How To Photography: Tips to Make the First Part of the New Year Very Productive for Wedding Photographers
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Put your Best Foot Forward
Equipment and Work Process Review
With January, February and March typically ranked as the three least favorite months for weddings, many wedding photographers are likely to find some time on their hands. If this describes your photography business, then don’t think you can just take it easy because you have few, if any, weddings scheduled during the first quarter of the year. In fact, you can be very productive during these three months to maximize the number of bookings for the remainder of the year. Here are some tasks and tips to keep you busy and help develop your photography skills and generate more business success.
If the two absolutes are death and taxes, then all the sane people among us will choose financial review and year-end tax preparation as the best course of action. As bad as paying taxes feel, the other option eliminates all feelings! If you start the tax preparation task early, then it will be behind you quicker, so gather and calculate all those amounts for 2012 that you know your accountant will want.
On a more positive note, January is also a good month to prepare a budget for the New Year, a revenue projection and an updated plan for generating more revenue during the remainder of the year.
Schedule some time to review your Website and update the images with your best and most current work from the following year. It may also be time to refresh the opening message prospects see when they visit your site. If your budget allows, then consider hiring a professional Website writer to polish your existing message or to write a much stronger one. Remember, the primary purpose of that message is not to boast about your accomplishments, but to answer prospects’ most important question, “What’s in it for me?” Your message should be written as a series of short benefit statements, typically in second person (“you”) that answer that question. If you have a blog, then start the New Year with daily or regularly entries to refresh it as well. Remember, many future brides became engaged during the holidays, so the first quarter is a perfect time to start a dialogue with them.
Just as with every other business, each year typically comes with an increase in the cost of doing business, which requires that they—and you—increase your prices, accordingly. You bring another year of experience to the marketplace as well, especially if you had a significant increase in bookings last year compared to the prior year. If more prospects are asking you to photograph their weddings, then future clients should expect to pay more because you are professional in demand.
As you should know, many prospective wedding clients want to see samples of your photos in a physical album, so use this time to produce new albums with the best of your recent work.
You just spent 12 months shooting many weddings (and other projects hopefully), so it’s not surprising that your cameras and other gear need a good cleaning. It’s also the perfect time to determine if you should replace equipment or add new pieces. This should be determined in association with planning your operating budget for the New Year. Schedule some time to review your work process, looking for efficiencies that will save you time and money. Check that you have the latest versions of the software you use; consider acquiring and learning new software programs; review your storage capabilities; and move old files to a backup system to create space for this year’s images and workflow.
You’re both a professional photographer as well as a business owner, an entrepreneur. Make this the time of the year you focus on becoming better in both roles. Attend conventions and seminars and read books and other materials to advance all your skills, which are crucial to your growing success.
Just because you have no weddings or other work booked is no reason for your camera to be collecting dust. Professionals of all stripes are constantly practicing their crafts; it’s one of the characteristics that make them professionals. Practice means both your photography as well as your business acumen. Try new techniques and poses using family members or friends as stand-ins and choose one or two business techniques, especially in sales and marketing, that you can begin to learn, plan and implement to make the New Year your most successful ever.
Image credit: asianfan / 123RF Stock Photo
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