Portrait Startup

Lesson 8/35 - Meet the Mentors: Emily London Miller

 

Portrait Startup

 

Lesson Info

Meet the Mentors: Emily London Miller

Emily London Miller, so Emily is from Salt Lake City, Utah, which I just went to actually last year. It's an amazing place. And Emily shoots glamour, solely glamour. So what I loved about Emily, she's a mom, so she has work-life balance, not, 'cause nobody does. So I feel like there's a few moms in the lineup of photographers. Parents are great to get business advice from. I feel like balance is probably gonna always be a struggle for just about anybody whether you have children or not. But what I love about Emily is when I started to interview her about what she'd already done before she became a photographer, she'd already built a very successful business and so had Bethany. So in graphic design and in IT, when I see people that have already built a business, I realize that you already are a step ahead of other people because I didn't even know what the concept to be in business was. Now that doesn't mean I couldn't build a business, it means I had to learn new skills that I hadn't l...

earnt already. And the truth is, is at the end of the day, I still built a very successful business, I just had to learn some very hard lessons. You probably learned a lot of those hard lessons in your first business. So what did you find that you struggled with the most, and where did you find it most easy in building up, and what are you selling in terms of packages a la carte, and what is your average sell? Okay so, starting out, one of the trickiest things was I was needed in my other business, and I was bringing in a good income with that business. And so I had to, first of all, care enough about the photography and find out that I cared enough about the photography in the first place, to kind of take a stand for it and say, hey honey, can you take over mom duty for the next three months while I build this portfolio? I've got this idea that I'm gonna start a photography business and I need you to kind of pick up some slack. And so that was a huge, a huge shift was okay, so first of all I have to want it bad enough to step away from something that I actually liked and was good at and made a good income from. And then I really put myself into it full-bore and then the balance issue comes up where okay, I kind of have been burned out three months later down the road. I've done, you know, many many shoots and I've gotten better, learned that I wanted to do it maybe, except that I was exhausted from all of the retouching and the process that goes with it. So I guess I would just say, yeah, at the beginning the challenge was really deciding that I wanted it. Okay, so I feel like the biggest thing around Emily is overwhelmed. Okay, now everybody says the same thing, where do I start, I just feel so overwhelmed. Right now in your life, if you are just picking up a camera or if you picked up a camera within the last couple of years and you're considering making an income from it, the first thing I have to ask is, where are you currently getting an income from? So if you have a job and you're picking up your camera and you're wanting to transition, now is not the time, okay? Stay with the job. Now if you say, but I hate that job, go and get another job. Because the job is going to pay for the education of you using that camera and turning it into an income. But don't tell me you have to make an income, I bought a camera last week and I have to make an income tomorrow. Because that's not gonna happen and if it does, I'll feature you on here myself. Because there's a whole lot of things to get through, wade through, in those nine areas of mastery before you get to that. However the feeling of being overwhelmed is anxiety. And the reason we get anxiety is when we want the situation that we're in to be different. Okay, so one of the hardest things to balance and manage is when we feel overwhelmed, we're not letting go of something that we're struggling to let go of. Now sometimes we have the weight of responsibility, the weight of family, and we feel guilty letting go of that. Or we don't know how to say and communicate I need you to do this so I can do this. Or we have a spouse that's not gonna support us or we don't have a spouse and our family don't support us. But there's always a way. But overwhelmed to me, tells me that you're doing things you don't want to be doing anymore. Now as soon as I see people overwhelmed, I'm like, what are you doing that you don't wanna do anymore? Oh, I'm doing this but I can't stop doing it 'cause my husband needs me, or I'm doing this but my mom needs me. And I'm like okay, this is something that's gonna really hurt a lot of people, and a lot of people aren't gonna agree with it, and a lot of people will be like whoa, she just said that out loud. Would you disappoint another to be true to yourself? Now we as women, especially as women, I feel like guys maybe don't do it so much, guys are mainly hardwired to protect and serve, as opposed to, you know, be submissive in terms of what we're giving. We're over-givers generally, that's what makes us terrible businesswomen. Businessmen easier sellers than us, although a lot of guys are still talking to me about money blocks and receiving blocks. I feel like right now, the idea is I'm overwhelmed because I'm still doing a whole lot of stuff I don't want to do anymore. So the key word from Emily was I had to make a decision to commit to what it is I wanted and I needed to first find out that it was what I wanted. I needed to own that path and then when I owned it, I could step forward and say now I want to do this. Like now I own this, right, do you own it? Oh yeah, hell yes. And you don't work in your other business anymore do you? I really don't, mm-mm. Yeah and tell me about your pricing and your average sell. My pricing is really similar to your pricing. With an exception that I charge a $675 session fee in addition to the portrait prices as well. Okay that's gonna send everyone into a spin (all laughing). Okay so, these two are down in the kick them in the head area down here, because I'm like, that would have sent me into a spin. There is absolutely no way in hell in my first 10 years of business I would have been able to do that. Because my core value, when you say that out loud, is that (retching and sobbing) somewhere between throwing up my lunch and crying about it. I don't quite know what that is for me, because that's my idea that people won't do it. But people do it, don't they? Yes and part of it is it's easy to do something for somebody else, right? It didn't seem fair to my family to stop making this great income doing my other job, to do something that paid me significantly less. And so I had to structure it in a way that made it so that it was more balanced, income-wise. And you know, there is a level of I love it more, and so I'm willing to do it for a little less, but at the same time it's, I don't know. It would have been harder if I was just doing it for myself. But I couldn't just say to my husband, make these sacrifices for me to do something that I love-- And I'm not gonna bring home any money. Right, yeah. Yeah, and I'm not gonna bring any bacon, any good questions there? Particular question for Emily, is somebody who also, who lives in Provo, Utah, and in that culture, Utah culture, so many photographers or people who call themselves photographers, who are willing to shoot fairly cheaply, how have you differentiated yourself and shown that there is value in paying more to get that $675-- It's a block. Well honestly, the fact that I do charge a lot more than what is typical in my area, does naturally set me apart from the other photographers. It makes you the Lamborghini of Utah. Right. It's like, yeah they're cheap, but this is the Lamborghini over here. (panel chuckling) I had to say I had to be brave about it, at the beginning, I had to take kind of a leap of faith. And I had to follow, and I really heard all of the classes that you taught and it was really, I do it so you can do it. And I thought well Sue says I can do it, so I'm just going to try. And I didn't try at the same price right at the beginning, I wasn't like Tammy going in that price range, I was about 1/3 less. Oh so I'm only gonna kick you in the kneecap. (all laughing) And then I got the top package sell and realized wow, I'm not really making an income on that, so I raised it to 2/3 less, and had the same situation happen, and then it really became, okay, now that I know that I can sell the top package in this situation, I have faith in the system. I will raise it to the full, what Sue said I could charge. Mmmm, wow. God I wish I had you guys (all chuckling) in my world 19 years ago, I would be, I would own a lot of houses right now, I really would. And this is Emily's beautiful studio. Where is your studio Emily, is it at home or is it on location? It's in my home, it's in the mother-in-law apartment in my basement. In Provo, actually, to our friend who's watching in Provo. That's a kitchen that curtain is hiding (chuckling). You know, seeing all this work just makes my heart sing. Me too. All of you, I just-- We wouldn't have done it without you Sue. Mm-mm. You know what, I don't actually believe that. Yeah? You know, so many people come up to me, and they're just like, you changed my life. And I'm like, oh you know you did really, I was just talking and you heard. But you know, you've done in two years what took me 12, 15. You've done in two years what took me like 1/4 of my life. And you just did it, and you did it with courage and you did it with grace, and I don't think I was very graceful. I think I was dramatic and you know, I say theatrical. Dramatic is a little bit mean. I'm more theatrical, I definitely did the hard (imitates crying) you know, poor me, but the truth is is you guys are blowing me away, it blows me away.

Class Description


When Sue Bryce taught her first CreativeLive class in 2012, she reinvented the category of glamour photography. That workshop inspired thousands of photographers to create a new kind of portrait photography business.

During this special event, you’ll hear from Sue again and meet nine photographers who changed the trajectory of their business and their lives thanks to inspiration they found in Sue’s CreativeLive classes.

In Portrait Startup, you’ll find out exactly what these photographers did to transform their fledgling photography operations into sophisticated, profitable businesses. You’ll learn about what it takes to build a profitable photography business and Sue will detail the Areas of Mastery required to run and sustain it. 

You’ll learn about:  

  • Cameras & Lighting
  • Studio or Location
  • Website & Portfolio
  • Marketing & Design
  • Social Media & Connection
  • Price & Product
  • Sales & Selling
  • Money Management
Sue will discuss the essential elements for building a successful glamour photography studio and you’ll get specific, tactical insights for doing it yourself.

Each of the guest photographers will share their own unique story of following Sue's business model and they’ll provide intimate details on what they've discovered and what worked (or didn't) for them. Sue will share the secrets behind her wildly effective Reveal Wall and share strategies that guarantee sales while keeping clients happy and eager to refer you to their friends.

If you want to build a photography business that celebrates the beauty inherent in all women, while running a business that provides for you and your family, join Sue Bryce and guests for Portrait Startup and learn how to build a business and life that you love.

Click here for the Complete Sue Bryce collection.

Reviews