Photographer friend, I know that 2020 was really rough. Weddings were canceled, events were postponed, and needless to say, it wasn’t a great year to be a wedding photographer. But guess what? Even though we don’t know what the rest of 2021 looks like, we can decide to make the most of it. When lockdown hit last year, after taking some time to process, I decided that it was time to invest in myself and my business. Here are a few ways that you can invest in yourself this year.
- Niche down and create client avatars. If you haven’t already done so, I would highly recommend niching down your business. Why? Because when you market to everyone, you are marketing to no one. It’s hard to get the attention of your dream client if you are talking to a whole room of others. Take some time to think about who your dream client is, or better yet, create a client avatar. A client avatar is essentially a person who you create and know alllll about. They are your dream client. For example, you could name your client avatar Molly. So Molly is a 25 year old nurse who is engaged to her long time love, Oliver who works in marketing. Once they get married, they are planning to move to Denver with their two dogs, Jack and Roscoe. They drive Subarus, they love going on adventures to new places, and ending the day with a cold beer. They are hoping to have a small wedding on the beach with their family and close friends. Okay, I could keep on writing, but you get the point. Now when you market, you’re going to talk directly to Oliver and Molly as your potential clients. If you want to capture small weddings in fun places like the beach or the mountains, maybe your client avatar is pretty similar to Oliver and Molly.
- Brand yourself. This could be a whole blog post in itself, if not a series, but it is absolutely essential that you brand yourself. When a potential client lands on your Instagram or website, will they know what you’re all about? Who is (insert your name here)? What kind of photography do they specialize in (refer to point 1)? Will I get along with them? Do I like their work? These are all questions your potential client has—so make sure they are answered. Last year I worked with Moxie Gal Marketing to work on niching down and branding myself, and I now have a consistent stream of potential clients who are all “dream” clients of mine. My biggest suggestion is to hire a brand specialist, or just hire Moxie Gal Marketing (because Bri and her team will change your business for the better).
- Invest in education. I strongly believe that you can never stop learning. So when lockdown first hit, I knew it was time to invest in education. After doing my research, I decided to invest in The Heart University’s Photo Major and Andie Avery’s Pinterest course. Both of these were absolutely worth every penny. Scared to invest your hard-earned money in education? Remember: it’s a tax deduction. My biggest tip is to do your research before investing. Unfortunately, I purchased a small course (not going to name it, I will tell you if you ask) that seemed interesting at first, but after finishing the course, I learned basically nothing and it felt like I wasted $125. Ask others who took the course, read reviews, and make sure that the course aligns with what you are interested in learning about.
- Mentorships. I cannot say this enough—you can never stop learning, so why not learn from your peers? I participated in 2 different mentorships (and actually interned for another photographer for 11 months) this year and both of them were life-giving and informative. The first one was with a photographer who I had just found on Instagram and I actually won a mini mentorship. We went over personal branding and client communication. She gave me really great tips about connection points with potential clients and implementing her advice has booked me several clients. The second mentorship I did was hands down the best hour and $300 I spent. This photographer answered my questions about a few different camera settings and keeping images in focus. Then she went through my website and Instagram page and gave me valuable feedback and advice. Again, since I’ve implemented her advice, I have seen a huge shift in my images and my marketing.