Premium Members, click here to access this interview in the premium area.

Emma O'Brien of is a British born pet photographer living and working in South Africa.

Her niche is dog photography and in a challenging economy, she's managed to build a successful and profitable business, averaging $10,000 per month from 10 to 12 shoots.

As a reference: The average freelance photographer in South Africa earns $1000 per month.

In this interview, Emma shares how she has built a profitable photography business in a low-income area.

In addition to her portrait photography business, Emma is a Nikon South Africa school trainer. She also mentors other photographers on a one-on-one basis and via more structured workshops in collaboration with Nikon.

Once I learnt about the business she'd built in such a tough market, I knew she'd make a great guest for us.

Here’s some more of what we cover in the interview:

  • How Emma ended up as a pet photographer in South Africa
  • Why Emma decided to settle in South Africa over the UK
  • Emma's client demographics in South Africa
  • How Emma started her photography business in South Africa
  • The importance of networking and doing charity work to kick start your business fast
  • Why Emma left wedding photography behind
  • Discovering a passion for pet photography
  • Why Emma is earning so much more than other local photographers
  • Surviving in an environment where creatives and service providers are undervalued
  • Emma's dog photography business model
  • Most photographers in South Africa low rate, shoot and burn photographers
  • The challenge of utilising a UK photog business model in South Africa
  • How working with a coach turned Emma's photography business around
  • The importance of having a base shoot fee for every photo session
  • Having the right mindset and believing in your pricing
  • Photography pricing and packages
  • Incentivising people to spend more to get more
  • Encouraging clients to purchase printed products from their shoots
  • Shooting indoors and out
  • Emma's secret to repeat bookings
  • Clients tend to be comfortable and relaxed if they don't feel rushed to finish a photo session
  • How clients find Emma's business
  • The importance of in-home sales sessions
  • Emma's in-home sales session strategy
  • Make the post photoshoot experience easy for clients
  • How Emma up-sells during her sales sessions
  • Sending price lists before a consult
  • Keeping it simple with your photography style and workflow process
  • Why social media should not be used aggressively for marketing
  • Instagram as a tool to attract future clients
  • How to identify where clients find you
  • How Emma's mentoring for creatives work
  • Tips on going on a safari in South Africa

Emma Obrien Photography Podcast

What’s on Offer for Premium Members

If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this interview – the full length and more revealing version where you hear the absolute best tips and advice from every guest.

If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interviews each week, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.

You've got to have a base shoot fee for every shoot you do. That way, if your client doesn't spend any extra, you're fine. – Emma O'Brien

Plus special member-only interviews.

You'll also receive access to the members-only Secret Facebook Group where you can connect with other Premium Members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take ideas you hear in each episode and put them into action. There are also FB live video tutorials, role-play interviews and special live interviews happening in the group. You will not find more friendly, more motivated, caring and sharing photographers online.

Joining a Mastermind Group (encouraged by Andrew) has been incredibly valuable and fun, I look forward to connecting with my group members every week. Jina Zheng, Premium Member and Melbourne Children photographer.

Seriously, that's not all.

In addition to everything above, you'll get access to and instructions on forming or joining a MasterMind Group with other premium members. These groups are super motivating, make you accountable and build friendships with other pro photographers with similar motives to you – to build a more successful photography business.

Emma Obrien Photography Podcast

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Emma shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below, let me know what your takeaways were, what you plan to implement in your business as a result of what you heard in today's episode.

It's so important that we nurture that creativity within our business. It's what makes your work desirable for clients. – Emma O'Brien

If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Emma or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them in the comments area below.

Emma Obrien Photography Podcast

iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs

Each week I check for any new iTunes reviews and it's always a buzz to receive these… for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!

Secondly, iTunes is the biggest search engine when it comes to podcasts and it's your reviews and ratings that help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners mean more interviews and ultimately a better show.

If you have left a review in the past, thank you! If you haven't and you'd like to, head to and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL of your website and your name.

Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast and email me your keywords or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.

Another great way to get a backlink to your site is to send a video testimonial. It doesn't need to be fancy and your phone will be perfect. Click record and tell me how PhotoBizX has made a difference to you and your photography business.

Emma Obrien Photography Podcast

Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:

Emma O'Brien Website

Emma O'Brien on Facebook

Emma O'Brien Dog Art Photography

Emma O'Brien on Instagram

Mentoring for Creatives

Mentoring for Creatives for Facebook

Evergreen Facebook Ad Funnels for photographers course

Thank you!

Thanks again for listening and thanks to Emma for coming on and sharing her thoughts and ideas on how to build a successful pet photography business, no matter the demographics and average income of the local area you serve.

When people see their pictures, they always remember how enjoyable the experience was, and it makes the pictures that much more precious to them. – Emma O'Brien

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!

That’s it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!

Thanks and speak soon