elena s blair


Clubhouse Show Notes – Room With Chloe Ramirez, Elena S Blair, & Bre Thurston

Im Elena

A "mom with a camera", on a mission!





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March 3 – 1:00pm 

Running a Thriving Photography business as a single mom

~with Chloe Ramirez and Bre Thurston


  • Elena: family and newborn photographer, Seattle, Wa www.elenasblair.com

  • Bre: wedding photographer, SF Bay area

  • Chloe: family and wedding photographer, Sacramento, Ca

Topic 1: How did becoming a single mom change how you ran your business? 

Bre: was initially worried about the stigma of being divorced as a wedding photographer; she began speaking openly about it to her clients and her business took an upturn; she was more aligned with who she was as an artist through that make-it-or-break-it moment

Elena: did you actually change your routines? Practices? 

Bre: I took it more seriously! I was the only source of income and I could only rely on myself

Chloe: Yes! I had no option to fail. The mindset shift was huge. As for daily practices, I had to write more things down and have a plan so I couldn’t fail. I needed to calculate where my business fit in with the new normal. So i do client communication in the mornings and I try to schedule all my shoots when my kids are with the other parent; it forced me to become more organized in my thoughts and practices

Elena: ex also lost his job when she lost her marriage; fear creeped in, but had to double down because failure wasn’t an option; began investing in herself more than ever before and income doubled in the first year after her divorce; I feel like I’ve found more harmony in life; I was doing too much, but then had ½ of my time back – I became a better mother!

Bre: Yes – being an awesome parent 50% of the time! 

Elena: you need to take time to build your business! And you need to take a break as a mom

Bre: And outsourcing is crucial! You can’t do it all and everyone needs help

Chloe: there’s an intense pressure to do it all yourself all the time! There’s freedom in the mindset shift that happens to allow you to achieve that with help

Topic 2: When did we decide to go public about it? 

Elena: I was a family photographer and my family was falling apart?? I thought people would think I was a fraud! But I was very public and honest about it – podcast and interview

Bre: took about 6 months to talk about it, but then was her most liked Instagram post! Happy to share and be authentic – too much shame around divorce and it doesn’t have to be that way! 

Elena: I remembered how alone I felt; but then i was only seeing other’s highlight reels…

Chloe: I never “officially” posted about it; my mindset was “that’s not who I am any more and I want to share about who I am now…” ; so I just started mentioning that I was a single mom and that felt like forward motion for me; there’s beauty in being open to where you’re at in the moment

Elena: A lot of me talking about it was about empowerment; I wanted the women who were following me to take their businesses seriously; my divorce was an experience in learning how to take care of myself and it helped me define my purpose

Bre: I’ve noticed getting to witness people getting married and the moments; it showed in my work because I knew what it felt like to have it and lose it; it also allowed me to not settle in my relationship! 

Chloe: It’s (authentic love) not a fairy tale, but it feels like that when you’re in the ugly stages of divorce; it’s scary, but when you meet your person, you realize they DO exist and it’s not a fairy tale. 

Elena: I wanted that so badly! That when it came, I almost didn’t believe it! 

Bre: Elena, you touched on doubling your business… mine was, too! The year after my divorce was my biggest year ever; this is also HUGE for women – the financial aspect that you need for freedom

Elena: I think my ex was holding me back in my business and I stayed small for him. And I didn’t see it until I stepped back from it; we had outgrown each other; but when you clear that out, you get freedom to be your authentic self and you will be more successful

Chloe: what do I want and how can I scale that for my family? Once you get into that growth mindset, it can come to you. 

Elena: we’ve all had to be pretty scrappy in our businesses in a few areas; there’s a lot of grit involved! 

Bre: I was so spread thin that I felt like I couldn’t take on 15 weddings; in 2020, I had 28 weddings on the books! There’s no shame to taking on what you have to to provide for your household

Elena: I work every weekend August – October; that’s my lifestyle, though, and I do it because I have to

Topic 3:  Do we get help with our business? What help do we get? 

Bre: Going into 2020 – hiring a FT admin assistant; I’ve discovered my weaknesses and realized I wasn’t organized; I outsource editing for 4 years; haven’t cleaned a toilet in 8 years! There’s already enough to do! I have a housekeeper and do Doordash a lot

Chloe: I don’t outsource as much; my goal this year was to hire a VA who does tasks that I don’t want to do! Wanted her to revamp my Pinterest, craft emails and templates; I want to be a happy photographer who is showing up for my clients with a full cup; during busy season, I have a nanny and I feel ok with her in my home with my kids

Elena: I have a little army! On the household front – nanny that was only 10 hours a week so I could get a full day’s work in; I’ve always had a house keeper – it’s a huge difference for us, especially as women; on my biz team – bookkeeper, COO, community manager, social media manager; outsource editing

Bre: something I’ve noticed is pretty common – it usually starts off as a side hustle; but even as the businesses grow, they are still treating their business as a side hustle and that’s when you start to burnout! I want to empower women to take the space to say “this is my business and I want to invest in it”

Elena: It’s societal! That’s how we were conditioned to believe; your husband would never bat an eye at leaving the family in the morning to go to work

Bre: you have to advocate for yourself! 

Elena: I still struggle with it! When I say, “I did everything” I took that on myself! Have to be conscious about that to let my partner in and let him help

Chloe: Ex was military and was raised to be fiercely independent; problem came when he would come home and then I became the “stay at home mom”; I felt like I needed permission from him and it felt very controlling and strange; when I left and moved out, I felt almost instant comfort that I had been there before and I could do it again

Bre: I joke that I was a child-bride; I discovered that my husband and I looked at money and careers very differently; he cared about success so much that I almost resented it; like he only cared about the dollars I brought home and it didn’t feel as fulfilling at all. My business completely changed once I changed that mindset

Chloe: how you view money is probably something you definitely should have talked about! For us, it was what my ex expected – a stay-at-home mom; commonality with getting married young

Bre: You don’t even know who you are at that age! And so many of us find that in our 30’s that we didn’t know what we want and who we want 

Elena: I’m not trying to celebrate divorce or telling people to leave their marriages; but to focus on what’s important to take your life and your business seriously because you deserve complete importance for that! We all believe that it’s important to be able to take care of yourself. 

Audience Question: How do you balance keeping your pricing and brand with resistance to doing minis sessions

Elena: no shame in needing a cash injection in your business; 

Chloe: and that’s not something people are putting out there

Bre: I have a mentally about this – I never had to drop my prices, but I had to take on more work and had to be more flexible than before; I understand the fear there, but I think you have to plow forward with your brand and your worth; lean into that and ride it out; and if it doesn’t work, there’s no shame in doing what you have to do

Elena: it’s usually not your high prices! 

Chloe: I’ve had years where I needed to bring in some cash injections; it’s not so much discounting your services, but maybe filling a hole in your services that’s not covered; I needed to bridge the gap for some people – so I started doing sessions on Tuesday at a discounted rate. 

Elena: I went opposite! I raised my prices and took on 8 schools that year! I hustled and pivoted and grew my education platform

Bre: You have double the time on your hands! 

Elena: we also love what we do! I remember staying up all night just working because I loved what I did and I had the freedom to do my work

Bre: I have enjoyed my work so much more in these years

Chloe: Give yourself permission to have it all

Elena: yep! You don’t have to settle! I think that’s something we all learned – you don’t have to settle in any area; it’s possible, you just have to give yourself that freedom

Audience Question: Were there any boundaries that you created for yourself after the fact? In relationships or for work?

Bre: wedding photographer, I refused to take weddings every weekend because I would miss time with my kids; personally, I chose to speak openly about it, but to never say anything negative about their father. 

Chloe: I feel like the last 2 years have been a huge learning curve about boundaries; I felt like I had NONE!; I would give and give and not get anything in return; knowing with friends or kids that we can’t give them everything; don’t work every weekend – don’t work from a scarcity mindset! 

Elena: I didn’t want to believe that mindset was such a big thing! 

Audience Commnent: just thanks for being open about your experiences; I’ve learned a lot even just listening to this

Bre: knowing where you line in the sand is is important

Audience Question: I am so struck at how similar our stories are! It’s shocking to me. It makes me wonder how common a thing is it? 

Chloe: There are people out there that will resonate with your story! And it’s vital that you know you’re not alone and you can be successful

Elena: that’s why I share! I don’t want people to feel like they are alone! 

Bre: I didn’t know anyone who was divorced! I needed to see and talk to someone who went through it because it felt like an abyss where you couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel

Elena: It felt like an out of body experience – watching my life unfold! It feels so good to have a community of people who get it

Audience Question: I have 5 children and a hubs in military; 1) how do you start outsourcing? 2) how do you know that your business is ready for that? 

Chloe: I would carve out 2 hours a day to do NOTHING! Relish in the silence, clear your head and feel zen, give yourself self-care to make sure you’re having your me time! Create boundaries in your schedule will allow you to be successful

Bre: when to outsource? What’s your biggest point? For me, it was editing! It was the first thing to go for me! 

Chloe: I just thought of something! Search in hashtags! They (VA’s, housekeepers, editors, etc) want you to find them, too! So many photographers are outsourcing! Just start asking! 

Bre: lots of people are working from home and have lost their jobs. 

Audience Question: I’ve been a single mom for 13 years; it’s been difficult to find like-minded people in this industry; how do wedding photographers handle it? 

Chloe: when I’m at a wedding, I realize that this exists for me! This love is out there for me. I get more triggered at family sessions with stereotypical family sessions – feeling like there’s something missing from my life, but it’s NOT; I have a manifestation playlist to help squash those feelings that it won’t ever be there for me. 

Chloe: I want everyone to hear: you have this community to lean on ; thank you for joining! 

Chloe’s Instagram Bre’s Instagram

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