Quality Over Quantity

Guest: Stacey Hemeyer

Associate Photographer & Retoucher | ATJ Photo
Mesa, Arizona

DATE: June 23, 2022

The idea of “Quality Over Quantity” is gaining steam in today’s culture of Aspiring Minimalists. 

Think Capsule Wardrobe: less pieces of clothing that are higher quality (and more expensive). Every piece fits you perfectly and works together with all the others to make multiple great outfits (a system) vs. a closet full of TJ Maxx pieces purchased because they were “on sale.” You end up with “a lot” of clothes that kind of fit, don’t necessarily go together and, let’s be honest, some of them still have the tags on them.

Which shopper are you? I’ve been both.

Who I want to attract to my portrait business is clients who are looking for, as Gregg McKeown puts it in his book, Essentialism, “less but better.”

But do clients really KNOW that’s what they want? Most often they don’t.

Most clients THINK they want A LOT of pictures. They want us to shoot everything that comes into our minds (or theirs); show them everything, and then give them everything at the lowest possible price in the form of a lot of little prints or a collection of digital files.


For the Portrait Photographer:  Their nights and weekends are spent with their face in a computer screen, editing their brains out for pennies while life goes on without them.

For the Client: They end up with a lot of little prints and digital files. None of which make it to the wall or an album to be enjoyed every day. Also, insert client guilt here, over never doing anything with the images. How many times have you heard, “I need to do something with those.” or “I’ve got to get those on the wall?”

But it doesn’t have to be like that. There is another way. 

You can, instead, give clients what they didn’t know they wanted, while maintaining a sustainable work-life balance. It’s stepping forward as the Trusted Advisor and helping our clients create their “capsule wardrobe” of portraits of their family year after year. 

But how?

On today’s episode I am joined by Allison Tyler Jones Photography’s very own Stacey Hemeyer, associate photographer and retoucher extraordinaire.

Stacey had her own successful wedding and portrait business for almost 16 years before joining the ATJ team in 2016. Her business model was built largely on the premise that “More is More” and that “Busy is Best”. 

But that business model came at a steep cost. 

Not only did she miss out on key moments with her young family, she found herself run ragged by clients who thought they wanted more, more, more AND wanted to pay less, less, less.

It wasn’t until she came to work at Allison Tyler Jones Photography that she understood that spending more time with less clients can be a calmer, more soul-satisfying way of doing business, for everyone involved. 

Join us for an enlightening conversation with this kind, talented, former shoot and burn photographer and the lessons she has learned by doing business a different way. 

In this episode, you’ll learn how to:

  • Avoid too many clients
  • Hone in on quality experiences
  • Add team members to your business
  • Believe in your team and take a step back
  • Want better, not more.

Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [2:39] – Stacey shares her experience in meeting Allison.
  • [5:13] – Through a series of coincidences, Stacey recognized Allison’s work and connection to the groom of a wedding she was shooting.
  • [7:15] – Initially, Stacey’s goal was weddings but in the beginning she worked with all kinds of services to meet clients.
  • [8:34] – When Stacey joined the team at Allison Tyler Jones Photography, she had already owned her own business for 15 years.
  • [10:21] – What kind of qualities should you look for when adding people to your team?
  • [11:17] – Now, Stacey does senior photos, some families, and the commercial work for ATJ Photography. But Allison shares the difficulty of the transition for her as an entrepreneur.
  • [12:47] – Stacey shares her business background and why she was able to stay in business so long but also her downfall.
  • [13:46] – She was known for quick turnaround, but more is not better.
  • [15:08] – Some photographers believe that most people just want digital files quickly. 
  • [17:25] – One of the surprising differences Stacey realized when coming on board at ATJ is the turnaround time.
  • [19:20] – Covid has had a lasting impact on many components of the business.
  • [23:32] – Because of the lower quantity, Stacey can put far more effort, time, and creativity into her retouching process.
  • [25:12] – Allison and Stacey converse about an experience with a client. Stacey was able to do a lot of retouching that they didn’t think was possible.
  • [26:36] – Stacey describes the beginning of her retouching process.
  • [28:27] – It is hard and unnatural for Allison to back off and rely on a team but she is seeing the benefit and work balance.
  • [30:04] – It is difficult to hire the qualities you don’t have.
  • [32:40] – We’re conditioned to think that more is better, but that is not always the case. It was a big mental shift for Stacey.
  • [33:37] – Really cater to your higher paying clients. They trust you.
  • [35:18] – Stacey shares the story of a client who put her total trust in ATJ Photography.
  • [37:28] – Build it and they will come. But it will take time.
  • [39:43] – All the great brands are long-lasting because of a team.
  • [40:53] – How did Allison get out of her own way to allow her brand to grow even more?

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