We had the good fortune of connecting with Nathan Cool and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nathan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It wanted to balance what I love with making money. Doing “entirely” what someone loves to do rarely becomes profitable. So pragmatically I knew there had to be a balance. I pursued various genres of photography that mostly went nowhere and worked a fulltime day job to pay the bills. But when I ventured into real estate photography, it was like a window opened and rays of light shone through. It was a major turning point. I found I had a knack for real estate photography and clients liked my work enough to hire me. Moreover though, I saw potential in repeat business by going after clients more than just gigs. At the same time though, I was able to do something that was very comfortable and rewarding personally, while turning a profit.
What should our readers know about your business?
I provide real estate photography services including photos, videos, virtual tours and websites. I’ve also written best-selling books on real estate photography and I train other photographers from around the world. To be successful there is a certain amount of redundancy to your competitors, but you have to be different in some regards. That difference doesn’t have to be (and likely shouldn’t be) anything bizarre; I found that you just need to fill a need that the competitors can’t. A simple thing, for instance, is in your honesty, kindness, and trustworthiness. Your personality can go a long way in any business, and it is especially important in my line of work since I work with so many people each day (not just realtors, but sellers, stagers, designers, and others). But none of this came overnight, and there was a long period where I worked a full time job to pay the bills. But by working hard, never giving up, and, most importantly, striving to be the best I could be — in skill and kindness — my business grew with stable, long-lasting clients.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, given that the world is in lockdown from the pandemic, I wouldn’t want to visit anyone or go out. Even so, I’m not a hang-out kind or person. I don’t like to “watch”, I like to “do”. I don’t drink, and I’m not a foody, but I love the outdoors and I love my work — I live, eat, and breathe photography. So I guess I would have to say that if a friend did come into town, then we’d hike to the tallest peaks and photograph the most gorgeous scenes SoCal has to offer.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Two people standout: First would be my big brother Dan, who inspired me from a young age to pick up a camera and never stop shooting. Second is Rich Baum, a photographer in Sacramento whose tutorials set the foundation for everything I pursued in real estate photography.