I love the off-season. Now that I’m able to focus more intently on the business-y stuff (as opposed to editing, since sessions are a lot slower this time of year), I’ve spent the last few work days brainstorming and writing blog posts that I’ve been meaning to write for months!
Last year, I wrote a post about six things I wished I’d known when I started out and it was one of my most-read posts all year, so we’re back with another installment! Let’s begin:
1. STOP looking at other people’s work so much. I can’t stress this one enough. Should there be other artists/photographers you look up to? Absolutely! But should you spend hours obsessing over their work, to the point that it makes you feel really bad about your own? Nope. Try this: pick 2-3 of your favorite photographers, follow their blogs, and cut yourself off there. That’s enough to keep you inspired, but not so much as to constantly overwhelm you.
2. Also? Stop comparing yourself. Your journey and your business are going to look vastly different than the next photographer’s, so comparing yourself won’t get you anywhere. All it will do is frustrate you, and that’s valuable time you’ll spend worrying that you otherwise could have devoted to taking over the world! I promise, this isn’t some cliché saying that I’m putting up to make you feel better about your business. It’s 100% true.
Kind of like that time I compared my branding to everyone else’s, and decided I needed to rebrand with teal & blush because that seemed trendy and cool. Guys, WHO told me that blush blazer was a good choice??
3. Suck it up and spend the money on a lawyer-approved wedding contract. Don’t try to write it yourself, please don’t! An airtight contract protects you, your business, and your clients. A contract you got for free off of Google, or worse, one you’ve written yourself? There’s no guarantee at all that it’ll hold up in court if, heavens forbid, you ever have to go there. (Psst! Rachel Brenke, the Lawtog, sells wedding photography contracts on her site!). More on this particular topic on Friday’s post!
Ask yourself this: would you rather… spend $125 for a contract template now? Or potentially have to spend thousands of dollars in the future to pay for a lawyer? Your choice!
4. Make sure your camera bags fits ALL of your essential equipment. Having to carry a lens separately inevitably means you will leave that lens at home one day. Or in the drawer of a hotel room. Fun story… I’ve done both of those.
5. The bride and groom may have been the ones to sign your contract, but come wedding day, their families are also your clients. Treat them with the same love and respect as you treat your couple, it’s their day to celebrate as well! Serving the parents of my couples on the wedding day has truly become one of my favorite things about my job. I love seeing their joy, and I love being able to encourage that joy through serving them well. There’s a tendency of photographers to view the parents of our clients as “us vs. them,” but don’t fall into that trap! Mothers and fathers of your brides and grooms can be some of your biggest cheerleaders, and having a cheerful attitude about serving them too makes a wedding day better for everyone.
6. Seek out opportunities for constructive criticism! No one LIKES hearing they didn’t do the best job on something, but I promise, you will grow so much from the times that someone’s willing you say “you could have done ___ better.” Be careful not to simply brush it off when someone points out a weakness in your business (but also, take into consideration who it is that’s speaking).
And last but not least,
7. Know how to parallel park. 🙂 Especially if you ever plan to shoot in a city, or anywhere with paved roads/civilization in general. Not knowing how to parallel park could mean you spent 20 minutes driving around looking for an open spot, and that’s valuable time you lose with your couple!