The Business Side of Portraits

Guest: Jessica Mackey

Client Coordinator | ATJ Photo
Mesa, Arizona

DATE: January 20, 2022

So many of us fall head over heels in love with the art of photography. We are motivated to develop our talents and, before we know it, our family and friends notice and ask us to create images for them. Fast forward a bit of time and, somehow, we find ourselves in the portrait business. Sound familiar? 

Maybe you entered the portrait industry in a different way but I believe we all start out with the love of the craft first and business a distant second.

Maybe you’re done pursuing photography as a side-hustle, and are ready to make portraits your livelihood.

Maybe you’ve established a portrait business but you feel held back by not reaching the best clients or not having a process by which you can educate and spoil your clientele. 

If any of the above apply, this episode is for you! 

We’ve witnessed so many photographers struggle to build a business because of their lack of knowledge around things like pricing, self-promotion, and the art of booking your ideal clients, which forces even extremely talented photographers out of the industry (as Jessica knows from personal experience). And that is exactly what we are hoping to prevent.

Join me and Jessica Mackey for a candid discussion around what you can do, starting TODAY, to create a portrait business that fulfills your creativity and your income goals. 


[01:01] What Jessica and I have learned about photographers through the time we have spent developing this podcast and the Art of Selling Art course. 

[02:54] Some of the bold moves that we made in our studio in 2021. 

[03:40] Jessica’s experience starting her own photography business, and her thoughts on why it didn’t work out. 

[06:25] The biggest challenges that Jessica faced while working as a photographer.

[09:11] Results from studies conducted by the PPA about the success rate of photographers. 

[11:30] Jessica’s thoughts on how a mentor might have helped when she was setting up her photography business. 

[14:47] One of the best pieces of advice I received when I entered the photography industry. 

[16:43] Vital questions that you should ask yourself when starting or revamping your business.

[18:27] An important element that Jessica neglected when she was running her photography business.

[21:33] The importance of having processes in place as a business owner. 

[24:33] One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen photographers make. 

[25:20] The full complement of services that I offer to my clients. 

[27:45] The importance of identifying who your ideal clients are. 

[31:33] Misinformation that photographers are often exposed to. 

[32:25] Societal misconceptions about the portrait photography industry. 

[35:10] The approach I took when building my photography business.  

[36:58] Why many photographers struggle with the business side of things.

[38:06] The iterative learning process that you should expect when you start a business. 

[40:04] What I learned about knowing my numbers from my scrapbooking business. 

[42:51] Valuable advice for any struggling photographers out there. 

[45:05] The mindset that has helped me get through difficult times in my businesses and allowed me to succeed.

Links and Resources:

Do The ReWork

Website | Instagram

Allison Tyler Jones

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn