This past year went by fast. Like, really fast. I remember when spring arrived and I couldn’t wait get out and shoot under the warm sun. I was especially excited because early on in the year I had invested in some education and I was super pumped to get started. The year 2017 brought the most photo sessions thus far and I am incredibly grateful for every single session. And the more people I photographed, the more I realized that I need to continue to invest in myself to continue to bring a better experience for my clients. It has made a huge difference in the photos my clients receive and the overall experience from the first email to the last picture placed on their wall. There are so many ways to invest in your business and each one is priceless. There are 2 things I hope this post provides: 1) let my clients know what I am doing to improve their experience and 2) provide some tips to someone who is looking for advice on what they can do to improve their photography skills. Here are 5 things I did in 2017 to provide a better photo session experience for my clients in 2018.
- Educational Videos - What better way to invest in your photography career than to learn from others in the field to bring your skill set to the next level. There are literally tons of videos with price ranges from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars and some are even free. There are all types of categories to choose from and it all depends on the photography you specialize in. This year I purchased a bundle from Clickin Moms 2016 Click Away with lessons from some of the best professionals in the industry. This bundle included video lectures in lighting, working with seniors, making family sessions more fun, how to capture honest joy in couples, and how to incorporate video storytelling. After watching just one of the eight videos, I was ready to put into practice what I learned. Creative Live is also a great resource. You can watch live for free or purchase the video to watch later. Creative Live has a plethora of information for all creatives, and this past year I was drawn to the video lecture on family and newborn sessions. Whatever videos you choose, be purposeful in your selection but when it comes down to it, there really is no way to lose.
- Webinars - Find other photographers whose work you admire and join in on their email subscription. Many photographers have a teaching heart and send out emails or notifications to their page inviting you to join them in a free webinar. This year, I watched webinars with Hope Taylor who gave great advice working with seniors, I spent a night with Amy and Jordan and Jasmine Star who taught me how to make a couples wedding day even more memorable, and a few hours on various webinars with SLR Lounge who taught me how to work my camera, pose during sessions, and edit with ease. Other ways to find webinars from your favorite photographers is to join in on a community on your favorite social media platform.
- Magazine Subscription- It’s so much fun getting something in the mail that is not a bill. Am I right? I love opening the mailbox to see my Click Magazine sitting there in all it’s glory. It’s like I am a kid in a candy store. It is so gorgeous and inspiring. It’s full of articles, advice, tips, and tricks to change your game in the photography business. Not only do you get all this awesome information and inspiration but it’s super affordable too. So how did a magazine help me in my photography business? There are countless times I referenced back to an article I read or posing tips. But most of all, that magazine leaves me inspired.
- Photo Critique - In order to grow artistically, we need to get feedback from others in the industry. It can be another photographer friend, a professional, or community. When we get constructive criticism from others, it can open our eyes on how we could improve or verify that we are completely on point. In 2017, I took place in live photo critiques with SLR Lounge. I received great information on how to improve an edit and take it to the next level. All it takes for a photo critique is a willingness to learn or a little tough skin to absorb priceless advice.
- Photo Contests - Last but not least, enter a photo contest. Put your work out there for others to see. You worked hard to get where you are! Don’t compare your work with others and think your images are not worth it. Your photos are good and others think they are pretty cool as well! This is where some of your hard work pays off. You deserve to be acknowledged for your art and the images you create. You are unique and no one else can make another photo like you. For the last two years, I have entered the Shoot and Share Photo Contest. It is a worldwide contest judged by you and your peers. It’s totally free, fair and awesome! I am blessed to have images placed in the top 10%, 20%, and 30% of thousands of entries. Having images placed in the top percentage of their category has been a confidence builder and I have grown as an artist because of this contest. It's such a great feeling that I have captured an image for my client to place on their wall that others think is pretty fabulous too! Entries to the Shoot and Share Photo Contest started on January 8th, so get ready and submit your favorite 50 images!
There are so many ways to invest in your photography business and every single one is priceless. When you do this, everyone benefits. Your clients will get an amazing experience and gorgeous photos to hang on their walls. If you do anything this year, invest in yourself. Make goals and not only reach them, exceed them! I would love to hear what your goals are for 2018. Wishing you and yours an amazing year filled with lots of love, joy and beautiful photos!