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Service matters: Q & A with Community Member Pascal Depuhl on QBCommunity

Quicken features Miami based product photographer Pascal Depuhl, Photography by Depuhl

What’s on your mind right now? We know folks who work for themselves have plenty to say about the business of doing business. That’s why we want to share your insights, ideas, and best practices. Today, we’re spending a few minutes with Pascal Depuhl, a photographer, and videographer who’s also an active member of this community.The last time we spoke with Pascal, he explained why his professional title at Photography by Depuhl is “Chief Mindchanger” and why he believes we all have a moral and professional obligation to give back.

Given Pascal’s focus on doing good, it was no surprise we caught up with him as he was recovering from jet lag after a whirlwind trip to Nepal. That’s where he’d been working with an organization dedicated to helping remote mountain communities get access to life-saving medical services. Pascal tells us why and how he got there. He also shares an unexpected realization that changed the way he thinks about and provides customer service.

Pascal, tell us about your film project in Nepal.

A helicopter flies the team into the remote mountains of Nepal.

Follow my IG feed for more photos from Nepal.

I was filming a documentary about a non-governmental organization (NGO) in a remote region of the Himalayas. When I say “remote,” I‘m not exaggerating. People in these villages have to trek for seven days through insanely rough mountains and valleys just to get to a bus stop. From there, it’s a 15-hour ride to the nearest hospital. Given these conditions, it’s no wonder the life-expectancy of a child under eight is just 50%.

This NGO organizes helicopter evacuations for villagers with medical emergencies and sets up outposts offering basic medical treatments and service. The group also helps villagers navigate the hospital system in Kathmandu.

What led you to offer your services to this inspiring organization?

I believe all of us – visual content creators, accountants, you name it – have innate abilities and skills. When we’re lucky enough to do something we love, and we’re good at, we must give back. I love being involved in projects like this one every few years. I arranged this trip to coincide with an assignment I was on in Asia for a different client. Since I was already on the ground, I knew my travel expenses would be minimal. I found out about this NGO and offered my services in exchange for covering basic costs.

For me, the goal is to balance commercial clients with projects like making this important documentary. Of course, when I’m shooting in Nepal, I’m not marketing my business or working for a paying client. But I think the trade-off is really worth it.

You’ve been running your own business for 25 years. What are you doing different these days?

Horst Schulze speaks about ServiceI don’t believe in change for the sake of change, but a recent experience has made me think about my customers in a whole new way.

I was behind the camera during a presentation at a medical convention by Horst Schulze, the former president of the Ritz Carlton. He explained the most important thing every great company does is not finding new customers. The number one thing is to keep the current customer.

When I was at the Ritz, I experienced the hotel’s amazing customer service myself. After the talk, I thought about what I do to keep my clients happy. I realized it’s never been my top priority. So, I started thinking about the small gestures I could make, things that don’t cost a lot of money or take much time but really add up.

Not long after, I had a shoot with a client who was driving in from two hours away. I knew she had to get up at 4 a.m., so the day before, I asked her how she likes her coffee. When my client arrived on site, I greeted her with a hot cup, made just the way she likes it. This gesture took zero effort on my part, but my client was so pleased, she couldn’t stop talking about it!

That’s a great story. How are you continuing to incorporate this new approach to customers?

Now I keep service at the forefront. I find myself constantly thinking ahead so I can anticipate the need of my customer. This kind of thinking helps clients engage better with my brand. But fundamentally, it’s not about making money. I want my customers to know I genuinely care about them.

Here’s an example. Recently, I was sharing the Ritz Carlton story with someone over lunch and saying how much I’ve learned by reading about the service culture at the Ritz-Carlton, The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. After lunch, I immediately ordered the book online and had it shipped to my friend’s home the next day. It just felt like the right thing to do.

Another shift is the way I work with the contractors and freelancers I hire for a shoot. Now, before each job beings, I let the crew know my philosophy about making great service a priority. I tell them the client needs to be blown away. Since everyone on my team represents my brand, it’s important I set clear expectations so we’re all on the same page.

None of these changes is huge. But simply being aware of the importance of customer service really does make a lightbulb go on – and then it stays on.

Before you go

What changes have you made in the way you think about, and offer customer service? We’d love to hear your story!

 


This post was originally published in Quicken’s Quick Books Community.

How Do I Grow My Photography Business? Use SEO to Shoot for the Sky

How I use SEO to grow my business.

How Does OWN IT Gold Ambassador Pascal Depuhl Grow His Photography Business? Use SEO to Shoot for the Sky

Behind the scene shots play a large role in the use of SEO

Photo by Gilberto Salazar

Meet our more recent Gold Ambassador here in OWN IT — Miami-based photographer Pascal Depuhl[Achieving that has much to do with how I use SEO.]

After falling into shooting images on a whim as a teen, Pascal honed his art over a number of years before starting his own company about a decade ago. Now he boasts an impressive lineup of clients, including National Geographic, SeaRay and Mars thanks to constant hard work and dedication to his craft.

We chatted with Pascal about the first big job that launched his career, how he learned to stand out in a saturated industry and the secret sauce for keeping your happy customers coming back for me. [Much of my success has to do with how I use SEO.]

Read on to hear his story!


Consistent branding across channels is important when you use SEO

Name: Pascal Depuhl

Business: Photography by Depuhl

Started: 2004

How did you start your business?

I’ve been getting paid for my photography since my late high-school years. I began assisting and apprenticing after college for four years [Read more about that in “This phone call made my career.” BTW a blog post is a great way to use SEO.] and got my first full-time job in 1996, but I only launched my company in 2004. I honestly don’t know what first drew me to photography! I was saving money to buy a mountain bike and ended up walking into a store and picking up a camera instead.

I opened up my own shop out of necessity. I had gotten laid off from two full-time photography jobs in 12 months and didn’t want to have to rely on someone else to earn my livelihood.

Who was your very first customer?

A friend of my dad had an ad agency that needed photos for one of their clients. I was a senior in high school when I got that job, and the budget for the whole thing — including travel expenses, food, lodging, film, processing, my time and equipment — was a little over $1,750 dollars.

My dad’s friend told me he didn’t care how long I stayed in Israel to photograph, as long as I didn’t go over budget. I was there for a month!

When did you know your business was going to work?

I got an unsolicited email from a company that provided a retouching service to photographers. I realized that they found my business online and were looking to sell me their service [To be honest at that time I did not know much about how to use SEO]. I was so excited, because I’d spent absolutely zero money on advertising, yet someone who didn’t know me figured out I was a photographer based on information that was out there online.

Today, what is your most effective means of getting new customers?

Everything I do, from writing a blog to keeping an active social media presence on sites like Instagram and Twitter, from putting on workshops to volunteering and being deeply involved in the local small business community [all good examples of how I use SEO to build my online brand], is done with …

How to shoot the perfect video – recap by the Blogger Union

#MrMindChanger and the Blogger Union

What is the big deal with video, anyway?

If you have yet to make your first video for your blog, then get this. It is estimated that three years from now, 82% of all online traffic will be driven by video. You have some time to get ready, so start now! During our October meet-up with the South Florida Bloggers, we learned the basics to making the perfect video.

south florida bloggers girls at how to shoot the perfect video.

And Pascal Depuhl—chief mind changer at Photography by Depuhl, a Miami-based visual content creation company—led the conversation. His school of thought was simple:

Create mind-changing video!

mr mindchanger pascal depuhl at how to shoot the perfect video.

#MrMindChanger

Because the perfect video will make you do something different. And bloggers have this as an end goal in mind as well. We want our readers and viewers to wear the cozy sweater we just layered on, and test out our favorite beauty products. Some of us want them to eat at the restaurants we frequent and order the lobster mac and cheese just like us.

So then now what? We took away some great pointers from Pascal last month and want to share them with you now. Let us take you to the beginning. It all starts with an attention grabber. Like a good blog post, your title has just a few seconds to draw in your audience. The same thing is true about the first glimpse to your video. Have you given your viewers something to care about? Pascal says that if that is not there, then you’re going to lose them pretty soon.

south florida bloggers workshop on how to shoot the perfect video by #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl

 

Here are some other “Video Don’ts” from Pascal:

  • south florida bloggers girl at how to shoot the perfect video.Don’t explain everything. We don’t need a play-by-play like in football. Just explode into the action.
  • No need for a long intro. Viewers might think they are watching the same video if you always start with the same introduction. Once you have their interest, then queue in cameo of self.
  • Make your videos concise. Put the edit together, cut it in half, and then cut that in half. A two and a half minute length video is a good place to start.
  • Have a hero. It can be a thing, a place, a product, or a service—not always a person.
  • K.I.S.S. – it doesn’t have to be long or drawn out. Keep it simple. And make it worth watching. Show us what you’re eating. Show us what you’re wearing. Show us where to get it, or who made it.

south florida bloggers girl 2 at how to shoot the perfect video.

Then we move on to the body of your video, which is what keeps viewers peeping through the end. A video is multi-sensory. You have auditory and visual senses turned on. Pascal shared that more than half of the content comes across on audio. So pay attention to sound. It is just as important as anything else you are providing in your content. And this will make the body of your video a bit heartier.

Let us not forget the end. It has to have a call to action (CTA). Where do you want to end up? People need to know what to do next. And once you have it all together, where do you want them to go? Here is your selling point. But please, make your CTA’s subtle. Leave the infomercials for late night TV.

 

In case you missed it, click the link here with the slides of the presentation from Pascal.

south florida bloggers learn how to shoot the perfect video from #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl


Join us this upcoming weekend to learn from veteran fashion blogger, Daniela Ramirez, on how to monetize your blog.

last year

4 Ways to help DASH

DASH Taste of Design 2016

Ever wonder how you can help DASH?

I don’t know if you know this, but DASH’s annual “Taste of Design”  gala is just around the corner (you did save that November 12th date, right?)tod

This fundraiser is put on by countless volunteers from the PTSA and the money that’s raised benefits your students at DASH. So now that you’re chomping at the bit to volunteer yourself, here are 4 ways you can help your kid’s school:

    1. Buy tickets

      tod-yellow

      I know, right? One of the best ways you can help is to be at the gala (and no this is not some lame high school looking event). It’s a party in the middle of the Design District, with food from world-class restaurants, great entertainment and a silent auction you would not believe. Help DASH and buy your “Taste of Design” ticket now.

    2. Volunteer

      You got the save the date mailer a few days ago, right? Did you stop to consider the volunteer who designed it, the one who had it printed, the volunteer who mailed it and the one who’s handing out the envelopes that the post office couldn’t deliver? And that’s just one postcard…

        1. …securing the space (btw the Gala is held in the Moore building, which is an amazing space),
        2. …negotiating with the entertainment,
        3. …coordinating all the restaurants that are donating food,
        4. …planning the decorations (you won’t believe the ones we’ve got from the Grand Florida Opera this year),
        5. …overseeing the live auction
        6. …keeping track of all the communications going out to parents and patrons
        7. …collecting, cataloging and running an amazing silent auction


      Sign up to volunteer
      to make “Taste of Design” a great event.

    3. Silent Auction Item

      We already have some pretty cool items for the silent auction like…

        1. unreleased Bulova Watches,
        2. a catered dinner for 4 at your home,
        3. a VIP tour of the Miami Herald printing presses and newsroom and lunch with  theMiami Herald’s president,
        4. hotel stays
        5. dinners
        6. trips, …

      …but we still need more, so why don’t you help us get some more items that we can auction off at the Gala? We’ve made it easy – you can download a cover letter from your PTSA that you can give to the person donating to the Taste of Design silent auction and a form that’ll go with each silent auction item.

    4. Donate

      OK, so we know not everyone can make it to the Gala, because of out of town trips, previous commitments. Don’t worry you can donate to “Taste of Design” right here of course we’d prefer to see you there, but there’s always next year.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s gala!

[This post was first published on the DASH PTSA website on October 30th, 2016.]
a couple of years ago

Speaking at Creative Mornings Miami

Pascal Depuhl gives a talk at Creative Mornings Miami on change

CreativeMornings Miami speaker sneak peek

Super excited to give a talk on change at CreativeMornings Miami in March. Vizcaya is going to hostCreativeMornings again (sorry can’t say where either). If you’ve never gone to a CreativeMornings talk, you really should go, I hear the speaker in March will be interesting – but you didn’t hear it from me…

What is CreativeMornings?

Sign up for the free breakfast and talk at CreativeMornings Miami’s website. CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Their free, monthly events feature a short talk and breakfast and you can learn more about them here.

If you’re looking for a great place to network with young creatives in Miami (or a few hundred cities worldwide), check out CM.

2 speakers – one screening

March’s Creative Mornings will be different (i.E. better) than usual, since there will be two speakers talking about ‘change’ and you get to hear both! On top of a delicious breakfast, a gorgeous location–yes you’ll be able to hang out at Vizcaya for free for the rest of the day–we’re going to be screening “On Wings of Hope” after the event wraps up.

a couple of years ago

“How to create the perfect video” – WordCamp 2016 talk

How to create the perfect video talk at #WCMIA 2016

A great video, is like a great blogpost.” says Miami based visual content creator Pascal Depuhl. “You need to capture the viewers attention in the first few seconds, like a catchy blog title – otherwise you’ll loose them.” Pascal, who has been creating still images for his clients as a commercial photographer for over 25 years, recently spoke at WordCamp Miami. Video is a recent addition to the services Photography by Depuhl offers his clients.

He went on to say that the story portion of the video, is like the body of a blog post. “Story trumps everything” says Depuhl “the perfect video must tell a compelling story, engineered to change it’s viewers mind.” Photography by Depuhl is known for creating videos and images, designed to be mind changing; he gave a TEDx talk on this topic called “the Art of Changing Minds“.

Finally you’ll need to know your Call-to-Action before you start production. “Video is powerful, so your Call-to-Actions can be subtle.

Here are the slides of the talk and the links that Pascal mentioned, which will be published on WordCamp.tv in a few weeks.

Slides:

Download a PDF of “How to shoot the perfect video” slides here.

Links:

TEDx talk “The Art of Changing Minds

How to change 100 minds in 15 minutes

On Wings of Hope film

Social Media

Instagram @photosbydepuhl

Twitter @photosbydepuhl

www.depuhl.com

a couple of years ago

50,000 views! Thanks!

50,000 views

50,000 views

Wow! Last week we passed 50,000 views on this blog and you’re the reason that’s happened. A huge heartfelt thanks to all of you, who read my blog. I’d love to hear which posts you like and what topics you’d like to have covered in future posts.

Thanks!

In know that in the grand scheme of the blogosphere 50K views is not a huge achievement, but I still wanted to express my gratitude. I appreciate you and am looking forward to providing more content focused on photography, cinematography and how I use technology to create mind-changing visual content.

Thanks again.

Your blogger

Pascal Depuhl

@photosbydepuhl

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