Why I Left the Wedding Photography Industry… and Why I Came Back


I'm Alora
I'm a Wedding Photographer Sales Strategist. I teach Marketing and Sales strategies that scale my students businesses to $100k confidently without leading to burnout.
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Episode Summary

I promise to be 100% transparent with you through this entire journey. I hope this feels like settling in on the couch with a good friend and sharing a chat. So that being said… pour yourself a cup of coffee (I’m on my second!) and get comfy.

My name is Alora Rachelle. I’m a Detroit wedding photographer and I document the unposed moments for couples in love.

I went to school for web design. I’m a big tech geek (so is my husband!). As I was finishing my degree, I looked around me and found myself surrounded by middle-aged men… and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in that environment.

So I jumped into the only class that was available – studio photography. Our teacher was kind of a big deal, he shot a lot of celebrities in the 70’s, and everyone was obsessed with him. But I just thought, “You can’t make any money being a photographer… so why bother?”

Making money from an artistic passion was not a viable way to provide for your family in my mind.

I got an A in my photography class and my teacher was like, “You should do this full-time!”

But I was like, “Umm… we’ll see.”

I like a good challenge, so I made myself a website and someone found me on Google and asked me to shoot their wedding.

At the time, my gallery was full of plants and trees and bridges in the rain… but sure! And for $100, I shot my first wedding.

I loved it, kept posting weddings that I shot, and booked more.

Why I Left the Wedding Industry

After I graduated, I sent out 25+ emails to work with an established photographer as a second shooter. I knew I loved this work and I wanted to get better.

I finally heard back from one photographer who I ended up assisting and shooting with for 35 weddings in a single year. (Talk about burn out!)

I also happened to join a Facebook group for local photographers to build some community and what not… only to find out that this photographer I’d been working in had straight-up blasted me in this group.

They accused me of stealing my photos from Pinterest and said my work was trash.

My self-esteem was shot.

I’m not a crier… and I was bawling at my computer. I felt like I was worthless.

So I quit my photography gigs and struck out on my own to find a new job.

I worked for a scam artist (true story), in a dental office, and got fired from random minimum-wage jobs.

I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.

How I Quintupled My Business

Luckily, my story doesn’t end there.

Both of my parents are business owners (and Enneagram 3’s), so they told me to just make myself a business plan and make it work for myself.

I set a big goal to book two weddings that year. If you’re not into setting goals, try setting a really small goal and smashing it… it feels really great!

I booked a few weddings, but my husband and I had some debt thanks to using our credit cards to buy happiness (10/10 don’t recommend), so he gave me a deadline to start making the kind of money we needed to help out.

By the end of that year, I’d booked 5 weddings.

I showed up on social media, I learned everything I could about marketing, and I just kept showing up and repeating the strategies. Consistent consistency, you know?!

How Going Viral(ish) Changed Everything

Three days after I had my daughter, I found out I was featured on The Metro Times as “One of the Best Photographers to Follow on Instagram.”

I called my husband and was yelling, “I just went viral, hun!”

I booked seventeen clients that month.

I’m a regular person, with regular failures, and a regular life. I had no idea I could wake up every morning and do something I genuinely love.

I get to make a difference. I take photographs that freeze emotions in time and create something that will be passed down for generations.

When I fell in love with what photography meant  – everything fell into place.

Here are some numbers to show you the real reel:

2015: 7 weddings

2016: 6 weddings

2018: 25+ weddings

We looked at the numbers and saw my income skyrocketing to nearly six-figures, doing something that I love.

Alignment is the Answer

We’re told to show up and work, work, work. But when does the hustle end?

Putting your ducks in a row, doing less and making more, and having more time… that’s what we’re after.

Money is great. It pays our bills and gives us what we want. But all the money in the world won’t give you one more minute with the people you love most.

After losing my grandmother, in an instant, I realized everything I was giving up for success. And I vowed to only work for the things that were important to me: freedom, time, and moments with my family. It’s not all about the money.

I want you to just close your eyes with me and envision the dream you have laid out for yourself. Can you see it? Can you almost feel it? Do you get anxious about it?

Then that means you’re supposed to do it. Get out there and do it, friend!