Jenni Maroney | Five Ways to Work Smarter Not Harder

This week we’re excited to introduce you to Jenni Maroney, from Jenni Maroney Portrait Boutique.  Jenni has a degree in photography and has been a professional photographer for 15 years.  Three years ago, she realized that she might be working harder than she needed to be and decided that if she couldn’t work “smarter” and be more profitable when it came to her photography business, it might be time to do something else.  She began to look closely at her monthly photography expenses.  She tracked not just every dollar that she spent and made but also logged every minute to figure out how much time she was spending on each session. She began to record all of the time she spent responding to emails, on the phone with clients, driving to the post office, placing orders, packaging, etc….all of the things that we know we do on a daily basis to market our photography businesses but may not realize how quickly that time is adding up.

The result of this exercise was an overhaul of her business and pricing and the creation of “How to Price Photography,” a workbook for photographers that helps ensure that they’re profitable.  The workbook is fully formatted.  You just plug in your expenses, desired salary, number of hours you work each week and session types and the workbook will calculate what you need to charge for each product and session as well as the number of sessions needed each month to reach your desired salary and goals.

Here are some tips from Jenni that will help you work smarter, not harder.

Do In-Person Sales

“If you haven’t done an in-person sale, I dare you to try just one!”

After years of doing online sales, Jenni did her first in-person ordering session.  She made three to four times more than the usual average sale and quickly realized that she’d been leaving a lot of money on the table and also doing her clients a disservice by not helping them get art for their walls and photo albums on their coffee tables.

“We truly believe in the importance of creating heirlooms
for your family. Our goal is to help you leave something behind
for your children and grandchildren to remember you by,
not just a phone full of snapshots.”

Shoot with Purpose

It’s easy to go into auto pilot mode and photograph each session like the one before it.  However, it’s extremely important to take the time to find out before the session exactly what the client is hoping for.  Are you shooting for an album?  For a single piece or wall art or a collection?  Where will it be hung?  Do they need holiday cards?  Asking these types of questions will help you approach each session with the end product in mind so that you can deliver exactly what the client is interested in.  When you deliver exactly what they’ve asked for, the sale is easy. This is basic photography marketing at work.

Focus on SEO

Blog often and make your posts conversational.  Speak to your audience as if you are talking to your favorite client. Google is getting smarter every day and simply including key words and targeted post titles isn’t enough to get you on the first page for the most desired searches.

Build Your Email List

Facebook has officially announced that organic reach for business pages is a thing of the past. Email marketing is where it’s at (and we at StickyAlbums tend to agree)!  Add an email opt-in page to your photography business website today and be in touch with your audience.  Emailing tips, special offers and giveaways are great ways to ensure that you are the first person that comes to mind when someone needs a photographer or hears that a friend needs one.  An added bonus is that your emails can direct people to your website, which will help your Google ranking.

Here is the blog post about email marketing that Nate mentioned in his conversation with Jenni.

Go the Extra Mile

If you’re hoping that your work alone will make you stand out, it probably won’t.  Lots of people can take pretty pictures.  The key to booking sessions and having high sales is to provide people with a one-of-a-kind experience that starts during their very first contact with you.  Call people.  Talk to them, but more importantly, listen to them.  Find out what they need and then let them know how you can meet their needs.

Personal touches like hand written thank you notes after a sale and randomly throughout the year, remembering birthdays with a card and sending a holiday card with your families picture on it are all ways to stay in touch and build an ongoing relationship with clients.  Value added incentives like rewards program and custom mobile apps (Jenni uses StickyAlbums) are also important to get people sharing your brand and getting you more referrals.  Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box though!  For example, Jenni offers clients a free ladies night out focused on teaching them the basics of using a DSLR camera.

“I want them to think of me whenever anyone they know
needs a photographer.”

To hear more details about Jenni’s in-person sales, photography marketing, SEO and value-added incentive strategies for your photography business listen to or watch the interview.

Audio only version here:

Subscribe to our feed in iTunes.

 About Jenni

Jenni Maroney Portrait Boutique was founded in 1999.  Our boutique portrait studio offers a limited number of custom photography sessions per month in the Denver-metro and Boulder area. Catering to stylish moms and children alike, we specialize in maternity, newborn, children and family photography. We tailor our photography session to each family’s interests. We take great pride in capturing the real, raw, emotional connection between your family in a comfortable setting, such as your home, our all-natural light studio or a favorite local spot. Our simple, yet elegant packages include an assortment of boutique products and all-inclusive, fully-edited digital images.

My favorite photos are of my little guy being himself. Whether it be jumping on the bed in his superman undies or quietly cuddling with our 4-legged family members, these are the moments I want to remember this stage by. We approach all of our photography sessions in the same way, from a mom’s perspective, documenting the realness of now.

We truly believe in the importance of creating heirlooms for your family. Our goal is to help you leave something behind for your children and grandchildren to remember you by, not just a phone full of snapshots.



Sarah Responsible for weekly blog posts; pro photog; thrives on organized chaos; loves beer, Booty Barre, and nights in with friends.