©Rachael Boer

The Business Whisperer

Rachael Boer, Cr.Photog., is a woman of two minds. She’s a sharp-eyed portrait and wedding photographer who delivers emotive images that capture the personality clients want to preserve. She’s also a sharp-minded entrepreneur who admits to loving the business side of her work a teensy bit more.

“A lot of photographers are very creative but really struggle with the business aspects of photography—pricing, marketing, sales,” she says. “I’m the opposite. I do enjoy photography, but I love the business side.”

It’s a natural inclination for Boer, who was not a formal student of business. In fact, she trained as a classical violinist, studying at the prestigious Juilliard School before eventually finding her way to photography. Her method for building business acumen was self-directed. She read strategy books and applied best practices and proven principles to the business of photography.

©Rachael Boer

“I knew that this stuff is absolutely learnable,” she says. “It became a challenge for me to really dive in and master the business. It’s also become my mission to help people skip over that step of learning the hard way. I’ve been there and done that, and I can share all my advice and tips.”

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Boer has been a full-time photographer for 15 years, and she’s been teaching photographers about business for 10. She began with local workshops, then created a Facebook group that grew to 30,000 members in a year’s time, eventually doubling in size before the operation evolved into Rachael Boer Education. Teaching other photographers how to be better businesspeople is rewarding for Boer, especially at in-person events like Imaging USA, which she describes as having an “electric vibe” because everyone is there to learn and connect.

At Imaging USA 2023, Boer focused on the business of weddings, where she sees many photographers leaving money on the table by missing out on some simple ways to increase sales and improve margins. While many photographers think that raising prices is one sure bet for increasing revenue, Boer notes that if your services are already priced correctly, there are additional areas to consider.

©Rachael Boer

“When I look at other photographers’ websites and social media, I mainly see digital images, not artwork hanging on walls,” says Boer.

Before clients meet Boer, they’re prepped to buy wall art and albums because her website includes images of wall art, albums, and folio boxes, each presented in the context of how they appear in a client’s home. This subliminal suggestion gets the visualization of finished artwork in clients’ minds.

Boer suggests asking a client to allow you to make some images in their home, where you can capture an existing wall art installation as well as living areas. Then after their session you can show them an album on their coffee table, a large canvas on their wall. These beautiful, realistic setups illustrate how amazing your work will look in their home.

“People often have a hard time visualizing,” she says. “It’s hard to imagine another product-heavy business not showing their product. Think about furniture and clothing catalogs, they’re always styled so that you can imagine that product in your home or as part of your wardrobe.”

©Rachael Boer

And don’t just post in-home images of your photography in client homes on your website. Post images of the artwork you want to sell in your blog, on your social media, and anywhere else you encounter potential clients. Boer suggests creating a quick unboxing video when new artwork comes in, or asking if you can video a client seeing their artwork for the first time.

“This sounds like basics 101, but when we get so deep in the weeds we forget the basics sometimes,” she says. “Show what you want to sell, and show it many, many, many times. You want your clients to think of big, beautiful canvas or tangible artwork when they think of you.”


A simple painless way to wow wedding clients and their guests—who are all potential clients—is by creating a quick slideshow of eight to 10 images from the wedding day and showing it at the reception. While transitioning from the ceremony to the reception, Boer’s second shooter selects a mix of portraits and candids, runs a quick edit in Adobe Lightroom, and then uploads them to an iPad or laptop for display, usually in a high-traffic spot like near the cake or DJ. Next to it, she places a printed card with a QR code that guests can scan. They enter their contact information so she can notify them later when the preview gallery is ready.

“It’s not direct income, but people usually haven’t seen this before, so it blows their minds a little,” she says. “This is your best chance to get the emails of everyone in attendance. That could be 400 potential clients to sell prints to and nurture for possible sessions down the road someday. It’s an easy way to make a big impact.


One of Boer’s favorite ways to earn extra income is selling holiday cards to wedding and engagement clients. She sets a reminder in her calendar for early October to reach out to recently engaged and married clients to ask if she can help by taking the holiday card off their plates.

“You get the best results if you predesign a couple of options because if they can see it, they’re more likely to want to buy it,” says Boer, underscoring the show-what-you-want-to-sell mantra. “You can also mention holiday gifts like prints for parents or grandparents or photo jewelry. Labs offer so many great gift options.”

One important caveat here: Don’t make assumptions. Be sure you know what holidays your couples celebrate or if they celebrate at all. That’s quickly done when you collect information about them before their session.

©Rachael Boer
©Rachael Boer

“I really believe in this,” says Boer. “Email is one of the most valuable resources you have, and a lot of photographers don’t really use it or just don’t have a strategy.”

She recommends creating content on your website that works as a lead magnet for people to drop in their contact information, like helpful resources filled with tips for wedding planning or choosing a venue. They give you an email address; you provide the resource.

Next, segment your list with tags so you can customize your communications. Think former client, prospective client, newly engaged, or already married, for example. When it comes to writing your emails, be authentic and personable so that people want to read them. This is where knowing your audience and client personas pays off.

“Practically speaking, I send emails about once a month to each of my groups,” says Boer. “You can make it a newsletter and share recent blog posts or highlight a vendor or venue or push a promotion. Give advice for artwork sizing, etc. Three to four topics per email is plenty.”

Doing this well keeps you top of mind for a lot of potential and repeat clients because it’s a direct line of communication.

“You don’t have to rely on tricky algorithms to get in front of the right person,” she says. “It’s just such a gold mine. If you’re not using it, it’s truly a lost opportunity.” 

Stephanie Boozer is a writer in Charleston, South Carolina.