John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

Follow the entreprenurial golden rule


How to inspire thought leaders to focus on sharing their expertise...



When I work with speakers, authors, thought leaders and other change agents...

...much of the initial conversation revolves around them pointing out what their competitors are doing with their image content strategy.

In several cases, this conversation borders on the obsessive and it gets to a point where I have to step in and remind them of what I like to call the Entrepreneurial Golden Rule:

Stop over-analyzing other people’s work - focus on your own shit!

Don’t get me wrong, it is good for business to see what other thought leaders in your industry are doing, but, by focusing on everyone else, you are diluting your potential and distracting yourself from figuring out how you want to show up in the world.

I know this from personal experience.

The moment that I quit my job and went out on my own, I went through a huge, creative crisis that lasted for several years.

While working with no direction as a jack-of-all-trades photographer, I was constantly looking at a wide variety of successful photographers - event, portrait and commercial specialists.

As I scoured their websites and social pages, I would constantly think to myself that I could just implement certain things that I saw into my own work and that would be the solution.


Know what all that comparing did?

It confused the hell out of me to the point of total frustration and almost compelled me to (in whispering voice), scrap the business and look for a full-time job!

Shhhh, let’s keep that between you and I, okay? 

By focusing on what everyone else was doing, it compelled me to copy/paste other people’s genius rather than giving myself the space to focus on how to create my own niche.  

After several years of rinse and repeating this extremely ineffective model, I fortunately, was approached by a client who was completely open to suggestions on the types of photos she should capture, which forced me to think about portraiture in a different way.

As a result, I created a solution based on a mixture of her image content needs and my experience behind the camera (working in television production, shooting headshots and events), and not what I’ve seen other photographers do.

By going this route, I was able to not only devise an image content solution for this one client, but, I realized I could apply this solution to other thought leaders, speakers, authors and other change agents just like her.

I also realized that while there are many lifestyle portrait photographers walking this planet, since I created my business based on my own specific skill set and experiences to serve a specific type of clientele, and then talk about it all through my unique voice, I am able to stand out in a different way from the rest. 

As a result, a brand, business, and more importantly, a deeply, passionate sense of purpose was born.

I am still very grateful and amazed at how all of that developed in such a short amount of time.

It’s one of those lessons I wish I learned earlier in life, but, screw it, better late than never, as far as I’m concerned!

Can you relate to this story? Have you compared yourself to other thought leaders in your space and saw how it affected the development of your message?

Please share your story in the comments section.


PS - Would you like to receive more posts like this delivered to you by the internet?

If you’re not already signed up for my 3x weekly email,  then go here and fix that immediately!

PPS - So, what’s your deal with your image content?

Thinking about giving it a refresh? 

Cool, I dig that.

Set up a time to chat here and let’s see if we’re a good fit to work on that together.