Surpassing Goals with Genetra White

November 22, 2021 Artist Spotlight

Episode 103: Genetra White

In Episode 103 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser chats with Genetra White of Waco, TX. Genetra’s portrait photography business is fairly new. She got her first professional camera in 2019, started her business in Dec 2020, and left her job teaching high school Spanish in Feb 2021. When she first started doing photography as a side hustle, she set a goal to bring in $600 a month. Then, she started listening to Sue Bryce and raised her goal to be 2/3 of her teaching salary. It didn’t take long before she realized she couldn’t keep her mind on teaching. All she wanted to be doing was photography. After she quit her job, in just two months, she was making 3 times her teaching salary.

As always, Nikki brings great perspective, pointing out that for many people, they know they are ready to make the transition out of their day job and into professional photography when they become completely preoccupied with their photography business — mentally and emotionally.

Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear Genetra’s remarkable story, including the steps she took to optimize her website SEO, bringing her loads of organic traffic via Google.

Here are links to some things mentioned in this conversation:  The Portrait System Podcast Episode 1: Saray Taylor-Roman, Sue Bryce: Portrait Pricing, Sue Bryce: Free Shoots & Gift Vouchers, The Portrait Masters Shootout.

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

Get to Know Genetra White

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

A: The only regret I have in my business is not charging a sustainable wage sooner! Since raising my prices, I’ve been so much happier and able to create better art. 

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

A: My biggest accomplishment would be quitting my job and opening my studio! After that, it would be my first $1k sale!

Q: What has been your biggest breakthrough in business?

A: My biggest breakthrough has been becoming an “extrovert” and being able to talk to people and say my prices out loud. I used to have so much anxiety over phone consultations and networking events, but the more I do it, the easier it gets.

Q: What does the Sue Bryce Education community mean to you?

A: The Sue Bryce community is everything to me. To have a group of like-minded individuals is gold. Whether it’s helping someone who is newer or looking to more seasoned photographers for advice, it is truly a fulfilling community to be a part of!

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

A: There were a combination of things that helped me push past fear in building my business: self-value and believing in my worth and ability, seeing the success of others in Sue Bryce Education and having a supportive husband and family!

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Genetra White

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Click Here to Read the Podcast Transcript

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Please note this transcript was generated by AI and may contain errors.

00:00:00:02 – 00:00:02:07

You’re listening to the Portrait System podcast.

00:00:02:22 – 00:00:20:29

I just told myself, OK, if I can just break even doing photography with what I’m making with teaching, then I haven’t lost anything. And then within maybe two months of quitting my job, getting my studio, I think I tripled that month, my teaching salary.

00:00:23:06 – 00:00:58:12

This is the Portrait System Podcast, a show that helps portrait photographers and people hoping to become one. Navigate the world of photography, business, money and so much more. We totally keep it real. We share stories about the incredible ups and the very difficult downs when running a photography business. I’m your host, Nikki Closser, and the point of this podcast is for you to learn actionable steps that you can take to grow your own business and also to feel inspired and empowered by the stories you hear.

Today’s guest is Genetra White, and she was a high school Spanish teacher who was just so done with teaching, and she decided to give photography a try for her new career.

00:00:58:25 – 00:01:30:28

Genetra is someone who has no excuses. She just does the work. Genetra lives in small town Waco, Texas, and she has three little kids with another baby on the way. In less than two years, with three young children, she built and grew her business to an over $2000 sales average. She does this in an area with lots of other photographers charging less than her, and she even won the W Awards 2020 best photographer in her area. Genetra is someone I highly respect and love chatting with, and I’m so happy to be able to introduce you to her.

00:01:31:04 – 00:01:35:16

OK, here is Genetra White. Hi Genetra, how are you?

00:01:36:03 – 00:01:37:28

Hi, Nikki, I’m great. How are you?

00:01:38:17 – 00:01:42:08

I’m good. It’s nice to see you again. We got to see each other not too long ago in person.

00:01:42:20 – 00:01:44:00

Yeah, that was great.

00:01:44:28 – 00:01:45:26

Are you feeling OK?

00:01:46:17 – 00:01:48:10

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good.

00:01:48:27 – 00:01:53:17

Sweet. OK. So if you’re listening out there, if you don’t know Genetra She is expecting.

00:01:54:03 – 00:02:18:01

Yes. Yes, I am. And I will be 17 weeks tomorrow and this is going to be baby number three for me and our fourth child between my husband and I. So we’re pretty busy around here. We have four under six right now. Well, three under six with one on the way. So, oh yeah,

00:02:18:03 – 00:02:34:25

you have your hands full. Well in hearing. That makes me even more happy that I’m interviewing you because you just left your. Other full time career in February, right, like you just started this journey in December of 2020.

00:02:35:07 – 00:02:35:22


00:02:36:07 – 00:02:51:19

OK, so not only you’re pregnant, you have three kids and you managed to within less than a year, create like a significantly successful quarter business. Yes. Yeah. So awesome. We need it. We need to like

00:02:52:03 – 00:02:53:14

Archive all of that. Yeah.

00:02:54:22 – 00:03:00:01

So why don’t we start from the beginning? Like, what did you do before photography? Let’s start there.

00:03:00:13 – 00:03:07:02

So I taught public school, high school Spanish for seven years up until this February.

00:03:07:12 – 00:03:15:09

OK, wow. So I mean, that’s a huge, significant change going from a high school Spanish teacher to photography.

00:03:15:11 – 00:03:17:13

Yes. Yes.

00:03:18:05 – 00:03:27:08

OK, so you know, Saray, do you know Sara Taylor Roman? Yes. She was also a high school Spanish teacher for years, and she made the transition into photography.

00:03:27:15 – 00:03:39:15

Yeah, and I actually I listen to her podcast episode and I was like, Oh, this is exactly like what I’m going through. Yeah. And so it kind of it kind of propelled me forward.

00:03:40:03 – 00:03:55:03

Oh, I love that. I’ll have to share that with her. If you’re listening and you haven’t heard Saray’s episode, it’s number one. So just for people listening. Yeah, OK, so that’s really cool. Oh my gosh. OK, so your high school teacher, did you just decide you wanted to make a change? Like what? What made you decide

00:03:55:05 – 00:04:16:11

that it was time for you to switch careers? I just started kind of getting uncomfortable in the educational field. I actually officially started photography in 2019, when I was about six or seven months pregnant with my twenty three month old.

00:04:18:03 – 00:04:48:23

And before that, I was just like the family cell phone picture editor. Everybody would ask me to take a picture of my phone and then do that thing where you edited on whatever app you use and send it to me so I can post it. And I was doing that. I got pregnant with my son and then I was like, I’m going to buy a camera because I’m just going to invest in it because I know that I want to capture all these memories and I probably won’t have the time.

00:04:49:00 – 00:05:22:26

And I was a little cheap back then. And so I was like, I probably won’t have the time or the money to always hire a photographer, so I’ll just buy a camera. And so I did that. I already had the passion for taking pictures and editing, but I didn’t have a clue about actual photography. But that’s how I actually did my first photo shoot when I was pregnant with him. And they were like super cheap pumpkin patch mini sessions. Yeah, yeah. And so I was still doing that and teaching full time, and I was really sick with that pregnancy.

00:05:22:28 – 00:05:55:29

And then so teaching got really hard. And then, I mean, most people know the educational system isn’t ideal right now. So I had him and then COVID hit shortly after he was born, and it made teaching even harder. And so that kind of started pushing me more into photography. And at first I was like, Oh, this is a great way to just bring in some extra income. If I can make like six hundred dollars a month, that’s awesome.

00:05:57:15 – 00:06:00:10

That’s hilarious now because I know what your sales averages.

00:06:03:04 – 00:06:34:25

And then I discovered Sue on Creative Live, and then I did. Actually, I discovered the podcast first, and then I was like, OK, who is Sue Bryce? And I Googled and then I was like, It just opened my eyes to the possibilities, and my business started picking up to where it was kind of a tug of war because I was so exhausted from teaching and being a mom, and then my photography was becoming full time. So I just decided to go all in and OK.

00:06:34:28 – 00:06:43:01

So from there, when you found Sue initially, what made you decide to join like the education part of it? You know the Sue Bryce Education dot com.

00:06:43:11 – 00:07:14:06

So I actually everything that I did prior to an up to quitting my job was solely on like the creative live, the YouTube videos and just listening to like 80 podcast episodes. Yeah, yeah. And just taking something from each episode and implementing it, I didn’t. Even I had already quit my job before I actually joined the education. OK? And it was at that point I was like, OK, I need to. I’ve quit my job now.

00:07:14:08 – 00:07:30:28

I need to, like, get everything that’s out there. And so it was during the free week I did. I did free week and then I joined the education. But I had already found a studio, signed a lease and all of that. Within like a few weeks of that,

00:07:31:11 – 00:08:05:21

OK, awesome. Let’s go back to that, let’s go back to when you made the decision to quit, quit your job because I know there are a lot of people listening who are in your same shoes, like whether it is teaching or a totally different profession who they’re like, they want to do this. So let’s back up a little bit. And first of all. One more thing before we talk about that, I’m so glad that listening to all the different episodes was helpful and that you were learning a lot from it. It’s it’s always so nice to hear that. Yeah, that I mean, I always learn every time I interview someone, but that’s really great to hear. But OK, so let’s move back then to when you decided I’m done.

00:08:06:18 – 00:08:13:11

Like, where did you feel super prepared? Were you nervous? Did you feel like you had all your ducks in a row? Like, how did that go?

00:08:13:28 – 00:08:35:16

I felt prepared, but it was still kind of spontaneous because it’s something that I had talked about for a long time. And it was always when I stopped teaching, when I quit my job, when I go full time and it was always, you know, OK, next year when I go full time, this is, you know, what’s going to happen and this is what I’m going to raise my prices to.

00:08:37:07 – 00:09:14:25

And it was always kind of in the future something that I was just talking about. And there were just a couple of weeks in the the beginning of the new year when we came back from Christmas break that were just really stressful. And, you know, I would get off work and I would have a ton of inquiries for photoshoots. And I would just dread going back the next day because all I could think about was my photography business. And it was just there was so much that was being piled on to us as teachers that there wasn’t enough time in the day.

00:09:14:27 – 00:09:21:11

And so it was literally just one day I went home and I told my husband, I don’t think I’m going back.

00:09:23:04 – 00:09:52:21

And he knew everything that I had gone through, like the the previous two years, and he was just like, OK, yeah. And so and that was really big that he believed in me. And, you know, he was supportive because I probably wouldn’t have been able to walk away. If I didn’t have that, I probably would have second guessed myself. Yeah, yeah. But he just was like, OK, I trust you. If you say you can do this, then I know you’re going to get it done.

00:09:52:28 – 00:10:23:25

Yeah, it’s interesting to hear you say that you were way more excited about photography and just that’s all you thought about as opposed to your current job. And when you got home, that’s what you wanted to do. I think that’s a pretty big indicator that mentally and emotionally people are ready to make that leap. But it’s just the preparedness like, you know, it sounds like you had some support and that sort of thing. But yeah, everyone kind of thing I think has their own like threshold for how comfortable they are with what they have financially saved and how much money they have.

00:10:23:27 – 00:10:49:04

And like, I didn’t really have anything saved when I when I finally quit, but I was prepared in that I already had built some. I had some clients consistently coming in where I didn’t have much cause I was digging myself out of debt with those clients, with those clients. But some people are financially feeling great and then they quit and then they built up the client. So I think it just kind of depends like, where did you where do you feel like you were?

00:10:49:17 – 00:11:36:13

It was kind of a mixture for me. Financially, I felt great because I’ve always been like a planner, a saver, and I was very intentional about making sure that I was going to run this business debt free. Yeah. And so I felt financially secure. There was still some doubt and because, yeah, at first I was like, OK, I’ll do good if I just make like a like two thirds of my teaching salary the first year, and then that’ll be OK, we’ll be able to get by. But I think it was like around, I think when I started really diving in around December 2020 and I did like twenty five hundred dollars in photography while working and, you know, doing pretty cheap photoshoots.

00:11:36:15 – 00:11:56:14

Yeah, yeah. And then January I did. It slowed down a little bit, but I still did like another two thousand and I was like, OK, so how much more could I do if I could dedicate 100 percent of my time to this? Yeah, because yes, I’m bringing in income from teaching, but that’s also taken away from my earning potential with photography.

00:11:57:00 – 00:11:58:21

That’s a great point. Yeah.

00:11:59:07 – 00:12:28:01

And so that was one of the main things. And I just. I just told myself, OK, if I can just break even doing photography with what I’m making with teaching, then I haven’t lost anything. Hmm. And then within maybe two months of quitting my job, getting my studio, I had like, I think I tripled that month, my teaching salary.

00:12:28:04 – 00:12:30:21

So awesome. Do you remember what your teaching salary was?

00:12:31:03 – 00:12:45:27

It was about about fifty six thousand a year. OK, yeah. So I was probably bringing home close to four thousand a month. And then in April of this year, I grossed twelve thousand at my studio.

00:12:46:11 – 00:12:47:26

Oh my gosh. In one month.

00:12:48:19 – 00:13:01:27

Yeah, yeah. I was super busy at that time. I slowed down a little bit since then because I was that was. I think I did like eight sessions that month and then I realized that’s that’s a lot for me right now with the family.

00:13:02:17 – 00:13:11:23

Yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s it’s remarkable. And even though I feel like even though it’s busy with photography and photo shoots, it’s not the kind of like

00:13:12:03 – 00:13:13:03

you don’t dread it.

00:13:13:13 – 00:13:40:25

Yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. One thing and also you don’t have to be at the school at 7:30 until 4:00 and every day and you’re everything’s planned for you. Like you can put it, if you want, you could put the kids to bed and do a little editing or, you know, get the kids off to school or, you know, a sitter. You know, it’s like you would just have so much more flexibility than even if you’re working as much, I feel like it isn’t as like crazy, overwhelming or something. I don’t know. Yeah.

00:13:40:27 – 00:14:13:22

And they say that it’s not work when you’re having fun. Yeah. And I’ve really been able to tailor my schedule to where it works for our family. My husband works a nontraditional schedule. He works long days. He works weekends. But I’m able to make it to where I’m at the studio on the days during the week, the days that he’s off and the days that he’s at home. And then I’m still able to set aside one of those days where he’s off, where we can just spend time together. Yeah, I have kind of narrowed down my booking calendar.

00:14:13:24 – 00:14:38:19

At first I was like, I will shoot whoever whenever to get them in the door. But now I’ve kind of refined that to where I don’t work as much. On weekends, I will take maybe one Saturday or Sunday a month if it’s a client that I really want to work with. But usually I’m at the studio Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then the rest of the week is just family or editing things like that.

00:14:38:29 – 00:14:49:02

Yeah, OK, I have a million questions for you. Let’s start with tell me what out of your business do you outsource and what do you do on your own? Or do you just do everything on your own?

00:14:49:13 – 00:15:16:18

I am terrible about outsourcing, and that’s one of the things that I want to work on. Yeah, and I keep saying like, I need to hire some people to do something because I’m also kind of a control freak when it comes to those things, and I feel like I’m the only one that’s going to get it done, how I want it done. Yeah, but I know that I need to outsource. I probably need to start outsourcing my editing because it’s taken up a huge chunk of my time. Yes,

00:15:19:29 – 00:15:34:25

but I’m I’m right now. I’m doing everything on my own, even the hair and makeup. When I was in college, I was actually a makeup artist for Mac. And so when I couldn’t find someone for the studio, I said, Well, I’ll just do the makeup for now.

00:15:36:00 – 00:15:44:02

Yeah. So you do it all you like, your client comes in and you’re really the only one they see. You do everything. Yeah, that’s that’s hard.

00:15:44:12 – 00:16:04:09

And I even I think I created like a job posting for an assistant earlier this year. And then I just never followed through with even my holding interviews because it was just I was so overwhelmed by just trying to find the right person. Yeah. So I’m going to be more intentional about that next year.

00:16:04:23 – 00:16:33:28

Yeah, yeah. I hope so because taking especially doing hair and makeup editing and everything like, that’s a big workload at the same time, you know, I think, gosh, when we first start our businesses that we’re still trying to figure out what are the things we do want to do within our businesses and what don’t we want to do? And so I mean, that’s OK. Like, eventually you’ll work it out, you’ll find an assistant or a hair makeup artist or whatnot retoucher or whatever that is. And yeah, because I mean, let’s see you quit your job February of 2019,

00:16:34:07 – 00:16:36:04

is that right? Twenty twenty one this year.

00:16:36:23 – 00:16:42:15

Oh, this year. Oh my gosh. OK, wow, I got that way wrong. Okay, so I knew that. But OK,

00:16:42:17 – 00:16:45:18

so I picked up a camera in 2019. OK?

00:16:46:03 – 00:17:23:02

Yeah. OK, so you just quit your job in February of this year and you already grossed. You had it. April was grossing twelve thousand. Yes. Yeah. OK, let’s let’s talk about pricing, OK? Because I feel like all of this has happened really quickly and you don’t make twelve thousand in one month from having even $500 in photo shoots, I’m guessing. Yeah, yeah, I mean, I guess you could, but you would be like crazy. It’d be insane. So, so talk to me about when you first, you know? So I know you said that you had your business going before you quit your job, so maybe start there.

00:17:23:04 – 00:17:24:15

What did you start charging

00:17:24:24 – 00:18:00:12

at the beginning? So before I quit my job, I was actually still pretty much shoot and burn. OK, because I felt like in my head, I was telling myself, You can’t charge these prices without a studio, which is totally untrue. I would. I tell people all the time I see photographers that do great work and they’re commenting on all the, you know, I need a cheap photographer post and I DM them and I’m like, You need to value yourself. You can charge more. Yeah. But so I think my highest package was like three seventy five.

00:18:00:14 – 00:18:34:01

And that was back in December and January and February. I went to basically IPS where I just had a session fee and I had three packages that included prints and I was doing printed reveals during that time. OK, I’ve changed my pricing structure about three times this year to get to where I’m comfortable that now. But back then it was a one ninety nine session fee and then my packages started at seven hundred.

00:18:34:26 – 00:18:57:09

They went to twelve hundred and then my top package was sixteen hundred and it was, I believe. 15, eight by 10s. Oh, wow, yeah, OK. Yeah. And all the digitals. That was the selling point for that package was that they still got all the digitals, but they got to pick their 15 eight by 10s.

00:18:57:11 – 00:19:01:10

Their prints? OK. So then where are you out now with your pricing right now?

00:19:01:12 – 00:19:32:23

My pricing is pretty much all digital. I have prints as add ons, but what I found over between February and I think June was that people just wanted the digitals. So my clients really wanted the digital. The prints were they were kind of getting those because that was the package that I had. Yeah. And so now all of my packages are digital packages, and then I have prints that can be added on a la carte.

00:19:33:06 – 00:19:53:07

And so I have a lot of different packages. They range from Three Digital’s for 750. And then they go. Five, 10, 15 digitals is two thousand, and then right now my most popular is all the digitals, which usually that’s about 40 images and it’s 30 to 50.

00:19:53:15 – 00:20:01:22

Awesome. So all they get is I don’t mean that all they get, but they don’t get any physical products, anything digital for three thousand two hundred fifty dollars.

00:20:02:00 – 00:20:02:15


00:20:02:25 – 00:20:04:09

Plus the 199 session fee

00:20:04:19 – 00:20:06:20

for and now my session fees to ninety nine

00:20:07:00 – 00:20:36:18

to nine. OK, good. Wow. That’s really incredible. So I want to I want to have you just kind of describe or just talk about what you mostly shoot because I notice on your website and I know you’re a little bit newer, you know, quote unquote newer at this. And I have a feeling you’re probably going to narrow down these genres. But right now, I notice on your website it’s like weddings, newborns, branding portraits like you have, like all of them, listed. Yeah. So talk to me about what you really love doing and what are you doing the most?

00:20:36:27 – 00:21:08:25

So when people ask me that question, usually my answer is women. I love to shoot women. And so right now, that’s mainly portraits and branding. So milestones, women will come to me when they’re turning 30 or turning 50. And as I call myself a serial entrepreneur because I’ve always had this entrepreneurial spirit. Nice. And so I really connect with other entrepreneurs, so I love to do branding and kind of help people in. And it’s even more than just the photos.

00:21:08:27 – 00:21:39:15

It’s like coaching them through their business. Kind of sometimes, yes. So I would say mainly women and then obviously women, their families are important. So I will do so do families and children and things like that. But narrowing it down, I would just have to say portraits and branding, OK, weddings, weddings. I still have them on there, but I don’t market them anymore. I think I have one wedding on the books for twenty twenty two.

00:21:40:04 – 00:22:04:11

Mm hmm. And then I’ll probably be phasing them out. Yeah, yeah. I kept them on this year because I was still kind of like, OK, I need to make sure that I’m leaving the door open. But once I realized that how much work I was putting into on a wedding day and that, you know, I could still earn that doing a 90 minute branding session, that kind of put things into perspective.

00:22:05:04 – 00:22:35:25

Oh, yeah, definitely. That’s exactly how I am. I’m like, No, I don’t want to work harder than I need to at that. Like, it’s an intense amount of photos to edit and hours and just so much time put into it. So I can totally understand that. OK, so I’m thinking back to all the people that I’ve interviewed, and it almost seems like once people truly narrowed down that specialty of what and stick with what they love, their business takes off even more.

00:22:36:05 – 00:22:48:06

Yeah, and it’s just a matter of incorporating only that into your marketing. Do you foresee yourself, you know, moving in that direction where you stop posting the babies and you know the things you don’t want to shoot anymore?

00:22:48:21 – 00:23:17:15

Yeah, I do. And actually, I need to update my website. I built my website myself. That’s just another another thing that I didn’t outsource. Yeah. So updating it is also like on the back burner. Yeah. So that’s probably something I need to just hire someone and tell them what I want to leave and what I want to take away in just to get it done. I honestly just haven’t done it because time.

00:23:18:07 – 00:23:30:06

Yeah, yeah. I know you said you do printed reveals before. So I kind of just want to like walk through. I did business like, OK, so you do print reveals. But now that you do digital only, I’m assuming it’s a digital type reveal.

00:23:30:16 – 00:24:01:06

Yes. And they still they still come into the studio. It’s still the same experience. I do like an animoto slide show, and it’s just really like my favorite images from the session. And then we sit down and we go through each one of their images one by one. OK. Whereas before, when I was doing printed, they would come in. I would show them their slideshow and they would be like, Wow. And then I would like let up the curtain and they would see their images in print and they would be like, Oh my gosh.

00:24:01:12 – 00:24:19:02

Yeah, yeah, so awesome. OK, so so let’s talk through kind of start to finish. So someone books you and then do you do just like a, you know, consultation through email or or on the phone? Or how do you know what, what exactly the client wants out of their photo session?

00:24:20:03 – 00:24:51:11

So I have two options on my website. They can actually book completely online. I have my calendar of availability and it’s it to me. My website is very straightforward. It tells them, you know, your session fee is my time, talent, creativity. The images are, you know, an additional purchase at your reveal. It outlines the whole process. And then there’s a questionnaire when they book that kind of ask them a little bit about their session. They have to check off that. They do understand pricing.

00:24:51:22 – 00:25:28:17

And I have my starting price and my averages on my website. And then once they book, there’s a breakdown, but they know the range. If people get to that point and they’re kind of unsure, then they can set up a phone consultation and I will go over in depth with them, the pricing and all of that. And so it’s about 50 50. Sometimes I’ll get people and they say, I found your website, I read everything and yeah, I book. And then sometimes people want to talk more because what I found is there’s a lot of education that has to go into it.

00:25:28:27 – 00:25:50:15

Yeah, a lot of people have never had this kind of experience. Yeah, they don’t know what to expect. They don’t know that a session fee doesn’t include any images. So it’s a lot of educating to do. But I’ve been fortunate enough that most of the people that I’ve talked to have, I’ve been able to educate them and they’ve been understanding.

00:25:52:06 – 00:26:00:20

And then obviously, you know, some people, it’s just not a good fit. They want, you know, the 50 dollars and 200 images.

00:26:01:27 – 00:26:03:08

Yeah, it happens.

00:26:03:25 – 00:26:35:14

But you know, I really try to sell people on the experience that I don’t take a ton of clients. So once they book and we start working one on one and we really plan, we start a Pinterest board to go over, you know, their vision where we can both pin things. They’re welcome to come into the studio and try on anything that I already have in my client closet. And all of that and we just we just kind of work one on one to plan their session. We have a lot of fun.

00:26:35:24 – 00:26:37:06

Yeah, on their session day.

00:26:37:22 – 00:27:16:29

I love that you spend a lot of time on the education piece of it and especially including the experience. And I love what you said that sometimes people just aren’t a good fit, like everyone is not going to be a yes, and that’s OK. And that doesn’t have anything to do with, you know, your like, need to lower your prices or to change anything, you know. I mean, I mean, I will say, though, if you are consistently booking everyone, then it’s time to totally raise your price, right? So it does go in that way. And if you’re booking no one, then that means, OK, something’s off here, right? So it’s like whether or not your quality of photos isn’t where they should be in terms of matching your prices or your value.

00:27:17:01 – 00:27:27:20

Isn’t there like something’s off if you’re not booking anyone? But if you’re just like booking some and not booking others like that’s that’s fine. Like, that’s just how it works.

00:27:28:00 – 00:28:00:04

And I think I became OK with that very early on. Yeah. And so it’s OK with me if if everyone doesn’t, but I’m totally fine now with two to four sessions a month this summer. You know, I did a couple of sessions here and there because I wanted to spend time with the kids while they were out of school and just kind of enjoy the summer. So that was fine with me. Yeah. And now I’ve kind of jumped back in for the fall. So I’m taking on, you know, a little more clients.

00:28:00:06 – 00:28:06:10

I’m already booking for next year sweet and booking clients around my maternity leave right now.

00:28:08:03 – 00:28:23:23

So awesome. OK, so Genetra, tell me a little bit about your marketing because it sounds like you know you’re able to kind of lay low a little bit. But then also, when you’re ready to start again, there’s still clients coming in like, how are you getting all of the clients?

00:28:24:20 – 00:28:59:18

Surprisingly, I was focusing a lot of my energy on Facebook, but I think this year the more people have found me on Instagram. Oh, nice. And I don’t have a ton of followers on Instagram, so it’s always surprising if people are like, Yeah, I was looking on Instagram and I saw your page and I wanted to book. And so that kind of told me, OK, I need to probably put some more energy into Instagram. Yeah, I did a ton of SEO when I was building my website and I was doing a ton of blogging.

00:28:59:26 – 00:29:03:02

And so people were finding me on Google. Real quick.

00:29:03:04 – 00:29:25:25

I noticed that when I was looking at your website, I was like, Oh, that’s smart. You said, you know, in your description, it said something about being Waco, Texas’s a photographer. And I said, OK. She included that right in there as another, you know, SEO phrase. So when someone looks for a photographer in Waco, Texas, yes, you’re more likely to pop up because you included that in your text on the site. Super smart.

00:29:25:27 – 00:29:53:19

Yeah. And I think that’s on pretty much every page on my website. It’s, you know, Waco, Texas, photographer and then I have kind of fallen off on that recently. But in the beginning, I was blogging a ton. I was blogging almost every session. And so that was really driving traffic. Mm hmm. And then now a lot of it is word of mouth. You did so in those pictures. Yeah, yeah.

00:29:54:11 – 00:30:01:04

So on your Instagram, do you have different hashtags and things that you use or is it just sort of you’re just posting and people are finding you and you’re getting lucky?

00:30:01:12 – 00:30:40:12

I do. I try to use mainly local hashtags because I don’t feel like I feel like the broader hashtags get me, followed by a lot of other photographers, but not necessarily clients. Yeah, that’s a good point. So I use mainly local hashtags for Waco, Texas, or I will use like Dallas, Austin, which are about each about an hour and a half from here. So I have booked clients from other cities that have either driven in to the studio or pay a travel fee to have me come to them if they want to do like outdoor branding at a specific location in their city.

00:30:40:16 – 00:31:12:12

Yeah, I’m a big fan of local hashtags too, because I think about I’m always thinking about how am I as a consumer and like if I’m looking for a new hairstylist, I’m going to search Instagram for Ann Arbor hairstylists. I’m not just putting in hairstylists because I could get someone in, you know, Venice, Italy or Dallas, Texas, you know, you could get anyone. So I’m I’m a huge fan when you’re trying to find new clients for those local hashtags. Absolutely. I’m with you on that. So much. OK, so mostly Instagram. Some Facebook, lots of word of mouth.

00:31:12:29 – 00:31:21:22

And then you said right on your website, there’s something that people can schedule. Is that right? Yes, that makes me so nervous.

00:31:23:14 – 00:31:30:17

I’m like, Oh, no, I don’t want to open up my schedule because then I look at it and regret it, or I don’t even know. So how do you plan and how does that work?

00:31:30:28 – 00:32:05:13

Well, it’s very limited. I have, and I usually try like every month or every two weeks to go through and look and say, OK, let me make sure that these are dates that I want to work this this week or this month. Yeah, yeah. But it’s very it’s very generic and limited on that booking calendar. Like, I know that I’m comfortable with shooting on Tuesdays any time during the day when my girls are at school because I know my husband is home with our son and I’m OK if somebody goes in and books that on a Tuesday.

00:32:05:18 – 00:32:22:21

So that’s pretty much always open. Now I do have it where they cannot book within 72 hours. So like nothing last minute because I feel like it just takes away from the experience. And I have had people that will contact me and be like, Oh, are you free tomorrow?

00:32:24:18 – 00:32:39:17

Now I’m like, negative. We don’t have time to plan and, you know, so I do have that. But then I also have a note on there that says, you know, if the date and time you’re looking for is not available, let’s have a consultation and see what we can work out.

00:32:40:03 – 00:32:52:28

Yeah, yeah. OK, that makes sense. I like that and I love I love the, you know, contact me anyway, because then you’re connecting with them. So instead of them thinking like, Oh, she’s not available, at least you can make some point of contact with them. Right?

00:32:53:16 – 00:33:28:04

So if they start the booking process on my website and they get to the end and they don’t check out pay the session fee or something like that, my the CRM that I use, which is def Sardo, it still sends me their lead form with their contact information. And so I’m I’m able to reach out and say, Hey, I saw that you started the booking process. Can I answer any questions for you? And I have that happen a lot where people will start the process and they just don’t realize, Oh, I have to pay, like to book and then they’ll they just won’t finish it.

00:33:29:00 – 00:33:43:21

Or people will say, Oh, I was at work and I didn’t have my card. And you know, I need to do it later or. But it allows me to reach out to them and see if they have questions. And then usually those are the people that I need to fully, you know, go over pricing and everything with. Yeah, yeah.

00:33:44:16 – 00:34:17:18

Although part of me wonders is like, I mean, I don’t know, but I’m like, I’m assuming you are always multitasking and doing things like, I’ll put something in my cart that I want to buy, like my cart online, that I want to buy for my kids or for myself or whatever. And then I get so busy and I forget about it and I come back and I just like, forget, you know, and it’s like on your to do list and the next thing, you know, it’s gone. And so I mean, I feel like that could be such an easy way to convert people because they’ve already shown interest. They’ve already shown that they want to do it. So I love that that the program offers that very cool, right?

00:34:18:13 – 00:34:38:06

Yeah. Or sometimes people will even say, Well, I was going to book, but I really needed Wednesday at two o’clock and we didn’t have that available and I can I can then contact them and say, Well, actually, I can be available Wednesday at 2:00. If you, you know, if you want to book. Yeah, so

00:34:39:06 – 00:34:51:25

so OK, I have a couple questions for you because Waco is not a. Town right now. Yeah, I don’t think so, I mean, obviously, Dallas and Austin are larger, but Waco is a small town. Are there other photographers in your area who charge less than you do?

00:34:52:12 – 00:35:13:17

Yes, I would say probably 90 percent of the photographers in my area charge less than I do. I’ve actually mentored. I kind of unofficially mentored a couple of those photographers and have tried to give them all the tools so that everybody can get on the same page. Yeah.

00:35:13:19 – 00:35:15:08

Yeah. Wouldn’t that be nice? Yeah.

00:35:15:10 – 00:35:31:02

But you know, everybody’s not ready at the same time. There are some when I’ve done, my Google search is just testing out. SEO I have found some photographers who seem like they’re on a similar business model, but I can probably count those on one hand. Yeah.

00:35:31:08 – 00:35:46:09

Yeah. Well, and the reason I wanted to ask that is because I think that is something that gets in people’s way. Sometimes it’s like, Oh, there’s a million photographers in my town that are cheaper than me or I’m a small town. People won’t pay that here. And what’s your average like just close to 3000, right?

00:35:46:26 – 00:35:49:26

Yeah, it’s it’s about twenty seven hundred.

00:35:50:15 – 00:35:56:26

Yeah, that’s pretty amazing in a small town in Texas, with other photographers charging less.

00:35:58:21 – 00:36:00:20

And you’ve done it like quickly.

00:36:01:01 – 00:36:01:16

I mean,

00:36:02:03 – 00:36:17:14

granted, everyone is on their own path and everyone has their own like life circumstances that might slow them down a little or speed them up. But. Right. This is just proof that if you really want this and you do the work. You can make it happen rather quickly.

00:36:18:02 – 00:36:34:04

Right? Yeah, because all it takes, I mean, it doesn’t matter whether you hesitate for six months or you hesitate for a year, you still have to jump in before you can see those results. And so I always encourage people like you don’t need to. You can change your prices tonight.

00:36:34:24 – 00:37:23:00

Yes, totally. You know, totally. And if you and if that scares you and you’re like, Well, what am I going to do when people inquire? My clients like Sue teaches all of that on the education site. I mean, I know we talk about it here and there, but I mean, she has all of that there for you and what to do and how to use gift vouchers and how to, you know, tell all clients past clients that you do have new pricing and how to bring them along and just everything that comes along with you, changing your prices and upping your prices and finding the value with it and increasing your service, your level of service so that people want to you so that you are the photographer people want to book because need I mean, let’s face it, clearly, you’re doing something that sets yourself apart from cheaper photographers because otherwise they would just book the cheaper photographer.

00:37:23:02 – 00:37:29:04

And some people do book the cheaper photographer. And that’s OK, right? You’re doing things that are setting you apart to be the photographer people want to book.

00:37:29:12 – 00:37:58:01

Right, right. And I do. I have people. I have a VIP group on Facebook, and I have people that, you know, always tell me, Oh, one day, like one day I’m going to, I’m going to book you. And you know, they may not be able to afford it or they may not value it enough right now. But when they keep seeing the service that I provide and the concept that I put out, they start to value it more and make it a priority. But I still like sweat on every consultation call. Yeah, when I when I say my pricing

00:37:59:03 – 00:38:10:28

is, you know, I’ve been doing this for 10 years and it’s still every so often I get that like it’s a certain person who’s asking all the different questions. And there’s I don’t know, there’s just saying I’m like a little nervous.

00:38:11:00 – 00:38:41:17

But yeah, people, you know, and I’m telling them there’s different tiers of digitals and they’re like, Well, what if I just want them all? And I have to say, you know, that’s three thousand two hundred and fifty. I feel like I get clammy. And then, you know, and then when they’re like, OK, and I know in their head they’re thinking, Well, I’ll probably just get 10 or 15 digitals instead. And then when they get in their reveal and I mean, they just they just tell me, and it’s great because they’re not upset at their reveal, like, we have a good time. We’ve built a relationship.

00:38:41:19 – 00:38:48:19

They’ve they’ve been educated. And so they’re just like Genetra. I want everything. Why did you do this to me? Yeah, yeah.

00:38:48:24 – 00:38:51:26

Yeah, I’ve gotten that before. Like, why did you have to make this so hard?

00:38:51:28 – 00:38:52:24

I’m sorry.

00:38:53:23 – 00:39:02:25

Yeah, that’s awesome. OK, one more question before we get on to the questions I always ask at the end is how much talk about your studio? So what’s your shooting space like?

00:39:03:25 – 00:39:26:00

So my studio is actually when I decided I wanted a studio. There were two retail spaces available in Waco at that time. And I looked at both of them, and then I signed the lease the next day on the second one, because at that point I was just like, I have to start somewhere. It’s better than my home office because my husband wasn’t a fan of that.

00:39:27:03 – 00:39:28:03

I get it. Yep.

00:39:28:12 – 00:40:00:04

And so it actually the previous tenant was a group of realtors. They were a group of realtors, and they had like little cubicles in there. It has it like a small reception area at the front. And so I use that to display wall art so I can educate people on sizing and framing and all that. And I have my coffee and refreshments and a couch for people to wait. And then inside my studio, it’s actually you wouldn’t know it from the images, but it’s a pretty tight space.

00:40:00:21 – 00:40:30:00

There’s literally room for I have my desk where I and my TV, where I do my reveals, and it’s just like a 40, like a 40 inch TV, maybe 32 inch 40 inch. And I have my backdrops that are hanging on the far wall and they’re about, I think, nine feet across. And then there is maybe like a foot on each end, on each side. And then I have like my big eighty six inch umbrella, which like takes up half the room

00:40:32:08 – 00:40:52:02

and then just props and everything are everywhere. My brother in law made my posing boxes. So then I have those oh, sweet. But it’s it’s actually it’s a really intimate space. It’s not my dream studio right now, but it it definitely helps me still produce like the kind of images that I want right now.

00:40:52:21 – 00:40:57:06

Yeah. So you shoot strobe. You said you have the 86 inch umbrella.

00:40:57:08 – 00:41:36:03

Yeah, yeah, because I don’t have any windows in the shooting space. So that was a learning curve because I have been an outdoor photographer for my entire career. And then I found the studio that has no windows like I just need a space. So then I had to learn lighting. Yeah, and so but now it’s funny, because now I actually kind of prefer it because I’ve learned it, I know what to do with it and I know what to expect. And so when people ask for outdoor sessions now, I’m like, Oh well, and I have to figure out what time the sun sets and then I have to like.

00:41:36:14 – 00:41:43:19

But when they ask for studio, I’m like, Oh, I can do it any time of day. My lights are pretty much already set for every session. I don’t really move them.

00:41:45:06 – 00:41:45:21


00:41:45:23 – 00:41:50:09

And so that’s why I always laugh when people are saying, like, Oh, I don’t have a studio, I can’t charge

00:41:51:29 – 00:42:10:13

higher prices. I’m like to understand how much harder it is when you’re on location or you’re outside, like, it’s way harder. You’re at the mercy of weather and sunlight and people and cars and garbage cans and wind and sweat.

00:42:10:15 – 00:42:11:29

And because we’re in Texas.

00:42:12:22 – 00:42:42:22

Yeah, yeah, totally. The heat. The cold. Yeah, all of it. Oh, that’s so awesome. I’m so excited for you, and I love that you just did it like, that’s the thing. Like. People will say they want it and talk about it, and it’s like. Yeah, there’s a lot to do in it, and I know it can be incredibly overwhelming or remember what it feels like. But if you just do, you just do it. I mean, you could. You can get all the props and learn all the things.

00:42:42:24 – 00:42:51:17

And I mean, it doesn’t matter if you’re not, if you learn it and you’re not doing it, what’s the point unless you’re just a serial learner, you know?

00:42:51:19 – 00:42:52:05


00:42:53:21 – 00:43:05:06

So I’m really excited for you. I’m and I’m excited to see to once you start to narrow down a little bit more about what you’re going to market and you will have to do a follow up so we can see where you’re at a year from now.

00:43:05:21 – 00:43:07:18

Yeah, definitely.

00:43:08:20 – 00:43:24:13

Very cool. Well, thank you so much. You’re also such a positive contributor in the Sue Bryce Education Facebook group, and it was so nice to meet you at the portrait master shoot out in person if you just have such great energy. And it was, yeah, it’s nice to meet you in person. And yeah, yeah.

00:43:24:15 – 00:43:25:23

Same. Thank you.

00:43:26:02 – 00:43:33:20

Yeah, OK. I do have a couple more questions that I always ask at the end, OK? And the first one is what is something you cannot live without when you’re doing a photo shoot?

00:43:34:19 – 00:44:01:12

I’m really going to say my camera and probably music music, because I guess the camera’s a given, but music because I mean, it’s all about the energy, especially when you know you have two women in the room and you want your client to feel comfortable. And I ask on their questionnaire what kind of music they like so that I’m kind of able to cater that to them.

00:44:01:25 – 00:44:11:04

Yeah, awesome. You’re not the first person to say that a bunch of people have said that. Yeah. Very cool. OK. Next question is how do you spend your time when you’re not working?

00:44:12:06 – 00:44:26:09

Well, I have three kids and a husband, so that’s basically and then I come from a family that’s really close like my parents, my siblings, my in-laws. And so we all just we spend time together.

00:44:27:06 – 00:44:36:15

Awesome. I love that. It’s the best, isn’t it? Yeah. I don’t recall. OK, and then what is your favorite inspirational quote?

00:44:38:07 – 00:44:43:15

I have a lot of inspirational quotes, so this is a hard one, but I saw one recently

00:44:45:00 – 00:45:15:26

that applies to photography and it says you don’t take a photograph, you make it. And that really goes in line with my philosophy in my business because I always tell people it’s more than pictures, it’s it’s art that I’m creating for you. It’s memories that I’m giving to you. And so I like that quote. You don’t take a photograph. You make it. Yeah, because anybody can pick up a cell phone or a camera and take your picture. But what I give you is, is art.

00:45:17:06 – 00:45:29:13

Yeah, it’s fantastic. Love it. And it’s true. Yeah, yeah. OK. Number four is what would you tell people who are just getting started with all of this photography stuff?

00:45:31:10 – 00:45:57:05

I would tell people that to just value yourself and just do it. You don’t get any cool points for being the cheap photographer on all the Facebook posts. And isn’t that true? I mean, you know, you just you deserve to to make a living from what you’re passionate about. And once you value yourself, everyone else will.

00:45:58:13 – 00:46:05:27

I love that solid advice. Well, thank you again, and I’ll look forward to our follow up interview a year from now.

00:46:06:12 – 00:46:08:18

Yeah. Thank you so much for interviewing me.

00:46:09:10 – 00:46:23:14

Yeah, yeah. Well, I will see you soon online and hopefully in person again and take care of yourself. I know it’s hard. You know, it’s extra exhausting being pregnant and running a business and being mom and everything else. So yeah,

00:46:23:26 – 00:46:27:00

yeah, I’m finally able to eat now. So that’s that’s good.

00:46:28:04 – 00:46:30:17

Good. All right. You take care.

00:46:30:29 – 00:46:31:29

OK. You too, Nikki

Thank you so much for listening to the Portrait System Podcast. Your five-star reviews really help us to continue what we do. So, if you like listening, would you mind giving us a review wherever you listen? I also encourage you to head over to, where you can find all of the education you need to be a successful photographer. There are over 1,000 on-demand educational videos on things like posing, lighting, styling, retouching, shooting, marketing, sales, business, and self-value

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