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Business Is Business

Lesson 4 from: Building Your Family Portrait Business

Tamara Lackey

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Class Trailer

I LOVE Photography and I Want to Make Money


From Photographer to Business Owner


Building Your Business To Fit The Life You Want


Business Is Business


Creating a Simple Business Plan - What To Know And What To Skip


Branding And Identity


Significance Of Constantly Marketing


Social Media Marketing


Lesson Info

Business Is Business

I told about the coffee shop. This is our coffee shop, so right back there is our studio. Again, I'm gonna do a video walk-through of it for you. But right now this coffee shop, having no experience whatsoever in coffee shops or cafe, we've been running it since September of 2016. It's been building in revenue every single month. We're going in the right direction, yay. I get to drink unlimited coffee. But what I've recognized is that business is business is business. Every fundamental I do in my photography business that I've learned and practiced all the time is completely applicable here. It doesn't matter the genre, it doesn't matter, restaurant, food, hospitality, or retail. Business is business is business. In fact, these are my current businesses. This was photography, this was shot CreativeLive, one of the programs, a three-dayer, Casey shot that. This is, in the minimal, my Beautiful Together, our non-profit. We'll talk about that in just a second. And then the coffee shop. Sa...

me business basics apply to all these very different things and that's what we're going to cover here today. If you don't know our non-profit, it's Beautiful Together, you can find it at But it's a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting children waiting for families, 100% volunteer. It's been extraordinary amount of work over the last several years, but again all those principals apply, whether you're making profit or not. You still have to run it the same way. And if you want to check out Lush Albums, it's our album line that I partner with Fundy and Finao. 50% of every album sales go back to our non-profit, our children's charities. But, what I want you to think about in your life, as you're building your business out, is where are you getting your advice from? This I think matters a little bit. There's some amazing people out there teaching great business practices, they really are. I'm like, kudos. But I think it's different to get your business advice from somebody who knows about business versus in the thick of it. Like I am working on this, I am feeling the hurts, I am getting the winds. I tried that, I tried that, I tried that. Trust me, it looks good on paper, in reality, in this industry it doesn't work. It really makes a difference. It's the difference between getting your photography advice because you went to photography school and you learned how to light a vase on this exact controlled setting versus you're in the thick of like, I'm in a park, and everybody's crying including me and I don't know how to photograph snot any better. You have to be in it, snot was for everybody who's photographed kids, right? Yeah, we're still with the kids. But photography advice from a working photographer who is managing a shoot schedule and realizing that everything can change any minute, no matter where you are, you've got to be able to do that. That's a whole different, whole different thing. We have interns coming through our studio all the time and I love them, they're so helpful, but when they first step in and we go out on a real shoot, I don't even know where to start. I'm like, well haven't you been studying for this well? I'm like, yeah just this part, not the other 95% of what you do on a shoot. So I think that makes a big difference. Let's talk about what those basics are. First and foremost, of course, is Business Structure. And again we're going to dig into these a little bit more, but this is basically how you're set up, how your business is set up and what those processes are. A process is nothing more than figuring out how you go from step A to step B to step C, and making sure you're getting from one step to another step to another step in as seamless and as easy, and as simple and as effective way as possible. That's what you want. You don't want to go: A, let me go around the block four times. B, let me fall down a little bit for no reason whatsoever. C, let me work on a typewriter, nobody can read my typewriter. I mean, that sounds kind of crazy but the unexamined process is often like that. So your Business Structure, setting up a really good structure. Number two is your Identity, who are you and what do you do? We're going to dive into this with Marketing. It's really hard to get people to know who you are and have you stand out when you don't know who you are, and you don't stand out. Marketing, once you've figured all that out, you need to communicate it to other people. We'll go through specific means of doing so. And then, "Internet." Internet is kind of all of it. That's one of the major, major ways that we're now using to be able to conduct business, to spread the word about your business, to lock down sales, Internet. People who are avoiding the Internet for whatever reason are missing out and will continue to miss out. I think we're on the Internet right now. Business Management, this of course is how things are getting done tactically within your business. Is it, do you have a software application? Are you getting help from vendors? Do you have a studio manager? Legal and Tax, it's boring but it's make-or-break stuff. Really is, we're gonna jump into that. Finance, are you doing it all yourself? I have an accountant and a bookkeeper, and for the first few years I didn't and I wasted money. I lost money trying to save money. And you'll hear this a lot from people, "I lost money to try to save money." So when it was time for my monthly sales tax, I hated doing that. I hated to sit down and do these calculations and plug them into this thing and hit send, and so I'd put it off and I'd put it off, and now I had late fees and I had interest, whereas if I just had somebody who does this day in and day out, would have been done in one hour. I would have saved a lot of money. Same thing with taxes. I had the experience once, that company I told you about out in California. We had the startup, we closed down business, so I got pregnant and we shut down the business. We'd had 14 people working for us. I didn't shut down the business because I got pregnant, but the timing was such that we wanted a life change and the accountant who came in said, and we thought we were done. Everything we invested is gone, everything we made is great, we're happy you know? Let's stop, it wasn't a wash. It was actually profitable, but let's just go. He stepped in and said, "Well, let me look at all this real quick," and he came back and he said, "You know the money you put down for rent" "and this deposit and this kind of situation," and honestly I didn't understand it all and I still don't understand it all, but I don't have to understand it all, because he was doing that. And what he told me was, "You're going to walk away from $44,000 here." I'm like what? He goes, "Yeah, if you put it this way," "and you put it this way, and you put it this way," "you are going to get $44,000 back." I have, it's magic. But it's cause they know what they're doing and I don't. And sometimes you just skip around and you lose so much money trying to just save that hourly rate. So Finance is a big deal. Production, that's the clicking part. Sales, and the finishing and everything like that. And then Sales, that's how you make the money. That's that last 10% that dictates 90% of your profit. So when you put all this together, I want you to take note here. And I really, really, really want you to get this. All those things you do? That's the photography part, that part. And the photography part, if you're lucky, if you're booking steadily, is about 10% of what you do. And to be very dramatic I did a 10% opacity. (laughter) Eh? Eh? My visual peeps. But that's it, 10%. Isn't that nuts? So if you want to go into business, do you see how imperative it is, I'm going to go backwards, yes. Do you see how imperative it is that this part gets figured out? You don't have to do all that. I actually do very little of those parts, but you have to figure out the skills. You either have them, you learn them, you use them, you get help. Either way you can get them all covered. So because art is appreciated, and this is the good news, it's a skill, we can learn it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tamara Lackey Posing Book Discount
Nations Photo Lab Discount

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This course was fantastic. I learned more on what I need to improve and change in my business. I especially liked learning how she balances all the things in her life. She is a fantastic teacher who keeps you engaged throughout the course. Thank you creativelive and Tamara for producing such a great course!


I thoroughly enjoyed this class, Tamara Lackey is an amazing individual and trainer! I loved what she said about not letting ourselves be diminished by someone else's narrow view... This class touches on many business related topics, I had many "aha" moments and feel excited and committed to tackle various aspects of my business in small steps!! Thanks for sharing so much of you!!!

Dewitt Hardee

This is a great class. Tamara is such a great instructor and the subject matter is relevant and useful. Tamara is really the key, her personality seems like a ray of sunshine.

Student Work