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Shoot To Earn – Interviews

From 4000 miles away, Juma Bannister from Trinidad and Tobago is on the show!

One of the things that makes Shoot To Earn so cool is that I get to talk shop with photographers from all over the world. In this episode I got to hang out with Juma Bannister of Relate Studios from Trinidad an island almost 4000 miles away from me. It was pretty awesome getting to hear the perspective of a photographer based in the caribbean and how he built his business up shooting weddings all over the world, including the US and Africa.

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What we talked about:

  • Going above and beyond
  • Branding
  • When to take the leap and go full-time.

Inspirational moment at: 24 min 00 sec

“I really wasn’t trained formally, most of my development was practice and research.”
Juma Bannister, Relate Studios
“I never really thought we would get to do stuff like this when we started.”
Juma Bannister, Relate Studios
“When you put yourself in a space where you really treat people well, it opens a lot of doors for you.”
Juma Bannister, Relate Studios


Bio:  Juma Bannister is a wedding and portrait photographer from the sunny islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Juma and Ayinde Smith (cofounder/photographer) operate Relate Studios and have photographed weddings all over the Caribbean, US and even Africa.

How we met: It’s an interesting story how Juma and I met. I photographed a wedding in Trinidad and Tobago about 4 or 5 years ago. Juma saw my photos online and reached out to me via my blog. And we’ve stayed friends ever since!

Relate Studios

She has over 8000 followers on Instagram!!! | Amy Little Photography

 Using social media for business can be such a pain. Watch this interview to pick up a few pointers from someone who has over 8000 followers on Instagram. We talk about social media, outsourcing and so much more.

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What we talked about:

  • Instagram for business
  • Outsourcing: Recognizing your weaknesses and hiring other people to do what you’re not good at.
  • Importance of blogging.

Social media breakdown: 16 min 12 sec

“If I’m not growing, I’m failing miserably as a photographer.”
Amy Little, Photographer
“I wasn’t aware of how much work it was when I decided to go full time.”
Amy Little, Photographer
“You work 24/7, I don’t think I’ve had a full-night sleep in 3 years!”
Amy Little, Photographer


Bio:  Amy is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Florida. She is an avid Instagram user and uses Instagram for business.

Amy’s Website

Amy’s Instagram

How we met: I met Amy through Instagram a few months back when she liked one of my photos. I went and looked at her Instagram photos to reciprocate and when I saw how many followers she had, I decided I needed to have her on the show.

How does a supermarket employee turn his passion into profit shooting 33 weddings his first year!? The answer will surprise you. | Joel Eckman Maus of Studio EMP

 Inspiration abounds in this episode with Joel Eckman Maus who went from working at the local supermarket to running a highly successful photography studio in Fullerton, CA. In this episode he shares what contributed to such rapid growth and what led him to 50+ weddings a year. We also talk about the touchy subject of whether or not you should lower your prices when business is slow.

And about midway through our conversation Joel really opened up with an emotion filled reflection on how grateful he is for his team. It’s moving and inspiring. Please don’t miss this one.

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What we talked about:

  • When it’s necessary, if ever, to lower your prices
  • Balancing work with family life
  • How being nice goes a long way
  • Advantages of having a team

Inspirational moment: 14 min 35 sec

“They seem to like the photos more if they like you, so be nice and your pictures are better.”
Joel Eckman Maus, Photographer
“I did everything myself, but after awhile you just cant keep up, you can’t do that forever.”
Joel Eckman Maus, Photographer


Bio:  Joel is a wedding/portrait photographer and owner of Studio EMP in Fullerton, CA. His work can be seen in Grace Ormonde, Style Me Pretty, Ceremony Magazine and many more.

Studio EMP Website

How we met: I met Joel over a year ago. Victor Sizemore, a fellow photographer and friend of mine, asked me to go to lunch with him and Joel and Joel’s wife in Fullerton. Afterward we stopped by Joel’s studio and I was blown away. Guys it’s one of the nicest studios I’ve ever seen.

How did he work up the courage to quit his cushy job and pursue his dreams? – Adam Barker

 How does a guy with a cushy job in PR work up the courage to take the plunge into full-time photography!?  Adam Barker shares with me how it wasn’t always easy, and at one point times got so tough it brought him to tears. How did he overcome it, and go on to build a highly successful photography business?  If you need inspiration, WATCH THIS EPISODE!!!

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What we talked about:

  • How to get sponsored and why
  • When to quit your job and go full-time
  • Harnessing your nerves
Inspirational moment: 45 min 30 sec  

“My formula for business success…is drive, passion and skill.”
Adam Barker, Photographer
“Being nervous is a good thing.  Being nervous means you care.”
Adam Barker, Photographer
“Being able to separate yourself from all the other photographers out there is so supremely important.”
Adam Barker, Photographer
“It’s really important to be able to take joy in the success of your fellow photographers.”
Adam Barker, Photographer
How we met:  It’s an interesting story how Adam and I met.  We were both contracted to work on an international ad campaign that Manfrotto was doing for their latest tripod.  I did the product photography as well as the behind the scenes and got to follow Adam around in an RV for a week while he used the tripod to take incredible photos of California’s most beautiful places.  It was a pretty amazing experience to say the least.  Any of you out there who have any appreciation for landscape photography, or active lifestyle photography should definitely check out his site.  His photos are truly amazing and this episode of Shoot To Earn is very inspirational!!!

Bio:  Adam is a landscape and active lifestyle photographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah whose editorial work can be seen in publications including Outdoor Photographer, Skiing, Ski, Powder, Flyfish Journal, USA Today, The Drake, Mountain Magazine and many more.  He’s produced imagery for a variety of commercial clients including Nike, Black Diamond Equipment and Volkswagen, just to name a few.

Adam’s Website

Building a photography business from scratch. How Justine Ungaro started over.

 My conversation with Justine Ungaro was SO GOOD! It’s packed with tons of valuable insight for any photographer trying to climb their way to the top. How did she move her business from DC to California with nothing but her camera gear and a computer? In this episode Justine tells me all about how she built her business from the ground up and so much more. You don’t want to miss this one!

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What we talked about:

  • Pricing strategies
  • Only working with clients that are a good fit
  • Listening to your clients to hone your style
  • Forming relationships with vendors at your level and helping each other grow

Justine’s Website

Justine is an accomplished 2nd generation wedding and portrait photographer with a studio in Studio City, California. Justine’s work can be seen in various publications including People Magazine, In Touch Weekly, The LA Times, Martha Stewart Weddings, OK! Magazine Australia, Grace Ormonde, Washingtonian Magazine, Exquisite Weddings, Your Wedding Day, The Knot, Brides Magazine, Ines Del Mar Weddings and more.

“My photography is influenced more by my clients than by the photography industry itself.”
Justine Ungaro, Photographer
“It was never a hobby that turned into a business, it was always a business that I just happened to love.”
Justine Ungaro, Photographer

Do your own thing! | Joe Latter Photographer

 In this episode I get to hang out with Joe Latter.  From commercial to wedding photography, Joe has succeeded in doing what he loves for over 20 years.  How has he stayed in business so long and what’s kept him going?   You’re about to find out.

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What we talked about:

  • Adapting to changes in the industry.
  • Pros and cons to owning a studio.
  • Being real with clients.


Joe’s Website:  Joe Latter Photographer

“That’s always been our studio motto, do really good work and you’ll keep working.”
Joe Latter, Photographer
“I think you lose yourself when you try to recreate your style every year with the latest trend.”
Joe Latter, Photographer
“You want to do everything everybody else is doing when you need to do your own thing really well.”
Joe Latter, Photographer

Shoot To Earn – What is it?