September 13, 2021
Hey y’all, I’m Tavia and I help photographers learn how to specialize and get fully booked with ideal clients so they can go full-time. I do this with my Birth Photography Certification and my 7-Step Marketing System.
I want to share our review of the week from Chefang, that’s what I’m going with to pronounce that username. Chefang said,
“This podcast gives no nonsense, actionable ideas that are easy to implement. I appreciate Tavia’s transparency and real talk about not only photography, but goal setting and mindset that are useful in multiple areas of life. I just found her last month, but now binge listening to all of her episodes. I love it.
Thank you so much for that amazing review. And it’s so fun that you mentioned goal setting and mindset, because that is a big part of what Ashley and I talked about on her episode. Ash is just a joy. You guys are going to love this. She’s so fun and real and down to earth, like she’s one of those people that you felt like you could just be BFF with and go have a cup of coffee like right now. So I cannot wait to get into this episode with Ashley McClintock.
If you’re a baby over a photographer looking for more clients, listen up. I have been photographing babies and families for over 10 years. And my goal is to help other photographers to get their business off the ground so they can go full-time too. That is why I created The Birth and Baby Photographers Marketing System, which is my 7-Step Process for getting fully-booked. Yes, even in these times. You’ll learn how to find your niche, create an amazing website that converts leads into sales and bookings, build your brand with social media marketing, and much more.
Did I mention that this is a live and totally free training and we’re doing a bunch of giveaways? Yep! So don’t miss this training experience because there are limited spots available. In fact, just 150 for those who come live. So don’t miss out on this opportunity to grow your photography business. Head over to getbirthphotographyclients.com to sign up.
Tavia: Welcome, Ashley. I know that you sign everything “Ash.” Should I call you Ash or Ashley?
Ashley: Yeah, it doesn’t matter. I like Ash because my family calls me Ash. And so it just seems more personal to me. Like, I don’t know. It kind of feels like a hug when somebody calls me Ash.
Tavia: Aww, that’s so cute. I love that. I love that. Okay. Well I know that sometimes nicknames are like, “No, that’s reserved for like people who know me really well or something like that.” You know what I mean?
Okay, so tell us about yourself! I know that, well, just tell us about yourself, however you would describe yourself.
Ashley: So I started my photography journey, in 2019. I had my son in February of 2018 and I’m an RN and I was working full-time. Whenever I had my second son, we’re trying to do a VBAC – so I had a C-section for my first son – we are going to do a VBAC. And both of my kids, I guess, just looked at my uterus and were like, “Nope!” So they both flipped at 37 and a half weeks, turned around. So I told them, I was like, “Okay, well, I’m just going to wait until my due date. And if he flips, he flips. If he doesn’t, then I will gladly welcome a C-section. That’s fine.”
And it ended up, I got into a car wreck, a minor car wreck, like airbags didn’t deploy or anything, but it was scary. And I went to the hospital anyway, I was leaking amniotic fluid. So we had to do a C-section. So they did the C-section and she told me, she was like, “I highly recommend that you don’t have any more children. Your uterus is very, very, very thin. If we would have done a VBAC, you most likely would have ruptured.” And you know, the chances of a rupture are very small, which is why I even considered a VBAC. But after that, I was just like, “You know what? Like, this is my last baby. I cannot do this. I can’t go back to work.” You know, Parker, my sister-in-law watched Parker and, you know, he called her ‘mama’ first. She saw his first steps. I didn’t get to see any of that. And so I was like, I am not missing this again especially if this is my last baby. I just I don’t think my heart can handle it, you know?
So I stayed at home with him. And then I got bored because I’m normally like a going person. And I was like, “Okay, never got newborn pictures of either one of them, because I was like, well, it’s too expensive.” And you know, I don’t know how much insurance is going to pay for the hospital. And, you know, I was just so freaked out about finances. It’s hard when you have a new baby and you’re like, I just don’t know how much babies cost. Like I have no idea.
So after my second son, I got bored, bought my first camera with extra Christmas money I had. I did a Learn Your Camera class with Brandon Barton. I ended up, he had like a last minute opening in a 2-day business seminar. So I did that. At that 2-day business seminar, he was giving a discount for Newborn Mentorship. So I called my husband and I was like, “Hey, so…what do you think?” You know? And he’s like, “Ash, I think you would be absolutely amazing. Like you love children.” My history is being a pediatric nurse. And I wasn’t as amazing as some nurses that are in the hospital, in the PICU or NICU, but babies have been my life since I was four years old. I’ve always wanted to take care of babies. I mean, I was going to be a baby doctor. Like that’s what I told my mom all the way through. It’s never changed. So whenever I did my first newborn session, I was like, “This is it. I’m sold. Like, this is what I want to do.” And it was super scary.
It’s super scary opening a business. And literally I knew nothing. I barely knew like how to shoot in manual! I’m like, “So are these settings right because…?” I don’t know angles. I don’t know – nothing. I know nothing about business. So I did his mentorship and I was like, you know, like I’ve always wanted to be an OB-GYN nurse. And I was like, “I think I’d be really great at birth. And I want to learn more about it.” So I signed up for a class and it didn’t just teach me about photographing a birth. It was literally the stepping stones that it takes to run a successful business. You have got to have SEO, you have got to have all of the highlighted points and it’s all important. It really, really is. So I started doing that. I’ve done like 8 births and the hospital births have been absolutely phenomenal.
But I’m a lake girl. So we go to the lake on the weekends and we drive 2 hours away to, like you fall up. So that was really, really hard to do, doing births for me. So now I just basically do newborns. I have about 15 to 20 newborns a month on top of a few family sessions or minis or something like that. But yeah, and I absolutely love it. Sorry. I talked your ear off.
Tavia: That’s awesome. No, I love that. So you got started in 2019. You said it was when you very first picked up a camera, which is incredible, like two and a half years ago. So where is your business today?
You said you’re booking like 15 to 20 births, or not births. BUT nobody out there book 15 to 20 births a month. So 15 to 20 newborns a month. And I also just want to point out, because I talked to another marketing school student yesterday and she also started out with birth and then decided she wanted to do newborns. And I think that often times what happens is people think that they’ve like failed or something if they start out doing a specific niche and then change.
And it’s like niching down is what helps you stand out. And then it gives you the freedom and the flexibility to then say, “Okay, like maybe I want to add in more newborns. Maybe I want to add in feet. Like maybe I want to change things a little bit.” So just because you start out niching something, number one, it doesn’t have to be birth. And number two, you can always expand later. And so I love that you said that and pointed that out because it doesn’t always have to be birth forever. You know what I mean? Like niching down is just so you can stand out and be known for something. And so now with all these newborns you’re photographing, like, what is your business and what is your life like today?
Ashley: Wow! It’s absolutely phenomenal. I mean, every day is a challenge, but it’s an open challenge. It’s a welcoming challenge. I’m like, I’m going to smash this day! So I normally take my kids to school. I have a shoot at 10:30. It lasts until 1:30. I pick up my sons and I come home and I get to be with them! Yeah. So my day stops at 2:30 usually. I do have late days, like Saturdays are late and Thursdays are late evenings. So my husband has a different way, different schedule than me. So that’s what works for us.
I highly encourage you to just do what works for you because just like breastfeeding doesn’t work for everybody, just like, you know, you are your own person and your own family and you know what your family needs.
And if you don’t know what your family needs, like just trying it out, like – okay, well last month really sucked. It was overbooked. So that happened last fall where I overbooked myself and I literally couldn’t, I didn’t see my kids for like 3 months: October, November, December. I didn’t see my kids. I didn’t go Christmas shopping unless it was on Amazon because I could not leave my computer. I was editing so much. So I think it’s a lot of trial and error on that. Like trying to figure out what’s going to work for your business.
But the main foundations of what Marketing School taught me are universal. It can be spread through any business. I feel very confident that even if I completely stopped doing photography, I could know how to run a successful business.
It doesn’t matter what it was. It doesn’t matter if I started making floral headbands or if, you know, another photographer needed help. And I decided, “Hey, you know what? Instead of doing photography, I’m just gonna stay at home and I’m just going to do everybody else’s back-end stuff!” And I could completely do it and never picked up a camera again in my life. Not that I would do that because I love my job. So it just opens a lot of doors having that knowledge.
Tavia: Today, you told me that you replaced your nursing salary, right? So you’re no longer doing nursing. You’re doing this full-time obviously shooting 20 newborns a month. You’re not also doing nursing. So you were able to replace your nursing income with photography. Like, is that something that was ever on your radar as a possibility? Like, is that kind of why you went into it? Is that like, why you got going?
Ashley: I thought maybe I could get close. We have a couple of rent houses and so we get a little bit of income from that. So that was kind of our buffer for me doing photography and being able to stay home was that we had a little bit of supplemental income from our rent houses. So my goal was to make $2,000 a month. That was my goal.
Now I’m making enough money that I have an assistant that helps me do my social media and write my blogs and write my newsletters. And I just proofread them and make sure that all my information that I wanted on there is there. So I went from making like maybe $2,000, $3,000. My highest month was like $4,000 to now I’m making $10,000, $11,000, $12,000 a month.
And so it didn’t just meet my nursing salary. It surpassed it. And you know, I’m looking to make six figures next year.
It’s absolutely mind blowing, you know? And like the little vision board thing that you do at the very beginning of Marketing School, I was like, I kind of feel like “This is dumb, but it’s all in there and I got to do it.”
Tavia: Check the box!
Ashley: To be honest. I’m just being honest. Don’t hate me for being honest.
Tavia: Oh no, trust me! Okay. I have to drag some students through this. It’s like, “Hey, you paid me money for this. This is what you got to do. This is the work it takes. Do the work that it takes, if you want those results.”
And that’s the thing is like just buying a course, just hiring a mentor, like paying that money. Doesn’t magically get you the result that you want. You’re paying them for knowledge and you have to actually do the work.
And so, no, you’re not hurting my feelings at all because I know that that’s what it takes is like, you have to hold people’s hand to get through it because it’s new and they’ve never done it before. But I’m sitting over here like, “Guys, I know what works! Come over here, come over here!” You know?
Ashley: Right! And it’s so hard because like, in the very beginning, whenever you’re like, “I highly recommend ShowIt.” And I was like, “Well, I already have Wix.” I already have it. It’s like, I already did the whole thing. It took me forever. Of course because I didn’t know anything. And I was like, “I’m not doing it.” And guess what I’m doing right now. I’m trying to get my ShowIt site together because the SEO is phenomenal on ShowIt. It really is. I mean, there’s people that are ranking higher than me in my area. And I’m telling you right now, it’s my SEO and ShowIt and not having ShowIt. I just know it. I just know once I have that, like anybody that’s Googling ‘newborn photographer in Oklahoma’, I’m going to be showing up at the top. I just, I mean, it’s just in there.
And once I finally do it, so just do it. Just that the thing about it is knowledge is not power, right?
Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power. That’s how the quote should go because you have to take what you learned and actually do something about it. If you want it, there’s no excuse. There’s lots of problems, but there’s lots of people and resources to help you fix those problems.
Don’t just sit on it and ponder it and be like, “Oh, well I don’t know. It’s really not…” Like literally just do it. Sit it down for an hour. And you know what? Some people are probably like me and like, “When do I have an hour, Ash? When?” Well, wake up at 5:00. Wake up at 5:00 in the morning, half an hour before your kids get up. Your kids go to bed at 9:00, 10 o’clock like mine? Stay up until 11:00. Do your work, do it. If you want it, there’s no excuse. There’s lots of problems, but there’s lots of people and resources to help you fix those problems. But you have to say like this is for me and this is for my family. And they’re more important than my sleep for right now.
Tavia: Yeah! No, a hundred percent. Like it really is like, just reminding yourself, like going back to like, why am I doing this? What’s my why? Like, why am I doing this? And that will continue to motivate you to do the hard stuff that you don’t want to do like blog when you can’t afford to hire someone yet or learn about SEO, which for creatives is like, “Ugh, terrible.” But it’s so, so, so important, especially when you’re first starting out. Okay. So cool.
So we talked about where you came from, where you are now. I would love to know where are you finding your ideal clients right now? Like, are there any marketing tips or strategies that have worked well for you to find those ideal clients that you can share with listeners?
Ashley: Yes. So, I actually am rocking it old school and new school. So first of all, I partnered with three 4D ultrasound place because anybody that is having an ultrasound already has a baby in their belly, which means that my turnover rate is good. I would say probably 30-40% of my clients come directly from my 3D, 4D ultrasound place. And what happened was, it was a previous client that decided that they were gonna do this. And I was like, “Okay.” I went in like, “Let me decorate your office. I’ll decorate your office.” I paid for all of the pictures in their office. I think it was like 800 bucks. I bought 20×30 metal prints for their entire office. I put my cards there. I wish I had my pamphlet, but on my Canva thing, I made a tri-fold pamphlet, has my prices on there.
So first of all, I partnered with three 4D ultrasound place because anybody that is having an ultrasound already has a baby in their belly, which means that my turnover rate is good. I would say probably 30-40% of my clients come directly from my 3D, 4D ultrasound place. I did a talk with a group of Brandon Burton’s students and I was reviewing their pricing and this one lady had a QR code on the back of her pricing thing that took them to their website. And I was like, “Oh! Stealing that! Gone!” That’s the greatest idea ever that they don’t have to type anything in. They can just scan it. The easier it is for somebody to pay money to you, the easier it’s going to be to get their money.
One thing that I learned recently, and I feel like you can learn from anyone, but I did a talk with one of Brandon Burton’s students, like a group of students and I was reviewing their pricing and this one lady had a QR code on the back of her pricing thing that took them to their website. And I was like, “Oh! Stealing that! Gone!” I was like, yeah, that’s like the greatest idea ever that they don’t have to type anything in. They can just scan it. The easier it is for somebody to pay money to you, the easier it’s going to be to get their money. I mean, it sounds funny, but it just makes sense. So I sold a QR code. I put it on the back of my thing. People call me, people text me, email me, go to my website. So I rocked an old school on that.
I post, I have a Grow With Me Group that I started when I very first started. I did all of my model calls in there. It helped create an amazing group of people that have stuck with me throughout this entire time that still pay full price. They, every once in a while, they’ll be there when I need them for model calls. So I think it any type of group is definitely beneficial.
Tavia: So you feel like the 3D, 4D ultrasound is definitely helping you find your ideal clients and probably that group as well. So like Facebook group and vendor connections with that 3D, 4D ultrasound is like primarily where they’re coming from?
Ashley: Yes. I do have some Facebook ads. I do $2 or $3 a day for that. So maybe a hundred bucks a month or less. And it’s kept me fully booked pretty much this entire time. COVID kind of put a little bit of a hiccup, but I just put masks on and gloves and I got vaccinated and, you know, people seem to feel very comfortable. I also offered to do in-home sessions, which I thought was very beneficial. Some people took me up on that having like a private space where they could come to or I could come to them. I think just giving them those options really, really helped.
In payment plans, I think payment plans really help that, you know, even if someone was about to give birth and they inquired at like 4 or 5 months that, “Hey, I need a birth photographer,” just giving them that option like, “Hey, you pay half now. And then you pay, you know, two other payments.” I think just having that option makes a huge difference. And have it paid in full like you get a free 20 x 30 print or a 16 x 20 print on me if you pay in full or just having options for them and giving them the opportunity to spend more money with you and things like that, I think make a big difference.
I think payment plans really help…just giving them that option like, “Hey, you pay half now. And then you pay, you know, two other payments.” And have it paid in full like you get a free 20 x 30 print or a 16 x 20 print on me if you pay in full or just having options for them and giving them the opportunity to spend more money with you and things like that, I think make a big difference.
Tavia: Absolutely. That’s so good. Okay, cool. So is there any advice that you would give to your 2019 self? Like when you’re very first getting started and maybe you were making that like $500, $1,000, $2,000 a month, what advice would you give to yourself knowing what you know now?
Ashley: No, I would definitely use ShowIt. The second one would be like just staying persistent and consistent. Persistent and consistent. And just know in your brain that believes that you can do it because I didn’t believe back then. And my work was awful. Like everyone looks back at their work from 5 years ago or 2 years ago. And they’re like, “Elgh,” yes, “ugh, that’s really far down there on Facebook. I wonder if my assistant can go delete that stuff,” but just keep going and keep shooting and just be confident and be able to give yourself time to grow because you needed to really make sure that your roots are strong and do what it takes to make it through that growing phase, you know?
I would definitely use ShowIt. The second one would be like just staying persistent and consistent. Just keep going and keep shooting and just be confident and be able to give yourself time to grow because you needed to really make sure that your roots are strong and do what it takes to make it through that growing phase.
If you have to do something else, just because you’re in birth school doesn’t mean that you can’t take family shoots. It’s about to be fall season, everyone wants fall pictures. If you’re struggling for money right now, and you’re not booking births, just because you shot some family shots, that doesn’t mean that you have to post that if you need money for your family, do what it takes to make sure your family’s taken care of. But that doesn’t mean that you’re still not niche-y. Nobody knows, except for that family that you even did that shoot.
Tavia: Yeah, totally agree. Okay. So 2019 Ash would be getting ShowIt and she would be persistent and consistent. So when you say consistent, what do you mean by that? Consistent in what?
Ashley: I would say consistent in learning, consistent in consuming as much information as you can while also doing at least, you know, an hour’s worth of work, at least an hour worth of work a day. Like sometimes it’s hard to bite off a big chunk, but if you just keep working at it, it gets easier to just say, “Okay, I’m just going to do 30 minutes or I’m just going to do an hour.” And I mean, it’s the same as working out or any other positive change in your life. You just have to keep going, even when you don’t want to be there, even when you don’t feel like you’re getting anything done, just show up and consume and start to implement.
I would say, if there’s anything, start implementing as quickly as you possibly can. So in 10 months, I went from picking up a camera to having a studio. That’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy. And I’m just, you know, taking pictures of as many people as I can and working as hard as I can and a lot of sleepless nights in two years, you know.
Because that’s how I was able to go from January, never having a camera in my hand. Actually, the end of January, January 29th, I think, I took that Learn Your Camera class. I opened up my studios on November 1st at the same year. So in 10 months, I went from picking up a camera to having a studio. That’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy. And I didn’t think that it was possible. Never in a million years. But I was like, “Okay, well, let’s see what happens.” And I’m just, you know, taking pictures of as many people as I can and working as hard as I can and a lot of sleepless nights in two years, you know.
On my vision board, my beautiful vision board in my laundry room, there’s something that says, “Keep going.” It says, “You’re worth it.” “Take four vacations a year.” Last year, I got to do that! And for 10 years I have struggled with back pain. I have like ginormous boobs, like 28H boobs. Like they’re so big and I’m finally getting my breast reduction and I paid for all of it. I paid for all of it.
So I would just say, be consistent, keep going, and do not give up on all of those things that you want. And wanted time with my kids, I wanted vacations, I wanted smaller boobs so I can run. And you know, after I get it done, I’m probably gonna train for a marathon because I just want to do it. I’m going to do it. So you got to cheer me on, okay?
Tavia: You’re amazing! That’s incredible. What you’ve accomplished in this amount of time is seriously incredible. I hope that you, and I bet you do, but I hope that you frequently just like take a minute and look back at everything that you’ve accomplished. Because I know it’s easy to go like what’s the next thing? What’s the next thing? What’s the next thing? But just to look back, especially the last two years that we’ve had here in America for like, for this to be what you’ve created during like a very tumultuous time is incredible. So congratulations. You’re awesome.
Ashley: Thank you!
I just believe that you had to put the work in, you have to do it and, you don’t have to do anything crazy. There are people that have trekked through the forest and worked so hard to make a path for themselves. And they’re like, “Hey, look, I have a path!” Are you going to be that stubborn that you’re like, “Nah, I think I’m going to go through the woods”? Or are you going to be like, “Look, I can fast track this and just do what they say and go down this path that’s already been cut for me!” Maybe, I decide, “Hey, I want to take a couple other things with me.” But that doesn’t mean that your path is going to be way faster if you can follow the successful people that have laid the path for you.
And so I say, get a great mentor, get somebody that knows what they’re doing. And I truly believe that I found that in this course. Someone that’s not just going to fluff it up and do another video because they feel like they have to. It was down. It was to the point. It was what I needed. I’m honestly forever grateful because this wouldn’t have been possible without all of that.
Tavia: Well, it takes, I appreciate you saying that. It takes work though. And you did it, so well done.
Ashley: It takes months to put together a whole course! That’s a lot of…that is very hard! I hate to even think about trying to create a course.
Tavia: Yeah. It’s just like what we were just talking about.
It’s just baby steps. You know, you got this big thing in front of you, and it’s just like kind of a gross metaphor, but how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, right? It’s like the same kind of thing where it’s just like anything that you have to do in business. You just have to take it a little bit at a time and before you know it, you’re there, you know?
Tavia: You’re awesome. So any like final thoughts or like things that you want people to know wrapping up this awesome episode?
Ashley: I would say always continue learning and find yourself a couple of people that you can just like hold on to them and learn as much as you can. Be sponge-like. No one in this world knows it all. So just always be a sponge. You can literally learn from anybody. She was a beginning photographer and because of her QR code, I, you know, have gotten an increase in myself just from one thing. So always be, sponge-like, be accepting of others, offer help. I feel like I believe in karma, if you help other people then like more good things are going to come your way. And those are Christian values too. Like I just really believe in helping others and consuming as much information as you can and actually acting on it every single day.
Like if it’s really what you want and you say it’s really what you want, then show me, prove to me, prove to yourself that I’m worth this. I’m worth my dream. I’m worth all of this. I really am. I am worth it. So I’m gonna take control of your life because this life that I have now, I never would have believed that it actually would’ve came true. My vision board actually came true. I never believed that. And it did. And it’s because I wrote it down on there. My first little thing, darn it. I hate being wrong. I hate being wrong.
Tavia: What do you mean you were wrong?
Ashley: Like I, now I just hate being like…
Tavia: You wrote it down. So you like made it happen because you didn’t want to be like, well, it didn’t do that.
Ashley: Right. Just do it. It’s like the Nike commercial.
Tavia: Yeah. Just do it. Where can people connect with you and like see your work and all of that good stuff after they listen to this?
Tavia: We’ll make sure to link all of that in the show notes for this episode. Ashley, thank you so much for doing this. I think it’s really gonna inspire a lot of photographers.
Ashley: Thank you so much for having me.
Such a good episode. I hope that you got a refreshing dose of inspiration hearing Ash’s story and make sure to connect with Ash @ashleymcclintockphotography on Instagram. We will put this in the show notes as well.
And if you’re enjoying this podcast, please hit subscribe wherever you’re listening. And thank you so much for leaving the show. A review on iTunes. I read each and every one on this show and it helps this podcast reach more people, so thank you. And my friend, if you have a passion, it is not an accident. Not everyone loves the thing that you love. So whatever your passion is, I hope that you get out there and make it happen.
Have a great week.
Connect with Ash!