I can share with you my time saving hacks, but until you are ready to make the time for your business, there’s not much I can do. It is a time intensive process and I’m not sharing that with you to discourage you, but to light that fire and make sure you’re spending your time wisely. Time blocking is extremely beneficial in your work flow process. I will have days where I work on one project a day. Let me explain to you some of these cases with real students of mine and how I’ve helped them with this process that we’re all struggling with. First, I’d like to start off with giving yourself some grace. We are human beings and sometimes things come up and emergencies happen. So, if you miss a day, it’s ok. Your business will still be there the following day. I’m presenting my students as case studies and maybe you’ll be able to relate and benefit from their situations, so let’s dive in. The names have been changed to protect the identity of my students. Just so you know, these instances are something that come up with a lot of people I work with and it’s ok to have these hurdles. Now, let’s dive in.
Case study #1: Done is Better Than Perfect.
When I met Samantha she had been through numerous photography masterminds. She’s booked clients in the past, but her clients seem to be confused about what was offered to them and try to negotiate a lower price for the hard work that she had put into the session.
How can she avoid this? Be crystal clear on the information that her session entails. Have a contract in place ready for the client to sign prior to the session. This may seem “mean” or can come across as “harsh”, but even if your client is someone that you “feel” will be a great connection and you “feel” like you don’t need to send a contract, think again. That contract legally binds them to the expectations of the session. It’s not being mean, it's creating boundaries and meeting expectations.
Something else that Samantha struggles with is her price list. She’s spent the past year looking at what other photographers charge in her area. She feels that she needs to make her offerings similar to what they’re offering, because that’s what the market “expects”. Now, the market doesn’t know anything about your business or how you price it, unless you show them the way. Another client of mine hired an SEO expert to search for his boudoir market. The expert gave my student his money back, because google didn’t show anything about his ideal target market. If you google, “How much do boudoir photographers make on average.” It shows a table of top earners in descending order to 25th percentile. The top earners make a salary of $53K per year. And the 25th percent making $31K a year.” Which this isn’t true since I’m making double what the top earners make a year and my peers are getting into the 7 figures. This isn’t a flex, these are the facts and this is possible for you too.
When using google trends it shows nothing about the boudoir market, because unlike wedding photography, family portraits, and some branding photography people don’t really search for boudoir. It’s something that the photographer has to create interest around. It’s not a necessity like wedding photography and honestly I’m glad. I want people to hire me because they’re drawn to the work I create. I don’t want them to feel like they have to do it. All this to say, if the data isn’t there, don’t look at your competition, keep your head down and get to work.
Like I was saying with Samantha, she’s a perfectionist and has to clear everything with her community before she fully launches her pricing. She’s more worried about the graphic design elements before she gives her pricing to people. Which I’ve told her. “Done is better than perfect! Launch that thing and tweak it as you need to.” Her perfectionism is getting in the way of her getting clients. What I’ve noticed is that she’s dancing around the fact that she needs to launch a campaign to get asses in seats.
The lesson to learn here. Done is better than perfect, don’t let the market dictate your decisions, don’t look at your competition unless you want to ask them out for coffee, the market doesn’t know what they want until they see their images for the first time, and get out of your own way. Get confident in your offering even when you don’t feel confident. It comes with experience. Until you have that experience, act with value and create a great customer experience. Rinse and repeat.
Case Study #2: Give yourself some grace, Mama!
Ally is a single mom with 2 girls. She slowly has clients coming in, but she wants more. She’s exhausted by the end of the day and has a tendency to get discouraged because she didn’t complete everything on her to-do list. She works for another photographer, but wants to have her own photography business.
My heart goes out to her because she’s finding every single nook and cranny to work on her boudoir photography business. She primarily works in the mornings when her girls are at school and late at night when they go to bed. She’s bringing in clients slowly but surely. I shared with her to take time for herself. Get rest, her business will be there when she gets back. I’ve had mama’s in the past that will maximize their ability to use child care at their local gym to get their work done. Hire a babysitter or have grandma take them for the night. Not everything is going to get done all at once no matter how much time you have in a day. Just chip a way at it and work on it as long as you have the energy. If you need to put your business down for a month, that’s fine too. Which segways me into our next case study. But, you got this mamas! Give yourself some grace. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your business won’t be either.
Case Study #3: Critique gone Awry
Something that I offer when students work with me is a website and pricing guide audit. Every time I would give Carl an audit on what he could do differently, I was met with a lot of push back. But, if he’s pushing back, then why is he here? He wanted to give up entirely on making his dream as a boudoir photographer. “Maybe I’ll just keep this as a hobby.” he said. I was confused by how shut off he was to my critique. I shared with him how our business needs adjustments from time to time and there’s not one set location. I’ll use the age old saying, “It’s not about the destination, but the journey.” There’s no point at which “You’ve arrived.” It’s constant tweaking and it’s not even that much tweaking.
I was surprised by his reaction to my audits when he didn’t really put in a lot of effort. When I discussed with him what’s going on he shared that he just got promoted at his job and he has a 3 hour commute every day. He doesn’t have time to go through the program. I could tell he was very on edge, which is expected. So, I offered him this. If this isn’t a good time for you, why don’t we just pause for now and when you’re settled into your new position you can come back and pick up where he left off.
Sometimes the timing isn’t right. But at least he recognized what he needed in that moment and that was just to settle into this new position. I’ll be here for him when he’s ready to go at it again. I’m just glad that he took a step into this direction.
I hope these case studies have inspired you to make time for yourself, quit looking at the competition, and carve pockets of time for your business.
In this industry we have seasons of hustle and seasons of rest. Feast and famine. What season are you in? You can answer below. I would love to hear from you.
Hey there! I'm Bethany. The Photographer, Coach, and Podcast Host behind
Boudoir Business Education. “All I want to do is photograph women in black and white and give them a beautiful and empowering experience.” Is what I wrote in my journal. Playing my idea off of a few trusted people, I was told, “There’s not a market for black and white boudoir photography”, “No one will pay for that.”, and “This is a weird idea.”
I followed my gut and went for it anyway. Right out of lock down, I had a new studio, was booked three months in advance, and haven’t looked back since. I love to photograph and empower women that understand my vision, love my work, and pay me what I’m worth. This process showed me that I can make my dreams possible and profitable. Now, I want to share what I learned (but in a much faster way) to build a thriving boudoir photography business.