Episode 49 Jose Villa: Redefining Success with Fine Art Wedding Photography

Initially, Jose’s parents were nervous about him becoming a photographer. As recent US immigrants, they didn’t think his dreams of making money in portrait photography would come to fruition and wanted to see him take on a more traditional career path. 

But Jose knew he was onto something when he started taking photos in high school, and his friends started paying him for senior portrait sessions.

 He loved portraits, he loved film, and he never looked back.

Since then, Jose has been shooting film professionally for all of his clients. He’s been photographing weddings for about 16 years and finds them to be completely immersive, personal, and life-changing for everyone involved. 

In this episode, Jose sits down to share his perspective and tips on what it’s like to be a professional wedding photographer who has an eye for fine art, and how his niche in film photography plays out in the digital age.

About Jose

Jose Villa is a fine art wedding photographer known for crafting vibrant, energetic, fine art images that are as unique as the people in the photographs. Jose has been published in many magazines around the world, including Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Elegant Bride, Instyle Weddings, Inside Weddings, Brides Magazine, Modern Bride, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Pacific Weddings, Southern Weddings, and many more. 

He has been named a top wedding photographer in Martha Stewart Weddings, Harper’s Bazaar, Style Me Pretty, and Vogue, and was recently listed in the Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World by American Photo Magazine.

Jose is the author of Fine Art Wedding Photography.

Jose was born in Mexico and grew up in Solvang, California. 

He attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.

Show Highlights:

  • Jose open up about his parents’ initial reaction to him wanting to be a photographer
  • What motivated Jose originally to take photography classes in high school
  • The one person who helped boost Jose’s confidence as a young photographer
  • How Jose got his first gig as a wedding photographer
  • Jose defines what fine art photography is when it comes to weddings
  • Why Jose continues to shoot in film even after the rise of digital photography
  • The things Jose worries about when waiting for developed film to come back
  • Why candid photos mean so much especially to friends and family
  • The way a photographer’s presence at a wedding impacts the event as a whole as well as the bride and groom’s wedding day experience.
  • What to do if guests pull out cameras or cell phones during the ceremony
  • Jose shares his go-to gear for shooting weddings in film

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Jose Villa – Fine Art Wedding Photography

Jose Villa on Instagram – @josevilla

Jose’s book – Fine Art Wedding Photography

The Man Who Listens To Horses by Monty Roberts

Episode 47 Peter Callahan: Embracing Creativity to Lead an Inspired Life

Peter Callahan almost didn’t become a world-famous caterer. Growing up around successful finance businessmen, he felt as if that was his destiny and attended undergraduate programs for business.

But with every elaborate party Peter designed and catered in college, he learned more about crafting incredible experiences through creativity and food.

It would still take him multiple failed college classes and several more years to finally make the leap from a career as a precious metals bonds trader, but at 26 he left to start his own food business and has never looked back.

In his adult life, Peter embraced his creativity and learned it’s never too late to start doing more of what you love. His famous artisanal miniature bites have become the cornerstone of his culinary brand, but with a mind like Peter’s, there is always more on the horizon.

About Peter:

Peter Callahan is the iconic owner and Creative Director of New York City-based Peter Callahan Catering. Widely credited with having created the mega trend of miniature savory and dessert comfort food hors-d’oeuvres, Peter has been a caterer, food stylist, and culinary innovator for more than twenty-five years.

Seen countless times on the Today Show and Martha Stewart Show, Peter is also a Contributing Editor for Martha Stewart Weddings and is the author of best-selling book, Bite by Bite: 100 Stylish Little Plates You Can Make for Any Party as well as his newest book, Party Food.

Peter has created sensational events for Martha Stewart, Vera Wang, Kate Spade, JP Morgan, Tory Burch, Valentino, Regis and Joy Philbin, Tony Bennett, Kelly Ripa, Google, and Al Gore, among many other clients.

Peter and his wife, fashion designer Josephine Sasso, divide their time between New York City and Nantucket.

Show Highlights:

  • How Peter realized he is a creative
  • How Peter’s grades struggled in undergrad while his grand parties flourished
  • The career Peter took prior to making the leap into the culinary business
  • Peter shares stories of his first experience catering for an unsuspecting event
  • How Peter managed a business transition from Philadelphia to New York
  • What Peter did to obtain steady business catering in NYC
  • What inspired Peter to start “shrinking” food, and how he did it
  • The importance of finely crafted appetizers in a dining experience
  • Insights to help you free yourself up to focus more on your creative work
  • Ways to find the best partners for your business
  • Why you shouldn’t let fear stand in your way of chasing your business goals
  • Peter hints at his hopes for the next exciting steps in his business

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Peter Callahan

Peter’s Books:

Bite by Bite: 100 Stylish Little Plates You Can Make for Any Party

Party Food:  Mini Hors-d’oeuvres, Family-Style Settings, Plated Dishes, Buffet Spreads, Bar Carts

Connect with Peter:

Instagram:  @petercallahan or Facebook


Episode 46 Simon T. Bailey: How To Harness Your Brilliance and Turbo Charge Your Business

Simon T. Bailey is no stranger to success, even though he’s quite familiar with failure.

At a young age, Simon was turned down for multiple sports teams-but he didn’t let that stop him.

He left his first college after just one year and moved into a low-income neighborhood. His path took him to a high-level role, which he transitioned away from when it became clear his days as an employee there were numbered.

But in every situation, Simon was constantly searching for a way to use what he was truly passionate about– helping others to discover their inner brilliance.

Simon is unafraid to transform himself, to recognize the need to evolve. He understands this means putting yourself out there and potentially failing.

He spends this episode sharing his experiences and dropping life-changing perspectives on how you can help yourself grow, forgive others, and take responsibility for pursuing your dreams and find success.

About Simon T. Bailey:

Simon T. Bailey helps people discover their inner brilliance. A best-selling author, Success Magazine’s 2018 Top 25, and renowned teacher, Simon has shaped the lives of more than 2 million people in 45 different countries. Simon is one of America’s Top 10 Most-Booked Corporate and Association Speakers and recently was inducted into the National Speaker’s Association Hall of Fame. Whether advising CEOs or speaking at a conference, Simon knows that everyone has the potential to be brilliant. Simon T. Bailey grew up in Buffalo, New York.

Show Highlights:

  • What Simon was doing at 8 years old that forecasted his successful career today
  • Simon’s experience trying out for sports and the impact failure had on him
  • The surprising and memorable first public speech Simon gave
  • Simon shares his experience moving by himself into a low-income neighborhood at 19
  • The 3 questions Simon asked himself that were the catalyst for him to move into his business
  • How Simon transitioned from a high-level leadership role at Disney to follow his dreams
  • Why it’s important to have a mentor and how they make a difference
  • How you can make a tangible impact in your life starting with 15 minutes each day
  • The benefits of really engaging in therapy, especially for men


Links Mentioned in the Show:

Simon’s Website 

Simon’s Courses – In particular, our Brilliant Presenter and Shift Your Brilliance courses

Simon’s Lynda Courses

Simon on Twitter

Simon on Facebook 

Simon on LinkedIn

Simon on Instagram

Watch Simon’s Videos:

The Simon T. Bailey Experience

Success.com – “Self-confidence”

Other Links:

The Hottest Event Keynote Speakers for 2018 | ITA Group

Success Magazine Article



Episode 45 Troy Williams: Fearlessly Paving His Own Path to Celebrity Event Planner Success

Troy Williams is a successful event designer, planner and lifestyle influencer, but his success didn’t happen overnight. It took years of hard work and persistence in following his dream, including cold-calling producers in Hollywood, finding an opportunity to be an intern at Warner Brothers Studios and helping to style celebrities who happened to shop during his shifts at Banana Republic. Above all, Troy credits his career to his passion, talent, and being truly kind to everyone he met.

In this episode, Troy recounts his experience steadily blossoming into an event designer at Warner Brothers, and how he made the leap from a successful career in Hollywood premiere parties to taking on his own business: Simply Troy – where his A-List Celebrity network now recognizes him as a go-to for their own personal celebrations.

About Troy:

Troy Williams is enthusiastically motivated by the sparkle in his client’s eye when they realize their vision has been spectacularly brought to life. He is inspired by any element he can incorporate into their event that has particular personal meaning.

He creates incredibly personalized event +branding experiences for Celebrity, Corporate, Social and Charity clients. His attention to every detail, both big and small, is held to a consistently high standard of perfection.

During his rewarding 14-year tenure, as a Senior Publicist for Premieres and Special Events at Warner Bros. Pictures, he was involved in the planning and implementation of over 450 special events from coast to coast, including Academy Award and Golden Globe parties.

Some of Troy’s most noteworthy clients include Eva Longoria, Seth McFarlane, Julianne Hough, Fergie, Carol Burnett and IMDb. Troy lives in Southern California with his husband, Craig, their toddler son, Finnley and their dogs.

Show Highlights:

  • How Troy’s college internship experience at Warner Bros. impacted his career
  • The early professional projects he earned from persistence and cold-calling
  • The importance of networking and being kind to your contacts
  • Troy recounts his experience putting on Hollywood premiere events
  • Troy’s favorite premiere parties he’s created– and some of his most stressful moments
  • What motivated Troy to take the leap into his own business from his successful career
  • The biggest differentiator between party planners and event professionals
  • A few tips to organically incorporate branding or personal client elements at an event
  • How Troy currently structures his business, Simply Troy
  • Why Troy started the Simply Smart Book Club

Links Mentioned:

Simply Troy – Lifestyle + Events

Simply Smart Book Club


Episode 42 Equally Wed: Kirsten & Maria’s Revolutionary Online Guide to Planning an LGBTQ+ Wedding

Kirsten Ott Palladino & Maria Palladino are co-founders of Equally Wed, an online wedding magazine celebrating love and weddings in the LGBTQ+ community. It also provides education and resources for same-sex couples and equality-minded wedding professionals. But this is far more than just a business venture.

In 2004, Kirsten and Maria fell in love, getting engaged just before Kirsten’s 30th birthday in Central Park. When Kirsten began searching online and in book stores for wedding planning resources as a same-sex couple, she didn’t see any content out there that reflected her relationship with Maria. Initially disappointed, Kirsten channeled her emotions into a project called Equally Wed — an online journal and national wedding magazine for LGBTQ+ couples. With Maria’s background in graphic design and web development and Kirsten’s experience in writing editorial content, the two created a national wedding magazine and resource guide for people in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies who want to learn, connect, and feel validation that love is love, no matter who you are.

At the time Equally Wed launched, only 6 US states had marriage equality, making Equally Wed not only an online resource for community and wedding resources for the LGBTQ+ community, but also a news and activism site during the movement toward national marriage equality. As the political and social conversation continues to evolve around same-sex marriage, so does the wedding market. Kirsten and Maria continue to push the envelope by developing relevant, thoughtful resources, including the publication of a wedding guide in 2017 specifically for LGBTQ+ couples planning their own weddings.

About the Interviewees: 

Kirsten Ott Palladino grew up in Georgia and is the co-founder and online editor for Equally Wed, the online journal and author of Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding. She has served a variety of magazine outlets and freelance clients with her editorial skills over the years before co-founding Equally Wed.

Maria Palladino hails from Florida and has a background in graphic design, marketing, and web development. After moving to Atlanta, she formed her own firm early in her career to work with a variety of clients before becoming the co-founder and creative director of Equally Wed. 

Show Highlights:

  • How Kirsten and Maria developed their careers in the editorial and graphic design fields
  • Kirsten and Maria’s personal story that was the catalyst for Equally Wed
  • Why wedding resources for same-sex couples are important
  • Personal stories from Kirsten and Maria about vendor and community reactions to planning their wedding as a same-sex couple
  • A brief overview of the same-sex marriage movement in the US
  • The importance of cisgender allies in the LGBTQ+ community
  • The types of questions same-sex couples ask themselves about creating an entire wedding experience– from traditions to honeymooning
  • How vendors who advertise their support of LGBTQ+ couples can impact their business
  • Important ways vendors can act as inclusive partners to better support LGBTQ+ couples

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding 

Equally Wed – Online wedding magazine and resource

Wedding Equality Alliance

Also, listen to Andy’s interview on his other podcast, Extraordinary Ordinary People, with Zoila Fajardo: Tolerance, Love, and Raising a Transgender Child

Connect with Kirsten and Maria: