Wedding Photographer Finds Success in Divorce Photography
In 2020, wedding photographer Allie Siarto business fell sharply as COVID spread, weddings were scaled back or canceled, and demand for his services dried up. In the midst of the recession and the pandemic, it decided to expand into an unexpected new niche: divorced photography.
Siarto, based in East Lansing, Michigan, about 100 miles northwest of Detroit, had a thriving wedding photography business which she launched in 2010, hosting up to 50 weddings on good years. After COVID emerged in 2020, she only shot nine weddings that year, and most took place in backyards for a few hours where you could only charge a fraction of what she previously done in posh venues with many guests.
From weddings to portraits
The wedding photographer began turning to portraits and small business marketing/branding photography to recoup some of the lost revenue.
“When I started marketing personal brand photography, I noticed that some of my favorite clients were recently divorced women,” Siarto says. PetaPixel. “They were reinventing themselves in their lives and careers, and hiring a professional photographer was just a small part of that.
“I realized it was a rewarding experience for these women, and after being a wedding photographer for a decade, I thought it would be fun to get out there with this divorce photography right away.”
Siarto, who ran a market research company, first promoted it in a local women’s networking group in his area, and many women found out about it through friends. She also asked some women to reach out because they worked with divorcing women. They loved the concept and wanted to help promote it.
Start the new business
The next step for Siarto was to arrange a photoshoot with a friend and a few other divorcing women in the community. She used this to start marketing the new concept. Many would message her on Instagram or email and simply say, “Tell me more!”
The typical age group for divorce photography applicants is 30 to 60 years old. It takes around 30 minutes to get a solid mix of shots in a few different outfits in the studio, but longer sessions are also available for those who want more.
Divorce Photography is a relatively new spin-off launched in 2022 from Siarto’s personal brand photography. It’s still early days, but it’s “gaining ground,” she says.
Siarto is now receiving many messages saying, “I saw you were a divorce photographer. Tell me more. I am going through a divorce.
One hand in the whole process
Siarto is involved every step of the way to ensure the client looks her best, from makeup to digital photo editing. Her divorce photography package includes advice on hair, makeup, outfit style, and the photoshoot itself. The makeup is simple and not overdone.
The shooting is done without the camera being connected to a computer, and the client only sees the photos after they have been edited.
“I use Photoshop for all my editing,” the divorce photographer explains. “Beyond the basic clone tool, I use the PhotoLight Pro Photoshop Editing Pack for the skin and Sourcerie Sauce for [extending/fixing] backgrounds.
A chance to feel good again
Siarto says these women talk about how exhausting divorce can be, and many of them don’t take the time to honor themselves through it all. The photo session gives them the chance to have their hair and makeup done and to feel good. They then have photos to share on LinkedIn and their personal social networks.
The photographer says one of her favorite things is seeing these women change their profile pictures and receiving a ton of loving comments from friends and family telling them how beautiful they are. It is confirmation that his work has an impact on the lives of his clients.
About the Author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera courses in New York at The International Center of Photography in the 1990s. He was the director and teacher of Sony/Popular Photography magazine’s Digital Days workshops. You can reach him here.
Picture credits: All photos provided by Allie Siarto & Co. Photography and used with permission.