Do you remember ‘Glamour Shots’? Business Model Comparison

July 21, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Back in the early 1990s, Glamour Shots portrait studios (usually at the mall) were all the rage. They scheduled you in for hair styling and makeup application, then had a range of outfits and accessories for you to dress up with for your photoshoot. Frankly, I loved the concept… and I still do! This was a chance to be as cute/fun/sexy/glamourous as you wanted to be.

There were, however, a couple of drawbacks to the business model.

1. The styling was often way over the top, creating images that didn’t look anything like the real person.

2. They brought you in with a low up-front sitting fee with the hope of large sales at the back end. If you walked away with just your one included 8x10 print (hard to do, but I’m sure it happened), they likely lost money due to their high overhead.

While I also offer full styling and no requirement for an additional purchase (or even a large investment), I do things a little differently than GS:

1. I want you to look and feel your very best in front of my camera, and I have found that some people are more confident with having a professional do their hair and makeup for them. That service is relaxing, as well, helping calm nerves before the camera is pointed at you and reducing the stress that sometimes accompanies packing and driving and all the things competing for your time and attention. Departing from the Glamour Shots model, however, I bring in hair and makeup artists that will make sure you still look like you, just on your best day. They are enhancing your natural beauty, not changing you into someone else.

2. Your session fee is set to cover my basic cost of doing business, which includes making sure my hair and makeup artists are paid what they are worth, and my software usage licenses for editing and storing your images stay up to date. Beyond that, I honestly don’t make a huge profit. But I’m not losing anything, either (but time) if you don’t want to make an additional purchase, as the studio space is paid for in full and I have no employees (like a receptionist) to pay.

Hand-held 4x5 print of Maggie, your photographer, from her Glamour Shots session circa 1992.Glamour Shots me, circa 1992Glamour Shots was so much fun! If you’d like to recreate Glamour Shots for your photo session, I’m completely on board! I love to have clients play in the studio, and I have collected a ton of dresses and accessories – including feather boas – over the years. Since you’re here already and the headshots are done, let’s have a little fun!

There are only two Glamour Shots studios still in operation: one in New Jersey and one in Texas. That’s too far to travel, when I’m just up the road, maybe 10-15 minutes west of Amherst. Come see me.


Women are multi-faceted, and I love helping them share images that show their authentic, beautiful, confident shine! How do you want to be photographed? Let's meet over coffee and talk about it. Contact me: text/call 434-226-0365 or email [email protected]... or schedule a Zoom meeting online here!


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