While being a wedding photographer is definitely seasonal for the photography part, there is so much that can be done during the slow season to help set up your business for success in the next. This is the time to be reviewing, revising and refining so many aspects that often get lost in the busy season and if you’re a little lost about what to do first, here are my top 10 things to do when business is slow.
Now is the time to update your portfolio with a fresh representation of your work. Go through some of your favourite past weddings and portraits and add them to your portfolio so prospective clients know what to expect when they book you.
On both your website and social media, or anywhere you have your information, take a moment to revise your about sections so it is again current to where you are in life and career. My tips are to include something that you like to do when your not working and to share your ‘why’. Help people know you before they even meet you!
Your pricing should adjust as your business grows but during the slow season is a great time to look back on what were your most popular products and packages and revise your pricing documents as needed.
The slow season is the perfect time to create new albums of those weddings and portraits you love from the past year. Most album company’s offer discounts for samples so experiment with new fabrics or embossing to inspire your clients.
I find my workflow gradually changes throughout the year as I find better ways to do things so the slow season is a great time to actually update my workflow in my CRM so nothing gets missed.
As part of my new website, I took the time actually write a mission statement for both my clients and for myself. I wanted to verbalise what makes me do what I do and my goals for each wedding. I know this will be invaluable when I feel lost or caught up in comparison to come back to it and remind myself what makes me different and how I can serve others.
I mean professionally of course. In the busier months its not possible to be without your gear for more than a few days but in the slower season, make sure you find the time to get your camera bodies and lenses professionally cleaned and maintained.
One of my favourite tips is to undertake a personal photography project. In the past I’ve done film projects with friends and still life’s that are just for me to experiment and have fun.
I do this on a regular basis where I forward an experience questionnaire to each client to give me feedback on their entire experience as a client of mine. Everything from the booking process to the image delivery is covered so I can get feedback from those people that matter most and I can make changes for the next season. This is also a great time to get a testimonial for my website or remind clients to leave a review on Facebook too so potential clients can know what my clients are saying.
As your workflow and procedures change so does your email communication to your clients. Take the time to revisit all your templates and update them so they are current to where you are now.
If things are slow enough that you can take off a few hours a day, spend that time being productive by reading a new business book – or perhaps an old one that you’ve never gotten around to.
The slow season is a great time to think about the big picture. What are your long term goals? Do you have plans for a new product or service? Where are you going? Once you know these answers you can work in time in your regular schedule in the busy season to keep working towards these goals.
Wedding submissions take a lot of work so the slow season is the perfect time to get some submissions in. Shortlist your favourite weddings and find which blog or magazine will fit it best and send them off!
I could spend all day doing this one … have a look at your gift giving and switch things up for your clients. Maybe theres a cute journal or a new brand of chocolate that you love that would be a great gift.
Fortunately for us in Australia, our slower season coincides with our tax season so it makes sense to look at your expenses and see where you’ve overspent based on your goals. Work with your accountant to set some strong budget goals so you know how much you should be spending on learning, equipment, overheads and more.
With so many new products coming out each month, now is a great time to review your products and perhaps look at other options available. For me this was finally finding an album company in Australia that meets all my requirements and changing my print lab to one here in Perth.
Choose 3 of your ideal clients from the last year that you want to wow and send them a gift. Hopefully they’ll see how much you value them and they will then pass referrals onto you for the coming season.
If you’re in a slow period, its likely other professionals in your industry are too. Reach out to someone you’ve wanted to catch up with for a while for a coffee or get a group of people together for a glass of wine. Face to face marketing can’t be underestimated and these relationships will be so beneficial come the busy season.
Its hard to find time to read other photographers blogs or wedding magazines during the peak months so I do like taking the time to update some of my inspiration Pinterest boards with images that have caught my eye so I can examine them and understand how the photographer captured them. Always learning!
This may be a logo refresh but have a look at the colours in your branding and across all the platforms you are on and see if it all matches. I recently created my own branding document that has a colour palette, font selection and image examples so I am always thinking of keeping my brand on track with each platform and document I create.
Ah the perfect time for a holiday is the slow season so take advantage of it and get away for a weekend, for a week or for a month. My recommendation is to really disconnect and either stay off social media or put on your out of office and stay away from work for the duration so you really rest.
I hope these help you find ways to improve your business this slow season and if you need a head start on those emails, be sure to grab the free download below!