As a wedding photographer with a young family, my weekends are sacred to me. I always knew I never wanted to be “high volume,” but of course I wanted to make as much as possible per client to scale my business. Over the years I’ve learned a number of ways you can increase your client accounts while receiving raving reviews and not giving up more weekends! Hint: if your clients are spending more with you, it doesn’t mean they’re unhappy clients. The experience and value you provide just needs to match the price.
Wordpress is a platform with the power to build almost anything you want, but all that freedom makes it really tricky to navigate. Until I found the right tools through a lot of trial and error and crashed sites, I found it frustrating as well (in fact, as I write this, we’re dealing with the headache of switching the ShutterFest site to a new server). In this series, I want to save you all those headaches and show you the entire process of building a Wordpress site for your photography business, from beginning to end.
What I propose is that you have a system for engagement shoots (or really any shoot). Maybe you’ll only have it in the back of your mind and bring it up on the uncreative days. Or perhaps you’ll just use it as a starting point to get everything flowing from there. Either way, having a go-to process in my head has helped me on numerous occasions. Posing guides are great, but having a method in the back of your mind will be much faster to access. Here’s my method and process of how I shoot my typical engagement session and how I interact with my clients and pose them. My sessions are slated as hour-long sessions, usually shooting about an hour before sunset so I have the best natural light and can maybe even snag a sunset or twilight picture or two.
By transforming our business from a shoot and burn model to a full service IPS photography studio, we took our income from a yearly average of $70K to $195K in one year. I’m not going to lie to you—it was hard work. We revamped our logo, our website, thought about what we could do to elevate our client experience, and most importantly, added IPS. We realized we were leaving so much money on the table and we weren’t helping our clients where they needed it most. Here are 6 actions we took to get the ball rolling.
I love that when I start a wedding, I never know what to expect. Every couple is different and every wedding presents new opportunities. Creativity is all about highlighting people’s expressions, mannerisms, or interactions. Lighting, shadows, other subjects, or other elements can also make the image unique. Everything is based on using what you have in the location. I look into my psyche and trust my instinct to get the shoot I want.
There are a lot of elements that go into making a wedding successful from a photographer’s perspective. A lot of times we feel that if the client is happy, then mission accomplished! But if that’s your only gauge of whether a wedding was successful or not, then there’s a lot you’re missing out on. I want to help challenge you to look at other aspects of a successful wedding day, from before you even book a client to getting bookings from guests at the wedding. Once you finish this article, I challenge you to make a list of items that define a successful wedding for you. But first, let’s jump into my top 5 tips for a successful wedding.
This is the point in your business when you probably begin to ask yourself, “Is it time to hire some help?” When you get to that point, it’s usually already too late. Now I want to start by letting you all know that I understand your reservations about hiring employees. No matter how much money you spend on equipment in a year, it will probably never be close to what you invest in an employee. People are inherently expensive, and the workload involved in having employees is also very stressful at times. However, no empires have ever been built by an individual, and if you want to continue to grow your business, you will need the help of other people.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know the entire world is dealing with Covid-19 and the aftermath of this has yet to be realized. Panic and desperation are challenging small business owners around the world. So much uncertainty. So much still to be realized as every day delivers more bad news. If you are like me, I am just looking for some positive news. Any glimmer of hope that things will return to normal sometime soon.
Successfully controlling the harsh light from the sun requires two inexpensive tools: a diffusion panel to soften the light and one or more reflectors to bounce light, fill in unwanted shadows, and create accent light. Both of these tools are available in a wide variety of models, build qualities, features, sizes, and price points. The good news is you can pick up basic models of both tools that do the job well for around $100. Not too bad for professional location lighting! Ideally you’ll also want a light-duty stand to use with the reflector and a sandbag or two to keep things stable in the event of windy conditions.
Want to learn how to get creative no matter what time of day it is? Check out Sal’s latest video where he shows you how to create magic portraits right in your backyard.