Have you been photographing weddings for a while now? Do you know the ins and outs of wedding photography? Do you think you have gained enough experience to take your wedding photography business to the next level? If your answer to all these questions is yes, then it might just be time for you to grow your wedding photography business. Figuring out the right time to take your business to the next level is not easy, even if your instinct tells you that you are ready. Your experience, business plan, and skills at running a business all have a role to play in this decision. So, before you think of making any changes, you may want to take a look at where you stand currently. In this blog, we take you through some crucial steps that will help you determine if you are ready to level up your photography business.
The Right Time To Take Your Wedding Photography Business To The Next Level
Taking your wedding photography business to the next level can mean different things to different people. It can mean going from part-time to full-time, or from second shooter to part-time, or from second shooter straight to full-time wedding photographer! But regardless of where you find yourself, if you feel like you might be ready to take the next step, here are some areas you can assess to see if you are.
1. Your Experience
Your years in business and experience across multiple areas of wedding photography are the first things you should look at to see if you’re ready to take your business to the next level. Look at the number of weddings you’ve photographed, the hours you’ve invested, and the skills you’ve learned over time. Make a list of these and give yourself an honest score. Based on what you listed, do you feel like you’re ready to be the one running the show? Do you feel like you have the skills to be the only one photographing at a wedding instead of the second shooter? If the answer is yes, you’re off to a great start!
2. Your Business Acumen
Another way to assess if you’re ready to take your wedding photography to the next level is to ask yourself if you are prepared to run the business side of things. When you first started photographing, photography was about taking beautiful photographs. Maybe you started out photographing just for fun and found yourself saying yes to anyone who asked for pictures. But taking your wedding photography business to the next level means you now need to assess your ability to run a full-time business. You need to look at the profitability of being a wedding photographer. You need to know your cost to value, your cost of goods sold against price points you set, and overall your profit margins when it comes to pricing your packages. If you don’t know where to start, this post on Pricing Your Wedding Photography Packages could help. So could having a business plan! More on that later.
3. The Art of Working with People
There is an art to working with people, especially when you are hired to photograph their wedding. As a second shooter, you may not have as much one on one interaction with the couples before the wedding. As a part-time photographer, you may not be shooting many weddings, so you may not have to work with people very often. But if you are ready to take your business to the next level, you will need to love working with people. A lot. From the first wedding photography consultation to the point where you deliver the final images, your relationships with your couples is an important indicator of whether you will be capable of keeping a larger number of clients happy. Assess how you feel about your ability to build relationships, make connections, and even deal with challenges and crises that arise on a wedding day or even before. If you are one of those wedding photographers who the couple can count on at any time for anything, you may have what it takes to grow your wedding photography business and take it to the next level.
Suggested read: How to Handle Unrealistic Wedding Clients
How To Grow Your Wedding Photography Business
After taking a look at everything above, if you’ve decided it’s time to grow your photography business, here are some things you can do to prepare!
1. Build a Wedding Photography Business Plan
A solid wedding photography business plan is essential for achieving success. Consider working with a business coach or mentor to begin to sketch one out, as it can help you understand if you are really ready to take your wedding photography business to the next level. A few important questions to consider are:
- What are the costs you are willing to incur?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- How many more clients are you ready to take on?
- How will you market yourself and your business to your target client?
- What will be your pricing strategy?
- What products and services will you offer?
- How will you differentiate your business from others in your area?
If you don’t already have a business plan, knowing the answers to these questions will help you devise one.
2. Assess Your Skills Beyond Photography
Assessing your capacity and knowledge to do other things beyond photographing can help you decide if you are ready to grow your wedding photography business. Make a list of the skills you bring to the table, including relationship building, customer service, client management, wedding photo editing, retouching, album design, wedding photography contract writing, marketing, social media, web design, accounting, blogging… honestly anything you think brings value to growing a wedding photography business. Once you make that list, ask yourself if there are areas you want to continue to improve before you commit to running your own business. Or, ask yourself if there are any items on the list you want to outsource (like outsourcing editing to ShootDotEdit!) in order to streamline from the start.
3. Review Your Gear
Knowing your photography gear and how to use it is almost a prerequisite of becoming a wedding photographer. While your skills and eye for detail are the reason you got into this business, staying updated on the latest equipment on the market and how to use it can absolutely help you grow. In the process of taking your wedding photography business to the next level, you may find that you need to assess your old gear and invest in new lenses or a new camera. You may also need to evaluate your pricing as related to any new purchases. For example, if you buy a drone, you can add drone photography to your wedding packages. A friendly reminder, though, it’s not necessary to have the best or the most expensive camera on the market in order to take your photography business to the next level. Ultimately, what you do with the gear you have is what will matter to your couples.
Take Your Time Deciding
Taking your wedding photography business to the next level is a big deal. Determining the right time to do so is a decision you should make by considering various factors. Assessing your experience, listing your skills, and writing a solid business plan are all helpful, but the most important thing is to make sure you feel ready before you jump in. So take your time, make a plan, and prepare to succeed.
At ShootDotEdit, we aim to help you make the right decisions for your wedding photography business. We also help to lessen your post-production workload by taking over your editing work for you. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our price plans.