We talked to Glynns Thomas of Glynns Thomas Headshots & Branding Photographer about Business Headshots, Marketing Advertising Photography and COVID-19 pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Glynns Thomas: We are doing well. We have been fortunate so far not to have any family fall ill or become seriously impacted by COVID or the difficult economic times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Glynns Thomas Headshots & Branding Photographer.
Glynns Thomas: I started my company over 3 years ago. I’m a former Fortune 50 marketing executive who had a personal passion for photography and remember the difficulty of finding the right stock images for our marketing needs and not the funds to hire an expensive commercial photographer in our department for custom images. So I decided to start my own photography business to help marketing managers better market their people and build their “know, like, and trust factors” in a world where more and more business is done online. I do this by offering high-end headshots and custom marketing photography.
How does Glynns Thomas Headshots & Branding Photographer innovate?
Glynns Thomas: I see innovation as a really creative problem-solving. It’s a skill to be able to identify a problem and then brainstorm for ways to solve it. I am constantly thinking of new ways to deliver what I offer, new ways to improve my craft, and new ways to serve my customers. Most of my work is done on location, but when COVID hit, this became difficult in many situations where people were now working from home, and we needed to physically distance. Understanding this, I looked for solutions and invested in equipment and a renovation to my studio to be able to deliver headshot portraits in an open-air environment, where no one needs to touch anything, where we can stand at least 10 feet apart, and customers can review their images as they are taken with their own monitor. This set up can also now be done on location outdoors and in large, well-ventilated indoor spaces.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Glynns Thomas: At first, the business slowed way down. But after several months, with my new renovations and equipment set up, the business took off. By being able to provide a service that keeps my customers safe, my business made more in 2020 than in 2019.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Glynns Thomas: I had to take a leap of faith that investing more money into a business that wasn’t bringing in much money due to COVID would be the right decision. Thankfully it was the right decision, but at the same time, I was prepared mentally if it didn’t and to continue to brainstorm more ideas. You won’t know unless you try, and I couldn’t try it!
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Glynns Thomas: Talking with others in my industry around the country. I’m in lots of Facebook groups with other photographers and have a small mastermind group that I’m in. These were safe places to vent, seek advice, find motivation, and mostly camaraderie. Also, taking action keeps my mind off stress. It was a great time to boost my skills by taking additional classes online and, in some ways, a gift to catch up on things that I might never have the opportunity to do, like apply to be third-party certified as a woman-owned business and set up a CRM system. That and the support of my family, friends, and taking lots of hikes in the outdoors.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Glynns Thomas: There are MANY photographers everywhere, and people own smartphones. I don’t pay too much attention to competition only because I’m just so busy building my own thing. I know to stay in the game, I need to be constantly improving my skills, constantly marketing, and communicating my unique offering.
Your final thoughts?
Glynns Thomas: Some may call me overly optimistic, but I truly believe there is always a way, and our job is to find that way, even if it means going through failures to get there.