I needed direction to make my goals a reality.
I was shooting just about everything, but trying to start specializing in weddings which is what I was really wanting to specialize in. I had done multiple inspirational shoots to help boost my brand and just kept thinking it would be taking off soon, but it was so slow going. I was struggling with a lot: how to get more weddings, how to stay organized, how to take it to the next level of professionalism, as well as how to find the target the clients I wanted. I felt like my pictures were ‘good enough’ but I was stuck at what to do next.
I looked to the workshop to help me better my business.
I went to the workshop for 2 main reasons, I felt like I was not bringing in the business I wanted, and I felt really unorganized with the business I did have. I wanted to take it to the next level and start getting more professional with what I delivered to my clients. I was referred to Abbey’s workshop by a fellow photographer who said that it was the best thing she had done for her business. She listened to my frustrations and told me that she thought it would really help me.
My biggest lessons and takeaways from the workshop have been:
- I learned where my real passion lied. When Abbey was talking about brand and asking questions like, “What are words that describe your brand? What are the colors? What are the images?”… I started writing down my brain cloud like back in elementary school and had this huge “AH HA” moment. I realized I was spending all this time focusing on weddings.. weddings weddings… when I was supposed to be doing seniors! WHAT?
- I made a schedule that really helps me make the most of my day, and I started taking control of my time. With a better routine, and utilizing ShootQ to automate a lot of my communications, invoices, and contracts with my clients, I don’t waist as much time on generic emails. I used to feel that I would just work all day on nothing sometimes, but when I set my schedule and be my own boss, I am more productive.
- I started targeting my ideal clients and giving them a unique experience. I knew I needed to clean up my social media feed, redesign my website, make my prices relevant to the clients I wanted. I also designed prep guides and welcome guides so that I could present my brand in a organized and professional way. I am now more involved in each session. I send welcome gifts and thank you gifts and digital magazine guides to help them plan their sessions. I communicate with them about outfits and locations in more detail and in more depth. I feel like I can charge so much more because they want ME not just my pictures. I also tend to meet with my clients in person when possible before we have any sessions, and usually before they even book.
- No business is worth the cost of family time. Plan the year in advance, take time off and stick to it. I didn’t wait till all my client goals and numbers were met before I decided to take more time off. It’s empowering to just say, I take July off, and I take mid Nov-Jan off, and to say no to all those inquiries. I don’t book very much in the winter, and usually don’t enjoy being out those months shooting anyway. I also felt like my holidays were always rushed in between sessions, and I hated it. Now I feel like I can enjoy that time with my family and I feel amazing, while I see other photographers burnt out by mid July or working through Christmas.
You have never taken a risk for your business that didn’t pay off.
I would say out of all the things that helped me, the best thing was reiterating this to me. For me it’s not as much as taking a risk as it is trusting my gut instinct. I know what’s right for me and my business.
Things Abbey inspired me to work on so I could change for the better:
- Although I didn’t stop weddings, my numbers grew organically. I decided that I would only take a two in a month to keep my cash flow up while I worked on my senior program.
- I redesigned my website and took off everything but seniors and weddings, and no longer market or advertise to families
- I started to really build my senior program. Although it will take me a year or two to get it to where I want it to be, I am taking the steps to get there and it’s been amazing.
- I started doing welcome gifts and thank you gifts, and session prep guides.
I have SO many goals for the future, and they just keep growing!
I now really believe that I am not limited, and I am definitely at this point because of Abbey’s workshop, I keep having business ideas, and goals, and changes because the workshop gave me the launching pad that I needed to accomplish new things. I was inspired and uplifted. It was in me all along, I just needed someone to bring it out of me.
The workshop is for everyone, not just wedding photographers.
I would say there was something to learn from the workshop in all areas and specialties; you do not have to be focused on just wedding photography. I think people might be mistaken in thinking this because Abbey’s focus is weddings, however, her overhaul will work for any specialty. Yes, you will have a lot more on your to do list if you are shooting all types of sessions, but she will teach you how to target your ideal client, and that is NOT shooting everyone and everything that comes your way.