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, we are going to talk about the B word, branding. Is your branding broken? And if it is, how can you tell? I hear from many photographers, “Dude, I just need more clients. I need more clients. I need more clients. I need more clients. I need to figure out my marketing. I need to figure out how to get more people. I need to figure out how to advertise better.” But I feel like until your branding is in place and very clear, your marketing and advertising is only going to make your business fail faster. Because if you don’t know who you are, you can’t clearly communicate that to your clients. So I am here today to help you answer the question, is your branding broken. And if it is what to do about it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Clear branding is critical. You want people to know exactly what you do and how you do it. Think about that for a minute. If prospective clients know exactly what you do and don’t do, then you are much more likely to draw the exact type of clients that are best for your specific business, and you’re much more likely to repel the clients who don’t want what you do. So we love that first part. We love that attraction part. We love all of that, but we’re not clear with our clients very often. Our running is not clear because of that second part of that sentence. We’re happy to attract and be vague because we want everybody. We don’t like the idea of repelling anyone. We want everybody, but we really, really actually don’t.

Allison Tyler Jones: So how can you tell if your branding is broken? So there are three sure signs to tell. One is you’re getting the wrong kind of calls. So you’re still getting calls for things that you don’t do anymore or you never wanted to do. So let’s say that you used to be a wedding photographer. You’re really making a push into portraits, or you used to do school sports or newborns, and you’re wanting to move into more family portrait, or maybe you’re making the transition from shoot and burn to in-person sales and product, but you’re still getting calls for the old stuff, okay? So that’s one way to tell maybe you’re getting calls for things that you never did never want to do. And that’s another sign that your brand has broken.

Allison Tyler Jones: That it’s not clear what it is that you’re doing. So getting the wrong kinds of calls, that’s number one. Number two, your marketing efforts are not paying off in the way that you would like them too. So it’s either crickets, when you do some kind of a marketing effort, or even worse than crickets, is that you’re attracting the wrong client. You’re attracting price-sensitive clients who demand discounts and beat you up on price. Nobody wants those kinds of clients, but we don’t think of that it might be us. It might be stemming from us, and the way that we’re branding and the way that we’re communicating to our clients, either we’re not being clear or we’re just advertising on price or whatever.

Allison Tyler Jones: The message that we’re sending is attracting not the people that we want to have in our business. So the wrong kind of calls. Our marketing efforts aren’t working. So that’s one and two. Number three, the third one is confused clients. So let’s say that we’ve brought them through the process. We’ve got them, we’ve consulted, we’ve brought them into the session. We’ve created beautiful imagery for them. And then the sales session just completely burns down either. They’re they leave mad because they’re totally shocked by the pricing or they don’t close at all because they need to go home and measure. They need to talk to their husband. They need to go put blue tape on their walls and figure out if those sizes are going to work.

Allison Tyler Jones: For whatever reason, it’s not working out. So those are how I can tell if something is wrong in my branding is that I’m getting the wrong kind of calls. My marketing efforts are not attracting the kind of clients that I want and the clients that are coming through are confused, okay? So three sure signs of broken Browning. So how do we fix it? What’s the fix for these things? Well, number one is clarity, is being crystal, crystal clear on what our message is. And before we can be clear with our clients, we have to be clear to ourselves. We have to know what it is that we’re doing. And are we even unintentionally sending some kind of a mixed message to our clients?

Allison Tyler Jones: So one way that you can send mixed messages is, you don’t want to shoot newborns anymore, but you still have newborns on your website, or you still have newborns in your Instagram feed, or you still show a behind the scenes of you shooting photos of newborns. That doesn’t mean that you never want to… You might want to still take the occasional newborn sitting, but that doesn’t mean that’s what you’re going to advertise. Red Lobster, I think you can get a hamburger there, but they don’t advertise that on their TV ads. They are advertising seafood because that’s what they do. It’s very, very clear what it is that they do. So you can do something, but it doesn’t mean that that’s what you’re putting up for people to consume.

Allison Tyler Jones: So is your Instagram feed filled with events? Are you showing event photography or weddings and you don’t want to shoot that anymore? So really look through wherever you’re communicating with clients, whether it’s on social media, on your website, blog, whatever. Are there items on there? Are there types of photography that you’re showing that you don’t want to be doing anymore? Also, are you waffling when it comes to your policies? So when somebody challenges you on something that you’re doing, are you saying, “Well, I’ll go ahead and do it this time, but only this time and never again, or I don’t normally do this, but it’s okay.” So that’s confusing.

Allison Tyler Jones: When you’re a crystal clear, we specialize in finished product. It’s wall art for your home or beautiful custom designed albums. Then that makes it very, very clear what you do, but it’s scary because then you might not get the people that only want digital files. So before you put anything on your website, before you post anything to your blog or to Instagram, before you write an email or a text to a client. Ask yourself, stop for a minute and say, “Is it clear what I’m saying here?” My message for my business for Alison Tyler Jones Photography is finished artwork and a long-term relationship with our clients. So if the people that are coming in the leads that are coming in don’t want either of those things, then they don’t actually want to do business with me because that’s what we’re based on.

Allison Tyler Jones: So how do I send that clear, clear message? Well, not so many years ago, our website was like everybody else’s just a lot of pretty pictures, and we were still getting calls for, “Can I just get the digital files?” And I got so frustrated that I finally decided, “Okay, obviously it’s not clear what it is that we’re doing.” And so I made a concerted effort to change our website, to show finished artwork in my client’s homes, rather than just a bunch of galleries of pretty pictures. Same with the Instagram feed, on social media, our stories show installations, behind the scenes. They show not just the pretty pictures that we’re taking, but the experience, how it feels, and what it sounds like and what it looks like and how the kids are dancing around and have suckers in their mouths and having a good time.

Allison Tyler Jones: And the dads are actually not hating every second of it. That’s sending a clear message that this is going to be a fun experience, and then we’re going to hang these on the wall of your home. So my marketing efforts are aligned with that message. I don’t offer deals or discounts. I don’t do mini sessions or mini anything. My focus, whenever we advertise anything or put anything out in the world is never on price. My focus is always on the value of the service that we’re providing and how that value benefits our clients’ lives, makes them have an amazing experience, and makes their home beautiful, filled with portraits of people that they love. Our Instagram stories, like I said, ATJ Install Day. That’s a hashtag that we use again, and again. That’s going to show videos of installations.

Allison Tyler Jones: We show behind the scenes of signing finish artwork. Our first phone call with our clients is the goal of that call is to begin the relationship, that long-term relationship, and the message is that finished artwork is what it is that we are in the business of doing. So before I can communicate, as I said before, before I can communicate all of that to my client, I have to know that that’s what I want. And that’s that I’m willing to say, “This is the only thing I’m going to do.” I’m not going to waffle. I’m not going to, when somebody gets mad and says, “Well, I have to have only just the digital files. And I just want to make my own holiday cards. And I want to do my own albums,” that that’s not my client.

Allison Tyler Jones: That’s a DIY client, and that’s never going to be my client. I want somebody that has more money than time. Doesn’t want deal with it. They want an expert that’s going to help them. And so once I know that, and I’m convinced of that in my bones, I can speak much more clearly about that in all the channels, in all the ways that I deal with my clients. So whether it’s an Instagram feed post, whether it’s a story, whether it’s a text, whether it’s an email before I create any of those communications, I ask myself, “What do I want to say here? What do I want the message to be?” So we must be clear on our minds first. And then we are speaking that clarity to our clients. Why don’t we do this already?

Allison Tyler Jones: It’s like, duh, this makes perfect sense. Well, the reason that we don’t is because we’re afraid. We’re afraid that if we say, “This is what I do, and by inference, this is what I don’t do,” we’re afraid that they’ll go away. We’re afraid that we won’t book every person that calls, but honestly, we don’t want everyone. We just want the right ones for our business. We want the clients that value what we do, that value finished product, that value wall art for their home or custom design albums. And those are the clients that we want. That’s the clients that we want at Alison Tyler John’s Photography. And I think you might want that as well.

Allison Tyler Jones: Or you might have a different if you’re doing commercial work or whatever kind of work that you’re doing, you think about that, “Who is it that I really want? Who is that ideal client?” If you’re looking for a way to attract better clients, I have a free masterclass coming up very, very soon, and it’s called Four Mind Shifts to Attract Better Clients. It’s the behind the scenes secrets that we use to create a profitable portrait business built around your unique style and your very best clients without working around the clock or having to market like an insane person. We have three different dates for you to pick from, and I would love to see you there. In this class, you’re going to learn about the major mind shift that all successful portrait photographers must make in order to drill down on what you do best.

Allison Tyler Jones: How to innovate by ignoring the competition and focusing on what you do best, how to simplify to sell more, a clear way to talk about your work that will educate your clients instead of selling them, and the most simple and effective marketing strategy that costs no money and will have your clients buzzing about you to their friends. This masterclass is absolutely free, and I would love to see you there. Just go to and sign up for the time and date that works best for you. That’s Don’t miss it. When you’re clear, you will actually get fewer yeses. That is the harsh truth, okay?

Allison Tyler Jones: So when you make this change and you put that line in the sand and say, “This is what I’m going to do, and this is what I’m not going to do,” you’re going to have less conversions for a while because you’re still bringing in clients from your old ways of marketing, your old ways of talking. You’re having clients that are returning that maybe did it under your old roles, but the ones that are yeses, the ones that come through your process, that come through these new changes will be more profitable to your business than all those wrong yeses combined. And those good yeses will be easier to work with, happier with you than the clients you’ve duped into working with you by being evasive or unclear because in the end, those burned down anyway.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then they’re mad at you and upset that you weren’t clear in the beginning. Clarity with yourself also breeds a level of confidence that you can communicate what you do and how you do it with prospective clients. And you’ll weed out those who don’t want you and attract those who do. So is this magic? How do we magically find this confidence, most photographers I know don’t want to be cocky and arrogant, but they’d certainly like to be a little bit more confident. So that’s the number two key, is confidence. So first we had clarity. We’re going to be clear to ourself about what it is that we’re doing, and then we’re going to speak that clarity to our clients. So second is being confident. So where do we find confidence? Are you just born with it? Can you develop it?

Allison Tyler Jones: I feel like you can develop it. In my realization and how I develop my confidence in my business and in my process is I realize it’s not about me. It’s not about my talent. It’s not about my art, or how great I can light a portrait or the paper the work is printed on, or the framing or any of that. No one actually really cares about us or our amazing abilities. They really just need a problem solve. They want beautiful portraits of their kids. And I have confidence in the value of what it is that I provide to my clients. In a way, I’m a mirror to them. And if I do that right, I’m reflecting back the most favorable version of my clients to themselves. So for example, when a client says, “Oh, wow, you’re so talented.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Rather than launching into my education or my lighting prowess, I reflect back to the client, “Thank you. But you’re the one who created these gorgeous humans. I’m just grateful that you brought them to me so that I could capture them. Look at her sassy personality. Even her big toe is sassy.” And off I go talking about their kids, and every little detail that makes their child or their family special. And this is not a trick and it’s not a… I don’t have to be tricky or false or fake. This is why I love what I do is in noticing that sassy toe and noticing that sassy personality, that’s why I love what I do. That’s why I photograph people because I find them endlessly fascinating. So that way, it doesn’t have to be about why I’m such a great photographer.

Allison Tyler Jones: It gets to be all about them, their family, and what makes them unique. And I could have endless confidence in that. Pointing out their expressions, gestures that are unique to their kids and helping that client see what is amazing about their family, I can have all the confidence in the world about that. And all of that, pointing all of that out makes this portrait so much more valuable because you took the time to notice and capture those things for them, but also to point them out to that mom so that she can see and experience it as well so that every time she looks at that portrait, when she walks by it in her home, it will be the story that she tells when other family members look at it through generations.

Allison Tyler Jones: You are illustrating their family story. I have total confidence in that, and that has nothing to do with me being a great photographer. So it’s easy to be confident about how cute their kids are. The love that you felt in their family during the session. If it’s not about us, we don’t have to be something we’re not, we don’t have to maintain some rockstar photographer persona. I can just be a mom who loves family, loves kids and whose work shows that love combined with my clients darling family, and reflecting that back to my clients. I can have rock solid confidence in those things. I’m also confident that I really don’t want to be a salesy, dishonest jerk. I won’t do it.

Allison Tyler Jones: So I want to be clear upfront by confidently consulting with my clients and getting a game plan together about what we’re shooting for and how much that will cost before I ever pick up the camera. So that when we get to the sales appointment, there’s no more, “I need to go measure,” because we already know what the sale’s going to be. We’re clear about what we do and don’t do. We’re confident that we can show off our client’s families in a way that they love and help them decide on how we will do that before we even shoot it. So what’s the third branding fix that brings it all together? Okay, so we’ve talked about clarity, being clear to ourselves and clear to our clients, asking before we text or post anything, “What’s the message that I want to send?”

Allison Tyler Jones: Two, we want to say these things with confidence and how we have confidence as we make it not about us. We make it about the client, and what’s great about them, and how can we show them at their very best and help them to see the best in each other. So the third branding fix that brings it all together is consistency. And this can be a hard word for all of us, ADD artists out there, because it sounds a lot like discipline and consistency kind of sounds like death to creativity, because what does that mean? Doing the same thing, the same way, every time? Ugh, but consistency means different things in different context. One definition is doing something the same way every time. And that does` not sound very sexy to me.

Allison Tyler Jones: Another way to say consistency is to say integrity or being consistent, doing what you say you’re going to do. Creating a process in your business that guarantees your client a great experience and an amazing product every single time. Another definition is to repeat consistently that clear and confident message. So you’re saying the same message again and again, in your website, on your social media, in your emails, in your text, 1,000 times over and over, you’ve said it until you can say it in your sleep. Your employees know it backwards and forwards. About the time you get bored of saying it, your clients will just be starting to get it. How you know the message is getting through. And your consistency is paying off is when your clients quote you to you.

Allison Tyler Jones: So for example, I’ve had clients call and say, “I’ve been wanting to come to you for years. I can’t wait to have my own ATJ install day.” So they’re quoting me to me. They’re quoting my hashtag, or they might say something like, “Look, I just need a real photographer. I heard that you will tell us what to wear, you know how to pose us, and that you’re going to print it and bring it and hang it on my wall. Is that true?” The word gets out. And so they know. They’ve been to the shoot and burn photographers. They have all the digital files clogging up their hard drives or they’ve lost them, or when their hard drives have crashed, and they realize that they’ve never done anything with those images, and they want something done with those images, and they want you to do it.

Allison Tyler Jones: They want somebody that’s going to handle it for them because they don’t want to deal with it. So do you see how clarifying what you are about would make a huge difference in attracting the exact type of client that you want? Imagine what it would feel like if you no longer had to weed through unqualified leads or defend your pricing, but instead you could simply focus on shooting what you love while refining your expertise to serve your very best clients. So the next time you get the wrong call, the call for something that you don’t do anymore, or the next time your marketing efforts aren’t working out quite how you would like, or maybe they’re attracting the wrong person, or the next time you have a confused client in your sales room who doesn’t close the sale and has to go check with their husband, I want you to come back and think about these three areas.

Allison Tyler Jones: “Have I been clear? Is my clarity in place? Have I been clear to myself about what exactly it is that I’m doing? Am I running my consultations correctly? Am I being clear with my client? Before I put out any kind of messaging, is it clear what I’m saying? What do I actually want to say to my client?” So clarity. “Am I being confident? Am I proceeding as though I’m a trusted advisor, I have confidence in what it is that I’m doing. I know how to recommend everything from what image you should buy, where you should put it, how big it should be, and how it should be framed. Because it’s not about me, it’s about my client and it’s about their family and how to show them to their best advantage and solving problems for them.”

Allison Tyler Jones: And lastly, having that integrity and that consistency to help your client see how your process works, how you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do. You’re going to fulfill your end of the bargain, you’re going to provide them all the value in the world for the money that they’re spending. And that is how you create branding that is not broken. So my challenge to you is to go away and think about, what areas are you not being clear enough about? What areas could you be more confident about? And how can you be more consistent in your business, and in your messaging to your clients? These are the three changes that I made in my business that have made the biggest difference in my branding and getting my message out to my clients to make it ultimately so clear what it is that I do and what it is that I don’t do.

Allison Tyler Jones: Now, the DMS that we get off of Instagram are so much better qualified. The people that are calling understand what we do, they quote us to us. They either are reading off of our website or are quoting us from our Instagram. And they understand that we specialize in a finished product, and that is what they want. It’s very, very rare anymore that we get somebody that says, “I just want the digital files.” Now, it’s taken years to get this message across. Like I said before, just at the time when we’re sick of saying it, our clients are just starting to get it. So that thing that we’ve said thousands and thousands and thousands of times is that we specialize in finished product, which is wall art for your homes and custom designed albums.

Allison Tyler Jones: I don’t know how many thousands of times I’ve said it, or my employees have said it, but the message is getting out there. So I want to encourage you that, whatever your message is, whatever it is that you want to do, that instead of just letting the message be vague and unclear and hoping that you get everybody, be bold, be confident, and be clear, and be consistent in what it is that you’re doing. And you will attract those clients that you most want to attract by fixing your broken branding. Thanks for being here. 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.

Allison Tyler Jones: 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. 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. 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.

Allison Tyler Jones: 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, may be 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, and 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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