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.

Arts & Crafts created For Seth Godin


Ever inspired to create something for someone just because?

Seth book cover only.png

Yeah, I had that itch that I needed to scratch recently, too…


I was fortunate enough to be invited by Ramon Ray to photograph his recent SmartHustle Conference in NYC and heard Seth Godin give a talk to the room.

Now, I’ve known about Seth for a while, because, well, he is the godfather of modern marketing...

...and, unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 10-15 years, you’ve heard of Seth Godin.

Either way, it was a privilege to hear someone speak as passionately as he does about relationship building.

His words about relationships, trust, fear and creativity deeply resonated with me in a way that I’ve never experienced before during a talk, and I’ve photographed a lot of keynotes, panels, workshops and conferences in my day.

Keeping this appreciation of the education I just received from Seth’s hour-long talk in mind, when I showed the photos to Ramon, the idea of creating some kind of a “thank you” momento popped up.

Specifically, the idea of creating a photo book was broached, and, at first, I was hesitant to put something like that together because, quite frankly, I’m a photographer, not a graphic designer.

But, by the same token, I wanted to create something for Seth to let him know that his words had a profound effect on me, so, I decided to screw the hesitation and tackle the challenge head on.

First thought - I didn’t want to just use the images I created because I felt that was a flimsy approach and not enough.

So, I deep dove into his treasure trove of blogs for several hours and handpicked 20 quotes that truly resonated with me - some of them were points that he touched on during his talk.

Then, I went to graphic design school for a couple hours and looked up typography pages to see how to lay out these wonderful words with the images I captured of him from the stage.  

This exercise alone gave me a brand new appreciation for the hard work and effort that graphic designers exert with their projects, because, let me tell you, it’s overwhelming to a newbie such as myself.

Once I had selected he quotes and how I wanted to present them visually on the page, I then spent an entire day culling through the photos I took of him and selected the ones I liked most and laid them out in Photoshop.

Then, I played around with image + photo combinations, which was a really interesting process.

I talk incessantly about the need for your photos to visually punctuate the stories you share with your audience, so, I went through the exact same process with Seth’s images and words...and, believe me, there was a lot of mixing and matching going on before the final layout was locked in.

Once I had the book where I thought I wanted it, I sought opinions from colleagues and mentors alike, and, ended up cracking open Photoshop again and adding in other elements, such as a pair of yellow-framed glasses that looked pretty similar to the specs that Seth wears (they’re not exact, but, I felt they were close enough!).

As I wrapped the design portion, I realized one issue - how the hell is he going to know that I’m the one that sent it to him aside from a sender’s address on the damn postage?

What did I do? I went old school and hand wrote a letter explaining who I am and why I made this for him.

I haven’t handwritten a note to anyone in YEARS, so, this part of the process was the most nerve-wracking of all because the last thing I wanted to do was mess up mid-way and have to re-write the whole damn thing again - it’s crazy, but true. (I cheated and wrote it out in a Google Doc first - shhhhhh, don’t say a word to anyone about that!)

Once I crossed all the T’s and dotted the I’s, I was ready to send this to print, which, in this case, I used  

Here is what I sent to Seth.

Several days after I shipped the book, an email from Seth popped into my inbox, and, he was very generous and appreciative of my effort, which really made it all worth it.

At the end of the day, the man inspires me to be a better marketer for myself and my clients, so the least I could do was let him know in my way that he’s awesome and I value his thought leadership - it clearly validates the direction that I’ve taken with my business and the lessons I impart on my clients

I also do look very much forward to an opportunity to photograph him again from the stage, :)

What are your thoughts on the book?

PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you, because I care, :)