Andrew Joseph on PR

I have the honor of going way back with the amazingly accomplished Andrew Joseph, founder and dynamo-in-charge of Andrew Joseph Public Relations. AJPR is a New York based full-service communications firm specializing in shelter, design, and lifestyle brands. We had a chance to catch up on a recent visit and I couldn’t resist squeezing in a little photo shoot on the sidewalks of Chelsea. When the talent is this good, who can resist?! Andrew graciously accepted my request for a quick interview, and his insights are invaluable!

NR: How did you get into PR?  What was your vision for the firm you wanted to build? What drew you to working with shelter, design, and lifestyle brands?

AB: When I moved to NYC in 1999, I was as prepared as I could be; I thought I had a job lined up being a rep for a perfume company, but as life would have it, that job moved to Baltimore as I was in the process of moving from San Francisco. As one does, I scrambled to find work by networking the heck out of my contacts and landed a job at Vanity Fair, a Conde Nast publication. After Vanity Fair, I moved on to another title: Allure. In the time I was there, as magazines seem to be, there was a constant musical chairs of staff changes and I thought, “well, maybe the magazine world is not for me and I should try this PR thing,” which seemed somewhat more stable.

NR: What’s the secret sauce in PR? Is it industry connections, a finely tuned intuition, timing media cycles, pure style?  When you’re absolutely in your stride, which of your many skills are you using the most?

AB: You hit the nail on the head- it’s a combination of all those skills, but mostly it’s being mindful of who you work with and represent. I spent years working for other firms before I started my own, and my goal at the time was to work for clients that you are excited about. That said, above and beyond, any qualities a good PR person needs to have are honesty, integrity, and the ability to pivot and evolve with your business model as the industry and media landscape change around you.

NR: What are some of the traps in communications strategy?  Are there “empty calorie” efforts that seem appealing on the surface but don’t produce results?  How do you know what strategies really have substance?

AB: Good public relations skills are like a painting- every brush stroke counts, both big and small. There is a quote from Jane Russell that goes, “Publicity is terrible; but only if you don’t have any.” That being said, as I mentioned in my previous answer, you have to pivot in this world of how people disseminate and process information. So I try not to be stuck in “what are you supposed to do.” I think people that stick with what works, which doesn’t always work the day after tomorrow.

NR: How do you feel about paid social media?

AB: Authenticity is the name of the game. From time to time a pay to play strategy pays off, but more often than not that does not always reach your target audience.

NR: Is PR seasonal in a universal way or are the cycles more industry specific?

AB: Totally and fully universal and always a hurry and go strategy. There is never a down time.

NR: In the age of startups it feels like brand identity is constantly evolving and being revamped as companies find what works.  Are PR dollars spent before brand identity is solidified wasted dollars?

AB: Brand identity is the why someone cares and if someone does not have a story to tell that is fine tuned and honed – then what are you telling? Branding first!

NR: How should creative professionals approach PR?  Is there a possibility for results with a less-than-corporate budget?  What’s one solid effort that can yield results without breaking the bank?

AB: We work with solid and established brands as well as those that are up and coming. The first thing you need are assets you can share with the media. In my world, working with architects, interior designers, and luxury home furnishings – photography is where you start to make an investment – without that – what are you sharing with media? it’s a very image driven industry.

NR: Frequency, duration, and intensity are often used as measures for the likelihood of success in exercise; do these translate to the world of PR?

AB: That is so funny ask that question. I frequently speak with another PR professional on best practices and how designers work with public relations firms, and she always quotes me saying that PR is very much like a gym membership. You can pay, but if you don’t put in the work it’s like not going to the gym. Meaning, PR folks are only as good as the clients they work with if they put in the time to do the homework. There is always homework and all those qualities apply. 

NR: You’ve shared your amazing fitness journey, what gives you the best results?  What motivates you on the days when your body says “Screw you; I don’t want to go to the gym!”?

AB: Thanks for noticing. I simply turned a corner about 2.5 years ago at a point that I was 40+ pounds overweight and I was like “No- no more.” And rather like starting my own business, make the choice that giving up was not an option.

NR: What’s for breakfast?

AB: Coffee and exercise.

NR: What are you reading?

AB: I wish I read more; I average 400+ emails a day so when it comes to personal reading, I have to say, I am lacking.

NR: What’s your most recent tattoo?

AB: A Fornasetti inspired tattoo wrapped in a serpent.

NR: What’s your happy place these days?

AB: Happy place is 1000000% my home in upstate New York in the country outside of Saugerties, NY. It is an investment in my sanity. Four acres in the middle of the woods with no neighbors in sight and the sounds of the woods are more healing than I thought possible.

NR: You always look damn good, do you ever have trouble deciding what to wear?

AB: Almost every day I change twice 🙂

877-881-7221 |

Adventures in Family Photography

Photographing children and families with children is one of the best parts of what I do…and a great workout; trying to keep up with youngsters is no joke!  Not long ago, I once again had the lovely experience of photographing Shannon, Rachelle, and their growing family — one of the sweetest you could ever meet. And just like all my returning family clients, I am truly honored to know them, watch their family grow, and capture their most important moments for them.  I love these sessions because they feel like a reunion with old friends.

I first had the pleasure of photographing Shannon and Rachelle at their wedding in 2008. Then came pregnancy and newborn photos with darling boy Dylan and, recently, the same with darling girl Ellie. Ellie was still in mama’s belly at the time of this shoot, but she arrived happy and healthy soon afterwards and was absolutely precious in her recent newborn portraits. (Stay tuned for more on Ellie.)

Notice how happy everyone looks in these images, especially little Dylan? Well, there’s a bit more to the story. See that beautiful stone stairway? The minute Dylan saw it, all he wanted to do was climb, and climb, and climb some more. He was on a mission and simply had no time for photos. It would be an understatement to say Dylan was unhappy when we suggested a break from climbing. And he wasn’t shy about sharing his feelings.


So how did we get from that state of mind to these happy images?  With a little patience and a lot of fun. Through years of experience, I have learned to quickly build a rapport with young kids and redirect if things start to go awry. For starters, I first spend time just connecting — without cameras and other equipment. I gauge whether a child is in a shy or outgoing mood in order to match their energy. I might even enlist them as “assistants”, asking them what we need to get done and how they think we should do it.

In Dylan’s case, something as simple as a silly face contest did the trick. Before you could say “stairway”, he was all ready to smile for the camera!

Parents often worry that their shoot won’t go well if their children aren’t perfect angels at all times. But no one’s are, and that’s okay. This is supposed to be fun!  Kids don’t have to be perfect to have a perfect family portrait photo shoot. They just have to be themselves, have fun, and we get to make it great!

– Nancy

877-881-7221 |

2016 Best of Oakland & the East Bay!

2016BestofOaklandBannerI’m thrilled to have been voted Best Commercial Photographer in Oakland Magazine‘s 2016 Best of Oakland and the East Bay contest — for the second year in a row! Thank you all so much for taking the time to vote! The flood of kindness (and emails!) from so many of my dear clients and friends warmed my heart.

I feel honored to be a part of a community that celebrate its members; so much that over 175 winners are recognized throughout the East Bay every year! How amazing to be a part of a community that has the diversity to award over 175 different categories, and community-minded patrons who see the significance of shopping local!

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the July issue of Oakland Magazine to check out the full list of this year’s local favorites!

Happy summer, everyone!



877-881-7221 |

Mini-Interview with Katie Macks, Your Guide to Glow


Meet Katie Macks: founder of Get Your Glow On, providing transformational coaching and training to growth-oriented individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Get your Glow On is centered on the philosophy that individual positivity has the power to ripple kindness and meaning well into the universe. And who doesn’t want that!

I was lucky to have met Katie (and all her positive energy) through our shared networking group. Naturally, I wanted to share her effervescent spirit, so I asked her to do a mini-interview for the blog!

Here we go!



What is the philosophy behind GLOW? Get your Glow On is centered on the philosophy that Glow is the thread that connects all living things on this planet. Our Glow thrives in both our strength and our vulnerability vs defensiveness and arrogance and it thrives in our compassion vs comparison. Glow liberates us from the limitations that we place upon ourselves and others, and is the pathway to freedom and joy through curiosity, creativity and connection!

What does it mean to get your GLOW on? GLOW is an acronym for Growing – Loving – Opening – Willing; it’s a deep dive into personal development focusing on the most important relationship any of us will ever have, the relationship with ourselves. So often in life we are run by our deep-seated beliefs that often unconsciously drive the choices that we make. Many of us don’t even question the choices we make and we wonder why our circumstances are what they are. Do you ever feel like your life’s circumstances run you rather than feeling like you are in the drivers seat of your life? Getting Your Glow On is about liberating your soul’s full expression: moving from feeling like a victim of your circumstances, to recognizing that you always have choices in your life even if your choices are difficult.

What is a simple step that people just don’t take that can really help them get their GLOW on? Pausing and breathing. Most of us have knee jerk reactions to people’s behaviors, events and circumstances. If we pause and take deep breaths we may get a new perspective. Two keys to learning about yourself and others are to be curious and to be neutral. If you can get curious and find out where others are coming from you may learn that virtually nothing others do is personal to you. Most conflict comes from our own interpretation of what is happening around us. If you are to get curious you may very well learn that other peoples actions and behaviors are a reflection of how they see the world not how you see the world. One of my favorite sayings is “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are” -The Talmud. There is so much to learn when we can seek understanding rather than focusing on being “right” about our interpretation.

What’s the most empowering habit people can incorporate into their daily lives? Do your best to not make assumptions and make it a practice to be curious rather than taking things personally. If you are curious you will learn that people’s beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and assumptions are their own and have nothing to do with you. These two things alone can transform your life in unimaginable ways!

What is your favorite thing to cook? Kabocha squash soup.

Find Katie: Facebook | Web


877-881-7221 |