Take your photography business to the next level by embracing good habits for a successful photography business! HABITS NOT OUTCOMES! True behavior change is identity change. You might start a habit because of motivation (the outcome, the goal), but the only reason you’ll stick with it is that it becomes part of your identity. The goal is not to make six figures, the goal is to become a CEO. The goal is not to get a six pack, the goal is to become a runner. The goal is not to make 100k a year with photography, the goal is to become a luxury wedding photographer.
Soooo what habits should you follow to build your successful photography business?
1. Use a Calendar
Whether it is a physical calendar on the wall, a planner in your bag, your run of the mill phone calendar, or even a cool app, using a calendar is essential. Plan out what your day, week and month look like to make sure you are not double booking or overloading yourself with work.
2. Manage your time
Time. The great equalizer in business. You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce. What are you doing with them? Good time management habits include prioritizing tasks, setting deadlines, and avoiding procrastination. Effective time management is essential in photography, as shoots, editing, and client communication is time-consuming. Good time management habits include scheduling and sticking to appointments, setting realistic deadlines, and prioritizing tasks. Some good tips come from Atomic Habits by James Clear.
3. Get active!
At least 30 minutes of physical activity every day will help set up your mind and body for success. If that seems overwhelming, start with just ten minutes of stretching and build up from there.
Communication is essential with clients and with other industry professionals. Good communication habits include active listening, clear and timely messaging, and establishing clear expectations. Creating these habits will help you build a successful photography business.
5. Continuous learning
Photography is an ever-evolving industry, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. Attend workshops and conferences, network with other photographers, and seek out new information and inspiration!
Read a book, pick up a newspaper, skim a few articles. Put that thinking cap on and expand your knowledge. This does not have to be predominately wedding focused. BOND with your clients over similar interests, expanding your world will deepen your connections. Two of our favorite business books are Start With Why by Simon Sinek and Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller.
7. Be Accountable
Take responsibility for your actions and be accountable for your results with your professional photography. Make sure you are always setting clear expectations, following through on commitments, and taking ownership of mistakes. This is a BIG idea, but break it down into small habits. Set the expectation for when clients can hear from you and make sure you are following those!
Always. Under promise and over deliver. For example, you will tell your clients their pictures will be delivered in 6 weeks, but plan to get it to them in 4 weeks. You can constantly set yourself up to overcome every client’s expectations by planning ahead.
8. Be Adaptable
Be open to new ideas, embrace change, and be willing to take calculated risks. We had to be realllll adaptable in our recent Lake Tahoe elopement at Sand Harbor. Betsy and Andy envisioned a Monkey Rock elopement, but THE SNOW this year was next level. With a quick pivot we were able to deliver a gorgeous elopement at Sand Harbor! Are you letting changes have the same effect as the Petrificus Totalus? (a spell that freezes or petrifies the body of the victim, making it incapable of moving.) Don’t freeze, ADAPT!
9. Be Consistent
Consistency is important in photography, both in terms of your style and your business plan. Consistently delivering high-quality work and maintaining consistent communication with clients can help build trust and a strong reputation. When we help photographers transition to become an elopement photographer, our first task is a website audit to make sure they are being consistent. If clients are struggling to understand your brand, you will lose them.
Staying organized is key to running a successful photography business. Good organizational habits include keeping track of finances, maintaining a tidy workspace, and having a system for storing and backing up files. It’s 2023. Back up your files.
ABM. Always Be Marketing. Good marketing habits include maintaining an up-to-date portfolio, staying active on social media, and networking with other professionals in your industry. Our favorite way to network? STYLED SHOOTS!!
REST! Easier said than done, we know. But if you don’t take time to rest, everything else tends to fall apart. Defeat the burnout. There are many different ways to rest, but no matter what way you choose, the end result is always better for your mental health and your business.
PSSST – Up next on the Honeybee Weddings book list is Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. This is a GREAT book about “the hidden role that rest plays in the lives of creative, prolific people. Drawing on neuroscience, psychology, and history, it shows that many accomplished people used rest in ways that helped them be more creative, that we can understand why their practices worked, and adapt them to our own busy lives”. TLDR: lots of studies agree that rest can help you be more productive! As always, we believe in supporting your local bookstore for any book purchases. Shop small, dream big!
13. Invest in your passions
Finding joy outside of your professional photography and dedicating time to that is crucial. Work-life balance is a common topic for a reason. Having something outside of your successful photography business to pursue helps you get a break and can improve the joy of your elopement photo business!
For us- our passion is adventure! That’s why you can find us all over the globe. One of our favorite adventures was Iceland (learn more about what that looks like with our how to elope in Iceland guide). In addition to creating elopement photo magic for our couples, we also make sure we do something fun for ourselves during the trips. An adventure we had on this trip? GOATS! How fun is that? It’s about the adventure for us. Period. Hard stop.
14. Take a hike (or a walk)
Check out The Surprising Power of Going for a Walk, which discusses how “walking can inspire conversation, improve relationships, unlock creativity, foster mindfulness, reduce stress and increase productivity. Walking also improves physical health and overall mental wellbeing”. The blog lists practical methods of walking so definitely worth a full read! Key standouts are how walking by yourself is great, walking while making your calls is great, and walking with someone else in person is great. Getting out there and enjoying some sunshine (or even some rain!) can be a great new habit to fix your elopement photo business rut.
As for us, you can find this duo out on a hike or in the woods. While we are often out in nature for business (peep our montana hiking adventure session) we also make time to hike just for us. We feel our best when we’re in the woods and don’t want it to be work every time! We will leave our cameras back at home and go for some real togetherness. The environment, the animals, the waterfalls, the peace. Taking some time away is one of our favorite habits to fix the elopement photo business rut.
15. Wake up early
I know, our night owls are scowling at us right now but we truly believe in getting up early to create your successful photography business. Getting up early allows quiet time to build out your day before the inevitable chaos ensues. It also is a great habit so when you are getting up early for those sunrise elopements, it is already second nature! How early is early enough? According to Entrepreneur, “at least two hours earlier than you are right now. In fact, some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs wake up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. every single day without fail.”
You are staying up too late, thinking in circles. Are you accomplishing anything? No, not usually. But you’re up late, or you’re up early, and worse- BOTH. Now you’re irritable. So if our night owls aren’t going to change into morning birds, we respect your difference. Just for the love of the sandman, get your beauty sleep.
17. HYDRATION CHECK!
Are you drinking enough water? We are BIG fans of the water jug. IDC if you’re a tried and true Yeti user or if you have joined the Stanley Cup (great name btw) trend, fill up often.
Shoutout to our fave coach, Kerry Ann Walsh, and her sharing her reiki with us! Reiki is an energy healing technique that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety through gentle touch. Taking time to slow down and realign your mind and body has incredible effects. Kerry uses reiki to support her clients outside of the business coaching. It’s an additional energy body work. Her reiki sessions help clients move through any energy blocks or stuck emotions. She’s been reiki certified for 10 years and it’s the secret weapon she uses to consistently remove blocks and continue to grow her business, personal life, and finances. if you want more from kerry (don’t we all?) sign up for Kerry’s the aligned sales system. Use discount code “theclimb” for 25% off. We gotchu.
19. Cultivate meaningful relationships.
Fill up your cup and engage with those around you! Regardless of business benefits, meaningful relationships are what makes life fulfilling. Call a friend, pour a glass with a neighbor. Sharing with others makes your journey more enjoyable.
20. Set boundaries
Boundaries we set in our successful photography business include an email response that lets everyone know what our expected response time is. By being transparent that we will be responding to emails on certain days of the week, clients know that we aren’t ghosting them and we are reminded that emails don’t need a response within five minutes. Setting boundaries in all areas of your life is one of the most impactful habits IMO.
21. Practice gratitude
Okkkayyyy, we are doing RAD things here!! We get to be with couples on the biggest day of their lives, we get to travel, we get to turn dreams into reality!! Taking time to be grateful of how wonderful this experience is, grounds us in what we do.
There are tons of levels that you can delegate to. A smaller one – hire an admin to handle your email inbox. They can make sure you are responding to the things that no one else can respond to, while also getting responses out to the items that don’t need YOU, specially, to answer. A big one – build an associate photography team.
You can’t do everything, and do it all well. Not gonna happen. So find the areas you like and the areas you are good at, and automate what you can! Ready for tangible ways to do this? We have just the blog for you on how to automate your elopement business.
24. Send a newsletter
Click Magazine shares, “This is one of the easiest and best things I think you can do for your business. Think about it as free advertising. It allows you to share anything you want with your clients: specials you may have going on, new product offerings, calls to action (e.g. time to start booking fall sessions is now), etc. It’s a great way to showcase your recent sessions so your clients remember just how awesome you are. Start with quarterly newsletter and when you get more comfortable with them, consider moving to a monthly basis.” Love our content? Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of our home page!
25. Social Media
Stay up to dates on the socials. By sharing your best work on platforms like Instagram or Facebook, you can attract the attention of engaged couples who may be looking for a wedding photographer. Social media is also a great way to build relationships with your clients before, during, and after their wedding. Post daily, and add to stories frequently! This is how they get to know you.
Sounds overwhelming? Hit us up. In our Adventure With Us program, we create a 3 month social media plan just for you and your special sauce.
Stay up to date on locations you frequently visit. We love Glacier Park, and they loooooveeee to make changes to how they do things. Subscribe to newsletters and regularly check in so you can be the resource for your couples.
27. Be flexible
Life happens. A good photographer knows how to create lemonade out of lemons. Don’t get your feathers ruffled when the waterfall that was supposed to serve as the ceremony site dried up due to a drought. Put on your thinking cap and don’t let the client see you sweat. Have confidence that anything that arises you can tackle. The silver lining you find will actually make the day BETTER than originally planned. A little flexibility goes a long way to make a couple’s wedding the best day ever!
28. Be punctual
Being punctual is a must. It shows respect for others, demonstrates professionalism, reduces stress and anxiety, and builds trust. Be punctual to every meeting, confirm your wifi works BEFORE meeting time, find parking. All the things. You get one chance to make a first impression, cliche but true!
Journaling provides an opportunity for you to reflect on your work and evaluate your progress as a photographer. By recording your thoughts and experiences, you can identify areas for improvement and set goals for future weddings. We also like to use this as a creativity outlet. Don’t be afraid to doodle, scrapbook, make it fun!
30. Conscious tourism
Elopements are a chance for you to travel to another place and that leads you to an opportunity for conscious tourism. We’re not just landing in a place and tromping around. We are soaking in the culture, the sites, the smells, the sounds, all these things. When you’re able to travel to another country, you are learning about more than just yourself through this adventure. You also learn more about others and other cultures. You’re able to take it all back to your home and kind of have that stay within you. Make it a habit to deeply inhale in a culture and take a breath, acknowledge the space, the history, the good fortune that you are HERE!
How are you feeling about these 30 habits for a successful photography business? We know that SYSTEMS are the way to make real change. Set aside the outcome/goal and focus on the building blocks and your goals will be met. We can’t wait to watch your successful photography business flourish! Need some TLC? Join our adventure with us:3 part coaching program!