3 Tips to Successfully Prepare Your Business for Next Year (Without Stressing)


Here at ShootDotEdit, we love to help professional photographers with their wedding photography post processing. In addition to that, we also love sharing valuable tips you can implement into your photography business. With 2017 right around the corner, it’s time for you to build a strong business plan. To help you do just that, we reached out to ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Vanessa Joy, for her insights.

In her second post with us, Vanessa discusses how to prep your wedding photography business, without stressing out too much. Read below to discover her suggestions on how to create a cohesive business plan for next year. (If you haven’t checked out Vanessa’s first post, take a look at it here).


It’s December, and you’re nowhere near your booking quota for 2017. Panic sets in.

You’re not alone this time of the year. While everyone is celebrating a season of plenty, you’re wondering if this is your last. Even in my busiest booking years, I had this kind of fear set in right before the new year rolled around.

You don’t have to be scared. You probably need to analyze a few things, but if you’ve been doing what you need to do as a business owner all year, it’s unlikely that you’re about to meet your demise.

Below, I’m sharing a few tips on calming your fears and planning for the year ahead.


Image Compliments of Vanessa Joy Photography

1. Keep good records

Odds are, you’re right around the same number of booked weddings that you were at this time last year. We just don’t remember it. Keep good records using your client management system (I use 17Hats) so you can look back on this. I can’t tell you how often my husband and I have had this discussion where one of us is freaking out, but then looking at our numbers, realize we’re right where we need to be.


Related: Are you using these 9 time-saving tools for your business?

2. What have you done differently?

  • Raised your prices? Then you should know the number of jobs less than you can book and still make the same income.
  • Cut back on advertising, marketing, or social media efforts? Hey, now you see the effect of it and it’s time to kick it up a notch.
  • Lost focus on making your clients 110% happy? Treating your clients like the gold they are will always ensure they send you new business.

Related: How do you know if you’ll make a profit for your wedding photography business?

3. Know current booking trends

When I first started my own business back in 2008, it was typical for a bride to book their photographer 12-18 months out. Now, for a multitude of reasons, the booking trends have shifted and I typically book my clients 8-12 months in advance.


Image Compliments of Vanessa Joy Photography

Take that into account when you’re looking at your expected bookings by this time of the year. And take heart, after all – engagement season is now through Valentine’s Day and a lot of people plan same-year weddings now-a-days.


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If you think about it, we’re the lucky ones. How many other working people can see months and months ahead of time that they’re going to have a change in income, and have the chance to do something about it? Around the US, two weeks is the standard pink slip notice, and you have much more warning than that if your bookings are in fact experiencing a decline.

The last thing you want to do with this information is blame it on the industry or anything else out of your control. That won’t do you or your business any good, and your mortgage company certainly won’t be taking excuses for payment next year. If there are things you need to change, do it now.

Not sure where to start? Check out the inspiration section on for both free and paid marketing videos. Need a different source of revenue? Start up a whole new venture in headshots by creating a business in 48 hours with Best of luck in 2017!


What did you think of Vanessa’s tips to prep your business? She provided some great insight into how to create a plan, without stressing! What else should you focus on to recharge your business for next year? Download our Wedding Photographer’s Guide to the Off-Season to find out!


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