Recorded: Welcome to The Rework with Allison Tyler Jones, a podcast dedicated to inspiring portrait photographers to uniquely brand, profitably price, and confidently sell their best work. Allison has been doing just that for the last 15 years, and she’s proven that it’s possible to create unforgettable art and run a portrait business that supports your family and your dreams. All it takes is a little rework. Episodes will include interviews with experts from in and outside of the photo industry, many workshops, and behind the scenes secrets that Allison uses in her portrait studio every single day. She will challenge your thinking and inspire your confidence to create a profitable, sustainable portrait business you love through continually refining and reworking your business. Let’s do the rework.

Allison Tyler Jones: Hi, friends, and welcome back to The Rework. Today’s guest is Stacey Hemeyer. She is Allison Tyler Jones’ studio manager, a fabulous retoucher and photographer. And we are talking about quality over quantity.

Allison Tyler Jones: Stacey had her own photography business that she started right about the same time that I started mine. And we met when she photographed my son’s wedding in 2016. And she started working for us on a contract basis, helping out with retouching during the busy season. And slowly, we started to see what an amazing person she was, and we wanted her for ourselves. And so she closed her portrait photography business, she’s still shooting some weddings, and came to work with us at Allison Tyler Jones Photography. And that was a transition for her and for us. And we’re talking about how that happened and the challenges present in that transition and the great things that have come out of that.

Allison Tyler Jones: So I can’t wait for you to hear the conversation. Hopefully, you’ll get something great out of it for your own business. Let’s do it.

Allison Tyler Jones: I am so excited to welcome to the podcast our very own Stacy Hemeyer. Hello, Stacey.

Stacey Hemeyer: Hello.

Allison Tyler Jones: I’m so glad that you’re here.

Stacey Hemeyer: I’m so excited to be here.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. I want to tell our listeners a little bit. We have a lot of curiosity around our team, and people have asked questions. And so I want to just talk about how we met. So why don’t you tell how you see that? And I’ll tell you how I remember it.

Stacey Hemeyer: How I perceived meeting you?

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes.

Stacey Hemeyer: So, Mesa is a small town and a big town at once. And I ran in similar circles to you. You have a background in scrapbooking. You owned your own store. I have a background in scrapbooking. I used to, in air quotes, professionally scrapbook for people.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love it.

Stacey Hemeyer: And after years people said, “Your biggest talent is actually in your photography.” And I had taken classes in both high school and college, but I’d never really considered it a career. I thought it was an art, a hobby.

Stacey Hemeyer: So, in 2004, I placed an ad in our local little neighborhood newspaper that just said, “Photographer, looking to build portfolio. I’ll take your family pictures for $20.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Awesome.

Stacey Hemeyer: So that’s where I started. But I quickly heard of you, because you started really similar time to me in the photography industry. So I’d heard of you. I knew two of your husband’s brothers’ families.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay.

Stacey Hemeyer: And I’d heard of you. I had your old scrapbooking book from a hundred years ago that you published. I think, was that your first book you published?

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep. Designing with Photos. Yep.

Stacey Hemeyer: Okay. So I had that. Did not realize it was you until later on, but I owned that book. And so I’d admired your work. In fact, I had a client. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this, but I had a client once who took her big portrait, family portrait, to the framer and the framer said, “Oh, is this an Allison Tyler Jones photo?” And I hadn’t really connected with you at that point, but my client was like, “She’s really good. That is such a huge compliment.” And this was at Decor Unique.

Allison Tyler Jones: How funny.

Stacey Hemeyer: So it was Rob a hundred years ago.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: Rob, who’s our framer. So just funny coincidences here and there. And then I’d seen your work. And since you got this studio, I’d seen you on the internet and thought you were amazing, but never had met you, never gone to a class with you or anything.

Stacey Hemeyer: And in 2016, I was hired by a bride to do a wedding. And I was doing their bridals, and we did them a few weeks before the ceremony. So while we were there, the groom says to me, “Oh yeah, my mom’s a photographer.” And I quietly rolled my eyes, because everyone’s mom’s a photographer.

Allison Tyler Jones: Who isn’t? Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah, exactly. So I was like, “Yeah, whatever.” And I did their wedding, or I did those portraits. Went beautifully. I came home, and two days later, I got their wedding announcement in the mail. And I pull it out. And the minute I saw it, it was Alison Tyler Jones Photography. Your style is so recognizable. And so I instantly knew that it was you who took it. And my first thought was, “I wonder why they hired me to do the wedding,” because you used to do weddings.

Allison Tyler Jones: Mm-hmm.

Stacey Hemeyer:

I didn’t realize that you’d quit weddings. So I was like, “Why would they hire me to do the wedding when they can have Allison?” And then I was like, “Wait a minute. The groom’s last name is Jones. Oh my gosh. His mom is Alison Tyler Jones.”


Stacey Hemeyer: So I was like, “Okay, do I fan girl at the wedding? Do I just act cool? What do I do?” So at the wedding, I was so busy, I didn’t have time to do anything. And later, in between the formal family portraits and the reception, you actually approached me and said something along the lines of, “Hey. When my son told me he hired some mom with a camera,” you rolled your eyes.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: And you said, “But you’re actually good.”

Allison Tyler Jones: I didn’t say it like that. I said, “Your work is beautiful. The bridals were absolutely beautiful.” And they were, and they still are.

Stacey Hemeyer: I’m sure it was, “Your work is amazing.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes.

Stacey Hemeyer: But, yeah. We sat and talked a little bit at the reception, and then we went out to lunch. And I don’t know if you remember this, but we were sitting at Worth Takeaway and I said, “We should work together.” And you laughed. And guess where I’m sitting?

Allison Tyler Jones: I know. I love it. Well, I love that.

Stacey Hemeyer: So-

Allison Tyler Jones: So you shot my next to youngest son’s wedding-

Stacey Hemeyer: Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: … and did a beautiful job. And it was so awesome. And so thank you for telling that story, because now, here we are. How long have you been working at the studio?

Stacey Hemeyer: So I started working in October of 2016 and then took… The first part of 2017, you were in transition with your team. And then I came back on August of 2017 and have never left.

Allison Tyler Jones: Awesome. Okay. So Stacey had her own thriving photography business. Obviously, you were shooting weddings, events, some commercial, portraits.

Stacey Hemeyer: Correct. Yeah. My main goal was weddings, but I did a lot of families to get weddings. And then I did, through those families, a lot of them were business owners. So I’d end up doing commercial. And then I never enjoyed newborns, but of course people would bring me newborns.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: And so I did a little of everything.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. I love it. So then fast forward, and you had come in and helped us because you’re a brilliant retoucher. Brilliant retoucher. And so you’d come in and helped us out through the busy season, while at the same time running your business.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yes.

Allison Tyler Jones: And so you were a little bit crazy there. And then-

Stacey Hemeyer: That’s to put it very mildly.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes.

Stacey Hemeyer: It was a lot crazy.

Allison Tyler Jones: It was a lot crazy. And so then it just seemed like it worked out naturally that you would just come to work with us on our team. And so tell me… And these are actually probably questions I haven’t really asked you before. So if this goes south, this will never see the light of day and we’ll be fine.

Allison Tyler Jones: So how was it when you were making that decision to close your portrait studio and come to work with another portrait studio? What were your thought processes behind that? How did that work out?

Stacey Hemeyer: I think part of it that worked well for me was age. If I had been in my, let’s say 20s or 30s, to come work for someone like you, who has such a name in the industry and has your business mind, is so much stronger than any other photographer I know, to be able to come and work for you and gather all that knowledge and then move on, that would’ve been my goal younger. Older, I had run my own business for 15 years. So I knew what that was like.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: I knew all the ups and downs of that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Sure.

Stacey Hemeyer: And so that was a very purposeful choice. That was not on accident for me. It was a purposeful choice to say, “I want to join your team. I want to be part of this.” I felt like I could do more, be a bigger contributor, and ultimately have the ATJ studio be more with us together.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: And so that was my goal. And I think I told you that pretty much from the beginning, that I’m not the young girl who wants to come in, learn all your secrets, and then leave. I wanted to stay and build.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love it. Well, and it’s been a growth process for both of us, because when you’re the solo photographer and the solopreneur, which I was for a long time, I might have always had help, but it was really hard to think, “Oh, this is going to be so scary, taking on another photographer.” What if she does exactly what you just said, comes in?

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: But the one thing that I have a lot of failings, but I think one of the things that I’m pretty good at, and I was good at this in my scrapbooking store, too, is I’m really good at seeing talent. And I could see, when I saw those images that you’d created for Harrison and Allie, what beautiful work that was, and I could also see what a good person you were, what a kind, good… You have a very good energy about you.

Allison Tyler Jones: And the reason I’m saying that is not to flatter you, but when other photographers that are listening to us are thinking about, “Okay, when I hire somebody and I want to add to my team, what kind of people, what kind of person do I want to get?”

Stacey Hemeyer: Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: And it’s been said a million times, but you want to get people, you want to add people to your team that have qualities that can’t be trained. And the things that can’t be trained are integrity, happiness, a general kindness and goodness. Those are really things that can’t be trained. Almost everything else can be trained.

Allison Tyler Jones: Now, that being said, you came with a solid skillset of you’re a really good photographer, also an amazing retoucher. And so when you first came in, we thought, “Okay, you’re going to come in and you’re going to retouch for a while, just on a as needed or contract basis.”

Stacey Hemeyer: Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then we thought, “Okay, we’ll bring you into the business.” And it was, “You are going to also shoot.” And so now what you’re doing is Stacey is shooting all of our high school seniors. And then she’s also shooting all of our commercial work, which has greatly relieved my workload in those areas, which is really awesome. And then she’s also shooting families as well. Some of the families, we’re working into that. So that has worked out really good.

Allison Tyler Jones: But it was not without its problems, and the problems had nothing to do with you. It had to do with my own getting out of my own way and my own fear of … I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s just an entrepreneurial thing, if we’re just so self-centered, but my clients are never going to want anybody above me.

Allison Tyler Jones: And really, I found that actually isn’t true. What they want is they want what we have created, which is the ATJ process, so the ATJ studio and having beautiful imagery and having a good experience and a good time.

Allison Tyler Jones: So what I would love to talk about today, after that long introduction is how … Because we came into the industry at about the same time, we were exposed to a lot of the same ideas. But we very much diverged in how we created our businesses. And then now that you are part of the team, now that we’re part of the same team, we’re doing things a little bit differently. And so you had thoughts about that. And I would love to hear what they are.

Stacey Hemeyer: I honestly think my biggest failing as a photographer/businesswoman… So I was in business before this, I managed a company for several years. And also in my college experience, my major is organizational communications and negotiation, not photography related at all.

Stacey Hemeyer: So I had business experience. So I think that’s one of the reasons I was able to stay in business for 15 years, is I had built up a great clientele that was very loyal. And they had a great experience with me. They loved the product. But my biggest downfall was I looked around me to see what everyone else was doing and did that. And what everyone else was doing was broken. It wasn’t working. It was that you need to have more clients, more, more, more. And one of the things you always say is, “Don’t want more. Want better.” It’s more about quality. It’s more about the experience.

Stacey Hemeyer: I actually have a note sitting here on my computer that’s been sitting here for a long time that just says, “Slow down,” because my personality is that go, go, go get it done, get it done, get it done. And you’ve had to help me go, “No, no, no. Fast isn’t always better,” because that was one of the things I was known for in my business was quick turnaround. I was really quick. It was great quality, but it was quick. I was fast. That’s what I was known for. But I also neglected my family for them.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: My husband at one time actually sat down and he’s like, “This is an intervention.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: “You cannot live in your office.” And it took me going, “Oh wow. I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: And I was doing it for very little money, because I wasn’t doing the business part correctly.

Allison Tyler Jones: Because you were selling just the digital file primarily.

Stacey Hemeyer: Just digital. Yeah. I went back and forth over the years. I never, ever sold like we do here at the studio, where it’s large portraiture for your walls. But I did sell product for probably about half my time as a photographer, but it was always smaller. Sixteen by 20 was bigger.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. I think the thing that I think is really instructive, and the reason, there’s many reasons why I wanted to have you on the podcast, but is that I don’t think for sure you’re not alone. You know that because you are in groups with other photographers.

Stacey Hemeyer: Oh yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: And what everybody was doing is, well, everybody wants digital files. I remember having a conversation with a guy that is a photographer at my gym. And I said, “So what are you guys selling these days?” And he’s like, “Allison, you know that everybody has Photoshop now on their computer, right? They just want digital files so that they can do their own thing with it.”

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: And I’m like, “Well, but you’re not selling anything like canvases?” He’s like, “Well, yeah. Our big sales have canvas and stuff like that. But most people, they just want digital files.” So I’m like, why wouldn’t-

Stacey Hemeyer: Do they, or do they think they do?

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Exactly.

Stacey Hemeyer: You know?

Allison Tyler Jones: So anyway, so I think that it’s been interesting, the conversations that we have had about what you think. And so your thought was, “Okay, people just want digital files.”

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: And correct me if I’m assuming anything that’s wrong, “And then they want them fast.”

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: “They want things really, really quick.”

Stacey Hemeyer: And if I do them fast, I can get more clients. I can work more. I shot almost exclusively outdoors. I use off camera flash a lot. But still, you want to use either sunrise or sunset, which means you usually have one session a day, sometimes two. So mine was quantity. Yes, I feel like I gave my clients quality.

Allison Tyler Jones: Of course.

Stacey Hemeyer: But it was, in order to get the financial gains that I wanted, it was more clients, because I didn’t realize that there was so much money being left on the table and so many more opportunities, more importantly, I think, so many more opportunities to serve my client in ways that I hadn’t thought. I would give them a disc of 200 photos. What are they going to do with those? They don’t have the software to sit and compare each image and go, “Oh, this one has better expression than that one,” or, “This one’s lighted a little bit better.” You’re just giving them work.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: And work that feels overwhelming.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, and not only do they not have the software to compare those two. They don’t have the visual ability to compare the two, because they don’t have the training.

Stacey Hemeyer: They don’t want to look for.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. But it seems logical that’s what they would want, or if it’s not a… A disc was when we started, but whether it was like a pixie set or-

Stacey Hemeyer: Or a gallery. Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: … some kind of an online gallery or whatever. Yeah. Okay. So what about that? When you first came into the studio, were there things that you remember that you’re like, “Oh, that’s different,” or that you had questions about or…

Stacey Hemeyer: The biggest thing for me, I think the very first thing that was hardest for me to swallow was our turnaround time. For me, with my clients, a week was a long time.

Allison Tyler Jones: Mm-hmm.

Stacey Hemeyer: And I came here, and it was six weeks, I think, at the time. And then now with COVID and everything, it’s even longer.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: But six weeks, I was like, “Six weeks? I’ve got to get them systemized so that we can get this going faster.” And what I’ve learned is faster isn’t better, especially when it comes to the client experience. If it takes time, then that fills quality. And it’s more labor intensive by far. It takes-

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: We have a staff at this point. It’s not just me, you, and Ivan or-

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: … even me, you, Ivan, and Jessica. We’re growing, and that wasn’t possible for me alone.

Allison Tyler Jones: Sure.

Stacey Hemeyer: But I wanted to do all the things. Even now, you have to pull me back and say, “Stacey, you can’t do all the things.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Okay. So-

Stacey Hemeyer: Stop trying to do someone else’s job.

Allison Tyler Jones: If that was me and was listening to this, I would be like, “You’re slowing her down. That’s hilarious, because nothing goes fast enough for you.” But the difference is that when you have … And I think that’s interesting, because I’ve never really thought about this until you just said, that when you’re dealing with a digital product, they do expect it immediately, because they don’t see that there’s not a physical product.

Allison Tyler Jones: So when there’s a physical product, well, not only just the product itself, but our process is slower in that we are doing the consultation ahead of time so that we can get the game plan, then the session, then they’re coming in and viewing the images, and we’re designing what they’re going to put on their wall. And only then, after those decisions have been finalized, are we putting things into production.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then you know, because you and Ivan, I think you have three titles right now. I don’t know. Photographer, production manager-

Stacey Hemeyer: Queen of the universe.

Allison Tyler Jones: … all the things, queen of the world. But you know, especially lately with some of the labor stuff that’s been going on.

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: We have one canvas. Is it in the third or fourth printing right now?

Stacey Hemeyer: Oh my gosh. It’s at least the third. It might be the fourth.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. It’s ridiculous, the problems we’re having, and with our best labs even.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Don’t mention any names [inaudible 00:19:18], because everybody’s having problems right now. Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. Even with our best labs, ones we’ve used for years and years and highly recommend, they’re short staffed, their quality control isn’t quite what it has been in the past. And it’s just everything’s harder and taking longer.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. But even when it wasn’t, even in the before times of before COVID-

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: … quality does take time. I’ve heard photographers talk about, “Well, you need to make it go slower so that people feel like it’s sexier, more valuable or whatever.” And we don’t ever slow things up.

Stacey Hemeyer: No.

Allison Tyler Jones: Just for perceptions.

Stacey Hemeyer: No, no, no.

Allison Tyler Jones: But it just does take that amount of time. And we have a lot of clients. We don’t have-

Stacey Hemeyer: Well, when you’re thinking of me as a shoot and burn photographer, you shoot it, I come home, I download it into the light room, do some globals, pick my very favorites, retouch those. And I was retouching 40 to 100 images and then giving it to my clients. So-

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh.

Stacey Hemeyer: That is ridiculous. You can see why my husband was like, “Intervention.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Well it’s like you said, you said your kids would come home and all they saw was the back of your head for weeks at a time.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. Oh yeah. My husband loves to take the kids out on little adventures, whether it’s a drive to go somewhere or just over to QT to get a drink. But they would joke on the way home. It’s like, “Where do you think mom will be when we get home? She’ll be in her office.” And yeah, it’s sad to me to look back on.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: I missed a big chunk of my kids’ lives.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: And I’m just glad I’m doing it differently now.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: It’s never too late, right?

Allison Tyler Jones: For sure. No, it’s not. And I did the same when I first started. I did the same thing. So, and I had my business in my home and same thing, which is why I was glad to get it out of my house, because then I could leave it.

Allison Tyler Jones: I think we all could say that we would like more, really great qualified leads. But what happens when we get contacted by a potential new client? We sometimes have that pit in our stomach of, “Oh, it’s not a good time right now. I don’t want to call them what if they ask me hard questions? Oh, I don’t really know that I have the words to say.” And we put it off until we call, and they’ve already booked somebody else, or maybe we don’t ever call or we’re just letting things fall through the cracks.

Allison Tyler Jones: So if you’re ever find yourself in this type of situation and you feel like, “I just don’t know the words to say,” or, “I don’t know how to talk to these people,” or, “Am I doing it wrong?,” I have a solution for all three of those things. If you go to, we have three different free resources for you. One is our ultimate client consultation guide that is going to help you, step by step, walk that prospective client through your process, how it is that you work. It has all the little speed bumps, so to speak, along the way to help you remember to say all the things that you need to say.

Allison Tyler Jones: Next is our cheat sheet of frequently asked difficult questions that has an exhaustive list of all the hard questions that clients come up with that will help you get started on answering those confidently, so that you don’t have that feeling in the pit of your stomach anymore. And you’re going to pick up that phone immediately.

Allison Tyler Jones: And lastly is our sales sabotage evaluation tool. And that is going to help you to figure out where you are screwing it up, because we all do at one time or another.

Allison Tyler Jones: So go to And wherever you’re at in your business, if you’re needing to rework your message, if you’re needing to rework your answers, if you’re needing to rework your sales process, they are all right there on that very first page. They are free. They are resources to help you and your business. Go do it. Download them now and start doing better. Start booking those clients confidently, and start selling them your gorgeous, beautiful work, because they need it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. So coming into ATJ, and things are different. So you realize things are taking longer, because we’re creating finished products.

Stacey Hemeyer: There’s so much more that’s happening.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: Even the retouching, what I would retouch in maybe a few days, or I’m trying to think of… I retouch much quicker, because I have so many images to retouch.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: Now, we might get an order that has four to seven images on it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: And that’s their whole order. So I can really take time to … It is an art. I love the art of retouching. And it truly is an art. And I feel like I’m making a stamp on every single image that leaves our studio.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: And it’s the ATJ brand. It is not leaving the studio unless it is amazing.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. That’s all you, because we have situations where I think, “There’s no way this can be different,” or, “This picture is perfect except for this toddler that just ruined it.”

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then the next thing I know, you’ll be like, “Hey, I heard you say that you didn’t like that. And I found another toddler and I popped it in there. What do you think?” And then it’s this perfect thing, which is so amazing.

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: We had another example. Okay. So we had this client and we did this big portrait of their family, big 40 by 60, framed in an Aroma frame. It was thousands of dollars. It’s absolutely gorgeous and beautiful. And six months later, her neighbor came in and we were doing her view and order. And she said, “Did you hear what happened with Susan?” We’ll use her pseudonym. “Did you hear what happened with Susan’s son? He got divorced after six months.” And I’m like, “What did she do with that image, with that portrait?” And she’s like, “I don’t know, but she was a devastated.”

Allison Tyler Jones: So Stacey, the backside of her office backs onto mine. And so there’s no ceiling. The walls don’t go all the way to the ceiling, so she can overhear what’s being said in my office. So she heard that and I just said, “Oh, I’ve got to call.” I said to the client, “I’ve got to call her. I’ve got to call Susan, because this is so horrible. I feel so bad.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, during this time, by the time the client left the office, Stacey had said, “Hey, I think I can retouch that daughter-in-law out. And we can fix the family picture,” which we did. And this was like 1st of December, the year that we did it. And we were able to make a miracle, a Christmas miracle happen for this family, because Stacy has the ability to do that, which was such a huge add to our team. That skillset was unbelievable. So thank you for that.

Stacey Hemeyer: Well, and that’s something I think, just as far as your listeners and as they’re thinking about hiring employees, is learning their skillset and embracing that. I think that was hard at first for you to realize that maybe I could create something that you hadn’t seen or that you didn’t know was quite possible. And so that retouching of that girl and her husband, it wasn’t just retouch her out because she was on the edge. I had to take her out. I had to clone in the brother. Then I had to move the husband from a totally different image. And it took six images to create it. And when it was done, it was amazing. You never would’ve known she was there.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep.

Stacey Hemeyer: But unless you have extensive retouch experience, you wouldn’t know necessarily that was possible. So I find the same thing goes in our process. After we shoot, the card comes to me and I download it into Lightroom and then make a ProSelect catalog. And I do the first initial cooling and deciding which are the favorites. And then Allison goes in and goes from there.

Stacey Hemeyer: And for a long time, I just would try to do what I thought you wanted. And then over time, as I became more confident in our relationship and felt you being more confident in me, it allowed me to start to create some things already. So now, you know when you open a ProSelect catalog, a lot of times there are images in there that are PSDs, which means I’ve already done some Photoshop magic.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep.

Stacey Hemeyer: And so I think trusting those employees and finding little nuggets of skills you didn’t know you even wanted, very beneficial.

Allison Tyler Jones: A hundred percent, because I feel like the classic entrepreneurial mistake with employees is that you hire somebody, and then because you have this internal little red hen, which is “I have to do everything. Who will help me do this? No one’s going to help me. I have to do everything. And nobody can do it as well as I can or nobody cares as much as I do,” and then you actually set about making that true. And you micromanage people to death, to where they’re like, if they aren’t smart, either marginalize them even more, because then they just expect you to come along and tell them everything that they have to do, which really reduces why you need an employee in the first place.

Stacey Hemeyer: Exactly. Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: Or you get out of your own way and get out of your own head and realize, “Okay, other people have brains and they are smart and they can figure things out and they do care. And you can train them if you have a specific vision and a specific idea and brand. That can be trained if they have those other characteristics of integrity and all of those other things and they want to be on the team.” So that’s the thing I’m most proud of, is that I feel like I’ve grown as a person by just backing off and just letting you guys do more of what is already good.

Stacey Hemeyer: And it’s hard for you.

Allison Tyler Jones: So hard.

Stacey Hemeyer: I’ve watched it become easier.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: And I think it’s taken patience on both of our sides as far as I could have early on gone, “She doesn’t see that I’m valuable and she’s not appreciating this or that.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: But I knew it would come. I knew that we had a good work balance. The first full year I was here in 2017, when I started with just after Jessica had come on, I really noticed what a good team the four of us made. I felt like we were like a gear set that just intermingles and work so well, because you and Jessica think very similarly and Ivan and I think very similarly. And it’s like we fill each other’s vacancies.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep.

Stacey Hemeyer: And I noticed really quickly what a great team we were and that it needed all of our parts.

Allison Tyler Jones: But I think it was accidental. I’d love to take credit for all of that, because it’s hard. I think when you think a certain way, you think everybody else should think that same way.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: And so Jessica and I, we tend to move very fast. There’s a lot of fallout. There’s not a lot of detail happening. And then Ivan is OCD and detailed to the max. He’s so detailed, but he’s very slow. He would say thorough. And that’s true. He is very thorough.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: But I have had to learn to appreciate that.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: You’re fast, but you are also thorough. And so-

Stacey Hemeyer: Detailed.

Allison Tyler Jones: … I think it’s hiring … And we’ve read the business books. Everybody says, “Hire what you don’t have.”

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: But it’s really hard to do that, because usually what you don’t have, the qualities that you don’t have reside in a person that doesn’t necessarily think the same way that you do.

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: And sometimes, that’s hard to appreciate, because when you value, “Oh, I value fast and I value whatever, all of these qualities that I supposedly have,” then it’s hard to look at somebody else and go, “Oh, okay. No, actually, I do need that.”


Allison Tyler Jones: So it took me a while. It took me a while. So sorry that it took me this long to truly appreciate. Because now it’s like you say. Now, we look at this and now we’ve added Katelyn who’s like a whole other skill set.

Stacey Hemeyer: Exactly.

Allison Tyler Jones: And young, which none of us.

Stacey Hemeyer: And we’re looking at her going, “How did we survive without her?”

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: We needed her to make this even more complete.

Allison Tyler Jones: For sure. For sure. So now, your job has morphed into you’re really basically the studio manager for all intents and purposes. You’re like the air traffic controller of the nag, I would say. You have permission to nag everybody to do all the things that they’re supposed to be doing. You’re still doing the retouching. You’re shooting a lot more. But also, now we’re starting to shift some of your stuff off of you.

Stacey Hemeyer: So, yeah. Starting to shift more retouching off of me, which is a double sided sword, I guess, because I do really enjoy that. But I also am quickly realizing I cannot do all things.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep.

Stacey Hemeyer: Because our studio is too busy and we needed to have our own pockets that we fit in, and I cannot do all things. So I am retouching less. Recently, I’ve been doing more in design. But I think we’ll eventually have a designer who does more of that as I’m shooting more also.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: I’m shooting a lot more right now. And that’s something I love. I love the client interaction. I love the actual shooting. That’s my happy place.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love it. Yeah, the creative part. So going back to coming into the business, and obviously I don’t think the shooting was really that different to what you … Shooting in studio obviously was different than shooting on location.

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: But as far as what the clients … We were talking the other day about the idea of quality over quantity. And I think that’s our overarching theme for this episode is that, before, it was like, “How can I give them as many things as possible?,” because we think, “Of course more is better.”

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: More is more. And what are your thoughts on that, the quality over quantity?

Stacey Hemeyer: It’s had to be a real mind shift for me, because my philosophy in life has been more is better, whether it’s like, “Oh, Tide tells me to put in one Tide pod. Maybe I should use two, because that’s going to be better.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: Honestly, that is my motto in life. And yeah, I always go by that. And so obviously, how you make more money is more clients. It, for whatever reason, did not occur to me that I could somehow have a different experience and a different process that would get fewer clients, that I could have taken some of my best, because I think anyone who’s been in business for 10 minutes realizes that the clients that are the hardest are usually the clients who pay you the least as well. The more they pay you, the more they seem to trust you and appreciate you. So why not cater to those top clients and give them an incredible experience? And everyone wins from that, right?

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep.

Stacey Hemeyer: There’s no loser in that.

Allison Tyler Jones: But it is counterintuitive.

Stacey Hemeyer: It is.

Allison Tyler Jones: It is counterintuitive, because the squeaky wheel definitely gets the grease.

Stacey Hemeyer: Oh yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: And sometimes, that squeaky wheel, you’re so busy greasing them that you can’t even pay attention to who is really actually a better client. And that definitely was brought home to me one year when I was doing the 13th revision on a holiday card for a client that was really hard…

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: … and realized I had been ignoring my very best client, because she wasn’t going to nag me. And so I think that is true. When you’re dealing with the higher end, the higher end client is buying. I was just talking earlier with Kim Wiley on the podcast episode just about that a lot of what they’re paying for is the convenience of not having to… They’re trusting you to just be the keeper of the family memories, the documenter. And then however you figure that out, just make that happen.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. We had a client call a week or two ago. Let’s call her Julie.

Allison Tyler Jones: There you go.

Stacey Hemeyer: Julie called and she said … I was the only one here at the time. So I took her call and was booking her. And I have shot commercial stuff for her, and then you have shot family stuff for her. And she is one of our faves. We love her.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: She’s amazing. And first off, she told me I should have a podcast, which cracked me up. I’m like, “Why would you say that?” She goes, “You have a good podcast voice.”

Allison Tyler Jones: So cute.

Stacey Hemeyer: I’m like, “Well, Allison said I could be on the podcast. So…”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes. Here you are.

Stacey Hemeyer: “We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes.

Stacey Hemeyer: But she has such trust in us that I said… She wanted to schedule three different shoots. She totally took my advice on what she should shoot. We ended up with two shoots, one for the kids and one for the family. She was totally fine with me shooting one and you shooting the other. And then she said something that I’ve never heard a client say. I said, “Well, let’s schedule your view and order.” She said, “I don’t need a view in order. Allison will just tell me what to buy and where to put it.”

Stacey Hemeyer: And I know her and love her, but I still was a little taken aback that anyone would trust us that much.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: She honestly didn’t even need to see the images. She just knew that whatever you were going to do was going to be most beneficial for her and make her house look amazing and make her kids have fun and make her husband happy that he was there. And-

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. It’s interesting, because I have talked to-

Stacey Hemeyer: Julie.

Allison Tyler Jones: … Julie quite a bit, and she’s super busy. She’s a CEO of her company.

Stacey Hemeyer: Oh yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: She runs all the sales for her company. She has two young children. And her son is in a sport that requires a lot of time.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: And she does not have time, but she loves portraits and she wants her kids documented. And so she really does not want to deal with it. And so when you hear that, even when you told me, that was so funny. I just thought, “That is amazing. Gosh, it would be so nice if everybody was like that.” But I do feel like that most of our clients, they really trust what it is that we do.

Allison Tyler Jones: So if you’re listening to this and you have clients that maybe don’t trust you, or you’ve been geared toward more volume work or whatever, it is possible. And how it’s possible is just by putting it out there that is how you do it. And it’s by building that process. And by bringing in a team of people that have helped that have abilities and areas that I don’t, it’s allowed me to focus more on the things that I am good at, which is building the processes and helping the client, that client experience and that sort of thing, which we’re all part of the same team.

Stacey Hemeyer: Well, it’s like the Field of Dreams saying, what is it, “Build it and they will come.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: I think that is what you’re teaching, is you’re teaching them how to build it. And the clients will come. I think sometimes the Rework students want to be immediate.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Stacey Hemeyer: And unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. It takes time. And we’ve really noticed that. When we do an auction or something like that, it’s at least a year, a lot of times two and three years before we start seeing the fruits of that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: But the thing is it’s a cumulative effect.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: That over time, those two years, and then the year before that adds on, and the year before that, and I feel like we hit this time where you’re a snowball rolling downhill.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Stacey Hemeyer: And it’s just more and better clients are coming. And it’s all because of the experience and the processes that you’ve set up.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, and the team that makes it all happen, because we’re at a place now where I honestly, if you told me five years ago, “In five years or less, you are going to be able to know that, even if you’re not in the building, somebody’s going to be able to answer the phone, book a client, and take the client through your whole process without… and you didn’t have to do any of it and that it will be 90% of what you would’ve said yourself,” that’s amazing. It really is so awesome.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, I love you and I appreciate all of your talents.

Stacey Hemeyer: Love you, too.

Allison Tyler Jones: And I’m so glad that you’re on my team. I’m so glad that you quit the other team. I’m so glad that you quit team shoot and burn.

Stacey Hemeyer: My own team.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. No, because you’re still shooting weddings, but I think the thing that I’ve realized is that we’re all actually working for the same team.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: And it’s not me. It’s the bigger thing, which is the brand. It’s the ATJ brand that is delivering amazing work to our clients and that they can have a great experience. And we all equally contribute to that team. And I think you’re a huge part of that.

Stacey Hemeyer: I think that is huge. I think your observation of that at one of our staff meetings, I think, was super helpful to me, probably to all of us, that some people have asked me, “Your work is you,” meaning me. My work is leaving the studio with your signature on it. They’re like, “How are you okay with that?” Well, because we all work for ATJ.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep.

Stacey Hemeyer: We’re all part of ATJ. So it’s our team. It’s not me. It’s not you. It’s all of us.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Yeah. Because I-

Stacey Hemeyer: It feels like it’s a bigger purpose.

Allison Tyler Jones: In my life, I’m Allison Jones.

Stacey Hemeyer: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: And the business is Allison Tyler Jones, just because there’s so many Allison Joneses out there.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: But I did. When we had that staff meeting, I did have that realization of all the great brands that are out there, Coco Chanel’s been dead for a long time, but that brand is still there, and that all of those designers and people that are working and designing for that brand is still legit. It still has legs.

Allison Tyler Jones: And so if we can all keep that going… And then what is the Allison Tyler Jones brand? It’s not me shooting it. What it is it’s we love family, and all of us are aligned on that. We all love our families to destruction, even though they drive us insane, which is also part of the brand, that your kids are naughty and that they’re real-

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. We love the naughty.

Allison Tyler Jones: … that they’re real people, that they’re humans that you see that interaction of that one kid that is going to literally either end up in jail or be president of the United States. We don’t know.

Stacey Hemeyer: It can go either way.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right? That, yes, you love your husband, but sometimes he drives you crazy. All of those things are in that brand. And then the end result is that we’re creating something that never is going to come off your wall, that it’s going to be there for now. And then we have a long-term plan going forward.

Allison Tyler Jones: And so I think all of us in our own way, you have art of your family hanging on the walls of your home.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yep.

Allison Tyler Jones: I do. Jessica does. Katelyn does. So it’s we’re all in. We’re all partakers of that whole thing. And so that allowed me to get out of my own way. Rather than it being my way, it was like now the brand is morphing into something beyond me, which I really, really love. And that’s taking a lot of pressure off my shoulders, too.

Stacey Hemeyer: Which that’s one of my goals.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Yes.

Stacey Hemeyer: To take pressure off your shoulders and just make it something even better, because one person, each one of us only has so much vision and so much bandwidth. But you put multiple people together, and all of a sudden it can become more than we even thought possible.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. What’s the thing? The sum is greater than the… What’s the-

Stacey Hemeyer: Parts.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Something.

Stacey Hemeyer: The sum is greater than its parts, I believe.

Allison Tyler Jones: The individual parts, or I don’t know. I think it’s a math term, which is why I can’t say it. But anyway, but I’m really grateful that you’re on my team. And you did a beautiful job documenting that gorgeous wedding of my child. And I’m so glad that we… I knew you were a good egg when we were having that conversation at that wedding reception. Most people are enjoying their kids’ wedding reception. I’m recruiting.

Stacey Hemeyer: Yeah. Yes. Exactly.

Allison Tyler Jones: That just tells you where we’re at. Yeah. So anyway, but I appreciate you, all the talents and energy and everything that you bring. And just the love and care that you give to me and to our clients, I just hope you know how much it’s appreciated. We just appreciate you so much.

Stacey Hemeyer: Thank you. I love being here. I love you. And it’s awesome.

Allison Tyler Jones: Thank you.

Stacey Hemeyer: Thanks, Allison.

Allison Tyler Jones: Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you being here? I know that you have so many demands on your time and so many demands on your attention. You could be watching Netflix. You could be listening to a true crime podcast. But you’ve spent time here at The Rework learning to make your portrait business better. And that really means a lot to me.

Allison Tyler Jones: If there’s somebody that you feel like could benefit from this episode, that you could help them and help us spread the word in helping other portrait photographers build better businesses, please go to where you’re listening to this episode and hit that share button and share it with them.

Allison Tyler Jones: And if you have time and can give us a review, you don’t even understand how much that means to a little tiny podcast like ours, to see those reviews and see how we’re helping. And if you have another minute and can send me a DM and let us know what you would like to hear in the future, what you really enjoyed hearing about, maybe things that weren’t that great, how we can do better, we always want to do better. And we always want to support the portrait photography industry in helping you build the best businesses ever. Thanks again so much for being here.

Recorded: You can find more great resources from Allison at and on Instagram at do.the.rework.

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