Starting a photography business is no simple task. And, the first 100 days as a brand new wedding photography business owner are crucial. It is the time you can make an impact in the industry, showcase your unique style, and share what you can provide to clients. However, sorting through what to focus on and where to prioritize can be daunting. Since there are numerous tasks you can work on in these first 100 days, we made it easier for you and put together a list of 12 things you can do to make it a success. Take a look below, where we share tips and provide additional resources to share how to start a photography business and focus on tasks that will help you grow.
Starting a Photography Business
To run a successful and thriving business, it is essential to have a wedding photography business plan. Being scalable and creating a plan allows you to implement proper systems that allow you to have more time taking pictures and less time working on other tasks. A business plan will also allow you to write down your goals, and build a business around them.
In your first days as a new business owner, sitting down to put together a plan can feel like the last thing you want to do. Your excitement is high, and chances are you want to take action immediately. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Article to read: The Wedding Photographer’s Business Plan
Set Strategic Goals
Speaking of goals, you need to set them, and you need to write them down. Setting goals will lead to the success and longevity of your business. The easiest way to begin goal-setting is to determine what metrics are important for you and your business. Open-ended goals don’t help you in the long run; the more you can add definition, the better you can work toward them to achieve and succeed.
Use the SMART System for setting goals which is Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Time Specific.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso
Article to read: The Science of Setting Goals That Will Actually Motivate You
Define Your Brand
As a wedding photographer, your brand is what sets you apart from others in the industry. It allows you to share your unique photography style with ideal clients who are a perfect match for you, which will help you find success in booking throughout the year.
Your brand is more than just your logo and website, but that’s a good place to start. You need to solidify your logo and color scheme before you can move forward with your website and blog. Once you have your logo solidified, order your photography business cards and have them on hand to give to family and friends.
Article to read: How to Strengthen Your Photography Brand This Year
Identify Your Ideal Client
When you are first starting a wedding photography business, you may have an idea of who you want to work with as far as clients. Before you can fulfill the rest of your plan, you have to know who you are trying to attract, and most importantly, who your ideal clients are. Ideal clients are your dream clients; they are your target audience, most preferred consumers, and your biggest fans.
Taking the time to identify your ideal client, who they are, and what makes them happy can make a big difference in the efforts you use to attract and book them.
Article to read: How to Book Your Dream Client
Build a Strong Website
Starting a photography business website is a key to attracting ideal clients and booking them. The website you create should represent the important aspects of your business, drawing potential clients to you and your services.
Article to read: The 4 Most Important Pages of Your Website
There are various ways to create a strong website that reflects your wedding photography business. One way is to add website plugins to create a visually appealing experience for visitors (and website plugins can also be used to generate leads from other platforms). Here are a few helpful plugins for your website, recommended by Scott Wyden Kivowitz of Imagely:
- Elementor Page Builder
- NextGEN Gallery
- WP Instagram Widget
- Social Warfare
- WordPress to Buffer
- Related Posts for WordPress
There are also plugins you can utilize for your blog posts, which help encourage sharing from your readers. Here are few helpful plugins for your photography blog:
Create Automated Systems
To focus on everything you need to do to be successful, creating systems that run almost on their own will help you become as efficient as possible. Systems can ensure you stay on track, avoid stress, and accomplish the goals you set.
Article to read: Top 5 Tips for Creating Automated Systems for Your Business
When you have systems in place, you also eliminate client concerns. ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Vanessa Joy Photography, recommends having a system in place that keeps communication open with your clients at all times so they know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. With the system in place, you create trust with clients and eliminate problems before they start.
Set Proper Prices
Learning how to use pricing as a marketing tool is an essential part of growing your business, as pricing helps you guide your clients to make the right decisions. The more knowledge you have about pricing, the easier it will be to book ideal clients and increase your profit.
Pricing yourself so that your business stands to profit is a must, but it can be confusing to put together when you’re just starting out. Should you put together wedding photography packages, or focus more on a la carte? Either way, focus on building a price list that is easy to read and understand for your clients.
Outsource to Specialists
As a photographer and business owner, you cannot do everything by yourself. Outsourcing to partners and specialists is the necessary step to take for many of your tasks and can free up your time so you can focus on what is most important for your business. Here are the top things ShootDotEdit Customer, Melissa Jill, outsources to help run her photography business:
- Editing and color correction
- Album design
- Photo Sharing
- Print Fulfillment
- Website Design and Programming
- Social Media Deployment
Article to read: Top 5 Tips for Taking Tasks Off Your List
Tip: When you outsource your wedding photo editing, you eliminate hours from your workflow – which are hours you can spend on tasks that can help you achieve your goals.
When you are first starting your photography business, outsourcing may not seem like an option. But as a wedding photography business owner, there are so many tasks on your plate that can hold you back from growing your business.
“The most successful people outsource nearly everything that doesn’t play to their strengths, or things they simply do not need to do themselves.” – Melissa Jill
When you try to do it all, you miss out on opportunities that help you thrive as a business owner and photographer. Even when photographers edit, that is hours of time that could be spent on marketing, meeting clients and vendors, or creating a solid business plan. Here are just a few items on your list of responsibilities, specifically when it comes to post production: especially when it comes to post production:
- Quality control
- Accurate benchmarks
- OS Configuration
Outsourcing to a photo editing company, such as ShootDotEdit, takes the burden and time from editing off your shoulders. When editing is off your plate, you can focus on the things you love to do in your photography business.
Market to Ideal Clients
To start a wedding photography business, you need clients. Marketing to prospects and booking clients are two of the most important elements for finding success in your business. You must understand the basics involved in wedding photography marketing; it is important to also properly use your time to work with clients you love.
Justin and Mary Marantz have a few tips to use marketing for your ideal clients, including sending thoughtful gifts to past and present clients. This makes your clients happy and keeps you top of mind. They also recommend to leave sample albums at your local venues to gain the attention of your ideal clients. Finally, Justin and Mary suggest to add A La Carte pricing to help entice clients to purchase more (and increase your income).
Article to read: 5 Ways to Market Your Wedding Photography Business
Maximize Social Media
As part of your marketing efforts, a strong social media presence is essential to capture the attention of your ideal clients. From Facebook, to Instagram, to Pinterest, and more, there are plenty of ways to increase awareness about your brand and book more weddings.
Here are a few tips to help you kickstart your social platforms:
- Create business pages (separate from your personal pages)
- Ensure your brand is reflected on each social platform
- Find where your audience spends their time
- Build a strategy to help you target ideal clients
- Share your best images from past shoots
- Maintain a consistent schedule for posting
- Interact with your followers on a regular basis
- Utilize each platform’s unique business tools
- Test what works best
- Utilize analytics to make informed decisions
Article to read: 14 Tips to Building a Strong Social Media Plan This Year
Network with Vendors
As you establish your business, networking with vendors and clients is one of the best ways for you to grow your business. When it is done correctly, you can increase the number of clients who see your images and book you for their wedding each year.
In our Secrets to Getting Booked Guide, a few industry leaders shared their thoughts on connecting with vendors. One of the suggestions was to schedule time to connect in-person with vendors, where you can get to know them and share your photography business cards with one another. A second idea was to share images with your vendors and even offer to take images of them while they are working. This can help strengthen the relationship with your vendors, who in-turn become valuable referral sources.
Article to read: Turning Vendors into Valuable Referral Sources
Develop a Healthy Workflow
One final key to success in your first 100 days is to develop a healthy workflow. There are many responsibilities on your plate that can increase stress. With a healthy workflow, you can work efficiently, accomplish your goals, and spend more time on what you love.
As you are starting your photography business, this is the perfect time to put practices into effect that help you develop a healthy workflow. When you are at work on a project, stay focused as much as possible. If it is your personal time, make sure to leave work behind and enjoy your time. This will give you a healthy balance in your life, which will lower stress and allow you to be more productive with your work.
Article to read: Top 5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Workflow
As mentioned before, your first 100 days are of the most important. Starting a photography business is not easy, but by focusing on the most important tasks, you can start successfully. Make the first days count and get started on ways to streamline your systems and processes, become more efficient, and book more clients to help you grow your business to the level you desire. Read through the suggested articles, as well, to learn additional ways to grow. As a final bonus to help your business, we connected with 16 pro photographers to discover what they wish they did in their first year of business to set it up for success. Download our 16 Things I Wish I Did My First Year as a Photographer Guide to use their insights in your business!