Hi readers, I don’t write too many personal blog posts but today I’m going to write a little bit about my wedding photography business. This post is a tip of the hat to mark my 4th year in business. Whilst it is a few weeks late it feels important to mark the day the business went full time. It’s a huge personal milestone for me and just a little reminder to myself of why I do what I do.
2013 was again, such a great year and it flew by. I haven’t yet got used to writing the date 2014, and it doesn’t seem so long ago that I was working a day job and juggling photography at the same time. So I thought I might use this post to let people know why I think my business has worked so well considering the huge amount of options for couples searching for a wedding photographer. Not with the intension of sounding like a business guru, as when I first started out I didn’t know what I was doing (and still don’t, but less so now). As I alluded to in Year 3, I have no qualifications or official training so I learned through doing and treating others as I would like to be treated. And so I put together a little list of principles that worked well for me.
Put people first. This is my No. 1 rule and always has been. When I have a decision to make my first question is always “what would my customer want? What would help them most?”
Honesty. The second most important principle to my business is to be true to the people that hire me and others who I work with. I’m open and honest and I’ve found that if I stick to my first rule, the second comes easily.
Admit mistakes. It might sound like I’m pretending to be perfect at what I do, but the truth is I’m winging it. I’m making it up as a I go along. I have more trust in myself now that I’ve been doing it for a few years, but I have made mistakes along the way. I’ve been overly promotional, I’ve been slow to answer emails (just a couple of times,) I’ve been a little too inspired by other photographers and I’ve not quality checked products before sending them out. Those were mistakes, but I learned from them and try my best not to repeat them. I don’t think anyone expects you to be perfect — but they do expect you to try your best to fix mistakes when you make them. I admit my mistakes, and try to rectify them and do better. People trust me more because of it, I think.
Make money by helping. I’m really not a salesman but I do offer a great service and I do everything I can to go above and beyond. I love my work so there are few chores. I sell a few extra products that I think people will like. And that’s how I make money. Even if I’m unavailable for a date I do my best to find other photographers with a similar style who are free, and put couples in touch with them. Helping everyone works really well for me. Couples who hire me are happy because they have beautiful memories of their wedding day, and I’m happy because the revenue I make is coming from making people happier. We both win.
Don’t get too big for your boots. I don’t pretend to be more than I am. I think there’s a tendency in the online world to overrepresent yourself — declare yourself an expert or the world’s leading wedding creative. But I’m not the world’s leading anything. I am just a guy who has a wife, two cats and loves his work. I’ve learned a lot from my experiences over the last few years and share what I’ve learned with others. As I recently read on Pinterest, “when you only try to be yourself, you can’t fail.”
Have a great week everyone!
And because no post is complete without a photo, here’s one I took on my annual holiday off the coast of California.