The WordPress Photography Podcast
The WordPress Photography Podcast
Episode 131 - A Profitable Photography Business with Tanya Smith


Tanya Smith

Tanya has been a women’s portrait photographer since 2011 and fell in love with how a boudoir session can change the way a woman sees herself. 

She has a background in corporate banking and sales, but still, she tried to figure everything out on her own. After years of struggle, she started investing in her education and worked with mentors, and took courses. She is constantly learning everything she can about running a successful boudoir business.  

She has grown her studio to bring in mid-6-figures in sales, and her average sale has grown to over $5000 per client.

Tanya has been mentoring and coaching other boudoir photographers one-on-one who want to grow their business. Her online business course called The Profitable Boudoir and Portrait Academy (PBPA) has helped hundreds of portrait photographers from all over the world, in every genre, grow and scale their own business.

What we discuss:

  • How she grew my boudoir business to close to half a million in sales/ how I make $5k per client
  • How to price to be profitable (not busier)
  • Running a boudoir studio that makes women feel comfortable and empowered/how to gain trust and become the go-to photographer in your area
  • How to grow your portfolio without shooting for free
  • Why you need to stop asking other photographers their opinion
  • The 3 biggest mistakes most photographers make with their pricing

Where to find Tanya:

Referenced Links:

  • Episode 2, Why you should NEVER offer free shoots and what you can do instead to build your portfolio
  • SmartSlides


Transcription was done by, using their AI (artificial intellegence) generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar, and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video or listening to the episode.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Welcome to episode 131. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and I'm joined today by my guest, Tanya Smith. Hi Tanya.

Tanya Smith:

How are you doing Scott? Great to be here.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I'm doing well. How are you

Tanya Smith: doing? Very good. Very good. Nice and warm here in Canada. We're actually have a nice summer going on.

So I love

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: that. It's been, it's been a little, a little too warm here in in New Jersey in the, in the United States and very, very humid. And it's kind of grossed out there these days. Yeah, we had one, one cool day this past week and it was nice. And then it went back to,

Tanya Smith: yeah, we just had that too. It was super hot.

Today's the first day that it kind of broke that humidity. So it's a bit of a relief. We had the windows open, but now we have to close them.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Awesome. So for those who don't no, Tanya Tanya has been a woman to portrait photographer since 2011 and fell in love with how a boudoir session can change the way a woman sees herself.

She has a background in corporate banking and sales, but still she tries to figure out everything on her own. After years of struggle, she started investing in her education and work with mentors and took courses. She's constantly learning everything she can about running a successful bootcamp. She has grown her studio to bring in mid six figure sales.

And her average sale has grown to over $5,000. A client Tanya has been mentoring and coaching other boudoir photographers one-on-one who want to grow their business. Her online business course called the profitable Abood war in portrait academy, or PB PA has helped hundreds of portrait photographers from all over the.

In every genre grow and scale their own businesses. So, today we're going to be talking about profitable photography businesses, and I'm very excited to have you on, and it's not too often. I have a guest that does Woodward we've, we've had a handful of them, but it's, it's always good because it's it's I find it.

It's it is one of the smaller niches in photography. I mean, there's a bunch of small niches in photography, but I feel like it's like the underdog it's popular, but it's not as popular as the others that you hear about more often. Right? So there's boudoir photographers everywhere and they're just.

There's too many that are unknown, I think. Yeah.

Tanya Smith: Yeah. And I think for booed war it's, it is a very specific niche with a very specific client. And it's. Either people know what it is or people are like, Ooh, and it's very risky. And they, you know, they tell they don't want to talk about it and they don't want to show it and they don't want to post it and all this kind of stuff.

So, yeah, I'm, I'm boudoir is more for me. When the way I do it is more for the actual woman as opposed to food war, as, you know, a gift for your groom or your husband or whatever. It's more for the woman for me. And I find that very satisfying,

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: empowering it's. Right. Yeah, totally. Yeah. And I there's, there's gotta be that, you know, the two different approaches to the, to the photography style and to the business.

And I feel like, especially for a female photographer to go with your approach, I think is more ideal than the other approach.

Tanya Smith: Yeah, I think so. And I mean, I, you know, there are definitely people who just want to do it to have super sexy photos of themselves to give to somebody. But that's definitely not why I do it and it, and truthfully, when I.

I just thought, okay, here it is sexy photos for, for women. But every time I did it, you know, every woman would say the same thing. Oh my God, I feel like a supermodel. I can't believe this is me. I feel so great about myself. Like it really did change the way they saw themselves. And I thought this is kind of, it's not just, it's not just me taking photos and people going.

Great. Thanks. Thanks for the photos. I'm actually changing women and the way they see themselves, that's pretty. Yeah.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah, that is a, that is a really cool thing. So earlier in the intro, I mentioned that you've built your boudoir business to over half a million in sales, which is. And an average of like $5,000 Canadian, I'm assuming on $5,000 Canadian per client, that's still a lot in us dollars, but yeah.

Can you share some advice on, on on how other boudoir photographers or photographers in general really get to that? Maybe not that exact level. You know, start getting, you know, the inclined to get there.

Tanya Smith: Yeah, for sure. I mean, anyone could get there, honestly, if I can do it, anyone can do it. It's not, I always say it's not hard, but it's difficult in the sense that you got to push through a lot of things that you're uncomfortable with and charging is one of the big, big things.

Any portrait photographer or any photographer or any entrepreneur or creative for that matter, have a really hard time raising their prices. And I mean, obviously you're not going to just raise your prices and start making five Brandt grand for client. You know, there's lots of things you need to do.

You. One of the biggest things is there's so many portrait photographers that are priced low thinking that they're going to just do a lot of shoots and get the volume. But the problem with that is. Pricing low makes you attract people who want a deal. And then pricing high is great, but a lot of people are scared to raise their prices.

So they only raise them a little bit. And then what happens is they're priced average and that's actually the hardest place to get clients. At least when you're priced super low as a shooting burner. You can get a ton of people who will book with you. So I always say you get stuck in no man's land, where you're too cheap for people who want a luxury experience.

And you're too expensive for people who just want, you know, all the, all the digital images on a USB. So what happens is a lot of times people will raise their prices. They'll get crickets and there'll be like, I knew it wouldn't work for me. And they raised them back down as opposed to what they really need to do, which is probably go really big and raise them kind of a lot, which is uncomfortable.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. Yeah. There's in, in my area. So I'm smack in the middle the same drive between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York city. Right. And so I have clients in my area that a lot of them that work in one of those cities, so, and they do the commute and they make a good amount of money, you know, their, whatever they do for a living.

And then I'm surrounded by photographers who do that. Low ball price, give them a USB drive or, you know, digital drive, not even like a physical drive and beyond they're be on their way. And they do like five photo sessions a day, every single day. And you know, to compete with it, that is you have to, you have to set yourself apart in some way.

So, and the oddly enough, in my era, there is nobody, nobody. Going up real high everybody's low balling it. Yeah. And that

Tanya Smith: actually that plan actually would work to be a low price and do five or six or 10 shoots a day, but not with one photographer. That's a business plan for a high volume studio needs to have several photographers and that could totally work, but mostly you and most people that are listening.

And most of the people that I teach, they are one person and one photographer. So you can't be competitive in a high volume studio. You just can't. You're going to burn out. Yeah. You're going to burn out, raise your prices or you're going to burn out and quit, which unfortunately happens a lot.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: So can you, so can you talk briefly about how you would successfully charge more without turning clients away?

What, what kind of things do you have to do? Whether it's in your marketing, your texts, the, what you say the way you present yourself, what do you, what are some of the things you have to do in order to charge more? So you're not booking yourself busy, but right. Making a comfortable life in business for yourself.


Tanya Smith: I love that. Like, I want people to make more money, but I don't want them to be busier. Right. You're not trying to be busier. You're trying to be profitable. So yeah. I mean, all the things you mentioned are the things that you need to do. You need to understand first and foremost, who your client is, who is the perfect client that you want to photograph.

And then actually, even before you do that, you gotta figure out your genre because I always say. You need to be a specialist, right? Because specialists can more easily demand a higher price. So, you need to decide what you are going to be known for. So for me, it's good war. However, I do still photograph women.

So if someone wants, if a woman comes to me for branding, I'll do that. Actually I do the three BS. I call it boudoir, beauty and branding for women. But people always say to me, well, I can't niche down because I'm still getting, you know, wedding bookings, but you can go ahead and still take those. But if you don't want to shoot weddings anymore and you want to switch to say boudoir don't promote it.

Stop showing it. Stop showing your photos, go take those wedding gigs and do it and get it paid, but keep showing your boudoir war stuff. Otherwise, people are going to keep booking you for weddings. And I don't know how hats off to you wedding photographers, because I tried that at the beginning. Men. That is not me.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah, I can't do it either. No, I I've. I do. I do a wedding maybe once a year and it's like a special thing. It's either a friend who like really request, I just did a pandemic one for a friend, you know? Just because it only serves so many people could be there and it was something, you know, but like it's gotta be something special for me to be able to do it.

And to me taking on just as somebody has to teach photographers on a regular basis, it helps. You know, be even more connected into what I'm talking about, basically by actually doing it at least at least once a year.

Tanya Smith: That's why, and I don't teach wedding photographers. I teach portraits. Right. So only people who do portraits.

So yeah, you definitely have to pick your genre and become a specialist and you have to know who you're talking to. So even, let's say Budweiser, as an example, if you are targeting younger clients that are. About to get married and they do want it as a gift for their groom. Then that's who you speak to in your social media and on your website.

And every single time you come out, that's what you speak to me. I speak like I know my, my client she's her name is Kelly. She's 35 years old. She has two kids. Like you need to really niche down and get specific on who they are. So, you know, What kind of things they appreciate seeing. So I'm not going to post these cutesy little memes that would appeal to a 22 year old woman.

I'm going to post something that appeals to a mom of two. Right? So everything you put out there has to appeal. Now, that's not to say that I'm not going to get a 24 year old bride because I do get them. But mostly what I get are women in their mid to late thirties. Who are looking to find themselves again after having kids and, you know, trying to figure out who they are and where they are in their life.

And so that's who I talk to. So you definitely, your messaging, can't be all over the place and you can't show things that don't. Go with what you're talking about. And then you obviously, I mean, I'm assuming that people know how to take photos at that point. You, your photos have to be good, however, they don't have to be great.

And I know sometimes it's ruffle some feathers when I say this, but you don't have to be an amazing photographer to make really good money. You have. Pretty decent photographer, but you have to be good at your business and your numbers and your sales. So, yeah, like I, I'm not a gear head. People always reach out to me and they're like, Hey, what photo do you use?

And what lens do you use? And what about this versus this? I'm like, I don't know. That's what you do before. Not me. I can show you how to make money. I can show you how to sell, show you how to give a luxury experience, but yet not. I'm not into the technology, the technical photography side.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. Yeah. So, and I think when it comes to boudoir in particular, and you need a special set of skills beyond even beyond business and beyond photography itself.

And that this is a good, it's a good segue into my next question. So for those interested in getting into, or ramping. Their boudoir studio. What steps do you take to make women feel more comfortable and empowered during the session? Like how do you get them to trust you? Because that's a pretty vulnerable state that they're in when they're doing that, when they're doing a boudoir

Tanya Smith: session.

Oh my gosh. Yes. And, and the thing is, is I don't photograph models. Nobody that you see on my site is model they're all regular, everyday women. So. They're nervous anyway, to get photos, then nevermind getting photos done naked or in their underwear. Right. So it is super, super vulnerable. So the one thing that I do, and I also teach other photographers who are boudoir photographers is meet them in person for an in-person consultation.

So we, and I know that's, this is another reason why we charge a lot because I meet them three times. I meet them for the consult, their shoot, and then their in-person sales session. So. One of the reasons why a woman would back out or cancel or no show is because she's nervous. And she stepping outside of her comfort zone.

So what makes people nervous is they're the unknown. They don't know what to expect. So the consultation they've met me. So now that it's not so scary, they know who I am. They seen the studio. They know how to get there. They know what a park, they know what it looks like. Even those kinds of things can stop people from coming in.

I've discussed everything that they're going to wear. I've showed them my wardrobe, what they can use from it. So they're not wondering, I don't have anything to wear. I don't know what to do. And then I tell them also, you know, I'm posing you every step of the way I ease their nerves as much as I can at that consult.

So really the only unknown that they're left with on the day of their shoot is, oh, I hope I can do this. I hope my photos look good. And the only thing I can do with that is I'll show you. And yes, they will. So, the consult I think is really important, but as a boudoir photographer, the, one of the biggest things I tell people, which is different than other portraits genres is stop booking models to build your portfolio and to practice because most models know they're light and they're.

Based on where the camera man is standing. The photographers standing, they know that an everyday person does not. So you can, I know there's there was a photographer who I followed for quite a while and I was fully crushing on him. Like his photos were beautiful, like they were perfect and he made the switch a couple of years ago just to photograph everyday women.

And he posted some photos. Yikes. Like you can't just pick up your camera and take a shot. You need to guide them. Not only guide them in the most flattering way, but in a way that's not going to make them feel self-conscious. So you can't say things like, you know, tucking your stuff. Now you just made her self-conscious about her stomach.

You know what I mean? So there's the consult is actually a really good place for me to find out what her insecurities are too. So I don't say what parts of your body do you not? Like I say something like you tell me what you want to showcase and what you want to minimize. And then she'll say, oh, you know, I've got my baby tummy here or my arms or my, or whatever it is.

And I take notes and I make a note of that. And I make sure that the poses that I do are not going to showcase the areas she doesn't want to see, or that I strategically kind of hide them. So. There's lots of different ways that you can make a woman feel comfortable, but there's a million ways to make her feel uncomfortable.

So you gotta, you gotta watch what you say. You gotta watch, you don't obviously touch someone without asking them. Yeah, there's, there's lots of things, but posing is the key to learn. Yeah. A flattering pose on an everyday woman, not a 22 year old, who is a model who's, everything is in shape and tight and where it's supposed to be.

You know, you have to have to learn who your client is and you have to be able to guide her into a pose without making her feel self-conscious.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: And I'd imagine that as a, as a photographer like yourself, who is trying to photograph real people in their real life, you know, in there. The way that they are then that more often than not, you're getting your, you have people who are imperfect right there.

I mean, so, so there, there really is no such thing as in your world right now, as a model for boudoir, it's like, it doesn't exist. It doesn't exist. It's. It's it's a specific mother. So are you, are you, are your client only moms or do you have. Well, I guess you said you have some new Burt new brides, right?

Tanya Smith: The good range, like I've photographed women from, you know, where I had to ask them for ID to make sure they're of age. And I've had women up to I think 67 was the oldest. So, and it doesn't matter what age, it doesn't matter what size, it doesn't matter what shape they're in. Every single woman has some sort of insecurity every woman does.

And even though, you know, I'm like, are you crazy? You know, everybody has some sort of insecurity, so. It's just my job to make them forget about those things and just look at the beauty that other people see because so many people, you know, are like, I always tell the story. When I was, gosh, I was probably 20.

A girlfriend of mine was, I just thought she was beautiful. She had the best skin ever and beautiful teeth. And because I had really bad skin at that time and my teeth were really crooked. So what I noticed in people were my own insecurities and we had a conversation one night and I can't remember.

And she said, yeah, but you're, you know, you're so tiny. She's she was a bigger woman than I was. And I think. What, like, I didn't even notice that that wasn't even on my radar because her weight was not a thing that I admired or that I was insecure in myself. What I noticed in her was her beautiful skin and her straight teeth that I didn't have.

What she noticed in me was my size because she perceived herself. Too big in her scent in her eyes. So the things that we're insecure, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's like a traditional thing that you should be insecure about. Sometimes they're really crazy things that they just, you just brought on yourself or someone said something to you once in grade school and it stuck with you.

So it's just, yeah. Like I want to show women their beauty, the way other people see you, you know, that other people look at women and go like, oh my God, she's so beautiful. Look. Yeah. Hair her eyes or whatever it is. And I want to show women that, and that just really opens up their eyes and makes their insecurities kind of go on the back burner, which is exactly what I wanted.


Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. You know, in the same, in the same vein as a real people versus models there's also the topic of, for, for new photographers getting started. There's the topic of free offering free sessions. And this is outside of boudoir. This is. Yeah, everything, but basically weddings. So we see a lot of the photographers all over the place offering free sessions to build a portfolio.

I mean, I even think when I was getting into it, I was doing it to I mean, college, I was doing it, but are you for, or against it? And if you're against. How do you recommend photographers? And and again, it could be specific to Buddha. It could be everybody. How would you recommend they go about building their portfolio without doing it for free?

Tanya Smith: Okay. I love this question. And this would be for every portrait photographer, every genre, you know, seniors, headshots, babies, newborns, all of them. I always say not to do free shoots, don't do it. And people are like, well, great. How do I get people in if I'm building my portfolio? And I actually have a podcast episode on this specific thing.

I think it's episode three. We can link that. But it's, I want you to give a voucher. I want you to put a value on what you're giving to them. So yes. Right. You're not getting paid for it, but you're giving them a voucher for say $2,000, which includes your float, your session fee, you know, hair and makeup and 10 digital images worth $2,000.

Now they're redeeming a voucher with you. So yes, you're getting a portfolio build. When you give away a big voucher like this, but you're also sitting down and doing the wholesale session, just like normal. You're maybe showing them 40, 45 images. They've got a voucher that gets them 10 images, $2,000 off, but maybe they're going to buy more.

Maybe they're going to say, oh my God, I love 30 of these. Here's my voucher for 10 of them. And I'll pay for the difference. It is a free session and you might just get someone come in and do their, take their 10 images and leave, but you're putting a value on it. And that's the key. So you're not saying I'm going to give you a free shoot.

Here's 30 images, right? You're giving them a value. So that's what you want to do. And not say I need people for a free shoot or I need to build my portfolio. That's a huge, huge.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah, having the value add across the board in your business is, is an incredible, incredible opportunity for you to just further build it further, enhance it make, make yourself even be portrayed as larger than you might be as a starting photographer.

Really? Yeah. I, I, I really liked that idea. Yeah, so. Another aspect of photographers starting out and even photographers who have been in business for a while. They, they go about asking for feedback opinion from other photographers, whether it's about their work or about their business, how they can improve.

I mean, I mean, heck people are listening or watching this right now. To get opinions on what they could do for their business, not directly about their business, but you know, looking for advice. Right. So, what is your opinion on asking for

Tanya Smith: opinions? Yeah, that that's actually something that kind of makes me crazy.

Do we need to stop asking other photographers what their opinion is. However, if it's somebody who's a coach or an educator and that's, you know, this is part of their coaching. Yes. If someone has, you know, achieved what you want to achieve ahead of you. Yes. That's a different story. But what I'm talking about is hopping onto a Facebook group and being like, can you let me know what you think about this photo?

One it's who cares? What anyone thinks about the photo? Did your client like the photo, that's all you care about? And two, you're going to get a hundred replies with a hundred different answers and all it does is stress you out and make you think that you're less than. When I was first starting out, I did it too.

Cause I know we all do it. And I posted my photo. My client loved it. She brought her boyfriend in with her. Oh my God, this is a beautiful photo. It was my favorite one from the shoot. So I thought, oh, now I'm going to post. I'm finally getting up the nerve to post in this group of boudoir photographers.

And they ripped me apart. I mean, I look at the photo now. Not the, not the best, but it's flattering to her. I blew out the highlights in the back. I, you know, there was a lot of stuff wrong with it, but she looked good in the photo and she bought it and I got ripped apart. Oh my God, you have to do this. You misfocused.

So you focused on her nose, not her eyelashes. Like it was all true, but what it did was make me think that maybe I'm not good enough, but my client bought a lot. So stop asking photographers what their opinions are. Honestly, anybody who is able to give you a good critique and some crunch, constructive criticism is usually pretty rare.

Most of the people who are going to jump in and spend the time or common in commenting are going to pick apart your image and also stop asking other photographers what their prices are.

It makes me crazy. You don't know their business plan. You didn't do a cost of doing business with them. You know, it doesn't matter again, this whole thing about being priced average. It doesn't matter what the other photographer is doing at all. In fact, when I started my boudoir photography I didn't do any of that stuff.

I kind of just sorta jumped in and I didn't look around. I had no idea if there was any good war photographers around me. And there was one who was literally, well, when I started, there was one that was literally right beside me in the same building. Which of course I figured out right away. But there was one, just a few blocks over and I did not know for years who that person was until my clients came in and said, oh, do you know of this person?

I'm like, no. And then I looked it up. And I guess, you know, she, she was kind of talking about how she's basically saying she is so much cheaper than me. You should come to me and I didn't even see that. So. She markets to very different clients. I mean, we don't know the other photographers business plan.

We don't know how much money they're making in my group. I like to say if someone is going to give someone advice, I want to know that you're making money before you do it. So if you're not at a hundred thousand in sales, don't give business advice to people because. It's not your place to do that. So, yeah.

Stop worrying about what other photographers are doing. Stop asking your family and friends. If your pricing is good, do you think this is a good price? Stop doing that. Everyone's going to tell you your price too high, cause they're probably not your client. You didn't show them what the value is. You know, you'll get someone to go.

Well, I can go to Walmart and get this printed up an eight by 10 for 10 bucks. How can you charge, you know, $400 for it? One

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: of my biggest pet peeves. In that topic is is that when I have family come to me and say, you need to lower your price because so-and-so is doing it for this. And I'm like, I don't want to be classified in the same category as you know, this person and this person and this person and this person and this person, and everybody else in town is doing this price.

I, I can't stand it when people tell me to, to, to lower my price so I can get more. Like I I'd rather not have more work. Right.

Tanya Smith: Rather not, no. I would rather be less busy and make more money please. And I always, always say that. We're not trying to be busier. We're trying to be profitable. So yes, you can make five grand by shooting five or six people at, you know, a thousand dollars or less than a thousand and good for you.

You're busy and you can post on social media that you're busy, but I'd rather just shoot one person. Thank you very much. So you're shooting every single day and you got to edit and do all that stuff. It's not, it doesn't make sense. One of the biggest things too is. That's really, really hard when you're raising your prices is the more expensive you are.

The more people are going to say no to you. And that freaks people out because they're used to going great. I'll book it, but you don't want to be busier and you will get more nos and that's okay. Because you want people who value what you're giving them.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. And on the same, in the same topic about opinions and asking for them, you know, if you get advice.

From a photographer about your opinion feedback on a photo. And it's not good feedback. It could be inflating. You are imposter syndrome, you have it, which most people do. Yes. And, and it, it just could bring your, your confidence in your motivation down to the point where you won't be successful or, or make it way harder for you to be successful.

You know, Part, you know, as much as photography, a photography business is more about business than photography. Photography is still creative. And if you're constantly getting feedback that isn't good, your creativity is going to go in the toilet and it's going to impact your business. So, yes, I agree.

I think there's a time and place to get feedback, especially if it's a professional critique. Yes. Maybe, but, but. Not on a regular basis from random people.

Tanya Smith: I mean, it's so true and, and stop asking people and mostly stop defending yourself. So if you ask people and they go, oh, your price too high stop saying, well, you know, the cost of my equipment and the cost of this and posting those little meme saying, here's why I'm so expensive, like stop doing that.

You don't need to justify your prices. But I also, I really find that my best critique is from clients. So I will. You know, I have a flow, a boudoir flow that I go through. Pretty much everyone gets the same poses I walked through. And when I show them their images, they sit down and then I'll go through time when I'll be like, you know what?

There's like 10 to 15 people in a row that have not picked this one pose. Maybe I should take that out of it. My whole flow. And that's the feedback that I look at are people buying my photos. Awesome. Like what is my most requested pose? Those are ones I'm going to keep, which one have I not sold very much of.

I will take that one out. So it might, my critique that I take is my clients, right? What did I do wrong? What did I do? Right. And what can I improve on for next time? I'll ask them to, I'll do a questionnaire and a survey afterwards and ask. But yeah, I don't, I don't care if a photographer doesn't like my posts or doesn't like my pricing.

I, I only care if they're my client, so that's what we have to remember. And also it's just a waste of energy. Of your energy and your time going into Facebook groups and reading. That's another thing. Stop reading these posts from photographers saying, oh, I have the worst client. They did this and this and this, this, this ever happened to you.

And then everyone typing in and saying how terrible their clients are stopped doing that too.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah, you don't want to talk bad about your clients and all you need is for the wrong person, your competitor. Let's say to find out that you're talking about your clients and now you just ruined your reputation in your

Tanya Smith: area and it, but it's just bad.

It's bad mojo. You know, like to still have that, all that stuff in your head about how terrible his client was, 20 minutes late and they may be great and all that kind of stuff, just, you know, stop worrying about. Fixture fixture experience and your whole workflow and make it be great every single time, improve something every single time.

And your clients will sell you for it for you. You'll you'll get it yourself.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. So, so over the course of this conversation, we've shared a lot of mistakes actually, that that photographers have making and how they can fix it. But I'm wondering if there's a few other mistakes that we might have.

That you see photographers making that they can fix right now after listening to this, like an actionable items or item that they can fix literally right now.

Tanya Smith: Yeah. Okay. That's a good question. Well, one thing is around your pricing here's and not just raising your prices, but your price list is probably too.

Almost everybody sends me. What do you think of this price list? And it's, you know, you have, you can get these four things in this one for this much, or you can get this and this one. And what happens with that is you confuse your client and we all know a confused mind says no. But also then when they send it to me, I'm like, if I'm confused, your clients is going to be confused.

So. I make my priceless. I'm actually teaching that I have a free bootcamp that I run a few times a year. I'm doing it right now, actually. But by the time this airs it'll be over. But what I do is I teach them a super simple way to do their pricing. And it's three pages. Actually, I guess it's four because the first page is the session fee.

And the second page is just the number of images. And this kind of blows people's mind when I say it. But all I do is I price per image. It doesn't matter what format it's in. You want 10 images, it costs this much. You can get it digitally. You can get it in an album. You can get an, a folio book. All the same price.

So that whole thing, do I offer the digitals? Should I shouldn't I, what should I do? Just there, they cost the same. You're not paying for the paper that it's printed on and yes, your, your profit will be bigger if you, if they take the digitals for sure. But you, if you do your full cost of doing business and your cost of goods, You will be able to make a profit no matter what they choose.

So just keep it simple. Which images do you like of yourself? These 20. Perfect. Now, how would you like me to give them to you? So that's one of the biggest things, simplify things. And I do that. I, one of the things I'm known for is that I keep things simple and the reason is, is because I'm a classic overthinker.

So I have to do that myself. I have to remember I'm over-complicating things, keep it simple. So that's probably the biggest thing is. Simplify your pricing for your clients. And the next biggest thing is start looking at your website and your social media and all that kind of stuff with a critical eye.

And see if you are actually speaking to your client, your perfect client, maybe you've had a perfect client. And that could be the one you're speaking to. Or maybe you have somebody that you. No that you want to shoot and make sure everything that you have will appeal to that person.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: That that might be an opportunity for a photographer to actually go out and hire a copywriter to consult with them.

And you know, you, you, you, you discuss what your ideal client is and let them go at your, your website and your marketing materials. You know, with a sharp pencil and, and really tweak it to be perfect for your ideal client.

Tanya Smith: Yep. You can, as long as it's a copywriter who understands about your ideal client and asks you those questions, and if you're not at the stage where you can hire a copywriter, honestly, go back in your portfolio and find that client, hopefully you've had a client that you love shooting.

It was a pleasure from beginning to end. They thanked you as they handed you money. You know, you really liked having them in the studio, take them out for coffee and ask them what they. What did you think about this whole thing? What did you like about it? What didn't you like? I'm trying to improve my experience for my clients.

And I would love to know what you think. And literally just ask them, don't ask other photographers. Don't ask your friends and family, ask your perfect client if you want and just see what they thought and the parts that they like the most.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. That, and so there's, there's two great things about that one.

It's a hell of a lot cheaper than a copywriter and two, it shows your client how much. Right that there, it's going to make them even more likely to want to recommend you when you see, we know when food water comes up, basically. So yeah, I, I really liked that idea as well. Any, any other final mistakes that you

Tanya Smith: Just make sure there's so many people that I have that are jumping into my group.

I have a Facebook group for photographers, and they're telling me that they can't get any clients and I don't know where to get clients and where do I find them? And I look at their stuff and I say, what are you doing right now? Because when I look at your social media, I can't tell what you do. I can't tell who you sell to who you help.

I can't tell any of that stuff. Again, do a social media and the website audit and see if people can understand what you do. I know you maybe went to the wedding and took this most beautiful photo and you really want to show it, but if you're not shooting weddings, take it off. And if you, you know, if you decide to niche down into babies or whatever, make sure that's the only thing that people can see.

So I think an audit for sure. You know, with a constructive, I, yourself will really be helpful, but stop overthinking and keep things simple. Probably raise your prices a lot. And Just keep moving forward because the stuff that we have to do to grow is uncomfortable. Right. And I always say whatever got you to this level in your business is not going to get you to the other level that you want to be at.

So you need to do something different, something uncomfortable probably well

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: said. Yeah. We, none of us like being uncomfortable, but I mean, that's, that's exactly what it means. You got to do it. You got, you got to do it. I, I, I so for years I have offered family portraits and cakes, meth sessions, headshots.

I've had a mixed bag and I was eventually going to get into branding, but it just, I don't want, the clientele is not in this area. And it turned out that by the fate of luck of basically doing a proposal surprise proposal session for my brother-in-law and one of my friends blogging about it.

It, I, I, I'm now the number one search for New Jersey proposal photographer, and I'm getting booked left and right for doing proposals. Yeah, so it worked out. I found my niche and now I I'm basically I am still offering headshots if they come still doing families, if they come kicks mashup to come, but I'm basically pushing proposal sessions now because they are so much fun.

I get to, I get to be James Bond and, and, and, and he's a grown man, enjoy being a spy and I get to be part of something super special and yeah. I might even say it's more special than the wedding, but I could be biased, but and it's, it's also something that you, as the client have to have complete trust in your photographer because there's no replicating, there's no replicating.

No, that's it. That's it. So I over the past the space of this whole summer, I've been sort of perfecting my method and my pricing for it. And. The marketing materials and stuff like that for it. And I, I I came up with a, well, my approach is a session fee and then per image for it. And, but I give, I give I give a, you know, a slideshow using smart slides and a bunch of things with it, but it's so important.

That's what, everything that you talked about, including the niching down and, and pricing yourself so that. It's it attractive, but also makes you money. Yes. Yes. It's important.

Tanya Smith: Which she's nice. Like, I love your story of how you found it by accident and same with me, but you and if you haven't found your niche out there, like don't stress about.

Just shoot stuff. Just shoot everything, try it all you'll know pretty much right away if you like it or not, like you pretty much will know. Right. You'll have that connection. You do the, like, I did a boudoir shoot. I'm like, oh my God, I love this. This is great. You know, you just, and like you with the engagement the proposal shoots, like you find out what you love doing pretty quickly and then just put it everywhere.

Like you said, you blogged about it. People don't know what you offer. If you don't put it out there. So, yeah, we got to do the work like you got to market. You've got to get out there. You got to be uncomfortable. You got to put your face on social media. You know, you got to send emails. You, you have to do this stuff.

It's running, you're running a business, right. Unless it's a hobby and that's totally fine. But a hobby. It's fun and you're just doing it for free and you don't have to do any of the business stuff, but if you want to make money, you can ask for money in exchange for something that you're giving someone in this case, a service and and that's fair.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: A hundred percent well said. Well thank you Tanya, for joining me today. If you can please tell the listeners the absolute best place to find more information.

Tanya Smith: Yeah. Awesome. Well, the best place for photographers to find me is on my photography website, which is profitable And there's a link there to my client website as well.

If you want to see any of my work and I do have a free Facebook group for photographers I believe it's called Tonya Smith education, but we can link to that. Or maybe I changed it to profitable portraits. I'm not sure. And then follow me on Instagram and I'm at Tonya L having a name like Smith does it means that I have to get creative with my names.

Yeah. My domains are gone. The Instagram's gone. All my only names are

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: gone. But, but change, changing, changing you know, coming up with something different on social media is a lot easier than changing your

Tanya Smith: so that's true. That's a good point. Yeah.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz: So you could find the shoe notes and where to find Tanya at

Don't forget to subscribe to the show on apple podcast, Spotify, Pandora, Google play, Google podcasts now, or wherever you listen to podcasts until next time.

Tanya Smith: Awesome. Thank you.

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