Alex Cearns of www.houndstoothstudio.com.au is described as one of our greatest dog photographers in the world by Dogs Today Magazine in the UK. In this interview, Alex shares what it takes and how she's built one of the most successful pet photography businesses in the country and likely, the world.
A former police officer, she is now the photographer and co-owner of Western Australia's, Houndstooth Studio.
Alex photographs over 1000 domestic pets a year for clients and has consistently booked 20 + appointments per week for the last 8 years.
Her studio has survived the GFC and competition in the market and she continues to be booked out several months in advance.
In addition to her successful pet photography business, she works with over 40 different global animal charity organisations.
With more than 250 awards to her name for photography, business and philanthropy – she has also authored 5 books, soon to be 6!
Alex is an ambassador for Tamron’s Super Performance Series Lenses, BenQ, Spider Holster and Seagate, and takes like-minded animal people on global adventures with World Expeditions.
All that and one of her main goals is to be interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show.
Although not Ellen, I was rapt to have the chance to ask Alex the business, marketing, sales and advertising questions I did for this interview. I'm confident you will be as blown away by the business, the photography, the drive, the success and the generosity of this talented and driven photographer and businesswoman.
Here’s some more of what we cover in the interview:
- How Alex manages everything she does in and for her business including her time
- The importance of surrounding yourself with the right people in business
- Alex's driving motivational secrets to becoming a successful photographer
- How other photographers impacted Alex's photography business growth
- Average sale and number of shoots per week
- The importance of having a business mind as a professional photographer
- Business strategies and ideas to grow on a bigger scale
- Pet photography session fees and packages
- Third party promotions and discount strategies working today
- Why Alex refuses to sell digital products
- Gallery setups and how they work in Alex's business to generate bookings
- How to establish brand recognition and the importance of having a good product that stands out
- Successful photography sales sessions from start to finish
- Maintaining standards and centering your focus on your clients as your business grows
- How to structure your prices to allow your customers to buy more
- Why publish and sell books in a pet photography business?
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.
It doesn't matter how many accolades you're receiving and how amazing all these things are. If you don't look after your core customer clients, you don't have any of that. – Alex Cearns
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.
And that's not all… you get a set of steak knives… I'm kidding!
Seriously though, 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.
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Alex 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.
If you're authentic and grateful for the help people give you and you also learn about business if that's where you want to grow with your photography, then it's achievable for anyone to have success. – Alex Cearns
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Alex or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them in the comments area below.
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 https://photobizx.com/itunes 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.
Episode #300 is Coming Up! And the focus is YOU!
With episode 300 fast approaching, the plan is to do something different and make the episode about you.
I'd love for you to record one thing you've implemented, taken away, used or shaped to suit you in your business as a result of what you've heard on the podcast. It can be anything!
Record yourself on any app – your phone in a quiet room is perfect.
Email your audio file (.mp3 is easiest) to email@example.com and in the email, let me know your URL and the anchor text you'd like me to use to link to you from that episodes show notes.
With your anchor text, to keep this simple, let's go with your location and the genre of photography you specialise in.
Attach .mp3 file
Anchor Text: Central Coast wedding photographer
Which will become: Central Coast wedding photographer
Any questions, post in the comments below, in the members FB Group or email me directly.
Let's make episode 300 one to remember and all about you and what you've learnt and used from the interviews you've heard.
Black Friday Sales are Happening NOW
The Black Friday weekend is coming up at the end of the month and there will be sales galore bombarding your inbox.
In an attempt to make life easier for you and me, I'm releasing the PhotoBizX special now.
Included in the specials are three separate offers for PhotoBizX listeners.
12-month Premium Membership – 40% off
You can save 40% on a 12 Month PhotoBizX Premium membership for USD$120! The best price you'll ever see for the membership… ever.
NOTE: Existing members on the $20 per month plan – if you make use of this offer and have already paid $20 this month, let me know and I'll refund this months payment. Existing members already on this plan from last year, no need for you to do anything, you will automatically stay on this deal.
As with any Premium Membership, you'll get access to the full back catalogue of interviews including those with guests like; Fer Juaristi, Jonas Peterson, Sue Bryce, Ryan Brenizer, Yervant, Jerry Ghionis, Nordica Photography, Gabe McClintock, Peter Hurley, Two Mann Studios, Jen Huang plus others.
In addition, you'll receive an invite to the most helpful and supportive Secret Facebook Group for members only with your membership.
Click here to get the deal: Black Friday PhotoBizX Membership Special
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Plus, the Facebook ads Course is also 40% off here – Get access to the Facebook Ads Course for $117.
The Facebook Ads course is the easiest way to generate more leads, bookings and sales – super fast – no matter the wedding or portrait genre you focus on. The testimonials continue to pour in…
Hi Andrew, Had some awesome results from our call out for young families so far. Will email to you. Just made an extra $3000 this week from our first 2 clients. WooHoo! Regards Danette
If you've been looking for a simple, systematic way to make Facebook ads work for you, this is it and you'll never see it at a better price: Get access to the Facebook Ads Course for $117 now.
Online Sales Masterclass – 20% off
It's well known that In Person Sales (IPS) generally outperform Online Sales and there always seems to be a big industry-wide push towards this form of photography sales. Many experts, gurus, rockstars and teachers push hard to get newbies especially into selling in person. Their intentions are good and I'm in the same boat and prefer IPS to online sales in my business.
However… IPS isn't for everyone!
For some photographers, online selling is a better fit either all of the time or at least for some sessions – like it is for me.
Are you a photographer who…
- Has no time for IPS – maybe you have another job or want more time with your family
- Prefers to focus on shooting and not selling
- Shoots on the move while travelling from location to location and don't want to be tied down with IPS
- Works with clients who are holidaying away from their home and only visiting the area you service
- With a dislike of selling in person – may be selling just isn't for you
- Just likes the idea of working online to sell
- Is starting out and selling your photography is new to you and possibly even scares you
- Doesn't have a space to sell in and selling in the clients home or a coffee shop is just a turn-off
Does this sound familiar? If so… this course is definitely for you.
And you can save 20% now with this link: Online Sales Masterclass – Special Price
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SmartAlbums, SmartSlides and the All Apps Bundle
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Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
Perfect Imperfection: Dog Portraits Of Resilience And Love by Alex Cearns
Thanks again for listening and big thanks to Alex for sharing her thoughts on business, branding, success and sales as one of the countries best and most successful pet photographers.
I think the best you can do is run your business how do you like to be treated as a client in other businesses. – Alex Cearns
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