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Building Your Family Portrait Business

Lesson 1 of 41

I LOVE Photography and I Want to Make Money


Building Your Family Portrait Business

Lesson 1 of 41

I LOVE Photography and I Want to Make Money


Lesson Info

I LOVE Photography and I Want to Make Money

We're gonna be talking about business, and before I kick this off, how may people here love photography? Yes, okay, good, that's good fuel. I do too. I have been running a business for the last 15 years, and I did not love it the whole way. I love it now, I love going to work, I love the structure, I love the art of business. But when I first started, I kinda fumbled into it. I spent three years, shooting, shooting, shooting and shooting. And, pretty much ran down that whole rabbit hole, until I finally wanted to quit. I'm gonna step into that more, but I wanna share with you, is some of the mistakes I made, and also some of the things I did right, and how housing it all under a smart business structure, can make all the difference. So, I love photography. It's an extraordinary, creative outlet, and it's a way to be artful, when you're not good at drawing. (laughs) Or painting, or things like that. I think a lot of times, there is, when you're in the field and you're with your subjects...

, and you're in that flow, that flow where you're just about the people you're photographing, and figuring out how to do it as well as possible. That is so fun. That is so fun, to leave your body for a moment, and just be in that zone. And for me, that's one of the biggest reasons I wanted to start business in the first place, I wanted to keep doing that. I'm gonna show a little video, of exactly what I mean, we put this BTS together couple of weeks ago, with Janice, over in North Carolina, Big Dog Little Bed Productions. But we put this together, and it's just, it what it feels like to me, to photograph children, just a few minutes, of how it feels. (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) That is what it feels like, to me, to photograph children. When I'm photographing adults, I love that they stay, when I ask them to stay. Because my littler subjects don't. But what I'm missing from that is, how easy it is to get them to be themselves. You have to work harder with adults, to kind of breakthrough that. Whereas kids, they're just like, "This is me, I'm gonna lay on your floor now." Let's move through that. So, that's the best part, the shooting part, for me. What happens, when you love photography, you know you wanna do it, and complexity, you wanna make real money from it. Anybody here want to make money? I know, right. We're gonna have a whole section on money, later. I think money's amazing, but like in a good way, we'll talk about that. But, if you love photography, and you wanna make real money from it, let's start with defining who you are. Would you consider yourself artistic? A creative? Would you love to take photographs, or would you identify as a photographer? If so, when you add money, congratulations. (woman laughs) You are now a business owner, and that is a whole different mentality. It doesn't have to be harder, it doesn't have to be worse. In fact, I think it's better, I love bringing these two things together, because they're both different sets of skills, and types of art, I believe. But, you have to start thinking about this way, if you wanna remain in business years down the road, and continue to do what you love, and grow in that. Kenna had mentioned when she introduced me, that I have a webseries, called the Redefine Show, it's available for free, on Adorama TV. But what I've been doing, for the last, almost seven years, six and a half, seven years now, is sitting down with people, at the top of their field, doing really interesting things, like Miss Kenna, who's one of our guests. And saying, "You're a ESPEN sports anchor, "and you're a comedian, and you're a musician, "and you're a cinematographer. "What is it about what you do, and have, "over years and years, "that has gotten you to where you are today?" And one of the things you hear, exceptionally, from a very, very, common perspective is, perseverance, sticking with it, and have a damn good business structure. Like, it's so, so important. And people who don't, you can be pretty good, at what you do, and run an incredibly successful business, or you can be great at what you as an artist, and not run one. And the difference is night and day, as to who's gonna succeed. It's business, business, business. So, let's talk about utilizing these business skills. Some people naturally have them, they just feel like they get it, they're right into it, they can jump and think about strategy, and tactical ways to get there, and everything you wanna have. Other people feel like, "I don't have that." I would suggest you learn these skills. Like anything, they're skills that you can learn. Just because you don't feel like you can do it. I am a horrible gardener. I could not keep anything green alive. In fact, I'm a vegan, so I'm eating all the green things. But, I think in general, it's very hard, I just don't have that knack, it doesn't come naturally to me, my mother is an amazing gardener, but I can actually learn the steps. Seasons, and when to water, and get rid of bugs, and that sorta stuff. I don't want to, I'd rather hire someone to do the gardening, 'cause I don't want to, but I have to make that choice, if I want that garden. I can't just say I'm not good at it, and expect things to grow. It's very similar for your business. So, if you never, like I don't ever really want to garden, I feel like that's a bad thing I just said. A coupe of you are like, "Eww, you hate plants?" I hate them, that's why I eat them. If you never want to use, learn or practice those skills, that we've discussed, you need to hire help, or partner up. Because without doing so, 'cause all these things are so achievable, these business skills, that we're gonna step through in detail, but if you're not doing that, somebody has to do, in order for you to succeed. Because if you don't do any of those things, you will, one of the following. You will work endlessly, for very little. And I shouldn't say endlessly. You will work until an actual end, (laughs) for very little money. You'll burn out quickly, 'cause even if you love what you do, when you're doing it all the time, and you're not getting the value for it, you're not feeling appreciated, you feel like you just go, and go, and go, it kinda burns that out, that whole creative spirit. Or you'll never really start. And this is a very common one. I do private workshops, and I sit and do one-on-one mentoring with everybody that comes to the workshop, and some people whose work I'm looking at, I'm like, "Oh my god, you're so good. "You really have an eye, you've got great processing skills, "You've got good interaction here. "What're you gonna be doing with these?" And I keep hearing, "I'm gonna finally make the leap one of these days." You never really start, because it's so overwhelming. It's intimidating, to think about, "How do I do this full-time, and get paid?" Especially if you have another full-time job. Anybody here have that situation? Mhmm. And what would you say is the hesitation, just generally speaking? The not confident that I'm going to be successful. Yeah, so, not feeling like if I move into it, I've got this. Correct. And that hesitation, that never really starting, it's not a end game there. It's the idea of, "Okay, how I learn these skills, use these skills, "or outsource and get help? "What kind of structure do I need to provide, "to make that simpler? "So, that's not something, "where I'm gonna be questioning it all the time."

Class Description

You love photography. Now what? How do you transform your passion or hobby into a career? Nikon® Ambassador and children's portrait photographer Tamara Lackey will provide the steps and the courage to build your own portrait photography studio. She’ll cover the basics of developing a business plan, website essentials and creating a marketing plan.

You’ll learn:

  • How to set your business structure with considerations for legal, insurance and taxes
  • Social media and online marketing techniques
  • How to understand and manage finances and sales
  • Steps for building your own studio from scratch

Overcome the "I don't knows" with this incredible course that will give you the confidence to build and create your family portrait photography business.


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.

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