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The Most Common Challenges In Running A Portrait Business

Lesson 39 from: Building Your Family Portrait Business

Tamara Lackey

The Most Common Challenges In Running A Portrait Business

Lesson 39 from: Building Your Family Portrait Business

Tamara Lackey

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Lesson Info

39. The Most Common Challenges In Running A Portrait Business

Next Lesson: Handling Criticism


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

The Most Common Challenges In Running A Portrait Business

Common obstacles you are gonna face going forward from here, in addition to all the things we've talked about and sometimes reinforcing them, is you lack self-awareness or self-reporting, I don't care what you call it. You lack the ability to take seeing yourself better and more clearly and stepping outside of all of your fears, and concerns, and thoughts. You lack the ability to make decisions for what's best for you and your business because you're not practicing self-awareness. And this is not a soft skill! Self-awareness is one of the most strategic things that you could ever bring to your business of yourself and others. 'Cause it's not just am I holding myself back. It's also in a setting like a photo shoot. I am practicing self-awareness right now. On this photo shoot that's occurring, this child is melting down. Great kid, so fun, getting overstimulated 'cause, you know, that's human. We all do that in some regard. My self-awareness says okay, I'm bringing a lot of energy right...

now, and because I'm practicing a strategic advantage of self-awareness, I'm gonna calm that down. I'm looking at him. I'm seeing what I'm doing to contribute to it, and I'm gonna bring it down consciously. I have utilized self-awareness in a strategic capacity on a photo shoot. If I am in a sales session, and the person I am talking to seems really uncomfortable, and I'm not exactly sure why, I'm gonna think whatever tactic I'm using right now is not working. 'Cause this is uncomfortable, and I want them to feel very comfortable. So I'm using self-awareness, or self-reporting, as a strategic thing in this situation. So if I feel like we're talking and you're feeling uncomfortable, and I'm like like I'm not sure why you feel uncomfortable, for all I know, you might feel uncomfortable 'cause you have to pee (laughing) and that's why you're uncomfortable! Not her specifically, please don't put the camera on her. (laughing) But for all I know, you're discomfort might have nothing to do with me. But because I'm thinking about the situation and I'm being empathetic, 'cause it's self-awareness and empathy are super powerful as a portrait photographer, and I'm noticing something, I'm gonna think what am I doing, and how can I do it a little differently to shift this around. If I'm sitting really close to you, and it feels like there's a vibe and I'm not sure what it is, I will go ahead and pull my chair back, and sit back, and kinda get comfortable, do it casually, and we'll just keep talking. And as I watch you calm down a little bit, I realize ah, that's what it was; I was too frickin' close to her. That happens on shoots all the time, the amount of times I switched to a 7200 lens, and go further back, and watch the kid light up. It's not really to do with me. It has to do with how close and uncomfortable they feel when someone's in their proximity. Also, maybe a little bit of me. (sighing) This has been said throughout the dawn of time. We're not comin' with anything new right now. "Believing in negative thoughts "is the single greatest obstruction to success." And if you've heard it again, and again, and again, and people have said it for decades, and years, and centuries, why is it still an issue for you today? That's the self-awareness part. Why, when I know it? I have a group of photographers that I've worked with. They've all come to three workshops. And we have this group, this private group, where we kinda discuss things that are happening at that level, when you're already kinda at the level that you've gone through three workshops and that's where your business is. And someone commented, I'm gonna not say her name just in case she wanted to be anonymous about this. But she said "Who else felt like watching "Tamara Lackey's broadcast was a little depressing?" And I was like let me keep reading. (laughing) So I kept reading, and she's like "I feel like some of these things "I've made really good progress on, "and I'm thrilled, and I'm so proud about. "But these other things, like, I'm like "why haven't I done that yet? "I know to do it, I started something, "I put it place, I paused." "Why did I pause? "Why I am I still hearing today "when not just Tamara, but other people, "have said it again and again, and not doing it?" And right there, the fact that she wrote that, I'm like ding ding dong dong ding dong. (laughing) That was the worst alarm bell ever. (laughing) I just, it's late in the program. (humming) I thought that is perfect, 'cause you just asked yourself a really pointed, specific question that, now that you know what the problem is, that you know it all, but you haven't done it, things will probably start to change. I very much hope so, 'cause everything else was that lined up. Self-awareness, or self-reporting, is your best competitive advantage, for you in terms of moving your business, for you on portrait sessions, for you in sales, for you in marketing, for you in branding and identity design. It's just, like, just stamp it. Practice this! Meditation is amazing for this! Writing down your thought patterns is amazing for this! If any part of you thinks that's foofy, or fluffy, or whatever, no, no, no! It's a great business move. This! Decisions, and then commitment. So a couple of you have said that you haven't quite decided what to do yet. I don't know, I'm thinking about it, I'm not sure exactly what to do. That feels familiar to me 'cause I often find myself about to figure out what to do next, but I'm unsure, unsure, unsure. And it becomes something where at the end of the day, I'm like I just need to decide, I just need to figure it out. I mean, this studio we just built (laughing) that I showed you in detail, I was so proud of that. This studio that we just spent so much time building out and putting a lot of intention around, it was in progress for about three years, the deciding to just take the leap and invest in gutting an existing space, designing it to be perfect for us, having it be within walking distance, and being very clear about what we wanted. Because, the reason why we went back and forth and never decided for three years, (sighing) what are we gonna do, what are we gonna do, we probably should, I don't know, it's 'cause it was a leap! It was a risk, it was an expensive decision, and if we got it wrong, we would've lost our money! And it would've been kind of, like, soul-crushing to put all that in and for it to have not succeeded. At some point, we just looked at each other and said "That's it, we're doing it." Are we 100% sure we're doing the right thing? No, not at all! Here's the second part of that. The decision to do it is one thing. The commitment is actually following through on the decision. Those were two different things. I can decide to marry you. But 10 years later, if you're buggin' the crap out of me, I can also leave you. (laughing) Nothing against that. But there is decisions and there is commitments, right. There's making a decision to I'm going to make this choice. I know, as I say that, I'm like (laughing) no, I don't mean that at all! There's a decision to say I'm going to do this, and then there's I'm going to stick with it and see it all the way through. Those are the commitment parts. And if you want to change the decision and now have a new commitment, you have to do all the work again! Don't just kind of go here. Let's say okay, at this point. What did I say yesterday?! Every decision you make doesn't have to be in stone! I've decided this is my pricing, I'm gonna go out. Okay, I've done two shoots, and I'm gonna make sure my decision's this, I'm gonna make sure my. (mumbling) And then once you have it locked down, commit! And keep going forward, because you're giving up a little too soon, if you don't, on your business. This direction, setting a clear and focused direction! The amount of times people go out and decide they want to run a business, and then just kinda race in, or everything I did for a few years. You need to go and make this plan, that business plan, that simple business plan! How long did that business plan take that we went through yesterday, roughly? What's your? Like, as we talked through it, how long do you think that took? 15 minutes. If you sit there and really dive in, and detail out all the answers, which I hope you do, maybe an hour. I'm deciding how I want people to know me, how I think I'm gonna make money from it, how I'm gonna go about the idea of making a profit after costs and expenses, am I running it by myself, am I getting help. I'm setting up some structural things in advance, and I'm having a clear path on where to go next. One of the major obstacles is saying yeah, I'm gonna do it, but I'm not exactly sure how I'm gonna get there. Take an hour and set a clear direction for yourself, and you are significantly more likely to make it. I love this quote so much. "When confronted with a challenge, "the committed heart will search for a solution. "The undecided heart searches for an escape." There have been multiple times in my life where something gets really hard and I find myself tryin' to look for a way out. And what I realize is I'm not committed. Makes a huge difference! And you can watch our two-day course on relationships to see, you know, very personal. It ended up being a very personal class. Not just myself, but also other people, who were part of the program, experiences I've had where I'm like you know what, I know I decided this years ago, but now that there's problem after problem, I kinda want to just get out, which is natural and real. And making that same decision from another angle and saying okay, we're having problem and problem, but I wanna figure out how to solve this, 'cause I'm committed. When you run into these problems with your business, which you will, every single one of you will run into a problem with your pricing, with your marketing, with your website, with actually turning around the images on time, start searching for the solution, not the way out, not quitting, not dropping the prices back down. Revamp and find the solution time and time again. You will overcome your own obstacles because you will have them! But you also will be looking for a way to solve them.

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!!!

a Creativelive Student

This was a fantastic class. Tamara is a fantastic teacher and really cares about conveying all the information that she is so passionate about. I found myself hanging off her every word and being so inspired to put her lessons into action. Buy this course - it will pay dividends in your business.

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