Please tell us about yourself, your background, and your main photography specialty.
I got my first camera, a Konica point and shoot, when I was seven years old. My Dad is a photographer too so it was always something I aspired to learn. Although I always had a day job, photography was my biggest passion and became a sidekick business five years ago. I built my own photo studio for portraits and did commercial work for companies and musicians. Now I’m actually on a big trip around the world and do mainly travel photography, landscapes and the odd portrait here and there of a local. I would say that my strong suit is in portraits.
What are all the components of your online presence now? (personal sites, social media, other profiles)
I have two websites, one is my GublerPhotography one and the other is our travel blog. I have Instagram too but have only just started. I know, I have been living under a rock…
Why did you decide to make the sites bi-lingual? How did that work out for you?
It is a bit more work of course but since I am from Switzerland and my wife is English and we have friends all over the world, it makes sense to have my sites in both German and English. It can only benefit my work because it increases the market out there.
How do you balance photography work between commercial/assignment and personal projects?
I’m lucky enough to have never relied solely on my photography business for income, so there is no pressure whatsoever. I do put pressure on my self sometimes, especially when I have too many projects at once. Naturally, personal photography projects and the editing that comes with it gets pushed to the bottom of the list and I prioritize the work I do for my customers. But generally speaking, I’m happy with this kind of work/life balance.
You offer both services and products on your site. Most people obviously start out with just services, so how did you transition to also offering products and how did you come up with them?
I travel a lot and ideally I would love to sell more of my work online, either as fine art prints or other merchandise. It’s a work in progress. I use a service called ‘Fine Art America’ which has been embedded into my website.
Your site also offers a newsletter (powered by MailChimp if I’m not mistaking). How have you leveraged it so far?
That’s where the struggles begin! I have not been very good with that but it’s on the to do list, that’s for sure.
What’s the story behind your separate “Meat Around the World” site and how’s that travel experience been like?
We, my wife Abigail, my daughter Zoe and I are traveling in a truck camper around the world for the next few years, we hope. The Meataroundtheworld website is our travel blog and since we are into Meat we want to find the best meat out there and report on that. We are about to create a YouTube channel too. Over time, I would like to combine everything and create a travel-food-photography-adventure business.
What has been your business’s biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I have to admit that I don’t like doing all the ¨running a business¨ tasks such as hustling for work, working on my website, writing blog updates, newsletters and SEO. So thank you Alex for all your hard work helping me with some of that! If I could justify the expense, I would outsource even more. ;-)
Where is the photography industry going, in your opinion? And what can photographers in your niche do to differentiate themselves?
The world keeps spinning that’s for sure. There are new ways to advertise and make your business stand out. YouTube definitely plays a big role in that too. But you do need to put in the work first, honing in on your craft and producing quality. The rest comes after. I’m not talking about gear btw. Filming is getting bigger and bigger. But finding a niche is always a good trick. Make yourself the specialist, and all the better when you create a new niche yourself.
At what point in your career did you start using a website and what effects did the websites have on your business so far?
My first attempt at making my own website was about ten years ago. But people only started to take me and my work as a photographer seriously when I outsourced website development and started to work with you Alex. It makes sense, I’m a photographer and not a website developer, right?
What social media platforms do you use, and how do you find time to manage these accounts? How have they helped your business so far?
For our Meataroundtheworld account, we announce our blog updates on Instagram. This has definitely had an impact on the number of readers we get. I am hoping to achieve the same effect on my Gublerphotography website through the new Instagram account that I have just set up.
Many photographers are looking to transition more from services to products (prints, books, workshops, photo tours, etc.) Do you plan on creating such products?
Absolutely! I used to print Fine Art with my dad’s huge HP printer and stick it onto gaterfoam boards, make frames in my workshop and sell it to customers. I think pictures shine the most when they are printed. Once I go back to Switzerland I will do public slideshows and sell pictures right there. Maybe offer photo trips too. But as I have already mentioned, I would love to sell more through my shop on my website.
What is your least favorite aspect of managing your photography business?
I touched on it earlier, things like SEO, Newsletters, Ads etc.
What inspires you? (now, in the industry)
I’m not too much of a gear-head myself, my cameras are between five and eight years old and I’m very happy with my lenses. I don’t mind carrying the extra weight of a DSLR over a mirrorless. But I am impressed with the impact Tech companies have on the photography industry. I am interested in Video cameras, gimbals and microphones. There is some cool stuff out there, not to mention what a new smartphone is capable of these days! The software just plays a bigger roll in our field.
What do you think are the qualities of an effective photography website?
It’s got to be slick, fast and well maintained. You want to get your point across in a few seconds. A website is your business card, your first impression, so make it professional and hire a web-designer!…let me rephrase that; hire Alex!
In your experience, what mistakes are people usually making on their photography sites?
Putting too many pictures especially the not so great ones too. Put only GREAT photos on your photography website!
What are your plans for improving your site and growing your photo business in the next year?
I will post more often on my blog and Instagram. I will extend the range of pictures in my shop and add products.
In this crowded market, how do you avoid getting stuck in the “background” and start reaching the “foreground” of your audience?
Network, find your niche and target your audience. Do what you love to do and become good at it.
Quick-fire round (shorten answers as much as possible):
Coldest temperature you shot it?
Minus 10’C maybe. I don’t like the cold!
What’s in your camera bag right now?
Two full frame Nikon cameras plus my dad gave me a H4 Hasselblad for my trip, Nikon lenses: 14-24, 2.8 / 24-70, 2.8 / 70-200, 2.8 / 200-500, 5.6 / 200mm f4 macro The H4 has a 80mm lens with a 1.7x converter.
I have a DJI Phantom4 pro drone. Of course I have a flash light, a reflector a few polorizer and ND filters and a tripod. That’s it.
Do you have any irrational fears?
Highest altitude reached (by foot)?
About a mile? I’m not a hiker.
What’s one thing you’re deeply proud of — but would never put on your résumé?
I can eat four ribeyes at once!
Great having you on ForegroundWeb, thanks for taking the time. Where can people get in touch with you if needed?
Thanks for having me on Alex. I enjoyed this. I’m happy to answer any questions, just shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org you can find out more about my work on my website gublerphotography.com and if you would like to follow along on our trip around the world go to meataroundtheworld.com. My Instagram is @gublerphotography and @meataround_theworld. Thanks for stopping by!