MEET LEIGH RIPPS
Why did you become a photographer?
The short answer is because I had a baby, but probably not for the same reasons as other moms who also have that same basic answer. It was always my husband and my goal for me to be able to stay home with our kids once we started a family, but baby #1 came a little sooner than planned and finances simply didn’t allow it at that time. Photography for me became a means to an end. It was a way for me to generate an income to replace my full time job that would still provide the flexibility I wanted to be present for my kids in the way I wanted. About a year and a half into creating and growing my business, I was able to leave my job, continue working around 20-25 hours a week at my studio doing school, and raise my (soon to be) 3 kids how I've always wanted.
What do you photograph and why?
I focus my work on maternity, newborn, and young families both in my studio and outdoors at my field. I think this genre has always felt like home to me since it is also the stage I’m at in my own life, and I can relate so closely with all my clients. We can exchange stories as we work together and that honesty allows them to open up towards me in a way that translates into authentic images.
What’s the biggest factor in your long-term business success?
Since my beginnings were rooted in the goal of creating a profitable business from day 1, I think that gave me a big head start that allowed me to sidestep some of the pitfalls that often trip up new photographers. I have always done IPS, always had a strong focus on prints and tangible products, and I’ve always understood that a higher end market is easier to stand out in rather than amongst the masses in the lower and mid-level markets. I’ve adopted a proven business model and then I make sure to provide an excellent experience to every client who comes to me by offering thoughtful extras and special treatment that you would expect from a high-end business.
Why do you use the MUSEA Lab?
Standing out is one of the hardest things in our industry and is so vital in order to have clients choose you over everyone else. One way I do that I by offering only the very best products to my clients that they can’t find elsewhere, and for prints, that is MUSEA. I also really respect and value a company that cares as much about their clients as I do mine, and Michael has gone over and above on multiple occasions to make sure I’m taken care of well.
Can you share a story from your business that illustrates why prints are important?
In the chaos that always accompanies a baby coming home from the hospital, parents' best intentions to make prints from their digitals falls by the wayside 98% of the time. Because of this, prints and framed artwork are included with even my smallest collection so that they will be able to begin enjoying their portraits immediately. I get messages from past clients telling me all the time how glad they are I do that because it would have never happened otherwise. Here’s a note I got last week: "We are loving all the pics of sweet baby James and I am SO glad you included the framed photos in your packages. I get it now and it totally makes sense. I never would have gotten around to framing these! It is such a joy to see them every day in his room."