fifty six thirty three, so I put five, six, three, three in there, a little spray can and there on the curb was the number brilliant idea. I'm going to sell it to the neighborhood so my brother and I he comes with me you know I go to the first door knock knock, knock knock hey I got this little thing I'm gonna do it my bubble give me spill go to the next door high at the er door slammed how many more doors do you think I went teo that was it two doors now why here's the problem we usually give up after two attempts at the most that's our human nature day so you're not alone now again if you're a little more bold you might go two or three but average person gives up after two attempts but watch this this is going to be absolutely my blowing the odds of securing a sale after two attempts is less than ten percent but here's what happens if you market someone or solicit someone at least eight times the odds go up to eighty percent that you'll get a return on your soliciting unbelievable unbelievable okay so what does that mean to you? What does that tell you right now? What did I tell you? It comes down to a a little bit of math now I said remember before that if you have to take and do a mathematical equation to take a picture or you're in the wrong profession were kind of talking about marking now so math is okay in this whole thing it comes down to a simple mathematical equation or a numbers game the problem in the reason why is that as a human being I failed to give more than two attempts to a client or a potential client before I give up the problem is as human beings it takes about six to eight times of you repeating my your service to me and your name to me before I remember it that's humanity as are human and they proved this over and over again so if you can go from two attempts to eight attempts you now have become a successful person in the world world if you can't overcome that to number two you will not survive in the marketplace now does it take a brilliant genius to figure this out no it's just the way it works talk to any sales person I've given this talk over and over people come up to me say you know I was I got a phd and whatever marketing and you nailed it right on the head it's that simple overcome that little fear that you give up after two attempts the fear of picking up the phone and guess what great things happen I'm gonna give you a little story and I tell you right now that I don't know maybe if I'm fishing I'll exaggerate a little bit how big the fish was but I'm not gonna exaggerate here I'm tell you the honest truth and so when I was beginning to learn his principles and I went from denver I got married my wife I had a job in d c so he went to dc lived a couple of years and I did a book on the navajo spent two years in the field so three years at five, five years a gun buy and I moved back to denver and so by then I had a computer and I was like who mr cool like track all my marketing and stuff and so I sat down and I built a list of fifty names and some I knew the ad agency that haven't worked for the on these people I had really never worked for but I knew I just went through and built the name of fifty potential clients from ad agencies to grab design studios to corporate direct and I was able to track and I'm gonna tell you a little bit later how I got in the door we're gonna talk about that but I was gonna tell you right now I started marketing and I started knocking on doors and I have a little nothing where track how many times I would make attempt to sail them something and I was tenacious and I would send a packet out of make phone calls and a peck it out make phone calls drop off a poster print making phone call blah blah blah blah in two years how many of those fifty do you think I actually got work from two forty eight? It took me two more years to get the last two every day. I would not every day, but everyone's allowed market those last two just so I could say I got a one hundred percent return on my list because I never gave up. I kept putting my name in front of someone, and that is the secret to the success of being in the real world and surviving is that you just say, ok, eventually my product is going to come along at the right time. They're going to ohio. We got this. Joel grimes does black and white portrait's perfect because my name, my my images kept going in front of them, and eventually I got fifty out of fifty off that list that to me, even today is mind blowing. How is that possible? But because I didn't stop, I knew the math. The more times I get at least eight gives me the ability to make that person rumor my name and it's no different. Just think about it. Just think about this on the photographer people. They say, hey, I want to be your assistant, okay, great, I'll put you on list called me twice, call me eight times. Well, don't do that, please. Uh, no. But I mean, the more times the more that person gets in my brain, and pretty soon I want daddy to assistant. I'm in a panic, and I call that person right, because I now remember their name. So so that's, the way the real will works. So just remember, a lot of it has to do with simple human behavior.

Class Description

This course is part of the Joel Grimes Bundle.

Commercial photography isn’t about mastering complex lighting ratios or obscure retouching techniques. Successful commercial photography hinges upon your ability to turn your creative vision into a polished product. In this class, commercial photographer Joel Grimes will teach you how to think of your photography as an artistic process, not a mathematical equation.

Joel, a commercial photographer with more than 25 years’ experience working for top advertising agencies, will reveal his signature lighting, shooting, editing, and marketing methods. Joel will teach you to trust your artistic instincts by demonstrating how he conceptualizes two different photo shoots: an edgy athletic portrait, and a commercial beauty shoot. Joel will also walk you through how to identify the right lighting to attain your desired result.

After transforming the way you think about conceptualizing, lighting, and shooting, Joel will unveil his creative compositing techniques and tips and tricks for retouching skin. By the end of this two-day workshop, you will have a tried-and-true playbook for creating works of photographic art that dazzle commercial clients.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Fantastic!! He is so down to earth and humble. His work is unique an exceptional and he shares his techniques, experience, tricks, and best of all his life stories that took him to where he is now. One of the best instructors in CL. I love how he checks the ego at the door and just shares his art and techniques with us. I definitely recommend this course and I was lucky enough to get it at a great discounted price but it is worth its regular price imho.


He's my new favorite instructor, there are many CL instructors I really like but the second I watched and heard him I bought the course, love his style, love his knowledge and the way he conveys it. His way of Frequency separation is fantastic and pretty precise and takes care of a lot of flaws. Learned lots! Thanks Joel! Thank heavens I am not color blind ;)


Joel makes it easy to follow when it comes to editing and shooting. He is a wonderful teacher and very easy to learn from. I enjoyed the photoshop techniques he taught as well as his approach to lighting. My favorite part is his advice on business it's very motivating and inspirational. I thoroughly enjoyed this course!