Episode 134: How This Wedding Photographer Transitioned to Portrait Photography & Had a $6,000 Week

How This Wedding Photographer Transitioned to Portrait Photography

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Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

If you’re a wedding photographer who is considering switching to a kind of photography that doesn’t require you to work all weekend, then you need to hear my student, Jessie Deeds’, story. 

Check out how she went from never being able to catch up on her finances to making $6,000/week… 

Sarah Petty:

Jessie, I’m thrilled you’re here.

Did you ever think you’d be sitting here sharing your story about a Julie ($1k or more client order)?! 

Tell us your story.

Where were you before you met us and before you decided to change your business and go in on yourself?

Jessie Deeds: 

Literally, no.

I had actually been in business for 8 years prior to taking the leap.

I am self-taught, so everything I have done previously was done alone and wrong. 

I was just throwing mud and seeing if it would stick to the wall, and it worked for a while.

I was in a digital file model and got to a point where I knew that this wasn’t sustainable for me because it wasn’t a profitable business. 

Sarah Petty:

You had some success and I think sometimes people think that anytime anyone wants to give you money, that’s such a cool win.

But when you are doing a digital file model, it comes at such a high cost. 

Did you have kids at this point? 

Jessie Deeds:

I looked back in my Gmail history and I initially found you in 2016.

That’s the year that my daughter was born.

I look back and I cannot imagine where I would’ve been had I started taking a leap back then. 

But I’m so glad I took the leap now.

Sarah Petty:

What did you tell yourself back then?

You had this new baby and did you tell yourself that now wasn’t a good time?

Jessie Deeds:

I had a baby with colic who didn’t end up sleeping for the first 18 months of her life through the night.

She’s six now.

We’re still catching up on sleep and finances. 

I didn’t feel like I could actually invest in my business any more than I already had, yet what I realize now is that time that I took away from my family, no amount of money was worth that.

Sarah Petty:

That is so true, isn’t it?

You’re up at night retouching, and editing…

What was in a good sale for you back then? 

Jessie Deeds: 

Back then, probably $250, tops, for a session.

Sarah Petty:

Did you have support from your family?

Do you have multiple incomes in the family? 

Jessie Deeds:

We are a two-income household.

So I do have a lot of support.

My family lives within an hour range and we are all very close, and very supportive of one another. 

My mother is retired, so when my daughter was first born, she would come up to help me so I could get some work done and focus on editing without baby interruptions. 

So I do have a support system, but at the end of the day, this business I’ve built is part of our two-income household.

Even taking that leap later on in the years to Boutique Breakthrough was a very big, serious, and scary decision for my husband and me.

Sarah Petty:

Had you been following my stuff all along, or were you just kind of head down rocking your thing and came across me again years later?

Jessie Deeds:

Yeah, head down rocking my thing.

I’m pretty talented behind the camera, so I thought I could run a business.

Sarah Petty:

So what made you say “yes” to this different model?

What was the conversation in your mind when you learned about Boutique a little more in-depth?

Jessie Deeds:

During the pandemic, I was hit really hard.

I’m also a wedding photographer and I’m done working Saturdays.

I am going to miss too many softball games for my daughter or family parties.

I’m over working 6-7 days a week.

The pandemic shut down all the events and that was my livelihood and that was my guaranteed income.

That was the first time in probably six or so years that I considered shutting the doors to my business, and that hit me really hard.

I knew I had to make a change and so Boutique Breakthrough was it.

Sarah Petty:

I think in the pandemic too, the people who are hit the hardest are the ones who are serving the most price-sensitive buyer.

When you’re selling digital files, you’re often selling to the “freeple cheaple” people.

When the economy tanks, they’re the first ones to stop buying things. 

So I do think the digital file photographers were hit the hardest and are going to continue to be hit the hardest as we’re moving potentially into hard economic times. 

As you did Boutique Breakthrough, you learned all the things, probably some that you were doing right.

But also the things you needed to change or do differently.

Looking back on that transitional period, what was your biggest “aha”? 

Jessie Deeds: 

I feel like I needed to learn where to find clients who were the right fit.

That was very scary for me before and Boutique Breakthrough really helped.

I wasn’t interested in being salesy and I learned how to be profitable and confident in making the sales without sounding like a slick car salesman or something like that.

Sarah Petty:

As you started doing the activities, you found yourself sitting down for a sales presentation.

How did you feel going into the presentation?

Jessie Deeds:

I’m very introverted.

I have a little bit of anxiety and so even though I’m confident in the photographs that I’m showing my clients, I was scared to death.

I didn’t know if I could do this type of thing. 

But I just let it roll off my tongue.

And I followed every step you had taught me and said everything that I learned in the course.

Sarah Petty:

And what happened?

Jessie Deeds: 

I finished Boutique Breakthrough with two Julies, some other sales, and right on the heels of Boutique Breakthrough had a $6,000 week.

Sarah Petty:

Whoa.

After that first Julie, did you believe you could do this?

Jessie Deeds:

Yeah.

Then for the second one, I said, “Oh, it was only $1,600. I’m ready to do more. I need my next challenge.” 

Sarah Petty:

Isn’t that amazing?!

It’s crazy how you go from worrying to being excited about the next challenge.

Now that you’re making money, you’re profitable and you’re building this business, what are you most excited about in your life with your child, and your family?

Jessie Deeds:

This summer with the boutique model, I felt like I had so much more family time.

So much more time with my daughter and my husband to enjoy in the summer than I have ever had since she was born.

You don’t get that time back.

So I am looking forward to all that time.

Sarah Petty:
You don’t get that time back.

I’m so stoked for you and I’m so proud of you.

Thank you for being here and sharing your story.

Download the Episode Transcript Here

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