Lessons learned from a photography industry leader

We recently chatted with commercial and portrait photographer Tiffany Burke about her journey in the photography industry. She offered advice on building a social media business presence and shared how she became a better photographer and a better businesswoman.

A big part of growing a photography business is understanding the business and administration side of things. Many photographers go into business for themselves so there are a lot of basics to nail down – photography contracts, scheduling, coordinating, and planning. Tiffany really drives home the importance of staying organized.

Tiffany Burke is the owner of 3 small businesses, a mother to 3 children in addition to 3 more foster children, and a social media marketing consultant. No, she doesn’t own a cape, but she very well might be Superwoman.


“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Tiffany got into the photography industry after both her and her husband were laid off in 2009 and her mother bought her a camera. “I just started shooting,” Tiffany recalled. While she’s known now for her light and airy style and touchingly authentic shots of families, she began by trying new things and seeing what worked for her.

When she realized she wanted to take more fashion forward photos, she created a dress with a designer and did a shoot for free. Her advice for people wanting to explore their creativity is, “If you don’t have it in your portfolio, create it.” Potential clients will look through your past work and social media photos for inspiration, so make the material you highlight reflect the direction you want to go in.

Tiffany, who has over 16k followers on Instagram (follow her here link), is passionate about using social media as a tool to grow your business. She suggests getting started by choosing two platforms and focusing really intently on your strategy there first. Highlight your work but do not be afraid to share a more personal side as well. Tiffany’s social media champions body positivity and self-deprecating humor that reveals her heartwarming personality and connects with her followers authentically. She gained a following by sharing “what was real, not just the highlights of my life.” She found that by being authentic and true to herself, she gained more clients. Looking back she realized, “people invest into those they feel personally connected to.”

Like many in the photography industry, Tiffany is a self-taught businesswoman. She learned how to manage her time, clients and finances through trial and error that she groans reflecting upon today. Her advice for new creative business owners is to learn through a business class and to not be afraid to outsource some of the business work. One way Tiffany has saved time is through investing in Iris. “Within 5 minutes I could send a basic photography contract, a new client questionnaire, and my invoice, which clients could fill out, pay and sign,” she recounted with a sigh of relief. Using a studio management system, Tiffany made more time, booked more clients and even found renewed passion for a business she was ready to give up on. Iris Works helps you to send a variety of standard photography contracts and it’s so easy and fast so it allows you to spend more time on your clients and less time on paperwork.


“Iris Works changed my life because it gave me my time back.”


Tiffany is such a hardworking and uplifting photographer and knowing that our software supports her makes our job at Iris that much more fulfilling. Helping photographers is what we love to do and even if it’s only a simple photography contract, little things like this on a daily basis can make a huge difference for a busy photographer. It was such a pleasure getting to listen to her experiences and get her perspective on photography, social media and running a small business.
If you find yourself in a similar situation as Tiffany, there are options for you as well. You don’t have to feel glued to your office constantly sending out basic photography contracts to clients, scheduling, managing your time, and organizing everything. Whether you’re planning a bunch of mini sessions or you’re traveling across the world for a wedding, you need a partner. Iris Works is that partner for a lot of photographers and it acts as your personal assistant. You’ll spend a lot less time planning everything out and a lot more time taking wonderful photos of your clients. That’s what you dreamed of and we’re here to help make it a reality.

What are your thoughts on her story, anything sound familiar to your personal experiences? Share it in the comments, we’d love to hear.

Learn more about Tiffany’s photography by checking out her website.


Looking to try out a studio management system? Start your free Iris Works 14-day trial today.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.