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, mini 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 episode is part two in our client series with me and Kathryn Langsford from Photos by Kathryn in Vancouver, Canada. Last week we spoke all about how to not hate your clients, which is always a good idea, and this week we are going to talk about attracting the perfect client for your business. Sometimes this feels like it might be out of our control. 

Allison Tyler Jones: We feel like there’s either an island or a mansion or a yacht somewhere where all the high end, amazing clients for our business are living and nobody gave us the map. But actually, we do have control. By creating a better service, by creating the best work that we possibly can and offering the best experience, we can attract the perfect client for our business, and Kathryn and I are going to talk about how we have evolved that process in our own businesses over many years. Join us, take notes, and make some changes in your own business. Let’s do it. Okay, welcome. PBK is back for our second in our better client series and this episode is Attracting the Perfect Client. I cannot wait.

Kathryn Langsford: Me neither.

Allison Tyler Jones: Begin to dispense all wisdom. Yes. Open the tap and let the perfect clients come. Okay, so is the title of this episode stupid, Attracting the Perfect Client? Does the perfect client exist? 

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. I don’t know if there’s any perfect client. I don’t know that there’s a pool of perfect clients. I think what we really want is to love the way we’re working and to feel good about the people we’re working with, and I think if we sort of look at that a little differently, what that means is to be perfectly clear about what our dream job and how we love working, and the service we love providing and then that will attract the people who want that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Exactly. Okay. I need you to say that again because I think this is super valuable, so anybody that is walking their dog, or you’re retouching, or your child has just come up and asked you something, I’m going to need you, you either to need to rewind or just listen again, so say that again, because it’s so important.

Kathryn Langsford: Okay. I don’t know that there is such a thing as a perfect client. I think what there is, it is the definition of perfection in the way we want to work, and the service we want to provide, and the work we want to create, and the type of business we want to run. All of those things can be honed to be highly enjoyable and highly profitable, and if you’re working that way, the clients you have will be people who want that, and that will feel perfect. That will feel like they are in line with what you want to be providing and the way that you want to work, whether it’s how you want to work creatively, how you want to [inaudible 00:03:56] your sales, whatever aspect of work brings you joy. People who are attracted to that and want that, and love receiving that, are fantastic clients. 

Allison Tyler Jones: I love that so much and I cannot agree with you more, because what I’m finding recently is we just relaunched The Art of Selling Art course and we’ve got these amazing students in our membership, and what I find a lot, a common misconception is when you decide that you want to go for that “high end client,” that better client, that somehow that means that every client that you have is crap and you have to get rid of them and go after this mythical new client that is amazing, that’ll always just pay you exactly what you ask and never ask any questions, and we all know that those people just don’t really exist. 

Allison Tyler Jones: What you’re saying and what you and I have figured out is that it starts with us. It’s just like with the part one of this series, where we were saying how not to hate your clients, is it starts with you stepping forward and taking control and saying this is how I want to work, and this is how I work, and this is how this happens. This is the second part of that, which is in building that business, and building it around what we’re best at, so you love the organic look. You love black and white, you love a more emotional, organic feel. 

Allison Tyler Jones: I like insanity, crazy, whatever, and we’ve built businesses around, even though we have very similar businesses, our styles are completely different and we are very different people. But because we’ve built it the way that we want it to be, then we’ve attracted people that like that, that want that, that want to work in that way, so we’ve attracted people and some of those people are the people we started with, right? They’re the people that started, in your world, with just selling a set of digital files, in my world selling just a bunch of loose prints that weren’t framed, and they’ve come along with us, so we didn’t flush everybody and go and get some new intangible clientele. How we attracted better clients was having a better service. 

Kathryn Langsford: And a very well-defined service so that it’s very clear. When you go on the website it’s very clear. Over and over again it talks about work on the wall. Portrait work is part of your décor, starting with an end in mind. All of the ways in which I like to work are repeated over and over again through my website, through my social media, and in any conversation I have with people, so there’s no confusion. When I first started out, I might have shown work that looked like this and also work that looked like that, and maybe sometimes we’ll shoot outside, and yeah, it was just kind of all over the place because I just didn’t know.

Kathryn Langsford: I wanted to do what people wanted. I thought that was what having a business was, but through hard won knowledge, as we touched on in the last episode, I learned I really just want to do it the way that I feel best, and do the things that I’m best at, because it’s really hard to try and create work that I’m not good at creating. That’s very difficult and I don’t feel good about it. It comes easily to me to create the kind of work that I have shown most. It’s easy for me. If I tried to create an ATJ portrait, I don’t know what would happen. It wouldn’t be easy, I’ll tell you that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, exactly, and I think we can’t hide who you are. We just are that. It’s like watching the reality TV show. Even as produced as those things are, you can kind of look at it and go oh, man, people revealed themselves, and we reveal ourselves in our business and how we want to do things. But where we get into problems is when we are not well-defined, when we don’t say what we want, when we don’t say okay, this is how it works. Why do you think it is that photographers are not more specific and well-defined right in the beginning? What’s the most common reason? What are your thoughts on that? 

Kathryn Langsford: A big reason is they don’t know that about themselves. They haven’t figured it out about themselves, and I think also it’s that I just want a business to work, so if someone wants me to do something, I’ll just say yes. They say yes to too many things because they want clients, and then that kind of snowballs into this catch-all sort of business where maybe they’ll shoot an event, and maybe they’ll shoot some corporate stuff, and then they’ll do a family. 

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, you learn through the years that some people continue working that way and are just not happy and they just think it’s just a hard way of life and that they have to go on that way. I felt like you know what? There’s got to be people out there who want exactly what I’m doing, and I learned that part of my role is to educate them on exactly what it is that they can expect when they come to me. If people fall off at that point, then those are people who weren’t well suited for my service. The people who say oh, that sounds great, that sounds perfect, those are good clients. Those are people who fit well.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, and I feel like when you say that, well-defined, I think the aversion to being well-defined is that when you’re defining very clearly what you do, at the same time you’re saying what you don’t do, and I think that’s where sometimes nice photographers get scared, like I don’t want to be too bold and say I only do this, because what if they want something else and I can do that too, and they’ll pay me. 

Allison Tyler Jones: But unless you narrow, and I don’t think you have to completely, totally niche down to I only do black and white hamsters in natural light. We don’t need to get crazy, but you do have to be clear about what it is that you’re doing, and by definition, what it is that you’re not doing. How are you talking about that with your clients? How are you getting that message across? 

Kathryn Langsford: Well, I use terms like I specialize in a finished fine art product. I say that the first sentence, and some people don’t know what that means, so it doesn’t paint a clear enough picture, so I’d say so that means that whatever we’re creating is with the end goal of having something for the wall or in an album, and then I let them know the extent of my full service, meaning I can help you start out the walls. We can come hang it on the wall, and answering all the questions that people have about that level of service.

Kathryn Langsford: That’s in terms of the product I create. I shoot only black and white, so that is something that usually people know because all my things are black and white, but sometimes people ask about color, so I make that really clear. I’m a black and white fine art photographer, and then just the nature of what I’m shooting. Sometimes people want me to come and shoot a graduation ceremony or a party they’re having in their backyard, and I just don’t do that. That’s something that I would just tell them. Events aren’t my specialty. I might explain what my specialty is, but I won’t take that work.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love that. Okay, so there was a time that you did do that?

Kathryn Langsford: Oh, yeah, sure. At the beginning I would take anything. I did a couple weddings. I’d go to people’s houses that lived an hour and a half away. I did lots of travel photography. People flew me to California, they flew me all over Canada, and what I learned was, in short, the travel work, the travel work sounded really sexy when I was just [inaudible 00:11:00]. So not worth it, so much effort, really hard, then you get home and this was back before I was using ProSelect and sharing screens. You get home and you try and sell work by emailing something for them to see and having a phone call. It just doesn’t work. It just didn’t work and it just wasn’t worth it. It took me a long time to figure that out because I thought I was so high rolling. It wasn’t.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right, not for you.

Kathryn Langsford: Now they come to me. I still have people who want me from other places, and they come here. That’s fantastic. I’m thrilled. I’m really flattered, but yeah, I don’t do the travel work anymore. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Then the reverse might have been true for another photographer. They might have realized being in a studio and being confined to one place is like death on a stick for me. I’d rather poke my eye out with a rusty fork, and I just want to be on a plane. I want to be on the top of a mountain. That’s my jam, that’s what I love. That’s how I want to work, so that just takes us back to attracting the perfect client. It’s the perfect client for you.

Kathryn Langsford: Yep. Well, for me the perfect client is someone who wants portraits as art, who wants to come to a studio, because I don’t really want to even go to anyone’s house, to be honest, unless there’s a really good reason [inaudible 00:12:10] to do with the portrait, and someone who just really appreciates family portraits as art in their home. That’s the main criteria. Everything else usually just falls in line. If that’s what they’re looking for, then I’m perfect for them.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, and I think too, most of the education surrounding finding better clients is having the idea of that ideal client, that client avatar. Where does she shop? Who is she? Where do her kids go to school? I think those are all very valuable things, but I have found different metrics in my life, in my business with my clients, that I find there are more subtleties in that ideal client for me. 

Allison Tyler Jones: An ideal mom, and I was just telling a client this yesterday, is somebody that’s really tuned into their kids and really gets the subtleties and the nuances of their kid and thinks not only that their kid is, I think we all love our kids, I think their kid’s great, but they see the kid fully. They’ll say he’s a complete nightmare in this situation, but it’s so hilarious when he does this. They really love to tell you the story about their kid, and they’re really checked in, and they appreciate all parts of their kid’s personality and want to see that.

Allison Tyler Jones: That is an ideal, perfect client for me, and that doesn’t really have anything to do with income or anything. It’s just the moms that are really, really, really hooked into their kids in that way and want to see that personality. They all say kind of similar things like look, I don’t really care if he’s looking at the camera or whatever. I just got to get this one thing that he does, or I just love when he does this other thing, or whatever, where they’re very detailed about their kid’s personality and who they are. I found those to be extremely great clients.

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. I’ve never thought about that before, but that’s true, for sure, because those are the qualities that people fall in love with about portraits is those subtle things that come across.

Allison Tyler Jones: Because sometimes you’ll get, and I don’t have so many of these clients anymore, they’re keeping up with the Joneses, and well, because the next door neighbor had the ATJ, they have to have that too, and they’re not really talking about their kids. They’re just talking about okay, well, is the holiday card, are we going to look good? It’s got to be better than my neighbors or that kind of thing. They’ll be a client, but that’s not that perfect client for me. I want the moms that love the story of their kids’ personalities and love the story of their family unfolding in all of its complexity, in all of its messiness and everything.

Kathryn Langsford: Oh, yeah. How validating is that on the artist’s side? It’s just you being able to capture that in a way that she feels is perfect. That’s like the ultimate compliment. It’s like we’ve done our job as well as we possibly could. That’s amazing. That’s a great feeling.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love that, so sometimes when we’re thinking of these ideal clients, again, so much of business advice or whatever seems to check a box. Okay, this is a good client. It’s somebody that’s got a lot of money. Well, they might have a lot of money but they might not value portraits. We all know that. We’ve all had that experience.

Kathryn Langsford: Absolutely. That’s not a guarantee.

Allison Tyler Jones: No, absolutely not, and the thought of okay, well I started my business selling only digital files. There’s no way I can possibly transition and do it a different way without losing every single one of my clients. What are your thoughts on creating better clients, like taking your existing clients when maybe you’re doing business in a different way and bringing them along with you when you make changes?

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. Well, I did that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Same.

Kathryn Langsford: I was really worried that there’s no way that these people will want anything other than their 20 unframed 8x10s they get every year. Yeah, I had plenty of people buy unframed work, plenty of people buying smaller wall work, et cetera. 

Allison Tyler Jones: A lot, a little. 

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, for sure. I would say one thing I did was I created my idea of exactly what I wanted to create for my clients is what went on the walls of my studio. Nothing small, nothing unframed, everything large, everything in a fine art format, and pieced together with furniture so people could picture it in their home. If I didn’t want to sell it, it wasn’t on the wall, and I had to think about that because there’s little desk pieces that I’d had around.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Those cost you money.

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. If I didn’t want to sell it, it was not visible.

Allison Tyler Jones: You got to chuck stuff in the trash if you have to.

Kathryn Langsford: Exactly.

Allison Tyler Jones: If you don’t want to throw it away, go put it in your production area but where a client never sees it. 

Kathryn Langsford: Yep, and then set about getting some photos of work on clients’ walls. The clients that had done the larger pieces, I photographed their walls and put it on social media, put it on my website, just showing what I wanted to be doing so I would attract people who wanted that. That was one way of making that transition with the same clients and as you said, some of them came along and were thrilled, so excited, and some of them it’s just not what they want anymore and they wanted it to stay the same, and they’ve gone elsewhere, which is fine for me and fine for them.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right, exactly, and I feel like when I look back and I think okay, 2005/6, when I started my business, if somebody had even come in and said to me I want to do a 60-inch print of my family above my sofa. I want it framed, I want it delivered, I want it installed, I would have been like uh. I didn’t even have that in place, so all I had in place was this price list with packages and a bunch of prints, and if you buy one thing then you get this with that, and it was this very complicated package plus thing, and everybody only cared about holiday cards.

Allison Tyler Jones: I finally realized going through the recession and an illness and different things, I don’t want to work like that anymore, so I’m going to build, and it was a conscious decision for me, realizing literally when I almost died from a lung disease, I thought if I live through this I am going to do business the way that I want to do it. If nobody wants that, then maybe I’ll just go clean houses or whatever. But I set up the business the way that I, as a mother of seven, who had little kids and older kids and realized this is really what it should be and this is how I see documenting families over a period of time. 

Allison Tyler Jones: This is the service that I want to provide and if nobody wants that, then I’ll just do something else, but I’m not willing to do it the way that everybody else has done it anymore. That really did change everything for me. Now, again, it wasn’t overnight that it changed, but it has been in iterations over time, but I realize now that there wasn’t some magical place that had all of these high end clients that I just didn’t have the golden ticket to. It was that I had to take control and create the business that I wanted that would then attract that ideal client to me, that wanted what it was that I was doing. 

Kathryn Langsford: Totally, yeah. It’s been difficult for me. I live in Canada, and not only do I live in Canada, I live in Vancouver, so people who aren’t Canadian may not know that there’s money here, but people aren’t flashy and they’re not super spendy.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, it’s like the anti-Kardashian up there, the granola.

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. They’re granola, but some of them are there as well, and there are definitely people that appreciate art. But I feel like I’m one of, if not the, only service that offers exactly what I offer, and people just didn’t know it was there. They didn’t know it was an option. I had to get the word out, like here’s something that you can do for your family portraits. They weren’t looking for it. I just had to find ways of showing them. It’s not like they were Googling large scale fine art family portraits. They were not looking.

Allison Tyler Jones: No, exactly, and that’s when we talk about consultation. I mean, how many times have we talked about it and taught on it, and they say okay, well, what do you say when you ask your clients or prospective clients, okay, what is it that you want to do with these images, and they say I don’t know? I’m like well, that’s what they always say. I don’t think I’ve ever had a client that says this is what I want to do with them. That is my job. That is my job to come up with the idea and figure out how I want it to be, and create that service and create that work in their home over a period of time.

Allison Tyler Jones: That is my job, and so that’s the good news, right? The good news is that when we take control and we’re clear in our own head about what it is that we want to do, then it becomes so much easier to talk about it. You and I are constantly, how often are we writing emails as we’re talking on our phone on the way home. I mean figuratively, meaning okay, I’m going to send this email, let me read you this paragraph. Does this sound brand consistent? There’s nothing that goes out of our studios that isn’t completely intentional.

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, 100%, yeah. It’s not confusing. This is a high end, fine art place where people are experts on how big it should be and where it should go, and what it should be framed in.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, and the other thing I’m just thinking is that, it just occurred to me, we finally got to a place where we actually respected ourselves, what we were doing, and the value that we bring to it. Okay, I’m killing myself off. This is going to be amazing. Then we respected our clients enough to be completely transparent with them from beginning to end. It’s respect, respect, the value that we bring and put that out there, and then that is like, I don’t know what you would call it, but it’s just like ringing the bell for that type of clientele who wants it. The people that want a nice girl in their neighborhood that’s got a decent camera, that’s going to run down to the park on Thanksgiving weekend and shoot a family of 50 on a ladder for 100 bucks, they’re never going to call us. They might.

Kathryn Langsford: Right, right. They’re going to figure it out. They’re going to figure out 10 seconds into the phone call oh, yeah, no, this is not what we’re looking for.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, and that’s okay. We don’t have to feel bad about that. They don’t suck and we don’t hate them. 

Kathryn Langsford: There is someone perfect for them and it’s not us, and there are perfect people for us. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, and you know when you’re talking to them. Sometimes when you’re talking to someone, you’re explaining the service and then they ask questions about things that are other than that. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Kathryn Langsford: Then you might answer those questions and then they may keep coming back to well, can I have this or would you do this? Would you consider this? How much is one wall piece that’s 10 inches? Those kind of questions, and you can sort of tell, this isn’t a great fit. But then you have conversations where it’s like oh, yeah, oh you do everything? Oh, you hang it? Oh, that’s perfect. Oh, yeah, I have this one big wall that the designer left blank for family portraits. 

Kathryn Langsford: You just know that that’s a fit. Of course we need to have specific money conversations, and of course you know they like your work because they’ve somehow seen it somewhere if they call you, so it’s not about liking your work. It’s usually about do you want it to be art and are you okay with how much it costs? Those are really, honestly what it’s about and we have that conversation in person and on the phone, and as long as it lines up it’s like a dream after that to work with someone. [inaudible 00:23:08]

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, and I think it’s also a dream, if it’s not a fit it’s pretty dreamy too, because I’m sure you’ve had this, but I’ve had situations where somebody calls and they’re doing exactly what you just said. They’re trying to take me in another direction, like I really want location or I really want digital files or whatever. Then I don’t have to go into this big thing of no, I don’t do that and here’s why. It’s more of okay, well, here’s what we do. What you need me for is this. 

Allison Tyler Jones: You don’t need me to just run to the park and take your holiday card. That’s overkill. You need me for when it’s going to be big, on the wall, in your house, and it has to be perfect. Then you can almost hear a click in their mind and then they’re like okay. I don’t know if you’ve had this, but I’ve had somebody say to me multiple times, okay, I understand what you’re saying. All right, so my mom is coming into town six months from now. Can I book you to do wall portraits for that? I’m just going to call somebody in my neighborhood to get my holiday card done.

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, they get it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Totally fine. I don’t need to feel bad about that. I don’t need to say okay, I’ll go ahead and just do your holiday card for you right now if you book that session. No, no, no. No, no, no.

Kathryn Langsford: No, that’s what I totally would have done before. Okay, I’ll do the thing that I really don’t want to do because I think she might want to use me later for what I do.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. 

Kathryn Langsford: Then that does that horrible thing that we don’t want to do, which is break our rules.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, makes us hate our clients. 

Kathryn Langsford: Then set ourselves up for future rule breaking with that client in the future because someone else is going to come to town next year and she’s going to want us to do that too. We did it last year.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right, and then we get mad at them. We have nobody to blame but ourselves, and we’re mad, and it doesn’t make any sense. I love it. The other thing that you said earlier, I want to go back to that a little bit, was we have all heard it a million times, anybody that’s ever been to any photographer, is that idea of show what you want to sell. But I think also don’t show what you don’t want to sell. 

Kathryn Langsford: Right. Do not.

Allison Tyler Jones: Do not.

Kathryn Langsford: Whatever the smallest thing in your studio is, there will be people that they’re going to gravitate to that. The smallest thing I have is a framed 11×16. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Same. They think it’s a 5×7.

Kathryn Langsford: When people want to go with the minimal, they’ll get that, and that’s okay. I don’t mind that. But if it was a 5×7 or if it was a little thing on the desk, I do have desk pieces and smaller things, but I hide them in the back because if they’ve already purchased wall art and albums and they want something for their husband’s desk, fine. I’ll show them. But if it’s someone coming in deciding okay, what’s the scope of work going to be, I don’t want that as [inaudible 00:25:41].

Allison Tyler Jones: Exactly.

Kathryn Langsford: It’s not what we’re doing. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, exactly. I love that. Okay, so I think just to bring it back around, to close out our two-part episode on clients, is that attracting the perfect client for your business is not thinking so much about that perfect client as it is thinking about how you want to do business, how you love to do business. That’s down to how do you like to shoot? What do you like to shoot? How do you like to shoot it? How does it look? How do you want it framed? How do you see it going in a client’s home? 

Allison Tyler Jones: Maybe you just only love albums. Maybe you’re doing something extremely conceptual and you just want it on acrylic, and that’s the only way that you’re ever going to do it, or fill in the blank of whatever it is, how you love to work and then once you’re clear on that and you can talk about that in every single conversation, in every blog post, in every social media post. Then that is going to get the message out about how you work and by definition, how you don’t work, and that is going to then start to attract that perfect client for you and the clients that you already have, you don’t have to get rid of them. You just have to do the same thing that we’ve been talking about on both of these episodes, which is being transparent. Let’s just leave with that.

Allison Tyler Jones: When you’ve made a change, and I think we’ve talked about this a little bit before, but I think it would be appropriate to bring it up now, is let’s say that you’ve made a change, so it might be your pricing. I know you and I both decided we’re not going to let anything go out of the studio that’s unframed. We’re not going to sell prints anymore that they can put in their own frame or whatever, not GIF prints. We’re talking about wall art. What are some of the things, then, that we would say to clients, that you have said to clients when we’re making those changes, so allowing the clients that we currently have to come along with us on this journey as we progress and build a better business? 

Kathryn Langsford: I’ve said things like I’ve changed a little bit about the way I work since the last time we worked together in the service of making things bigger and better, and better for you, and I now specialize in a finished fine art product, so that means art for the wall or albums. I spin it like things have changed and they’re better, and they’re better because I’ve ticked off more boxes for you in terms of what needs to be done with fine art. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Right, and it’s not even a spin. It’s just true, because it’s easy to say okay, I think everybody should just quadruple their prices because inflation and everybody just needs to raise their prices. Well, that’s great, but people are going to balk at that and that might cause problems for you, but if at the same time that if you have to raise your prices, which I think everybody really needs to be looking closely at their vendors and their pricing because everything’s gone through the roof now. 

Kathryn Langsford: Yep, yep. I raised them last year and I just raised them again.

Allison Tyler Jones: I know. It’s been nuts, yeah. As we’re looking about that, we’re talking about that, you can take it from an avenue of oh, well you know, inflation, which sounds victimy and weird, or if you have changed your prices or you’ve changed the way that you’re working, so say that you’re not going to sell just digital files anymore. That’s probably one of the more common conversions in this business. 

Allison Tyler Jones: But I know that I have said I realized I wasn’t serving my clients to the best of my ability, or for example, only selling art that goes out framed. I realized I wasn’t serving my clients to the best of my ability and I had clients that they had paid a lot of money for these pieces of wall art that weren’t framed, and so they were under their bed, in the back of a closet, getting shoes thrown at it, and I realized I wasn’t serving them. I wasn’t finishing my job. Now we’re finishing the job. This is how it goes out.

Kathryn Langsford: That’s the perfect way to say it. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, and then when we’re the ones that frame it, we’re the last hands that touched it, it’s going to be guaranteed and we’re going to make sure that everything is perfection. I think you can bring people along. I just want to keep reiterating that, that we don’t advocate making a change in your business and then just completely getting rid of an existing clientele. There are people that will come with you. There are people that won’t. 

Kathryn Langsford: Yep. No, there have been lots of clients that have come with on that change, and it was a big change, a big change in price point, a big change in service, a really big change, and plenty of them have come along, and the ones that haven’t, I don’t lose sleep over that. I think of it like I was perfect for them and I’m not anymore, and it just wouldn’t be a good match. If they tried to come along, one of us would be unhappy, either them or me. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Yeah, because your service has changed, but I still will run into clients that I had back in the day that haven’t come along on my journey, and they will say oh, I follow you on Instagram, I love what you’re doing or whatever. I wish I could afford to come to you, and they’ll be very kind and nice. But I don’t feel bad about that. I feel like nobody’s gone away mad. They know the service has changed and it’s not in the cards for them at this point in their life, and that’s fine.

Kathryn Langsford: Oh, nobody’s mad. Nope. Nobody’s mad. It’s just I’m not perfect for them anymore and there for sure is someone else who is and it’s all good.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Exactly. I love it. Okay, well, I think that how I want to leave this is just to encourage all of our listeners, don’t be afraid as you’re making changes in your business. If it feels at the core that that’s something that you should be doing, something that you’ve always wanted to do, some of those things in my own mind have been if I could just only shoot studio, I’d be so much happier. Then finally I just worked toward that over several years, and then I am so much happier. 

Allison Tyler Jones: If I could only do finished artwork. I would just love to deliver and install every single one of my clients. I went from saying 60% of our clients love that we just deliver and install. Well, now it’s 100% of our clients. Our clients love that we deliver and install. It evolves over a period of time, and the clearer that I’ve been about what it is that I’m doing and how I want to do it, the more qualified, the more “perfect” kinds of clients come into my world. 

Kathryn Langsford: Yep, and letting go of the thought that that’s not possible. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Absolutely.

Kathryn Langsford: I thought for I don’t know how long, 15, 17 years, that it would be impossible to not shoot on weekends. I did not think it was possible.

Allison Tyler Jones: Until your friend from Arizona browbeat you into submission.

Kathryn Langsford: Exactly, and honestly, I shoot less weekends than you do now. Maybe I should be browbeating you.

Allison Tyler Jones: Maybe you should.

Kathryn Langsford: No, it was totally possible and it was an instant change, and I have never looked back, but I just want to underline that I just didn’t think that people would, and it’s been the same with so many things, like oh, people aren’t going to pay that for an album. Oh, people aren’t going to want something this big. That’s not true. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Assumptions.

Kathryn Langsford: That’s not true. If I want to do it and I want to create it and it feels perfect for me, I’m going to proceed ahead, and there is a perfect client for everyone just like there’s a perfect photographer for everyone.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love that. I love that. Thank you so much. I appreciate you being here. I hope that everybody listening to this feels encouraged, uplifted, and I would love to hear any comments. Get into our DMs. Kathryn is at, what’s your Instagram? 

Kathryn Langsford: @PBKStudio. There might be an underscore.

Allison Tyler Jones: @PBK. I think it’s @PBK_Studio.

Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, I think you’re right. Yep. 

Allison Tyler Jones: @PBK_Studio, so that’s Photos by Kathryn, PBK_Studio, and mine is @ATJPhoto. Love to hear your thoughts and any comments, but go forth and conquer, because there is the perfect client out there for you, and it’s not a secret. It starts with you. You have complete control on attracting those clients, and that starts with you offering the service to the best of your ability of what you know in your soul that you want to do.

Kathryn Langsford: Nice. Bye. 

Allison Tyler Jones: Thanks for being here, cutie.

Kathryn Langsford: Bye-bye. 

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 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. 

Allison Tyler Jones: 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. 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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