Tell us about yourself! We’d love to hear about your family, hobbies, and favorite food- tell us about your favorite things!
I’m married to the most amazing man on the planet, and my full-time assistant Hunter is technically my stepdaughter. My hubby is much older than me so when Hunter and I met she was already grown, and we became really good friends. I have one biological son named Liam, who’s 16 and has autism, and a stepson, Sebastian, who is 12.
We’re all from Georgia but in 2016 my husband was headhunted to work for NASA so he and I moved to Houston Texas, the hottest and most humid place on the planet. After I opened the studio Hunter moved across the country to join my team, bringing her fiance and her mom with her! Hunter and Blade (yes those are really their names) are getting married in October.
We all love food and traveling, so we spend our time finding farm-to-table restaurants, playing escape room games, going to museums, and playing cards. But we don’t really have much free time, because the studio has been keeping us pretty busy.
What is your favorite thing about being a photographer?
That with just a click of a camera I can give a woman her confidence back! I can change the way she sees herself. We keep tissues by the client’s table at the ordering appt because so many women break into tears when they see their images for the first time.
The leave our studio with a profound sense of self-love and acceptance and, especially in today’s society, that’s hard to come by. I tell people it’s not just about taking pretty pictures, it’s about learning to love the body that you’re living in.
What is the name of your company?
Boudoir By Amy Maddox
Talk to us about your life pre-photography (if applicable). Did you have a day job? Do you still have that day job? If not, when did you quit? If you did have a day job prior to becoming a full time photographer, what did you learn from your day job? Are there any lessons you learned that carried over into your photography business? Tell us the story that got you to where you are today!
I was a server, which is probably one of the worst jobs on the planet. I still have nightmares where I’m in the weeds, and I haven’t served a table in 16 years! But that’s how I learned one of the best practices that’s led to our success- deliver the best client experience possible. Underpromise and over-deliver every single time. I’m friends with so many other photographers, many who are struggling to make ends meet.
But then I hear them say they took 3 days to get back to one client’s email, instead of responding right away, or they spent 3 months getting their gallery to them when they originally said 2 months. I hear their excuses and all I think is “Your client doesn’t care, all that matters is what you do”. We always make it a point to go above and beyond. People remember that. Serving tables also taught me to say everything with a smile on your face.
But then I got a job as an assistant to a very successful commercial and industrial photographer. In the 5 years that I worked for him he taught me everything her knew about photography. Every day was different, one day we’d be photographing a heart surgery, the next we’d be inside a Boeing factory, then a fancy gala for a charity, and the next we’d fly in an airplane the size of a matchbox to shoot aerial photography.
I learned so much from him, and was even able to start picking up clients of my own. I shot for colleges and university marketing departments, local theatre productions, events for various companies, and even got a gig as a photojournalist. I photographed President Jimmy Carter a few times! I learned so much about running a business during those years, but not how to really price myself as a luxury boudoir photographer.
Can you tell us more about your photography business prior to joining Mastermind, what you did when you started, previous genres shot, clients per month/year, last calendar year revenue, IPS involvement, and average sale?
When I joined Mastermind I was mainly a wedding photographer in Houston, making 6 figures a year. It’s a hard industry to break into, and I’d only been in Houston for 3 years, but in that time I managed to get in all the major magazines and really get my name out there. I think that’s because I’m a workaholic. I’d been shooting boudoir on the side for years, but never knew how to really make it my main source of income. I maybe made $15k total in a year from boudoir as a shoot and burn boudoir photographer.
I was charging less than $1k per client and renting a studio for each client because I didn’t have my own space. But weddings were starting to drain me, and when the pandemic hit and all events were postponed I started really thinking about boudoir. A local photographer was also in Mastermind beta, and she reached out to me and told me about this course. After she told me what she earned in one month I scheduled a call with Humberto.
I really didn’t even need him to give me the whole spiel, I had my credit card out by the time he said “hello”. I knew that if she could do it, I could do it. I was already very confident in my work, so I knew I just needed to understand the business side. My husband and I were searching for a house, and it just happened that we found our dream home that had a detached garage. I bought the course in August 2021, closed on the house that following February, and immediately hired a contractor to renovate the garage. I used all of my savings to buy furniture and invested thousands of dollars into a Client Closet.
During that year leading up to finding the house, and while construction on the studio progressed I dove into the course, listening to all the live calls. I set everything up on the back end. I created my VIP group and redid my website, my pricing list, my prep guide, my script. Once the studio was ready I did a few free sessions to get content and learn the space, then I bought sample products. I officially launched my new business in mid-September 2022, had my first client that following week, and immediately earned back my investment of Mastermind. I ended my FIRST year in business at about $270k.
Can you share some details about your work after joining Mastermind, including the first thing implemented, the current genre being shot, clients per month/year, YTD and monthly revenue, IPS involvement, average sale, and most purchased items by clients (digital, albums, or wall art)?
One major way my business has changed is that I’m starting to phase out weddings. I don’t really want to shoot them anymore so I keep raising and raising my prices. The other major thing that I’ve been able to do after joining Mastermind is hire a full-time assistant! Hunter shows clients poses while I’m getting set up for a shot, and she’s also learning how to shoot alongside me.
We may eventually make her an associate photographer. I taught her how to retouch and design albums. We’ve grown so much in the last year, already on track to double last year’s revenue. Our average sale is around $4,300, and we’re shooting on average 10-12 clients per month. Our YTD is $313k, and we are overbooked for October and November. Most of our clients purchase a collection, and we are using Phase 3 of Jenn’s pricing.
Do you have support staff? If so, tell us about them! For example- how many photographers, HMUAs, assistants, managers, etc. do you employ?
Yes! Hunter is my ride or die, she’s my assistant and studio manager. We have a full-time HMUA, Heather, who also does all of our sales calls. We have a second salesperson who fills in when Heather is unavailable. And we outsource ads and social media management.
How much revenue total has your studio brought in since joining Mastermind?
Almost $600k in less than 2 years.
What is your advice to photographers just starting out? What is your advice to photographers who are full-time and struggling? Remember your own journey – what were your biggest struggles and what you wish someone had told you? 🙂
My advice to those just starting out is, first and foremost you have to have quality work. And you need to know how to pose all bodies- and show them on your portfolio. There are amazing boudoir photographers in our area who are struggling, and all I ever see on their Instagram is skinny white 22-year-olds.
I studied posing for years before I joined Mastermind, and I developed my editing and lighting style to match my wedding brand, which is very light and airy. I did so many free sessions and traded for services just to help me practice posing women of different sizes and shapes. I think this is why I don’t suffer from imposter syndrome anymore.
It makes it a lot easier to say your prices out loud when you’re confident in your work. So if this is something you’re still struggling with I’d suggest just start offering people free shoots in exchange for a model release. It’s so easy to find people, just post in local Facebook groups. Then ask each of those people for reviews, and testimonial videos, and ask them to hype you up in your group. I’m still getting bookings from referrals from women I shot years ago.
What areas do you still want to grow in? Do you have any big goals that you are still looking to accomplish?
My next big goal is to hit $500k. We may not hit it this year but we’ll get really close. Next, I want to fully train Hunter as an associate. I need someone who can fill in for me if I ever get sick. My long-term goal is to get a bigger studio, and I’m considering building one from the ground up.
What is your biggest accomplishment – work and non-work related? Since your studio became successful, what is the coolest thing you’ve been able to do?
My studio is my biggest accomplishment (I mean, aside from my kid of course). What makes this so cool is that I dropped out of school with only an 8th-grade education. I grew up poor and in a really bad situation. By all accounts, I should still be living in the cycle of poverty. The fact that I’m able to drop $1k on a fancy dinner for me and my husband, take my kid to Disney World every year, pay an $8k plumbing bill without breaking into tears, and buy Hunter a $2k wedding dress- it’s just bonkers!
I’m able to spoil the people that I love and save for the future. But it’s also added years to my life. I used to worry about money every single day. Now I don’t. Unless you’ve been poor it’s hard to understand just how much stress it causes. I feel like I finally have a life worth living because I’m not constantly worried about paying bills, worrying about the future, and how to take care of my family. This is what Mastermind has done for me. This course changed my life in ways I’m still discovering. It’s HANDS DOWN the best decision I’ve ever made for my business.
Please list any awards won and/or distinctions you would like noted in the article.
I won the Two Bright Lights Platinum award for being one of their top 12 most published photographers.