Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Mindell.
Hi Jeff, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After college, I moved from New Jersey to LA with my (then) girlfriend, Kelly, back in the summer of 2011 for an internship program at Edelman PR. I remember one lunch break, I was sitting at my desk and reading a Mashable article about this new photo app called Instagram. Other than Facebook, I didn’t really have a platform to share about my new life on the west coast so I downloaded it with the intention of posting some of my photos each week for friends and family back home. The only thing was that I made the account public (so really anyone could see and discover the stuff I was posting).
When the job at Edelman ended in 2012, I took my skillset to a new role at a top real estate agency here in the city as the office’s marketing and special events lead. It was an awesome job with even better people and tons of creative autonomy—something I didn’t know how much I truly wanted and needed at the time. It was while I was at that job that I really started to take social media more seriously. While photography was always a passion of mine, having the ability to share my work through this now growing social platform was unknowingly laying the groundwork for years of opportunity down the road. Working at that job gave me my love of real estate and architectural design, something I was now able to showcase on a daily basis by being able to tour and photograph some of the most incredible homes that LA has to offer. I quickly realized that interior spaces was the type of content that made me happy (and was universally easy to have an opinion about, making it popular on Instagram as well).
As my own followers started to grow, my wife’s business, Studio DIY, was simultaneously taking off. Most days saw me at my office in Larchmont Village while she was home or out and about (her car PACKED with everything from neon poster board to glue guns and handmade Halloween costumes) as she spent much of her time working on visual tutorials or colorful photoshoots—shareable content that was really starting to gain traction online.
By 2015, Studio DIY was very much a well-oiled and sustainable machine. Many of the site’s blog posts were populated by photos I was taking for her when I wasn’t at my day job and brands were starting to come through with very healthy budgets in this burgeoning new world of branded partnerships and strategic product integration. I was at a bit of a crossroads at this point because I absolutely loved my job and my team, but between the help I was able to offer her business at home, coupled with the fact that I was turning down other freelance work, became something of a weekly occurrence. I realized one day that after saying no to about 4-5 incredible opportunities (which would have paid me collectively more than I was making annually at my desk job), I ended up taking a leap of faith and quit, diving headfirst into content creation and have been doing it ever since!
Our business and personal life are very much intertwined at this point. Between the two of us, our audience has been with us as we planned a wedding, got married, adopted our son, bought and renovated our first house, had big career successes sometimes on the same days as bigger personal failures, and everything in between. We are right now hard at work restoring and renovating a 1950’s Spanish hacienda in Palm Springs, a project that is very much the culmination of both of our skillsets and will be a beautiful escape for our family and friends when we are done!
It has been a WILD ride to say the least and I still have to explain to my parents what I do for a living and how we make money, but it’s a life that has afforded me the flexibility to be creative, carve my own path and most importantly, be present to watch my son grow up.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a lifestyle photographer, content creator and dad. I work with some companies and brands in a more traditional sense where I get hired to shoot imagery and/or campaigns for them where I’m behind the camera and then handing them my creative POV in the form of digital assets for them to use.
The other side of my business is very much front-facing, where brands will hire me moreso for my likeness, personality and audience demographic to partner with them to create content that’s not only inclusive of say, a product or service, but tied into my real-life social media narrative as well. We will work together on messaging to determine what might be a great fit and from there, I’ll create everything from imagery to video content that’s not only dynamic and engaging, but in my humorous (oftentimes self-deprecating) voice as well. I think what sets me apart is that I worked to build a really great, trusting relationship with my online family—they know that I won’t put out work with a company I don’t wholeheartedly use or believe in, and I trust that they will hold me to that as well.
Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Visiting my grandparents at their winter place in South Florida. We would visit from NJ quite often and it was always a treat to hop off the plane in the warm weather. I appreciated it so much as a kid that I don’t take it for granted now that we live on the west coast!
‘Dunkin’ sweatpants’ photo and ‘Kelly on my back’ photo are both by Marie Buck Photography