What Level is Your Design Business?

Power Talk Friday: Mike Van Tassell: Expressing Your Brand Through Photography

Episode 563 of A Well-Designed Business®

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business, it’s Power Talk Friday! Photographer Mike Van Tassell joins LuAnn in conversation today, and if you know anything about last year’s LuAnn Live, then you already know Mike. If you don’t, you will by the end of this show! As you listen, there will be no mistaking Mike’s commitment and passion to his profession and how he works with designers and architects. You’re in for a treat!

Born and raised in New York City, Mike always found himself surrounded by cutting edge art and stunning architecture. His passion for art was one that developed early in life and always stuck with him. While studying Graphic Arts & Architecture at the City University of New York, he discovered photography through his coursework and began diving into the medium as a hobby. That hobby soon flourished into a professional career as he discovered a way to combine his excitement for photography and architecture.

Mike spent the first 15 years of his professional career as a Photographer, Art Director and Creative Director for marketing organizations across New Jersey and New York City. Today, as an independent photographer, he is able to combine 15 years of client-facing services, along with his vision as an artist to bring a best in class customer experience to his clients.

Mike is equally devoted to delivering high-end photography, as well as an unmatched customer experience to each of his clients. Specializing in partnerships with architects, interior designers, and what sets him apart is his ability to truly partner and collaborate with his clients as fellow artists with a vision for their work. Mike takes time in his process to hear each of their unique needs and apply a trained eye to his photography, ultimately delivering stand-out images that capture his client’s artistic vision and help their business to thrive.

His partnerships span across multiple verticals including residential, commercial, academic, civic & cultural, healthcare, hospitality, and retail. His photography is used across advertising and marketing campaigns, professional portfolios, and design competitions globally. 

Show Highlights:

  • In LuAnn’s observation and experience, there is a vast difference between average photography and excellent photography.
  • Mike’s goal is to help designers take their photos to the next level, as well as elevate their online presence.
  • Mike shares how interior designers can successfully work in partnership with photographers.
  • Avoid trend photography, and photograph your spaces the way you want them to appear in your portfolio.
  • Once you’ve established your style and your brand, photography can complement that by getting your photos where they need to be.
  • Mike explains how a good photographer will be able to adapt to a designer’s style by using supplemental lighting, natural sunlight, subtracting light, or by replicating sunlight with strobe lights, for example.
  • Capture photos that take prospective clients back into that space that you designed.
  • Quality photographs of your design work is a key component in marketing your business and cultivating new clients.
  • Here’s what Mike wished designers knew that could make their projects better!
  • LuAnn and Mike reminisce over his photography session at last year’s LuAnn Live.
  • “Photographers are like pizza. Everyone thinks they have the best pizza until they have the best pizza.” – Mike
  • If you’re looking at your photography and you’re not getting a visceral reaction, then it might be time to consider a different photographer.
  • Photography should be factored in when rebranding your website, as the photographs will be the first thing that a prospective client will notice.
  • Remember: Photography is a partnership, a collaboration between creatives.

Connect with Mike!

Mike’s Email

Mike’s Website

Mike’s Instagram

Mike’s LinkedIn 

Mike’s Blog Post: How to Bring Your Interior Design Style to Life Through Photography

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Nancy Ganzekaufer #256

Kae Whitaker #26

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David Livingston #51

Sara Brennan #524, #514, #463


What Level is Your Design Business?