My First Episode and Why This Show Will Be Helpful to You

I’ve always wanted to have a podcast but thought it was too hard and scary. But if there's one thing I've learned about running my own business, it’s that I can do hard things.

I tell clients and colleagues and my kids this all the time-JUST GET STARTED, so that is what I am doing here- taking my own advice. 

Spoiler alert: this is super awkward for me, so these first are going to be a bit messy, I’m nervous and don’t really know what I am doing, but I am doing it anyway.  

My name is Tanya Smith.

To let you know a bit about me, and why you might want to listen. 

And what I am hoping to have happened with this podcast and how it can help you grow (or start) a profitable photography business- 

No more starving artists!!  


The Profitable Portraits Podcast is a place where we will talk about growing your business, life as an entrepreneur, and everything else in between.  To help you turn your side hustle into REAL full-time income, without working full time hours, helping you stay happy.


That “Starving artist” statement.  It’s a bit of a trigger for me. No one need to be a starving artist, and making money with your art is not selling out.

Making money doing something you love to do is an amazing way to live your life.

You are happier and more free, with more money and time to enjoy your life and your friends and family.

When I was going through my divorce, I was just trying to get this business started.  I felt that I was making bigger and better changes in my life and this is something I have always wanted to do.

I always saw myself as an entrepreneur, and I have always loved art, crafts, DIY, photography so I knew I wanted to do something like that.  

I tried lots of different things, custom cards and invitations, a gift basket company, art journaling and mixed media art, bookbinding… all of these were my hobbies and my side hustle, but mostly they got me through a shitty marriage, and I never had the bandwidth to figure out how to make them a full-time income… truthfully, I never thought I could run a business on my own.  

When I decided to end my marriage, I decided that was a good time to get this started and prove to myself that I can do it.

In hindsight, maybe that was not the best time, because I had a lot of self-reflection going on, and a ton of stress getting adjusted to my new life as a single mom, and starting a business was a lot…. OR maybe it was good, since I had something to keep me occupied on the days when my kids were not with me and I was alone for the first time in years.

In any case, I started my business and was making some headway, getting a few clients and working things out, but my divorce lawyer told me I needed to get a “real job”.  He said it would not look good if I was trying to “be a photographer” because you can't make any money in photography.  

Just like that.  Total blanket statement.  

You cant make money in photography.  Done.

I give up.

I knew it.

Who did I think I was? Why did it think I could do this?

Guess it’s back to corporate banking. Where I was miserable. Driving in traffic. Doing what I did not like doing (but I was good at it… and it was good money….and was I being irresponsible trying to start a business? 

That was a tough time for me… I applied for jobs in the photography realm so I could at least hold on to my dream… and maybe make it work… someday….

But I did not get hired anywhere.  Of course. I had no photography experience and no formal training.

It felt so devastating at the time, but I look back now and I am so thankful that I did not get hired anywhere… who knows where I would be.

So I decided to try my best- I told myself I would take 2 years to try to get this up and running, and if it didn't work I would get a real job.

But I told myself I was going to do everything I could to make it work.  Truthfully, at that point, I just wanted to give a big F-YOU to that lawyer and my ex, since they both thought it was a bad idea and I would fail miserably.

Long story short, I fired that lawyer and started learning everything I could about running a business.  I started shooting boudoir after I had MY OWN boudoir shoot (that’s a story for another episode) and I have never looked back.

I fell in love with boudoir and made a profit in that second year of shooting. That's when I knew I could do this.

Because I WAS doing this.

When photographers come to me for a mentoring session, or I’m meeting other entrepreneurs, people always talk about how they are scared- scared to start, scared to make a mistake, scared to look stupid, scared what people will think, and on and on.

Well- that’s where I am.

I tell my kids and other photographers this all the time.   just get frickin started!

And now I am telling myself the same thing-  taking my own advice

The best way to learn is to just do it and tweak it as you go.

So that’s what I am doing.

I have been a women’s portrait photographer for close to 10 years now. I specialize in boudoir for everyday women, and it has changed my life. I see how boudoir images can change the way a woman sees herself and how it can increase her confidence. Having a business that really does help people is an amazing feeling.

Whether you shoot, families, babies, boudoir, beauty, branding or headshots, my business model and style of selling and pricing will change your business and help you make the money you want to make while NOT working your butt off doing it.


I think one of the reasons you have the desire to start your own business is because you want to have more freedom and flexibility, than a regular 9-5, but you end up working all hours and hardly seeing your family- sacrificing your health and happiness on your journey to become an entrepreneur.

That is not the motive.

It causes stress, burn out and resentment

I have learned a lot along my journey. I’ve messed up.  A lot.

But I moved through it and kept going.  

I changed things and tweaked things and now I have a portrait business making over 6 figures. My average sale is currently close to $5000 per client. 

I only shoot 1-2 times per week and only work on the business 4 days per week.  

I want to get you there too.

Imagine being able to support yourself and your family with a good full-time income and still be able to enjoy have the time to enjoy your life. 

For the last 3 years, I have been mentoring photographers one on one who wants to grow their business and make more money.  

Most people think photographers don't make any money. Like my lawyer

The starving artist statement comes into play here.

In any business, there are people who fail and people who thrive. 

I know a lot of photographers who are making a very good living (6 figures plus) doing this full time (me included), and I truly want this for you to.

Let’s get rid of the “photographers make no money” perception. 

If I can do it, so can you.

So how did this podcast come to be?

I wanted to get my content in front of more photographers, and writing blog posts is not my favorite thing, and if you ask my husband, I do like to talk a lot, so the logical way to get my content out is a podcast, right?  

No writing, just talking. 


Great! So,- let’s start a podcast.  

I was so excited!  I bought my mic, and equipment I needed.  I read everything I could find on starting a podcast and setting it up.  I was ready to go. 

Time to record

….annnnd I put it off for 4 months. 

I was worried about sounding dumb, stumbling over my words, and messing up.  Worried about what people would think and getting judged by strangers on the internet.

My voice sounds weird. I say umm a lot. Maybe I should read more about it.  Maybe I should practice first. Maybe I should listen to more podcasts first.

Does that sound familiar to anyone else? 

I heard it called Education-paralysis. 

You feel like you are doing something- it is for work after all.  I just need to read this book first, finish this course, listen to this podcast…. 

You are learning, true- but you get to the point where you can only read and absorb so much before your next step in learning is practicing. Time to take the plunge and just get started. 

Education-paralysis… is just another form of procrastination.  

And I am guilty of this.


Once I get going, I gain momentum and everything becomes more clear when you just get started.

After returning from 2 back to back conferences this month in California, with other entrepreneurs, and having great conversations and some tough love- I made a decision to myself that I would JUST GET STARTED 

Those conferences were the kick in the butt that I needed, and I hope I can be YOUR kick in the butt too!  (No expensive conference, flight and hotel room needed- your welcome)

I want this podcast to help you figure out how to navigate your photography business. I want you to know that you CAN do this and you CAN make great money being a photographer.  If you want to move into full time, and take this from a side hustle- you can do it. 

I want it to help you navigate being an entrepreneur, and everything that comes with that.

I want it to help you learn how to get through the things that are holding you back from your own success. 

You can do this.  

If you are open and coachable and willing to try a different way of doing things. If you are willing to do scary and uncomfortable things (hello raising prices!)

Then you CAN do this.

If you truly want the freedom of running your own business on your own terms and making your own money- you can do this.

We are on this ride together, and I am committing to you that I will be keeping it real, and being vulnerable and open with you… as long as you agree to do the same.


Let do this!




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