Enjoy this transcript of my episode with Manny Ortiz. Manny Ortiz is a Chicago-based portrait photographer who inspired millions around the world. He became passionate about photography when his wife became pregnant with their first child. He then quickly taught himself photography while working as a police officer, and soon earned enough traction to pursue his passion full-time.
He boasts more than 250,000 followers on Instagram, and more than 675,000 followers on Youtube.
In this episode, Manny discusses dealing with imposter syndrome, balancing his work with family obligations, and why he embraces mistakes.
Transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
Welcome to the Pierre T. Lambert Podcast where Pierre interviews the best creatives in the world to share their tips and stories.
Enjoy & spread the word to your friends about this podcast!
Pierre T. Lambert is a travel & adventure photographer & YouTuber followed by over 600,000 people.
Find Pierre here:
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/pierretlambert101
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/pierretlambert
- Website: https://pierretlambert.com
Manny Ortiz is a Chicago-based portrait photographer who inspired millions around the world. He became passionate about photography when his wife became pregnant with their first child. He then quickly taught himself photography while working as a police officer, and soon earned enough traction to pursue his passion full-time.
Not only is Manny is followed on YouTube by more than 675,000 people and 250,000 on Instagram but he also has co-created his own photography lighting equipment a beauty-dish with Westcott.
▷ Full show notes on https://pierretlambert.com/2023/02/10/manny-ortiz-podcast/
I hope you learned something out of that episode! Now go crush it out there and remember to be nice with our planet – we only got one!
Please, SHARE this episode AND leave a 5* rating on Apple / Spotify – It means a lot, THANK YOU!
▷ Get Free Access to Pierre's bi-monthly TOP 5 email with inspiration, books, tips, gear and more – Join the tribe: https://pierretlambert.com/top5
▷ Twitter: https://twitter.com/pierretlambert
▷ YouTube: https://youtube.com/pierretlambert101
▷ Instagram: https://instagram.com/pierretlambert
[00:00:00] Pierre: Good morning, podcast, and welcome to new episode on the Pierre T. Lambert Show. I hope you're having a beautiful day and that you're ready, because today, we have a guest that I have long waited for. His name is Manny Ortiz. Manny is a portrait photographer and YouTuber that has been on the scene for many years. And we've actually been, kind of, following each other's tracks or, like, parallel tracks for a long time.
And it's awesome to have him on the conversation because we're going to dig into his past — how he went from being a cop to being a YouTuber/photographer, what practices he has in his life to overcome anxiety or to reinvent himself constantly, and the role and the changes of photography in the space of social media, of YouTube, and many, many tips that I think will help you also, if you're slightly socially anxious or you're feeling like everyone's looking at you when you pull out a camera in the street or when you're traveling and you want to take photos. Well, I think this happen. It will be also for you because we tap into that discussion being shy and actually still trying to get the best out of photos. So, if you're ready, let's get started. Let's welcome Manny to the podcast.
Good morning, Manny, and welcome to the podcast.
[00:01:08] Manny: Good morning to you, Pierre. Thank you for having me on.
[00:01:11] Pierre: I'm super pumped to have you because we've been, kind of, following each other in the same path for many years, but we have completely different backgrounds. We also have different personalities, way of shooting. And I think there's so much intertwined in how we work, what we see, and where we come from, that I thought we absolutely need this… to do this episode once in our life, at least, because it's been long, long, long waiting. So, Manny, can I, can I start with a little tricky question? Or, not tricky, but I'm just curious. Were you a cop before?
[00:01:49] Manny: Yes, sir.
[00:01:49] Pierre: Yes?
[00:01:51] Manny: And certainly now.
[00:01:51] Pierre: Tell us more, because I'm like, cop, YouTube, like, I didn't know, you know.
[00:01:59] Manny: So, I thought it was, I thought it was, kind of, I didn't think it was, like, an ordinary thing, but it turns out that a lot of cops are photographers. It turns out that a lot of people in law enforcement… Yeah, a lot of people in law enforcement have, like, an outlet. So, that's what I did. Yeah. I was a, I was a police officer for four years, and then I did photography on the side. Long story short, I went viral. One video, one video went, kind of, viral and I built on it. And that's how it all started.
[00:02:23] Pierre: What was… do you remember that very first moment where you decided to actually create a video? Do you remember where you were, what was your mindset?
[00:02:35] Manny: Dude, I got the funniest stories with that. Like, I've made, I made a video shirtless. When I bought the Nikon D600, I made my first photography video complaining about the oil spots and I did it shirtless. Because back then I was jacked, I was pretty big. But I did a shirtless video and people were roasting in the comments and I thought I was great. But that was my first one.
[00:02:54] Pierre: Okay. Well, I love that. Sorry. Can't stop laughing.
[00:02:58] Manny: I'm so glad I deleted it.
[00:02:59] Pierre: Is this video still, is this video still alive?
[00:03:02] Manny: What?
[00:03:02] Pierre: Is it still available, that video?
[00:03:05] Manny: No, I deleted it. I'm so angry because I would've been, I would've already made a reaction video to that, man.
[00:03:10] Pierre: Oh, man.
[00:03:10] Manny: Yeah, it's deleted, yeah.
[00:03:11] Pierre: Okay. It's the one-year-old YouTuber deleting his stuff versus a five, 10-year-old YouTuber who's like, “I should have never deleted anything.”
[00:03:20] Manny: Oh, I'm so mad.
[00:03:23] Pierre: Okay. How did you get to that idea of even shooting a video?
[00:03:29] Manny: You know, so I've never been a social media guy. I've never, I just thought it was like, I thought it was, like, very… what is it… exhilarating to put something out in the internet for people to… just random people to just see your comment, you know, so…
[00:03:43] Pierre: Had you heard about that? Or how… what inspired you, kind of?
[00:03:49] Manny: Man, just tinkering, you know, just boredom. You know, just trying to do different… Just messing around. Literally just messing around, yeah.
[00:03:56] Pierre: Do you remember what year that was?
[00:04:00] Manny: Man, that was, like, 10 years ago.
[00:04:01] Pierre: 10 years. So, like, 2012, 2013, something like that?
[00:04:05] Manny: Yeah, a long time ago.
[00:04:06] Pierre: Oh, wow. And so, how was, how was, how was that at work for you? Because, I'll give you an example. Personally, when I was working as an engineer, and when I started to really tap into my passion and get into it, it's just very hard for me to concentrate at work. Not in the… Yeah, kind of, where I was trying to just get better at photography, even though I was at work, I was thinking about it, what I'm going to do after. And I was, you know, trying to plan myself. How was that process for you? I'm slightly curious as to, did you, like, wake up one morning or you were in the car one morning, you're looking at someone passed by with a camera and you're like, “I want to be a photographer. I want to do photos?”
[00:04:48] Manny: Yeah, it was a Christmas sale going on. And you could get, like, two Rebel T3s for, like, $500 or $400, something like that. It's a good deal. Me and my buddy like cars. We're like, “Oh, let's take pictures of our cars.” So, we got these Rebel T3s, and that's literally how it all started. It was a Christmas sale.
[00:05:07] Pierre: And then, you're like, “let's go take photos,” with your buddy?
[00:05:11] Manny: Yeah. I started taking photos of everything. And then, slowly, you know, I got in… I got caught in the YouTube game where I'm like, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. So, I kept just upgrading and learning from that point on.
[00:05:21] Pierre: When did you… do you remember, like… Because it's funny, when you start actually progressing, I think that's an interesting part. You think you have to upgrade, but you also upgrade your skills, sometimes. Maybe it lags, behind the gear, who knows? It depends on everyone. But usually, at least for me, the gear came first. The skills came after, definitely. And how was it? What was your progression? Were you doing it outside of work, or, I mean… Yeah, what was the daily, weekly schedule like for you?
[00:05:56] Manny: So, at that time I was security guard for a school. And what I would do is I'd go in the computer lab and I'd print out a bunch of lighting diagrams and photography, like, blogs or diagrams. And I'd literally sit at my desk and just study it, like a straight-up nerd. Just there, studying lighting diagrams, and just like, I literally… I studied it on my own. Like, I took my own initiative to it. I never took a photography class in my life. And I didn't know anything about photography or anything. Never. You know, and I just took the initiative and just, yeah, that's how I did it.
[00:06:27] Pierre: That's awesome. That's… When did you feel that you became slightly good? You can't answer never, because I know we're all modest, but when did you feel that you slightly become better, or, and maybe you want to go into it, you know, a little more?
[00:06:47] Manny: What's funny is that we all have moments… I feel like we all have moments of, like, brilliance, a.k.a. sometimes luck. You know, sometimes, we can, we can, we can make some good stuff and then sometimes we'll feel bad about ourselves because we don't… we feel like we're not… So, back then, I felt many moments of… I was actually proud of a lot because, you know, everything that I created with light, for example, was not, like, something that I ever… You know, it was all new to me. You know, it was all new to me. So, I'm like, “Oh, man, I'm doing good.” And… but yeah. So, like, nowadays, I'm always like I feel good; sometimes, I feel bad. And, you know, I'm more harsh on myself now than I was before.
[00:07:28] Pierre: Oh, interesting. Well, I imagine your standard got higher, too.
[00:07:34] Manny: Yes, that's [crosstalk 00:07:35].
[00:07:35] Pierre: So, it's like, you… the thing that would fly and make you, like, super excited for two weeks after, it's like, eh, doesn't work anymore. Do you… Okay, talk to me about that transition, like, because if I'm correct, you're not working anymore in that field. Can you, can you share, like, the crispy details of your transition? How… when did you start thinking about leaving and when did you actually make it? What… how did, how did it look like? And give me all the details you have that you can remember.
[00:08:06] Manny: Well… Yeah. No, that was a really hard transition. Hard, you know, because my mom, everyone… I was raised from, like, a traditional household where, like, you know, safety net, get a job. Like, this is not a job. Like, what are you doing, internet stuff, right? Like, what is this? And, but I don't know about you, but I had, I never, I never, I didn't know that you could make money online. I was this oblivious to business. I was never into business or anything. So, when I started… Again, I started making YouTube videos on the side, just messing around. This is when Sony was on the up and up. So, I, kind of, rolled that wave a little bit. So, when I got into Sony, I started making little videos here and there. And people watch, I was like, what the hell? People will actually watch my stuff. I'm, like, it was so boring, you know. So, like, I'm so awkward.
So, basically, I've built on some momentum, that I… I built on some momentum, that everyone started reposting my videos. And then, I remember that I came to a point where I was actually making more… a little bit more. I was making more money doing this — creating videos — than I was doing the police work, right? And so, it's like, is this sustainable? Like, I just really questioned, if this was sustainable, am I making a mistake? Because I worked really hard to get to, to get to that point.
But I was so unhappy with my job and the politics and all the shit that I said, “Hey, you know what? I'm going to…” And I had a lot of mentors, actually. So, I talked to Roberto Blake. I talked to Jared Paul about it. Even, like, I talked to other people about it, and they encouraged me to do it. I was already, like, at over 100,000 subscribers. So, then, I pulled the trigger at last. It was very, very, very, very, very, very scary. But yeah, it's just like anything, though, entrepreneur. It's like everything, kind of, like, you know, it's a chance. It's… you don't know what's on the other side. It's a risk. And that was new to me, but I'm glad I did it, you know.
[00:09:59] Pierre: Do you remember that first day you had no job and came in your YouTube job?
[00:10:06] Manny: Yeah. I remember the day that I was driving away from the human resources building, and I walked away with no job. I had no job anymore. And I remember that feeling. It was very… It's one of those, one of those moments that, you know, you just don't forget, you know.
[00:10:21] Pierre: What was the feeling for you?
[00:10:25] Manny: Dude, it didn't feel free. I didn't feel free, believe it or not, you know.
[00:10:27] Pierre: [crosstalk 00:10:27].
[00:10:27] Manny: I didn't have that freedom. I didn't have a feeling of freedom, of freedom. Like, I had a freedom, but I mean, I had a feeling of just like pressure, like my back is against the wall now. I got to, I got to make shit happen now, like…
[00:10:41] Pierre: Oh, shit, I jumped off the plane.
[00:10:44] Manny: Yeah.
[00:10:44] Pierre: “Better have the… Oh, my parachute is not there.”
[00:10:48] Manny: Yeah, I know. That's true.
[00:10:50] Pierre: Got to learn to fly now.
[00:10:52] Manny: Yeah, I know. For real, dude. That's how I felt.
[00:10:54] Pierre: That's fascinating because I'm always curious, you know. I feel like the narrative around those is very much like, quit your job, and then, you know, like, you walk out free and you're like, yay. And there's birds singing and, like, everyone… you know, rainbows and stuff. I don't necessarily felt that way, either. I was, like, super nervous. I was like, what am I going to do, you know? Is this going to work? Tons of questions, you know. But in a way, glad, but you also feel that pressure, you know. It's like just because you enjoy something doesn't mean there is no pressure.
[00:11:27] Manny: [inaudible 00:11:27].
[00:11:28] Pierre: That's awesome. That's awesome. So, how was… So, you're basically telling them, “Okay, bye. I'm going to continue that.” Can you share how much, like, an average someone in your position would make, like, people in your positions, like, just to give a perspective to people?
[00:11:47] Manny: Like, law enforcement?
[00:11:48] Pierre: Yeah. I don't… I have no clue how much people make.
[00:11:52] Manny: You know, not that much. You know, you start in the 40,000s. Come out of the academy making the 40,000 range. And then, after a couple years, after your probation and everything, you get bumped to, you know, maybe around, like, 60, you know. So, make around 60k. Then, you hover there for a while, for, you know, for a long time.
[00:12:09] Pierre: Okay, I see.
[00:12:10] Manny: Increment bumps.
[00:12:11] Pierre: That's interesting. So, yeah, as a, as a freelancer, as a business, it's not like unachievable goals to get to the same level. It's not the same type of work, but it's not like you are, you are something like VC or hedge fund manager making 400k. I have to make as much to leave my job, you know, like, kind of scenario. It's… That's really cool. I think that's so interesting. Okay. Tell me, Manny, what's the biggest challenge, you would say, with this new phase of your life? Or, how do you actually see it? Do you see it as a different chapter in your life or…
[00:12:48] Manny: You know, I… how do I describe it? I don't even know how to describe what this is. I even… I have, I have, I struggle to even call it a job. But still, that's why I'm like, what is this? So, for me, for me, the way I describe this career, or I say career, I feel like it's just like running. You're running from an avalanche. Like, an avalanche is behind you all the time and you're running from it, because you feel like you never, you never feel accomplished. You never feel like it's the end. It's like, it's the abyss. Like, you know, okay, you're committed to making videos and being an, you know, an educator, whatever the case is on the internet, on YouTube. Guess what? There is no finish line. You know, you may… you can stop and rest for a second, take a couple breaths, but you are going to keep running. Like, so I'm constantly running from that avalanche.
And I didn't anticipate that going into this. It's like, I can never stop. And people don't, people don't realize that, “I want to, I want to do internet. I make videos,” but what happens, like, statistics show like, most people last, like, five years, you know, on this platform. What happens when you're completely burnt out? You don't know what else to do. You know, I've reached that point many times. And… but you got to keep, you got to keep reinventing yourself, keep doing things. It's not easy, you know. It's not easy.
[00:14:07] Pierre: Which is something I appreciated with your channel over time, is that I've seen those moments when you try to reinvent, when you try something different. And maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. You're the master of your own stats in your channel, but you can see that progression. And I always admire that. I'm like, “Yeah, Manny's trying something different, you know.” Like… and it gives me a little push, too, you know. It's like, Pierre, don't stay too comfy, you know.
[00:14:33] Manny: Not everybody can be like Pierre, you know, and just, and be able to talk to the camera in public. Just the way you… the way you operate, I wish I could, I wish I could harness that, man.
[00:14:44] Pierre: Well, we'll talk about that. But this is something I never even knew, in the sense that I always knew it was difficult to talk on camera and stuff, but I was never aware of that social awkwardness of being in public. And I don't know. I'm grateful. I didn't… obviously, you feel shy and you don't want to talk, but yeah, I would say you made it, Manny. You can be in the middle of the streets now.
[00:15:14] Manny: You know what, man?
[00:15:14] Pierre: Last frontier.
[00:15:14] Manny: With anxiety attack waiting for me. And the anxiety attack is waiting for me, my friend.
[00:15:19] Pierre: That's funny. And to everyone listening, just keep in mind, Manny shot a lot outside in the middle of the roads with lights, with models, which I might even feel more awkward than you for that, because I would have a model in the, in the corner. And I would be like, everyone will, for sure, look at me if I have an umbrella or something, you know, that's, like, flashing, versus if I'm just walking with a camera.
[00:15:46] Manny: Yeah. But the camera is a safety blanket. So, it's like, because you stick your face in the camera and you're preoccupied, your tunnel vision… So, it's almost like you tunnel vision on the camera. I'm tunnel vision on the camera in front of me and what I'm doing, in my head, people are looking at the model, not me, or whatever I'm shooting, you know. So, it's like…
[00:16:06] Pierre: Oh, I'd never… That's true, actually. We never look at the photographer.
[00:16:08] Manny: Yeah. I mean, dude, I mean, who's looking at, who's looking at me? You got a model in front of me. They're staring at her or, like, what's going on. But I don't feel like I'm center of attention. So, I'm at comfort. And plus I'm like this, whatever, I don't, I feel uncomfortable. But if I'm holding a camera in front of me, I have imposter. Like, the imposter syndrome starts to kick in. Like, I'm holding a camera and I just imagine people are judging me, like, “Who the hell does he think he is, holding a camera?” Like, you know, like, “Who does he think he is? He's that… he thinks he's important enough to film himself?” Like, what could, what could they possibly be talking about? That's so interesting. You know, I hear all these voices of judgment. So, like, that's why I struggle.
[00:16:44] Pierre: Do you know where they come from for you? I feel like we all have our own stories with those. Do you know where those voices might come from for you?
[00:16:56] Manny: Well, I mean, it is just part of, part of my, part of my anxiety, I guess. I just, I'm one of those people, you know, that cares about what other people think, you know, that cares about what people think about that. So, that's something that I'm always, I'm trying to battle all the time, is stop caring. You know, that no one, no one cares. That's social anxiety. It's that the feeling of, like, judgment. But in reality, people are worried about themselves, you know. And so, yeah.
[00:17:22] Pierre: That's interesting. I was asking the question to see if you remember how early you have that feeling in you or you remember having it, you know, like, I don't know. I can give you an example. When I was eight to… all the times between age six and 10, 12, we had end of the year, kind of, like, theater classes, right. And then, there was a big show. You had to be there, you know, on the stage and doing the thing, etc. And I mean, most kids are, like, not feeling like it's an amazing time, you know, when you're being sent to the front of the class talking.
And I remember, as a kid, like, feeling that, like, extreme, like, how do you call that? Like, stress of being like, “Oh, my God, I'm going to be there. I can't, I can't mess up, blah, blah, blah. What's going to happen if people, etc.?” And in those moment, I also remember that, as long… like you said, as long as you stay in your tunnel, it's fine. The voice, the voice has no time to get there because you're in the tunnel. In the tunnel, you're just trying to give your one line. But the moment you stop, then it's like, whoop, you know.
[00:18:35] Manny: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:36] Pierre: And yeah, I don't know. It's… I don't know if it's helpful, anyway, to be able to walk in the middle of the street and speak to a camera. I don't know.
[00:18:46] Manny: Yeah. No. Everything that you do gives anxiety, because I just can't do it. I can't do it. I'm just the kind of person that I don't like people looking at me. I don't like to call… I don't like to create attention, believe it or not.
[00:18:58] Pierre: Which is a paradox, right, for a YouTuber?
[00:19:01] Manny: It is. It is. It's very, it's very weird. And this doesn't make any sense at all. And, like, I, to this day, I still struggle talking to the camera. I've been doing this for six years. The moment I press record on the camera, it's almost like I forget how to speak, you know. Sometimes, I try to picture my friend in the lens or just pretend like a friend is asking me a question, I'm answering the question. I have little techniques of getting away, but yeah, dude, I still struggle. To this day, I still struggle talking to a camera, let alone outdoors.
[00:19:28] Pierre: Such a great technique. You just mentioned, probably, the most important technique that ever helped me in life, which is imagining it's your friend, it's not a camera. It's not like people. It's, like, my best friend. It's this guy, you know. And I'm talking just to that one person. And that, for me, that made it so much easier. And then, over time, I integrated it more naturally. I would say not natural, but, like, more in the background. But also, I noticed, if I'm with other people, it's easier to be in the middle of the road speaking, you know.
[00:20:00] Manny: Yeah, I would say, I would say it's easier for me.
[00:20:02] Pierre: If I'm, if I'm fully alone, you know, I need a [crosstalk 00:20:07].
[00:20:06] Manny: If I'm fully alone, no, dude, if I'm fully alone, like, it's even hard for me to do street photography. It's even hard for you to pull out a camera and take a picture sometimes because everyone's, you know, they're just staring at me. It's just me and them. And I'm just like, “Oh,” you know, like, kind of, awkward. But yeah, we're better in a group.
[00:20:22] Pierre: Do you remember those dreams? Like, I don't know if people had those dreams. They would dream that they would get to school in PJs or naked.
[00:20:33] Manny: Yeah.
[00:20:33] Pierre: I'm, kind of, wondering. It's almost the same feeling, you know.
[00:20:38] Manny: Yeah, no.
[00:20:40] Pierre: I think, personally, for me, it's one thing, especially with street photography or travel. After a while, I was like, “Look, Pierre, do you want to get those photos or not, you know?” It's like, if you want get that photo, you… I'm sorry, but… I'm sorry, you're going to need your camera out there, you know. And that's my own thing. But dude, that's so interesting. So, tell me about, tell me about modeling and how that got into you, because like, you're taking really cool and, like, trying new concept with your models. And I love that. And I remember when you were just out there in the streets. I think it was, like, one of the early videos. I even remember watching your video about why you quit Sony ambassadorship. I think it was shot outside, if I remember. But it was, or there was a bureau.
[00:21:28] Manny: My couch. It was on my couch.
[00:21:30] Pierre: Oh, couch.
[00:21:29] Manny: Yeah, bureau. That's right, bureau.
[00:21:30] Pierre: There was bureaus of you on the bridge. And I remembered those, and I was like, “Oh, look at him.” And you were, like, a little further than me on that road. And I was like, “Oh, wow. He's leaving Sony and stuff.” Okay. How did modeling… models get into the picture, and how did you get really deep into portrait, especially knowing you have that anxiety, which means… I mean, the interaction is not easy for most people?
[00:21:56] Manny: Well, I actually started off doing cityscape stuff. That was, like, my first thing. I went, I went out on my own in Chicago and I did cityscape. And, you know, I did some pretty good stuff low-key. I did some pretty good cityscape stuff. And… but then, when I started taking pictures of Diana at the time, I realized that this was more fun for me. Like, for me, it was more satisfying to get… to work with someone and get instant feedback on a, on a photo versus going out, you know. And so, yeah, I started taking pictures and playing with lighting, for the most part, with Diana messing around, and that's where… That's how, that's how I fell in love with doing this, doing portraits.
[00:22:36] Pierre: And for context for anyone listening, Diana is Manny's wife. And she's been in tons of videos. And she's actually behind you right now, for those who can see that.
[00:22:45] Manny: Oh, yeah, right.
[00:22:47] Pierre: I've never, I've never met her, but she seemed awesome. And I mean, if she's down to play with you for that long, she must be great.
[00:22:56] Manny: Yeah, she's the opposite of me. But opposites attract, you know.
[00:22:58] Pierre: Really?
[00:22:59] Manny: Yeah. She's very extroverted. But, you know, again, that's just, that's how you balance, you know.
[00:23:04] Pierre: Yeah, for sure. So, what do you think is the hardest thing you are working on lately, not in terms of projects, per se, but like, what's the hardest balance? You mentioned the avalanche that's always coming. And what kind of tools or techniques have you found that help, kind of, keep the avalanche off, but also just, like, pausing?
[00:23:32] Manny: That's a great question right there. That's one of those million-dollar questions, man. Once, you figure that out, man, this… it won't be so… This won't be as… this won't be so hard. What do I do? I just think I can, I constantly remind myself that, because I'm not uploading, there are people out there, like, chewing off their nails, like, nail… like, oh, my God, when is he going to upload, you know? Because, as a creator, you feel like… I feel like I, I feel like I owe my subscribers or to people that follow me content. I feel like I owe them this, like I have to do this to stay in their, you know, to entertain them or whatever the case is.
And I also got to remember that, when my favorite creators, you know, when they, when they don't upload for, let's say, two, three weeks and then they upload a video, I wasn't there like, “Why aren't they uploading?” I was there like living my life and doing all the things. And when they upload, they upload, right?
[00:24:26] Pierre: Yeah.
[00:24:26] Manny: So, I remind myself to chill the hell out because there's no one there, like, you know, like, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God. When's the next one?” You know, so, I can just calm down. Post, you know, when I post. But one thing that I have been struggling with that I'm constantly telling myself is over… is the perfectionism part of creating videos. Because I constantly, like, you know, when you achieve a certain production value, it's like, how much better can I get? And not… you can't always do better. And then, I get pressured, like, if I make any kind of mistake, I scrap it all. I put all this pressure on myself that I just go into paralysis and then I don't want to do… I don't do nothing, you know. And then, oh, man, dude, there's so many, there's so many different things that… In filming, I also feel like I have to be emotionally ready to film. Like, I can't just be like, “Oh, babe, I'm going to work. All right, it's 5:00 p.m.” Let's say I'm not in the mood, I can't turn on. I can't turn… I can't get the gears going into film. I just like, okay, today is a no. I'll try tomorrow. So, yeah, there's a lot.
[00:25:31] Pierre: That's interesting. When you are not in the mood or not feeling like shooting, have you found anything that can help you practice — plants, coffee, whatever — that can help you turn on? Or, it's more like, I need sleep and I'll see you tomorrow?
[00:25:49] Manny: So, that's the problem is that when I'm… You see, when I try to, like, force it, when I try to force it, like, force, I'm going to say, the creativity, when I force it, I end up like making my anxiety worse and making the pressure on myself worse. And I've realized that I got to be okay with taking, you know, I'm okay. I am going to be okay walking away right now, understanding that today was just not my day, and tomorrow can be better. So, I walk away from it and I don't let it, I don't let it bother me as much. And I just try the next day, you know.
[00:26:25] Pierre: Do you also feel that sense that invisible pressure, where it's, like, if you haven't shot that today, that's it? But then, you realize you are the one who created your own schedule, you know. And you're like, wait, what? I can move it a day. It's going to change nothing in my life, you know.
[00:26:43] Manny: Of course. Yeah, that's me. Yeah, right there, that's me. What I just said, remember how about… like, I see, I'm feeling like I have to put out something right now for the people that are waiting?
[00:26:55] Pierre: Yeah.
[00:26:56] Manny: There's no one waiting, you know. There's no one waiting. They walk for whatever you put out.
[00:26:59] Pierre: Algorithm, the algorithm is waiting.
[00:27:04] Manny: Yeah, that's another one. That's another one. But yeah, that's constantly filling that invisible pressure of having to post, for sure.
[00:27:14] Pierre: That's awesome. I really wish, like, every single viewer could, like, hear that when they're watching our videos or just know what it takes. And I'm not saying that in a way where, like, it's not, it's not, we don't love it. It's more like, well, you know, just be mindful. You just clicked on the video before you, like, put a thumbs down and exit or do whatever. Just, like, take a break and realize how many hours might have gone or, like, how much people time spent on that.
I think it makes, also, for more mindful viewer experience, because if you compare movies at the cinema versus YouTube, you know, you don't think twice about a movie. You're like, “Wow, they put a lot of budget. There's millions of people that went into it. They spend so much time doing this and that.” But then, a YouTube video is… it's not, like, necessarily that it's easier, but there's also a lot that's involved in. I don't think, as a viewer, we have that, you know. It's more like scroll, scroll, and like click.
[00:28:16] Manny: Yup, which is, which is what I tell myself when I'm trying to be perfect and keep everything… make sure everything is perfect, that perfectionism sometimes can be, it can work against you, because now you want everything to be perfect. Now, you sound like a robot, looks like a robot. And people are just desensitized to that now. They want to see real, and they want more organic. So, then I'm like… I tell myself, look, if I mess up right now and I just go off, it's probably going to be better for… It's probably going to be a better viewer experience than me trying to be perfect, you know, or try to stay perfect, so…
[00:28:49] Pierre: Have you felt that change in the audience over time, where…
[00:28:52] Manny: Yeah. I've noticed, yeah. Well, I mean, I've never been the most polished person, to be fair. But I have noticed that, when I don't script and I sound, you know, like I do now, like a lot of stuttering and a lot of, like, you know, filler words, like “uh,” whatever, this… I sound like I'm talking to a friend or talking to a person. And people like that. They're like, “Man, I like… you're almost like you're having a conversation with me, versus when you script. It sounds more like… It sounds, you know, more like a presentation.” But I guess, coming off as, like, this is a conversation and sounding like a human, sounding like an organic talk, it sounds… I don't know. At least, I see a lot of people, a lot of people like that, you know, so…
[00:29:37] Pierre: That's, yeah, I feel the same way. I mean, I always try to keep a little bit of vlogging style, just because I personally also prefer, you know. It seems more personal, even, let's say a travel show. And you know what? Trina was reviewing one of the video from Japan. And then, she asked me. She's like, “You're not used to being filmed by someone else, are you?” I'm like, “Well, except on certain trips, no, not too much.” She's like, “I can, I can feel when you…” because it's, like, the rough cuts. She's like, “I can feel it when you're speaking that you don't have the same friendliness or ease than when you're vlogging and you're alone, or you are turning the video on other people, you know, versus, more interview style.” And I never thought about it. It's interesting. And I'm like, oh, so, I guess there is a place for that. And that's what… I always… With your videos, it always feels very friendly, you know, like, we're, like, hanging out with Manny, you know, doing the thing, kicking cameras' asses, Canon versus Nikon versus Sony.
[00:30:46] Manny: Yeah, the never-ending debate.
[00:30:48] Pierre: The never-ending debate. Hopefully, they can add a new brand so we can have more to talk about.
[00:30:53] Manny: We don't need, we don't need no more. We don't need no more.
[00:30:57] Pierre: No, yeah, a brand that's, like, fully AI camera. So, you just hold it. What do you think of that? You just hold it and think about your photo. And then, that's it.
[00:31:09] Manny: It sounds like something Apple would do.
[00:31:11] Pierre: Like, with the glasses and stuff, yeah, with glasses.
[00:31:14] Manny: Something they would do.
[00:31:15] Pierre: So, speaking of… Okay. Let's see where you're going with this. It's kind of a reflection I was having. Where are we going for the next five, 10 years when it comes to cameras and also retouching and the experience with… especially with AI being absolutely insane right now and coming up more and more, so…? What's your prediction? You can take wild guesses, it doesn't matter. Or, maybe you've already seen the trends emerge.
[00:31:45] Manny: Sure. Yeah, I think about this all the time, actually. I think about it all the time. What's next? What's next? What's next, right? Mega pixels already, everyone already did it. We got the AK race, right, the hybrid race? And now, everyone's making specialized cameras. They're making a more specialized. They… no one can make the ultimate hybrid camera, you know. They still… because they have to make money and they have to differentiate them. But I think… So, basically, I feel like what's coming, you know, it is just incorporating more of this… incorporating more… What is it, the AI, the what? It's incorporating the… Okay. You know, iPhone photos, what do they call those? That's more of that or of that…
[00:32:33] Pierre: Yes, computational photography.
[00:32:34] Manny: Computational. I feel like it's going to, it's going to become more computational.
[00:32:39] Pierre: Okay.
[00:32:39] Manny: Where, you know, just imagine, yeah, man. I don't… It's so hard. It's so hard to think about, man. But I just feel like it's going to get more, it's going to just end up being more computational. It's going to… Like, think about, think about using the F/4 lens, and then having, like, portrait mode in your camera, where now you can, you know, with, or, like, with a… the thing about a stock lens, right? You buy a cheap camera for, like, 800 or something with a cheap lens and the camera has, like, portrait mode built in so that you can add, you know, blur or whatever. So, adding some of those iPhone computational tricks in there, you know. Maybe, just… I mean, am I asking for it too much? But I mean, improving the software so that we can, like, imagine just, like, immediately getting it on your phone without having to go through that whole crappy process. No one ever does it because it's so bad. It's such a hard process. But just computational, man. And slowly but surely.
But I also think it might go a little bit backwards, too, because what happens is that photography is boring and dry. It's really boring, you know. It's… and what separates all this computational photography to actual photography is the, you know, the experience of it. And that's why, like, people are going back to film slowly but surely. You know, there's only so far. So, it's a little mixture of both, honestly, you know. It's a little mixture of both.
[00:33:59] Pierre: Yeah. Because I've seen that shift towards back towards film, also, all the Fuji cameras or the Leica, everyone's like Leica, Leica. Yeah, it's interesting. I see what you mean. It's like, I don't know if you ever followed Formula 1, but there was a moment when they allowed certain things or… and it become boring, not boring. And it's slightly sad to say, but as a viewer, you kind of want some action. You know, you don't want it to be defined within the first five minutes of the race, you know, and then be like, “Okay, they're all following their own programs, and that's it. Maybe, F1 makes a mistake. It will be there.”
Yeah, photography, kind of, definitely feels like that at times. And that's why I remind… personally, I remind a lot of people, it's not about the photo so much, it's really about the adventure of making that photo. You know, it's… yesterday you showed me, I was in your studio, you showed me a sandbox. And I asked you if it was a calculator. And your answer was like, no, it was a photo shoot you had in mind that you wanted to do, but, like, just starting that process, getting it, getting prepped, maybe testing it. This is the fun part for me, also. Is that, is it the same for you? Or, are you, or is it just a photo?
[00:35:23] Manny: Yeah, I said this to my Fuji video, see, like, the 7R5, with all the, you know, the autofocus tricks, which is great for, like, you know, if I was working. But it's boring, you know.
[00:35:31] Pierre: Yeah.
[00:35:32] Manny: Because it's, like, I grab the camera and I just aim it, and it just does what it needs to do. For the most part, obviously, I have some part in that process, but, you know, the process is becoming more boring and less engaging, you know. And again, I use that car analogy. It's like, you want to drive that six-shift car. Like, you know, or you want to drive the automatic, you know, reliable car. And there's, you know, I, you know, if I was shooting a job, I want this one. I want automated. I want the best you can be. But, like, for my personal, like, I don't want to take this. Like, if I'm going somewhere, like, for fun, I normally don't take this unless I'm thinking content, content, content, YouTube, Instagram content. You know, I want something else to create.
And then, again, remember how, like, you know, they say smartphone, they're taking over. The reason why smartphones will never be, like, take the place of a camera because it's… okay, the process of taking a photo is more than just pressing a button. It's, who wants to take pictures with a phone? Nobody. It doesn't make you feel part of the process. And it's not engaging, they're ergonomics, no. Like, there's a reason why this is a hobby. People pick up cameras. This is a hobby. It's like, now you feel like you're part of a group, you know. Like, I'm creating something. It's manual, like, yeah. So, it's yeah.
[00:36:50] Pierre: That's so interesting, what you just mentioned, because you're right, on top of the group with other people with the camera, every time I grab my phone, I feel like I'm disconnecting myself from my surroundings. But that's because of everything that's built in the phone, right? The apps, the connection, the messages. And so, it… like, you don't have that intentionality of being like, “I'm taking just photo and I'm with you, guys.” There might be a notification that pops up, a call that comes in, anything, you know, that can distract you.
And for a time, I had my, I had my Xperia as a separate phone camera, you know. It's, like, small and… but there's nothing except my camera there. And that made it, like, a super slim camera, just actually very enjoyable. But yeah, that process is so interesting. So, what's your go-to camera outside of, outside of work? Like, what would you use?
[00:37:46] Manny: Oh, is this, oh, so this is me where I'm supposed to, I'm going to keep the X100Vs out of stock everywhere. I'm talking about them again.
[00:37:53] Pierre: No, it's the podcast. It's not YouTube videos.
[00:37:57] Manny: Okay. No, I'm just kidding. No, I was just kidding. But yeah, I like, I like a camera that is just, again, I shoot JPEG. I don't want to shoot raw. I don't… if I'm shooting for fun, I don't want to process my images. To me, that does, that takes away the fun. Like, I just want to shoot it as it is. And that's why I never picked up the Leica. That's why I never even tried the Leica Q, because it, I… is there's no point in me picking it up. And I love the design. Trust me, I love it. I get it, but I don't want to process my photos. And Fuji allows me to just shoot and pick my, pick my simulation and shoot right then and there. And I got my JPEG, and that's all I want to do with the photo and for fun. Like, that's all I want.
[00:38:38] Pierre: That's interesting. I never saw it like that. I will suggest to you to pick up a Leica Monochrom. It just does backing white.
[00:38:50] Manny: Yeah, I see.
[00:38:50] Pierre: The sensor even won't even do color.
[00:38:53] Manny: Yeah, I've seen it, yeah.
[00:38:53] Pierre: And I've tried it, and I was like, “Oh, this is slightly addictive.” But I don't know how long I would use it for, but I could see myself just, like, being everywhere or, like, just shooting with it a lot and never having to think. But I don't know how much I would use the photos, if I'm super honest. That's awesome. What inspires you when you're, when you are shooting, preparing shoots, what's inspiration for you? Where do you think it comes from for you?
[00:39:22] Manny: Inspiration? Where does my inspiration come from? It's hard, one, because I'm constantly trying to break out of, like, a rut, right? I feel like I'm always constantly trying to break out of a rut. What do I, what do I do to inspire myself? You know what I think? I think I don't… man, what inspires me? I think… Okay. Yeah, that's actually a really hard one. I don't know what inspires me. I think, looking back and looking, like, where I was and where I am now, and just how like, I'm just like, I'm not going to, I'm not going to stop. I refuse to stop. I refuse.
It's one of those things, yeah. Like, I just look back where I was and where… what I thought I was going to be when I was a kid. I'm just not happy. I didn't have much of a drive back then. And the fact that I'm like, I'm not going to quit now. I've come too far. I've come way too far. Like, and I just push myself out of it all the time, you know. But it's hard. It's hard. It's hard to find inspiration nowadays, because everything's been done, you know. It's… everything's been done. It's like it's… Scrolling to social media, it's just all the same stuff now. It's all the… Everything's the same, so…
[00:40:29] Pierre: Have you found any place, site, magazine, that's slightly different from what you would see on social media?
[00:40:38] Manny: Honestly, no.
[00:40:39] Pierre: No?
[00:40:40] Manny: No. Pinterest is, like, my go-to place for, like, ideas and inspo.
[00:40:45] Pierre: Interesting.
[00:40:45] Manny: But, yeah.
[00:40:47] Pierre: Yeah, I never used Pinterest. Tell us about Pinterest. I'm curious for photographers. Like, how do you use it?
[00:40:58] Manny: Well, it's just pretty cool because if you just have a concept or, like, any kind of theme, you type it in there. And you just start scrolling. And it's like it has all different, it has so many different kinds of, like, content, again. And then, if you click that one and you click the next one, then it'll suggest a bunch of things very similar to that. And so, like, you go down the rabbit hole, screenshot, screenshots. And yeah, you can actually come up with some pretty cool stuff versus on Instagram. Instagram shows you what Instagram wants you to see. And a lot of the times, I go through Instagram and I start to feel bad about myself, because… And I'm like, wow, these people are out here killing it, crushing it, making some creative stuff. And I'm sitting here doing nothing, you know. I'm not doing this. And so, I end up feeling worse than I normally. But in Pinterest, you, kind of, go in with, like, okay, like, with some ideas. So, it's…
[00:41:48] Pierre: That's cool.
[00:41:48] Manny: Yeah.
[00:41:50] Pierre: That's cool. I don't think about… I used Pinterest when I was a wedding photographer. And I was actually posting stuff to, like, show people. But that's awesome. I'll check it out. And, well, for anyone who doesn't know it, there will be a link in description in the show notes. You can find them at ptl.fm/podcast. But it's interesting. Pinterest, I know, is big. And for some reason, I never really tapped into it. When it comes to Instagram, you mentioned you feel bad after you scroll a bit or you spent too much time. Is it because you saw a panda take an amazing photo while sneezing and then you're like, damn, if pandas can do it, what am I doing?
[00:42:31] Manny: No. No, man. No, I wish I would… No, no. I think you know exactly what I'm talking about. I feel like a lot of creators go through that. You just compare yourself to other people, you know. You compare yourself and you see what other people are creating, and you're like, damn. Like, people out here are actually really crushing it, you know. Like, there's… people are hungry out here and they're creating some really unique stuff. And I can't even find the time and the energy to try to do something, you know, similar to that. And it just makes me feel bad because now I compare myself, I start to feel bad. Like, damn, like, I feel like… now, I feel like inferior to… or, I feel like, yeah. So, a lot of that happens. And yeah, those comparative feelings that it's just, it just, it just happens. Like, for example, when we all drop a video on YouTube, you know, most of… I can't watch everyone, I can't watch everyone else's video. I don't watch.
[00:43:20] Pierre: Did you watch yours?
[00:43:20] Manny: I don't watch everyone. I barely, no.
[00:43:22] Pierre: Did you, did you watch ours?
[00:43:23] Manny: Like, I barely… Huh?
[00:43:25] Pierre: Did you watch ours?
[00:43:26] Manny: I haven't. I haven't, yet. Like, because I disconnect myself. Because if I look at… See, like, for example, if I watch your videos and I know I do, okay, kick your videos and watch because you're entertaining. But even you sometimes fear, because you have qualities that I envy, like, the way you can, and just your energy and even your photography, bro. Like, I'm sorry, but your photography's actually like, you always kick my butt, even in portraits, right, in the streets, because you're just, you're just good, bro. Like, you're freaking good. And like, I'll see your video sometimes and I'll think like, damn, man, like, Pierre is on a different level. Like, for me, you're like what I would want to be as a creator, you know. Like, you're so versatile, right. And it's like… And being able to just do things on the go and just be more spontaneous would make, would make my job easier on me, too. But… So, like, I still… So, a lot of the times, I avoid other creators' videos, because I compare myself or, like, I want… So, I wish I had this or that. And then, yeah, so…
[00:44:27] Pierre: Well, thank you for the compliment, first of all. I want to address that.
[00:44:31] Manny: I've always told you that, bro, you know. You are a beast.
[00:44:33] Pierre: That means, that means a lot, especially because I admire your work, too. So, that resonates or that touches me. The other part is I 100% understand that comparing feeling. We all… I think we all have it. It's a natural behavior, almost. I would say it's, like, make sure your house is safe for the storm. So, you check the neighbor's house. And if all the neighbors have worse houses, you're like, “Oh, it's okay if a storm. Mine will be fine.” It's like when you bike, you… I don't know if you've ever biked in Chicago, but when you're going to park your bike and lock it, the one thing you want to make sure is that everyone else has worse locks than you, because that means you will be the last to get picked up.
[00:45:18] Manny: Ah, you know, I don't know, I don't know those struggles.
[00:45:22] Pierre: So, that's a funny thing, but…
[00:45:23] Manny: That's funny, yeah.
[00:45:25] Pierre: You're not trying to find others to be worse, but I think it's inspiring in a way, but it also can loop into a bad spiral of like, oh no, you know, like, they're better, blah, blah, blah. And it's nice to see our chatter, you know, like, that part of us that's, like, always denying what we have accomplished and what we are doing and like, etc. Have you… what's your relationship with social media as a consumer, for you? Have you… did you follow that trend? I can't remember when it was, like, a year ago, two years ago, where everyone was like, delete hashtag, delete apps, or, like, phoned with no apps. I can't remember.
[00:46:03] Manny: Yeah. Well, I don't watch TV. So, YouTube is usually my TV.
[00:46:05] Pierre: Okay.
[00:46:06] Manny: And I watch a lot of non-photography stuff as well, you know.
[00:46:09] Pierre: Cool.
[00:46:09] Manny: I'm big… I watch a lot of TikTok as well, which I try to get off of because they know me. They know you so well, you know, the algorithm that keeps me on there. But I do a lot of TikTok, a lot of, yeah, a lot of photography. Like I said, YouTube is my TV. But I stay, I stay off Instagram a lot, though. Again, because I get that feeling on Instagram. Because the truth is, man, there are so many talented people [crosstalk 00:46:31].
[00:46:31] Pierre: Absolutely.
[00:46:32] Manny: That don't get the recognition and… that they deserve. And… or I feel like it's timing, you know, like… And I feel like there's so many creative people out here killing it, crushing it, man. It's like it's best not just to see that, because then I'm like, now I feel bad, you know. Like, now I start to compare myself, you know. So, it is one of those things. I stay off Instagram. I go on YouTube, for the most part, you know.
[00:46:58] Pierre: But can I switch gear and ask you a question that's more on the personal side? What… how has your relationship, or, as a father, if you can expand more on how many kids you have and stuff, but changed since you left the… your previous job and you turned into YouTube? How was it? And what… has it changed your relationship? And how did your kids think about it? What did they think about that, also? Or, how do they see you nowadays?
[00:47:29] Manny: Yeah, so…
[00:47:30] Pierre: It's a multi-sided question, sorry.
[00:47:32] Manny: No, no. So, I mean, so I have a stepson. He's 20 now. Oh, he's 20, yeah. And then, my daughter is nine. I can't say that, I can't say that the relationship has changed, or anything like that. I think my daughter thinks it's cool that… But she also says it's troll, just like me. We can never, like, compliment each other. All we do is just troll each other. So, she's like, “You get no, you get no views,” or, you know, like, dude, like, troll, like, literally troll me.
But for the most part, it… none of that really matters. Like, we don't talk about it. We don't bring it up. We're just, like, I think the only… the only part… the hard part is when, because when you're a creator, you're… or entrepreneur or creator, you're constantly, your brain is just going like this all the time.
And I have, I have ADHD, diagnosed with ADHD. And my brain just… it's a rat wheel. Just, it's, like this all the time. And so, the hard part about this is that, when you're with your kids, like, when I'm with my daughter, sometimes it's hard to turn this off and actually be present and actually be there, you know, because being there, being present with her, but not actually being there, it's not… it's almost like it doesn't count. It doesn't count. You got to… you have to mentally be here. She knows the difference. And so, that's something I've struggled for, you know, these past couple years, but I've gotten be much better this year, or 2022 I got much better with disconnecting.
[00:48:54] Pierre: Nice. Was it cleaner for you when you had a job, for the disconnection? Like, you're, like, home, forget about work?
[00:49:02] Manny: When I work, it was easier to be present. But this whole entrepreneur thing, again, the avalanche, it just, I just feel like I always have to be turned down or thinking about something. It's hard to just not… Yeah, it's hard.
[00:49:11] Pierre: Yeah, I noticed it was much easier to go on holiday when I, when I was working for a corporate than on my own now. And I think it's… you and me were both learning, you know, we're getting better at that. But it's so strange, you know. It's like I would… you would never give a second thought or you would just go off and you're like, “Okay, computer's off. I'm done, you know. I see you tomorrow.” But now, it's like, “Oh, I'm going to holiday. Should I, should I make content off of this? You know, like, should I, like, do a video?” Because I feel like I'm wasting a trip without doing a video, you know.
[00:49:53] Manny: All the time. All the time, man. That's how… Yeah, that's… I try to stop my… I try… I've been doing it. Honestly, it's been, it's been better. I tell my brain to, you know, because again, she's growing up so fast, dude. And it's like I'm not trying to miss out on this. So, that's it. So, it's hard to turn off your brain, but yeah.
I mean, you know, at the same time, what's funny is that everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, which I love. And, you know, I love… I wouldn't, I wouldn't change anything, but that's one thing I do envy about the life of a nine-to-fiver, you know. Like, depend… like, let's just assume that someone actually likes their job, like, being able to actually disconnect, right, and clock out, actually clock out, you know, and not have to do all the backend taxes, all the logistics stuff that goes with being an entrepreneur, I'm like, you know what? That job don't… that sounds pretty sweet to me sometimes, you know. But then, again… But then, you know, of course, that's not how I'm wired anymore.
[00:50:45] Pierre: Yeah, I know.
[00:50:46] Manny: You know, it's just I can't.
[00:50:46] Pierre: It's, like, I think we would last one, not even a week in an office. It would be like, why are you telling me what to do?
[00:50:54] Manny: Yeah, no, you're right.
[00:50:56] Pierre: I don't feel like it today. So, sorry.
[00:51:00] Manny: Yeah. I can't do it, but… I couldn't do it, but at times I'm like, man, I wish… It sounds, it sounds so nice to be able to disconnect and I feel that, that pressure of the avalanche, you know. So, yeah.
[00:51:13] Pierre: Yeah, that pressure, I think you only got to be in the game to start feeling it, honestly. And have you noticed how many more channels there is on photography, you know, over the years?
[00:51:26] Manny: There's a whole bunch, man.
[00:51:28] Pierre: What do you think everyone does? What do you think everyone's mistake is when they're starting and… or what does everyone get wrong while starting on YouTube?
[00:51:42] Manny: That's a, that's a hard one, right? Because I feel like some people make the mistake. And I've actually, like, mentored. So, I'm going to go off, like, this one guy that I mentored, he's a friend of mine. And he… a very small channel, but he's tried and he's put a lot of effort and thought into it. So, he tries to, like… It's almost like emulate, like… I guess in your brain, you have, like, what it has to be or what my set has to look like. And it's almost like you're going off of, like, okay, so if I have a nice YouTube set and everything looks nice, I'll get followers.
And the thing is that, the thing is that it's not about, it's not about, it's not about that. Because we're… everyone's desensitized it. Everyone has a nice camera. Everyone has a nice YouTube set. It's about, like, how knowledgeable you are in a certain field, right? But like, my friend is not, like, super knowledgeable, even in the one topic that he's talking about. And he goes about it like, oh, everyone, “Learn with me, you know. Like, I'm going to just try this.”
The problem with YouTube is that, people, unless you, unless you have this ultra-charismatic personality, people go to certain people for different things, you know. And if you are, if you are really good and you're really knowledgeable in a specific topic, you know that you have an advantage, you know. But I think, I think everyone goes in, thinking that it's… I can… if I can look like a YouTuber, I can be one. If my set's nice, my lighting's right, everything is good here. No, you like, you look like everyone else.
So, like, you have to stop. So, I feel like people fall into the trap of trying to look like all of us, you know, look like all of… You have to try to be different in your own way. You have to present in a different way. You have to try to be different and stand out, so…
[00:53:26] Pierre: That's true. And then, I'll add to that, I've seen a pitfall that happens, is following too much the audience and the algorithm, which is, let's say you have something that breaks out, right, and it's great. You're going to be like, “I'm going to do more of this.” But suddenly, you get, like, pinned down slowly more and more and more. And you almost some… even actors talk about that, where you become a caricat… Well, I can't say it. It's coming out in French.
[00:54:00] Manny: Copycat?
[00:54:01] Pierre: No, caricature. It's coming out in French.
[00:54:04] Manny: Or [crosstalk 00:54:04]?
[00:54:05] Pierre: Yeah, you're becoming the character that you're playing, you know, in the sense where, let's say, Manny, tomorrow you're like, you throw a video and it's, like, really sticky and everyone's, like, 15 million views. But in that, you were, like, really aggressive in your video, you know. You're like, “Sony is terrible. Fuji is terrible. Burn all the cameras.” You make a fire in your studio and you burn them all, I don't know. But you get rewarded. Oh, wow, everyone's watching. And now, so the guy… the people will go and be like, “Okay, I got to do more of this, you know.” And suddenly, next thing you know the guy is creating giant fires of cameras in the lakefront of Chicago. It's a bad example, but I think you got the idea. And I think that's what a lot of people, for me, miss, is, hey, it's not an algorithm that's going to try to reinforce every single behavior that you're showing. So, please, be careful. If that resonates with people and that's not you, that's not truly you, who you are, don't… try not to follow the path, you know.
[00:55:14] Manny: Yeah. So, basically chasing… just like just chasing the high, like, just continue chasing the high and chase.
[00:55:25] Pierre: Yeah. And you can't…
[00:55:28] Manny: Because it's, you can't… if it's not sustainable, if it's not something that's sustainable, it's like… You know, I see what, I see what you're saying. It's like you got to just… it's almost like, you know, stay true to yourself, but, you know, it's, kind of, sounds cliche, actually. Let me say it in a different way. It's almost like, okay, you got to, you got to think the long game, in a sense, in this, because again, remember I told you it's the… it's never ending. You have to think that… If you're going to be in this, you have to think the long game, unless, you know, you have a short plan or something, I don't know. But you have to think end game because the short game, this does not work on YouTube. It does not work, the short game.
[00:56:04] Pierre: “Manny, just one last video and we're out. Let's make a million and we leave.”
[00:56:09] Manny: Yeah, imagine that. You're right. You know what I'm saying, like…
[00:56:12] Pierre: Yeah.
[00:56:13] Manny: It doesn't work like that.
[00:56:14] Pierre: Yeah. One like, one like bank heist and we're out for real, for real. It's just the last one.
[00:56:21] Manny: Yeah, bank heist, I know. That's, like, the opposite of what this is all about, you know.
[00:56:27] Pierre: Yeah, this is very, very, very long-term. No, I love that. It's true. And you got to think about your brand over the years or like, or who you are and how you want people to know you. Even for me, you know, one of the pitfalls was, like, street photography, right. I love travel photography, like traveling, sharing more, etc. I don't want to do just street photography. I love underwater photography. And you mentioned versatility, but that's where I even got caught up at some point, where I was like, street, street, street, street. It's working, you know. It's great. It works. Maybe, it works for your business. But at one point, I'm like, dude, I want to, I want to go shoot underwater. I want to go shoot, you know, here. I want to be in [inaudible 00:57:05], whatever it is, you know.
[00:57:08] Manny: Yeah, man.
[00:57:09] Pierre: And how do you weave that into it? And again, you could just think about it as a business and be like, “This business is only about street photography. All the rest is going to be my passion projects. And it doesn't go anywhere.” I don't know.
[00:57:23] Manny: If anything, just like anything, if you start making money on it, it starts to feel like a job, eventually. And I love taking portraits. And, you know, it's fun. But of course, just like anything else, like when you start making money on it now, now it starts to feel like a job. And there's times that I don't want to do it, you know. There's some… there's times that I want to talk about something else, but you feel the pressure, you know, so…
[00:57:43] Pierre: And you might be providing for your family, just to add another pressure, you know.
[00:57:47] Manny: Yeah, dude.
[00:57:49] Pierre: I want to be mindful with your time, Manny.
[00:57:52] Manny: Yeah. I got to pick up my daughter soon.
[00:57:54] Pierre: So, let me just ask one last question here. And we can go two routes. So, do you want to go towards business route or a personal route?
[00:58:10] Manny: Did you say business?
[00:58:11] Pierre: Business or personal.
[00:58:12] Manny: Oh, yeah. So, let's do business. That's fine.
[00:58:14] Pierre: Okay, let's do business.
[00:58:14] Manny: But first all, I talked too long. That's the thing. So, businesses.
[00:58:18] Pierre: Okay, business. What would be the one thing you've learned through your YouTube journey and as a photographer, also, that you see a lot of people get wrong when it comes to the business side?
[00:58:35] Manny: Of YouTube?
[00:58:36] Pierre: Yeah, of YouTube, and I'll extend it to creators in general, because right now the other apps are very relevant, too.
[00:58:45] Manny: I mean, see that one right there, I could, I could think of so many different things, right? But I think the most important one is one that it's… The first one is that, don't sell out in the beginning, right? Like, the thing is that, again, if you're in this, sort of, long game, don't start promoting bullshit products just because they're paying you, you know. It's your first paycheck, it's… There are… everyone's going to be throwing you money. If they see value, they're going to throw you money. And don't sell out and don't promote crap that you actually don't like. Because like, again… Well, okay, I guess, my advice is integrity is everything in this, in this, in this industry. And it's like, if you just steal and sell out for anything, people aren't going to really take your word on when it actually matters, you know. And I feel like, when people, when people feel like you're genuine and you're not trying to promote just anything to them, you know, you have their trust. You have people's trust, which is so important, because now when, like, you know. You need, you need, you need… Integrity needs to be very, very good. And your integrity will allow you to make more money in the long run. Because, when you sell products, when you have things, people know that you actually stand by this, you know, so…
[01:00:03] Pierre: Yeah, that's a good one.
[01:00:05] Manny: To me, that's, you know…
[01:00:07] Pierre: Is there any… Sorry, just a bonus, is there a crunchy one? Is there any placement or anything you ever picked up that you, kind of, regretted or you had a really hard time saying yes to, but you still did?
[01:00:22] Manny: Well, I don't know. I guess the what for me is I didn't… I regret not, I regret not selling products and courses when my channel was hot, because everyone… The channel has been going go up and down, like, in terms of hotness. I feel like my time when my channel was, kind of, blowing up, I did not capitalize on that. I just made videos and collected revenue, ad revenue when I could have been finally making my portrait courses and I could have made so much more money and been not have to do any sponsors, you know, through that time or going forward. I didn't capitalize on when you're, when you're building momentum. You got to capitalize on that momentum because the momentum doesn't last forever. It doesn't.
[01:01:07] Pierre: That's true.
[01:01:07] Manny: So, just like a TV show, like, you know, it only goes so many seasons. And I feel like it, kind of, that, kind of, happens with viewers — viewer fatigue, you know. And they stop clicking on your videos or they go, you know, they're not watching YouTube anymore. So, you know, you got to capitalize.
[01:01:25] Pierre: That's interesting.
[01:01:25] Manny: If you want to make money.
[01:01:27] Pierre: That's true. I remember Casey saying exactly the same thing, about nourish. He's like, my biggest regret with YouTube is not dropping t-shirts when I was dating vlogging. He's like…
[01:01:39] Manny: Yeah, you see what I'm saying? Like, I regret not putting our preset way earlier, putting out support your courses. Because it would've made my life easier now, you know.
[01:01:46] Pierre: That's what I tell everyone. Like, we have friends in common. Zero email is nothing. And I'm like, dude, like, how are you surviving with this, you know? Like, you're relying 100%… You're literally hanging from a branch that's cracking slowly, and then…
[01:02:02] Manny: Yeah, which is, which is, I need to… I'm going to expand pretty soon, you know, so…
[01:02:09] Pierre: That's awesome. Well, everyone, Manny, thank you so much for your time. Thanks for sharing everything. Where do you want send people off to? Do you want to direct them somewhere?
[01:02:20] Manny: You could check out Pierre's course. He did not pay me to say this. I'm kidding. Well, Manny Ortiz is everywhere, you know.
[01:02:28] Pierre: Okay, Manny Ortiz.
[01:02:29] Manny: Manny Ortiz YouTube, Instagram.
[01:02:29] Pierre: And then, you have a really cool… Is that called an umbrella? That's how well-versed I am in studio.
[01:02:36] Manny: Beauty Dish.
[01:02:37] Pierre: Beauty Dish.
[01:02:39] Manny: Yeah, [crosstalk 01:02:39]
[01:02:40] Pierre: You partnered with Westcott to create it.
[01:02:42] Manny: Yes, sir.
[01:02:42] Pierre: And that was really awesome. So, everyone, Manny Ortiz on social media.
[01:02:46] Manny: Thank you, sir.
[01:02:47] Pierre: And Manny, thank you for your time. I'll see you on the next one.
[01:02:50] Manny: All right. Thanks, buddy.
[01:02:51] Pierre: Have a beautiful day. Bye.
[01:02:52] Manny: Thanks, man. Later.