Ed Gregory: Popular Youtuber, Photographer, Ex-blue Man
Our Guest Today: Ed Gregory
Ed Gregory, founder of Photos in Color on YouTube, is a master photographer in Lightroom, Photoshop, and photography tutorials. Ed is the second successful YouTube we’ve interviewed on the show (the first guest was Bob from FlavCity).
With nearly 300K subscriber on Youtube, over 15 million page viewers, Ed is quite a celebrity among the people who follow his work. (A side note on how YouTubers make money: it actually has nothing to do with the number of subscribers but individual video viewership and how much of the ad someone watches. In addition, many YouTubers get paid through sponsorships and collaborations, which he will speak to as well as part of this episode!)
“I can’t sit still. I can’t not create. I can’t not get things done.”
“Ed also runs PhotosInColor.com is a place for creative photographers, videographers and artists to come and be inspired.
His work needs little introduction, but what brought us together is Dan Cooper (my producer on the Feisworld Docuseries) and Ed’s innate ability in all things creative. Ed worked with us as the Director for the docuseries, in addition to a number of other video production engagements for Feisworld clients.
Originally from the UK, this is another successful immigrant story. Ed now lives and works from Las Vegas. He runs a beautiful, state of the art studio that is not only the home base to his popular YouTube videos, but also the destination for some serious clients of his own from photography and video production.
“I want 100% of the risk to be on my shoulders.
The way Ed works with his clients is mesmerizing. He has a unique ability to make people feel comfortable very quickly. He told me that he starts every project with a cup of coffee or tea, and sit with the clients before the camera is turned on.
Thanks to Ed’s humor and styles as a director, I went from feeling self conscious as an on-screen talent for Feisworld Docuseries to being completely at ease. Plus I knew with Ed’s camera skills, he’ll make sure my guests and I are looking our best on camera, despite a few hours of sleep every night over the course of two weeks.
Beside Ed’s clear expertise in videography and photography, he was a serious dancer in ballet for the first 20 years of his life. He spoke to his learnings, teachers and some painful memories as a young dancer. He also worked as a Blue Man in Blue Man Group before starting his own business for Photos in Color.
Write it down, create a plan and just deliver it non stop. That’s really what I’ve learned is done is better than perfect.Ed Gregory
- [05:00] You are excited about and for everything, is that true?
- [06:00] Have you always had the same personality?
- [09:00] You studied Ballet at a time where it wasn’t very common for boys. What that the case in the UK and what was your experience in that regard?
- [13:00] How old were you when you stopped dancing Ballet? What kept you there for so many years?
- [15:00] What were some of the main challenges you had and how did you overcome them?
- [17:00] What happened after you left dance class, and how did that lead you to become a Blue Man, YouTuber, etc
- [26:00] How is it like to be a Blue Man? What is so special about the show? How is the experience to be surrounded by such a diverse group of people?
- [29:00] You are generally very warm and you make people feel very comfortable. Did your past experience with Ballet and Blue Man Group have to do with that?
- [31:00] How did the YouTube channel start? What was your intention behind it?
- [36:00] Who taught you photography?
- [37:00] How many times did you bounce around until you found your niche with Lightroom?
- [39:00] How do you come up with your product categories and names?
- [40:00] Who is your avatar, primary audience, ideal client?
- [42:00] What would you have done sooner, in your experience? What would be your advice to other YouTubers?
- [44:00] What is an example of a Hero Content?
- [46:00] How do you balance the amount of time/effort you spend on hero content vs main content?
- [48:00] If people want to find you, how do they do that?
I believe there’s something in me that means that I can’t sit still. I can’t not create. I can’t not get things done.
I was like, I don’t want to be signed. I want to do it myself. Because if I’m signed, then I’ll relax and I’ll hopefully be successful. instead. I want 100% of the risk to be on my shoulders.
You have to learn the technique of things that comes from doing ballet, as a child, counterpoint, how to do an arabesque. You learn to play so that when you’re performing, you can tell a story. As a Blue Man, I had to learn the technique of how to be a blue man. So when I walk on stage, I forget all of that. And I just get on with like interacting with each other.
Hero content takes just a lot of brainpower because you don’t think about what you’re doing. You think about how it’s going to affect the audience. You’ve got to come at it from the opposite direction.
Write it down, create a plan and just deliver it non stop. That’s really what I’ve learned is done is better than perfect. You’ve got to be doing constantly and focus more than anything on interaction with human beings.
Ed Gregory Popular Youtuber, Photographer, Ex-blue Man – Powered by Happy Scribe
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I believe there’s something in me that means that I can’t sit still, I can’t not create, I can’t not get things done. I was like, I don’t want to be signed. I want to do it myself. Because if I’m signed, then I’ll relax and I’ll hopefully be successful. Instead, I want 100% of the risk to be on my shoulders. You have to learn the technique of things that comes from boom ballet as a child, how to point, how to do an Arabesque. You learn a plea so that when you’re performing, you can tell a story. As a Blue Man, I have to learn the technique of how to draw. I have to learn the technique of how to be a Blue Man. So when I walk on stage, I forget all of that and I just get on with, like, interacting with each other. Hero content takes just a lot of brainpower because you don’t think about what you’re doing, you think about how it’s going to affect the audience. You’ve got to come at it from the opposite direction, write it down, create a plan and just deliver it nonstop. That’s really what I’ve learned is done is better than perfect.
You’ve got to be doing constantly and focus more than anything on interaction with human beings.
Hi there. This is Fei Wu and you’re listening to the Face Feisworld podcast. Today on the show, I’m joined by Ed Gregory. Ed is a master photographer who likes to give lightroom photoshop and photography tutorials on YouTube. He is the second successful YouTuber we’ve interviewed on the show. With nearly 3000 subscribers under Photos and colors on YouTube and over 15 million page views, ed is quite a celebrity among the people who follow his work, a site know, by the way, on how YouTubers actually make money. It has nothing to do with a number of subscribers, but individual video viewerships and how much of the ad someone actually watches. In addition, many YouTubers do get paid through sponsorships and collaborations, which Ed will speak to as well. As part of this episode, Ed runs Photosincolor.com as well, which is a place for creative photographers, videographers and artists to come together and be inspired. Ed’s work needs a little introduction, but what brought us together is first of all thanks to Dan Cooper, my producer on the Phase World Docu series, and Ed’s innate ability in all things creative. He worked with us as the director for the Faze World Docu series, in addition to a number of other video production engagements for the Face World clients.
Originally from the UK, this is yet another successful immigrant story, even though here the definition of an immigrant is loosely defined because, as I had to look up, immigrant is someone who has chosen to live in a foreign country permanently. Ed is someone I think will always be on the move, will never be quite settled wherever he is. But for now, he lives and works in Vegas. He runs a beautiful StateoftheART studio that is not only the home base to his popular YouTube videos, but also the destination for some serious clients of his own. From photography to video production, the way Ed works with his clients is just mesmerizing. I love watching him. He has a unique ability to make people feel comfortable very quickly. He told me that he starts every project with a cup of tea or coffee, and he sits with the client before the camera is ever turned on. Thanks to Ed humor and style as a director, I went from feeling quite self conscious as an on screen talent for Face World Docuseries to feeling completely at ease. Plus, I knew with Add camera skills, he will make sure that my guests and I are looking our very best on camera, despite a few hours of sleep every night living from airbnbs over.
The course of two weeks.
Besides as clear expertise, he was also a series dancer in ballet. For the first 20 years of his life, he spoke to his learnings, his teachers, and some uneasy memories. As a young dancer, he also worked as a Blue Man and Blue Man Group before starting his own business. For photos in color, please visit feisworld.com to check out links and other resources related to this episode and some teasers for the Phase World Docusers as well. I’ll see you at the end of.
The show you’re excited about and for everything. Do you agree with that?
I would definitely agree with that. That’s always what people have said to me, always and always how I’ve been. And people don’t like it sometimes because it comes across disingenuous people. Often in my life, I’ve had many occasions where people think that I am just fake. I’m just putting it on. The whole thing is rubbish. This dad and the other. And then I still know them, like, six months later. And honestly, I couldn’t even count the amount of times that people will say to me. They’ll sit me down and say, hey, Ed, can I just apologize? I’m like what for? And they’re like, Because I didn’t like you. I know that I didn’t like you, but I thought that you were fake, or I thought you were like this. But now I’ve known you for six months, a year, two, three years, and you’re just the same person. Like you are just like that. I don’t know. I had a very happy upbringing. I’m very privileged.
Yeah, all right. So, I mean, in case people haven’t figured out that you’re English, I’m curious, did you grow up with anybody? I don’t want to say a lot of people, but with anyone who was like you as happy and as vibrant as bubbly as you were or you are now.
I guess that’s hard to answer because I don’t see myself as this. Your first question was, like, is everything really happy and everything I’ve gone through some dark times in my life, and I would say that I was privileged in the way that I had a very odd upbringing and not privileged in the way that my parents were privileged, and they gave me this great upbringing. I was privileged through experience that I stumbled in to ballet when I was three. And that wasn’t because my parents wanted me to do ballet. That wasn’t because my family were all into dance and art and acting and anything. Nothing at all. All of my family are like teachers, like doctors, nurses, like normal jobs. So I wasn’t pushed into anything. But I stumbled into it when I was three. My best friend growing up, amy Jones. Shout out to Amy. She’s amazing. Still my dearest friend. She is like, six months younger than me. And at like three and a half, little girls go to ballet class. And we did everything together. So apparently I don’t remember, but apparently I said to my mom, I want to go to ballet.
And my mom was like, yeah, okay. It’s kind of like but apparently I wouldn’t let it drop. Even back then, I wouldn’t let it drop. I was like, I want to do what Amy does. Amy does this thing, and she comes back with, like, three whatever. And I found out about it, and eventually my mom was like, okay, we’ll take you to the Academy of Dance. So I showed up to the Academy of Dance with little boys that never had a boy before.
And my mom called and was like, hey, do you take boys? And the dance school was like, Judith, a little wood was like, well, we had a syllabus, so, yeah, bring him in. So they took me to one thing, thinking, oh, I’m going to hate this. I’m going to realize it’s the girls, and disappear and be like, I don’t want to do that. I stayed at that school until I was 19.
So that’s 16 years.
16 years. I did classical ballet, classical tap, jazz, the whole gymnastics. I was terrible at gymnastics, the whole thing. I absolutely loved it. And from about the age of nine, I quit every year. I was like, no, can’t do it. Because you get bullied at school. You get like, people see you differently, all of these different things. And I was just privileged that I had a family that supported me. They took me and they fetched me, and they paid for my exams. They paced my classes. We did the show every year. My mom showed up backstage and worked. Like, I just had to support everybody supported me. Everybody thought it was a bit weird, but everybody supported me.
I mean, is that weird anymore? I mean, we’re very close in age. I can remember 30 years ago in China, for a little boy to be so into dancing was a little bit strange. These days has gone a lot better.
Right now, it is the best time to kind of be a creative, be an artist, be a dancer in my hometown. I remember the first time I met another male dancer. I remember it clearly. It’s another one of my dear friends Ben. And I kind of made friends with him because all the way through I was at high school at this point, so I’m like 1314. He was the year below me. And I went to see the Christmas player like you do, and there was like, a boy dancing in the Christmas show at high school.
Yeah. And I was just like, I’d been dancing for twelve years, and I would never dance in the high school show. I was like because it was a separate life to me. I had school life, and I had I was very fortunate. I was in kind of the cool crowd, so I was very fortunate. They all knew I did dance, but it was like this thing that I did and I didn’t bring it into school. And that was how I figured out how to survive. Whereas I went to see this kid and he was just dancing, and I was, like, literally mind blown. Like something changed in me. And I didn’t talk to him for six months. I would always see him around school and I would just watch him constantly.
Just in case he wasn’t going to get beaten up or bullied or whatever. Yeah, he’s one of the nicest guys ever. Loads of friends, super. But he was awesome. And then my mom, when I was like my mom just got home from school and she just slides me, like, the newspaper and added in the paper there was, like, West Side Store, like, local amateur dramatics group. We’re doing West Side Story. And they needed boys. They needed, like, guys to be in it. They were short in their youth, dead.
How old were you? Like a teenager at the time?
Yeah, I was like, 13. Something like this. For 13? I don’t know, something like this. And I’d been having a bit of a tough time with the dance world at that point. All of those things were tough. And my mom just kind of, like, slid it to me because I was always into theater and stuff and always see shows, but I’d never done any acting. I had done it like school, but not outside of it, just to see what my response was. And she told me, like, years later, she was like, it was amazing. She slid it to me, I read the headline, and I picked up the phone and called instantly. And I was just like, zoom. Yeah, I’m in. I want to go do this. This would be great. And then I showed up to this youth group who’s there this guy Ben, who was in the Christmas show seen six months before. And I walked in and I’d never spoken to him, but I felt like I knew the guy. And we became, like, instant friends. And I walk in and there’s, like, twelve other guys, like, dancing. None of them were trained.
They’re all, like, doing theater dancing as, like, a train dancer. But either way, I was like, I found home.
How did that feel? How did that feel?
I was like, amazing. I was like, These are my people. I finally felt like I actually stopped separating my performance and dance and everything in the next two years. After that, I started allowing myself just to bring it in more into my day to day life. And what was really, like, my kind of grades at dancing, they were fine, but they kind of dropped off a little bit because I was having a tough time and I kept quitting. And then I’d go back two months later because I quit, but I just didn’t want to quit. And then I joined the youth theater group. And then within a year, I was winning awards. I was getting the top results, like, in my dance school. But then I got nominated for national awards, and all of a sudden everything went up because of confidence. I don’t care. I’d have arguments with the head of my dance school who would, like, talk to people. They’re like, whipping, and they’re, like, really tough on the girls. I disagree with her. And I’d have arguments in the middle of a class about this. She’d tell us all that would fail.
Like, my dance teacher told me I would never make it, no way I would fail, blah, blah, blah. It’s too hard out there. This, that, and the other. And I just stood up and just went. I was like, I’m not here for you to crush my dreams. Like, that’s not what I’m here. I’m here for you to teach me technique. I’ll make my decisions if I’m going to be successful, and I can get and I just went at her. And I happened a few times until the last time I actually walked out of my dance school and never returned.
So you walked out of the dance class, never returned when you were 19?
You know, Amy, aside, who was your best friend? Something you felt during dancing or the movements made you feel a certain way with the cohort of the community? What kept you there for so long?
Honestly, I don’t know. All I know, really, is that I think that artists are a type of person, just like mathematicians are a type of person. Like, you meet a math teacher, they’re all kind of the same. I feel like I’ll go meet a geography teacher, they’re all kind of the same. People talk. There’s thousands of blogs written about the CEO gene, like the type of person that could be a leader in a certain way. I believe that there’s something like, in me that means that I can’t sit still, I can’t not create, I can’t not get things done. That’s how I have always been. And it wasn’t like learnt or taught, you know? You know what I mean? Like I was never taught to be a certain way. And the reason I say that is my brother and sister, they’re so different to me. Very similar. Same gene pool, same thing. But the way that we’ve interacted with life and what we’ve achieved are so almost polarizing. Yet when we hang out with dear, dear friends and we’re like the same people, but I just have interacted with life so different. And I genuinely believe it is this experience that I had of being a dancer at a younger age I had to break through certain things that I think a lot of other people don’t hit until they’re in their early twenty s or late as like sexuality, you know, everyone thought I was gay.
Like I was gay, like when I was eight, I was gay. That’s what everybody thought, you know what I mean? When I was 1415, I always had girlfriends, always. But I was gay. Like so many people were just so I had to kind of open up this world of just being like, I don’t care what you think about me, I literally don’t care if I’m gay or straight or male or female. I also had that thing, male and female, this whole thing. Most of my friends were females, so I interacted with women in a very different way to all of my male peers and what that gave me, because I’m at a dance school, we do our dance shows. I’m getting changed at the age of like literally throughout puberty. All of those years, from being a kid to an adult, I was literally like getting changed in the same room as like 16 girls who are in my class. I was able to do a quick change and I’m changing them.
Not a big deal. Isn’t that beautiful?
It’s beautiful. That was my interaction with life. And in hindsight, when you look back, I was like, whoa. No other ones of my male friends, all female friends, hadn’t experienced literally anything like that. I didn’t know I was having it. I didn’t know I was having the experience. I’m just like.
You really lived a life. I find the ballet and the upbringing stories really fascinating and I think that in itself tells a very compelling story. I do want to talk about your later life as well. You were a principal Blue Men group performer and fast forward to most recently. You’re a very successful YouTuber maybe what happened 1st, second and third? I know YouTube is the most recent, but I don’t know Blue Men and.
The money thing first of all, I managed to get myself into one of the top theatre schools, somehow managed to do that. And I was on the Contemporary Theater course, which meant that we were doing all of these really weird plays. One play, I was completely naked, running around a field. My parents came to see that I was, like, doing on my head, like, with my legs split, with everything on show, I was, like, downing, like, two liters of water from a vodka bottle, then vomiting it all back up on stage. I mean, I was doing some pretty heavy stuff, and we would do that for, like, one show. Anyway, I get to the end of my course, and I kind of stumbled into this piece. We’d written this little four minute, I don’t know, like, theatrical piece, me and two buddies that I came up with, and then we developed it together, and then we had to do our end of the year. Kind of like, you show off, and then you do it to people, and you try and get an agent, okay? The head of the school calls me into the office and say, hey, Ed, we’re really worried about you.
And I’m like, Why? They were like, well, you’ve got your end of year. Like, you’re about to graduate, and no agents have called up that they want to come and look at you to see if they’ll find you. And I was like, oh, yeah, I know that. They were like, well, what do you mean? Have you not been sending your photographs out? And I was like, no, I’ve not seen a single photo out. So I had my professional headshots done. I have 50 printed. I still have 49 of those. The only one I don’t have, my parents have on their living zoom wall. I decided not to send out to a single agency. I was like, I don’t want to be signed. I want to do it myself. Because if I’m signed, then I’ll relax, and I’ll hopefully be successful. Instead, I want 100% of the risk to be on my shoulders. So we went in, and we did this show, and then it went really well. So then we decided to go to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and I started my first company next on Theater. It was a theater company, and we wrote shows at the age of, what, 22, 21, 22, I guess I would have been when I graduated theater school.
Wrote a show. So while I was at theater school, I managed to get a show in London, just a three night show. Somebody came to see a performance, and they took my show into London, which was cool. But then this one was a three piece, three of us, and it was a full 1 hour long show. Went to Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We managed to sell out every single performance we want to pick at the Fringe. We got five star, four star five star reviews everywhere. And then it was amazing. So we just went and had a blast up there. We then took it on tour around the UK and ended with a one week run in London. And then we got a tour throughout Europe. And then we were going to end at a festival in Germany. We had all of this about to be signed off. We’re opening in London when all this was happening. And then I got this call, hey, Ed, you want to go and audition for Blue Man Group? And I was like, what’s? Blue man group. Never heard of it. No idea what it was. Not really interested. It was in the West End.
And I knew kind of about it because some people had said, Ed, you got to see Blue Man Group. It’s like, it’s what you do. Because we were doing all physical theater. I studied clowning. I studied clowning. I studied comedy. So then Bloomberg calls me and says, well, somebody an agent calls me, was not my agent, and said, hey, one of our clients is called to say that you should audition for Blue Man. Can we put you up for it? And I was like, yeah, sure, but I’m not with you. But they were like, we just want to get you the audition. Blah, blah, blah. Long story. Went in, became a Blue Man for no reason. I should not have been able to become a Blue Man. I’d never hit the drums in my life, like the first audition. So I went in, and it was like a cattle call. So it was like a thousand people were auditioning. I had an appointment. So I went in. We went in in groups of 20, and they had the casting here, Tim Omiller, and they have Pippa from London casting all these people. And then we go in groups like 20, and then Auglian, who’s now a friend of mine, didn’t know him at the time, French Blue Man, comes out, and he plays this piece on a drum head, and he plays it right.
I’m sitting there, never drummed in my life. Never literally hadn’t drummed, had never held a stick. And I’m sitting there like, okay, so when it’s time, if your dog can play that on the drums. And I’m like, why am I here? And I was rehearsing for the show that I was opening in London the following week. So I’d take myself out of rehearsal. So I was just annoyed. I was like, I don’t want to be here. Goes up, killed it. Second guy, killed it, third guy. Everyone’s just nailing it. I’m like, Well, I’m not going to work out, because that’s not what it does. I don’t work out. I don’t fail, right? I’m going to at least have a go. So after ten people or so, when I’m like, I’m not going to go last. So I stand up and I’m like, okay, I’ll go now. And I walk up there and I wish they taped it, or if they did, I wish I could see it. I held these sticks and I just, like, slapped this drum head. It was so bad. So bad. However, I would be listening to the notes that they were giving people, and they said, concentrate on trying to connect with each person in the room while you’re drumming.
Like, try and focus, like, have a moment with each person. So I was like, okay. So I got up there and I was like I just gave my heart. I was like, I’m going to talk to each of these people as I do this.
With your drumsticks?
With my drumstairs, honestly. And then at the end of it, they were like, the end of the piece, it goes pat and then your arms up like that’s what? Zoom ender. I’ve never even seen the show, so I didn’t know this. And I just remember them to say at the end, it’s not like yeah, it’s not like it’s like this question. So I get to see and I don’t know how to hold drumsticks, so as I’m playing, the drumsticks are like this. They’re coming out of my hand because I don’t know that you’re not supposed to, like, grip. I’m hitting it and the sticks are coming out. And I got to the point where I’m like, if I hit one more time, these sticks are going to fly out of my hands. So I just go throw my hands up in the air. But no, just throw it up there and just, like, look around the room and, like, shop, you know? And then that was it. And they didn’t give me any notes. They just said okay. And then as I sit down, Tim O’miller goes, have you auditioned? What’s your name? And I was like, Ed Gregory.
Have you auditioned before? No. Okay, cool. Sit down. So now I’m like, okay, great. So now they think that I’ve been here before, and they’ve come back and I still can’t drop. This is literally the worst audition ever. Anyway, they call me back, and then I then go through the next five days of auditions, and I go back every single day and I got through. And then it’s sort of acting things, this, that, and the other gets. The last day were on the Blue Man stage got bold and blue, which is what it’s called when you put the makeup on. It’s the final round. It’s down to, like, seven people, and then the drums come out on stage. The current Blue Men in the West End are there to warm up, and I’m like, oh, man. Okay, Ed, can we see you first? And I’m like, you have got to be kidding me. I’ve been here for five days, and now you’re going to bring the drum head back up? So then I go on stage. Okay, we know you’re not a drummer, but can you just do this? Can you just try this? So they play the thing, and I said, no.
And they were like, oh, well, can you just try? And I was like, no, not at all. And then they asked me again, and I was like, look, five days ago or four days ago, I couldn’t drum. I’m currently in rehearsal to open my show next week. Like, I don’t have time to learn drumming, and I’m pretty sure it’s a skill that takes more than five days to learn. I couldn’t learn drumming five days ago. I can’t drum today. If you want to teach me the drum, teach me the drum, but I’m not going to make a fool out of myself. And they were like, oh, okay. So then I sit down and I’m like, that was a terrible mistake. I should have tried. I should have at least tried. Anyway, they called me and they said, okay, we’re going to send you to drum school. So they taught me. They spent six months training me to drum. That was how I got into Blue Man. That’s awesome.
Hi, this is Fawu, and you’re listening to the Face World podcast. Today on Face World I’m joined by Ed Gregory. Ed is a master photographer giving lightroom photoshop and photography tutorials recognized by over a quarter million people from around the world.
I think what you shared is kind of like they’re unstructured that blument actually come from all parts of the world, all different backgrounds, and you guys are kind of assembled together. You’ve been in shows where you’re probably meeting people for the first time. I mean, other than the rehearsal the day before or something. That’s kind of crazy.
So Blue Man has a couple of things which are completely different to any other show that I’ve done or been a part of or anything, and that as soon as once you’re a Blue Man, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been there for a month or 20 years, you have ultimate respect as a Blue Man. When you’re in that theater, all you’re the Blue Men, they respect you. And that’s really nice. You enter on this thing, and I don’t mean like you’re respected. I mean just like, your opinion counts, people get it. You’re a professional, so you’ve got to get it right every night. And that’s the whole idea. And that’s what brings me into the next thing, which is so crucial to the success of Blue Men and why Blue Men seem to do it for so many years. Me included, is PeerToPeer notes. That doesn’t happen ever. The director gives notes and then you do your job. That’s what happens in the theater and acting world. In Blue Man, you get trained, you go into a show, then after the show, the Blue Men sit around and you give each other notes. So me, as a new Blue Man, I could have been there for like six months.
And I can give a note to somebody that’s been there for ten years. It’s not a note like, you did it wrong. It’s more like this happened. Let’s discuss this. Yeah. Because so much of the show is actually improvised. It’s nuances, like these little tiny moments, and we’re having full on conversations, and we’re following each other’s lead and doing all of these things. And so you learn the rules. You learn the rules of a Blue Man. At the beginning, you get in, but it takes years to kind of expand your kind of character. But along the way, you have to fail. So you have to push your boundary. And then you’ll get a note saying, okay, that didn’t really work. Why was that a decision? Blah, blah, blah. And then you’ll go, oh, okay. I like to reach the boundary on this day. That is one of the key things for Blue. And then it keeps it really alive, and it’s like there can be tension. But equally, because of this and because the show is like an organism and we live within it, but it means that I can just fly to a city, get both, just walk on stage and do the show.
I love that. Something I notice about you and part of your talent that really helps with your business is we met for the first time when you’re shooting the workout video online course for the African twins. And within seconds, I knew how comfortable you made the athletes made Andy and Kevin Field for the first time. They’ve just met. You under. I mean, there’s a lot of light in the room. Must be really hot where they were standing, and they were doing that for the first time, but you made them feel really comfortable. So I think now it all makes sense between ballet and working in Blumenth group.
So, for me, something that’s really important, which is just social interaction. Every single business I run a number of kind of sub businesses. Every single one is based on interaction. That’s it. Whenever I talk to a new client, I don’t talk about what we’re going to do. I don’t talk about the technical aspects. It doesn’t matter. Like, all of those are guarantees. And that’s, for me, as a business as a whole, for me, is that you have to learn the technique of things that comes from doing ballet as a child. Right. You learn the technique, how to point, how to do an Arabesque. You learn a plea so that when you’re performing, you can tell a story. As a Blue Man, I had to learn the technique of how to draw. I had to learn the technique of how to be a Blue Man. So when I walk on stage, I forget all of that, and I just get on with interacting with each other. When it came to the Atherton twins and photography and video work, is that all these technical elements that surround people like the Atherton twins are there. They’ve never done a video like this before.
There’s lights on them. We’ve got multiple cameras. There’s all of these micro. There’s all of this stuff. My number one thing is, who cares? I completely make all of that stuff disappear in their head. When we’re ready to go, people are just chill. And that’s the number one thing for literally everything that I’ve always done, is, am I having a good time? And are you having a good time? That’s all I care about.
What I think is really interesting, it’s your backstory is something I haven’t really seen all that much on your own YouTube channel, Photos and Color.
Could you give us a sense, in terms of the raw beginning of the YouTube channel, did you think you were going to be successful? What was it intended for?
YouTube, like, that is a beast in itself and it ties into the whole social media thing and business as a whole. I started my YouTube channel probably five years ago, and I just saw some other people out there doing like, tutorials. And honestly, I just didn’t think that they were doing a great job. I also saw that they were finding some success, so it didn’t bother me that they were good or not good. I was like, I just think I can do this. And also, I was just attracted to the platform. I loved the idea of video storytelling. I loved the idea of learning things through video. I was a consumer of YouTube. I would sit there and watch it all the time. I love it. So I figured, I’m going to give this a go. And if you go to my channel, there’s some really funny stuff. Because the very first video I made, I went and sat in the woods and I talked about what Photos in Color is going to be. I came up with all of these ideas. And this is actually kind of an important point because I’ve learned a lot.
I wrote down what it was going to be. I was going to have all these competitions. I was watching all these other channels. They were successful and what they were doing. I thought about the website and a blog post and how that was going to look. And I did all this research, like for months. And then I wrote it all down, did all this stuff. And I got really excited. I figured it out, lighting. And then I went and made a video. And nobody watched it. Yeah, because nobody knew who I was. It was a brand new channel. So then I was like, okay, I plugged away and I was trying to do this. And then I did the interaction pieces. I’d be like, oh, tell me what you think about this or that. But I didn’t have an audience, so it was completely useless. But then I started going, well, let me interview some photographers that are doing really well. And then I would send them a little bit, kind of like what you do. And then I would review their photographs live in a video. And that got a little bit of traction, but very, very small.
What’s very small? Like under 1000?
Yeah. Back at that point, yeah. Really? I can’t even remember. But I’d be getting like, 32 views. And that was it. And that was like my friends. It was small. But then what I learned was I started learning about Titling and about keywording and this stuff and about sharing. But slowly, slowly, I did a few things. And then I got bored. I was back with zoom and group and I was performing.
And I did it take was it under a year, six months later, I.
Gave up after like I didn’t give up, but I stopped posting after like, two months. But it wasn’t because I fell in love with it. I got busy in life. That’s what happened. That’s my YouTube story. I get busy and then YouTube is the first thing that falls off every time it just fell off. And then I would be doing all this other stuff, and then I’d be like then I’d go back six months later and be, oh, I got 500 subscribers and I’ve got 5000 views because I hadn’t done anything. And the videos had just lived and people got there. So I was like, oh, I should post a few. So then I got back into it and I did it again. And then that was basically my story on and off, and I just didn’t do anything about it. And then something changed. This was about two and a half years ago. Three years ago, I decided I was going to be leaving Blue Man. I said, I want to quit Blue Man and I want to be a photographer and cinematographer. Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do. And I decided that because I’d found success doing it, people kept hiring me and I couldn’t find enough time to do it on Blue Man.
So I was like, you know what, I’m done with Blue Man. Eight years. So I figured out, okay, I need a marketing strategy. So I wrote down a two year marketing strategy for all of my businesses and I literally wrote down everything that was going to happen and what would happen at the two year date. And I worked backwards. So I was like what I actually discovered was I wanted to have a studio and I wanted to have clients, but I also wanted to sell products online, and I wanted to have a site that was viewed and used a lot. So I was like, okay, let me tie all of those in and let me see what I can do. This is what happened. I was like, okay, I want a website that’s going to do really well. So I created my own stock photography website. So that was the first thing that I did. I put that out there. Currently that gets around. I think it’s like half a million views a month. I have like it’s called stockpick Stok Pic.com. And then I’ve got probably 510 million views of my photos. That became so successful and some images were downloaded so much that news networks have written articles about the photographs because they are seen so much on the internet.
It’s kind of crazy. And then the other thing was I was like, okay, I’m going to start getting my YouTube channel going again. And I was deciding what my online products were going to be. I decided I was going to sell Presets for Lightroom, which edits all the colors in photos, but for DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. So for pro photographers. So I figured I was going to do that. Didn’t have the product, hadn’t built it, hadn’t created it, but knew I was going to.
Who taught you photography?
Okay, interesting. So you didn’t like drop, you didn’t leave Boom and group to go to some school to study.
I have taken zero courses ever.
And then you just build a successful course for professional photographers by you first learning through YouTube. I just want to pause and call that out.
Yeah, exactly. So I used YouTube to learn skills to then build an audience on YouTube and then sell those things back to that audience. That’s exactly what I did.
That’s what you do. So I decided I was going to sell these presets. So then I decided the Presets were going to live inside this program called Lightroom owned by Adobe. So I was like, okay, I’m going to become the number one viewed lightroom Tutorialist on YouTube. That’s what I just decided.
So you’re very specific. How many times did you bounce around before you found out that was your niche?
Well, I figured out what I wanted to sell. I was like in the photography world, I was selling Presets. The software is owned by Adobe created. They sell millions of dollars doing that. I sell a piece of code which you download and you install it and then it works inside somebody else’s software. I don’t need to support it. I don’t need to do anything. I literally sell a two megabyte code that gives you 2000 different options, new options that I created inside this.
Hi, this is Fawu and you’re listening to the Face World podcast. Today on Facebook, I’m joined by Ed Gregory. Ed is a master photographer giving lightroom photoshop and photography tutorials recognized by over a quarter million people from around the world.
How did you figure that out? Because that’s what a lot of people are thinking about. One what I just heard is ease of use. Right. Was it because as a photographer that was something that you desperately needed?
Well, yeah, it was something that I built my own presets. So I would do all these edits and then I would save my edits and I could use them across other things. So I was like, well, I do this. I could just sell this to other people. And there were other people doing it. But this is what I decided. This is what’s really important is that there’s a lot of people out there making presets because they’re easy to make. You just move some sliders around and you save it. Then you can export it and sell it. And what I decided was I’m going to make the best presets in the world.
I’m looking at your listing, like Urban View. Just lost that page. But how are you coming up with all these names? Vintage, contemporary.
And so what I would do is I would mimic old film stocks. So the vintage ones, I would go mimic old kind of vintage film stocks to give it that feel by adding the green, adding all of those magenta pushes, all the green pushes to make sure it all fits in perfectly. Then I’d go to some contemporary ones that would feel that way. We’ve got ones that are for urban, so they work really well for cityscapes boosting, the oranges and things like that, desaturating everything else to bring out all the colors and the lights and the buildings. And then I’d go to something which would be a nature one, and that’s going to be great. For landscapes. It’s going to kind of pull back the contrast a little bit, but it’s going to make sure your sharpness is really accurate. It’s going to make sure your color generation makes it look really great. I literally tested everything and then categorized it so that you can go in and purchase all the landscape photographers. So I’m going to buy this one. I’m a studio photographer, so I’ll buy that pack. Or you can buy them all together.
Do you find a lot of influencers, social influencers will be purchasing these presets? Like, who is your primary audience?
So my primary audience goes back to my YouTube channel, right? So what I did was I knew I was going to sell this before I even made it, two years before I started my marketing plan. And that’s when I became I am going to be the number one searched and viewed lightroom tutorials on YouTube. Meaning who’s the master of lightroom, ed. That was it. I needed to make me synonymous with lightroom. So that if you’re trying to figure out what lightroom is, you watch my tutorials. So I made a tutorial on every single slider, every single piece inside lightroom, teaching people how to make their own presets, everything. So I built the audience. And by the time two years had gone by, at that point, I’d won a YouTube award for my tutorial series and everything. I had 200,000 subscribers and I launched my product. And it’s a premium product. People sell presets for like $5. Mine are a lot more expensive than that, but you buy them once and they’re supported forever. So as I update them, you get 100% of the updates. I was nervous. You make this thing live and you go, is anybody going to buy it in my audience?
I literally go online and say, hey, I’m launching something exciting. And people went and they bought it.
You build the audience up to do you think you could have done that a little bit even sooner than that? I’m not saying we’re questioning 200K is the optimal number, but there are many people who are listening to the show are creators themselves, and they’re building their audience different ways. Instagram or YouTube, what would you have done it sooner? What do you recommend for your experience?
So I haven’t sold 200,000. I have, like, 14 million views on YouTube. I have not sold that many presets. Right? I don’t need to sell that many for me to make enough money off it. It’s not about how many followers, subscribers, views. You get all of it. It’s irrelevant. It is about the quality of those people. That’s it. I know exactly who looks at my stuff. I know exactly who my target audience is.
I want to talk just a little bit more about the do’s and don’ts that you think a YouTuber should know, especially people who are just still figuring things out right now.
The main thing is create a style, which you are known for. So I’ve got a great example, and I got rid of my style once I built my audience, because I flipped it. So I had this thing. It’s really weird. Yes. The way I do things, I have strategies, okay? And I build strategies in a way that pushes interaction, allows the audience to get involved, and then I can change it. That’s the biggest thing that I would say. Number one, don’t fear change. Like change. Get shit done. That’s what you need to do. But what I did was I created a theme tune. At the beginning of each video, I say, what’s up, guys? This is Ed Gregory from Photosyncolor.com. And today we’re going to learn how to do the tongue curve in lightroom. And then this music would start and I would stand up and I would dance for, like, 12 seconds. I wouldn’t dance. I would run around the room. I would do all sorts of things. Like, one of my favorites was the jellyfish. I did the scorpion because I got stung by a scorpion. So I did a scorpion kick. Stupid.
And what happened was people and I would always go, theme Tune so it became a bit of a tagline. So people started saying thin tune. And then people started, like, commenting on my dance and on how ridiculous it was, and that was really great. So it became like this thing that I had that I was kind of known for in a very small niche. Area. And that was really great. And it kind of brought the community together because people started laughing about it and talking about it. And then I bring Rosie in and she danced with me and silly things like this. And then what happened was I stepped up my game and I was like, okay. I basically was getting to the end of Lightroom. I was like, I don’t have any more tutorials to do, so I need to start trying to do things less niche and broaden. It was part of my marketing plan. It’s like you go niche, niche, niche, niche, niche. And then when you get the pinnacle, you have to broaden and create what we call Hero content. That’s content which is far more reaching than your regular content, but it’s still within the same, like, sphere.
What would be an example of a Hero content for photos and color?
Great. So if I was to talk about my normal content, would be Lightroom tutorial of how to use this, a Hero piece would be I have a video which is called 17 Things All Photographers Should Be Able to do in under 10 Seconds. That’s Hero completely in the sphere. But now that’s completely it’s not clickbait because there are 17 things in there. But this is like, really interesting to anybody and also just anybody who’s just vaguely interested in photography. But I wanted these 17 things that professional photographers should be able to do and it’s in under 10 seconds that’s Hero content.
Wow. So how do you balance will be the last question. How do you balance between the super niche lightroom specific tutorials versus something more Hero content? How much of each do you do?
Right? If you try and do everything as Hero, that’s great, and you might be a massive success. Hero content takes just a lot of brainpower because you don’t think about what you’re doing. You think about how it’s going to affect the audience. You’ve got to come at it from the opposite direction, right? If I’m doing my tutorials, it’s all about what I’m teaching. It’s all about just about like, am I getting the point across to how this happens? Regardless of what the viewer actually thinks of it, this is more factual. Like, this is what’s happening. Right? Whereas my Hero content, that’s all about how is this going to rank against other YouTubers? How is this going to rank on the scale of things? How is this going to appear in that sidebar when people are watching this video? How is this going to rank on this side? How is this title going to be Clickable? This is a completely different way of thinking. And when I figure that out, well, then I just box that into a video and I create the content that fits within that world. So I think about it the almost a reverse.
So that’s kind of the problem, right? Sometimes I feel like you could do only one thing, but not the other. Or as a creator, I disagree.
It’s the opposite. If you only do one thing, you put yourself at high risk, right? It’s a little bit like the stock market, right? Put all your stocks in one thing. If that fails, you’ve done. Five years ago, I gave away all my money, all my belongings, absolutely everything. I moved to Southeast Asia, worked for charity for a year, and literally shut down my entire life. It’s something I needed to do. By doing that, I just kind of hit zero. I live without electricity for six months. I had no cell phone. I had nothing. It was incredible. And then what I did was I had enough money in my bank account to fly back to the UK. And I flew back to the UK, and I had no money. At that point, I started again. Just have a go. And that was four or five years ago. Since then, I’ve been a blue man in, like, four countries. I run a production company in Vegas with a 7000 square foot studio space. I have some of the biggest clients in the world for photography and video. I have an award winning YouTube channel, and I have a stock download site that gets millions of hits a month.
The key is that not me saying, like, look at all these things. The key is that I did that in a short amount of time just because I get shit done. That’s the thing. Like, write it down, create a plan, and just deliver it, like, nonstop. And that that’s really what I’ve learned, is done is better than perfect, but you’ve got to be doing constantly and focus more than anything on interaction with human beings. That’s it. If you get the human interaction right, you have a business.
If people want to follow you and.
Find you, how do they do that?
Basically on social media. I only use photos in color. At photos in color. Go to Instagram. At photos in color. Go to YouTube. Photos in color. If you go to Facebook, go to photos in color.
Thank you so much, Ed. It’s been lovely. I look forward to working with you on my documentary.
And BAE. You’re awesome. I love you.
Hi there, it’s me again. I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode, and I hope you were able to learn a few things. If you enjoyed what you heard, it would be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the Phase Role Podcast. It literally takes seconds. If you’re on your mobile phone, just search for Phase Role Podcast in the Podcast app on iPhone or an Android app such as Podcast Addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.
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