Welcome to 2024! Over on my Instagram I’ve kicked the year off with a new series exclusively for wedding photographers. The off season is a great time to take an audit of your business– what is working within your business? What needs to change in the year ahead? It can be really hard to know where to start, so I’m outlining 30 days of tips to elevate your business in 2024. These are ACTIONABLE tips that you can implement right away. Let’s begin…
Day 1 – Make the most of your yearly recap
As we welcomed in the New Year, I saw SO many 2023 recap posts hit my feed. That means many wedding photographers were looking back through all of their galleries from the year and selecting a group of images that make up your year’s greatest hits. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste on one single post– let’s recycle the content! ♻️
Here are 3 ways you can use those recap images:
⭐️ WEBSITE REFRESH: Swap out some old photos on your site for some of these new images.
⭐️ SOCIAL MEDIA BANK: Send all of your highlight images to your phone, create a new album titled “Social Media,” and voila- you have a folder of your top images ready to go when you’re not sure what to post on Instagram.
⭐️ REFLECT: Take a look at the body of work you’ve pulled together. Do you see any trends or common themes? If so, what can you do to intentionally keep creating more work that you love in 2024?
Day 2 – My memory card storage solution
Sadly, I can’t claim credit for this idea
I saw this hack on Instagram, and am obsessed with this jewelry organizer turned memory card keeper. Memory cards are what keep photographers up at night, so knowing I have all my used memory cards in one spot is clutch (do people say clutch anymore???).
Once my cards are uploaded, all the RAW cards get one square and all of the JPG cards get another square. Each square has a number and I have a note in my phone to keep up-to-date on what square goes to what cards. Once I’ve delivered the galleries to my client, all the cards get formatted and are ready for their next gig.
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Day 3: When to Photograph Reception Details
This tip is for wedding photographers, planners & couples planning their wedding! Often, a lot of thought & effort is poured into every detail of a reception space. But these photos don’t just happen on the busyness of a wedding day. To get the best reception detail photos, 3 seemingly random, but very important questions, that wedding photographers should be asking on their pre-wedding call are:
1. Will the reception space be closed off to guests during cocktail hour?
Build reception photos into your timeline before guests enter the space so you’re not battling people in the background, jackets on chairs & the first round of drinks already set down.
2. (Follow up to Question 1) Will that still be true even if it’s raining?
If we learned anything from last season, it’s to ask about the rain plan. Make sure that you know when you’ll photograph details regardless of weather, because often an outdoor cocktail hour will be moved into the reception space ☔️
3. What time will the reception space set up be finished?
If your couple is not choosing to do a first look, that means that you’ll likely be shooting portraits during cocktail hour– leaving you little-to-no time to capture the reception space before guests enter. In this case, ask if the space can be ready 30 minutes before the ceremony start and photograph a round of detail shots then.
Day 4: Automating your Meetings
This tip is for any wedding professional! It’s the end of engagement season, and you may see more inquiries hitting your inbox with couples hoping to meet you! Do yourself a HUGE favor and skip the “when are you free to meet?” back & forth emails. Instead, sign up for a Calendly account. This is not sponsored, it’s just a tool I’ve used in my business for a few years and I can’t imagine working without.
Why does this matter? Making it *easy* to schedule a call with you will be a great first impression for prospective clients who want a wedding photographer that is easy to work with. Right off the bat, it gives your clients a sense of ease before you ever even start talking about photography & pricing. Not to mention, automating this piece of your business saves you a bunch of annoying steps. All you have to do is make sure your calendar is up-to-date, and this program will schedule the call, create a Zoom link, and automatically send a reminder to attendees before the call.
Let’s say no to a million emails and yes to more automation in 2024, shall we?
Day 5: Try before you buy!
Say it with me: “I will not purchase new camera gear without renting it first.”
Just because everyone else loves the hottest new lens or camera body, does not mean you will. The 2 times I’ve broken this rule of mine in the last few years, I regretted it and returned or sold the gear. Professional camera gear is expensive By trying before you buy, you can test drive the equipment from a neutral place— if you love it, yay! you buy it; if you don’t love it as much as you thought, you just saved yourself a lot of money + regret.
The Canon RF 28-70 f/2.0 is an example of a time that there was SO much hype around a new lens. This baby is not cheap, so I rented it with the promise to myself I’d only buy it if I LOVED it. And I just didn’t. No doubt it’s a great lens, but I’m happy with the lens set up I have and there were other investments this size that were a bigger priority to my business.
If you have your eye on a new piece of gear in the new year, make sure you love it + it lives up to all the hype before shelling out. Lens Pro To Go is my go-to rental spot!
Day 6: Finding work-life balance in the new year
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“Do you have room in your life for spontaneity?”
I couldn’t honestly answer her yes. I had been talking with my therapist about the demands of busy season and feeling like I needed to work every spare second. She hit me with this question and it stuck with me long after our session…
When I started my business 12 years ago, I loved the idea of being my own boss & being in control of my schedule. Somewhere along the way, my work dominated my calendar, and if you own your own business, I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It wasn’t until I was near burnout that I took a *hard* look at what boundaries I needed to put in place in my business so that it wasn’t overrunning my life. I looooove my job I feel incredibly lucky to have a career that I love– that doesn’t mean it gets to overrun my calendar, leaving my personal life to get the scraps of my time + energy left over.
Over the past few years, I’ve discovered ways to put boundaries on my calendar to restore the BALANCE to my life If you’re a photographer looking for a bit more of that in 2024, here’s where to begin…
For day 6️⃣’s tip for a better business, I want you do a little reflection exercise on 2023 ️
(1) What were some highlights from your personal life that you want to make sure you have time for in 2024?
(2) What were some things you were bummed to miss out because you were working that you would like to be present for in the coming year?
If you don’t take control of your calendar now, it will take control of you. Whether it’s an evening, a day, or a weekend to do the things that come to mind for you, no matter how mundane, put them on your calendar. One of my biggest calendar hacks is scheduling weekends off: no traveling, no visitors, no plans, no work… is it cheating if it’s scheduled spontaneity?
Be sure to check back next week for the next 6 tips to lead you to a better business in 2024. Friends, this is just the beginning. If you’re looking to level up your wedding photography business, the doors are currently open for my brand-new coaching program, The Better Business Checkup. Together, we will walk through the biggest pain points of your business and set you up for success in the new year to finally building a business that works for your life. Have questions? I would love to chat! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org