infographic stating a guide to thriving in the first hundred days as a wedding photographer

Embarking on the journey of becoming a full-time wedding photographer? Brace yourself for an exhilarating ride! The first 100 days are not just about capturing beautiful pictures, but they're also about setting the stage to become a successful wedding photographer. This is your golden opportunity to carve out a niche, flaunt your distinct style, and establish what you bring to the table for clients. Yet, navigating through this initial phase can seem daunting - with a plethora of tasks vying for your attention. But fret not; we've got your back! Here's a list of 12 actionable steps to help you make a splash in your first 100 days as a wedding photographer. Read on to equip yourself with tips that can fast-track your wedding photography business. 

12-Step Guide To Thriving In The First 100 Days As A Wedding Photographer

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. That’s why our list below is here to help you navigate through this process (and lessen the burden!): 

1. Set Clear Strategic Goals

If you're forming a wedding photography team, adopting the right business structure is crucial. As ShootDotEdit customers Natalie and Brandon from Studio N Photography And Makeup Artistry, a dynamic husband-wife duo, put it, "Start with establishing a plan of action with achievable goals that align with your common vision as a team." This collective goal-setting not only ensures everyone's on the same page but also helps keep the big picture in focus amidst the whirlwind of wedding day details.

Remember, vague goals won't do you any favors. The more specific you can be, the better you can work towards them. Utilize the SMART system for setting goals - Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Time Specific. This approach can help you create a roadmap to success, preventing you from getting bogged down in the day-to-day operations and allowing you to thrive as a wedding photographer.

Related Read: The Importance Of Setting Goals For Your Wedding Photography Business

2. Define Your Brand

infographic stating your brand is more than just your logo and website and thats a good place to start focusing

Defining your brand is one of the most crucial steps in this exciting venture. Your brand is not just a logo or a website - it’s what sets you apart and attracts ideal clients who resonate with your vision and style, ensuring consistent bookings throughout the year. Start by identifying and solidifying your distinct photography style - are you a fan of traditional wedding photos, or do you lean towards a more candid, documentary approach? Once you've honed in on your style, translate this into your logo and color scheme, elements that will become instantly recognizable symbols of your brand. With these basics sorted, it's time to build a compelling website and blog that showcases your unique style and tells your brand story.

3. Identify Your Ideal Client

As a first-time wedding photographer, another essential step you can take early on is to identify your ideal clients. These are the couples who appreciate your unique style, resonate with your vision, and are willing to invest in the experience you provide. Ideal clients are more than just customers; they're your biggest fans and most enthusiastic promoters. They align with your values and aesthetics, making every project a joy to work on. But how do you find these dream clients? Start by understanding who they are and what they value. The more you know about your ideal client, the better equipped you'll be to attract and engage them.

ShootDotEdit customer and pro wedding photographer Stephanie Heymann puts it beautifully: "Develop a genuine interest in your clients, and treat them not just as subjects to be photographed but as friends and family whose stories you’re excited to tell." This approach transforms your role from a service provider to a storyteller, creating a deeper connection with your clients that can lead to a successful and fulfilling career. 

Read More: How To Find Your Ideal Client

4. Build A Strong Website

infographic stating building a strong website requires ongoing attention and updates to ensure your business runs effectively

In the first 100 days as a wedding photographer, building a robust website is a non-negotiable task. It's your digital storefront, the first point of contact for potential clients, and a key tool in showcasing your talent. 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:

  • Elementor Page Builder
  • Imagify
  • NextGEN Gallery
  • WP Instagram Widget
  • Social Warfare
  • WordPress to Buffer
  • OptinMonster
  • 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:

5. Create Automated Systems

In the hustle and bustle of your first wedding shoot, the importance of efficiency cannot be overstated. One powerful way to streamline your workflow is by implementing automated systems. These systems can handle repetitive tasks, keep you organized, and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Automated systems aren't just about productivity; they're also about client satisfaction. By automating aspects of your client communication and project management, you can provide a seamless, stress-free experience for your clients. Here are a few automated systems you can integrate into your wedding photography business:

  • HoneyBook
  • Dubsado
  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • MailChimp
  • Google Drive
  • Calendly

Suggested Read: Top 5 tips To Create Automated Systems For Your Business

6. Set Proper Prices

Your pricing structure not only impacts your profitability but also plays a crucial role in attracting your ideal clients. It's a delicate balance - you don't want to undersell your skills and creativity, but at the same time, you don't want to price yourself out of the market. Industry professional and ShootDotEdit customer Flavio DeBarros advises new photographers to research what other photographers in your area charge. This will give you a benchmark for setting competitive prices.

"Remember, everyone is your potential client, so put yourself out there and show off your skills! With confidence and savvy wedding photography pricing strategies, you’ll be booking weddings in no time," says Flavio. By following these key steps, you'll be developing a confident, effective pricing strategy in your first 100 days as a wedding photographer

7. Outsource To Specialists

infographic quote by Brandi Allyse Photo

As an entrepreneur breaking into the wedding photography industry, it is essential to recognize that you can't manage all aspects of your business single-handedly. Outsourcing certain tasks to specialists helps maintain a high standard of work and allows you to focus on your core competency. Here are some key areas in which outsourcing can significantly benefit your photography business:

  • Editing and color correction
  • Album design
  • Accounting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Photo Sharing
  • Print Fulfillment
  • Website Design and Programming
  • Blogging
  • Social Media Deployment

Read More: Fast 5: Outsource To Grow Your Wedding Photography Business

8. Maximize Social Media

Using social media effectively can elevate your brand visibility and lead to more bookings. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are ideal spaces to showcase your work and connect with potential clients. ShootDotEdit customer and wedding pro Brandi Allyse advises a proactive approach: "Social media reflects who I am, my passion, and my offerings. It's a tool to establish rapport and credibility from the start, providing insight into my personality, interests, and expertise." Here are a few tips to help you start 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

9. Streamline Your Photography Workflow

infographic stating constructing and applying a finely tuned workflow system can streamline your photography business operations

As industry expert Flavio DeBarros points out, a lack of project tracking can cause even the most skilled photographers to miss deadlines and disappoint clients. In contrast, a well-defined workflow system can aid in effectively managing multiple projects and ensuring the punctual delivery of final products. It can help establish you as a dependable and efficient photographer that clients can rely on. This advantageous practice, though requiring initial effort, can set your business up as both proficient and reliable.

Capitalize on technology, invest in suitable tools, and connect with educators to further hone your photography skills. These steps can be instrumental in your success during your first 100 days as a wedding photographer

Related Read: The Best Photography Workflow Tips For Wedding Photographers

10. Network Within Your Community

At its core, community networking revolves around forming professional bonds within your local sphere. These relationships can lead to referrals, thereby bolstering your professional standing within the industry. To tap into this rich resource, it's vital to remain in constant touch with your community. This involves being present at local events or meetings, engaging in online groups relevant to your field, and lending your support to other local enterprises. But community networking isn't just a savvy business maneuver. It also plays a pivotal role in nurturing a supportive and collaborative spirit within the community, leading to mutual benefits for all parties involved. 

11. Take Business Classes

infographic stating business classes often cover marketing strategies that can help you attract and retain clients

Taking business classes can be an invaluable step towards professional success. These courses equip you with crucial business skills, from understanding contracts and pricing structures to effective marketing strategies. They provide actionable insights on running a successful photography business, helping you confidently navigate the industry. So, invest in knowledge that will help you flourish both as an artist and an entrepreneur.

12. Overcome Self Doubt

As a new photographer, it's important to remember that doubt is natural but shouldn’t overshadow your potential. Every situation you encounter and each experience you gain will serve as a learning curve, helping you to hone your skills and refine your craft. The initial days in this field are not about perfecting every shot but about gaining valuable insights and evolving your style. So, as you navigate your first 100 days as a wedding photographer,  remember to embrace each learning opportunity and trust in your journey (and yourself!). 

Further Read: Wedding Photography Business Practices By Love By Joe Mac

As mentioned before, your first 100 days as a wedding photographer are 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.

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow your wedding photography business. A part of how we do that is by lessening your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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