So, you have looked over your website a thousand times. You have changed the order of pictures. You have updated your site with new pictures, and removed the out of date ones. You have spent hours on your Google Ads campaigns. You have perfected your Facebook game, and even placed a few ads there. You have researched your competition. Checked their website. Their pricing. You have read a million blog posts and watched a thousand YouTube videos about the best gear for wedding photographers, or whatever type of photography you do. All of these things. They are great. They will help your business in some way. But, the one thing they all have in common…they end with you spending more time behind your computer.
I was there. I was doing all of these things, and waiting for the notification or the email to come in. There was success in some ways. I booked sessions and weddings, got some likes, got some emails. But there was something missing. I needed to hit the streets. So, I thought to myself…how do I do that? At first, I thought I would just give myself photo assignments. I would just get out there and shoot. Try street photography. Shoot some landscapes. Try some macro water shot thing I saw on YouTube. But, I wasn’t looking for something that would develop my skills. I was looking for something that would develop my business.
So, what did I do? I got on my computer, and made a list of every wedding venue, coordinator, florist, and other wedding vendor in town. With their websites, contact info, and notes about each one. Yeah, the first thing I did to get myself out from behind the computer was to do more work on the computer. And, this spreadsheet took me a surprisingly long time to put together. BUT. Once I had it, I had a plan that would get me from behind the computer. I drafted an email I would send to every one of these people on the list. Making them aware of me, and asking them to meet up, and talk about the industry, and see if there was something we could do to help each other. I didn’t want every email to be the exact same, so I brought up the list, and went through one by one. I brought up their website. Looked to see what I liked about it and how I could see myself working with this person, and added in something personal.
So, how did it go? Well. Not what I expected. In a wonderful way. I didn’t hear back from as many people as I had hoped. Some people just sent a generic, “thank you for your interest” response. Others didn’t respond at all. But I did get some responses from people that were open to meeting up. Great! So now what? What am I going to talk to them about? I wasn’t sure, but I set up a bunch of meetings.
I just kept telling myself, “this is networking”. It was something I had never put much value in. Something I just thought was fluff. Didn’t really do much. But, I was ready for change. I was ready to try different things. I got together some business cards and flyers I had made up, and went out to these meetings. Not really sure what to expect. And guess what? It was great. Every single person I met with had something great to offer. Yes, I got my business cards and flyers out there. But I also got some great insight.
One vendor reviewed my pricing with me. He looked at my work, and told me I was not charging enough. And not only that, but with what I was charging, I was only going to get weddings that looked cheap. And those don’t always photograph well. Yes, I can work magic with a camera. But, why make it hard? Shooting weddings with beautiful flowers, centerpieces, lighting, and everything else is so much easier than working with nothing. Another vendor hired me on the spot to take pictures of their newly renovated venue. Another sent me a referral within a week.
Overall, it just put me in the right mindset. It was yet another commitment to my passion and my business. It created opportunities that I could continue to explore that didn’t just keep me behind a computer. As time has passed, I have seen the benefit of this process come back over and over.