Meet Cole–From Master Marketer to Professional Photographer

Our Customers / May 23, 2014 / Kristie

Logo_Nordica_PhotographySome children dream to grow up in their parent’s footsteps and others seek a career that is entirely different. For Cole Roberts, photographer and co-founder of Nordica Photography, both were the case. Cole grey up around a film lab because his mother was a professional photographer, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with photography. Instead, he studied marketing and got his master’s degree in Sweden. He started up a business with his partner Jakob, which eventually ended in 2007. Two years later, he and Jakob started up another business as photographers. They’ve been doing this professionally ever since. We interviewed Cole to find out more about his story and his story telling through the art of photography.


Our Approach
What changed my mind about photography was realizing that you can apply whatever style you want to wedding photography. The reason I didn’t like the studio environment growing up was that it all looked to be done in 1-dimentional. I kept seeing the same thing being done over and over. I felt a need for a different approach–a documentary approach where everyone left you alone to do a photo journalistic approach. I like the freedom of doing what I want done on the wedding day, which is why I started this business. I wanted to do something different from the stereotypical photos of the couple holding hands in hearts.

What sets us apart is the vision. The couples who hire us hire us for that vision. Everyone has their own style. How we approach a wedding day starts with communication early on. We ask questions and communicate with the couples to break down our vision. We even have in our contract that if people don’t notice us during the day, then we’re doing our job. Our approach works best when people pretend we aren’t there. This is something that’s worked very well for us.

Nordica_01Avoiding Stress on the Big Day
We’ve been lucky to have been hired by great people since day one. I can’t think of a single “bridezilla” story.  I understand the wedding day is stressful. We communicate everything beforehand so that the day of, our work and our concern is the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom). When they know how we work and what to expect, the chaos that is happening around us is separate from us. We’re not involved because we know what we need to do. It’s all been ironed out and communicated ahead of time.

Favourite Places to Shoot
Most of the weddings we shoot are destination weddings. Jakob and I both live in Sweden so the closest wedding to home is a two-hour drive. We do a lot of different trips every time. We have weddings coming up in Malta and Croatia and we just got back from Jamaica. That being said, for sure going to places like Iceland or Bali is my favourite. We’ve gone to Iceland 10 times for weddings. It’s so surreal every time you go there. It’s like photographing the moon. My favourite weddings are places with beautiful landscapes. Part of the reason we like this work is never doing something over and over. It’s always different. It’s the reason we focus on destination weddings exclusively.

Managing The Client’s Expectation
We ask our clients a lot of questions. The most important question we ask is “what is it about our style that you’re drawn to?” Right away we can tell if the couple is looking to hire any photographer, or if they’re hiring us for our style. In our industry there are a lot of people just shopping around for prices. Nine times out of ten we get couples that hire us specifically because they like our work. We get a lot of positive feedback from couples (even if they don’t hire us) because we ask that question. It shows them we want to learn more about them.

Nordica_03Building Up Our Client List
We’ve never had to spend any money on advertising. Most of our enquiries come from search engines. When we graduated with experience in marketing we started doing a lot of blogging to build up our online presence. We had our heads wrapped around search engines from the beginning. 90% of our enquiries come from organic searches. We also get referrals from clients and past venues. All our referrals are tracked in Daylite. That’s one of the things I love about Daylite, I like to have everything in one place. All my information is accessible in Daylite. We’ve been using it for a long time. I can see how many referrals we got from another photographer and it would only take me two seconds to find.

What is Daylite For You?
To me, Daylite is my customer service tool. I like how I can connect all my emails in Daylite. If we get an email from someone and we don’t recognize their name but we see that we’ve added them in Daylite, I can just click their name and pick up where the conversation left off. It’s that type of functionality that is important.  Two weeks ago we got an email from a person for portraits in Hungary. I saw the contact was in Daylite already and could see that they had enquired about doing one of our photography workshops in Florida a few years ago. I could start a reply immediately with the workshop enquiry and the person feels that extra care. I could not have remembered that without Daylite.

Nordica_04How Daylite Helps Grow Our Business
One of the ways we use Daylite is to track our opportunities.  It helps us to follow up better with our enquiries. We set up pipelines for our enquiries. When we look at the pipelines, we follow up in incremental stages. If we haven’t heard from someone in two weeks I can look at the pipeline and follow up right away. We also use Daylite for our workshops. We have photography workshops that we’re planning at the end of the year in Iceland. I have all European photographers who’ve enquired about a workshop sitting in a  wait list contact field. It’s because of Daylite that I have them all organized. Daylite saves us time so if time is money, it’s a good tool to have.



What We Love About Daylite 5
I just upgraded to Daylite 5 last week. I was flying to Jamaica and had an overlay so I thought I’d upgrade. I’ve only been using it for a few days now but I can see the Insight view is going to be a useful tool.  I can already see it’s great. Little changes in it make it more intuitive. For example, the ability to edit a contact in Apple Mail as apposed to opening Daylite is much more intuitive. I’d say the number one reason for upgrading was the Insight view.  And it seemed to have a nice redesign. When you look at contacts now you can see the history tab in the Activity View. It seemed very clever to me so I jumped all over it. I’m going to keep upgrading Daylite. It’s only a matter of time before it comes cloud based. We have too much information that we use in Daylite to not continue with the updates as they come along. For us it was a no brainer.

Advice for New Photographers
You should have the best customer database possible at your fingertips at all times. That’s what Daylite does. We are in a service business. Any advantage you can give yourself for better customer service helps. You would be foolish not to take advantage. Having a good CRM right from the get-go is smart. A lot of photographers are using Daylite. You can set up fields required to be filled by your clients when they view your web gallery images. When those people log-in to view the gallery, you can send the info to Daylite and you now have all your client info organized in Daylite.

Keep up with Nordica Photography on their blogFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus.

Join 38,877 subscribers making clients happy and growing their business.