Manifesting Success with Shelley Franklin

June 21, 2021 Artist Spotlight

Episode 81: Shelley Franklin

In Episode 81 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser speaks with Shelley Franklin of Franklin Photography Studios. Shelley is an accredited Fellow by The Portrait Masters, and again and again, her photographs have landed in the Top 20 of The Portrait Masters Image Competitions. Shelley has been taking photos for 12 years, but she really stepped up her game when she joined Sue Bryce’s 12 Week Startup, now the 90 Day Challenge – a step-by-step course that guides photographers through everything they need to know to build a profitable portrait photography business. Shelley began her photographic journey in her own house and yard, capturing moments with her own daughter as well as her friends’ kids. This last year, she manifested a vision of creating her own studio, building out an empty concrete room to her own specifications. This is just one of the many visions Shelley has been manifesting in her life since stepping into her power as a skilled creator of beautiful portraits and a beautiful life.

Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear all about Shelley’s 50-Over-50 Campaign, which she runs through Facebook ads. Every time she wants to get her schedule booked out 3 months in advance, she turns it on, and the calls come pouring in. She’ll walk you through every step of her sales system – from creating the ad, to consulting about clothing, to her final reveal, and everything in between. She’ll also tell you about her other passion – animal portraiture – and how this accidentally became one of the areas of photography where she really stands out and can be totally free and creative.

In this blog, you’ll find some of Shelley’s beautiful portraits, links to all her webpages, and answers to some bonus questions.

Get to Know Shelley Franklin

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

A: When I began this journey in March of 2017 with the graduation of the first 12 weeks class, I was a terrible introvert with a great deal of social anxiety that had always plagued me. Just thinking of meeting strangers and making them comfortable enough to sit for my camera seemed like an impossibility. Something Sue said during the 12 weeks class really resonated with me. She said not to look ahead at where the road would eventually lead. . . Business marketing meetings?? The thought literally made me want to turn tail and run! . . .but just look at the next thing you have to do. Build a portfolio. Build a body of work that you love and are proud of. Make a pdf. Make a website. I was so passionate about doing this job that I decided to focus only on the next steps, as she suggested, and I took comfort in that what she was teaching was true – that when I got to those steps later, all of these things I had done step-by-step would change me as a person and make me ready for what would come later. I still do that when I’m feeling nervous about something coming up, but if it’s time to do something that makes me uncomfortable, I think of how hard I have worked and how far I have come. That gives me the confidence to push out of my comfort zone. Doing all of these things step-by-step has 100% changed what I feel I am capable of, and now I know I am stronger than my fear and anxiety.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting Sue Bryce Education?

A: Opening my own store front studio in June of 2019, building it all out myself from a long, bare cement space to a pretty, cozy, inviting spot.

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

A: Follow your heart and your passion. Try not to listen to the people who say it’s impossible – especially the ones you love the most. They don’t know what you can do until you show them, and when you can and you do, it’s an amazing feeling when they sing your praises and apologize for not believing it was possible!

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

A: Yes! I regret not feeling comfortable with my pricing and not raising it sooner. It is something I still struggle with. I know I have been standing in my own way and am still working through doing what it takes to feel confident in charging what others say I should be.

Q: Everyone has a favorite shoot – tell us about yours and why it’s your favorite.

A: To date my favorite would probably be the shoots I did to create the image that has been a big accomplishment for me, when in March of 2020 it won category in Family and Group Portrait with The Portrait Masters. It was actually a total of 4 shoots I did that I combined images from to create the image I call “Winner winner, chicken dinner!” 🙂 I had this image in my head so clearly that I was able to jot it out on paper – down to even each person’s pose and expression.

The idea came to me in the middle of the night in July of 2019, just as clear as could be. I didn’t start the shoots till November, and I think I did the last one in January of the chicken. It took me a while to find someone with a chicken who was willing to bring it to the studio for me. I literally planned what I would do to get the 2- and 3-year-old to make the faces I wanted them to make and be in the poses I needed. The three children in the photo did not know each other and have never met. The chicken was not in the studio during any of their photo shoots. Also, there was a huge challenge that the photo shoots were done weeks apart from one another, so I had to take down and set up the entire “set” every time and be sure I was shooting from the proper angle with same lighting each time, so that challenge was a little bit of a thrill!  It was fun to see if I could pull it off.

Q: What fellow artists do you gain inspiration from?

A: Without a doubt Richard Wood is the one I admire the most. Not only is he insanely talented, but he truly seems to love seeing and helping people develop their skills. He’s an artist’s artist for sure!

Q: How has Sue Bryce Education changed your life for the better?

A: I really cannot articulate it. Anyone who knew me 5 years ago cannot believe the changes in my personality and the level of confidence I have in all areas of my life. I feel as though I owe this all to Sue Bryce and her education platform. Without her guidance I do not believe I would have been able to take the steps needed to get myself to a place where I am able to speak to people and convince them to hire me as their photographer.

Q: Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

A: Do I dare to dream? I would love to see myself in a space three times the size of the space I have now. I’d love to have a small studio with its own entrance that is separate from the larger studio – a space used just for pet photography. Traipsing the animals through the pretty parts of my studio and cleaning up after has become a hassle now that I’m busier photographing humans. I have let the marketing for pet photography drop off because it’s a lot to clean so much in between back-to-back sort of shoots. I would love to be doing commercial work with my pet photography. That would be phenomenal.

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Shelley Franklin of Franklin Photography Studios

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