Dancing and Dive-Rolling with Wedding Photographer Jonathan Suckling
By Kyle Wilson
As the festive lights twinkle and the year draws to a close, it's a time of reflection for many, including wedding photographers.
While the holiday season is typically a quieter period for many photographers, it presents a unique opportunity to look back on the year that was. It's a chance to take a breath, reassess, and reflect on the successes and challenges you faced.
It’s also a time to keep the creative juices flowing and invest in your success for the coming year.
Let's dive into how you can make the most of this holiday season and emerge stronger and more prepared for the year ahead.
Going through your shoots from the past year is an appropriate place to start. It allows you to review your accomplishments and progress throughout the year. Assess the quality of your work with an objective eye. Select your best images that reflect the work you want to do more of to add to your professional portfolio. Cut out images that no longer reflect your current skill level or represent work you don’t want to do.
TIP: Create a ‘Portfolio’ folder at the start of each year and after every shoot, copy your favorite selection of images into it as a quick and handy resource for social media posts, website and portfolio updates, and end of year reviews etc.
As you go through the images of the past year and recall the weddings you shot, look for things you could be doing better. Perhaps it’s a skill related to shooting, your aftershoot workflow, or client communication.
Were there things about a specific shoot that could have gone more smoothly? Did you find yourself spending an excessive amount of time culling and editing? Is your backup system effective? As you reflect on the photos and the experiences with each client, make a list of things that you want to improve on.
There's no better time to take that online course or find a workshop to hone your skills in any area you may need help with. Or, use this time to experiment with different photography styles, gear, or editing software. Enhance your small business skills with an online marketing or financial planning course. The sky’s the limit.
What worked well last year as far as marketing goes? Did you get a good response from a particular post or ad? Brainstorm ideas for how to market yourself this coming year. Set monthly goals and plan how to reach them. Reach out to past clients and ask for feedback you can use as testimonials to refresh your marketing materials. Use our checklist of 10 fundamental photography marketing tasks to continually revisit to grow your business.
Every wedding photographer needs a blog. It’s your personal platform to show your work and your personality, communicate with clients, and draw traffic to your website. New to blogging? Find out more about it in our ‘How to Start a Wedding Photography’ blog post.
Sketch out ideas for future blog posts and use Narrative Publish to see them come to life in minutes. Start with one post a month for the upcoming year, and rest easy knowing you have the basics of blogging down. While you’re at it, schedule social media posts along with the blogs. You can always create more later, but now is a golden opportunity to take some pressure off your future self.
Did you have enough money coming in to cover everything going out? How was the cadence of your cash flow? Review your pricing strategy and adjust as needed for the coming year. Meet with your accountant or financial planner for expert advice to set yourself up for fiscal success in the year to come.
You have skills. Share them with the world. Design that workshop you’ve always had in the back of your mind. Set up online courses that can earn passive income. Offer to coach beginner photographers. Whatever you choose, the experience will be valuable. As the saying goes, “It is by teaching that we teach ourselves.”
Do you find yourself copying and pasting old emails for a new client? Stop wasting your time. Setting up email automation and workflows will relieve the pressure and time constraints of responding to emails from scratch. There are loads of templates for wedding photographers available, so in many cases, the bulk of the work is already done for you.
Let your creative juices flow! Dream up photography projects you think would be amazing, and get to making them a reality. Add unique pieces to your portfolio. Or, volunteer your photography services for a cause you feel passionate about. The point is to do something for you rather than ‘just’ to make money.
You work hard during the wedding season. Give yourself space to breathe, relax, spend time with loved ones, and just be yourself. Research how you can maintain a work-life balance during the upcoming season to take care of yourself and have a successful year, both professionally and personally.
As the quiet holiday season sets in, remember it’s not just a hiatus but a time to keep your skills sharp, enhance your business acumen, and rejuvenate your passion for photography. The effort and dedication you put in now will certainly pay dividends in the busy seasons to come.