Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
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Are you wondering how to take your photography business full-time? Today’s episode on the Book More Clients Photography Podcast, I am sharing how to make a sustainable income as a photographer.
In today’s episode on the Book More Clients Photography Podcast, I’m teaching you how to create a sustainable income as a photographer so you can fearlessly take your photography business full-time.
On today’s episode, I’m answering the question, can you really make sustainable income being a photographer? Spoiler alert – you absolutely can. I’m going to walk you through the different seasons of what my photography business has done for me since 2014.
Then, you’ll hear from four different photographers about what their photography business looks like right now. How many sessions they’re taking per month, what their sales look like, and how much they are able to bring in their photography business. All of these photographers are from different places throughout the United States.
Let’s go back to 2014 when it all started for me, as a beginner photographer. I fell in love with photography. I didn’t have a plan in place or know a lot about business at this point. It lit me up every single time I went to create something on the camera, and I wanted to keep learning.
I did not have any competence; I was just having a good time. Comparison didn’t trap me, because I hadn’t started looking around at what everyone else was doing. I charged anywhere from $35 to $50 and maybe $75. Because I didn’t really believe in myself and had no camera skills or business skills yet. At the most, I never dreamed that people could pay me $100 for a session. Today, I look back and I’m so thankful for all of the lessons that I have learned.
When I started my business, I was working part time jobs, I was a full-time college student on top of being a mom, and a soon-to-be wife. I’ve always been a mother first and business has always come second. Things really started to change for me in 2015 and 2016. Not only was I going through different life changes, graduating from college, getting married, having another baby, I started realizing, “People are doing this full time.” I was wondering how to make a sustainable income as a photographer.
I went on this journey of seeing how others were doing it. Trying to learn as much as I could. I was soaking in the podcasts, Pinterest, and everything that I could find. I was self-taught for years before I invested in my first workshop or educator. That came around 2017 and 2018. I started to open up the door to believe bigger for myself.
I was a teacher and miserable in my job. If you haven’t heard my story, there are multiple podcast episodes talking about how I left that job and was able to run a photography business full time. Feel free to go listen to those episodes. I finally realized that being a full-time photographer and making profitable and sustainable income was possible. Putting my head down, I focused to make that happen for me.
I left my teaching job and took my photography business full-time in 2018. I’ve never looked back. I want you to know that it is possible for you. The economy is going to ebb and flow for the rest of your life. There is never going to be the right time to really believe in yourself and go all in with your business. Today’s the day.
Back in 2014 and 2015, I wasn’t charging a lot. My goal was to use my photography income as “extra” or “fun money”. It went towards baby formula, diapers and fun side things to do. Then I was able to save up thousands of dollars to go towards my wedding. That was a really big deal. That was my first major goal in my business.
Once I hit that, it gave me another boost of confidence to keep going and to create a new goal. By that time, my goal was to match my teaching salary. I was always working full-time as a teacher and then working my business in the cracks of my day. I worked six out of seven days a week. Hustle mode was an understatement.
Do I think that you have to do that in the very beginning? No, but I do think that it’s going to be more of a sacrificial season to really get things going. If you’re committed, and your goal is to get out of your full time job, your day job, wherever it is, if your goal is to do it in 12 months, you absolutely can. During that year, it’s going to be a sacrificial season. You’re going to have to temporarily give up some things in order to get to a place of being able to do this full-time. You are going to have to sacrifice something if this is truly what you want.
Because you can’t have more time. You get the same hours as everybody else in a day. It’s what you choose to do with them. It’s where you choose to invest your money. Do you bring someone on to help you? Do you take a leap of faith and save up in your full-time job so that you can live on that money for three months so you can build up your photography business.
Whatever way you choose, I just want you to know I did have a hustle season. I wish I would have done things differently. But I’m such a completely different person now. I’m thankful for what I learned through the sacrificial seasons and through the hustle that I went through. I was also building another business at the same time. It was complete chaos for me. I was in hustle mode for the first two and a half to three years of my business. Now I teach people how to do it a lot smarter, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did.
Once I was full-time in photography, I was taking 12 to 15 sessions a month and bringing anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000 per month. It depended on what I was offering. Some months were session heavy and the rest were full blown sessions where I was spending my sunset evenings with my clients for full hour sessions. I did that up until last year and 2021. This year has looked a lot different.
I’m pulling the curtain back so you can see that at any point in time, you get to set your own hours, your own goals. You get to choose how much life you want to live and how much you want to work. That’s the beauty of owning your own photography business.
With that being said, I had surgery in December 2021. When I took a month off to recover, it was during slow season. The goal was using January to prep my February, March, April and May and start getting clients on the books. But I have to tell you, a lot of my goals changed. My goals changed because I wanted to be more business coaching focused. I wanted to focus more on helping you build your photography business.
This has been the slowest year for my photography business I have ever experienced. That’s likely due to my own efforts, but also, all of the economy changes and the political mess that we’re in. I will not sugarcoat that I think everything plays a role. I just wanted to be really upfront with what that looks like for me. I’ve hardly marketed my business at all.
By the grace of God, He has still provided some of the most amazing clients. I’ve still been doing photography; I just haven’t been sharing a whole lot of that online. I’ve been serving my clients. I’ve enjoyed every single session that I’ve had this year.
But it’s very different for me because for the past eight years, I have really had a full-time photography business. Right now, my photography business has taken a back seat, so that I can show up and be full-time with podcasting and serving you and your business. Running and teaching The Blueprint Program and all of that.
The great news is: if you want that for your life, then you get to choose that for your life. I’ve probably worked the least amount this year and the profit has still been there. I share that to show you that this is possible for you too. You can work part time and still get full time income. You get to choose where you want to show up and what you want to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s photography or if you still want it to be your profitable part time thing and you are happy in your career. The beauty is that you get to decide and that is why I love entrepreneurship and owning our own business.
That’s a little bit of information about my business and how the photography business started and how it is currently. Now I want you to hear what’s possible from four other photographers. All four of these photographers are a part of my Blueprint Program. This is where I give you the step-by-step business plan that you are always asking for. You never have to ask what to focus on. It is going to teach you how to stand out from your competition, where you really need to work on finding the holes in your business.
It’s going to give you community to support you, to give you ideas. It is going to be the place where you’re going to be held accountable for the things that you want to do and the things that you want to achieve. Honestly, it’s the best place to be. If you’re interested in more information, go to brookejefferson.com/blueprint program, you can read all of the details there.
We’ve got people in The Blueprint who are making $1,000 a month and people making over $10,000 a month. It depends on you; you are your own limitation. You are what is holding yourself back from being able to make this happen in your own life. Meet four photographers who learned how to make a sustainable income being a photographer.
“Hi, my name is Anna and I am a family photographer in Tampa, Florida. I’ve been in business for about two years. I’m currently booking around eight to ten sessions per month resulting in about $4,000. Before I joined The Blueprint, my business was everywhere. I was offering all the things. The Blueprint has really taught me that niching down was the way to go. I’ve become the go-to family photographer in my area, resulting in being booked two to three months out in advance.
Since joining, I have completely leveled up and automated all of my systems, and I am now able to serve my clients in a way that I wasn’t before. Before The Blueprint, I was working extremely hard to just get the next session, the next paycheck because I thought you had to book all the things. I’m super grateful for everything that Brooke has taught me because if it wasn’t for her my photography business wouldn’t be what it is today.”
“I’m Candace – a maternity, newborn and family photographer out of Austin, Texas. I’ve been in business a little over a year, and I wouldn’t have even started my business or thought I could do it if it wasn’t for Brooke. After listening to many podcasts, I jumped into The Blueprint. I won’t pretend that I didn’t work really hard to get where I’m at because, of course, you have to do the work. But I closed my first year in business making $17,000. Now I’m booking around eight sessions per month as my availability allows.
Since I’m a mom to a one and a four-year-old and my husband has gone for half the year, my average client spends anywhere from 500 to $1,000. Just depending on how many images they want and how far I’m traveling. Although most of my clients come to me, I live in a town of 700 people an hour and a half away from Austin. I don’t want to hear anyone saying that they can’t have a profitable business where they live.
Brooke taught me pretty much everything I know about showing up on social media and giving my clients a one-of-a-kind experience as well as keeping my business together on the back end. The Blueprint really was the jumping off point for me to grow my business to heights I’d never thought possible. I get inquiries every single day and have even started turning people away instead of desperately grasping for any job I could get my hands on. Because I know my financial goals and I have a clearer way of achieving them. I also still make time for my family. The supportive community surrounding The Blueprint is amazing. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today without the help of The Blueprint.”
“Hey, I’m Courtney, a Texas couples’ photographer. I’ve been in business since 2019. I’m currently booking between five and seven sessions a month, resulting in roughly $2,800. Before I joined The Blueprint, my business was a disaster. I was shooting any and everything that came my way out about $100 a session. Which resulted in major burnouts and a lot of unhappiness I didn’t understand.
The Blueprint taught me that it was more than okay to niche down and say no to sessions that weren’t bringing me joy or that weren’t for me. By niching down, I was able to learn and better serve my people. I am in the middle of a complete makeover of my brand and business, and I have become a go-to for couples in my area. Before The Blueprint I was struggling with bookings my happiness and saying no, I’m so grateful for everything I’ve learned, and I owe where I am in my business to The Blueprint.”
“Hi, my name is Shelby Everett and I’m a boudoir photographer located in South Central Missouri. I started photography back in 2018 just to do something that I enjoyed and to make some extra money on the side. Fast forward to 2020, I was burnt out working a job that I hated, and I wanted to take my photography to the next level. At the time I was underpriced and definitely not getting enough clients. So in August of 2020, I took the jump and became a Blueprint student in the first round of classes. I learned so much from the program and in less than four months, I was able to start doing photography full time. Before The Blueprint, I was charging $150 per session with only three to four clients per month at most.
Since joining The Blueprint, I’ve completely niched down to boudoir. If you know Brooke, you know, she tells you to niche down don’t fight it. I’m averaging $1,500 per sale with four to five clients per month. The beautiful thing about Brooke’s program is she gives you the tools that you need to build your business the way that you want it. I owe so much of my success to The Blueprint Program and I’m forever grateful to Brooke.”
I hope you loved hearing from those photographers about what is possible. Again, the greatest thing is that they all have different levels of experience. They’ve all been in the game a different amount of time. They’re all from four different locations. They all have different life stories and they shared what is possible for you. You’ve got photographer’s making $4,000 per month and $1,500 per sale, you’ve got people making $2,800 a month and $500 to $1,000 per sale. Most of these photographers are taking less than 10 sessions per month. So, I want you to know that this is absolutely possible for you.
In order for you to be successful, you need to believe that you can do it first and foremost. If you’re not in a room of people who believe that you can do it, you need to get yourself in The Blueprint Program. These photographers are going to push you and become lifelong business besties. I’m in there answering your questions and giving you personalized feedback to your business. You’ll learn exactly how to make a sustainable income being a photographer.
If that is what you need. You’re looking for that plan of action. You need to know what to focus on and you are ready to have results that these four photographers are having, (plus 175 other students that we have inside the program) then meet us in there at brookejefferson.com/blueprint program and we will see you inside.
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