Recorded: Welcome to The ReWork with Allison Tyler Jones, a podcast dedicated to inspiring portrait photographers to uniquely brand, profitably price, and confidently sell their best work. Allison has been doing just that for the last 15 years, and she’s proven that it’s possible to create unforgettable art, and run a portrait business that supports your family and your dreams. All it takes is a little rework. Episodes will include interviews with experts from in and outside of the photo industry, mini workshops, and behind the scenes secrets that Allison uses in her portrait studio every single day. She will challenge your thinking, and inspire your confidence to create a profitable sustainable portrait business you love through continually refining, and reworking your business. Let’s do the rework.

Allison Tyler Jones: Hi friends, and welcome back to The ReWork. Today, in the podcast studio, I have my nephew Ross DeCesare. He is 17 going on 40, and he is a social media mastermind. And I’ve roped him into coming in and giving us a few of his best tips for planning posts, for how to get engagement, for how to use TikTok to increase your Instagram following, all the things. So I can’t wait for you to hear it. Let’s do it. Today’s podcast has been in the making and the discussion phases for a really long time. My guest today is my nephew, Ross DeCesare. Hi, Ross.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Hi, Allison.

Allison Tyler Jones: I’m so glad that you’re here. I want you to tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Okay. Well my fabulous aunt, Allison Tyler Jones, as you know is a portrait photographer, and I’m lucky enough to spend lots of time with her. And my mom is a residential interior designer. You’ve listened to her on the podcast before. I’ve worked with her the past three years full-time out of high school, and just throughout my whole life. So I’ve got a lot of experience through that. I currently run the social media and marketing aspect of DeCesare Design Group, and also peep into Allison’s studio every day and say, “Hi,” and see what they’re up to. I’ve traveled a lot, and I love to see the world, and see all sorts of design and photography.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. And what he didn’t mention is that he’s 17 years old. So he graduated high school early, and has been working in his mom’s business for already three years. So he’s got a lot of experience under his belt, and we always tease and say that he is the oldest 17 year old we know. He’s 17 going on 40. So I’m really glad to have you here today, and what I’m hoping that you can share with our listeners is what a 17 year old, 40 year old, can best help our listeners with their Instagram, or their social media.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Oh, yay. Okay. Got any questions?

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, I think social media’s a two edged sword, as we all know. It’s great. I feel like Instagram has been awesome for both my business, and your mom’s business, but it’s a lot. It takes a lot of time.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It does. It is a time suck for sure. Something I always say, and have to keep in the back of my head, is if you’re going to commit to social media you just have to always be posting. Be consistent because when you’re constantly posting and constantly making content, although it may be like pulling teeth, that’s when Instagram sees that you’re trying, and other people see your stuff more often. The more you’re putting out, the more they see it. The more engaged other people can come, and see your feed, and that’s just how you slowly grow on Instagram at least, and social media.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, one of the things that you did, was it maybe 2021 when you did… There was one install that you did a TikTok. So you were-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Oh, yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. So tell us about that.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: So if you’re not familiar with TikTok, TikTok blew up during COVID. That’s how a lot of influencers that have following today got their following. Two years ago in March when everyone was at home, everyone was on their phones. They downloaded this weird app, made videos dancing to music. And I had it, had been on it. And I was sitting with a cousin, and we were both scrolling on TikTok. And I was like, “Wait a second. I just took a super cool video of a house we installed. I should post it on TikTok.” So I made an account for DeCesare Design Group, posted this video, put a before shot, and then an after shot with this cool video. It was this amazing house. And I went home, went to bed, and turned my phone off. The next morning, my phone was blowing up. It had 1,500,000 views in like 12, 18 hours.

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh my gosh.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: And 183,000 likes, all these comments. And then I was like, “This is crazy,” but the thing I’m glad I did is I linked my Instagram to my TikTok profile. And I went to Instagram, and DeCesare Design Group’s Instagram got like 3,000 followers overnight.

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh my gosh.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: No, maybe two days. It was kind of a blur, but looking back it was so long ago. But it was crazy how just that one thing just blew up, and looking back, and studying… Because I’ll do experiments with myself. I’ll post different things to see how the engagement goes, and that one was a… I didn’t look at any trends. I didn’t look at what anyone else was doing. I just did it, and it blew up. I think some people try to be too trendy.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: And people sometimes get sick of that when they’re hearing the same music over and over again on Instagram reels, or TikTok. When they’re seeing the same posts, same styling, same furniture. What I took away from that is, be authentic. Do what you think is best, and tweak it how engagement follows it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, so what that video was is you’d posted just a still photo of the house-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Under construction.

Allison Tyler Jones: … in the framing stage, right?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then, followed it with a video of walking through-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It was panning through the living room, and the kitchen. So it showed that space-

Allison Tyler Jones: That same view.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: … done, furnished, accessorized, moved in.

Allison Tyler Jones: Awesome. Yeah. So, love that. That’s a great story. So you have all kinds of tricks.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: If you call them tricks.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes. Well, I mean, but the thing I think that’s interesting about the way that you’re doing DeCesare Design Group’s social media is that you do look at trends, but you’re also looking at your data.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: You’re looking at like what’s the best time of day to post. And so, what time of day is the best time of day for you to post usually?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: I’m checking right now. I think it’s noon on the weekdays. I think that’s just when everyone’s at lunch.

Allison Tyler Jones: Really?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: I know it’s so weird. Yeah. It says Wednesday from noon to two is the best time for me to post.

Allison Tyler Jones: Because last year it was like four o’clock.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It changes.

Allison Tyler Jones: Interesting.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It’s very weird. I don’t know. And I notice when I do post at that time around 12:30, for me, my account, that’s when it gets the best reaction. And if you don’t know about that, if you have a business account on Instagram, you can, on your profile, click insights and scroll down to followers. And there’s all this great information about your current following, where your followers are from, and-

Allison Tyler Jones: Demographics.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: The best, most valuable part, is when most active times of your users because that’s when they’re all scrolling, and you can catch their attention.

Allison Tyler Jones: Love that. So are you using any software to post?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: I use a grid planning program called PLANOLY, P-L-A-N-O-L-Y. You have to pay for it. It’s a yearly subscription. I go in and I load all my posts. I’ll batch my posts, and I go in, load up the post, type a caption, hashtags, tag architects, builders. If there’s a wonderful portrait art in it from Allison Tyler Jones-

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Of course.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: … got to tag Allison Tyler Jones.

Allison Tyler Jones: Absolutely.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: So I load it up, and then you can automatically schedule it. So depending on how much involvement, or how crazy that week is, I will schedule it out every day, or every other day. And then, it gives me a notification when it’s been automatically posted. And I go on, and I do Instagram stories relating to the post because Instagram stories, people look at those so much, and interact with those so much more than posts nowadays that that’s how you can catch their attention.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Okay. So PLANOLY, or PLANOLY, or PLANOLY, whatever it’s called.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Whatever it is, whatever you want to call it.

Allison Tyler Jones: PLANOLY. So you’re doing that for the post, you’re posting your feed?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yes.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. I know we’ve used in the past-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yeah. That’s works just like Later. PLANOLY is getting better, and they’re letting you… I think they just came out where you can automatically post videos, and you know when you swipe, that’s called a carousel. You can automatically do those. So it’s getting a little bit better.

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh, that’s good. Few more features than Later?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. That’s interesting. All right. Okay. So you’re scheduling those, and then having the notification come up letting you know that it’s there so that then you can put your-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Instagram stories.

Allison Tyler Jones: Your Instagram stories. Okay. So what are you usually doing your Instagram stories with? What kind of content are you putting in for your Instagram stories?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Well, multiple things. The first thing I always do is if I have a post, I share it to my story right away. Then it’s on my story, people can see on it, click on it, read more. If they like the photo, they’ll swipe up, and ask questions about it. Other things I put on my stories are if we’re on install, and just progress shots of the house. If we go on a job site walk. Just more behind the scenes stuff.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Instagram is changing to a video platform, and as portrait photographers, that’s hard. And for our company, interior design, that’s hard too because we do so much professional photography for magazines, and publishings. We have all these great photos, but if it’s video, how do we post that? Sometimes I do a post of the house, and the next day I do a reel, which is like a TikTok of a video walking through the house. One great idea that I’ve given to Allison’s girl who helps her out with social media is just do behind the scenes of the photo, like a video reel of the behind the scenes, and then the shoot as the cover post so it shows on the feed. Just-

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay, so say that again.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: You do a reel.

Allison Tyler Jones: So a video of the behind the scenes of the photo session?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: A video of behind the scenes of the session, and then posting the end result. So you can see behind the scenes, end result, and then you’re getting that video content out there because people are more engaged with that. Put some good music to it, put a caption on it, post it to your story.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: And the reason why we haven’t been doing too much of that yet is that I don’t like to post sneak peaks. I’m not a believer in sneak peaks. And so when we’re doing that, if we’re doing that, it’s going to be a pretty far delay on that. But it’s still going to get the message out, the brand. That a photo shoot with Alison Tyler Jones is really fun, and this is the result that you get out of it. And so, I like that you’re doing progress information as you’re going through a project.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: And you can always… Instagram, social media, well it’s so fake sometimes. It kind of helps you in a little bit because you can delay that information. So if I’m on install, and I forget to post for a week, then no one knows that we weren’t actually on install last week. Or if the assistant that was out on the field and took pictures forgot to send me pictures, and a week later she sends me the photos that I need, and I can just post them then.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: If you’re waiting till you have the image that the client sold, and the client’s seen it, and it’s hanging in their house. You could post the behind the scenes later.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Which, actually, is sometimes more helpful and less stressful because you already have the content in one place.

Allison Tyler Jones: Exactly.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: You’re not posting, and then, “Oh, I already posted that. Now I have to post that photo.” But maybe the client didn’t buy the photo that was in the behind the scenes, and you didn’t retouch it. Or it didn’t turn out how you wanted it to. So kind of just delaying that posting in a sense does help with stress, and then you can plan it out even further.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. And I think you could go in, and then batch a bunch of posts. Pull a bunch of things, look at the videos, and then okay, pull the images from those sessions and post them later.

Allison Tyler Jones: If you’re looking for a way to attract better clients, I have a free masterclass coming up very, very soon. And it’s called Four Mind Shifts to Attract Better Clients. It’s the behind the scenes secrets that we use to create a profitable portrait business built around your unique style, and your very best clients without working around the clock, or having to market like an insane person. We have three different dates for you to pick from, and I would love to see you there. 

Allison Tyler Jones: In this class, you’re going to learn about the major mind shift that all successful portrait photographers must make in order to drill down on what you do best. How to innovate by ignoring the competition, and focusing on what you do best. How to simplify to sell more. A clear way to talk about your work that will educate your clients instead of selling them. And the most simple and effective marketing strategy that costs no money, and will have your clients buzzing about you to their friends. This masterclass is absolutely free, and I would love to see you there. Just go to, and sign up for the time and date that works best for you. That’s Don’t miss it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. So do you have any overall suggestions for things that people need to be aware of? Maybe global suggestions about overall social media when it comes to business?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: I think the first thing is, be yourself. Show what you do, what your message is, and somehow relay that to the other person. Because if you’re not being what your company is, or what you want to be, then when your clients come to you they’re not going to be expecting that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Don’t be copying what everybody else is doing.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Exactly. Allison is posting high end work all the time. She’s posting videos of this install with huge frames. Her clients are seeing that, then they want that, they’re coming to her for that. So that helps you to post what you want to do.

Allison Tyler Jones: What you actually are doing, or maybe if you want to be doing that. You aren’t doing it yet, do something-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Close to it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Show that.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: And then I think another thing, like I said earlier, is just if you’re going to try to be really good at social media, you have to take the time. You have to be consistent. You have to constantly do things, and you may not get 1,500,000 views on your first video. It may take three videos. But notice when you post something, what worked, what didn’t work, what were people saying. Take that feedback into consideration because your clients are on Instagram, your viewers on Instagram, social media, they know what they want to see. So if they’re not seeing it, they are brutally honest on social media. So they will let you know right away.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: “We don’t like this photo.” “We don’t like this, it’s too edited,” or “Why is that frame so weird,” or whatever.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Especially on TikTok, and Facebook. There’s a lot more honesty on there.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. So what do you feel that social media is doing for DeCesare Design Group?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It’s hard right now. There’s not really an end result that’s coming because clients that are coming through social media aren’t as qualified as we’d like them to be sometimes. We’ve had a good couple ones, maybe, come through that have gone through some phases, but not some big gold nugget. I think it’s just building that base. We have 12,800 followers right now, and it’s building that base that allows a following in the future. So if Caroline, my mom, wanted to write a book, she has a following. If she started a furniture line, or a fabric line, or if she like Allison, starts an education business, her loyal following and trusted following can go to that next new Instagram page. Follow that, by that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right, just gives you a platform.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It’s a platform. That’s what you need. So constantly just keep building that platform. Some clients come through. Great. Awesome. And then you have that big platform to do an education business, sell a book, different things.

Allison Tyler Jones: Just do other projects.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well I think one of the things that’s so great about your social media feed, and for those of you who want to look at it is DeCesare Design Group.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: D-E-C-E-S-A-R-E Design Group.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Been spelling that my whole life.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, exactly. Since you could talk.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: But the thing that I think is really good about that for your clients… So you may not have clients coming cold out of Instagram, but your clients that are coming to you from either referrals from architects, or real estate agents, or other referral sources. I feel like Instagram, or social media is your business card now. What used to be your business card is now your-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Kind of a portfolio.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. And it takes the place of the website, and it just gives them something to look at. And then they also can see, at least for us, the stories are the behind the scenes. This is how the process works. So the feed is the pretty picture, and then the stories are more like, this is the process. This is how it works.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Yeah. I just had two thoughts with what you were saying.

Allison Tyler Jones: Do it, love it.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: One thing with Instagram is, not only can it help with your social media, giving you clients, is your existing clients that you have. We’re doing about 20, 25 homes, and projects right now. And some of our younger clients like 30s, 40s who are on Instagram, they love seeing their house on Instagram. We don’t let the world know it’s their house because we would not do that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Privacy. Yeah.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: But they, “Oh, they are on site.” Maybe they weren’t on a job site walk. They couldn’t make it, they were out of town. But we were on site, we posted about it. They saw it. They saw a little update through Instagram on their own house, or their own portrait being printed. So that’s one thing that we’ve really liked. And Caroline and I, when we’re on Instagram on our account, we’ll respond to clients posts. We’ll like, and we’ll respond to their stories, comment on where they’re traveling. They like it. It engages. It’s creating a relationship online versus just the working relationship of designing their home.

Allison Tyler Jones: It gives you another layer of that relationship. It’s a social relationship. Yeah.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It’s a social relationship, and it’s another layer of love. We’re commenting when their kid goes to a swim meet. We’re like, “Woo, way to go.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Sure.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Another train of thought I had, which I think is slowly departing the station, is one of our clients specifically, he… I can’t ever find his Instagram because I think he’s a really private person, but he sends my mom, Caroline, screenshots of our stories. “I love this. I need this in my house. Oh my gosh, can we do this?” And we’re still designing his house, so he’s… Or when we travel, he’s like, “Oh my gosh, I loved seeing that.” So just the clients are seeing that we’re doing things. They’re seeing our other work, and how they want it. So, “Oh, they’re using this landscape designer. Oh, let’s use him because he’s great.” And also, one of the best things about being consistent in posting is clients see that we have other drops. It’s a friendly little reminder that they’re not our only client.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Yes.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Which we want them to think they’re our only client sometimes, but also sometimes we are working on other people. So we can’t respond to you right now.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Right. Got it.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: It’s a double edged sword.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes. I love it. I think that’s really, really, really interesting. What else do you have for us today?

Ross Tyler DeCesare: I think that’s it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, I think-

Ross Tyler DeCesare: No other thoughts.

Allison Tyler Jones: No other thoughts? Okay. Well, check out DeCesare Design Group on Instagram, D-E-C-E-S-A-R-E Design Group, and you will see Ross’s work at its finest. Anyway, well thank you for helping us out with that. And we will link to that in the show notes, and we’ll link to that software as well. And I appreciate you being here.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: That was awesome. Thank you.

Allison Tyler Jones: Love you.

Ross Tyler DeCesare: Bye.

Allison Tyler Jones: Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you being here? I know that you have so many demands on your time, and so many demands on your attention. You could be watching Netflix. You could be listening to a true crime podcast, but you’ve spent time here at The ReWork learning to make your portrait business better, and that really means a lot to me. If there’s somebody that you feel like could benefit from this episode, that you could help them, and help us spread the word in helping other portrait photographers build better businesses. Please go to where you’re listening to this episode and hit that share button, and share it with them.

Allison Tyler Jones: And if you have time, and can give us a review, you don’t even understand how much that means to a little tiny podcast like ours. To see those reviews, and see how we’re helping. And if you have another minute, and can send me a DM and let us know what you would like to hear in the future, what you really enjoyed hearing about, maybe things that weren’t that great, how we can do better. We always want to do better, and we always want to support the portrait photography industry in helping you build the best businesses ever. Thanks again so much for being here.

Recorded: You can find more great resources from Allison at, and on Instagram at do.the.rework.


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