Amy Seder is a travel social media influencer and content creator who specializes in creating lifestyle and travel films and images for some of the largest brands in the world, including Hard Rock Hotels, Hilton and St. Regis. Amy is the co-founder of Away Lands, a blog and production company specializing in photography and creating short films about lifestyle and travel, showcasing a heightened and curated reality.
Amy joins the podcast to discuss her best advice on how to get started as a content creator and how to land your first clients. She also shares her story of how she and her fiancé, Brandon, grew Away Lands together. As well as how they went full time with it, how they've landed projects with brands, and so much more.
How did you become a travel influencer and content creator?
“What seems to be a unique story, getting into social media,” Amy begins, “Is I actually came from a commercial photography world. That’s kind of how it happened for me. I started getting interested in photography and video when I was 14. So in my first year of high school, I saved up my funds, to buy this teeny digital camera.”
“I don’t exactly know how I knew I was going to move to NYC and do fashion photography. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.” Amy took her first photography classes in the community college in her home town. Following high school she went straight to photography school, with a commercially focused program. “After that, I built a portfolio and moved to New York. I realized that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how to get a job. As a photographer, it’s all freelance and as a very young person, it was really overwhelming. It took me a number of years, but I made it through.”
In the episode, Amy shares more of her story behind trying to navigate the fashion photography world in NYC.
She came to realize that “To be a fashion photographer in the commercial industry, it had to be your be-all-end-all. If you didn’t put every ounce of yourself and everything you had into then it wasn’t going to happen.”
So, Amy decided to take a step back. “I had a day job that was paying the bills, and on the weekends enjoyed my life for a while. I started dating Brandon, my now fiancé about 6 years ago. From the time that we started dating, we started traveling and taking photos just for fun. For us it just kind of happened so organically. I didn’t start traveling until I was like 25.”
“We made a trip to Hawaii; my brother was living there at the time. This was very early, I think 2015. I remember seeing a couple of kinds of travel videos on YouTube, but the whole thing hadn’t hit yet! I’d always been playing with video but didn’t really do much or know much about it. We just shot around and then came home and started editing. Very shortly after we started getting all our gear and just jumped in. We were booking our first big trips and it was kind of our hobby, that we were doing outside of work.”
Looking back, do you think having formal training is necessary for someone wanting to become a content creator?
“Necessary? No, absolutely not” Amy shares. “Going to college is important, and obviously not everyone has to do that but it is a very definitive time in your life. For me, I just knew I wanted to do photography right out of high school. It was a bit of a different era at the time. Everything can be learned online now if you have the motivation and dedication to learn everything yourself.”
Amy shares in the podcast the benefits of pursuing a formal education, and how it helped her, particularly as someone who wanted to do more commercial photography. On top of this, she shares the power of practicing and creating for yourself, regardless of education and how your content is what’s important for networking and selling yourself.
How did your first Paid deal come about?
“Our first brand deals were not social posts. For us, way before I was getting paid for anything on IG or Social we were getting paid to make videos.” In the episode, Amy shares how when they started, she cold emailed hundreds of hotels ahead of their trip to South East Asia; pitching videos in exchange for stays.
“The first thing that happened after that trip, was a Sri Lankan hotel chain emailed us and said ‘We have 8 properties, and we’d like you to come out and shoot all of them!’ We were like, ‘This is cool, but this needs to be a whole separate trip, and you would need to pay for it now.’ So we ending up going to Sri Lanka, traveling the entire country for two months, and shooting every property! We totally undersold and overworked ourselves.”
Do you have a formula for charging for someone who is a more intermediate photographer or content creator?
“Pulling numbers is really difficult,” Amy admits, “But you can kind of think about how many hours this is going to take of your time. How much do you want to make an hour is one way to work backward on that. Then you have to compare that to what going rates are.”
“It’s always a difficult discussion, coming up with what’s an appropriate amount, but there are some of the norms. On Instagram, it’s like $1000 per 100,000 followers, at a high end for a lot of projects. But if someones asked ‘How about you do a post and 10 extra images,’ then you need to add on more for that.”
Tune into this episode of HLBD to hear more of Amy’s formulas for charing clients and usage fees, as well as her tips for pitching, how to use Content Creation as an alternative income stream as an Influencer, Amy’s plans for 2020 and so much more!
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Amy's Website: www.awaylands.com