Episode 187 – Does Wall Artwork Serve Your Clients? An Interview With My First $1,000 Client from 22 Years Ago!

Does Wall Artwork Serve Your Clients


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Sarah: You’ve probably heard me talk about my “Julie” if you’ve been around my community for a bit. Julie was my first client who invested over $1,000 in wall art of her first child. Before Julie, my largest order had been teeny-tiny. But once Julie became my client, everything changed for me. I finally saw what was possible for my business. It was at that point where I knew that if one client loved what I was doing enough to invest over $1,000, there were more like her out there, and that’s why I continue to celebrate when my students get their first big client order of over $1,000, their very own “Julie”. Today, I want to share a very special interview I did with my Julie.

Sarah: Hi Julie, I am so glad you are here. You were my first client that came in and bought wall portraits to hang in your home. And we just recently did your youngest senior photos which is sort of bittersweet. But one of the things I love about what we do as photographers is we become part of people’s lives and we get to see them when they’re babies through their senior portraits. 

Julie: Yes, that’s the nice part.

Sarah: So, what do you remember from back then? You said you picked something up that we had printed in a kid’s clothing store that’s no longer there, right?

Julie: Yes, I picked it up at that story and I saw a picture with adorable twins who then I found out are your children, and the pictures were just beautiful, and I knew I wanted you to take those pictures and display them in my house.

Sarah: I remember you coming in holding it and telling me that it was what you wanted for your home. For some reason, that froze in my mind because you knew exactly what you wanted and you weren’t scared of the price. Then we went through the process and I showed you the images on a projector. I projected them big, which you were one of the first clients I did that with. What do you remember about that?

Julie: During our first session, I remember my daughter had cried off and on so, I thought you got no good pictures whatsoever. But when you displayed them on the projector they were beautiful. You played music with it and the pictures were just perfect and I loved them. Clearly, they’re all still here in my home.

Sarah: That is a really cool moment when you see that little person that you love so much and you get beautiful wall portraits of them. One thing I remember about working with you over the years is that you guys were builders where they do spec homes. People come through and look at them, and then builders get clients from that and referrals. And you called me and asked if you could hang some of the photos in the spec home to make it stand out more. And of course I said yes.

I remember you told me that I could leave a marketing piece out and I had to keep bringing stacks of them in because people loved them. That was many years ago, before digital, and there were so many photographers everywhere, but people were freaking out over it, which was pretty cool.

You got my vision that big is so impactful. And even at your home, you have big, clear pieces of art.

Julie: I love my artwork. Even though she’s a senior and not a baby anymore, I have these pictures and I just love them, they’re perfect art.

Sarah: Because what else are you going to hang? For me, they get more valuable as time goes on because they don’t look like that anymore.

Julie: They’re timeless. I don’t care if they’re 30, 40, they have their own children, I will always have these pictures up. And they’re not out of style. They’ve never been out of style because they’re timeless.

Sarah: I have a couple of questions that were sent in. A photographer asks, what does having years of artwork of your family mean to you, to have all of these?

Julie: I just love it because there’s pictures in every important phase. There’s pictures of them as babies, when they started walking, as seniors in high school, etc.

Sarah: It’s so fun for me, too, to come to your home after all these years and see all these different ages and phases and how you have them hanging so beautifully. 

Julie: It’s so fun, I love it. 

Sarah: The other question that was sent in is fun. What’s been your favorite part about working with Sarah to create this artwork?

Julie: I knew when we talked about doing my daughter’s senior pictures. She doesn’t like the attention drawn on her so I knew I was going to get five minutes to have a perfect picture. And I knew she’d be so comfortable with you. You’ve known her for a long time and I just knew that I had to ask you because they would be perfect.

Sarah: Isn’t it fun, too, that we started that relationship just randomly, like 17 years ago?

Julie: It’s crazy. And her pictures are perfect and she tends to be real serious, and you got one of her smiling, so that’s amazing.

Sarah: That was so fun. I want to ask you this because it’s so funny with photographers, they have this fear and anxiety about selling something to someone. I know photographers would love to hear from you, a client.

You were newly married, you didn’t have tons of money, and you chose to invest in this. What do you say to people since you are the one that actually invested over all these years in this beautiful artwork? It was an investment and it was money that you gave me, right?

Julie: First of all, if the house was on fire, I would absolutely grab pictures first because it’s the most expensive thing that I own. People come into my house and they’re like, “Your pictures are stunning,” and it’s the first thing that everybody looks at. It just draws your eyes because they’re just absolutely beautiful. And they know my kids are so much older now, and in those portraits where they are younger, so many people say they wish they had pictures like that of their own kids.

It may be an initial investment, but I can’t go back and get that picture taken again. All these baby pictures, I can never get back, and pictures of Jane when she literally, I think the day after she started walking, we came in and she’s all awkward and you got every single piece of her walking and it’s just absolutely adorable, and that’s stuff you just can’t get back. So, I feel like it’s priceless.

Sarah: And I think too, when you’re young and starting out, you can always buy things later. You can buy the fancy sofa or the car or the bigger house, but the art you have to have. So, we talk a lot about moral obligation. I feel a strong sense of that, that I want everybody to have this, and do I make a living with that? Sure, but I’m not apologetic.

Everyone else makes a living doing what they do, and some hate what they do, but I love being able to create that for people. Even coming to your home, I’m just overwhelmed with how beautiful they are. You can see where your priorities are too, what’s important to you?

Julie: My kids are the most important thing, so it’s beautiful. Thank you so much for all this. They’re absolutely stunning and they’re the most important thing to me besides my girls.

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Does Wall Artwork Serve Your Clients? An Interview With My First $1,000 Client from 22 Years Ago!
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