Episode 86: Master Your Smartphone For Stellar Design Photos with Linda Holt
My next guest is a Boston interior designer/photographer who teaches designers and home stagers to take stellar photos of their work using their smartphones.
As a former professional photographer, Linda Holt is no stranger to merging her creative eye with aesthetic appeal, having worked with more than 5,000 celebrities, actors, and models as one of Boston's top commercial headshot photographers. Today she uses her skilled photographic eye to help homeowners create a stylish, fresh, and relaxed home that is reflective of their unique personality and lifestyle.
The majority of photos a designer needs can now be taken with a smartphone. In this episode, Linda tells us the biggest mistake designers make when photographing with their smartphones, when and why designers should photograph their own projects, and when it's best to leave it to the professionals. She also shares three quick tips we can start using today to get better photos with our smartphones.
Mentioned in this episode:
Snapseed photo editor
SaneBox email management software
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
Connect with Linda on all of the social platforms @lindaholtcreative. To learn more about her smartphone photography courses, visit www.lindaholtcreative.com. Don’t forget to download Linda’s freebie 5 Smartphone Photography Tips To Achieve Magazine Worthy Interior Photos.
Text UPDATES to 214-380-1969 for all our DFCM updates.
Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.
In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies, and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.
Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.
Connect with Michelle
Have ideas or suggestions or want to be considered as a guest on the show? Email me!
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Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.
Michelle Lynne: Well, hello, everybody, welcome back to the podcast. My name is Michelle Lynne and I'm excited to introduce you today to a woman named Linda Holt. I'm sure a handful of our audience has heard of her. Linda is a Boston interior designer and photographer who teaches designers and home stagers to take stellar photos of their work using their, get this, your smartphone. So it is possible and Linda is here to explain some of the details. Welcome, Linda. Thanks for being here.
Linda Holt: Oh, thank you so much, Michelle, for inviting me to come on today. I'm excited.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh. Well, I just think that what you do and what you teach is so important to the masses of interior designers, home stagers, and individuals who are just looking to build our content. So let's start with the beginning. Were you a designer or a photographer first?
Linda Holt: I was a photographer first. Growing up, I will literally say I was equal. I was the kid constantly rearranging the bedroom, you know, my little 8x10 room. But I also, from the time I was given my first camera on my 10th birthday, I always had a camera in my hand, and it was back and forth. I want to be a designer, I want to be a photographer, literally my whole life. When it came time to go to college, I finally made my decision. I was going to go to interior design school. Went to my dad and said, Dad, I'm going to apply to interior design school, he immediately shut it down and said, are you out of your mind? I am not paying for four years of college for you to go and learn how to pick out pillows for rich people. And that was the end of my dreams for interior design. So he told me he would only pay for college if I majored in business, education, or science. So my degree is actually in marine biology.
Michelle Lynne: What?
Linda Holt: Yes. So graduated from college, worked in the field for a couple of years, went back to school, was miserable. I was working in a lab, went back to school, on my own dime, this time for photography, because it was the only program I could afford. So went to photography school for, a two-year photography program. And then I worked as a photographer for 25 years. I had a big studio in Boston
Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow.
Linda Holt: And my niche was I photographed; I did commercial headshots. So that's actors, models, singers, celebrities, and that's what I did every day for 25 years. Then the big first recession hit of 2008.
Michelle Lynne: Yep.
Linda Holt: My business imploded. And at that point, honestly, after 25 years, Michelle, I had been so burned out. I said, okay, time to reinvent myself once again. I went back to school, now I could afford it, I went back to Design School. And that was in 2008. Opened up my business, Linda Holt Creative in 2011. And was doing design and, you know, so that's sort of how that whole evolution came.
Michelle Lynne: So how did you get involved in teaching smartphone photography, because it is such a different, I mean, I'm picturing the big cameras and the lenses and all the things you have to schlep around.
Linda Holt: Oh, yeah, I had all of that. Well, what actually happened was, I knew nothing about smartphone photography. And I, you know, when I got my early smartphone, my early ones were iPhone, and my pictures looked like crap. And I was so frustrated, and it was embarrassing. I couldn't post them or do anything with them. Here I was a
Michelle Lynne: Especially with your background.
Linda Holt: Exactly, and everybody knew it. So I just, I did what most people think about their smartphone. I thought of it as a crappy, you know, cell phone camera. And it was just, you know, if I had to take a quick point-and-shoot, they always were dark. They always were out of focus. They were always crooked. I didn't know any better. And then I honestly had kind of like a life-changing experience. I went to a seminar and this woman was teaching a course on how to get better photos using your smartphone. And on the projector behind her when she was giving her talk were like half a dozen magazine, shelter magazine covers. It was Martha Stewart Living, and Coastal Living, and the photos were amazing, and she told us she had taken every single one with her iPhone.
Michelle Lynne: Wow.
Linda Holt: And I literally almost fell out of my chair, and I came home, she never did tell us how to do it. All she did was brag about how great she can do it, but she never told us how to do it.
Michelle Lynne: But the idea was born.
Linda Holt: Exactly. And I came home, and I started Googling, how do you get better photos with a smartphone. And I just, I spent a year and a half figuring it out. I finally, you know, really mastered it. And it's not like the smartphone comes with an instruction booklet of how to take great photos. And as my photos started to look really good my friends will say, oh my God, that looks beautiful. How did you do that? I started telling them what I learned. And it just, everyone kept saying to me, oh my god, you should make a class, you should do a course, everybody needs to know this. So during the pandemic, when I finally had some time to breathe, I sat down and I wrote a course, specifically for interior designers. Because there's a gazillion classes out there for the general public, but what designers need to know, how do you photograph those darn window treatments when you have the light, you know, the backlight and, you know, how do you photograph the furniture and those kinds of things were not in the traditional courses or classes that I could find online.
Michelle Lynne: That's true. So you took your skill and your education and your previous life and applied it to the current life and merged it with the smartphone.
Linda Holt: Exactly. And really what I say is, I created the class that I wish I could have bought when I was trying to figure this out.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh, that's exactly how I created my program for interior designers on the business of interior design because, where were we when we needed us?
Linda Holt: Exactly, exactly. And I wasted almost two years trying to figure out the darn camera.
Michelle Lynne: Right.
Linda Holt: Because I was not an interior photographer. I was a headshot photographer. So not only did I have to learn how to use everything that the, all the hidden features and everything about the camera. I didn't know how to shoot an interior. I didn't know what angles. I knew nothing, literally nothing about interiors.
Michelle Lynne: Right, right, right, because you were taking photographs of people and it was just their headshots. It wasn't even lifestyle.
Linda Holt: Yes, exactly. And it's a totally different skill set, honestly. An interior photographer from a portrait photographer, completely different.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. So let's just talk about your course a little bit right now. So tell us about the smartphone class. My curiosity is piqued.
Linda Holt: Yes. So it's an online class. And I created a class, whether you're an Android user, there's an android version of my course, and an iPhone version.
Michelle Lynne: Amazing.
Linda Holt: Because first I did the iPhone, and everyone's saying, oh, I want to do an Android. So I did an android version, which is Samsung or Pixel. Those are the two I focus on. It's nine different modules. And each module has a series of short, bite-sized videos. So you could really sit down every morning with your cup of coffee and watch a 10-minute video and work your way through. Once you purchase the course you own it forever. So you can watch it whenever you want to. I update it at least once a year. And every time a new phone comes out, I do a whole new module on the latest phone.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that makes sense. Because things are, technology's changing.
Linda Holt: Always changing. And I will tell you the phones today, the new ones, they rival any DSLR camera I ever used in my life. They are amazing. They really are.
Michelle Lynne: That's good to hear because I agree that they're amazing, but I don't have anything to compare it to. Except for the filters. I love the filters.
Linda Holt: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, so you're talking about the difference between interiors and just taking photos of everything. So I take really good pictures of my daughter. She's super cute and easy to take pictures of. But what is the biggest mistake that designers make when they're taking photographs with their smartphone? Like, what do we do wrong?
Linda Holt: Right. Well, there's two things that immediately come to mind. Number one, most people are holding their phone wrong. Most people hold their phone up by their face, obviously, so they're looking at the back of the camera. And then what are they doing? They're tipping it down. Now the problem with all smartphones is the normal default lens, the lens that when you open up your camera, that it opens up to, is actually a wide-angle lens. It's comparable to a 28-millimeter lens on a digital camera, for people that work with digital cameras. That's considered a wide-angle lens. And with wide-angle lenses, you're going to get perspective problems. In other words, your lines are going to bend inward or outward. Similarly to say if you've ever seen a photo taken with a fisheye lens, the lines do a big circle. Well, the wider the lens, the more the lines bend. And when you tip your phone down to take a photo because it's up by your face, all your lines in your image, you're going to start off wide at the top, and they're going to just bend inward at the bottom. So that's like the biggest mistake designers make which is why their rooms are always off in perspective. You really want to hold your phone on the same plane as what you're shooting, which if it's an interior, it's more down by your waist than up by your face.
Michelle Lynne: So should you get down and kneel and take your photos from there?
Linda Holt: I do, I kneel. But just getting down low, you know, if you're tipping your phone down, you're gonna get perspective problems. And also, if you're tipping your phone up, so if you're shooting like high up on a window treatment or something, just know you're gonna get distortion. And that's when, obviously, if you can't get up and hold it on the same level, that's when you have to go in and do some editing in an editing app to fix those perspective lines.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's interesting. So what are your thoughts on designers actually, I mean, because I'm blown away that you said those magazine covers, because like, I've always preached, get a professional photographer. But when do you think designers, since you are a designer, when should we take our own photos?
Linda Holt: I think when they become good enough, and I think that, you know, the luxury firms, they are not going to take the time, because it's a lot of work taking your own photos.
Michelle Lynne: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Linda Holt: The luxury firms, they have it in their budget, you know, that they can hire the professional.
Michelle Lynne: And they go get a stylist and do all the things.
Linda Holt: Exactly. But for every one of those, there's a hundred designers out there who are doing a single room, or they're just starting out. They don't have the budget to hire a professional. And I don't know what it's like in Texas, but in Boston, minimum, we start at $3,000 a day for hiring a professional. But the other thing that is almost equally as important, the copyright law today is a big, big problem. And if you take your own photos, you own the copyright, if you hire a professional, you do not own the copyright. And there are, I don't think a day goes by that I'm not hearing from a designer that they're being sued because they used a photo that they didn't take somewhere else. In fact, I currently have a friend who is being sued by her own photographer because she was chosen as designer of the month for a company and they put her online, and she shared some of her designs with this company, they put them online, the photographer is suing her because he didn't give her permission to send those photos to this, I won't say who the company is, but you will have heard of it, to send the photos to this company, so they could use them online. So copyright is a big issue.
Michelle Lynne: Did she credit him? I'm just curious, did she give him credit?
Linda Holt: I honestly don't know that.
Michelle Lynne: Because, how rude?
Linda Holt: I know she paid a lot of money for these photos. But another friend of mine, she took my course, she had the budget to hire a professional. The night before the photo shoot, she got an 11-page copyright contract, listing all the things she could and couldn't do with the photos. So she canceled the shoot and she did it herself. And you would not know they weren't taken by a professional they came out great.
Michelle Lynne: Wow. Yeah, that just sounds like, you know, the photography industry is getting in their own way.
Linda Holt: It's becoming a big problem. And honestly, you know, I'm speaking as a former professional photographer, and they're scared. And they're gonna say, oh, that's not true at all. But they are because the cameras, they are amazing. The new cameras do a great job. And if you can learn the features of your camera, how to position and hold the camera, there's no reason why you can't do your own photography. But I think it's scary for a lot of people because they just have the mindset that, oh, I can't, my pictures are terrible.
Michelle Lynne: Well yeah, they're terrible now, but go take your course and they're not gonna suck as bad and then you practice a little bit, they're gonna get good.
Linda Holt: Exactly, it's a little practice. You have to put the time in, but it will really pay off in the end.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow. And then it's so much easier to schedule.
Linda Holt: And then you can use your photos however you want. You can tag vendors and, you know, if you have a photo that you took, and you want to tag the vendor, the products in your photo, you can tag them. You can't do that if you hire a professional unless you get specific permission that you can, you know, use them for a vendor. Or if a vendor says I want to share your photo, that light that you put in that room. If you share it and you didn't get permission from your photographer, you can be sued. So you have to be really, really careful today.
Michelle Lynne: That's interesting because thankfully we've got a really good relationship with the photographers that we use. But I do hear some of those stories, or I read them on the forums in Facebook and stuff because I'm always scrolling those.
Linda Holt: Sure.
Michelle Lynne: But yeah, what a nightmare. So taking your own photos will just circumvent that entire hoops that you need to jump through.
Linda Holt: It is and obviously like I said, it's not for everybody. But for the designer that doesn't have the budget, the designer that you know, doesn't want to spend that kind of money because they just did a living room or, you know, they just did a couple of bathrooms in the house. It's not worth it to spend, they'd spend their whole profit on the job hiring a professional.
Michelle Lynne: Well, that and I know when I'm talking to a lot of designers who are just starting and they don't have much of a portfolio, I'm like grab your smartphone, put it on, you know, like the portfolio setting or whatever, I'm no expert, but go take some pictures around your own house.
Linda Holt: Right. Exactly. That's all you need to do.
Michelle Lynne: But with your training, they could take it past that and take it to a client's house. And like you said, if it's just one or two rooms and you don't necessarily need to hire a photographer for a bucket of money, it's a great jumping-off point.
Linda Holt: It is. And it's really a way to get started because at least they'll have good photos for their portfolio.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, because that is so important. It's like that chicken and the egg, which came first?
Linda Holt: Exactly. And also, where the smartphone really shines is on the vignettes. You know, where it gets complicated is the big windows and the lighting and all that. But if you're shooting vignettes, the smartphone does an amazing job, you would not know the difference between hiring a professional and doing it yourself, because the smartphone will do almost everything for you, you just need to learn how to use it.
Michelle Lynne: You were talking about hidden features, are there just things that, I guess they're just hidden features that we don't know exist with the phones.
Linda Holt: Right. Like you can set the exposure manually, the focus manually, there's night mode. So if you're shooting a bathroom with no windows, an internal bathroom, you can put it into night mode. You will have to use a tripod because it could be like a, you know, five or six second exposure. There's burst mode, there's live mode, there are all of these features that people just think their camera is a point-and-shoot. And that's why they're not getting the results because they really don't know how to use it.
Michelle Lynne: But it's just like any tool. You have to be able to study it and implement the details that go with it.
Linda Holt: Right.
Michelle Lynne: So I'm gonna put you on the spot here, what are three tips that you could share to immediately improve somebody's smartphone photos?
Linda Holt: Well, number one we just talked about, absolutely hold the phone on the same plane as what you're shooting. That way it will minimize your lines and to help you to
Michelle Lynne: So either climb up on a step stool, kneel down, whatever you need to be doing in order to get in line.
Linda Holt: Exactly. And to help you know that is level because sometimes it's kind of hard to tell, is to turn on the in-camera grid. And to do that, if people don't know what that is, you just go into settings, scroll down until you find camera, click on camera, and then click on grid. And what the grid is, it's a series of horizontal and vertical lines that will show up on your camera screen, it won't be on your finished picture, and you can line up something in your photo to the grid line that you know is horizontal or vertical, like a cabinetry or a windowsill or
Michelle Lynne: A dining table.
Linda Holt: Anything.
Michelle Lynne: The back of a sofa.
Linda Holt: Exactly. And so the grid lines, if you're not lined up, you're not holding your phone level. So that's one little thing I would say. Number two, definitely get in the habit of setting the exposure and the focus manually. That's so important. Because when you're in an interior, and maybe people listening to this have experienced this, the interior will look dark.
Michelle Lynne: Yes.
Linda Holt: The reason why that happens is because the in-camera light meter is always going to expose for the brightest area. So if there's a window, it's going to want to expose for the outside light which causes the inside to go dark. But it's very easy to override that by setting the exposure manually. And you can do that, depending what kind of phone you have, but it's very easy to do that. You can either tap anywhere on the camera screen, in a corner, or a dark corner, or anywhere. And if you tap on the screen that will tell the light meter to expose there. Or you can tap and hold until a yellow box appears on the iPhone, or yellow circle appears on the Android, and if you slide your finger up and down the screen on the iPhone, it will make it brighter or darker. And if you scroll it left to right on the Android, it will make it darker and lighter.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, interesting. I didn't know about the tap thing. So you tap into a corner and it just automatically goes to that.
Linda Holt: Wherever you tap, that will tell the light meter expose here. So that's a real quick way to do it. If you're in a room, and it looks dark, and there's a bright area and a dark area and you want the dark area lighter, tap on the dark area.
Michelle Lynne: That's very cool. Okay.
Linda Holt: Or you can even have more control by bringing up the box or the circle. And with that you have to hold your finger for a second or two until it comes up.
Michelle Lynne: I think I've done that in the past. I didn't realize that that was the, what do you call that? Manual?
Linda Holt: Manually setting the exposure. It will override the in-camera light meter.
Michelle Lynne: Which is why it's a hidden feature because you have to literally put your finger there and hold it and then move it.
Linda Holt: And nobody knows about it unless they've talked to me or taken my class. Well, people do know about it, but a lot of people don't. I'm surprised at how many people don't. I always ask for a show of hands when I do a talk and maybe, you know, only 50% of the hands will go up of people that know how to fix, you know, do the lighting.
Michelle Lynne: Well, that's probably because they heard you on a podcast or a presentation or something somewhere. Maybe we haven't done it, but we know it's there.
Linda Holt: Right. And then the last tip I would say, is really learn a couple of in-camera editing apps. I do all my editing right on the phone, just a couple of seconds. You know, when you think about it, professionals would never, ever put a photo out there without editing it in some way. Pretty much every photo is going to need something. Maybe, you know, the lighting adjusted, the saturation, especially with an interior, maybe adjusting the perspective. But the in-camera editing app is great. There's also plenty of outside apps that are fabulous. So just get in the habit of using and getting familiar with a couple of editing apps just to take your photo over the line to great.
Michelle Lynne: So when you take that photo, you take it from your phone album, drop it into another app and do whatever that app does. And then do you save it back to your album and replace the original?
Linda Holt: I do. Yes, you have a choice. The app that I like, the general overall editing app that I use is called Snapseed. It's very similar to the in-camera editing feature, there's just a few more things you can do with it. And I actually like Snapseed better. It's what I started on. I've been using it forever.
Michelle Lynne: I bet you're fast.
Linda Holt: I'm very fast. I do it in seconds. Thirty seconds would be a long edit for me. But again, I've been doing it for years. But I will tell you, Michelle, my technical skill is that of like a four-year-old. And I learned this app in about 15 minutes. It's that user-friendly and that easy. Because when I was shooting professionally all those years back, first of all, there was no such thing as, I mean, I'm really dating myself, but there was film cameras, there was no computers, this was even before computers. So there was no Lightroom, there was no Photoshop, you had to send your finished prints out to the retoucher. And the retoucher would do a process called airbrushing where they would actually spray paint your images to like, in my case, it was reducing women's, you know, lines around their eyes and cleaning up men's beard lines. And it would take weeks and it was really, really expensive. So for me to be able to edit a photo on my phone, it's like I have died and gone to heaven. What could be easier? And I always struggled, once I did get into, you know, we had computers, so we evolved from airbrushing on to online Photoshop, it's a huge learning curve. I struggled with it. I actually ended up paying somebody to do it. Because again, a four-year-old couldn't do it, I can't do it. But I can do the phone editing apps, especially Snapseed, or the in-camera app. They're so easy.
Michelle Lynne: Well, that and it makes sense. Because once you do it and you master it and you keep doing it over and over and over again, you just keep getting better and better and faster and faster.
Linda Holt: Yeah, exactly. And I do it while I'm watching TV. I mean, it's just whenever. I can be standing in the line at the grocery store, you know, in a long line, I pull up a photo and do a few edits on it.
Michelle Lynne: And then you're good to go. So are you available for hire? Do you do photographs for other people?
Linda Holt: Well, it's funny you ask that because I generally would say no, but I have three different designer friends who have begged me to help them. So I actually I'm going to do my third photo shoot on Saturday of my friend's project. Mainly because I’m doing it for free because I always am wanting to get more material for my course. And the biggest part of my course is interior photography. I have five videos under that module of interior photography. And I always want to keep it fresh. And every situation is different. So this home seems a little more complicated. It's just one room that I'm going to be shooting for her on Saturday. But I want her to videotape me shooting it with my smartphone. So people can actually say, oh, so that's what she did. That's where the camera is. That's how she did this. That was her positioning. Because you can say, talk, you know, show photos. Well, this is what I did. But people want to see, at least I do, not just tell me how to do it, show me what you did to get that result.
Michelle Lynne: But if you think about it, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a bajillion.
Linda Holt: Right, right.
Michelle Lynne: Especially when it comes to talking about photos.
Linda Holt: Exactly, exactly.
Michelle Lynne: That's genius, Linda, and that's going to be great to add into your content.
Linda Holt: Yes, yeah, I've done one already so this will be the second.
Michelle Lynne: Who knows maybe you're reinventing yourself again.
Linda Holt: I know. I'm not getting back into photography, but I love it. I mean, for me, it's the perfect combination of my two loves, photography and interior design.
Michelle Lynne: That is, and isn't that the best when you find that lane that you know you're supposed to be in.
Linda Holt: It's so funny, I think about it all the time Michelle, you know, I started off and I wanted to do both and then I chose one, my father shut me down. Then I went back and did one that I could afford. And then, I was 50 when I went back to school for interior design. And finally, now I really honestly thought I have come 100% full circle in my life.
Michelle Lynne: Yep. And you're exactly where you're supposed to be.
Linda Holt: I'm 10 years old again. Yep, I'm decorating my room and carrying my camera around.
Michelle Lynne: And that is also something, just to go down a bunny trail, is like for our listeners, you're never too old.
Linda Holt: Exactly. And I tell them, my son is 30 and he's always bemoaning, oh, I should have done this, should have done that. I'm like, listen, and I always use myself as an example. Look at me. I'm old. I'm reinventing myself all the time.
Michelle Lynne: It's a mindset.
Linda Holt: It's totally a mindset.
Michelle Lynne: I don't know if you know this, but I adopted my daughter when she was a newborn, and I was 48.
Linda Holt: I did not know that.
Michelle Lynne: So it's just like, you know what, here's the deal. If your mind is willing, everything else will line up and the universe will conspire to make you successful.
Linda Holt: It's true. And it's too bad that, you know, I definitely with age comes wisdom. And I had so many mindset issues when I was younger, so many blocks
Michelle Lynne: Oh, we all did.
Linda Holt: And getting older, I have become more fearless with every year. So I'm thinking, when I'm 90, I'm gonna be dancing on TikTok when I'm 90, I don't know. I just feel like what the hell, life is short. So I just go for it. But it took me into my fifties, honestly, to have this mindset, because I did not.
Michelle Lynne: Well, hopefully, somebody listening will hear us speaking and will hopefully, like expedite their learning curve. Like, let's shorten that learning curve for the people following behind us.
Linda Holt: Sure. If you want to go back to school, you know, for interior design, and you're in your forties, I'm gonna say you're a baby, you know, do it. You could do it in your sixties. You can do it whenever you want to.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely, absolutely. Okay, so going back to your course, you said that you've got a few modules that are, like five modules that are for interiors. What about the other ones, are they like photographing yourself? Or portraits?
Linda Holt: I have, like, I can go through real quickly, if I can remember. So I have composition, lighting, interior photography. I have selfies and portraits. I have tabletop. I have window treatments. And I have, okay, so now I'm drawing a blank here.
Michelle Lynne: That's a lot though. That covers quite a bit.
Linda Holt: But there are nine different topics. But again, all focused on interior designers. Oh, when I'm talking about like trade shows, it's really hard to shoot at trade shows and shooting at show houses. So that is one, shooting at show houses and tradeshows. So they are so, you know, sort of keyed into what a designer needs to know.
Michelle Lynne: Well, and when should we shoot ourselves? Like you were talking about selfies and stuff like that. When should we shoot ourselves and when should we hire somebody to do it?
Linda Holt: Well, that's a little bit tricky question. Because it depends again, like, I shoot myself, but I've just recently started shooting myself. I think I would probably defer to a professional, especially for your portfolio, I mean, your website and your brand photos, you don't want to be worrying about setting the timer and running back in place. And, you know, doing all that. So I would definitely use a professional for that. But, you know, the reason why I did is, how often are we at like, I just got back from High Point Market. I must have had my photo taken or, you know, done the selfie thing 50 times in the five days I was there. So again, I want to just, we're posting that on Instagram and on Facebook.
Michelle Lynne: It becomes part of our brand.
Linda Holt: It does. And if they're crappy photos, and we all have raccoon eyes, we don't want to see that up on social media. So I have a whole thing about how to, quick tips for photographing it at trade shows and for selfies and things like that.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's amazing. So yeah, and I love the fact because it's true. So we can take beautiful photos of the interiors, but then if our selfies and our other photos are crap that are just on our stories, it kind of, they argue with each other.
Linda Holt: Right. And also, I found that with, you know, they say like Instagram, people have really upped their game. There are not a lot of crappy photos on Instagram. They are beautiful photos. And I've even noticed people are upping their game
Michelle Lynne: So you haven't been on my profile lately, have you?
Linda Holt: I've even noticed in stories where it used to be, oh, stories would be the place you would have to not edit anything, just throw it up there.
Michelle Lynne: Yes.
Linda Holt: Even on stories people are posting great photos in their stories.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, it's pretty crazy. Although I will say, thankfully there are those aforementioned filters.
Linda Holt: Yes. Oh, yes.
Michelle Lynne: They take a little bit of the work out of those selfies.
Linda Holt: Yes, exactly. It's like the Zoom filter. I have that baby turned all the way up to 100%.
Michelle Lynne: Zoom filter? Hold on.
Linda Holt: Oh, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: I didn't know that.
Linda Holt: Yes, there's a Zoom filter. It's called the appearance filter.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I'm gonna have to find that.
Linda Holt: Oh, yeah, it's in settings, and mine is all the way up to 100%. If it would go to 1000, I would put up there.
Michelle Lynne: That's amazing. I'm going to check that out in just a little bit. Yeah, cuz you guys can't see, but I'm actually in this yellow-orange room at a co-working space because my internet went out at home. So I really need the filter today, Linda, thankfully, this is just audio.
Linda Holt: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, goodness, I love what you're doing.
Linda Holt: Thank you, I'm loving it too. I'm really, I am so passionate about empowering designers. Because I honestly think they've kind of been, you know, kind of sold a bill of goods that isn't true. Where, oh, you have to hire a professional, you have to, you have to. You do not have to. But you have to have great photos. So if you don't want to take the time to learn it yourself, then yes, you have to hire the professional. But if you're willing to invest a little bit in time and money, you will not have to hire a professional again. Or another tip is, hire the professional for what I call the money shot. Hire them for that big room with a window light coming in, and they want to see the ocean in the background, but all the furniture needs to be in view. Okay, that is definitely very complicated, because it's multiple shots, and it's editing and sandwiching them in to make it one photo. Hire the professional for the really difficult shot, then send them home. Just say, I want you for, you know, one shot. You can do all the vignettes because remember, that is where the cell phone really shines is with the vignettes.
Michelle Lynne: And the clients, while they want to see those large photos, you're gonna still have a lot more content when you're going through and taking those smaller vignettes. And you can also show the level of detail that is put into your design. So I think if you start looking for reasons why it works, you'll find a lot.
Linda Holt: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Well, Linda, I love talking business. And I get so excited, especially about empowering our industry. But in the interest of time for our audience, I want to switch into our next segment, which is our rapid-fire Q&A session. Which is just, nothing's off the table and our audience gets to know you just a little bit better on a different level.
Linda Holt: Okay. Oh, God, this is a scary part. Okay.
Michelle Lynne: Well, we will start off easy. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Linda Holt: Oh, gosh, that is a tough one. I'm easier probably to say, what don't you like? Because I like all ice cream. One kind I don't like. I guess if I had to pick my favorite-favorite, mocha chip.
Michelle Lynne: Ooh, yum, yum, yum, yum. Okay, what is the best compliment you have ever received?
Linda Holt: Your kids are great.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. When was the last time you laughed until you almost peed yourself?
Linda Holt: Oh my gosh. I would say about a month ago when I had lunch with a friend and I thought we were gonna be thrown out of the restaurant, we were laughing so hard about something.
Michelle Lynne: Those are always good ones. What is your favorite productivity hack?
Linda Holt: I use an email filter called SaneBox. And it divides my emails into like important ones, later, news, blogs, and I can filter them out. So I used to get like hundreds and hundreds of emails a day. Now I get like five or six emails a day.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I am gonna go check that out. I wrote it down.
Linda Holt: It's called SaneBox. That's my favorite-favorite. Because email for me was a struggle. I was always missing important emails. I was flooded with spam. And they have something called black box. So if you get an email and you don't want to go through the hassle of unsubscribing, put it in black box. You'll never get it again. And no one will know you've unsubscribed. So if you have some vendor that you don't want to offend by unsubscribing or a friend who publishes a blog that you never read, flip it into black hole and they'll never know.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, amazing. I'm totally gonna check that out. Okay, if you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Linda Holt: Oh, superpower. Being able to speak every language that there is because I love to travel. And I want to be able to talk to everybody when I go places. So it would be at least knowing 10 languages.
Michelle Lynne: That would be amazing. Can you imagine the efficiency you could travel?
Linda Holt: Oh, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, innie belly button or outie?
Linda Holt: Innie.
Michelle Lynne: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Linda Holt: Corner fireplaces. And I have one, to make it even worse.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, that's perfect for this audience. Where do you find inspiration?
Linda Holt: Travel and nature.
Michelle Lynne: There you go, going back to your 10 languages.
Linda Holt: Yep.
Michelle Lynne: Okay. What would you say has been your biggest failure, and what did you learn from the experience?
Linda Holt: My biggest failure? I'm trying to think of something recent. Well, maybe not that long ago, a year ago, I decided to do a different way of introducing my class and I did this big live launch. And it was a failure. For me, it was a failure. I didn't sell nearly as much as I wanted, went back to the drawing board, started all over again, and relaunched and then had a successful one. But for me, that one that I put so much time into, it just did not work.
Michelle Lynne: Interesting. Interesting. Interesting. Yeah. And you learned just what your audience needs.
Linda Holt: Yep. Yep. Exactly.
Michelle Lynne: Well, and that goes back to you can't be, I don't think we talked about this today, but you can't be all things to all people. You have to honor exactly your own lane and you will attract the people that understand and relate to it.
Linda Holt: Yeah, exactly. And that is, you know, I listened to people that I shouldn't have listened to. And, well what I actually did was I created a general public photography class, and I shouldn't have. I knew I needed to just stay with designers, but I had several clients and friends say, oh, I'm not a designer but I really would love to take your class. I created the class, and it was a huge amount of work, a huge amount of time. And I had this big launch and I sold three.
Michelle Lynne: Whomp, whomp, whomp.
Linda Holt: I know exactly. So that was it. I still have it. I've not promoted it since. And I've gone all in and just really focused on making my signature course for designers and stagers the best it can be. And it's always tweaking that and just, there's, go buy somebody else's photography class.
Michelle Lynne: There you go. Either that or buy it and just ignore those other five modules.
Linda Holt: Exactly.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, so, last one, actually two more. What is your favorite book?
Linda Holt: Oh, I just read a book that I loved. And it was called, The Big Leap. And that really resonated with me. I can't think off hand
Michelle Lynne: It's not Simon Sinek?
Linda Holt: No, no, it's not him. No. Gay Hendricks, I think it is. And I really resonated with this thought of you hit these plateaus, and you self-sabotage. And you really have to, like, get through that to get to the next level. And I have found that in my life. You know, when things don't go well, I just, I resonated with the book. So that's The Big Leap.
Michelle Lynne: Interesting. Yeah.
Linda Holt: I really liked that a lot.
Michelle Lynne: I have seen that. I might even have it on my list. I might just have to put it in the cart.
Linda Holt: Yeah, I liked that one a lot.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, good to know. So the last, last question is, if you could have dinner with anybody, past or present, who would you invite?
Linda Holt: Dian Fossey. I know that's a weird one. But I'm a nature lover, and I would love to talk to her. She's the woman, she's the one that goes to the apes in the midst. She studied the apes. She lived in the rainforest for 40 years and studied the apes in Africa.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that would be an interesting conversation. What do you think you would serve?
Linda Holt: I don't know. I'm just, oh, what I would serve?
Michelle Lynne: What would you serve for dinner?
Linda Holt: I don't know.
Michelle Lynne: I know it's a random question.
Linda Holt: Yeah, I don't know.
Michelle Lynne: It's not even on my list.
Linda Holt: She might be a vegetarian. I think I read that somewhere about her. So I don't know.
Michelle Lynne: That would be an interesting conversation, though.
Linda Holt: But I've always admired her a lot. Because she was like, she pioneered the whole idea of conservationism, with the animals and I am a, you know, science geek, nature lover, love animals, and certainly love conservation. So I just think it'd be fascinating to talk to her.
Michelle Lynne: Agreed, especially as a woman to a woman.
Linda Holt: Totally off, I know. Totally like, what?
Michelle Lynne: Oh no, that's one of those random questions. It's like, who would you invite, you know?
Linda Holt: She just popped in my head. I don't know. There's a million people I'd love to have dinner with.
Michelle Lynne: It would just be one big party.
Linda Holt: Yeah. Oprah. I'd like to have dinner with Oprah. She'd be fun.
Michelle Lynne: She would be inspirational.
Linda Holt: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Well, Linda, I know that our audience has loved everything you've had to say and are probably interested in your course. So tell us how we can follow you, how we can find you, how we can connect with you.
Linda Holt: Sure. So I am Linda Holt Creative pretty much everywhere out there on the internet. So if you type in Linda Holt Creative, that's what I am on Instagram. That's when I'm on Facebook. That's my website. That's my email. It's everything. And one thing I can offer your listeners that might be interested is, I have a free e-book download, and they can grab it either off my website or in my bio on my Instagram. And it's five tips for magazine-worthy interior photos.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, perfect.
Linda Holt: And it's five different things that they can do to you know, to tackle their interior photography. And it's free.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. I think is such a great resource.
Linda Holt: Yeah, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: I'm gonna go download it myself probably.
Linda Holt: Great.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, fun, fun, fun. Well, thank you. I will make sure that all of that information is listed in our show notes. Absolutely. And I'm looking forward to how we can connect again in the future.
Linda Holt: Great. I would love to. And my course too is also on my website and in my bio and all that.
Michelle Lynne: All the things.
Linda Holt: I'm really easy to reach. People DM me all the time. I'm the person that responds like immediately. I don't have a staff. So if you DM me, it's me responding to you.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. That is so important too. It's just, that's why it's called social media because it should be personal.
Linda Holt: Exactly. I have a just quick, funny story I'll tell you. I hired a 23-year-old social media whiz kid back in the pandemic. And he would, I did a Dropbox of photos and then he was gonna write the captions, I'd go through, read them and approve them. Oh my god, Michelle, it was hilarious. The things that he thought an older woman would say. But the one that took the cake was, one day he wrote, I'm ballin' my interior design photography. I had to look up the word ballin'. I'm like, what the heck? I thought it was something obscene. It just did not work out. So to this day, my husband goes, you're gonna go ballin' your interior design work today? So I realized after that I have to do this myself. I can't have someone else.
Michelle Lynne: That is greatness. So I will say, admittedly, I've had one, two, three different firms who were doing my social media. I finally found one that can capture my voice. I don't say ballin', you know, but I do have a quirky voice and so forth. And it has just been, as much as I love social media, I had to practice what I preach. I don't make money posting on social media.
Linda Holt: I know. That's true.
Michelle Lynne: I make money running my business and designing and stuff like that. But I do, I answer my DMs because I just think that's so much more fun.
Linda Holt: Yes, I agree.
Michelle Lynne: All right. So for those of you in the audience who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, join the growing community on my Facebook private group. It's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. And I know I make fun of it too. It's Facebook, but it is the best place to have a private group. We are very active, very supportive. I go live training weekly. And we have some amazing workshops and speakers and stuff like that in there. So come join me, Interior Designers Business Launchpad. So, Linda, thank you for being here.
Linda Holt: Thank you so much, Michelle, this was a blast. I loved it.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, me too.
Linda Holt: Thank you so much for inviting me.
Michelle Lynne: We will catch up with you guys soon.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all. If you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with the name and get even more business advice, then join me in my Facebook group, the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast. So please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition. So let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.