Episode 64: Behind the Scenes of a $3,501.25 Portrait Order with Shalicia Johnson

Behind the Scenes of a $3,501.25 Portrait Order with Shalicia Johnson


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute


Sarah Petty:

In my community of professional photographers, we celebrate when people get their first Julie.

Julie is the first client who invests over $1,000 in a portrait order.

We celebrate like crazy because we know if you can get one $1,000 order, you can do it over and over again.

We even give out a special Julie Award at our annual 3-Day event, Go Boutique Live, to all students who get their $1,000+ client.

On this episode, I’m going behind the scenes with Shalicia Johnson, because she just got her first Julie (a really big Julie at that), and is sharing how she did it. 

Shalicia Johnson:

I am a photographer, but I also work full time as an early childhood educator.

I’ve had that job for 26 years, but I never made enough money to pay my bills.

Because of this, I decided to create a part-time business out of my love for photography.

I started off as a shoot-and-burn photographer, selling digital files for $200.

I was shooting every night after work and on the weekends.

I never had a break and it was exhausting.

I also wasn’t making much money through portrait orders.

I wanted to make more. 

Becoming a Boutique Photographer

Shalicia Johnson:

My studio partner found your Free Five Day Challenge and I immediately signed up and jumped in.

I was on the calls every day and was so excited to learn from you.

It opened my eyes.

I realized that there’s a better way to serve clients and I didn’t have to overwork myself.

It was awesome.

Finding $1,000+ Clients

Sarah Petty: 

Can you share how you found your first Julie? It is a beautiful story. 

Shalicia Johnson:

My Julie was actually the cousin of one of my good friends.

She reached out to my friend and said,

“Hey, I want pictures taken of my baby, do you know anyone who does that?”

My friend told her about my business and she called me to schedule a shoot.

On the phone call I was telling her how my business model is different from other photographers in the area.

She said,

“This is exactly what I was looking for. I’m so happy I found you.”

She could not thank me enough on that first phone call.

Sarah Petty:

That’s amazing because then you don’t have to stress through the whole process about if she will place a portrait order.

You were just able to serve them. 

Shalicia Johnson:


During our in-person consultation, before we shot the images, she indicated some products that she really liked and where they would go in her home.

That made the session easy because I knew exactly what to shoot.

When I showed them the final images at the ordering appointment, the dad had tears in his eyes the whole time and mom was crying.

There was not a dry eye in the house.

Sarah Petty:

That is amazing.

When they placed their portrait order, it was over $3,000 correct? 

Shalicia Johnson:

Yes, it was $3,501.25.

I could not believe it.

She’s even said,

“This portrait order is going to cost me a fortune, but it’s going to be worth it because I’m getting beautiful artwork of my daughter.”

Once they left, I screamed from excitement.

I felt so happy and fulfilled.

Sarah Petty:

That is so beautiful.

You served them at the highest level and your clients loved it.

That’s just amazing. 

Finding Fulfillment and Financial Freedom Through Photography

Shalicia Johnson:

Becoming a boutique photographer was the best decision of my life.

Not only is it more fulfilling, I am actually making money.

Now, my business pays for everything.

I have freedom to go out to dinner, take vacations, and give back to my community.

I’m excited for the future and hope that I can work for myself, full time, as a photographer. 

I absolutely love teaching children, but my photography business offers more freedom and flexibility.

Sarah Petty:

I’m so proud of you for coming here and sharing your story.

The world needs more people like you who show others that they can be successful too. 

You are amazing.

connect with portrait photographer Sarah Petty on instagram to
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