Business + Marketing

Two Photo Businesses, One Incredible Story of Resilience

May 9, 2023

By Abbey Pleviak

Amy Minshull, a North Platte, Nebraska portrait photographer, knows how to turn adversity to advantage. When a car accident left her bedridden with a concussion, Minshull spent her convalescence listening to a Sue Bryce educational series called 28 Days of Portrait Photography. (The updated version is called the 12 Month Startup.)

In a recent episode of The Portrait System Podcast, Minshull speaks with host Nikki Closser about how that education helped her to shift her “for fun money” photography business into two successful photo businesses – one for portrait photography and another catering to schools. 

 Minshull’s first job at age 15 was as a photographer’s assistant. Years later, as a stay-at-home mom with three kids, Minshull used her camera to earn supplemental income, aiming to pay her monthly mortgage with anything extra for fun money. When her youngest went to school, Minshull decided to work on making her photo business, A Moment Photography, a full-time success. In 2019, she signed a lease on a studio. Two months later, a car accident left her bedridden with a concussion. 

[Read: The Value a Photographer’s Assistant Brings]

When she could no longer bear doing nothing, from her bed in a darkened room, Minshull listened to Sue Bryce teachings on how to build a successful portrait studio. These gave her a boost to get back to her business with verve. She was still healing and couldn’t spend time at the computer, so she immediately hired two employees – one for the phones and another for editing. With two employees to support and no backup plan, Minshull got 100% behind her pricing. Failure was not an option. 

Just six months later, Minshull opened her second photo business, Nebraska Portraits, which provides headshots, sports photography, and yearbooks for seventeen school districts in Nebraska. Now, she works with five associate photographers in addition to photo editors and an administrative staff.

[Read: Saray Taylor-Roman on Restructuring Your Portrait Business for Self-Care]

Minshull says, “Taking away the part that makes it hard to be an artist was the best decision I could ever make. . . I think you have to decide what you’re stuck on and get it off your plate and give it to someone else. . . It’s much better to have a mindset of getting people to help you. The who, not how, mentality. I am going to take the pictures, and I am going to hire someone else to do the other part.” 

The two photo businesses, which operate as separate DBAs under the same LLC, have separate websites and Instagram accounts but run out of the same studio with one receptionist who directs clients to different point people for each company. Running two photo businesses this way cuts down on overhead costs while allowing Minshull to keep a seamless workflow for each business.

© The Portrait System

To learn more about Minshull’s portrait photography business, visit A Moment Photography. To check out her high-volume school photography business, see Nebraska Portraits

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.

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