The overarching theme this month is obviously winter. The extra time we have from not shooting out in 4 feet of snow. Now maybe you are out shooting in 4ft of snow. That’s awesome and you’re stronger than me for sure.
But if you’re not shooting in 4ft of snow (like me) I don’t want you to get lazy or think that you cant do anything photography related for a whole season.
If you have been listening for the past 2 weeks you will know that winter is an opportunity. And I want to help you take advantage of it!
So I made a little list of things you should take care of this winter to better set yourself up for success this in 2019.
1: Your Social Media
I know, I can hear the collective groans from you all.
But it's not as in YOU HAVE TO DO IT to be a photographer. if photography is just a hobby and you don’t share your photos you don’t have to have a FB or instagram but there are a lot of photographers out there listening right now who use both, and they do it poorly. This tip is for them.
I remember when I first made my FB and insta I didn’t post a lot. I thought I could I only post new content. I could never post the same photo twice. That’s just not the case. There are no instagram cops who will close your account if you post the same photo twice. Dont do it in a row of course but if you post the same photo once a month, no one will care as they will have forgot about it from the last time you posted it.
Most photographers also forget that Social media is suppose to be social. It’s not an online classified ad. Too many photographers go on and just post sales and promotions.
No one wants to ONLY be sold to. Make social media social. Tell the story of how you took a photo. Why you love shooting what you do. Ask questions. Have polls. A or B? That sort of stuff. Entertain your audience.
Your photos don’t speak a thousand words and they don’t need to. People are so use to aimless scrolling, give them a reason to stop. Give them a reason to interact with your posts.
the life of a photo is like 6 mins on instagram. You should be posting your work a minimum of once a day. “But I don’t have time for that!”
I get it social is addicting and time consuming. I cant tell you how many times Ive needed to get on FB or Instagram to check something specific like an ad and then 20 mins later forgot why I was on there. That’s why I schedule out all of my social media. So that I don’t fall behind getting lost watching everyones stories and what not. And I can also strategically curate my brand through my captions.
I use a program called Planoy which lets me schedule out my instagram posts for a whole month for free. It’s integral to sharing my message without getting too distracted and start scrolling.
And if you have a Facebook business page you have the ability schedule your posts built it!
Next thing to work on is Organization. This can be so much more than just the photos on your computer which are everywhere and in random folders names "Untitled Folder 7" But lets talk about photos first.
Use a dedicated hard drive just for work files. A 1tb hard drive can be purchased for $50. This 2tb drive is just $10 more and comes with 2 months of Adobe Creative cloud access which is Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop!
Having a fresh slate makes it easier to organize. I Have a folder called RHP for my business, then inside is folders for business or photo, in photos is engagements, weddings, portraits, and personal. Then in each of those folders its broken down by year, then in each year is a list of the clients I photographed, then inside that are folders for Raw, Selected (The photos I want to edit), and Edited the completed photos.
So if Im looking for a specific engagement photo I could go
RHP/Photos/Engagement/2014/Chris and Sally/Edited/ Chris and Sally Engagements 125.jpg
Next place to get organized is your client management if you shoot portraits. Things like keeping track of where they are in the booking process, how they heard about you, when you want to follow up. There are tons of tools out there for track the client process. I use 17 hats which Im happy with especially for the price compared to other CRMs but in all honesty, you could track a clients process for free using a tool like Trello.
Trello is an application you can use on your phone or computer that lets you create Boards, in our case "Portrait clients" and then in that board you have cards.
In our case each client would have their own card. In their card you can make a checklist.Respond to email with price-list, set up a meeting, send invoice, sign contract, send welcome gift, email style guide, email day before session check in info, shoot session, back up session on 3 hard drives, import into lightroom, cull photos, edit photos, export photos, upload gallery, send client their gallery, send email for a review, send follow up questionnaire, send thank you card 1 month later, send happy anniversary card 1 year later.
At any point you can see where you are in the client process. You can even assign due dates so you dont forget! again that tool is called Trello. I use and love it. It’s free, check it out.
3: Service Your Gear
Next thing to take care of is service your gear.
You take your car in for a tuneup, you need to take your camera gear in for a tune up too.
Since you wont be shooting as much here in the winter its a perfect time to send in your gear to get serviced. Canon, nikon, fuji, and sony all have programs to do just that. You just google "Canon camera service and repair" and youll find it! Its like $100 or so and your camera will come back as good as new. Honestly. It’s amazing.
4: EDUCATE YOURSELF!
Lastly is you need a plan to Educate yourself!
One of my favorite ways to do that is meet with other local photographers. Thats something I going to be doing this winter for sure. Getting together with other photographers lets you meet and network with other creatives who live close to you but also lets you learn new things! I can't tell you how many smalllll tips I have learned from other photographers that I never would have found online, or even knew what to look for.
It does not have to be a big deal. if there is a photographer who work you like local to you, just ask to take them out for a coffee. No pressure, you just thought it would be fun to chat with another photographer in these slow months.
They might say no, don't take it personally for some its just a bad time. Plus you can always join the online community of the BPP
You got into photography because you want to take beautiful photos and that will be a lifelong journey. You don't just get to a point where you take beautiful photos and you stop, you keep going.
Some of the worlds best photographers still attend regular photography workshops that cost thousands of dollars. Luckily because of the internet there is a ton of great info online that you can benefit from. I made a list of the 23 photography YouTube channels you should be following which you can find in the show notes for todays episode or if you google it, and that's a great start.
If you want to learn more in-depth on a single topic though, I personally love to use creative live.
If you don’t know, creative live is like a live online workshop. They have quite a bit on offer for photographers.
Some of their most popular courses are "The Fundamentals of photography" Conquering crappy light "Lightroom CC the complete guide" and pricing and sales for photographers. Full disclosure, I am an affiliate for creative live meaning if you make a purchase through one of my links I will receive a commission. But I believe in them 100% and I hope you know I would never recommend to you something I don't believe in. Their courses are also taught by experts like Sue Bryce, Lindsay Adler, and even our own past guest Vanessa Joy!
And the best part is, ITS free to watch it live! They play a course a day online which you can watch for free! And of course they have a whole back catalog of courses which you can purchase as well.
For 2019 I'm making it a goal to continue my education by purchasing 1 course a month and diving in deep to really grow my skills as a photographer and more efficiently run a business.
Last year I bought a course called the personal MBA, and even though it’s a video course, I could listen to it while driving.
I would highly recommend you sign up for creative live. It’s free to be a member and they send promo codes to your email all the time making their paid courses even cheaper.
There are hundreds if not thousands of course on creative live which can be daunting to pick one to get started for sure. So if you have any questions or want a recommendation let me know! Just ask. Shoot me an email at BeginnerPhotographyPodcast@gmail.com Tell me what you shoot or what you want to learn and I will hand pick a recommendation for you!
I know with these tips you can make the most out of the winter season and come out in spring a better photographer for it!
So email me now for a Creative live recommendation at BeginnerPhotographyPodcast@gmail.com
and you can become a better photographer today!