Today Sam Jones, world-famous photographer and creator of Off Camera with Sam Jones, chats about the art of the interview and more on The Solopreneur Hour.Sam Jones is a Los Angeles-based photographer and director whose portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Bob Dylan, Kristen Stewart, Robert Downey Jr, Amy Adams, and Jack Nicholson have appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Time, Entertainment Weekly and Men’s Journal.

He also happens to be the host of my favorite podcast, Off Camera with Sam Jones.

We covered a lot in this show: from putting yourself in a position to win by hustling, not being afraid to do a little spec work, and yes even fibbing a bit to land that next great shoot! It was a real honor speaking with Sam.

Pull up a chair, and listen in.

More About This Show and Sam Jones

When interviewing on his show Sam has a rapport and casual, insightful interview style that instantly captivated me, because he truly “gets it” when it comes to the “art of the interview”. There’s a delicate dance between being too forceful, and helping the guest open up: and he has mastered it though you’d never know it by his humility.

Whether or not you’re a podcaster what Sam talks about on today’s show can help you in your business. Listen to his stories about cold calling art directors in New York City and be inspired to continue your hustle. Or take his advice about the art of conversation to heart: how can you be more interested in your clients, in your audience? How can you take Sam’s experiences and insights and apply them in your own life?

On the topic of conversation Sam says he is simply incredibly curious about his guests, and about other people in the world who are doing creative things with their lives. He wants to know how they do what they do, and what led them there and what drives them forward.

On Today’s Show You’ll Also Hear:

  • What’s the link between curiosity and creativity?
  • When did Sam get serious about photography?
  • What’s the main goal Sam has for Off Camera with Sam Jones right now?
  • What is the key to being a great interviewer?
  • What is one of the first things he does when he sits down with a guest?
  • And much, much more.

Sam also believes a conversation is 90% chemistry, and every conversation is an opportunity to learn something new about the other person, about the world or about a particular subject. What would be different in your business or in any area of your life if you took that same approach to the people you speak with and interact with?

We also talk about working on spec and hustling to get a break. At one point Sam wanted to work as a photographer for magazines. He knew to land any gigs he’d have to get his portfolio in front of them, and his portfolio was massive. This was pre-Internet so he had to physically FedEx his slides and his slide projector to any directors he wanted to connect with.

That was far too inefficient so instead he went to NYC, took his portfolio with him and cold called art directors to set up appointments. Getting in front of those art directors and building relationships led to many more opportunities than simply mailing off his portfolio.

Sam hustled to land those opportunities and he also hustled when he caught other breaks in his career. Once Tim Robbins saw his photograph in a newspaper – Sam was an Associated Press (AP) photographer for several years – and Tim hired him to come on set and be the unit photographer. That meant Sam was responsible for taking still photographs during the filming of the movie.

Being hired by Tim led to a mini-career as a unit photographer and Sam took advantage of the hours of downtime on a set to ask the actors to pose for him. Sometimes he’d do it for free, sometimes he’d get paid and other times he’d fib and tell them the studio wanted more photos of them!

People said yes, according to Sam, because he was genuinely interested in and respected the work the actors do. And being genuinely respectful, curious, and eager opened the door to working with these actors and to striking up real relationship connections.

As you listen to today’s show link up the dots between what Sam has learned and applied in his photography business and in creating Off Camera and what you’re doing in your business. Where can you be more curious? Where can you convey your respect and eagerness about a subject with your clients, your audience, your mentors or your friends?

Sam generously gave of his time and his wisdom on episode 342 of The Solopreneur so listen in, take note and enjoy.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What did you learn today from Sam? How are you going to apply it in your business, and in your life?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Selected Links and Resources From This Episode

More About Sam Jones
Off Camera with Sam Jones
Sam Jones’ photography website
Sam Jones on Twitter – a Porsche mechanic in your pocket
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