As the year comes to a close, I normally begin planning the changes I would like to make over the winter. Business normally slows a bit, or at least changes gears, and I use the time to work on updating my marketing and set goals and action plans for the year. However, this year I thought it would be helpful to remind myself of some of the lessons I learned before setting those goals and share them with you. Here are 7 tips for a better photography business.
It is okay to fail. This year was littered with failures on several levels. Mistakes were made. Tough conversations were had. Weaknesses in my business and policies were brought to light. It hurt. It sucked. It was crippling and exhausted me emotionally for days. But once the emotions were dealt with, I was left with a choice – am I going to let these failures hurt or strengthen me? Ultimately, I chose for them to help me. Now, I have an appreciation for risk and failure. It is a great teacher. Failure is like a bad breakup – you don’t want to go through it, but you know you will be better off in the future. So keep looking forward, past your failures. It makes success taste that much sweeter.
It is funny how things work out; I lived in Shelby Township my entire life and have driven by the Packard Proving Grounds thousands of times, never once stopping in. The grounds are beautiful and full of collectible cars. The garage is a photographer’s dream, with plenty of ambient light pouring in the windows. For years, this gem was right in my backyard and I never stopped to see it, explore it, or appreciate it, until Annie and John had a Packard Proving Grounds wedding.
It reminds me a little bit about the speech Betsy, Annie’s sister and Maid of Honor gave at last night’s wedding. She was a senior in high school and wanted to hook her best friend’s brother, John (the groom,) up with her sister, Annie (the bride). It turns out, John had liked Annie for years before this moment, always walking by her in halls and appreciating her from afar. His response: “I like Annie way too much to date her.” According to Betsy, it took seven years before they ended up dating. As they say, the rest is history.
It is interesting how sometimes, the things that we want, appreciate, and love the most in life are so precious to us that we don’t want to take the risk and actively pursue it. Whether it is a dream, a person, a goal, or a career, I believe that if it is your purpose, then it deserves to be pursued. My best friend calls this Your Plan A. He even wrote a book about it. Watching Annie and John experience their wedding day, it was obvious they were each other’s Plan A. I can’t recall a couple who so easily complimented each other. Spending their wedding day with them, I felt more like a photojournalist and less like a wedding photographer; I simply documented their love and excitement.
The classic cars served as a perfect backdrop to Annie and John’s Packard Proving Grounds wedding.
Following their Packard Proving Grounds wedding, we stopped by another hidden gem in downtown Rochester to photograph their bridal party pictures. The urban feel of the backdrop complemented the industrial feel of the Packard Proving Ground wedding
Special thanks to Ray and Ro at the Packard Proving Grounds for opening up the garage and letting us use the cars. Also, special thanks to all the volunteers at the Packard Proving Grounds for keeping the place up and running. Lastly, if you are looking for a unique venue that lends itself to a laid-back wedding, consider having a Packard Proving Grounds wedding. It is a gorgeous venue.
It has been about two weeks since my last wedding, and while I am wrapping up album designs and other miscellaneous items from the season, I am already writing to-do lists for what to do during the doldrums of the off-season. Luckily I have two weddings in December, but after that I will be retreating to my home office until the snow thaws. Here is a list to help other photographers on things to do when business slows down. Looking to start a photography business? Here is a list to help you answer the question, “How to run a photography business?”
- Send in your gear for maintenance and cleaning
- Update your website and marketing materials
- Create a blog schedule
- Create a marketing campaign and schedule for seasons, holidays, and promotions
- Network, network, network
- Reach out to other vendors and do some cross-promotion. Take photos of their product and services. read more