January 26, 2021
Today we’re answering ALL of your questions about PHOTOGRAPHY!! We’re going over YOUR questions that you submitted specifically about photography. If you’re a photographer and ready to uplevel your business, this episode is for you.
We answer a bunch of your questions from how far in advance to open bookings, to how to organize your Lightroom to keep your computer from getting bogged down, and to answering the tough questions of “I feel like I’m trying everything and nothing’s working: how do I go full time, build clientele, and build my photography biz?! WHAT’S THE SECRET!?!”.
We don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this question. This is a personal decision for every photographer and depends on what niche you’re shooting (families, weddings, seniors, newborns) but let’s say we’re talking weddings. It’s more common to book FAR in advance but is still a personal decision and there is no right or wrong way necessarily.
We both used to book no more than 12 months in advance then eventually we pulled it back to 9-10 months in advance. But again, that’s a personal decision!
We never did further than 12 months (okay with like 1-2 rare exceptions) for quite a few reasons:
If someone does reach out farther out than a year, we will respond and explain what we just said and say we prefer to book less than a year and tell them to reach back out then. But then we also make a note and reach back out ourselves closer to the date.
Again, just a personal decision but we always did 12 months out. (Ex: We’d open our books for March 2019 in March of 2018, and September of 2019 in September of 2018, etc.)
We are going to give you a secret to solve this problem for you…THERE’S NO SECRET HERE!!!! There’s no magic “SNAP YOUR FINGERS AND VIOLAAAAA” answer!!! There is no answer that we can give you from these questions that will clearly say what your problem is.
EVERYTHING you just wrote is the answers to your question. You set up styled shoots (or do free shoots), you use Instagram, build a website, and advertise via word of mouth or even Facebook, Instagram, Craigslist, etc. THAT’S IT.
You have your answer, now the question becomes is something not working?
As an entrepreneur, we have to do the hard work of looking at what we are already doing and be objective with ourselves. Yes, you have a website, you have a portfolio, but is it awesome??
You could be living in the rural middle of nowhere Wisconsin or Wyoming and shooting editorial style photography and where you live their priorities don’t align with who you are trying to reach. That is what we realized when we started being destination photographers and realized we needed to travel.
Are you marketing to the wrong group of people or location?
This is where you have to step back and ask yourself objectively, “Am I doing what I should be doing, and is it working”? If it is working is the BIG question. Where is the disconnect?
There isn’t some secret. There are tips and tricks but the heart of entrepreneurship and building a business is understanding there isn’t a big secret that every successful entrepreneur knows. It’s figuring out, hustling, and trying something new. If that doesn’t work then you try something new, knocking on doors when no one answers and knocking again and again and again. Think long game. It takes hard work and time. You have you work hard to perfect your craft. You have to work hard to market yourself online. You have to show up as the expert and figure out how to serve your clients well. It’s not a magical overnight thing unless you have an otherworldly eye for photography and have all the perfect connections.
You have to be objective and see what is working and what is not. The bottom line is there is no overnight magical secret that will get you business success, it is being objective, taking the initiative to figure out what is or isn’t working, what you are or not doing well, and then work hard at it and give it time.
Pull your audience, emailing list, or Facebook/Instagram and see what is working. It will teach you what you can do to work smarter, not harder. Use the information that you receive that will be valuable and serve them better.
How can you pivot to serve your people better?
If you are exporting for a client to print, do it at 300ppi (pixels per inch) that way they have the maximum resolution for printing. However for any image that is going on a website or social media, you don’t need it to be that high of a resolution, so I do 72ppi.
We have a simple answer for this, go to the www.theheartuniversity.com/challenge
We have a full five-day Lightroom editing challenge where we walk you through everything in Lightroom including importing, categorizing, exporting, editing, navigating your site room, culling, and backing up.
We walk you through an entire Lightroom workflow in five days and it is FREE! It also answers that question in-depth more than we could ever right here.
Evie did have some conversations with The Knot and Wedding Wire when she was getting started full-blown into photography and personally thought it was very expensive when she was already booking a lot organically through her website, Instagram and Pinterest.
Having overheard a lot of stories from people who have used The Knot and Wedding Wire and felt that it was not worth it. But on the other hand, have also heard from a lot of photographers that swear by one platform or the other. It depends on, your location and your niche within the photography world.
Half the photographers that we hear from love it or don’t. The brides or couples that are looking for a photographer or any vendor on The Knot or Wedding Wire is a more classic style. We know that is not true for all, but general stereotype they are a more classic look, so if you are in a more documentary, edgy style, or adventurous elopement that is where we think The Knot/Wedding Wire doesn’t work as well.
Lindsey didn’t join The Knot or Wedding Wire while they were in Kansas, but when they moved to Hawaii she got on it. When you are moving and looking at getting on one of them can be a great way to market especially if you aren’t using any organic platforms to the fullest extent. Mainly her reason for signing up was because people who get married in Hawaii usually don’t live there, so they weren’t getting vendor recommendations from friends but searching on the internet.
This is where you have to place yourself in the position of your client; if you are a wedding photographer in Kansas City or Iowa (wherever you are) if your brides are living there and getting married there, how are they finding their vendors? Usually, they are asking friends who have already gotten married. If you are planning a destination wedding, in a destination location people usually don’t live there so they are not asking their friends who they used so they are usually going online to search. When you typed in Hawaii wedding photographer, The Knot was the third link, and if Lindsey paid for The Knot and was on their Hawaii photographers page that was great marketing. However, she signed up for the price to pay for The Knot for a year which was roughly about the price of one wedding at the time. She ended up booking two weddings purely from The Knot, so it did pay for itself but it wasn’t worth more than her marketing organically was doing.
Utilize free marketing to the best of your ability: Instagram, blogging, Facebook, and social media or word of mouth (if you are local). Or do you live in a destination location where a lot of people are flying in to? Look at your location and first decide if it is a destination location, is it not? Using The Knot or Wedding Wire is a nice avenue if you are moving to a new place, it is a way to diversify your marketing.
We can’t be like yes or no, it depends on everyone’s situation. Make sure your organic marketing is really solid before you move to a new place, reformat your website and SEO to forward market, and then use the Instagram hashtags to push it there. However if you’re not showing your face on Instagram or your website, not showing up in your brand personally, if you are using organic free things, the best way to do that is to have a personal brand. Your face makes connections. If you are not comfortable doing that focus on SEO or The Knot/Wedding Wire where you don’t have to do that.
There are a lot of ways to do it for free organically if you don’t want to spend the money but I also think if you are comfortable financially investing and you book a wedding then you will recoup that cost.
We typically would say no if you are more adventurous style as The Knot and Wedding Wire is a more traditional styled wedding.
If you want to connect with us and other listeners in the Heart and Hustle community join our Facebook group here.
WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
GET OUR 'TOP 5 APPS WE USE FOR INSTA
GRAB OUR FREE GUIDE BELOW ON THE TOP 5 APPS WE USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH INSTAGRAM TO UP LEVEL OUR INSTA GAME! TRUST US, YOU'LL BE A PRO IN NO TIME!
ARE YOU RIDING FRONT SEAT ON THE INSTAGRAM STRUGGLE BUS LATELY?