Business + Marketing

Breathtaking Photos Starting at $4,500: Her Secrets to Success 

May 30, 2023

By Abbey Pleviak

In this episode of The Portrait System Podcast, host Nikki Closser speaks with photographer Sophia Barrett about her breathtaking custom photoshoots that have a starting price of $4,500. Barrett shared her secrets to creating the high-value portrait experience that makes her a sought-after maternity photographer in Atlanta. Key to her success is the high level of collaboration she shares with her clients from the beginning of the shoot all the way through to the end. 

Barrett has no formal training in business but was an entrepreneur from a young age. She recalls making and selling bracelets in kindergarten to get candy money, and all through her life, she has been extremely creative and was never shy about using her skills to make money. In university, she wanted to study fashion design but instead chose interior design. Presently, she uses both passions when she designs her clients’ custom photoshoots, which are done entirely in studio so that she can control every aspect of the setup.  

From props, wardrobe, floral arrangements, and lighting, Barrett is intentional about every aspect of her composition, developing them with client input from the very start. Barrett works hard to ensure whatever she creates is specific to her clients. From their very first conversation, Barrett pays close attention to her clients’ communication styles and personalities as a way to kindle her imagination for what tone to take in her images to serve her clients best. Next, she has them share inspirational images from Pinterest, asking them to let her know exactly which part of the image they love. From these images, she gets ideas about types of fabric, lighting, wardrobe, and set ideas. Then, she puts together a plan with different looks, presenting it to her clients to make sure they are on the same page. If they want to make changes, she is flexible and accommodates them. This process makes her clients feel deeply seen, and it ensures that they are going to love their images and the experience of her receiving her custom photoshoots.  

[Read: The Personal Touch that Nets Big Bucks]

But Barrett’s business didn’t start out this way. In the beginning, she was doing typical shoots until one day, she got a creative urge to use body paint on a client and construct a bold red head dress for her. The feedback she received was overwhelmingly positive, and Barrett knew she needed to overcome her fear of being too different and fully go into developing her inspiration. 

Barrett encourages photographers to go for it and push into the area where you feel most inspired. She says photographers should “not be afraid of really pouring into . . . what drives them . . . and finding a way to incorporate that into their work. . . When you pour into something that connects with you, that work is going to be on a different level.”  

When it came to setting her prices, Barrett made her first big price hike when she got an assistant. After that, she increased her prices two or three times a year. Every time she increased her price and saw that clients were happy to pay it, she resolved to increase her price even more, at times doubling it until she got to the level she is at today. 

© The Portrait System

To learn more about Sophia Barrett and her work, visit her website

The Portrait System Podcast helps portrait photographers navigate the world of photography, business, money, and much more. Hosted by Nikki Closser, the podcast is powered by The Portrait System, a comprehensive, online educational platform that teaches all aspects of running a successful portrait photography studio.