Hobbyist to Profitable Photographer, Conquering Fears to Find Success with Leon McDonald

March 9, 2020 Artist Spotlight

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Top Takeaways

Harness your fears in business to keep you grounded and don’t let it paralyze you

Value yourself and build a sustainable business

One camera, one lens, and good light is all you need

Set goals and don’t let roadblocks stop you

Get to Know Leon McDonald

Q: What initially sparked your interest in photography?

A: Love for connection in photos. The idea that I could look at a photo and have a story told to me without the presence of words.

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Leon’s First Year of Business

Q: How did you push past fear when building your business?

A: I didn’t, I harnessed it. Turned it into fuel. I’m scared every single day and I like it because it keeps me grounded. I just don’t allow it to paralyze me.

 

“Sue Bryce has helped my value myself”

 

Q: How has Sue Bryce Education helped you overcome obstacles in your business?

A: Value! One of my biggest obstacles was valuing the work that I produced. SBE helped me value myself and put my big boy business pants on.

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Leon’s Current Work

Q: We all go through periods of mental blocks. How do you push past times of not finding inspiration?

A: Hop on SBE and let Sue yell at me. Then I look at the folio she has built along with that of other talented creators and business masterminds in this group.

Q: How would you describe your business right now in one sentence?

A: Steadily gaining momentum

Q: How much time do you spend on marketing, content planning, or social media right now?

A: 7 – 8 hours a day

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Q: We document people through portraits. What is your secret to not getting bored with photographing clients? 

A: Be present and sincerely involved in each person’s story. Even if you’re building your folio – vary your lighting, your posing, background choice, etc.

Q: If there was only one genre of portraits you could photograph for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A: Generations

Q: Do you regret any decisions you have made in your business?

A: Plenty, most notably waiting so long to value my work and charge accordingly.

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Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception when people are trying to start their photography business?

A: Having the best gear is essential. One camera, one lens, and good light is really all you need.

 

“You will get frustrated, don’t let it stop you.”

 

Q: For someone starting out on their photography journey, what advice would you have for them?

A: Devour as much information as you can. You will lose sleep, you will get frustrated at times. Don’t let it stop you. Set reachable goals and as you accomplish each one celebrate it, and move on to the next one. Lastly, raise your prices!

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Q: How has SBE changed your life for the better? 

A: I no longer dread going to work. I have the privilege of creating something that makes people look at themselves and feel fantastic! This has enriched my life.


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Leon McDonald of Janel Lee Photography

Leon McDonald is an Ohio based portrait photographer. He specializes in beautifully curated mother and daughter portraits, senior portraits, headshots, and personal branding or lifestyle photographs.

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4 Comments

    1. He really is the best, isn’t he Tracey! We were very thankful he came on to The Portrait System Podcast and shared his story!