Finding Color in the Everyday: Interview with Photographer Jeff Mindell

Full time photographer, content curator, and now dad, Jeff Mindell truly does it ALL. His feed is the perfect combination of professional + fun and his shooting technique makes the everyday seem a little bit more colorful. We're honored to feature Jeff on the blog to discuss his "eye for happy vibes" and what he's learned along his photography journey when it comes to networking with brands and his audience.

Instasize: Hello Jeff! Tell us about yourself and how you got into photography.

Jeff Mindell: Hey! I am a freelance photographer and content creator based in LA with my wife, son and tiny chihuahua. Photography has always been a hobby for me - I've loved taking photos and getting creative ever since I was a kid. I just never really considered it as a career until we moved to the west coast in 2011. After a couple years, I quit my 9-5 job to pursue my creative work full-time!

IS: Describe your style of photography, what is your favorite thing to shoot?

JM: I really love to capture beautiful color, interesting composition and an overall upbeat and happy vibe in my images. My absolute favorite thing to shoot is interiors - a clean design and well-lit interior just makes me so happy. I also really love capturing people, which is funny because I never really share images of other people (other than my family) on my social platforms. I guess the most obvious would be from other people whom I look up to, be it other photographers or creatives. I also LOVE to travel and exploring new places I've never been is one of my favorite things to do. I end up seeing things that might open my eyes to new aesthetics or trends, which in turn end up inspiring me in one way or another.

IS: We notice you work with a ton of brands and your photos are always so creative, what advice would you give someone who’s trying to network with brands?

JF: Thank you! My biggest piece of advice is always to just be yourself. People say it everyday, but it's actually worked for me since day one. This isn't an industry that has many pre-conceived parameters for right and wrong since everything in this world of social media is so new. For example, I was taught what a "proper" pitch or email looked like in business school, but I had no idea back then what my life would look like now. That my wife and I have created a life and businesses for ourselves out of literally just being ourselves. So when I'm composing an email or corresponding with a big brand, I'm just me. I'm casual and easygoing and I will probably open with "Hey!". At the end of the day, a brand might be working with me because I've put myself out there as someone who might be relatable or honest and so I'm just unapologetically myself at all times. Be 100% you and no one else.

IS: Your Instagram feed is so clean, we’re big fans over here at the InstaSize HQ! How do you maintain your photo aesthetic?

JF: I know what type of images are going to do well for me and which ones don't. I also end up just posting what makes me happy. The number one thing I try to keep in mind before I post something new is how it's going to look in my overall feed. For example, I won't post two sky photos next to each other. I tend to stick to cooler colors in general and like to have an even mix of lifestyle, personal/family images (which weirdly do way better than anything else I share), food, fashion, and behind the scenes of my creative work. You will also never see me post anything red or orange. I really dislike those colors haha.

IS: What are some pro tips to managing your social media content?

JF: Take it seriously, but not too seriously. I'd be lying if I said Instagram hasn't exploded my business and changed my life, but it's good (and healthy!) to have some separation of social media and real life. I obviously share a ton of my life with my followers, but there is also a whole bunch that I choose not to share. So I think setting boundaries for yourself is important. I'd also suggest having a plan for your content. Figure out the best time for you to post based on your engagement and decide how often you'll be sharing on social. For some people that's once a day and for others, it could be five times a day. When it comes to planning, you can make a content calendar that can help out visually if you are trying to manage multiple posts or platforms!

I'm just unapologetically myself at all times. Be 100% you and no one else.

IS: How have you utilized Instagram stories? Have any tips or tricks you'd like to share in regards to creating content for IG stories specifically?

JF: I love IG Stories. I'll admit I wasn't the quickest to jump on the bandwagon, but I love Stories now more than the actual photo part of the platform. I post on my Story all throughout the day and share with my audience what I'm up to, what I'm working on, behind-the-scenes, or literally just me hanging out at home with my kid. It's a really authentic way to connect with my followers and my engagement over there is ten times as much as I might get on a photo I post. I think the trick for me has been to make an effort to connect with as many people as I can and respond to as many comments as I have the time for. People are always shocked when I respond, but I think the one-on-one connection is what has really helped me up my Stories game!

IS: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

JF: Go out and practice your craft every day. Even if you have a few minutes, try and take a photo that might push you creatively or otherwise. You'll get comfortable with your camera and how to operate it. Also, take on every job that comes your way. There's no better way to step outside your comfort zone than by taking jobs that you feel like you can't do initially. You'll then gain the confidence to go out and take on the world.

IS: What is your favorite editing feature and/or filter on InstaSize?

JF: I love the cropping tool! More specifically, the pre-determined proportions I'm able to crop to. Sometimes, I want to post a square image, but more often now I'm also loving the portrait option that IG allows so this makes it super easy to do that ahead of time!

Thanks to Jeff Mindell for his awesome insights in the world of a content creator. You can follow Jeff on Instagram, Snapchat and his website.

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