Carys Rouleau was a Canadian midwife who spent the last year and a half getting back into photography.
She wanted to have better working hours and more time with her four-year-old son.
Today, she’s sharing her story of how she went from photographing free sessions to build her portfolio, to getting $3,400 client orders as a boutique photographer.
Welcome Carys! Share with everybody where you live and a little bit about yourself.
I live in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada, and I am a stay-at-home mom.
I have a little boy who just turned four.
I had been working on my photography business for about a year when I found you and your program.
That’s when I learned that I was low priced.
I felt like I was charging too much, even though I was only charging $200.
Did you have a career before your son?
Yes, I was a midwife before.
I was making good money and loved it.
Before I was a midwife, I went to photography school, so that was my first love, and then I came back to it as a mom.
So cool that your two passions can come together.
Serving mamas and taking photos.
Realizing You Need To Charge Your Worth With Photography
I had this dual thinking because I wanted to be paid well for my time as a photographer, but at the same rate, I discounted every single session.
Most of the time I gave it away for free.
I could barely charge what I even thought was reasonable, and I think that came partly because in my career, as a midwife, it’s free.
So for a midwifery client, they’re not paying me directly.
I was providing this wonderful service for free and that felt so good, and that was what I was used to.
I think my mindset as a photographer was to give the best portraits and experience.
I feel so awkward asking for any money, so I just did it for free.
Did you look at your photography in all aspects: editing, retouching, communication, travel, etc. and add it all up?
Did you figure out what you were making per hour?
Yeah, and it was pitiful.
I was spending hours retouching every photo and going to visit the locations I was photographing at.
I was having fun, but I wasn’t making any money.
I can see that coming from your background.
You were over-serving but not charging.
What do you love to photograph?
What’s your passion?
I love to photograph families, especially moms and babies.
I love that.
As a mom, you just want to wrap up those moments and have them forever.
Were you considering a job or did you make a decision to figure out how to make money with photography?
I was considering a job.
In fact, I went back to school to be a lactation consultant.
Then I bought a camera again and I started offering free sessions to all my neighbors and family.
I decided to build my portfolio slowly over time.
Then, I launched a website.
I charged maybe $275/session and gave high res digital files.
I always offered prints to my clients but they never took me up on it.
Yeah, that’s when you know that something has to be different.
So how did you find out about the boutique model?
Finding Success With The Boutique Model
I would hear you talk about ditching the digitals and I was curious at what that meant.
I joined one of your Instagram lives and afterwards, I spoke with one of your strategy coaches.
And everything you taught made sense with what I needed.
How many months was that before you were ready?
It was a year and a half, actually, of building my portfolio, getting the website, thinking about the prices, researching it, and trying to put it all together and make it make sense.
So, when I watched that Instagram live and you gave the price for boutique breakthrough I told myself no.
But in my notebook that I had, I wrote down, “Carys, I think you should do this.”
That gave me chills.
That is powerful.
So you jumped in and in the first week already realized that you were doing everything wrong.
Having Step-By-Step Guidance To Succeed In Your Photography Business
The class moves fast, but I loved the positive environment and the attitude of having the roadmap that I had been needing.
It felt super encouraging, and I needed step-by-step guidance.
So talk about your first $1k client, your Julie.
How did that happen for you?
I had a woman contact me and she said she had a newly blended family.
She was looking to have portraits of their new family.
She called me during the second day of Boutique Breakthrough and I told her that I specialized in wall art and she said,
Because we just renovated our house and we have a big empty staircase that we want the images to be put on.
So that’s what I actually need.”
We had a great conversation.
I got to know her family and what she was looking for, and then we made the plan.
We did the photo session and then the in-person sale.
I brought my laptop to her house and showed her the presentation.
She started ordering, and it came out to $3,400.
She wrote me a check and was so happy.
There are the right people out there!
How did it change you and your perspective?
How do you look at yourself differently?
Being Proud Of Yourself Is Worth The Investment
I feel proud of myself.
One thing I’ve heard you say that has really spoken to me is “All your clients are making money.
They have profitable careers.
So why shouldn’t you?”
Before I started the course, I was a little worried that I would price myself out of nice people.
But in my experience with my first Julie, I had a wonderful relationship with a client and she trusted me.
She wanted my work and I just felt so proud.
That is amazing.
Thank you so much for sharing your story.
I know your story is inspiring to so many that it can be done.