Evolving the Luxury Portrait Studio

Guest: Mary Fisk-Taylor

President of Professional Photographers of America
Richmond, Virginia

DATE: November 4, 2021

If the idea of calling yourself a luxury photographer makes you recoil, you might be thinking about it in the wrong way. No matter your field of expertise or your preferred medium, if you are charging for your photographs, you’re in the luxury business! 

Today I’m joined by the no-nonsense and hilarious Mary Fisk-Taylor PPA’s current president, and a photography studio owner who knows what it’s like to be doing 300 sessions a year and not having any time to do anything else, and how it feels when you change your mindset from “take everything you can get” to “less is more.” 

When Mary got to the point where her studio was bringing in 7 figures annually but she couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, she knew something had to change. So she rid herself of other people’s expectations, figured out who her ideal client was, and began assigning value to her portraits and communicating that value to her clients.

This episode is inspirational from start to finish, and may be just the motivation you need to make the changes to your business that you deserve!  


[02:41] The shift that occurs the day you decide to charge for your photographs. 

[03:30] Mary shares the history of her studio, and the mentor who helped her get to where she is today. 

[04:46] A profound moment in Mary’s life which drove her to shift her mindset and change her business model. 

[08:15] The philosophy in the photography world which causes many photographers to burn out. 

[10:07] How Mary identified her ideal client and then refined her services to suit them. 

[14:42] Mary’s innovative approach to business during the COVID-19 lockdown, when in-person consultations were prohibited.  

[19:22] Why Mary and I advocate for the “less is more” approach rather than the “take everything you can get” one. 

[21:42] Some of the requirements for Mary’s Zoom consultations. 

[23:38] How Mary’s clients responded to the changes she made to her business during the pandemic. 

[26:35] What Mary’s schedule looks like since she changed her messaging and her business model. 

[28:01] The shifts that I made within ATJ Photography a few years ago, and how my clients reacted.  

[29:44] How to handle negativity from clients and other photographers. 

[33:56] What Mary realized after she reached her rock bottom. 

[37:40] Why all photographers should embrace the concept of luxury.  

[38:12] Books that you need to read. 

[42:02] An inspirational message from Mary to all photographers out there. 

[45:43] How Mary’s upbringing impacted her approach to work. 

Links and Resources:

Do The ReWork

Website | Instagram

Allison Tyler Jones

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

Hayes and Fisk Photography




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