Katie Kolenberg built Heartstory Photography into a successful portrait photography business on her own. She met and Jeremy Byrnes of  JBP Photography and they fell in love but lived 4 hours apart. In this interview, learn how they combined their strengths under the Heartstory banner and have gone from financial success to success.

The one underlaying theme, which isn't obvious from the start is putting your heart and hard work into a great portrait photography business is what's required for success. Portraits are often seen as the easier avenue to build a ‘highly profitable' photography business when compared to weddings… I think you'll come away with a different view following this episode.

We are making good money and there's a lot of portrait photographers out there that aren't

They specialise in family portrait photography and take a limited number of wedding photography bookings each year. In 2014 they photographed 21 weddings and over 140 family portrait sessions.

Here’s some more of what we cover:

  • Combining two business into one and the issues involved
  • Company structure
  • Your accountants advice may not always be the best
  • Are two photographers better than one in a photography business
  • Do two photographers mean more profit or easier profit
  • Is it a good idea to hire a client to work in your business
  • How difficult is it to double your turnover in a portrait photography business
  • What's the better strategy, concentrating on minimising tax or maximising profits in your business
  • Shooting for the sales session
  • Clinical and structured portrait photography versus emotional – where do the better sales come from
  • Do the images even matter at all to the final sale
  • Structuring your price list to encourage high sales numbers
  • Just how many hours go into a portrait shoot
  • Are weekend shoots required for a successful portrait business
  • Getting more bookings fast
  • What is actively marketing and why you need to be doing it in your business
  • Baby bags, gift vouchers and give aways to promote your business… do they work
  • Can you attract the wrong type of client, is there a wrong the of client
  • Photography vouchers work, learn how to maximise your sales from them
  • Why customer service could be the differentiator between success and failure in photography businesses today

Heartstory Photography Interview

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 episode where you can hear lots more content from where we dive deeper into some of the earlier topics plus some new ones that I pushed hard for that include:

  • Why talking on the phone with clients trumps email every time in regard to bookings and portrait sales
  • Why you shouldn't be giving out your complete price list till after the shoot
  • Talking about pricing over the phone
  • making your client feel safe and they've made the right decision with you as their photographer
  • How to build trust with your clients from the first call
  • Using your digital files as a sales incentive not a product in its own right
  • Having products for different spending opportunities
  • Using the trust you've built in the sales session
  • Building options into your pricing structure to make it easy for clients to buy
  • How relationship building with the kids can be as important to your bookings as relationships with the parents
  • The benefits of working alongside another photographer
  • Who can you be networking with to build your business
  • How to handle difficult clients or implants in your portrait photography business
  • Why You should never photograph around bats!

Heartstory Photography Interview

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I’d love to know what your biggest takeaway is – what is the one thing that you’d like to implement or learnt from what was shared? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

Every successful portrait photography business is using vouchers to bring clients in

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

If you’d like an easy way to show Katie and Jeremy your thanks, and support for the show at the same time, click the link to create a tweet and automatically show you’re listening: https://photobizx.com/tweet

Heartstory Photography Interview

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 reasons. Firstly it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping listeners to improve their 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 the PhotoBizX show. More listeners means 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 site like I have with Christine below.

Excellent Podcast for Photography Professionals & Amateurs alike

In iTunes by Christine Wehrmeier AKA Miss-Ninja-UK on April 6, 2015

I’m a professional photographer from London and have been listening to Andrew’s podcast for sometime now. Andrew presents and edits his podcast with such professionalism and warmth and interviews top names in the industry from all around the world.

I invest in training every year and I have to say that the tips and advice you get in this podcast are just as good as the advice I’ve picked up at photography workshops/seminars.

All of Andrew’s guests are so open with their experiences, successes and failures, it truly feels like a shared community rather than just a passive listening experience.

It’s hard to think of just a single “take-away” that I’ve picked up from all the episodes, but I think the strongest theme for me personally has been to always be true to myself, something many guests have spoken about and is very important to me right now.

I didn’t hesitate to take up a premium membership on Photobizx.com last year to take advantage of the bonus content available, it was a fantastic move.

Thanks Andrew, you’re doing a fantastic job and I recommend this podcast to everyone 🙂

Heartstory Photography Interview

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

Heartstory Website

Best of 2014 Blog Post

Heartstory on Facebook

An Open Letter to Andrew Hellmich by Nick Brown of Iconic Photography

Gina Milicia's Website and Podcast

Gina Milicia Interview on PhotoBizX – Premium Only

The Candid Frame episode with John Free

Pro Select – portrait sales software

The Follans – Andrew Follan

Andrew Folan interview in PhotoBizX – Premium Only

Uber Photography – Kate Buchener

The Nikon AIPP Event 2015 – photography workshop  / seminars

Sue Bryce Interview on PhotoBizX – Premium Only


Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Heartstory Photography Interview

Thank you!

Thank you again for listening to the show and thanks Katie and Jeremy for being an awesome guests!

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