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. I am so excited, because we have another series for you. This series is a four part series with me and Miss Jessica Mackey, Allison Tyler Jones’s own former client coordinator, and now ReWork content developer extraordinaire. We are going to be sharing all of our best tips on how to train your clients.

Allison Tyler Jones: Part one, which is this episode that you’re about to listen to, is all about getting your messaging right. So checking your messaging before clients even call, what is your website looking like, social media. Also, getting out ahead of those difficult conversations and questions, and how to prepare for that ahead of time. So without further ado, let’s join Miss Jessica Mackey and talk all about training your clients, part one.

Allison Tyler Jones: I am so happy to have our very own Jessica Mackey back in the podcast studio. Welcome.

Jessica Mackey: Thank you. I love being here. It’s kind of my favorite thing now.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love it. Well, this, as you know, is the first in our new series of Training Your Clients. It’s our four part series on training clients. And we are going to talk today, we’re going to tee up the series together. I think you’re the perfect person to do this with, Jessica, because you were the client coordinator at ATJ Photo for a really long time, and you had lots of experience in talking with new clients, converting leads off of our phone calls, and just working with people every day.

Jessica Mackey: I think it was also super helpful that our studio right now has that more open floor plan to where my office was right where I could hear you in all of your sales appointments and consultations. So I feel like I also gained a lot and learned a lot from hearing your interactions with clients.

Allison Tyler Jones: And probably some of the ways to do things, and maybe some of the ways not to do things. But hopefully more of the ways to do things. So what I want to do, Jessica, is first I want to talk about before I had the portrait studio, I owned a scrapbooking store, and it was retail. Very easy. The client expectations were very clear. Nobody was asking me to open my store after hours. The store hours were posted on the front window. We really didn’t have anybody that tried to negotiate pricing. Every now and then you get somebody from church that had tried to get a discount.

Allison Tyler Jones: But what I found when I came into the world of portrait photography, is I was so shocked at what clients would ask for. And it wasn’t their fault, because I think the industry has created these expectations that maybe there’s just a lot of weekend warriors that are photographers that only work on weekends. Or people just think, “Oh, can you come to my house on Christmas Eve and photograph a hundred people in my family?” That sort of thing. And other requests that sometimes we feel like, “Oh my gosh, just because a client asks us, I have to do it.” We end up running around working our head off, and not really creating a service that is going to serve our clients to the best of our ability, and also our own business and our own life to the best of our ability.

Jessica Mackey: Well, and I think that was interesting even coming to work for you, because I had experience doing photography, but I also had experience hiring photographers. And so when I first came to work for you, you would make comments like, “I cannot believe that this client would ask me to do X, Y, Z. That’s kind of crazy.” Or, “That’s not what I do,” or something like that. I remember just thinking, “Really?” Because that’s totally something that I feel like I could have asked. You know, the shoot and burn photographer I’d used that Christmas or whatever. And I wouldn’t have known it was kind of a crazy ask, because no one taught me any differently. No one set those boundaries or those expectations for me as a client about what was maybe a little bit out there when it came to a request. You know, schlepping couches into the fields, or whatever it was that became the industry normal. And as clients, you’re seeing those pictures on your social media, you’re seeing your friends posting these, and you just think that’s how it’s done.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Right. And when you first start, I think in photography, you’re so excited. You love the craft of it. You love the art of it so much. You just want to shoot all the time and learn, and it’s just so fun and exciting. Maybe it’s a side hustle, maybe it’s a hobby. But once it’s a business, then there needs to be some rules of engagement of this is how this is done, this is how much it costs. And of course there are many things that we can do. There are prices attached to all of those things. And just in any other business, whether it was an attorney, a plumber, a surgeon, whatever, that they have different types of services at different price points, depending on what that service is. So a plumber, if you call them on Christmas Eve in the middle of the night to come and fix your toilet, it’s going to cost you more than if it was on some Tuesday morning during the year. But yet, so many photographers just think, if anybody will call me, I will do anything to make something happen.

Jessica Mackey: They let the clients set the rules and the expectations.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. And really the very best clients for our business don’t want to do that. Our very best clients are clients that are looking for a service where they can come in and put themselves in our hands, be handled by an expert, and say, “Okay, this is how we work, this is what we do, this is how much it costs, and this is how great it’s going to be for you.” And then allow the clients to decide whether or not that’s going to work for them.

Jessica Mackey: Right. And I think that a lot of photographers are afraid that what’s going to happen if they make changes or if they say no to clients that they’re going to lose everybody. How many times have we heard a student or someone say, “Oh my gosh, my clients would never (fill in the blank).”

Allison Tyler Jones: Right.

Jessica Mackey: And it’s like, “Really? Are you sure?” Because most of your clients are just basing their behaviors off of what they’ve been allowed to get away with.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Or just your lack of boundaries, honestly.

Jessica Mackey: Right.

Allison Tyler Jones: So as a result, I feel that the portrait industry in particular has created an industry-wide lack of expectation from our clients. We just are in this mode of like, “Sure. What do you want?” Where most photographers are asking their clients what they want, versus having a process and a plan and a product line and a rules of engagement, and this is how we work, and it’s going to be so amazing. Really taking people by the hand and guiding them through a process. They abdicate that responsibility, and are instead really putting everything onto the client to come up with what it is that they want, and what it is that they need from you. And the clients don’t know. They just know that they need updated pictures. They know that their kids are getting older, they’re getting older. They need to document their kids, but they don’t have any expectations. And so as a result, they need guidance. The portrait clients need guidance, and they need training and education about what it is that we’re doing.

Jessica Mackey: And that’s what I think sometimes we forget in the photography industry, is that we are the experts. This is what you do day in, day out. You know what looks good. You know what the right lighting is. You know what locations are going to photograph well, and which locations won’t. Like, this is your master’s degree in photography.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Jessica Mackey: I mean, even without that slip of paper, you know what you’re doing. You are the expert in this field. And sometimes I think we just want to pass on that responsibility. It can be scary to be the expert.

Allison Tyler Jones: For sure.

Jessica Mackey: Because then you feel like you’re at risk if things go wrong.

Allison Tyler Jones: And that is true. But you’re at risk, and I’m so glad you brought that up. Because we’re at risk no matter what. Being in business is risk. And it is, everything is our fault. Everything. Even when it’s not our fault, everything is our fault. So if you said, “I don’t want to do consultations and I don’t want to tell people what to wear, because if I tell them what to wear and they show up wearing that, then the pictures don’t turn out, then they’re going to be mad at me.” If you don’t tell them what to wear, they’re going to be mad at you anyway, because you took the picture.

Allison Tyler Jones: So even if they show up wearing a circus tent, you better figure out how to make that mom look skinny in that circus tent. You better figure out what lens to use, how to pose her. It’s all up to us. So if it’s up to us, that’s really great news, because we can take control, and we can slowly educate and train our clients into the way that is going to work best to give them the best result. When you first look at this podcast title and think “training clients”, in a way, it kind of seems high handed and snooty. Like, “We’re just going to tell these people what to do and tell them where to get out there.”

Jessica Mackey: They will fall in line or else they’re not our clients,

Allison Tyler Jones: Right, right. And really, that’s not what we’re saying. What we’re saying is, when we take responsibility and we guide them through a process, they have an experience that they never dreamed possible. It makes it so amazing for them, and it takes the pressure off of them. That’s really what it’s about, is that we cannot blame our clients for buying into what everyone else in the industry is doing. The industry isn’t in charge of our process, and our clients are not in charge of our process. That’s our job. We’re the ones that are in charge of our process. So how are we going to go about this series? How are we going to start by retraining or training our clients? What are your thoughts?

Jessica Mackey: So I think, first off, when you’re talking about this whole process in the industry, it made me think of a surgeon. Because when I’m scheduling a surgery, for instance, that maybe I had a few years ago, I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never done it. I’ve never done it with a surgeon. So I am asking questions. I am expecting them to walk me through the process to tell me what to expect, to help guide me through this. I’m not the one setting and dictating the expectations like, “Okay, so I need this nurse here, and then we’re going to do it at this hospital.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Jessica Mackey: I expect them to communicate and walk me through that process, and prepare me ahead of time before I even walk through the doors to the hospital like I know what’s going to happen. I think for photographers, we forget how nice that feels to be prepared, whether or not this person has had photography done. Maybe they have never had it done by you, or with your new guidelines or expectations. So those need to be communicated. You have to prepare your client. You have to walk them through that process.

Allison Tyler Jones: Exactly. So let’s just keep going with the surgeon analogy. I think of situations like, “Okay, so this is what’s going to happen. We’re going to take you in at this time. This is the time that’s available. And 24 hours before that, you need to not have anything to eat or drink.” So they’re setting you up for success. Okay. Well, why is that? “Well, because when we intubate you, and put you under, and if you accidentally aspirate, we don’t want you to die.” Good thought. I would like to not die.

Allison Tyler Jones: So looking fat in a picture is not quite as bad as dying, but for some people, it’s pretty bad. They don’t want to pay a lot of money for something where they don’t look good. If you have been in the hands of a newer photographer, or somebody that’s more shy and kind of willing to let you run the show, you don’t feel like you’re really being taken care of.

Allison Tyler Jones: So where this surgeon, or if maybe their PA is getting you prepped for everything, they’re telling you, “Here’s your sheet of paper that’s going to let you know exactly how to set you up for success, things to watch out for.” And then, “Here’s what to expect for the surgery. This is what you need to wear the day of surgery.” Then you come in, and they’re taking all your stuff from you, and they’re putting it in the little bag. You’re getting all that. And then after you come out of it, they’re giving you the sheet that tells you, “Here’s the things to watch out for on the back end.”

Allison Tyler Jones: They’re walking you through an entire process. A lot of that you can say has come about because of litigation, or maybe they’ve been sued or whatever. But really, it’s because they want their patients to have the best outcome possible and to be successful. So if we can think about it that way as we’re dealing with our clients, it helps us to not feel like we’re being super bossy, if you don’t feel like you want to be a bossy type person. It’s helping your client to have a successful experience and have the best outcome possible.

Jessica Mackey: Really fast. I think along those lines, when you’re talking about the surgeon, that the surgeon has already figured out what a successful process is going to look like for you. They’ve already sat down, they know what your issue is going into the surgery. They have thought through what a successful outcome is going to be physically, mentally, emotionally, what your recovery should look like. And they account for all of that through the process.

Jessica Mackey: I think that as photographers, it really does help to sit back and be like, “Okay, what would I consider a successful shoot for this family? That I get this out of it? That I get this out of it? That they order wall art? She is so happy and excited that she tells all of her friends that she’s posting on social media?” What does that success look like for that shoot? And I think that that helps you feel like, “Okay, so then what steps do I need to take to prepare the client to maximize the chances of that success?”

Allison Tyler Jones: Love it. So I would say that if you are getting what are in your mind ridiculous requests, or inquiries from clients about things, that maybe you’re getting inquiries for things that you’ve never done, things that you don’t want to do anymore. Before your clients even call, I think it’s very, very important to check your messaging. Always. This is being constantly vigilant about what is my messaging saying? So how’s the Instagram feed looking these days. What are I posting? What is the website looking like? If you have a blog, what’s going on there? What is the messaging out there?

Allison Tyler Jones: What are they seeing? What are our leads and potential clients seeing? And what is it saying about your work? So if you’re showing video of you hauling a couch out to the middle of the desert, don’t be surprised when people call asking you for that, if you have shown them that that’s how you work. If you’re showing them just a bunch of pretty pictures and digital files, and you never show actual finished product, then they’re just going to call asking for digital files all the time. So I think before we even act with the client, we have to be really thinking about what is our messaging, what are we putting out there in the world, and is it what we want to be doing?

Jessica Mackey: And recognizing that, what is that saying? A picture is worth a thousand words. Your pictures and your photography are the strongest form of messaging. So like you said, BTS, video, pictures. What is it that you’re showing, and is that the work you’re doing? So if you’re posting all your senior sessions, but you hate doing senior sessions, someone’s going to look at your Instagram feed and be like, “Oh, she specializes in seniors. I’m going to call her for my senior session.” Your images also have to reinforce that messaging. This is what you do, this is what you don’t do.

Allison Tyler Jones: They don’t realize that in your secret heart of hearts, that you’re wanting to transition to family, because your entire Instagram feed is all seniors. You have to start showing for quite a while, before people start getting the message that you’re doing something different and new.

Jessica Mackey: We could do a whole podcast on this, but something that I know you and I have discussed is the old school approach. I mean, back in blog days when photographers started doing a post for every single session. So every senior got their own post. Every family. And there was just this expectation that you shot it, you posted it. But then that really sets you up for having to face some tricky things if you’re shooting something that you don’t want to advertise. If you’re shooting seniors, but you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you’re shooting seniors, well now you set this expectation that you post everything you shoot. So then you’re forced to post the couch in the field when you don’t ever want to haul another freaking couch out into a field ever again in your life, but you feel required to post it. And it’s like, that can mess with your messaging, too.

Allison Tyler Jones: So we’re checking our messaging. We’re also checking, that would be, I say, checking in with your rules and how you’re doing business. Just because you’ve always done it a certain way, or just because the industry’s always done it a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best way for you. And so I highly recommend questioning the “prevailing wisdom”. Is that really working for you? So I think that’s a really good example for that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Another thing, just to kind of wrap up the idea of messaging, because this episode in our Training Your Clients is about messaging and checking your messaging, is to call out hard questions before they are asked.

Jessica Mackey: So it’s like assertive messaging, like be assertive. Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: Don’t wait for somebody to say, “Do you sell digital files?” You might still get that question. But make it so that it’s so obvious exactly what it is that you do. So one of the things that we say on that very first phone call, what’s the sentence? What’s the first sentence that you say when you pick up?

Jessica Mackey: “We do things a little different than most photographers.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yup.

Jessica Mackey: And so that leads us in. Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. That just sets a different… Like, “Oh, hold on.” So when they’re on the phone and they’re in the checkout line at the grocery store, or they’re waiting in the carpool pickup line, that catches their attention. “Oh, hold on a minute. You do it different than most photographers?”

Jessica Mackey: “What does that mean? Tell me more.” They want to know what that means, because they only have experienced photographers maybe in this way. And that gives you an opportunity to draw attention to how you do it different.

Allison Tyler Jones: Exactly. So that first sentence is something like, “We work a little differently than most photographers.” Or, “We’re not normal.” We use that a lot. “We’re not really normal over here. We do things a little bit differently, which means we specialize in a finished product, which is wall art for your home or a custom designed album.” So right there, that’s telling what we do. And there’s kind of a subtext to that, which is probably digital files isn’t going to be the thing. We’re specializing in finished product, which is art for your walls and custom designed albums.

Jessica Mackey: There are times that I’ve even gone a little bit more into depth where I say, “We do things a little bit different than most photographers. A lot of photographers would take you out, shoot 40 images, give you all the digitals, and then you’re left scrambling, trying to figure out what to do with these files, or they’re still seeing on your computer. So we’ve found that the best way we can serve our clients is by specializing in finished products. So we do wall art for your home or custom design albums, and we really focus on taking that art and making it something you can enjoy.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. I love that. That is one way to call it out before they ask. You’re basically really putting it upfront and center what it is that you do, and by definition, what it is that you don’t do. Another is what we call our FADQs, which is a frequently asked difficult question. And this is something that I talk about a lot, but I can’t over emphasize it, which is to make a list of the repeat requests that you get that drive you insane, and that you find it difficult to have answers. Jessica, what are some of the frequently asked difficult questions that you found that were really helpful to have answers for?

Jessica Mackey: That’s a good one. So definitely, “Can I get digitals?” “Can I get files to design, or print my own holiday cards?” We get that one a lot. We do get, occasionally… I feel like now our clients come a little bit more qualified, but there were times that you get a, “Wow, that’s expensive.” Not necessarily a question, but it’s a comment-

Allison Tyler Jones: A comment.

Jessica Mackey: … that makes you clench, because you feel like you’re put in a position where you’re supposed to defend that or explain that.

Allison Tyler Jones: And so what are your answers to that? So let’s just say that. So do you sell digital files, Jessica?

Jessica Mackey: Oh, I love that we get to role play and I get to answer.

Allison Tyler Jones: You do.

Jessica Mackey: Yes, we do social media size files for anything that you order that either goes on a wall or in an album. We give to you the social media files for all of those images.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then what about, “I just need a digital file, because I do my own holiday cards.”

Jessica Mackey: So all of our holiday cards are custom designed by us. We really want to make sure that anything that goes out is the best possible quality, including the design of your card. That those images are just as perfect as can be. Allison’s a little bit of a control freak; she likes to make sure that things are just perfect. So we do all of our holiday cards in-house. We custom design those.

Allison Tyler Jones: Love it. And then, “Wow. I had no… That is really expensive. Hmm. Interesting.” What do I do?

Jessica Mackey: I know, it is. It’s like buying a new car. But it is just so amazing, because these images, I can tell you this from personal experiences, these are going on your walls and they are never coming down. I think my first Alison Tyler Jones portrait went up five years ago, and it’ll be there for another 25 at least. I still walk by it, and my heart just melts seeing my kids and those little chubby baby faces. It’s priceless.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love that. So just some things to call out there, is there’s not on that, “Wow. That’s expensive. That’s more than I thought,” that there’s no defense of that. It’s an agreement. Yeah, it definitely is. And then Jessica talks about in her own experience how it’s worth it. And so if you don’t have a Jessica in front of you, and you’re talking directly to the client, my answer to that when somebody says, “Wow, that’s expensive.” I just say, “Yep. It’s amazing.” So I don’t argue. I just say, “Yep. It is expensive.” Because it is expensive.

Jessica Mackey: If you feel like you need to say something, I kept talking, like you said, I referenced my own experience, but essentially I was pushing value. I was saying, “Yeah, it’s expensive, but here’s why it’s worth every single penny.” And I didn’t sit there and list out every little item that makes it-

Allison Tyler Jones: Like what it’s printed on.

Jessica Mackey: … like custom framing. But you find a thing that you feel connects, and you push that value.

Allison Tyler Jones: And also another thing that I use a lot that I think is so true is that, yeah, it is. And not everybody really wants or needs this level of service. For our clients, we’re delivering and installing these custom framed images in their home for them. But we realize that not everybody needs that level of service. So it’s another even way to talk about that’s selling the value, and saying why it’s worth what it is.

Jessica Mackey: Sometimes we’ll even reference the fact that a lot of our clients put this more in their furniture or fine art budget. This isn’t just your normal disposable imagery. This is a whole different budget. You’re not just doing this for holiday cards. You’re doing this to create fine art for your home.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Exactly.

Jessica Mackey: You have to train your clients to look at that differently.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep. Because that is what it is. I’ve just said that to a new client yesterday. We had a client come in on an auction, and they were just delightful and a really cute family, and such great energy. And they were kind of like, Okay, well we had the consultation, so we knew kind of what we were in for. But yeah, that’s kind of different than what we’ve done before.” And I just say, “Yeah, I think it’s helpful to look at this as your art and furniture budget versus the pictures.” If you’re just used to getting your holiday cards done every year, that might be a $300 or $500 proposition, but this is something different. That’s, in a way, checking your messaging, calling something out before they ask it. And then it helps them to reframe how they think about what your service is. So I think it’s very important to communicate how you work, how you’re different, and not really wait for them to ask.

Allison Tyler Jones: Now, it’s easy when you’re nervous to overtalk somebody and say way too many words and way too many things. I know I did this in the beginning when I started making changes. I think sometimes people were like, “Okay, wow, this sounds like a lot, and I’m going to have to call you back, because wow.” So the trick is not to overwhelm our clients with just so many words and get so head up that we’re like, “And then there’s this, and we’re great with this, and you got to do this, and you got to do that.” It’s really just let the conversation flow, get to know them a little bit.

Allison Tyler Jones: If you go back and listen to our ReWork Episode 3 about having a successful first client phone call, there’s so much good information on that about how to let that conversation flow on getting to know the client. I would highly recommend that you listen to that. We’ll link that in the show notes so that you can go back and listen to that again. We won’t repeat it here. But that’s a really good way to get out ahead of a lot of that.

Jessica Mackey: One other thing when you’re talking about communicating in the process, something that you taught me early on that was so helpful to visualize is, I, again, because I was new and nervous, just tons of information. And like you said, I could feel that client overwhelm. So you started advising me, “Hey, just give them what they need to know to get to the next step.” So I don’t have to walk through what the view and order is going to look like beginning to end when we’re in the first phone call. They don’t need to know that yet. We’ll get to that. What they need to know is the information to get them to the consultation. And then the consultation, you focus on preparing them for the rest of the process. But sometimes we just feel like when we’re “getting out ahead of it,” you say that, and we’re communicating in our process, we think that means telling them everything in depth. And that really is overwhelming. So just give them what they need to know to get to the next step in the process.

Allison Tyler Jones: And so that’s why I would say included in this checking your messaging and getting out ahead of things, one of the things that I don’t include in that is going to be emailing them a price list and talking about that. So if we go back to our surgeon analogy that you so aptly brought up in the beginning, about if you went in there and they’re like, “Okay, here’s all the possible things that could happen. You could die. We could sew up a sponge into your stomach. You could have sepsis, you could have, and you could have this. And then let me tell you about the bill. Here’s an itemized bill from the last gallbladder operation we did.” So already, you’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.”

Jessica Mackey: Never mind, they’ll take the risk.

Allison Tyler Jones: Never mind. Yeah. No, no, no. It’s like, you got to have a little bit at a time. And we’re not selling gallbladder operations, we’re not curing cancer here. We are in a happy business. These are happy things.

Jessica Mackey: It’s service.

Allison Tyler Jones: Exactly. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too much information. You want just enough to get them to that next spot. But just to recap where we’ve been for this episode, so to check your messaging, the first step to retraining, to training your clients is to check your messaging. So before they even call, you’re always looking at what does your social media look like? What does your website look like? Even down to emails and texts that you’re sending, what message is this sending to my client? What are they seeing? And what does it say about how you work? So are you just putting that beautiful image after beautiful image, and then maybe showing behind the scenes of how you’re creating those beautiful images, but you never show what you actually do? Where do those images actually end up? Is there a finished final product with that? So look at that and see if maybe that’s why you’re getting calls for some things that maybe you don’t really want to be doing.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then getting out ahead of it and thinking, “Okay, how can I say how do I do it different than most photographers? Or what’s unique about me in the way that I work that they would need to know about? What are the FADQs, the frequently asked difficult questions, and how can I make a list of those and have good answers for all of those?”

Allison Tyler Jones: And then I would say, in addition to that, is what questions do you wish they would ask? So you could even answer those ahead of time and sharing that information with them, even though they don’t even know to ask those questions. So for our business, that would be something like, “We set up three appointments: the consultation, the session, and the view and order,” or something else about your process. Then just communicate that unapologetically, and don’t wait for them to ask. But again, not in an overwhelming way, just enough to get them to that next step.

Allison Tyler Jones: So the next episode in our series is going to be about retraining ourselves, retraining the way that we react to some of the things that our clients ask us. It’s going to be awesome, because there are just certain things that cause a natural reaction and we have to-

Jessica Mackey: The gut clench.

Allison Tyler Jones: … yes. We have to override those things. So that’s what part two is going to be about, is about retraining yourself. So before we can really retrain our clients, we need to retrain ourselves. Your assignment this week is to go and look at your messaging, see what you are having out there in the world, how you’re speaking to your clients, maybe record yourself on a phone call with a client, and really listen. Like, do I sound excited? Do I sound depressed? Am I giving them too much information? Look at all your methods of communication and evaluate all of that. And then, how can you get out ahead of it, and answer questions before they ask that will guide them along your process?

Jessica Mackey: I have two closing thoughts before you finish. Along those same lines is what you said, as far as what you do different and calling it out, make sure you’re calling that out in your messaging, in your social media. So that’s what you’re showing behind the scenes of. That’s what you’re posting about in your feed. You want to be highlighting how you do things different. If it is a finished product, you want to be highlighting a photo of a beautiful album, or of you installing a picture, or whatever it is. You want them to see what it is that you do and how you do it different.

Jessica Mackey: The other thing that I thought was interesting, you mentioned today in another call that what you wear and how you present yourself is also a form of messaging. So you need to make sure that how you look when you interact with your clients, it’s on brand, and that it reflects what it is that you’re trying to convey in your messaging as well.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay. I love it. Thanks for the reminder on that. One thing I want to give you a good example, and we’ll link to this in the show notes. This is just a little bonus ad here, is that Anna Kraft, so A-N-N-A K-R-A-F-T. And it’s on Instagram, she’s on So Hi, Anna, if you’re listening to this. She has been doing some really cool things with her social media recently. She did a post recently about personal branding pictures and commercial images. And how yes, you can take a picture of yourself with a phone and white out the background. You know how Apple has that thing on the phone. They’ve been really promoting that. But she’s like, “Here’s why that doesn’t look right. It has like a weird halo around your head,” and all that kind of stuff.

Allison Tyler Jones: And then she talks about how like, “This is how we set up. And in 45 minutes, you can have a beautiful image of yourself. You’ve chosen it on our iPad.” She’s got video showing that. And I’m like, “This is genius. Like, so good.” So I had DM’d her and said, “Man, you’re killing it. You’re doing such a good job with that.” So go look at Anna’s Instagram feed and see that, because I just thought it was really smart. She was really getting out ahead of why she’s different. That yeah, you can, with your Apple iPhone, take a picture of yourself and cut the background out, but it’s going to look like crap.

Jessica Mackey: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Allison Tyler Jones: Exactly. And people are going to tell there’s a huge difference between that and having somebody properly light you, and help you look your best and pose your best and all of that stuff. I thought Anna was a really good example of that, checking your messaging and calling it out before you ask in our part of one of our series. So good job, Anna.

All right. So we will see you next week with part two of our Training your Client series, Retraining Yourself.

Jessica Mackey: Okay. See you then see you then.

Allison Tyler Jones: See you then.

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. 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 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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