As a business owner and professional photographer with over 20 years of experience, Sara France is a force to be reckoned with in the wedding photography industry. This award-winning photographer is a Sony Alpha Female and the mastermind behind three distinct photography brands, and her empire continues to flourish. Sara’s exceptional talent and dedication have earned her a spot among the top female wedding photographers in the industry, and she proudly holds the title of one of only five wedding photographers worldwide to be a Sony Artisan of Imagery!
Additionally, Sara mentors Sony’s Alpha Female program, empowering women in the photography and videography fields. Apple, too, has recognized the brilliance of her work, showcasing it in their stores and online.
Sara has lived through all the highs and lows of building a thriving wedding photography business. So, whether you’re a pro photographer looking to revamp your business strategies or an aspiring talent just starting a wedding photography career, let Sara France’s best business practices be your guiding light toward building a successful photography business and wedding photography career.
Sara’s Thriving Photography Brands And Team
Established in 2001, Sara France Photography has become a standout business name in the industry. But that’s not all – Sara’s entrepreneurial prowess led her to create two more ventures, The Copper Collective and Shay Studios. Interestingly, Sara’s brands boast an all-female boutique team of exceptionally talented photographers. It wasn’t intentional at first – “Sorry boys!” says Sara, but after including a couple of women in her team, they brought an unmatched level of fun and cohesion. It was also easier to understand and support each other as they faced similar life challenges.
As of today, Sara France takes immense pride in the exceptional team of talented women at Sara France Photography and The Copper Collective, working harmoniously in locations like San Diego, Austin, and Hawaii. Meanwhile, Shay Studios, renowned for creating captivating visual content for businesses, from large companies to small business coverage, just opened a branch in DC and Denver. Sara’s team is doing a fabulous job day in and day out with so much energy.
Sara France’s Best Business Practices Every Photographer Needs To Know
With a perfect blend of creativity and camaraderie, Sara France and her team continue to excel. But how does she run her HUGE photography business and market her brands so efficiently? Here are a few photography business practices that she shared with us!
1. Take Time To Set Up Workflows
When it comes to successful wedding photography business practices, Sara France knows that setting up management software and workflows is a game-changer. One essential tool she recommends is Táve, a studio management software that handles leads, workflows, and processes. Sara emphasizes the importance of dedicating time to set up this robust system, even though it may initially seem daunting. She shares, “You have to take the time to set it up and create workflows. The more you grow with it, the more it can do for you.”
Another crucial aspect is the download process. Sara explains that ensuring a seamless workflow for multiple photographers can be challenging, but it’s essential to avoid losing wedding photos and maintain efficiency. To address this, Sara adopted a new NAS system (network access server) to enhance the process further.
2. Focus On Building Professional Relationships
Sara’s advice in terms of marketing is crystal clear – prioritize building meaningful relationships. For Sara, it’s not just about serving the client but also nurturing connections with vendors and venue coordinators. Her marketing plan revolves around putting people first, making it the cornerstone of her strategy. She emphasizes, “Marketing-wise, my focus has always been on people, and it always will be on people.” Developing strong and genuine relationships with clients and industry professionals becomes the catalyst for word-of-mouth referrals and long-lasting partnerships. While some may rely solely on other marketing methods to target specific demographics, Sara’s principle remains consistent – people come first.
3. Implement Systems
Sara France’s best business practices strongly emphasize the power of implementing systems. Sara understands that delivering a top-notch experience requires more than just good intentions. It’s about having foolproof systems in place to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
For photographers starting out, survival mode often overshadows the need for solid systems. However, Sara suggests looking beyond the present and investing time and effort into establishing procedures to elevate the client experience. One area Sara especially values is the card download, backup, and file storage system. Ensuring the safety and accessibility of images is paramount for any professional photographer. Sara knows nothing keeps a photographer up at night more than the fear of losing photos or missing a crucial shot. Having dependable systems in place gives her peace of mind and the confidence to focus on delivering excellence to her clients.
Suggested Read: Staying Competitive In The Wedding Photography Market
4. Stay Organized With Spreadsheets
Sara France swears by her love for spreadsheets and has even earned her a humorous yet aptly descriptive shirt from her team, which reads, “A lady in the streets and a freak in the spreadsheets.” Utilizing spreadsheets helps Sara keep a meticulous record of the financial aspects of her business. “I understand (and love) spreadsheets. We have many documents that keep track of who’s making money and where and how. And we have systems in place for tracking all that and making sure that our finances are good and in check.”
Over the years, Sara’s financial management system has evolved, leading to a spot where she feels everything is well-managed and almost on autopilot. Her team members are also involved in keeping things organized and flowing smoothly.
Suggested Read: Tips To Manage Business Finance For Wedding Photographers
5. Make Things Easy For Other Wedding Vendors
To simplify the sharing process for wedding coordinators and vendors, Sara believes in giving them easy access to her images. Recognizing their vital role in her business, she has developed a winning strategy: she shares the images with them and prepares ready-made social media posts. This saves the vendor’s time and ensures that her brand’s image is consistently portrayed on their social media platforms.
6. Outsource To Succeed
Running a photography business involves wearing multiple hats, from marketing and finance to CEO responsibilities, which can quickly become overwhelming. For this, Sara firmly advocates for a different approach – outsourcing. Sara’s belief in ‘Anti-DIY’ stems from the realization that focusing on her unique strengths is the key to success.
An area where Sara chooses to be Anti-DIY is in photo editing. She entrusts her editing needs to us at ShootDotEdit, recognizing that editing her images would consume valuable time that could be better utilized elsewhere. Though outsourcing may require some initial time investment to set clear expectations, Sara firmly believes that it is a wise long-term decision.
By relying on ShootDotEdit’s expert editing software and services, Sara can concentrate on her passion – capturing extraordinary moments and connecting with her clients. This approach enables her to deliver exceptional results and empowers her to run a profitable business.
7. Market And Network Everywhere
With her wealth of experience and photography skills, Sara France’s best business practices include branding, marketing, and networking advice. Sara’s strategy involves being everywhere – websites, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. When a prospective client encounters your brand on multiple platforms, it reinforces authenticity and builds trust.
For Sara, being active on various platforms shows that you genuinely engage with your audience. Ensuring that your wedding photography business website and blog are regularly updated is good practice and a crucial element for SEO. It helps boost your online presence and attract more potential clients to your photography business. In addition to updating business Instagram pages and team accounts, she suggests maintaining a personal Instagram page. By sharing glimpses of your family and personal life, you allow clients to connect with you on a more intimate level.
Sara France’s best business practices shine as a beacon of wisdom and inspiration to all photography entrepreneurs. With her dynamic all-female team, she’s implemented efficient systems, built strong relationships, and outsourced specialized tasks while preserving her artistry. Sara’s strong social media presence allows her to foster deeper connections with her audience and leaves a lasting impression on potential clients and vendors. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just about to start a wedding photography business, take cues from Sara’s business approach and let her phenomenal work be your guiding light.
To explore Sara France Photography further, visit her official website mentioned above, or you can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. The Copper Collective can be followed on Pinterest and Instagram, while her third business, Shay Studio, can be found on Instagram.
At ShootDotEdit, we are committed to helping you grow your wedding photography business. And to help you with that, we lessen your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services that match your style. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.