If you are a wedding photographer, here are 10 things you can do to further your business during the offseason.
Offseason! Are you doing a happy dance or retreating under a blanket and hope you can survive yet another winter?
It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, for some of you. After being on the busy train most for summer and fall, it’s nice to take a break.
Curious, what’s your record time for not showering during the week while editing? Mine was 3 days and would have easily gone 4 days had my partner not commented with a disgusted face. Can you beat my record?
For me, the end of wedding season is bittersweet. I love the intensity of shooting so many amazing couples, but I get sad because I miss them all. I also welcome a much-needed break. The thought of all the new wonderful couples to photograph for the following year keep me excited.
The colder months are an excellent time for reflection and rejuvenation. I know a lot of people see winter as a time to hibernate or binge-watch Netflix, but it’s where I start to do the deep work; the inner work that has brought me so much success in my business.
I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to book winter weddings in the slower months. I find it breaks up the winter and they’re so much fun. It’s like an amuse-bouche to the main course of wedding season. Sometimes you just want a piece of chocolate instead of the whole bar. Sometimes.
Below is a list of 10 things that I love to do in winter that fill my cup and help me ace the upcoming season.
I used to feel like a teenager being asked to clean their room when it comes to learning Search Engine Optimization.
My inner voice was throwing a tanty. Picture me rolling on the floor saying “ugh, do I have to?”.
But, I’ve learned to love it. Especially when the hard work pays off and you can see that the line graph go up and up.
One little trick is to look over all your old blog posts and see if they are SEO optimized. I use the WordPress plugin Yoast SEO Premium. While it’s nice to get a green light for both the readability score and the SEO score, you can still improve your posts with the following tips.
I could open a whole can of worms about SEO, but I’m going to keep it simple and give you the most essential SEO tips. I took a Master Class with Brendan Hufford, SEO for the Rest of US, and he said that you don’t always need the green light for the SEO score, but there are some green lights you should have in the analysis result section of Yoast.
I wish I could have knowledge downloaded into my brain a la The Matrix. But that’s not yet a reality. I still have high hopes that this will be a future possibility. Until then, I’ll have to rely on Google to get my fix of information.
Your brain is your most valuable business tool and your biggest asset. Feed it, nourish it, and look after it.
When you learn, you create new neural pathways, it diminishes the fear of being incapable (one of the two biggest fears most people have) and helps you to become skilled in multiple areas. What’s not to love?
There are tons of photographers selling online courses too.
Do a little audit of what you feel like you’re missing in your business and go master that. It could be learning SEO, off-camera flash, bookkeeping for small business owners, or learn how to start a podcast, etc.
The sky’s the limit, and you can pretty much learn anything online. Most times for free.
It’s best to study an area you feel is lacking, and that can serve you the following year. Or pick something that fills your cup.
Hate online learning? If you don’t want to be glued to your screen again, you don’t have to learn online.
You can sign up for 1-on-1 mentoring and coaching with a photographer you admire. Or attend a workshop – even better if it’s out of the country at a cool location.
You know those tasks you keep putting off? YOU KNOW!!!
Well, what if I told you, you can have a little discomfort for a couple of hours and save yourself the mental torment of procrastinating low-value task in summer. Sound good? Read on.
Work out how many notes, boxes, USBs etc. you’ll need for the year and order them in advance.
I put my packaging together, so they are ready to go. Once a wedding is edited, I’ll load it to the USB and pop it in the box, write on the note and send it off.
It’s annoying when you run out, and it’s one less thing you have to worry about during wedding season.
Batch your social media calendar. You can do this in Google Docs. Have a look at the bookings for next year and work out the hashtags ahead of time as well as important dates such as Christmas, valentines, international dog day, etc.
Look at all parts of your business and see if you can batch task anything else there.
I’m embarrassed to say that I used to show albums that were 5 years old and not from a company I used anymore. I felt more outdated than a Blockbuster video store.
It feels good to not only have new display albums with recent work that represents who you are but also to feel like you’ve invested in your own business.
My favourite album company is Dekora. They are Ontario based and have top-notch customer service. The album quality is to die for, and their albums really make your images pop!
Blog as many weddings as you can. Being seen is important and will boost your website ranking. Check out tip number one for some SEO tips. Pick venues or weddings that represent your style the most and promote those.
You can also contact wedding blogs to get your weddings featured. Prep as much as you can during the offseason.
It’s important to blog at least once a week. You can batch prep all your blog posts and then publish 1-2 per week.
Are you just sending a 1-page pdf of your prices? Insert sad face.
You’re missing out on a huge opportunity to show them who you are and what you can do. Bulk it up by educating your clients and giving them more value. Write more about who you are and what you can do for your clients as well as some wedding or engagement tips, frequently asked questions, how to book etc.
You’ve been on your feet all summer/fall and most likely seated at your computer plugging away at editing. Such is a life of a wedding photographer.
Why not invest in yourself to prime you for the next season. For me, self-care is more than a bubble bath and a face mask. It’s saying a big fat NO to the things that don’t serve me so I can create good habits.
I usually start out the season by making a goal NOT to eat fast food on the fly but midway through, I cave. Hey, I’m a work in progress.
I can’t stress enough how vital inner work is to running a business. It’s been a huge focus for me and has paid off big time in terms of attracting business but also feeling good and not stressed at all.
I remember midway through 2018 I only had a few weddings booked for the following year. I felt stressed like I had all the previous years. The Heart Freedom Method helped to eliminate the stored stress that plagued me every season. Every day, I wrote in my journal “I’m grateful for the 30 awesome couples I booked for 2019”, and you know what? I exceeded that goal.
What could you have done better?
What went wrong?
Plan out everything that you loved and that you did correctly. Also, look at areas that went wrong. Be easy on yourself here. Nothing is truly a mistake; it’s a learning experience.
Take two pages and divide both into two columns.
On the first page, write down all the things that went right – how can you improve on those things. What were the pros and cons of each element that went right?
On the second page, write down all the things you felt went wrong or that you could improve on. What were the pros and cons of each element that went wrong?
If there’s a photographer you admire, reach out to them and ask them out of a coffee. I have to admit I’m relatively shy in doing this and really admire people who’ve reached out to me in the past.
I’ve formed some lovely friendships because of this. Being a business owner can be terribly lonely at times.
But here’s the thing – meet them to get to know them and build an actual relationship.
There’s nothing more disheartening to feel like there was a hidden agenda by having someone pick your brain for tips the whole time. If you admire their work and want their knowledge, ask them for a mentoring session.
Join groups such as Rising Tide Society which has Tuesdays Together every month.
Join a local photography groups and see who wants to catch up. Perhaps you’d like to arrange a headshot swap day!
Enjoy yourself! There’s a lot of things wedding photographers can do to further their careers during offseason. But most importantly – have fun! You’ve earned it.