2010 was amazing. I celebrated my 1 year anniversary as a professional photographer. I had many new clients and they referred more new clients my way. I met some amazing colleagues on Twitter and have grown more from Twitter than I ever thought possible.(This should deserve it’s own blog post. If I talk to you regularly on twitter know you have a very special place in my heart. You’ve all helped me in one way or another and I thank you.)
Like many photographers I’ve been spending the past few weeks looking back at the year and looking ahead at the next year. Seeing what I’ve accomplished and looking at what I can improve for next year. I’ve got some great ideas. So here they are. After all, like so many others have pointed out. If you make your goals public you are held accountable. Also, if you are open with what you’re working on/towards – you will find extra help along the way.So here it is….
1 – Stop worrying so much. That sounds so easy. But I worry about everything. It starts when I show up at a location and carries on through post-processing and is worst when waiting for client feedback after they’ve seen their images. I constantly doubt myself. ‘What if the light is terrible, what if it’s cloudy/raining/sunny, what if, what if, what if?’ I’ve gotten a lot better. I’ve gotten to the point now that I just say “you can do this – now get it done.” I’ve had some tough clients, from a senior who refused to smile, to kids who squirmed and ran off constantly. It’s about adapting and getting the shot no matter what. A couple of the family sessions with difficult kids turned out to be some of my favorite sessions. It forced me to adapt. To think quicker. There is no time to set up the perfect shot like there is with older kids. Not that I do a lot of posed things. It’s more like natural posing. But still, with older kids I can direct them a bit as to switch to the other side of their mom, or put your left hand here, kind of thing. So I vow to worry less. I know my camera. I know what I want to achieve with each session. I intend to stress out less.
2. Marketing. I’ve relied on word of mouth for most of everything. I’ve got business cards in places and have had a few clients call because they picked up a card. But I’m working on a few things. These are top of my list – A facebook ad geared towards high school seniors and a postcard sized ad to be handed out locally, plus an accordion book of some of my best Fernwood Botanical Garden portrait sessions to leave there for future clients. I want to book 5 new clients this year that come from some form of specific marketing attempt.
3. Referral Rewards. Since the majority of my clients have stemmed from referrals I have set up a referral program for clients who refer someone new. They are the reason I had a great year and I want to thank them for it. I’m hoping for 5 new clients referred my way by past clients. In a similar line of thought, I’m hoping to have 5 of my past clients book another session this year.
4. Sell more product. I’ve been slowly ordering things, a metal float mount print, a foamboard print, a canvas, all to show clients. Since I don’t have a studio or an office space for clients to come to I need to bring some things to show them. No one is ordering a canvas. Maybe once they see just how amazing it looks I will sell more products. Along with this I’ve been working on a new price guide and package list.
Those are my main focuses for 2011. I’ve got a few other goals, like blog more, use twitter more, read more, grow more. I’m borrowing Gail’s idea of doing a self-portrait once a month. If you’ve got similar goals let me know. If I can help encourage you, or if I have already, let me know. It’s gonna be a great year.
Now I’m off to write a couple ‘best of’ blog posts. Something that I’ve been looking forward to since I started on this journey over a year ago.