Customer Success Story: Rachel Burton is a Mum on a Mission
Oct 7, 2020 | By: Jeremy H.
Rachel Burton's photography journey started with a goodbye. At 18, shortly after having her first child, her husband was deployed to Iraq. She started taking photos as a way for her husband to see their child grow while they were apart. Staying connected and sharing those moments was important to her. As time went on their family grew and she wanted better photos, so she sought out a professional photographer. The experience was a disaster and drove her to become a professional newborn photographer.
Rachel recently started using PhotoBiz and we were blown away with what she did with her website. Her DIY spirit is an inspiration. We recently connected with her to get to know more about her, her business, and her experience using the PhotoBiz platform. Here is what she had to say.
Thank you for speaking with us Rachel, can you tell more about yourself?
My name's Rachel Burton. I am a mum of 3 and an army wife based in Fleet, Hampshire (just outside London). I am a portrait photographer and I specialise in the art of newborn photography.
How long have you been in business?
I started my business in 2014, photographing anyone that would let me, and decided to specialise and focus on newborns predominantly in 2015.
How long have you been a photographer or interested in photography?
I had my first child when I was 18 and my husband deployed to Iraq soon after so that was where the photography started. I always photographed the kids and sent him photos when he was away so he could keep up with what they were doing and growing as he was deployed for 6 months at a time.
I never wanted him to miss out on them, even though he wasn’t there in person. That still hasn’t changed, except now they can run faster when they see my camera out!
When did you realize this was something you were going to pursue, not only for fun but as a profession?
I didn’t have any professional photos of the kids when they were newborns, it just wasn’t a thing. When I had my youngest child in 2012, I decided we would get one done and a few with the older two kids too. It was the worst experience ever. She clearly had no idea how to pose a newborn and asked me to sit him up … bearing in mind he was 3 weeks old!
Anyway, I left early and never even went back to look at the images and I took my own. I just thought I would hate for anyone to have to experience that kind of session for their baby so I decided to study photography and learn how to do it so I could offer something amazing for new parents. I discovered Kelly Brown tutorials online and my husband bought me a camera and that was the start of it!
What has been your favourite part about being a photographer?
I love photographing newborns. Every time the parents walk in with a brand-new person it’s amazing. Each baby has the possibility to be anything. They could be the one that grows up and discovers the cure for cancer, or becomes a prime minister, or discovers a new planet! It’s a whole brand-new person in the world full of endless possibilities and I get to capture them right at the start of their journey.
Do you enjoy other types of photography?
I love maternity too. Maternity photography is extra special because that baby they are carrying knows only them. It’s a magical bond that I photograph not just the bump.
Once a year is my creative time. My husband has served 22 years in the army now, so I make him a new image every year for Remembrance Day. It’s the one image a year I make that is just for him. It normally ends up as a battalion-wide profile picture on Facebook though!
What kind of hardship have you faced? (Any in the past or currently with the COVID-19 pandemic?)
My studio is in my home. I have it this way so I can work around the kid’s school times etc especially when my husband is away. Where we live is crazy expensive to rent anywhere commercial. My husband emptied the dining room, painted it white for me, and mounted my backdrop system. It’s tiny, but it works!
Some potential clients decide not to book me because I have a home studio. They don’t see an in-home studio as a professional enough setting I guess, regardless of the quality of the work I produce in my little home studio.
Recently, with COVID it also became apparent I did not qualify for any of the government financial help because I had an in-home studio. But if I rented a space next door, I would have got all the help offered? It is what it is I guess, and I am now trying to rebuild my business slowly but surely.
What makes you stand out from others?
I think what makes me stand out is I know how crazy it is being a mum. I am a mum first and foremost. I appreciate it's terrifying to take your brand-new baby to a new place and hand them over to a stranger to be photographed. I also know what a bad experience in that moment feels like and I know I never want anyone to feel like that.
Most of my work comes through word of mouth and referrals, which I like. A client who has a positive experience and has trust in you will share you with anyone who will listen. On the flip side … remember that also applies if they have a bad experience too!
What are you most passionate about when it comes to your business, is it the act of shooting, printing, or working with clients?
I love being with the clients. Learning new poses, shooting, and editing. I am always learning new ways of editing. New ways to do things in the beast that is Photoshop! Mastering newborn poses with all the safety aspects that come with that has taken me years. I am still learning every day. My sessions are baby-led. Not every baby is the same. Each baby prefers different poses, etc. and to see a final gallery of images for a client from a session never gets old.
Have you had a website before if so, what was it?
I have had a couple of websites before my current one. I’ve tried SquareSpace but that didn’t work for me. So, I used Wix. Wix was great to start with but I got bored really quickly, with my website, and was constantly making changes.
What challenges did you have with it?
Wix is a nightmare to change once you have built it. I had to redo my whole site from scratch every time I wanted to change the layout or design of it. The blog was also a nightmare because when I started with Wix they had one type of blog but when I rebuilt my site, they had introduced a new blog and I could not migrate or link the two. So, I lost all of the blogs from the first site. Wix also uses external apps which you can integrate on the site. This sounds good … until one of them updates or changes and it then stops working on your site.
What made you make the switch to PhotoBiz?
I just googled full-service photographers’ website and PhotoBiz came up. To be honest I had not heard of it before. When I went through and looked, PhotoBiz had everything I needed and all in one place. I wasn’t having to host galleries on Pixieset, then send invoices manually from my PC and try and keep track of them while having client conversations spread out over text and email.
PhotoBiz has it all in one place. It was out of my budget when I first looked at it, but I kept coming back to it when I researched other sites and luckily PhotoBiz had a COVID promotion on the last time I came back and I think my husband had enough of me comparing so he grabbed a year plan for me.
Did you build your website yourself?
I have always built my sites myself. I feel like if I hired someone to do it for me then it wouldn’t feel authentic. I build my sites so everything people see is me. My images, my site, my correspondence is all cohesive and authentic. They know what they are getting from square one.
I had to learn what was important to have on a site and the behaviour of people when they visit a site. Like you have max 3 seconds to make an impression on someone who goes to your site before they click off. My old site on Wix took 9.7 seconds to even load on a mobile device! PhotoBiz is amazing for this as it is now just 1.2 seconds and my site is fully loaded on all devices even with full-page photos and videos.
One major thing I would recommend to anyone building their own site is to plan your pages out first. Plan it out on paper what you want to include on each page, colours, text, etc and which pages you want to link to each other. It saves so much time when you have a plan in mind before you sit down at the computer.
PhotoBiz has many amazing templates to start with! It is so easy to change up whatever you want within your site too. I love that I can have my images full bleed and it doesn’t make my site lag when it loads.
The drag and drop way of building everything is just so easy to use once you get used to it. I have checked and it looks really easy to switch up the template when I get bored … but I haven’t yet!
What’s your favourite thing about PhotoBiz?
It’s a real game-changer for me to have everything in one place within PhotoBiz now. All my conversations with clients are logged. I can see straight away invoices that are overdue and even who has opened my marketing emails. Apart from my site looking amazing, it is really so much easier to just manage everything now it is all in one place.
Do you recommend it to other photographers?
I have recommended it to other photographers looking to build a site and checkout PhotoBiz first. They may cost more than others but you get so much more for your money. The time I save alone is worth it!
What is the future of your business looking like?
Right now, I am trying to keep my business going with shooting when I can. With all the restrictions put in place I am limiting the number of sessions I can do to make sure I have time to deep clean everything between clients, etc. 2020 is nearly over so 2021 has to be better right? That’s what I am telling myself anyway ha-ha!
I hope so! To your audience, what do you want your customer to know?
Each of my clients needs to know I appreciate them. Every one of them. They don’t have to trust me with their babies, or to photograph them when they are vulnerable and pregnant but they do. I appreciate that. I want them to have amazing photographs and have had an amazing experience when they leave me.
Anything you want other photographers to know?
Get yourself on PhotoBiz and just try it. You have nothing to lose. Building a site is not as scary as it seems nowadays and they make it so easy for you. You can build a site that you love, and reflects you and your business in no time at all.
Thank you Rachel!
Rachel’s business started by solving a problem, wanting better family photos. She took it upon herself to learn how to do that and provide to other families the same need she wanted. She did it all herself, from learning how to take photos, to starting a business, to building a website. Her incredible tenacity drives her to do more. Using PhotoBiz gives her everything all in one place so she doesn’t have to go and add tons of plugins or features. It's all here, and we’re here for her when she needs it.
Have an amazing story? Share it with us! We want to hear about your journey. Want to get your PhotoBiz website started? You can do it yourself or we can do it for you. Sign up or call us today at 866.463.7620. Our team is here to help you.