Business + Marketing
Tips for a Successful Photography Business: Abby Rose Q&A
May 26, 2023
In addition to her twenty-year old wedding and bat mitzvah photography business, Abby Rose also runs an event studio space in Ann Arbor, MI, called StudioStudio. Abby decided to open the event space because, while on Instagram, she noticed such spaces in other locations but nothing in her area. It looked like a terrific opportunity to grow community and spark creativity for herself and her peers. In the Q&A below, Abby talks about how she made both businesses successful.
To hear more from Abby Rose about how she built her businesses, check out her recent appearance on The Portrait System Podcast.
Abby Rose’s Tips for a Successful Photography Business
What has been your biggest breakthrough in business?
What is your average sale currently?
For weddings and events, my starting commission is $7500 with most clients spending in the $10-$12,000 range. For the studio, one-hour bookings are our most common! That’s just $70, but we booked well over 200 of them in 2022.
Most artists have a point in their life when they know this is meant for them. Do you have that moment?
Definitely! I think I was hooked after my very first wedding. I do remember a point, after a few years spent contracting for other big studios, when it hit me that this was what I wanted to do, and there was no reason I couldn’t do it for myself. I leased a studio, threw up an ad on The Knot, and boom, I was off.
[Read: Two Photo Businesses, One Amazing Recovery Story]
How did you push past fear when building your business?
Honestly, I was pretty confident from the get-go when building my photography brand. By the time I went out on my own, I had several years of experience, both in shooting and studio management, and a strong portfolio. Building StudioStudio was another story. I was definitely scared! I still am some days if I’m being honest. It was a leap of faith. But I have a great partner in the business with complementary strengths, and a lot of cheerleaders. Plus, all my connections from my nearly two decades in the event industry meant I had a built-in audience, which was helpful.
For someone starting out on their photography journey what advice would you have for them?
Learn your craft. Do good work. Treat people right. Don’t cut corners. Save, save, save. There will be years where money pours in, and it feels like it will never stop, but things have a way of changing over time. Be prepared for drier spells, and also just realize that your life and income needs will change. When I was making six figures in my twenties, I thought I had it made. But I wasn’t a homeowner or parent yet. Things feel different now in my forties with so many other responsibilities. Take the long view. And NETWORK YOUR TAIL OFF. Relationships are everything in business.
Do you regret any decisions you have made in your business?
No. Only because I think dwelling on regrets is pointless. Certainly, I’ve had my share of missteps and things I’d maybe do differently, but I always try and look at those as opportunities to learn, grow, and do better.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
Hopefully not too different from where it is today! I feel like I’m at a really good place right now and have at long last achieved balance. I’d like to continue shooting ten-twelvish events per year (weddings/mitzvahs) and focus the rest of my energy on StudioStudio – building a community there, and perhaps scaling up with multiple locations.