Start a Wedding Photography Business | Laurence Kim | Skillshare

Start a Wedding Photography Business

Laurence Kim, Online Educator

Start a Wedding Photography Business

Laurence Kim, Online Educator

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46 Lessons (2h 40m)
    • 1. Course Outline

      0:52
    • 2. Why Wedding Photography?

      3:29
    • 3. Your First Year Objectives

      2:07
    • 4. Gear Overview

      3:17
    • 5. Required Gear

      3:03
    • 6. Smart Gear Choices

      5:03
    • 7. Adobe Lightroom

      1:48
    • 8. Master the Basics First

      4:05
    • 9. Practice Every Day

      1:32
    • 10. Set Up Your Own Photoshoots

      2:26
    • 11. Get Legal

      2:11
    • 12. Prepare Your Contract

      4:39
    • 13. Bookkeeping

      3:00
    • 14. Set Up a Filing System

      2:32
    • 15. Credit Cards and Insurance

      2:36
    • 16. Second Shooting

      2:14
    • 17. Pricing Your First Wedding

      2:26
    • 18. Shooting a Family Wedding?

      1:43
    • 19. Advertise for Wedding #1

      6:06
    • 20. Your First Client

      1:39
    • 21. What To Do Next?

      1:13
    • 22. Website Principles

      5:51
    • 23. Choose a Business Name

      2:52
    • 24. Choose a Domain Name

      2:10
    • 25. Choose a Web Host

      2:50
    • 26. Choose a Wordpress Theme

      2:29
    • 27. Your Home Page

      3:02
    • 28. Your Portfolio

      5:55
    • 29. The All-Important Blog

      7:08
    • 30. About Me and Contact Pages

      2:08
    • 31. Why You Need a Pricing Page

      2:51
    • 32. Pricing Weddings 2-10

      2:48
    • 33. Keeping Track of Your Clients

      5:36
    • 34. Summing up: Weddings 2-10

      2:33
    • 35. Marketing Overview

      1:55
    • 36. Social Media Marketing

      4:23
    • 37. Build a Referral-Generating Engine

      7:08
    • 38. Paid advertising

      8:30
    • 39. Pricing Principles

      7:46
    • 40. Album Design

      3:32
    • 41. How to Price Albums

      2:16
    • 42. Album Sales Process

      3:52
    • 43. Prints

      2:24
    • 44. Pricing in Year 2 and Beyond

      3:14
    • 45. Best Practices Part 1

      5:19
    • 46. Best Practices Part 2

      3:35
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About This Class

Thinking of starting a wedding photography business but you're not quite sure where to start?

Confused about pricing, marketing, sales, wedding albums, etc.?

If so, you're not alone.

This course will take you through a proven, step-by-step system to start a profitable, sustainable wedding photography business.

You'll learn:

  • how to smartly spend on the gear you need

  • how to build a starter portfolio

  • how to book your first wedding

  • how to set up your business infrastructure

  • how to build a website and blog that bring in customers

  • how to build wedding packages for maximum profit

  • know when to raise (or lower) your prices

  • how to market your business

  • social media tips

  • how to sell wedding albums

  • best practices

I'll take you by the hand and lead you step-by-step through the entire process of getting a wedding photography business started. If you have any questions, my goal is to answer them within 24 hours whenever possible.

What the course will not cover: This is not a course on the art and technique of photography (lighting, composition, posing, etc.)! While that's an important topic for another day, this course is focused like a laser beam on the business of wedding photography.

Who is the course for? The course is for students just starting or thinking of starting a wedding photography business. I take nothing for granted and start from the very beginning. However, it's also a good primer on the basics of running a photography business and I'm sure even intermediate level photographers will pick up useful tips.

What are the course requirements?  I'd suggest that students come to this course with a basic photography kit (camera, lenses, flash) and a good understanding of basic photography: how to take sharp, well-exposed, and well-composed photographs.

We all need to start somewhere. But why struggle on your own? Take this course and give your wedding photography business a head start!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Laurence Kim

Online Educator

Teacher

For the past decade I've been teaching individuals - both in Fortune 500 companies as well as individual entrepreneurs. I've coached them on sales, marketing, photography and on various software platforms.

My teaching philosophy is simple:  I believe people learn best when they see one new concept at a time, then practice that concept on their own.  You might call this "experiential" learning. I also believe in the 80/20 rule and training economy. Why learn 6 ways to accomplish a task when 1 will do?

If you want to learn a skill, technique, program or concept in the shortest possible amount of time, please check out my courses!

See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Course Outline: Welcome to start a profitable wedding photography business. Your step by step guide to Making money with wedding photography. Here's what will cover in this comprehensive course gear building that starter portfolio, booking your first wedding, building your website and blawg, building your business infrastructure marketing and finally, pricing end products just to set the proper expectations. Understand that the course will not be covering the art and technique of wedding photography. That's lighting composition, posing exposure that is a course for another day. This course will strictly focus on the business of wedding photography. All right, so let's go ahead and get started. 2. Why Wedding Photography?: before we dive deeply into the material. I just want to spend a couple minutes discussing why. Wedding photography? Well, for one thing, the startup costs are relatively low. You do not need to hire any employees. You don't need to spend a ridiculous amount on capital expenditures, and you don't need to pay expensive rent on a physical location. You don't need pretty much any of that. In addition, most photographers start as amateurs. You were a hobbyist first before you decided to become a professional, and therefore you probably already have a fair amount of photography gear, and you certainly got a computer and an Internet connection already. Sure, you'll still need to buy some more year, but chances are you've already got a pretty good start. Another great thing about wedding photography is it's relatively high revenue potential here in the United States. Average revenue per wedding is about $2500 I believe it's similar in countries with similar economies like the U. K, Australia and Canada, and it's certainly possible to make much more than that within a very short period of time . I have known several photographers that within three years were making more than $5000 per wedding, so the revenue potential is certainly there to make a pretty nice living. Wedding photography is also, surprisingly recession resistant. Now it's not recession proof. There was a slight downturn in the wedding photography industry back in 8 4000 and nine. However, those were a couple of my best years. Even during recessions and economic downturns. People still get married and they still want to have wedding photographers, so it is relatively recession resistant. Another thing that makes wedding photography great as a startup opportunity is it's relatively low barrier to entry. I mean, all you need is some camera gear, computer Photoshop, Internet connection, and you're good to go. Compare this with other types of photography. For example, you want to be a sports photographer. Well, good luck getting into the Super Bowl and taking pictures and selling them to Sports Illustrated. It's not that easy. On the other hand, pretty much anyone can start a wedding photography business and have paying clients in a really short amount of time. So do the low barrier to entry. Wedding photography is a great place to get started. The final reason to start a wedding photography business is that wedding photography is simply great training. I mean, think about it during the course of a wedding, you have to be a great portrait photographer. You have to be a photojournalist. You have to be able to take still life and product images. Things like the flowers, the rings, the shoes you have to be in architecture and landscape. Photographer. As you're taking pictures of the venue, you have to do this in all types of lighting, great lighting and really poor lighting as well. So the bottom line is that experienced wedding photographers, concertos, almost anything. So even if wedding photography is not your final destination and eventually you're gonna move on to other types of photography, you can't get much better training than you can as being a wedding photographer. All right, those of some of the reasons why I believe a wedding photography business is a great way for many photographers to start. So with that, I'll see you on the next lecture 3. Your First Year Objectives: What are your first year? Business objectives. What do you need to focus like a laser beam on for those 1st 12 months as a wedding photographer? Well, here's your focus. Number one is on volume shooting as much as possible and number two building your infrastructure. That is the plumbing for how your business is going toe work first, let's talk about volume. You need to shoot as much as humanly possible during your first year. In business, you want as many weddings as possible, as many engagement sessions as possible portrait sessions as possible. You need to build your technical expertise, and you need to hone your craft and, of course, portfolio portfolio portfolio. That first year is all about getting that starter portfolio as good as it possibly can be. Nothing else can happen until you've got that great starter portfolio. So that's what your focus is on to build it. Your secondary objective for that first year in business is infrastructure development. That is, the systems the processes, the procedures for making that business run as efficiently, smoothly and is optimally as possible. So, for example, this is gonna be developing your pricing and your packages developing your system for selling, creating all of your samples, your marketing system, social media and everything like that. Your billing, bookkeeping and system for paying taxes, your production. How you gonna edit a wedding process? It design albums. All of these things are what I consider to be infrastructure. And even if you're not terribly busy with every phase of the business and your 1st 12 months, you need to lay the groundwork and the plumbing so that as you do get busy, you're not gonna get bogged down and you're gonna have a smooth running system for each phase of your business. So that's what your first year focus is going to be all about, shooting as much as possible and then developing your infrastructure to set yourself up for success. 4. Gear Overview: in this section, we're gonna be talking about every photographer's favorite topic, and that is gear. First of all, remember what the title of this course is. Start a profitable wedding photography business. And when it comes to profit, that equals revenues minus expenses. Gear is an expense. And so when I think about gear, I'm always thinking, What gear do I need? Not what year do I want? The first important thing to know about gear is that it is far less important than you think it. ISS. Here's an image from my trusty Canon 20 D, which I used to shoot dozens of weddings. This is a camera that came out in 2000 and four, and by today standards it is so primitive that it is not even good enough to be a pimple on the butt of today's cameras. And yet there were lots of weddings that I made over $5000 on that. I shot with that sentiment primitive camera, so it is simply not as important as you think it is. Your clients don't even care what camera you're using. All they care about is getting great images, and you can get that with pretty much any camera out there today. A great thing about today's gear is that it is so good that it does not need upgrading ever . Simply use your gear until it either breaks or wears out. There is simply no reason to get rid of your gear to buy something newer now. This was not true. Ah, 10 12 years ago, when each new camera brought massive improvements. But today, that's no longer the case. We're at the stage now where digital cameras are getting mature and each new model on Lee brings small, barely noticeable incremental benefits. So there's simply no need toe upgrade any longer. Keep using your gear until it wears out. Let's look at how far we've come. Today's cheapest consumer cameras are far better than yesterday's top of the line. Expensive pro gear. For example, Take a look on the left at the Nikon D 3500 which is an entry level DSLR that's costs about $496. I would much rather shoot a wedding with this camera than the Nikon D two X, which was nigh cons top of the line pro camera from 15 years ago. That cost $5000. The D 3500 today is a much better camera. It is lighter, the images are sharper, the images are cleaner, they have better dynamic range. The battery life is better. Everything about this camera is better than the D two X from 15 years ago, and it is 1/10 the price. So remember, when it comes to gear, use it until it wears out or breaks. There is no longer any need to upgrade your gear. The most expensive gear is not necessary. And finally, always remember that our goal here is profit so by the gear that you need and do not spend too much. 5. Required Gear: in this lecture, we're gonna talk about the gear that you need the absolute minimum requirement if you want to be out there shooting weddings. So first you'll need minimum two camera bodies. Why? Well number one you want to minimize lens changes. So on one camera body, you'll probably have some type of wide angle and on the other camera body, some type of telephoto. But the other reason you need more than one body is for backup purposes in case one camera dies during the wedding. As far as lenses go, you'll need wide, normal and telephoto lenses, either zoom or prime. Depending on your preference, you'll need to speed lights these air you're on camera, flash units and obviously multiple backup batteries for both the cameras and the speed lights as well as memory cards. As far as computer gear goes, you're gonna want a reasonably current computer say, within the last five years, the more powerful the better because there's nothing more psychologically painful than just waiting, waiting, waiting while you're seeing spinning wheels. So as far as Ram goes, I think at a minimum, you need eight gigabytes of ram, preferably MAWR. My computer has 32 gigs of Ram, and you're gonna need several terabytes of hard drive space. Ah, large monitor makes processing a wedding. Ah, lot more pleasant. I recommend at least a 23 24 inch monitor, if not larger. And then lastly, you're going to need adobe light room. No, you do not need Photoshopped. You'll probably want Photoshopped, but you don't need it. But you do need adobe light room, which is a workflow tool. And that's what you're gonna be doing when you're processing a wedding. Lastly, there are a couple other items that you'll need. You'll need some type of case in order to store and transport all your gear. I recommend some type of rolling case. Your back will thank you for it, and you'll need some type of on body storage system, whether it's some type of bag or pouch or belt system. And lastly, I'm gonna call this optional, but I highly recommend it a doomsday bag. So what's a doomsday bag? A small backpack with either one of your old cameras or an inexpensive entry level camera kit lens, and just you just keep it in the trunk of your car in case of a doomsday scenario. I had to use mine twice. I had one wedding where both bodies failed and I had to go to my doomsday bag as my third body. And I had to use it a second time when I had a second shooter who's one of whose bodies failed. So that's a couple of reasons why you may want a doomsday bag. It's just like insurance. It feels comforting, so that wraps up the gear that you need. In the next lecture, I'll talk about some gear principles that you can use to help save money. 6. Smart Gear Choices: in this lecture, I'm gonna be talking about smart spending on year. This is not about being cheap. It's about being smart. So we're not going to go with low quality equipment here if your goal is to run a first class wedding photography business. Remember, however, that what I'm about to talk about our recommendations, not rules. When it comes to gear, it's all going to come down to personal preference. So take this all with a grain of salt. But here is how I would think about spending money today if I were starting my wedding photography business. My first recommendation is to stick with one of the big two and shoot either Canon or Nikon . Why? Well, since these are the two biggest companies by far, they have the best, most convenient service options. They are also both mature systems, so they have the greatest lens choices. And finally, since they are the biggest brands, they also have the greatest availability for rentals. Should you ever need to rent a body or a lens? First of all, do not by pro camera bodies. What do I mean by pro bodies? These are the very expensive, very large very heavy flagship cameras. And in Nikon World, it's currently the D six, which goes for $6496 U. S. And in Canon World, it's the one d x mark three, which currently goes for $6499 US. In both of these brands, you can get professional quality full frame camera bodies for less than half the price. The image quality will be identical. The focusing systems are identical. Not only are they less than half the price there, almost half the weight so believe be your shoulders and arms will thank you after a full day shooting a wedding. So there is simply no reason to by a pro body now, sure, they're rugged. If I was in the Arctic shooting polar bears What? I want one of these cameras. Yes, if I was shooting an NFL playoff game in the snow. What? I want one of these camera bodies. Yes, but for wedding photography, they are unnecessary overkill. If you like shooting prime lenses, I would definitely stick with the 1.8 or 2.0 prime lenses. That's the smart choice. Here's an example. I'm comparing the Canon 85 millimeter, 1.8 versus the Canon 85 millimeter, 1.2. The 1.8 is a $369 lens. The 1.2 is a whopping $2000 lens that is a gigantic price difference. I have used both lenses and between the two. I actually prefer the 1.8 version. It is significantly smaller, significantly lighter. It focuses way faster, and it focuses more accurately, and it's just is sharp. So for those reasons, I actually prefer the 1.8. Save yourself some money. Make a smart choice by buying the 1.8 version. Let's look at a Nikon example here I'm comparing the Nikon 35 millimeter F 1.8 versus the Nikon 35 millimeter F 1.4. The price differential between the two lenses is a gigantic $1200 again, the 1.8 version is smaller and way lighter. In addition to being of course, way cheaper, and it is pretty much just a sharp. It is plenty sharp for wedding photography, so here is another smart choice I would make if you prefer to shoot Zoom lenses. There are two ways that you can save money. One way is by going to slower lenses, for example, and F four lens instead of in F 2.8. However, I don't recommend that for wedding photographers. You'll definitely want the 2.8 lens because you're gonna be shooting in very dark locations . Number one and number two. You're gonna want control over the depth of field, so you're not gonna want to move to a slower lens. And so one way to spend smart is to consider third party zoom lenses, for example. Example Nikon just came out with the new 24 70 f 2.8 VR. This lands is $2400. Tamron, on the other hand, also has a 24 to 70 F 2.8 image stabilized lens, which cost 1300. So right away that's a gigantic savings. And from what I've seen, that Tamron lens is pretty much just a sharp, as the night cons were near enough so that your clients wouldn't notice the difference. So consider going third party, so that's smart spending. It's not about buying cheap, crappy gear is about making smart choices to maximize your profits 7. Adobe Lightroom: I just want to spend a couple minutes discussing Adobe Light Room. This is definitely going to be a piece of software that you'll want to process your weddings. Why light room now, when many people think about processing images, they think about photo shop. However, photo shop is not designed to be a workflow processing tool. It is designed for extensive and detailed image retouching and manipulation. Whereas light room was created to be a production and workflow tool, you actually don't even need a photo shop any more. Light room has become such a capable tool. In my last several weddings, I didn't even pretty much used photo shop at all. I did 99% of what I needed to do right inside light room. If you try to process a wedding using Photoshopped, it would take you 10 times longer right inside light room. You're not only going to be working with your images, you're gonna be doing all your color correcting your white balance, your exposure. Ah, you're all your color correction needs. Plus, you're also going to be doing cropping. You're gonna be doing tagging and labelling you're gonna be importing. You're going to be exporting basically everything you need to dio. In order to process that wedding you're gonna be doing right here in light room. There are plenty of great books, tutorials and courses on light room. I recommend that you spend some time with one of them and completely familiarize yourself with the tool because this is your basic processing engine. So get good at light room. You'll save yourself some time and you'll make more money. 8. Master the Basics First: this section is about building your pre start portfolio, which is the portfolio used to book your very first wedding. So in this lecture, we're gonna be talking about mastering the basics because you need to have the basics of photography mastered before you even think about trying to book that very first wedding. Now, remember, this course is not about photography. This is about business. But I want to make sure you understand at least what you need to do before you think about that first wedding. In any field, there are four stages of competence. Stage number one is unconscious incompetence. You don't know what you don't know. Stage two is conscious incompetence. For example, you don't know how to take a decent exposure in a dark room with your flash, but at least you're aware of that fact. Stage number three is conscious competence. You do know how to take a decent exposure with your flash in a dark room, However, you have to really concentrate and think about step by step. What you need to do. Finally, there Stage four, which is unconscious competence. That means you don't even really need to think you walk into that dark room. You start adjusting your camera settings, and a few seconds later you're ready to go without even thinking about it. Your goal. For your photography before you even think about booking that first wedding should be to reach Stage four, which is unconscious competence. Now don't worry, don't panic. I'm not saying that you need to be. An award winning photographer would just talking about the basics? Are you basically an unconsciously competent photographer? Let's talk about what that means in a little more detail. First, there's your gear at a most basic level. Have you read the manual? Can you fully operate the camera? Do you understand all the functions of your camera? So that's step number one. Then there's photographic basics like exposure. Do you understand the relationship between your eyes so and aperture and shutter speed? Can you get a decent exposure on a consistent basis? There's understanding. Perspective, for example, depth of field. Do you know the difference between a shallow and a deep depth of field? And do you know how to get it? Do you understand what different lenses due to distortion and why you shouldn't be taking a close up head shot with a wide angle lens. Do you understand the concept of image compression and how you get it? With a telephoto? There's things like composition. Do you understand the rule of thirds? Do you understand where to place your subjects? Head in a standard photo and you understand the effect of different camera angles. Then there's lighting. Do you know how to get decent looking looking window light? How about shooting in sunlight? Do you know what to do in bright sunlight? Do you know how to use your flash? Do you know how to shoot in a dark room and balance the flash with ambient? There's focusing. Do you know how to focus and get a tax sharp image for still subjects, moving subjects and multiple subjects? There's posing. How do you pose a single subject? Heidi opposed couples and how they oppose groups again. I'm not talking super creative here. I'm just talking standard poses that look decent, and it's enough to get you started. And finally, there's post processing basics for us. This is going to mean light room because this is going to be the tool that you're gonna use to process your weddings So do you understand the basics of light room? Do you know how to call images, color correctly, images and finally, output the images in the appropriate size? So those are some examples of the basics were not have been talking wedding photography. I'm just talking basic photography until you are unconsciously competent at using your camera and doing basic photography. Don't even think about starting a wedding photography business. Just worry about mastering the basics first. 9. Practice Every Day: So what's the quickest way to reach Stage four and become unconsciously competent with your photography? It's pretty simple. Practice every single day to start. Take your camera everywhere you go, and I'm not talking about your cell phone camera. I'm talking about your real camera that you plan on using to shoot weddings. So take it to backyard barbecues. Take it to restaurants and cafes. Take it to the beach. Just take it everywhere you go and take pictures. It's important that you shoot everything all different types of subjects. Because remember, wedding photographers have to be competent at shooting pretty much anything. So shoot food, shoot still, life like rings and shoes shoot interiors. So just shoot about anything that you can. It's important to shoot in all kinds of light. For example, shoot in bright daylight, shoot in a dimly lit interior and, of course, practice shooting with your flash. So you have to be able to shoot in all kinds of light if you want to be a wedding photographer. But most importantly, wedding photographers are people photographers, so shoot people. It doesn't even matter really just shoot couples. Singles groups opposing, not posing, looking at the camera, not looking at the camera. Just get comfortable shooting people and shoot as often as you can. So that's how you reach Stage four practice every single day. 10. Set Up Your Own Photoshoots: by practicing and shooting every day, you're going to develop that Stage four unconscious competence. However, to get to the next level and to really get that pre start portfolio built, you're gonna have to take things a step further and go a little bit more serious by setting up some of your own shoots. An easy photo shoot to set up is a faux engagement shoot. This could be simply of any one of your married friends or relatives, or they don't even have to be married. They could just simply be a couple. And matter of fact, they don't even have to be a couple. It could just be a couple friends willing to pose as a couple. Anyway, just go out and treat the shoot as if this were a really engagement shoot. Do your best work. Use everything that you've learned. Go to some great locations. How fun and just create several of these faux engagement shoots. They will look great in that pre start portfolio. Your pre start portfolio should at least have some images of a bride, So in order to do that, you're gonna be setting up a bridal shoot. The easiest place to find your subjects for this is simply your recently married friends or relatives. If there recently married, chances are they have addressed that still fits them. Well, if you can't find that than simply go to Craigslist, advertise for a free bridal shoot and you will get takers. You're going to treat this bridal shoot like a really fashion shoot. So you're gonna arrange some hair and make up. You're gonna have to spend a little money here, but it's totally worth it. You need to be okay now. You don't have to go buy a real wedding bouquet. You can actually make quite a convincing one just with your own floral arrangement. And you're obviously going to be going to a great location. And you want to make sure that you're using great lighting. So treat this like a really fashion shoot. These images should end up looking great because they're done under ideal conditions. Unlike a real wedding where you have very little control over the time you have zero control over the location you have, you can set everything up. So you're not gonna be rushed. You're gonna be shooting in a beautiful spot and in General, you're gonna have maximum control over these images, so they should be the best opportunity to create images for that priest art portfolio. So that's it. To really build a nice priest art portfolio, set up your own photo shoots. 11. Get Legal: The first step in building your business infrastructure is to make sure that you get legal . What does that mean? Well, from one thing, register your business. I can't tell you how to do that. Every country is different. Every region is different. State municipality location. Your laws where you live might be totally different from the laws where I live. But the main point is, get yourself legal, get your business registered and set up. You may need to contact an attorney to do this, but whatever you need to do, just do it now. When I started my business in the state of Washington, it was super easy. I didn't need an attorney. I just went directly to the state of Washington business license service. All the forms you need are right there. I did everything online, and it was super easy. Hopefully, it's similarly easy where you live, But even if it's not, you might need to get some help and get going. The other thing you'll need to determine is what taxes you'll need to pay and how you'll pay them. Is it just going to be your personal income tax? Do you need to set up a separate corporation. What about sales taxes or value added taxes? You have to figure out what your commitments are gonna be. You're probably gonna want to hire a new attorney or an accountant to help you figure this out. Once again in the state of Washington, it was so easy. I didn't need an attorney or an accountant Right there on their Department of Revenue website is the list of all the tax rates the tax charts determining the location of my cell ? Um uh, everything I needed to know and including online tax return of filing for my sales tax. So everything I needed to know was right there. Hopefully it's just a simple where you live, But if not, you need to figure it out. Just remember that it's simply not worth running an illegal business from potential fines, interest payments, penalties, closure of your business and who knows, even imprisonment. It's just not worth it. Not to mention all the added stress that it would bring. So do what you need to do to get legal 12. Prepare Your Contract: a critically important part to setting up your business infrastructure is to set up your standard photography contract. Now I can't give you legal advice. I'm not an attorney. I'm not licensed to give legal advice, and I don't even know the laws in your location. But I can give you business advice. Remember that your contract serves two purposes. Number one. It's legal protection for both you and your client and number two. It makes the business runs smoothly. It helps the client toe understand exactly how the entire process is going to work. And for this I can certainly give you some best practices. The very first page of my agreements. I always included the clients details in the agreement itself. Not a separate document, for example, names of the bride and groom date and location of wedding mailing addresses both before and after the wedding phones, emails and so forth. I did not want toe Ever let a client say that I miss communicated by using the wrong phone number or email or anything like that, So I want to make this crystal clear, So I included the clients and details as part of the agreement. I always included the exact details of everything that the client will receive in the agreement itself. For example, number of hours of coverage, number of photographers, products, product credits. If they're going to be any extra shoots, like engagement shoots or bridal portrait, there should be, no doubt, no miscommunication, no ambiguity. Everything they will receive should be put in the agreement. I also included my detailed price list as part of the agreement, not a separate document. I included, for example, that my 10 by 10 album spreads cost $100 per spread, or what the print prices are. I wanted everything laid out there in the agreement itself again, so there's no miss communication. I always included my precise album, design and production process as part of the agreement itself, because I wanted to make sure that there were no misunderstandings. Everyone knew exactly what would happen. So, for example, I would write something like this. The initial album design will be provided by Photographer without client input. Spreads may average a maximum off five images. For example, an 80 image album will require a minimum of 16 spreads if the addition of images results in an overall average above five images per spread, then additional spreads must be purchased. Client may request edits to the album design, but once the third draft has been submitted to client, any further changes will result in a $200 change fee. Clients who approved the first draft album, designed as is with zero changes, will receive a $200 credit. So the purpose of this is obviously more business related than legal related. But this worked out very well for me. Make sure you put a time limit on your products or your credits. If you don't do this, you'll find clients who come to you to 35 years after the wedding looking for stuff, and that's very unpleasant. You don't want that to happen to you. So, for example, you might say something like this. Album credits will expire 365 days after the wedding. If Client has not approved in album designed by that time, Photographer will produce an album without client input. Delivery of this album will complete photographers commitments with regard to this photography agreement. I once had a client before I put this in my contract. I once had a client that came back to me literally five years after the wedding, and I simply never want to go through that again. So put a time limit on your products and your credits. Lastly, make your deposits or down payments non refundable. That's the way they read in my agreement. In practice, would I refund or at least partially refund a down payment if I if a client cancelled and I managed to re book the date? Usually, yes, but I don't want that to be an expected part of the process. So make your deposits and down payments nonrefundable, at least in your agreement. So those for some of my best practices when setting up a standard photography contract, you definitely want to consult an attorney. But just remember that this contract is a combination of both legal protection and a business document to make sure the entire process runs smoothly. 13. Bookkeeping: you need to set up a bookkeeping system as part of your business infrastructure process. Bookkeeping systems are really important for a couple different reasons. Number one. You want to make sure you don't over or under pay your taxes and also good business decisions. Need good information. You can't improve what you can't measure and track. You've got three different options when setting up a bookkeeping system. Number one. You can do it all yourself by setting up some Excel spreadsheets. This is what I used to dio, because I'm very comfortable with Excel, and I could do it pretty quickly and easily if you're not that great with Excel, there are lots of bookkeeping APS and software that you can use to keep track of your revenues and expenses. And finally, you can do it the old school way. You could actually hire a physically bookkeeper to periodically come in and keep up with the bookkeeping. Setting up a spreadsheet to keep track of your expenses is really easy here. I'm just using a Google spreadsheet, and you only need a few pieces of information. The date who's getting paid? What was the payment for? What's the category and what's the amount? So, for example, you can input. Okay, May 23rd. I sent money to Adobe for a light room six upgrade that goes under the category of software , and the amount was $79. And then you consort it by payees or category or date or amount. Pretty much simple. Pretty simple. I keep another tab for the actual revenue amount. So, for example, on 5 15 Sally and John, they paid a down payment for the wedding category of $1000 on 5 19 Susie and Mike. They paid the balance due for a wedding 34 99. So keeping track of a tab for revenue and expenses is pretty darn easy. You just got to be really consistent, and you make sure you do it on a regular basis. If you're not that comfortable with spreadsheets and you want an off the shelf solution, there are lots of websites and APS that you can use the cover accounting, whether it be fresh books or QuickBooks or any other type of app like that. So there's simply no excuse not to put together a great bookkeeping system. Finally, you can go old school and actually hire a physical bookkeeper to come in and keep track of all your revenue and expenses, using your receipts and payments and documents and things like that. But to be honest, I actually think that's actually more work than simply taking the 30 seconds to record it yourself whenever it happens, either on a bookkeeping app or on a spreadsheet. So it's up to you if you like the comfort of having a physical person come to do it. But for most of us, I don't think it's necessary. So that's bookkeeping. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. 14. Set Up a Filing System: it's going to be important that you set up a consistent computer filing system. This may not really seem really important to you since you don't have any customers yet, but believe me, once you start getting a bunch of clients, you're gonna want to get this right. So how you decide to set it up is a personal choice there different systems you can use, but above all, keep two things in mind. Make it logical and be consistent when using it. You have to slave ish Lee. Follow the system once you set it up. Otherwise you'll end up with chaos. So here's an example. I've seen people do it this way by year and then by a type of shoot and then by clients. So, for example, the year 2015 my wedding shoots. I've got Marcia and Greg, Jan and Peter and Cindy and Bobby. I've also seen it done by type. Then by year, for example, under Weddings 2015 Marcia and Greg, Jen and Peter, Cindy and Bobby. I mean, these are minor differences. Either way can end up working, but just be consistent. Here's an example of a system that's worked very well for me. Under my documents, I have my main photography folder, and my primary sub folders is broken out by type of shoot. For example, marketing shoot is a shoot I'm doing just for myself, for business purposes, like for my blogger website, personal shoots, friends, family, things like that, portrait clients and then wedding clients. So once I click on my Wedding Client folder, I've got my primary sub folders, which are divided by year. So say, for example, 2013 14 15 16. When I click on a year, I've got my clients. I've got Cindy and Bobby, Jan and Peter, Marcia and Greg. So I simply click on the client's name. And then inside, I'll call, have a couple folders, for example. Once I shoot their wedding, I'll put all their raw files in one folder. I'll put the PSD album spreads in another folder, and I'll also put any related documents to this client. For example, once I have the clients contract signed, I will scan in the contract and put it right here in the same folder. Also, any notes that I'm having, maybe the timeline for the wedding, my notes of from my discussion with the wedding planner, things like that. I keep everything related to that client in that clients folder. So that's it for your computers filing system. Make it logical, make it consistent, and then once it's set up, slavishly follow it. 15. Credit Cards and Insurance: an important part of setting up your business infrastructure is to set up a system to accept credit cards and to obtain insurance. First of all, why credit cards? One of the cardinal rules of business is to make it easy for your customers to pay you. After all, that's why we're in business to get paid right. It also displays professionalism. You're not an amateur, you're a real business and riel Businesses accept credit cards, and finally, it's easy. Matter of fact, it's probably the easiest way to process transactions. It's easier than handling cash or cheques, and it makes recordkeeping super easy. You have many options for receiving payments digitally, at least here in the U. S. You could use PayPal. Venmo even has a credit card option. Square handles many small business accounts. You can even set up a credit card vendor system with Costco. You've got Google pay apple pay, and you could always go to a bank to set up a merchant credit card payment system. So you've got plenty of options. It's also going to be important to obtain some insurance for your photography business. Insurance will probably cover equipment in the case of theft. But far more importantly is you want liability insurance for your business. Why? I mean, think of the worst case scenario. Suppose one of your light stands at a wedding, topples over, hit somebody on the head, and they die. I mean, you could be financially ruined if you don't have liability insurance, so I mean, think of an engagement shoot. You're photographing a couple crossing the street and they get hit by a bus. Even if it's not your fault, you'll probably get sued, so you need liability insurance. But even when you have insurance, it's important to never photograph a dangerous situation. Suppose you're during an engagement shoot and the couple getting married. They are outdoors people, and they like to go rock climbing and they want to climb the face of a cliff and have you photographed them on the face of a cliff? Never do that. If something happens, you're the one that's going to get sued. Even if it was their idea. Obviously, never photographed a couple on live train tracks or any other type of dangerous situation. It's simply not worth it. And there you have it obtained credit card payment system and insurance. This is an important part of building out your business infrastructure 16. Second Shooting: what's the best way to get experience? How are you going to get started? Should do second shoot for an established photographer first? Or should you just simply go out and get your own weddings? That's what I'm going to talk about in this lecture. First, the benefits of second shooting for an experienced photographer. Number one. There's a lot less pressure. The primary photographer is responsible for getting all the key images, so you can simply go out there, do your best and not worry as much. But more importantly, the big benefit is that you get toe learn from an experienced photographer. You learn not only their photography technique, but how they handle the client. How they talked to the client. Have they talked to the clients parents, how they arranged the groupings for the family formals. It's an incredible learning experience, so if you can second shoot, I definitely do recommend it. However, I want to give you one important tip. Onley work for a photographer that will let you use your images in your portfolio. If you're not allowed to block your images or put them on your website, then there's not that much point to it, so just make sure you clarify that before agreeing toe work as a second shooter. Well, second shooting sounds like a great idea. So what's the problem? Why doesn't everyone do it? While the problem is, it's not that easy. When I first decided to get into wedding photography, I built my starter portfolio. Then I contacted at least 20 established wedding photographers in my area, offering to second shoot for free. As long as I could use the images in my portfolio, I did not get a single response, so I decided, You know what? Forget them. I'm just gonna go ahead and get my own weddings. So the bottom line is that while I do think second shooting is a great idea and I do think you should at least try by contacting some established wedding photographers, I wouldn't wait. If you're not getting a response, go ahead and get your own weddings and just take control of your own career and get started 17. Pricing Your First Wedding: so you decide to go out and get your own wedding. The question is how much to charge for your very first wedding. Now there's no exactly right a wrong answer here. I'm going to give you my opinion. So how much can you get for that very first wedding? If you've never shot one before? $100. $200. $300. My recommendation is that you charge zero now why zero Couple of reasons Number one. It's the least amount of pressure you're gonna have plenty to be thinking about for that very first wedding. Remember where I talked about Stage four being unconsciously competent? Well, you might be unconsciously competent for your photography, but you still never shot a wedding before. You've never shot the ceremony. The processional, the recessional, the bride and groom portrait. It's the family formals. There's gonna be a lot to think about. And you're gonna be nervous enough. If you have the added pressure of having deliver images for a paying client, that just makes it all the more difficult. And without having that pressure, that gives you the opportunity to be as relaxed as possible and get your best images. So that's why I normally recommend shooting that first wedding for free. Now, can you find a client willing to pay you a couple $100 for your first wedding? Probably. You probably could. Would everything work out? Okay in the end? Uh, probably. But remember why you're shooting in that first year in business. Your first few weddings, your startup goal is portfolio portfolio portfolio. By shooting for free, I think you got a better opportunity to relax and get some good images. At least for that first time. Your objective in your first year of business is not to be as profitable as you possibly could. It's a get it's to get the best portfolio that you possibly can. And as you build that great portfolio, that's going to set you up up for great profits in year 2345 of your business so you can get a couple $100 for that first wedding. If you really want Teoh, I'm not saying that you can't do it, but in my experience, shooting for free is the way to go 18. Shooting a Family Wedding?: So who's wedding do you shoot first? When a lot of people think about becoming a wedding photographer, the first thing they often think of is shooting a family or friends wedding. Is this something that you should do? Well, I wouldn't for a couple of reasons. Number one. There's added pressure. It's harder to perform when a bunch of people that know you are watching you in action. And what happens if you mess up? What happens if the image is simply, just don't turn out as good as you want? Well, that could lead to some awfully awkward holidays coming up in the years to come. I just would not want to have that added pressure of disappointing a friend or a family member. And not only that, if it's a friend or family member, I want to be there to enjoy the wedding. I mean, remember that weddings are also family reunions, so I want to be catching up with my friends and relatives, not worrying about shooting a wedding. So for these reasons, I don't recommend shooting a family or friends wedding as your first wedding. My recommendation is that you keep that first wedding an arm's length professional wedding , a professional transaction. This is far better practice anyway. It's much more realistic. It's gonna be just like the weddings that you're gonna be shooting in the future when your business is more established. So there's less pressure as well. I remember that very first wedding you're going to keep everything above board. The client knows you've never shot a wedding before. They're gonna have very low expectations. And so for all of these reasons, I recommend keeping that very first wedding at arm's length transaction. Just treat it like any other wedding, even if you're not getting paid. 19. Advertise for Wedding #1: in this lecture, we're going to discuss using Craigslist to advertise for your very first wedding. Most of you are probably familiar with Craigslist. This is the place to go for cheap stuff, and what could be cheaper for than free. So for your first few weddings matter fact. Until you're up to that $1000 range, Craigslist is going to be a great place to find customers. It's free and easy to use, so let's get going. Step number one is going to be to assemble your starter portfolio. Remember, you've been shooting every day, taking your camera everywhere, setting up your own shoots. So that first starter portfolio that goes on your Craigslist ad itself choose anywhere from 10 images, and I think they allow a maximum of 24 images. The you don't have to worry about the images being bigger than 600 pixels, because that's the maximum size they display on Craigslist. Your first image is by far the most important one, because this will show up the largest on your ad. This is the first image that your perspective viewers will see. As for the rest of your images, make them mostly people images portrait, Seether post or Candid and throw in some details as well. So let's look at some examples. Your flagship image should be a picture off a bride. Remember, you have set up your own photo shoots, maybe a friend or relative who has recently got married, and they still have their bridal dress. So your flagship image should be wedding related, and that should be of a bride. As for your other images, mostly people images with some details thrown in. So whether they be posed portrait sor Candid Portrait, it's maybe some group Portrait Sa's well, so it's just important to display that you're a competent photographer. Now let's work on your ad copy for that Craigslist ad. First, you want to emphasize that the offer is for a free wedding. This is no strings attached. No catch, no bait and switch just totally free. You're going to shoot the entire wedding, and you're going to deliver the images high resolution images to the client so it's not free for the first hour. It's not free coverage, but $1000 for the images. Nothing like that. So totally above board free. Next, you want to emphasize that the wedding must be within the next. Call it three months, two or three months. So you want to give them a deadline? For example, the wedding must be by January 30th or by March 30 30. You not must give a date. And the reason is, what good is this to you? If the wedding is the 15 months from now, you need to get this done as soon as possible. And so you're also going to say that preference is going to be given to the wedding with the soonest date? The nearest date. That's your ad copy. Getting started with Craigslist is super easy. Simply Google Craigslist, plus your city. Create your account and then create your ad. So let's do it right now. I've logged into the Cleveland Craigslist site in the upper left hand corner where it says post to classifies you're going to click there. This type of posting is a service offered, which is right down here. Click on service offered. Next, you're gonna choose event services, which is right there. Okay, The first thing you have to choose is method of contact. I strongly recommend the top choice, which is the default This is Craigslist Mail relay. This means the ad is not going to show your actual email address. I recommend this because when you offer free stuff, you know, who knows what kind of weird people can come out of the woodwork. So that's why I prefer to let Craigslist handle the communication. I don't enter my contact name or phone number or any of that. I'm going to give a posting title right here, so I'll type free wedding photography, Specific location. I just recommend a general geographic area, so I'll just say Cleveland area and you do have to put in a postcode, so I'm gonna put in one for Central Cleveland. Next comes the body of your posting. So you're gonna be typing that cutting and paste it in in there. Ah, show on map. No, I leave that unchecked. And I don't wanna let others contact me about other services or products. And go ahead and press. Continue. Now you're gonna add your images, so I'm gonna click, add images and you're gonna use that folder where you've created you've put in your, um, starter portfolio. Select the images and then click open. Make sure the featured image is the one you wanted to be featured, and it's gonna take a few moments for the images to load. If you want them to load fast, just make them small. Because remember, they're not gonna be showing up above 600 pixels anyway. And when you're done, go ahead and press done with images. Okay, You're basically done. Um, I've got free wedding photography. Cleveland area. I've got my images from my starter portfolio right down here below it. I've got my copy. And when I'm ready to go, all they have to do is click the publish button and then you're done. So that was about advertising for your first wedding on Craig's list. In the next lesson will talk about booking that actual wedding and things to consider. 20. Your First Client: your ad will generate multiple responses. So the question is, how do you go about selecting your client while you've got to priorities? Number one is time. Obviously, sooner is better than later. You definitely don't want to be booking a free wedding. That's 18 months in the future. You want this to be done within the next few months? If it all possible And next comes the venue, particularly of the reception. Now, keep in mind these people that find you on Craigslist are not going to be having a wedding reception at the Four Seasons or at the Ritz Carlton. All right, this is gonna be a very cheap wedding. However, there are a couple things that can make the venue look better. Number one, um, an outdoor venue, particularly for the reception, will look better most of the time because for these cheap weddings, a lot of them, if they're indoors, might be in church gymnasiums and other type of really ugly locations. So give preference toe outdoor receptions went possible. So just keep that in mind as you select the clients with the best date and the best venues . Once you've selected your client, it's important that you treat them as if they were paying you. So, for example, you're gonna have that same signed agreement that you're going to be using. You're gonna be holding your planning meetings to get ready for the wedding. You're going to be as professional as possible. Every step along the way, you're gonna be using this wedding as your dress rehearsal. So you want to do everything right to set yourself up for future success? 21. What To Do Next?: Congratulations. You've just booked your first wedding. So the question is, what's next? The wedding is three months from now. What are you going to be doing between now and then? The answer is you're just going to keep going, doing the things that we've already talked about. You're still going to shoot as much as possible. Developed that unconscious competence. Take your camera everywhere. Shoot parties, barbecues, going out with friends, visiting family. Shoot as much as possible. You're gonna be setting up your own shoots for your portfolio. Whether it be faux engagement shoots for bridal shoots, folk portrait shoots just continue to shoot. Build your skills, build your portfolio. You're also going to continue to work on your infrastructure. Gonna make sure you've nailed down your photography contract, your bookkeeping system, getting your business registered, figuring out how you're going to be paying any related business taxes. And, of course, you're gonna be using this time to set up your website, which is the topic of the next section. So let's get started 22. Website Principles: Let's talk about some important website principles. First, understand that your website is your store. It's where your potential customers are going to find you. They're going to evaluate you. They're going to decide if they like you and ultimately they're going to decide if they want you. It is critically important if you do nothing else. Well, make sure you build a great website and they're simply in this day. And age should be no excuses because now it is easier than ever. How are you going to get that website built? There are three primary website options. Number one. You can build a custom design either you can design it yourself if you have the skills, or you can hire a developer to design and code your site. Number two. You can go with a template site provider. This is a company that will typically host your website, provide a template design. You drag and drop your images. Ah, and you're taxed and they pretty much take care of everything else. So an example of a template site provider might be live books or squarespace or blue domain or something like that. Lastly, you can go with a WordPress site. So between these three options for probably 90% of the people out there, I think the best option is WordPress. Let me explain why. Why use WordPress? While here's an amazing statistic, nearly 1/4 off all Web sites on the planet, our WordPress sites that is amazing. There are thousands of available tools, plug ins, themes, anything you want to dio. You can do easily on a WordPress site. Since it's the most common website development platform, It's super easy to find developers, consultants and help, whether it be courses, online tutorials, books, freelancers, you name it. You can make a WordPress site look like anything you want. You can make it do anything you want, from display portfolios to text to e commerce. And, of course, it's free 100% totally free. So for those reasons, I recommend WordPress. Keep in mind, however, that when I say use WordPress, I mean wordpress dot org's, which is the platform that is an open source platform that is freely available for you to install on your website. I do not mean wordpress dot com, which is WordPress, is hosted solution. So you do a free website on wordpress dot com, and they host it. You'll get a domain name like Lawrence kim dot wordpress dot com that has far less customization and flexibility. And you never want a build your business on rented land, which is what wordpress dot com is. So you're gonna be using wordpress dot org's? Why not go full on custom to design your website when you're just starting out? Well, number one it's gonna be very expensive, depending on who you're hiring. It could be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Every change is probably going to cost you money. Hey, six months later, after the the developer finishes your website, you want to change the funds, you want to change the colors, you're gonna have to go back to them, and they're probably gonna charge you. And it's very time consuming, since there's very little you could do yourself unless you're an expert programmer. And here's the thing. The developer is probably gonna use WordPress to build your site anyway, so you might as well just start with WordPress and implement an off the shelf theme. Why not use one of those template sites, like live books or blue domain or squarespace. To be honest, this is the quickest and easiest way to set up a website. It's pretty much drag your images in place and in your text, and you're good to go. So what's wrong with that? Nothing. You can certainly use one of these companies and be successful. When I started 10 years ago, that's what I used. However, you'll find that it's not very flexible. You'll be given a choice of templates and designs, but there's really no customization available to you. If you decide, you know what I want. My sidebar on the left instead of on the right. I want to use these plug ins instead of those plug ins. I want to use a different e commerce solution. You're out of luck. You're pretty much stuck. Was just a few off the shelf options. And so for that reason, I normally don't recommend one of the template companies. Another important principle is to combine your website and blogged under a single domain, for example, that would all go under Lawrence kim dot com. You wouldn't have Lawrence kim dot com for your website, and then Lawrence Kim blogged dot com as your blogged that would be two separate domains. You want to combine them into one. Why do you want to do that? Number one consistent look feel and branding Number two. There's less confusion. Wait, what side toe I go for what it's all in one place. It's simply more effective and more likely to keep updated if it's just one site. If it's two separate sites, it's easy for one to get neglected. So for those reasons, I recommend combining a WordPress site within included Blawg, all under the same domain, and then, lastly, keep your site clean. Make it a simple design, easy to navigate. Make the star of the show your images and post regular content on your blogger and keep the site updated, so those are the most important principles for getting your website started. 23. Choose a Business Name: Before you even start building that website, you need to have a business name. So this lecture is about choosing that name when it comes to photography business names, you have two primary options. You can either use your name as your business name, for example, Lawrence Kim photography. Or you can make some kind of branded name, for example, beautiful moments photography or something like that. Let's discuss when you would want to use each option. When would you want to use a branded name? Well, I can think of a few reasons. First of all, if you plan on hiring additional shooters toe work on to your studio, let's say you want to hire four other photographers. You would book the weddings. They would go out and shoot them under your studio name. Then it's just slightly awkward toe have Sally Smith being the photographer for Lawrence Kim photography, so a brand name usually works better in that situation. If you want to sell your business in the future, particularly if you can have a combined wedding portrait business, you've got a brick and mortar location. You want to be able to sell it well in order for that business toe have value. That value cannot end with you, so you probably want to use a branded name in that scenario. And similarly, if this is a business that you want to pass on to your Children, let's say they start working with with you in your business, and they gradually take it over as you ease into retirement. Then a branded name might work better than using your name. Using your name as a business name is when you're the star, the business begins and ends with you. You're not planning on trying to sell it or branch out into other business areas or hire more shooters. You're the photographer. You just want to build the business under your name. The risk to using a brand a name, in my opinion, is that it can sound cheesy or low end. Whether it's a love birds wedding photography, cherished moments, romantic moments, photography, bellissimo wedding photography. When you see wedding photography studios with names like this, they almost all operate on the low end or the low mid end. You almost never see higher end wedding photography studios using branded names pretty much all of the world's top wedding photographers use their own name as a business name. These are the photographers that are well known that air speaking at worldwide photography conferences that are making 10 15 $20,000 a wedding pretty much all of them use their own names. So keep that in mind when choosing your business name. Unless you have a specific reason that we discussed for using those branded names. My recommendation is you simply use your own name. 24. Choose a Domain Name: Now that you have a business name, it's time to choose your domain name, which is going to be your website. You are L. My first piece of advice is to stick with the predominant extension for whatever your area that you live in is, for example, here in the United States, the predominant extension is dot com, so that's a better extension to use, then say dot biz or dot net whenever possible. And keep in mind that simpler is better when it comes to domain names. So if you're using your name as your business name, the best possible domain is simply your name dot whatever extension you're using. For example, my business is simply Lawrence kim dot com, so you can't get any simpler than that. So that's the recommended domain name. If you're using your name as your business name, what if your name is taken, for example, what if it's Samantha Smith and Samantha smith dot com is taken? Should you go over to Samantha smith dot net or Samantha Smith dot biz or something else? Well, before you that do that, I would try a couple of the things first. For example, you can try adding in an initial so Samantha bee smith dot com. Or you can put in photo at the end. Samantha Smith photo dot com or even Samantha Smith, photographer dot com, or something like that. I would prefer doing something like this to having to go over the to a dot net or dot biz or to some secondary extension. And I also even though it's longer, it's going to be easier for people to type in and to remember and to get right rather than doing something like hyphens Samantha Hyphen Smith. Unless people know the exact address, they're not gonna be typing it in that way, so I would avoid that whenever possible. So that's pretty much it. Keep it simple, and you can simply check to see if the address is available by going to a hosting provider , which will be the subject of our next lecture. 25. Choose a Web Host: every website needs a home, and so you need to choose a Web host provider to do that. Some Web host providers here in the United States some of the big ones are Go Daddy, Host Gator Blue Host our Vixie. I mean, there are literally dozens and dozens of Web host providers. Most of them will charge a very reasonable fee, you know, $356 a month. It is quite inexpensive. I recommend you simply do a Google search for Web post providers in your country or your location and find some of the top ones and stick with them. What is this Web host provider going to do for you? Well, three main things. I use mine to register mine domain name, host my site and provide an email account. Unless you're a Realtor techie, I strongly consider using a managed WordPress plan. Ah, managed word plus plan is simply Web hosting. Combined with some type of specialized automated WordPress services. Most of the time managed WordPress is going to be faster because it's going to be using servers optimized for WordPress. It's one click easy. I mean, literally getting WordPress on my Stipe site is the click of a button, they're gonna automatically update your WordPress so you don't have to worry about doing that. They automatically going do back up your website so you don't have to worry about doing that. And it's also gonna provide enhanced security. And for me, it's just, I think, one or $2 more a month than the regular Web hosting, so it's definitely worth it. I mean, even if you are a techie for the small amount of money it's gonna cost you is going to save you a lot of time. So it's definitely worth it. One last note. Here. Do not use a free email address like Sally Smith at gmail dot com or Sally Smith at yahoo dot com. This is very unprofessional. It makes you seem like an amateur. It makes it seem like you don't have a legitimate business and that you, quite frankly, don't know what you're doing. So you need to get a professional email address So Sally Smith should be info at sally smith dot com or Salley at Salley smith dot com or something like that, your Web host provider can hook you up with a professional email address. But if not, Google actually offers an alternative. You can get a professional Gmail address that does not have Gmail in the name. For example, you can go info it sally smith dot com. And I think Gmail charges $5 a month for that professional service. So the bottom line is, don't use a free email account, all right, so that's choosing a Web host provider. It's a pretty important step, but it's something that everyone needs to do to get their website up and running. 26. Choose a Wordpress Theme: in this lecture, we're going to talk about picking a WordPress theme. You've already done quite a bit. By this point, you've picked a business name. You've signed up with a web hosting firm. You've picked a domain name and you've installed WordPress on your site. In my case, I used go Daddy Managed WordPress. So this was simply to mouse clicks. Now you need to install a WordPress photo theme. The great thing about these themes is that there are dozens and dozens of beautiful themes available. The vast majority of themes out there are responsive. You need to double check. Make sure the theme is responsive before you buy it. Responsive? Meaning it works Justus Well, on a mobile device like a cellphone as it does on a computer. Another great thing about thes most of these themes is that the vast majority are under $60 a matter fact. There are so many options under $60 that I wouldn't really pay any more than that. And another great thing about using WordPress themes is that no coding is required. I don't know how to write a single line of code, and yet I can easily maneuver any one of these themes. It's usually just a few clicks of the mouse to get it installed, and everything will come with really easy to use instructions. And if you're having trouble, either your theme provider or your Web hosting firm can walk you through it. I can spend all day going through photo themes for WordPress. There are simply too many to mention here. I just want to highlight a few of them just so you can see what the potential is. One of the most popular ones out there is photo Crotty, and they have not. Their theme comes with many built in designs. This is just simply one of them. Another beautiful one is Oh, Shine. That kind of known for their more minimalist design. E Picks is another theme that has many, many design options built into it. And then Bow is another minimalist Is it designed that I think simply looks great. So you've got plenty of choices, dozens of themes to choose from. I'm sure you're gonna find one that you'll love, so that's picking a theme. I actually think this is the one of the most fun parts of running a photography business looking at all the great designs out there, choosing one and then setting up your site. So go ahead, pick your theme. 27. Your Home Page: your home page is by far the most important page on your website. It's where your potential clients are going to get their first impression of you, and that first impression on Lee takes seconds to reach, so you don't have very much time. If you have a unattractive, clunky home page, you have lost the game. So let's take a look at your options here, the styles you could use for your home page or almost limitless. But I would categorize those home page styles generally into two main types. Grid style and signature image style. Here's an example of a grid image style. This is a WordPress theme called Expression, and as you could see, multiple images laid out on a grid kind of like on a light table, and this is an attractive design. It's certainly eye catching, and it works. So if you click on any one of these images that would open up the image larger, here's another example of a grid image style. This one is called Skylab. This one's a little bit different in that every single image is the exact same size and aspect ratio, and they're also larger. Now let's take a look at a couple signature image styles. This one is one of the designs within the photo Kratie theme. This one's called transparency. As you could see, we just have this dramatic, gigantic image with the navigation just in that box in the upper left hand corner. Here's another example of a large signature image style. This one is a theme called Skylab. You've scut your main navigation buttons along the left hand side. This is a very common look, but I think it works and it's very attractive. And finally, here's another signature image style theme. This one's called Photo Artist, and in this time we have the navigation items across a bar on the top. Certainly all of these that the benefit of the signature image style is it really showcases dramatic images in an impressive fashion. So what's my opinion? Well, for most of you just getting started, I'm going to recommend that you begin your website with a grid style home page, and the reason is you most likely don't yet have a collection of really signature images Ignat images that are truly worthy of that huge dramatic place. So you probably want to start with a grid style that would be more attractive. But eventually, when you do develop those signature images that are worthy of being displayed gigantic across the screen, I think that looks really dramatic. And it's eye catching and your potential clients are going to see that and it gonna be like , Wow, so eventually you want to move there, but you're probably not there yet, and so that's my opinion on how you should structure your home page. 28. Your Portfolio: in this lecture, we're gonna go over how to build your gallery or portfolio section of your website next to your home page. This is your next most important section of your site. What are we talking about here? Well, in most themes, you'll typically see a menu item that says gallery or portfolio, Or maybe work or something like that. This is your online portfolio. So as you couldn't imagine, this is critically important. So a couple things about your gallery quality is more important than quantity. I would much rather see 20 great images in a portfolio than 20 great images plus 10 mediocre ones. So quality is important. This should Onley be your best work, and it should show a variety details. Getting ready Portrait ceremony, reception Now, at this point, you may or may not have shot that first wedding yet, so we'll get to that in a second. Remember that your portfolio is only a strong as your weakest image. Don't put any images on that gallery that look like they were a snapshot taken with your cell phone. Now, if you haven't shot that first wedding yet, you're going to be showcasing all of your foe shoots. That's your foe. Engagement shoots, bridal shoots, rings, flowers, shoes. The overall impression from a gallery should be that you are, in fact, a wedding photographer. But here's the thing about editing portfolios. Most photographers, myself included, are terrible at editing their own portfolios. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe we just fall in love with certain of our own images, or we just see the images so often we come become kind of blind to what others see. But whatever reason, most photographers need help. And so therefore, I want you to try the following portfolio building exercise Step number one is to select your best Images may be what you think are your 50 to 60 best images from all your shoots. And the first thing I wanted to do is I want you to print hm print them at about five by seven or, if you're in ah metric country, maybe like 15 to 20 centimetres long. This shouldn't cost very much money. And then I want you to ask friends or relatives to take this pile of images and put them into three piles. One pile is the love pile. This is the images that they say, Wow, I love this one. The second pile is the like pile, which is I like. This one is pretty good. And then the third pile is may not so much. I don't really care for this image, so you get assigned points, so love equals two points like equals. One point Met equals zero points. Now you're going to select the 20 to 30 images with the highest score, and then you're done. So this is pretty much your starter portfolio. The portfolio building process does not stop here, so going forward with every single shoot you do, select your 3 to 5 favorites from that shoot and then see do any of these replace a current image in the portfolio? Can I bump off a current image? So just keep on shooting with each shoot, Improving your portfolio little by little. Just keep going. So some best practices number one for vertical images. I would place them in pairs for your portfolio. It's just a much more consistent rather than seeing that large horizontal image and then that small vertical image. I think it's the vertical images work better if you pair them keep your processing consistent so you don't want to have several pictures that are have clean and natural processing and then several pictures where you put some kind of heavy photoshopped filter on it. That's kind of jarring, so just keep your processing consistent throughout the portfolio. When in doubt, stay conservative with the post processing You don't want to be doing really heavily stylized Photoshopped filters. Oh, this one makes my bride look like a pastel painting. Oh, this one adds a brick wall overlay over my couple. Just stay away from that from the beginning and just get comfortable making clean, clear, sharp images first. When possible, you want to minimize repeats of the same subject. Now I know you might have on Lee shot that one wedding, but still you don't want 15 pictures of that same bride in your portfolio. Then it becomes obvious that you're inexperienced. So if you've only shot that one wedding, maybe a few pictures of that bride, but then mixing all your other portrait's and engagement sessions and bridal shoots in there you don't want tohave. The same subjects appear time and time again, and then you're gonna periodically repeat that portfolio building exercise for brand new photographers. If I were you, I would do it every few months. Every 23 months. You want to Ah, repeat the exercise. Once you get established and you've shot, you know, 12 15 20 weddings, then you can cut that down to maybe, you know, two times a year. But periodically you're gonna want to repeat the exercise. And that is some tips on how to build your gallery and portfolio section. This is critically important. So take your time and do it right. 29. The All-Important Blog: in this lecture, we're going to discuss your blawg, which is going to be one of your most important marketing tools on most WordPress themes. You'll find a direct link to your blogged posts right there on the menu, which is where it should be. One of the best practices for blog's is to make sure your blawg is integrated into your website, and it's not a separate site all unto itself. So why I blogged several important reasons Number one is going to develop that know like and trust factor. This is awfully hard to do with simply a static website. So when you're blogging regularly and you've got stories week after week, your potential clients can look at it and get a feeling for who you are and most likely will come to like and trust you. Number two was gonna demonstrate competence. One of the things about galleries, as important as they are, is that they have the potential to be misleading. After all, you can be a very mediocre photographer and still get a couple great images per wedding shoot enough weddings, and eventually you might have a great looking gallery, even though you're not a particularly good photographer. When you have a blogging and you're blocking every single wedding, there's no place to hide. This will demonstrate that you are competent and capable of shooting an entire wedding. It's also going to demonstrate that you're busy in demand because you're gonna be blogging regularly. And lastly, it's going to be important for search engine optimization purposes. Okay, so you need a blawg. But what should you blogged about? That's where we're gonna talk about next. First of all, you're gonna be blocking every single shoot. Every shoot gets a block post, every wedding, every engagement session, every portrait session. Every time you do a shoot, you're gonna create a post for that shoot. You're also gonna blogged about any photography projects you have. So, for example, if you have a photography project that's called I don't know what Americans eat. You know, that would be a type of project that you would put on your blog's. It just shows a dedication to your craft. Maybe you're blogging travel photos as well. You're gonna be blogging networking articles, which I'm gonna talk about in a minute, and you're gonna have occasional personal photos as well. This is gonna be part of your clients getting to know, like and trust you, for example. Oh, your baby had their one year birthday. You might put some pictures in a block post for that. I mentioned a moment ago networking articles. How this is gonna be an important part of your marketing. This is just a one example of things that you can do on your blogged. Combine a photo shoot with an interview of a wedding vendor. So say, for example, you want to build a relationship with a caterer. This was a caterer that, uh, provided the food at your latest wedding. You can contact them and say, Hey, I want to feature you on my blog's with an interview and a photo shoot. Go in there, take some beautiful photos, right. Do right up on the caterer with links to the caterer site. And chances are that Cater is going to reciprocate with referrals of her own. So it's a great way to network. All right, so those are some things to blogged about. What should you not blogged about? This is pretty darn easy. Obviously, you're not gonna be blogging about politics or religion or things like that. I mean, why alienate half the population when there's simply no reason to ever do that? You're not gonna be blogging a photo of the eggs Benedict, you wait for breakfast. I mean, that type of shot you can still do, but that does not belong on your blogged. That's maybe something for your Twitter or your instagram account, but not for your blogged and also things like Selfies again. That's something for Instagram That's not something for your professional blawg. All right, let's talk about a few best practices. Number one. The blogged must be integrated with your website. It's no longer really acceptable toe. Have a totally separate website dedicated to a blogging versus your regular site. It should be combined. You should blawg often at a minimum one post per week, and you should blawg regularly. It's much better to have one post per week rather than having three posts in one week and then three weeks with nothing. So blawg often and blawg regularly. And then finally, you want to optimize your block posts. What do I mean by optimize? Well, the title should include the type of shoot and location, for example, Sally and Dave's wedding at the Seattle Ritz Carlton. This is gonna be for search engine optimization purposes. So in the future, let's say that there is a couple they're getting married at the Seattle Ritz Carlton. They might just Google wedding Seattle Ritz Carlton, and it's likely that your blood post will pop up. So that's what we mean by helping the search engine optimization. This is a way for your potential clients to find you. The posts should also include some texts. There is some photographers out there who Onley include photos, but you should have at least a minimal amount of text again for search engine optimization purposes. So a quick example Zoe and Joe met on the ski slopes, and they always wanted a wedding in the snow. That's exactly what they got at their wedding this weekend at the Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado. So you're not gonna be writing this taxed like you're a robot, just so you can pick up some key words, but you want to write is naturally is possible. But Sprinkle the keywords in there when you can. And yet another reason to use WordPress well, you get tools like this. This is WordPress Seo by Yoast. That's the name of the free plug in with a couple clicks of the mouse. You can insert it into your website, and then here you can use all these analytics and tools to adjust your snippet. Preview. You know how the block Post will look on search engines? What the key words are going to be the CEO title, the meta description, all that kind of stuff. You can easily optimize using plug ins like WordPress Seo by Yoast. So another powerful reason why you should be using WordPress. But don't go over word overboard with Seo optimization now, because the rules are changing all the time. For Google, it's much more important to block regularly. Balog High content. Just make sure it includes your keywords like what type of event and the location. Just keep doing it and then you'll be fine. So that's blogging. It's one of the most important ways that your potential clients are going to find you know you like you and trust you so it's important that you blogged 30. About Me and Contact Pages: this lecture will be a real quick one. It's about your about me and contact pages, as usual about and contact are too important pages that you will find typically in the main menu of your theme. Let's talk about the about me page. Just a few key things here. Number one. You should have a professional quality photo of yourself. I don't mean one of those old stiff business head shots where you put on a suit and stand in front of a modeled blue background with studio lights. I mean, a kind of modern, fresh professional photo of yourself, Probably outdoors. Dump with nice lighting and everything. Some tax about your photographic journey in your background, maybe a little bit about your style and anything that makes you special. So when in doubt, I would just go to some photography websites of photographers you admire and see how they do their your about me page. It doesn't have to be terribly long. You don't need paragraph after paragraph. Keep it short and just trying to make yourself as likable as possible. And finally, your contact page. You're gonna have a contact form here where you're gonna ask name date of the event and then message. You're also going to include your email address. So if someone doesn't want to use the contact form and prefer directly to email you, they can also do that. And then lastly, I say phone number and the reason I put the exclamation point. There is many photographers these days, and I hate to sound like an old fart. But particularly the photographers under the age of 30 are going without a phone number on their contact page, and I think that's a mistake. And there are still plenty of potential clients that prefer to actually talk to a human being on the phone. And if you leave out that number, then you're missing some potential customers. So put in a phone number, all right, that's about it. You're about me, and contact Page is pretty simple. Just make sure you do it, and you do it right 31. Why You Need a Pricing Page: the last page that we're going to talk about is your pricing page. And yes, you do need a pricing page on your website for a couple different reasons. Number one. It's going to save you time because it's gonna weed out potential clients that are not in your price range. As a matter of fact, there not even potential clients because they're not in your price range. So why would you wanna have to spend time in dealing with them? But more importantly, the reason you need a pricing page is because in today's day and age, there is so much competition. There are hundreds of photographers in your area. It seems like every other person that you meet is a professional photographer. Given this competition, if you don't list your prices on your website, that means the on leeway a potential declined confined out is by contacting you. Now, if they have 50 websites to get through and 40 of them list the prices, do you think they're gonna even bother to email you or call you and try to get your prices ? No, they're simply just going to click the mouse or swipe the finger, and they're gonna move on to the next photographers website. So because of this, you need at least a starting price. And speaking of that, all you need is the starting price. You don't need any detailed pricing. For example, you could say something like this. Wedding coverage begins at $950 for seven hours of coverage. All packages include high resolution digital files. That is all you need to say. You don't need to get any more detailed than that. You do not mess a matter of fact. Want to include your complete package details? Why? Well, let's say you put your whole detail priceless. This is what you get with package A. This is what you get with package be. This is what you get with package. See, you get a 10 by 10 album X number of spreads. You get engagement session paranoid albums. If you put all that detail on the website, then you're changing the conversation into one from your art to one of features and prices . Because now the potential client can say, OK, this is what you include in your package X number of coverage, hours of coverage. You include this size album this many pages that data. And when you do that tick by tick item by item comparison, you can never win. I mean, because there will always be another photographer who offers Maurin their packages or charges less. And so don't drag yourself into that level of comparison. The purpose of the website is to book the appointment, so don't forget that so you don't need all that detail. Just put a starting price on your pricing page and you're good to go. 32. Pricing Weddings 2-10: all right, So as you can see, getting a wedding photography business started is a tremendous amount of work from putting together your starter portfolio to putting together your infrastructure. Booking your first wedding, shooting it, developing a portfolio, launching your website. There's a lot to do and you're gonna keep on doing it. You're gonna keep on booking mawr weddings because the name of the game in this first year in business is volume. Shoot as many weddings as you can and build that portfolio. But the question is, once you've already shot your first wedding, you may or may not have charged anything for it. I think it's perfectly fine to shoot for free. But what happens next? What should you be charging for? Wedding number 2345 and so on? That's what we're gonna talk about in this lecture. There's no single way to set your pricing if you're a little bit unsure about your abilities. Still, you might want to just start really low. So for your next wedding, just go with $100 then with each wedding after that, just keep on adding $100 wedding after wedding and you'll get to your $1000 mark before you know it. Another way to do it is if you're more confident in your photography. And remember, there really is no $150 wedding market. There's no bride that has $150 budget. If that's their budget, it's most likely zero. So you can just immediately go up to say anywhere between 3 $400 for your next wedding and then go up in $100 increments from there. But remember, these are only just some ideas and rules of thumb. It's highly gonna be dependent on your skill as a photographer and you're experienced. Maybe you're already an experienced photographer like you used to be a photojournalist or something, in which case you could just throw these numbers out the window and start with a much higher number. So it's gonna be up to you. But the goal is going to be to shoot as many weddings that you can and get that price up to $1000 or more as quickly as possible. So in short, for those next few weddings after your first wedding, just keep on moving up as long as you're getting booked. Just keep on going with a reasonable goal being about at the $1000 mark after about 10 weddings or so Now, I'm not sure if these numbers are going to be accurate, depending on the country that you live in for the United States and kind of similar economies like the U. K Canada, Australia, on much of the more wealthy countries in Europe, that number's probably pretty accurate, but obviously you're gonna have to adjust it according to your local market. So those are some things I was thinking about when pricing your next few weddings. 33. Keeping Track of Your Clients: in this lecture, we're going to be going over a simple system to keeping track of both your prospects and your clients. I've opened up a Google spreadsheet and I'm going to give this a name. So I'm going file rename and I'll just call this clients, and I'm going to use this to keep track of two things. My meetings with prospects and my actual clients. So let's talk about the prospects. So the first thing I'm gonna put down here is the meeting date. So, for example, I have a meeting on May 23rd and then I'm gonna put a name and I met with Clara and Jason. The next piece of information I want to know is the price that I quoted them. So I told them I would shoot their wedding for se $400. Ah, the next column I'm gonna put is Did they book yes or no? And the last thing I'm going to put down here is what was the source of the meeting? Was it a referral? Was a Craigslist. Was was it an organic search on Google? And I'm going to do this with all of my potential meetings So 5 29 Nora and Joe. I quoted them $500 that I book them know the source was Craigslist. And obviously I conform at this to look as nice as I want it. So why do you want to be doing this? Why don't you want to keep track of every single meeting that I have with prospects for the simple reason that I want to judge my pricing, Which means at what price and my booking Eso this can identify, for example, that you know what? At $800 I'm booking 75% of the people I meet with, but when I went to 1000 I'm only booking 10%. Well, then maybe I wasn't ready for that price increase. And the other reason I want to keep track of this because I want to keep track of the source so I can identify where I should be spending my efforts. Now, your your first few weddings Wedding number 2345 Yeah, most of them. You'll probably get on Craigslist, so it might not seem all that valuable, but think about it a year or two down the road when you could have many potential sources. Your they might have found you on Pinterest or Instagram or it was a particular blogged post or it was a referral. So you want to know what's working and what's not. And so that's why get into the habit of putting down the source of that meeting. How did the client find you? So this is a very valuable piece of information down here in the bottom. I'll tip. I'll rename this sheet and I'll call it prospects. And that's how I keep track of all my potential clients. I'm going to add another tab to this spreadsheet, so I'm gonna click the plus sign, and then I'm going to rename this new sheet clients. And now here are the columns and I'm gonna put here first. I'm gonna put wedding date, for example, for 15. I'm gonna put the name Zoe and Brad. I'm going to put the price of the wedding $800. I'm gonna put a down payment. Was $400 balance paid waas $400 Balance do is going to be the price minus the down payment minus the balance paid. So this client does not owe me anything. I'm gonna put blogged. Yes, I did the block post for this wedding on 4 23 And then lastly, files delivered. I delivered the files on 57 So this is the information that I want to keep track of all of my clients. So if there was a client, for example, that Waas coming up, for example, on August 4, this Waas, Jenny and Sally, the price was $900 down. Payment was 400. Balance paid was zero. Obviously, I would I would note on this spread she that Yes, they still owe me $500. The blogged post is there to just as a reminder that every wedding gets a block post. And when I put a date here in that files delivered column, that means I'm done with the wedding. So this is just a simple example of how you can use a spreadsheet to keep track of all the clients, and you have to keep track. Who's paid you What? Who owes you what? And make sure you've blogged and delivered the files to close out the wedding. So this is just one example of how you might want to do it 34. Summing up: Weddings 2-10: Let's wrap up this section on weddings two through 10 with some best practices, I asked you to raise your prices with each and every wedding for these 1st 10 weddings. It's not because I expect that you'd make a ton of profit on these 1st 10 weddings. The primary reason to raise prices is to gain confidence, get used to increasing your prices, get used to standing behind your prices. However, don't let that get in the way of Gold number one, which is to shoot a lot of weddings. If you're feeling hesitant about your prices, it's OK to stay at the same price for a few weddings. The main thing is, get those weddings booked and shoot, shoot, shoot and improve that portfolio. This course has not been about the art and technique of photography. I focused on the business of photography. However, when it comes to the art and technique of your photography, never stop looking for inspiration. You should always be looking through the websites and blog's and portfolios of those wedding photographers who you really admire. You should experiment with the poses. You see the compositions, you see the lighting. You see, this isn't because you want to turn yourself into a clone of wanting one of these other photographers. But the only way to improve is to visualize a technique and then try it out. So never stopped looking for inspiration and trying out and experimenting with new techniques. The bottom line is that you're going to continue to improve your portfolio with every wedding. You're gonna take those 3 to 5 favorite Emmett images from every wedding and see if they can bump off any of the current images in your portfolio and you're going to keep it getting it better and better and better. And finally, you're going to use thes 10 weddings to try to develop unconscious competence in every phase of your business. You want unconscious competence in your camera settings, your lighting, your posing, your composition. You want to be unconsciously competent in how you handle your clients, how you do your post processing your entire wedding workflow and, of course, how you do you're selling So used the's 10 weddings to practice, from soup to nuts, the entire process of booking weddings, handling clients, shooting weddings and processing weddings. So that's it for weddings. Two through 10 these weddings will set your business up for future success 35. Marketing Overview: Here's a quick overview of what we're going to cover in this marketing section. First of all, let's define marketing. Marketing is going to be activities that bring potential clients to you. So this is one of the most important parts of running a business. It's all about how you get found. The Big Three, when it comes to marketing, is going to be organic marketing referrals and paid advertising. What do we mean by organic marketing? While a lot of that is going to be your website and blawg, a lot of clients are gonna find you that way. We already talked about that extensively in the prior section, but then also, you can get found over social media, which we're going to be discussing when it comes to referrals. The three, my main type of referrals. You can get our from your clients from vendors and then finally, from other photographers when it comes to advertising their different ways that you can advertise your business, whether it's Google paper, click or pay per click ads on Facebook or Twitter, or putting ads in magazines or wedding directories. The Holy Grail when it comes to marketing, however, is really in that organic marketing and referrals. Why is this the Holy Grail? Well, number one, it's free. But number two like owning an apartment building. This is a form of what you might call passive income. You write those blogged posts and you develop those relationships with those vendors and those other photographers, and this is a new engine that can keep on running time and time again. So that's why I consider it almost a form of passive income. And it's where we'll be spending most up our efforts. All right, so that's a quick overview of what will be covering in the marketing section. Now let's get to it. 36. Social Media Marketing: this lecture is about social media, marketing. Social media landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. When I first got started, the biggest social media outlet was MySpace and Facebook was just getting started. Today, there dozens of social media platforms and seemingly more every day. So you can easily get overwhelmed when it comes to social media marketing. So here's some things that I would think about. Number one. Facebook is obviously the biggest platform. However, it is becoming increasingly a pay to play platform. Organic reach on Facebook is down to about 5% or less, which means if you have 100 fans that like your Facebook page and you make a post on Facebook, less than five of them are actually going to see that post on their news feeds. So Facebook definitely has turned into a pay to play. The only way to get people to really see your posts is to pay for it. So that's just one reason why I wouldn't make the focus of my energy. Facebook instagram, however, currently has a 100% reach, although I expect this will change in the future. But if you have ah 100 subscribers to your instagram feed. Whenever you post a photo, that photo will show up. In all, 100 users feeds so and they're over 300 million users. And not only that, it's a very visual platform. I mean, look at the logo. It's a camera. So Instagram is a great place for photographers to gain exposure. Another one is Pinterest. Pinterest probably has the best demographics for wedding photographers. Number one. Its users are 85% female and affluent. So this is the audience that you want to reach. Here are just a few tips when it comes to social media Marketing number one post Often, but not too often. You don't want to bombard your users feeds with post after post after post. I probably would not want to do more than one per day. That's plenty, but you can easily batch these. For example, Every time you do a shoot, let's say a wedding. You should be able to get 10 really nice images off of that wedding, So what you're going to do is you're gonna format them for your social media outlets and just have them ready in a folder and then process them and then upload them not more than one a day, and obviously this is gonna be your best work. Your best images use Hashtags to make sure that the images can get found. For example, hashtag wedding photography, hashtag wedding hashtag winning photographers and, most importantly, properly fill out your profile page with links to your website. So this is how you gonna get those users off of social media and onto your website. But it's important that you don't go overboard with social media. It's easy to think to yourself. Oh, this is free free marketing. I got to get on 20 different social media sites. I'm spending four hours a day on it. Don't go overboard, I would say if you're a full time photographer, one hour a day, maximum and if it this is a part time business is going to be more like 20 minutes. So don't go overboard with social media. Focus on just one or two platforms. Don't think you have to participate in every single social media platform there is. I would focus on instagram and Pinterest first and then used tools. For example, buffer dot com is a free tool where you can create the same post posted to, you know, 34 different social media platforms and then schedule it for the future, so you don't have to have to be doing this every single day. You can line up 10 posts in a row, so definitely you'll use tools like Buffer to make it easier so that social media make sure you learn how to do it from some experts. Do it regularly post often choose a few important platforms, but don't get obsessed with it. Just keep it all in perspective is only one part of your marketing plan. 37. Build a Referral-Generating Engine: building a referral engine is probably the most important thing you can do in order to keep on getting new clients. The thing about engines is they keep running. As long as you put fuel in them, they just keep on going. That's exactly the way you want your referrals to come. You want them to just keep on coming and coming incoming By my third or fourth year in business, more than half of all the weddings that I booked came the referral. It is that important. You referral sources, your past and current clients, other wedding vendors and other wedding photographers. Let's talk about these. First of all, client referrals are extremely valuable. After all, what could be more convincing than getting a referral from someone who's actually used your services? I mean, think about it. Whenever you need a plumber or an electrician's, what's the first thing you do? You ask the nearby friend and you say, Well, who did you use? So the first way to get referrals is to make a great first impression when you meet that client, are you on time? Ah, have you done everything that you said you would have done be stylish. Now, this is something that a lot of photographers just don't do. Remember that as your bride's wedding photographer, you are a reflection upon her. And if you dress like a slob, if you're not well groomed, does she wanna have you in front of all her friends and family? Know so be stylish. Be unexpectedly awesome in everything that you do. I'll talk more about this in a minute. Be responsive. When you get an email, answer it right away. When you get a phone call, answer it right away. When you get a text, answer it right away and be fast. Do you think you're going to get a referral if it takes you three months to get the images after the wedding to your client? No. Do it in a couple weeks. Be fast a couple more during the wedding day and in all your interactions with your client . Be fun. Hey, laugh a lot. Smile. Just take it easy. Enjoy everything you dio. Maybe after that engagements shoot you stop off for a drink or a cafe. Just have a good time with your clients and always be come never seem agitated or uncomfortable you know, at every single wedding I shot, I had always had at least one guest come to me by the end of the wedding and say, You know what? Your a great photographer and I always used to say thanks. But I'd say to myself, Wait a minute. This person has not seen a single picture. How do they know I'm a great photographer? And the reason that you say that just because I was relaxed throughout the entire wedding and just made everyone feel calm and enjoy the day, there's a lot of things you can do to be unexpectedly awesome. How about if you're doing an engagement shoot for the client afterwards? Just surprised them with a framed print. I mean, it's not expensive at all. The prints. Probably gonna cost a buck. You can get the frame for 15 bucks, and the client is just blown away and just totally thrilled. What kind of frame of mine is that gonna put them on wedding day? I mean, they're gonna be so comfortable with you. So grateful for you that they're gonna just love the images and think about this. You can have the exact same set of images. And if the client does not like the photographer, they're not gonna like the images where if the client likes the photographer, they're gonna love the images, so just be unexpectedly awesome when it comes toe other vendors, the best way to build relationships with them is after a wedding. You collect the business cards on contact information of all the vendors at the wedding. See if you can introduce yourself, get to know them a little bit and then surprise them. Obviously, you're gonna link to their sites with your wedding blogged post. You're gonna call up and say, Hey, just want to let you know I just rode up the block and I gave you a link. Maybe, as I said in the section about blog's that you can do a photo shoot interview with some of those vendors, build relations with ships with them, Don't just call and ask for a referral. You be the one to rate reach out and get to know them and refer business to them. And in return they'll end up preferring business back to you. But it all takes time, and you just have to be generous. Just think about giving and giving before you start receiving. Another great source of referrals is other photographers. Now, wait a minute. Aren't other photographers my competition? Not necessarily. Other wedding photographers are Onley competition for you when they are for dates that they are not booked once they're booked for a date for photographer is booked on September 15th for a wedding. You are no longer that Photographers competition on September 15th. So why should all of you photographers let all those potential referrals goto waste? So what you want to do is identify another photographer or two that are similar to yourself . Similar price range approximately a similar style you don't want to have to photographers that are completely opposite styles and approximately the same the same level of business as yourself. And what you're going to do is, once you've partnered up with that photographer, you're going to create a shared Google calendar, and any time either one of you books a wedding, you're gonna mark that date off on the calendar. And now, when you get enquiries on dates that your booked, you're gonna look at the calendar to see if your partner is booked and if they're not. You're gonna pass the referral onto them. So, for example, you get that inquiry, you can say, Oh, I'm sorry. On four. I love to shoot your wedding. Unfortunately, I'm already booked. However, I know Sally Smith happens to be open on that date. And she is an absolutely wonderful photographer, completely talented, and she will take great care of you. Here's your contact information. Now, that's a very powerful referral because you're you're the artist that they trusted because they contacted you and and you weren't available. And you you passed on another photographer's name. That is a valuable referral. So why let those dates that you're already booked and you're receiving enquiries for Don't let them go to waste Refer those to your photography business partners, and they could do the same for you. So those are some ideas on building a referral engine. This is gonna take some work. You can't just be sitting at home in front of your computer all day. You gotta pound the pavement. You gotta work the phones. You got to be talking to those vendors building relationships with them. You have to be providing absolutely top notch service to your current clients and you gotta mix with other photographers. And if you do, all of those think three things you can build a powerful referral engine. 38. Paid advertising: let's talk a little bit about paid advertising. Now, up until this point, while you're still under $1000 we primarily been relying on Craigslist ads toe advertise our business. And remember, Craigslist is absolutely free. But once you're coming up on that $1000 mark and you're getting over $1000 which hopefully is where you are after about 10 or so weddings, Craigslist is not gonna work anymore. Number one. It's the people that use Craigslist want cheaper than $1000 number two. Once you're out of that entry level price range, you don't want to be associated with Craigslist anymore. Just like designers like Jimmy Choo and Donna, Karen probably wouldn't wanna have their items sold at WalMart. I mean, it's the same concepts, so you're now beyond the Craigslist era era. So one thing to consider, although it's not required. But one thing to consider is paid advertising. So should you use paid advertising Well, it depends on Lee if you need it. Paid advertising is there, but it is not absolutely required in order to be successful. If you've got enough of a presence to start booking your own weddings without it whether it's from your blog's, your social media, your instagram, your referrals. Then don't use paid advertising if you don't have to. And if you use paid advertising, you should be using it to get your business started right in like Year two and Year three. But Onley in your first couple years in business. If you still need to use paid advertising to get hired in your fifth year of business, then there's other things you probably should be looking at first. Then there's something that needs to be addressed that has nothing to do with advertising. So what do we mean about when we're talking about paid advertising? Generally, the biggest categories would be pay per click advertising. This would be those ads you see on Google or Facebook. Then there's the old standby, which is wedding magazines and then wedding directories and then, finally, wedding shows. This is typically what we think about when we think of paid advertising, So first I want to talk for a minute about paper click. So these are when you can set campaigns on Google and Facebook. You can set daily weekly monthly budgets. For example, you could set a budget of $100 a month, and you're gonna target thes certain keywords. And when the keywords get in, put it on Google and your ad pops up in a client clicks on it, then you pay so you can't control what the price is gonna be per click that is going to be set by a bidding process. The only really thing that you can totally control is your budget. So just keep that on mine. You keep that in mind. And lastly, when I started in this business, I did Google pay per clicks. But that was more than 10 years ago, and the landscape has changed considerably since then. Google has gotten a lot more competitive and a lot more expensive, So you really need to think about that and do a test. I would set start with a small budget and put your main keywords in there, for example, Seattle wedding photographer and then just see what it's costing you if it ends up costing you five bucks per click that maybe a strategy you need to rethink right now. If I were you, I would probably start with Facebook for two reasons. Number one. You can get a lot more targeted with Facebook now than you can with Google, and also it's probably going to be less expensive, at least for now. Now, this course is not about Facebook advertising. That is, Ah, hole course all onto itself. But just to give you an idea of what I mean, when I say Facebook, you can get super targeted. I just input here Boston weddings. And there is a Facebook group of Facebook page for Boston weddings, and if you scroll down, you would see many articles about everything you know, wedding hairstyles, wedding jewelry, styling tips, flowers and so forth. Now, if I look here, I can see that this page has over 2800 fans. Now that's not a whole lot. But still, when you think about it, who are the people that like this page almost assuredly that these 2800 people are brides that are getting married and they're getting married in Boston? So this is about as perfect a target market as you can get. So when you create your Facebook advertising campaign, you can say you know what? I want my ads to show up in the news feeds off people that like this Boston Weddings page, so you can get that specific. And so that's why I would say if I were going to do pay per click advertising today, I would probably start with Facebook, and I would probably use a strategy like that when it comes to magazines. I don't necessarily recommend that as a way to build your business, especially when you're getting started. Magazine ads are probably the most expensive way to advertise your business, and oftentimes you'll find the the cost of acquiring a wedding from a magazine ad takes up the bulk of the revenue from that wedding, so that's probably my least favorite way to advertise when it comes to directories like, for example, Seattle weddings dot com. I'm just making that up, but suppose that you have a directory you might want to consider putting an ad in there, but I would stick with the local directories if you can. Sometimes these directories have an audience that's primarily bargain hunters, so you just have to do your research. But I would stick with local directories when possible. Lastly, there are the big wedding shows should you participate them in them. I'm not going to say no. But what most people don't realize when they do a wedding show is that it is a massive, massive amount of work. I mean, the planning, the design of your booth, getting the proper display, set up lighting, flooring, furniture, samples. I mean, it could be a massive amount of work, so just keep that in mind. But if you do do a wedding show, one of the things that I do kind of like about them is that you can use the opportunity to meet other vendors, whether they be planners or florists or caterers or bakers, videographers, DJs. This is a great way to meet some other vendors and start to build relationships, which I do think is extremely valuable. So that's what I would use it primarily for if I was going to do, Ah, wedding show. All right, so that's it about advertising. Remember that free, in my opinion, is better than paid when I mean by that is obviously not only is free free, but beyond that, free marketing is an engine, and it's an engine that keeps on running all by itself, like passive income. So your website, your blogged, your social media, your referrals and business relationships with other vendors that just keeps going and going. Unlike that magazine ad where once the magazine you know the next edition comes out, it's done. It's over with, so just keep that in mind. I don't think paid advertising is necessary, but if you're going to use it to help jump start your business in in year two and year three, then you might want to give it a try. 39. Pricing Principles: in your 1st 10 weddings, or so you gradually went from maybe zero close to the $1000 range. And probably for the most part, you had a single offering which was coverage plus digital files. Now, things are going to get a little bit more complicated because you're gonna be starting toe , offer other products, you're gonna start to build packages. And so now it's time to refine your pricing. And this lecture is going to discuss my important pricing principles. Principle number one. Should you use packages or go ala carte. My answer used both. I'm gonna be talking about why you should have several packages, but your entry level package. It should be coverage on Lee. That's just simply photography plus digital files. In essence, your first package is going to be you're ala carte offering because essentially, that's what Allah cart is. You just doing coverage. And if anyone wants to buy albums or prints or any products, they're gonna buy it on an ala carte basis. So, yes, you should use packages, but your first package should be coverage on Lee, which is an ala carte package. So use both number two. This is very important don't include too much stuff in your package. So you do a package and you include seven hours of coverage. A 30 page album to parent albums. Engagement shoot, a 30 inch canvas gallery rap rehearsal dinner. What's wrong with making a package? Include everything like the kitchen sink? Wouldn't that make it very attractive to potential clients? No. Here's what's gonna happen if you include too much stuff in your package. Is the very first thing they're gonna ask you is How much will you reduce the price If we remove the canvas gallery rap? Or, they might ask, How much will you reduce the price if we remove the rehearsal dinner coverage? Or how much will you reduce the price? If we remove the parent albums before you know it, you're going to get negotiated down 205 106 108 $100 in price. All because you included too much stuff in your package. So my idea is to make your package is as simple as possible with stuff that really cannot be taken away. Number three don't have too many packages. Three is perfect. What happens if you have 45678 packages. Why not have a package for everyone? Every price range? Well, when you have more packages, you have more opportunity to have confusion. And when you have too many choices, potential clients may get paralyzed, and they might just go ahead and skip the whole thing and move on to the next photographer so don't have too many packages. Principle number four Use album credits, not album pages or spreads. Here's what I mean. Your package should not include a 10 by 10 30 page album. Instead, include an album credit, for example. Your package includes $1000 of album credit. What's the difference? Well, when you tell your client that they're going to get a 30 page 10 by 10 album, it sets a limit. It's it's a boundary around the expectations. The client expects a 30 page album because that's what they bought, and anything else beyond that would be considered an up sell, which may be an uphill battle. On the other hand, if you simply include a credit than the number of pages is an open item, you can tell your client I have no idea how many pages your album will be That's gonna be your decision in the end, how Maney spreads you decide to buy. So that's why you always want to include a credit and not the number of pages you want to hope to sell additional spreads after the wedding. And you can't do that as well if you're selling album pages. Principle number five List your highest price package on the top of your price list. This should be the first item. Why? Well, because of anchoring. Think about real estate. If you're looking to buy a house and you give the Realtor your price range, the first houses she's going to show you are gonna be houses at the top of your range, if not a little bit higher than your range. It's not that she necessarily expects that you're going to buy a house above your price range, but by showing you the most expensive houses first, the next house that she shows you is going to seem more reasonable in price. So the effect is you end up spending more than you would have otherwise, And so that's why you should list your most expensive package at the top Principle. Number six. Your middle package is your money package. All your efforts should be to get your client into that middle package because the middle package is going to be the one that includes an album. And albums are the key to increasing a profitability with wedding photography, so you must get your client into that middle package. How are you going to do that? Well, aside from the fact that you're going to be showing your albums, which makes your client desire them, you're going to be showing them both in your meetings with your clients and on your website . But beyond that, you couldn't include financial incentives to get to the middle package, which I'll be discussing Maurin the next lecture. Lastly, principle number seven. Be confident in your prices. Don't justify them. Don't Hammond hard. Don't try to explain them. Remember that photography is a luxury good and like watches, fancy jewelry and iPhones. Now for a $20,000 Rolex price actually isn't that important. However, it is very important for the guy on the street selling the $50 imitation Rolex Watch, then prices everything similarly in photography. When you're in that very sub cheap price range, ah sub $1000 sub $1500 price range. Sure, prices very critical. But once you move on to that mid range in mid high range pricing than, um, the price really isn't it becomes less important. And then it more big becomes more about you, your photography, your presence. So if you start trying to explain your prices, you become the antelope. I'm saying that you should be the lion and not the antelope. Because once you start hemming and hawing and justifying your prices saying, Oh, how expensive it is to be in business, your margins aren't that high. You got a lot of training, blah, blah, blah. What happens is your client's primordial instincts kick in. They become the lion and you become the antelope. And when that happens, you're toast. You're just going to get negotiated down, down, down in price. I think you should really get challenged on your prices anyway, because you're putting your starting price on your website, which is what we discussed already. So clients that can afford you aren't even going to be meeting with you. But if you do get challenged on prices, here's something you can say. I'll get fully booked at these prices, so I'm actually thinking of raising them soon. There's no real come back to that. So it just displays your confidence and confidence is a competence signal. You'll probably get booked even more. All right, so those are some important pricing principles in this section will next continue on with some product options. 40. Album Design: Let's talk for a minute about wedding album design because you're gonna be offering albums in that second and third package. So how are we going to do it? Well, when it comes to album design, you have three primary choices. Number one. You can design the album spreads freehand on photo shop or make your own templates in in design. I really do not recommend this unless you are an expert on photo shop and in design, and you're comfortable doing it and you can do it quickly. Otherwise, it's pretty much going to be a waste of time to try to do with this from scratch template software, the two ones that I generally recommend or pixel Ooh and Fundy software. I'm going to just give you a little tour of that in a minute. But basically, template software means you simply select a template. You drag and drop your images, and literally you can design an entire album in as little time as an hour. So I think for the vast majority of wedding photographers, Temple software is probably the way to go. And then, lastly, you could just completely outsource the wedding from the start and There are many, many companies that do album design. Just do a Google search for wedding album design. You'll find many choices. Um, album design can also be a smart way to go, because anything that saves you time also makes you money, because instead of spending time producing albums, you could be spending your time on your marketing or your networking. But you also might want to try to outsource your first couple albums just to simplify the process and also get design ideas so that when you move up to the template software and you start designing on your own, you'll have some place. Ah, some idea of where to get started. So I'm here over at Fundy software dot com. They have a product called Album Builder, and it's usually somewhere around $300 sometimes a little bit more, sometimes a little bit less. And as you could see an example here, this is just a template. So it's got three images here. You would simply just take your images from your folder, and you would just drag them and drop them into place, and they would be organized perfectly sized perfectly. I mean, literally. Here's this two page spread drag drop. I mean a zoo, Long as you have your images already picked out, you can literally do it in minutes. Pixel. Ooh works much the same way. Here you see a sample albums spread. You just upload your images and then dragged them from the timeline directly into the spread. And the album pretty much creates itself so you can read about it. It is really fast. Most of them are compatible. In other words, they have the exact sizing for most of the big album manufacturers. So you're good to go in that department, and they also have built in templates and software to go through the review process so your client can go in, Say, you know what, This image here on the upper left hand corner. I want to substitute that with image number 4 27 and then you can easily make those changes . And then they can approve the album designed right online. So pixel ooh and Fundy highly recommended. So that's wedding album designed. Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to to complete a 30 page album two hours maximum, so get to it 41. How to Price Albums: How are you going to price those albums? Or more specifically, how are you gonna price your album spreads before we get to that, though, we have to make one set of definitions absolutely crystal clear. One page equals one side, and two sides equals one spread. This is just like every book you've ever read in your life. But somehow, some way, some photographer or group of photographers mess this up and you'll frequently get a confused clients ask, Does one page equals two sides? No. You must clarify that. One pages, one side to sides is once bread. And you must make this clear, not only in your verbal communications, but it should also be on your priceless and in your contract. You don't want there to be any confusion about this. Okay, without it out of the way, how we gonna price those spreads? Well, first of all, every country obviously is going to be very different, and even different regions within a country are very different. But I'm going to give you some pricing guidelines that I know work well in the United States and countries with similar economies, like, say, Canada, Australia, the UK and I call this the 543 rule, and it's gonna be based off of what? Your base prices. That's your Allah cart package. If you're on the low end, which lets say, call it 1500 to 1800 to 2000 I would go with about 5% of that base price as the price per spread. So, for example, 1 10 by 10 spread you might charge about $75. If you're in that middle price range about $2500 for your base package, you can go down to about 4% per spread, or about $100 and want to get up to 4000 or above. You might consider going down to 3% per spread, or about $120. So this is obviously not a hard rule. It's just a rule of thumb if you are a little bit confused and want some guidelines on how to get started. Okay, so that's how you might think about pricing your spreads in the next lecture. We're going to talk about the album sales and workflow process 42. Album Sales Process: in this lecture, I'm going to walk you through my recommended album design and sales process. I call this the whole foods method. For those of you who do not live in the United States, Whole Foods is a high end grocery store, and they also have a hot food and cold food buffet. So the store creates a wide variety of, in my opinion, quite delicious food. The customer looks at the display and then creates their own plate picking and choosing whatever they want. And they often end up buying more than they originally plan because everything just looks so good. So you're going to do something very similar. The customer is going to be responsible for designing their own album by choosing from a wide variety of your exquisitely designs breads. So here's how the method works. First of all, you're going to design the album spreads as soon as possible. No client input. You cannot wait for them to give you their image choices, because that could take months. And another reason is that they've never designed an album before. They don't appreciate that album spreads need signature images as well. A supporting images to create a comprehensive design, so you're just gonna design as soon as possible you were going to create 20 to 30 beautiful spreads. Now the client has an album credit, and that credit is on Lee going to be enough to buy a small number of spreads, say 10 to 12 spreads. So keep that in mind. You're gonna ask the client toe live with the spread for a few weeks, during which time they will emotionally bond with spreads and therefore getting rid of them will be like getting rid of their own Children. It will be very hard to do. The client will choose which spreads they want and then make edits to the spreads, for example, substituting images, deleting images, adding images, things like that you'll deliver the second draft. They'll make their final edit, and then you'll deliver, hopefully, your final draft. The album will get approved, and then the final payment will be made. So here's the ideal outcome from such a process. Remember that the album credit in your package should Onley be enough for a starter Albums a 10 to 12 spreads. You were going to design a bunch of gorgeous spreads, say 20 to 30 beautiful spreads. The client will buy something in between what their credit amount is and the number spreads that you bought. So they typically, if you design 25 spreads, they probably won't buy all 25 but they'll easily by 17 18 19 spreads. So in this example, nine extra spreads at $75 per spread equals $675 in extra revenue that you learn after the wedding. It is important to note that this is not a bait and switch sales technique. Why? Because the client understood how the process would work from the beginning. From the very beginning, you're going to explain how this album process it works, how they're going to get a credit, how you're going to design a bunch of spreads and how they're going to choose which spreads they want. They're gonna know this. The client is gonna build their own album, choosing as many spreads as they want if they only choose the same amount of spreads that fit into their credit. No problem. You act justice, pleased as if they bought authority Spread album. Your job is to design great spreads. So that's it. The album design and sales process. You're gonna earn incremental revenue after the wedding. If you go through this process 43. Prints: when it comes to products. Your flagship product, your big money maker, is going to be the wedding album. However. What about Prince? What? How do you handle Prince? How do you think about it here? A few of my thoughts. First of all, I always like to follow the 80 20 rule and get the most bang for my buck. The most bang for my buck is the album. When it comes to Prince, especially small prints like eight by tens or smaller, the client can easily make their own small prints because they have the digital files. So are they really going to buy an eight by 10 from from you for 40 50 60 $70? Ah, Price That would make it worth your while when they have their the digital file and they can make their own eight by 10 for two bucks? I don't think so, So I don't even offer it. It's probably just not worth my time. However. I do create an online gallery for the client's family and friends, so the client's family and friends can see the whole wedding, and they can order their own prints without your client having to be the middleman. So if the client's second cousin wants to get an eight by 10 print of an image they saw on the gallery, they don't have to bother the client and get the print from them. They could just order directly from the gallery. It's not a huge money maker, but expect to make something I usually averaged a couple 100 bucks per wedding just by using an online gallery. When it comes to online services, where you can upload galleries, set your pricing and then send the link to your clients or their family and friends. Congar Oh, in there in view and order prints and you collect your payment. There are quite a few companies that do this. For example, there's insta proves, and there's SmugMug pro, and they're a couple other services like that. So just do some research and find the gallery hosting and print fulfillment Phil Mint Company that works the best for you. So that's how I think about prints. If you want to offer prints for your clients, that's fine. Um, in my opinion, you typically won't get very many sales from the client simply because they'll have the digital files and so they'll probably make him themselves. But you might as well see if you can make a few extra $100 by providing that on line gallery, so go ahead and offer prints that way. 44. Pricing in Year 2 and Beyond: Let's talk about how you should think about your pricing in Year two and beyond. You've been a newbie photographer. So in that first year in business, you've just been raising prices in big percentage chunks, with each wedding from maybe 0 408 112 115 100 that first year you just went up pretty quickly in those large percentage jobs. But what happens after that? What happens in year two and beyond? I like to think of my method as the shark method. Most sharks have to keep on moving forward or else they will drown because they need the oxygen moving through their circulatory system. Well, I want you to think about a similar system with your pricing. Always be moving forward, so ask yourself this. Are you getting fully booked at your current prices? Fully booked means fully booked for you. So if you only want to shoot 10 weddings a year, are you getting booked for 10 weddings? If you want to shoot 20 weddings a year, are you getting 20 weddings? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and raise your prices 10% and then it's a feedback loop so after you raise your prices, you're gonna ask yourself the same question. Well, are you still getting booked fully booked at your current prices? And as long as that feedback loop is positive, just keep on gradually raising prices, raising prices keep moving forward. Like that shark. If the answer is no, you're not getting fully booked. Will Then ask yourself one more question. Are you getting mostly booked? For example, are you booking 75% of the weddings? So if you have a 20 wedding goal, are you getting at least 15? If so, then I wouldn't necessarily raise my present prices. But I wouldn't lower them either. I would just continue working on improving my business. But if I'm not, if my goal is to book 20 weddings and I can only book 10 in my current prices, then I might consider lowering them. I might have been too aggressive, and then the feedback loop works again. Ask yourself. Okay, well, now, with my lower prices, am I getting fully booked? If the answer is yes, then you can start gradually moving them up again. So these are the two feedback loops. The upper feedback loop in the lower feedback loop. The idea is to eventually get yourself on that upper feedback loop and just keep on going and going, and you can do that for years to come. So you're going to continue to experiment with your prices, hopefully gradually keeping on increasing them. However, while you're added, don't stop improving all the other phases of your business. Never stop improving your marketing. Improving your relationships, improving your photography and album design. Improving you're selling skills, improving all phases of your business. Why? Because that's going to result in more meetings. More meetings means more bookings. More bookings means the greater likelihood that you're going to be fully booked, and that means the upper feedback loop of price increases, so never stop improving. And that's pricing in year two. Beyond use the shark method, keep moving forward 45. Best Practices Part 1: we're just about done. Let's wrap up the course with some best practices. This will be in two parts. Number one on Lee. Accept cash or check for the down payment on a wedding. The reason is if you accept credit cards for a down payment or PayPal or something like that, the client can at the last minute, cancel on you and then go to the credit card company and request a refund. You want to be the one that's in control of whether or not the client gets a refund, not the client. So Onley Accept cash or check for the down payment. Number two over Communicate. Nearly all disputes are a result of a miscommunication between the photographer and the client. Be clear about every single part of the wedding process. The down payments, the payment processing, the album designed Process exactly what time you'll be at the wedding. What's included. What's not included. Just over. Communicate number three. Don't address complaints or concerns over email. Pick up the phone. If the client is really concerned or something about something. They complain about something so much it gets lost under an email. They can't hear your tone of voice right, and therefore it could even further misunderstandings. So just pick up the phone, find out what the clients concerns are and take care of them. Number four always designed Square 12 by 12 albums. The reason you wanted design large square albums is so you can resize the album, designed with a couple clicks of the mouse. If you design albums 12 by 12 and the client wants a 10 by 10 or an eight by eight or six by six is a couple clicks. On the other hand, if you design the album with an odd dimension 11 by 14 8 by 10 5 by seven If the client wants a different size, it's going to mean changing the aspect ratio, which means you're gonna have to redesign the entire album. So that's why you should keep your designs square. Number five. No slick sales techniques are allowed. Don't try to sell more album pages or anything like that. Simply designed great spreads and let the clients choose what they're gonna buy. Chances are they will buy more spreads than are in their credit number. Six. Don't overspend on gear. Remember that the whole point of starting a business is to make money. Your earnings are your revenues minus expenses. Your client will not know the difference, and they will not care between a $2000 lens and a picture taken with a $300 lens. So don't overspend. Number seven. You must have backup gear. You can not shoot a wedding unless you have at least two camera bodies to speed lights. Ah, and numerous lenses and backup lenses and backup batteries. You must be prepared in case something goes wrong. Number eight Higher good second shooter's unique quantity and quality. The reason is, if you want to sell a lot of albums spreads, you will need a lot of images, and you need both quantity and quality of images. Therefore, it helps to have a second shooter who is also out there generating those images. Number nine. Dress for Success. Remember that you are a reflection off the client. You are going to be the most visible vendor on the wedding day. You are going to be seen by the clients, friends, family, business colleagues, etcetera so that you are a reflection on your client. So dress for success both when you meet your clients for the first time and also at the wedding number 10 maintained meticulous records. So this is client communication records, payment records, tax records, maintained meticulous records. It really doesn't take that a lot of time, and it condemn finitely save you many fold over for the efforts Number 11 exercise. You don't really appreciate how hard a wedding is to shoot until you shoot a 10 hour wedding with two camera bodies strapped to you. A 72 200 lens, very heavy. All the extra equipment you're running around like crazy. It is an arduous punishment on the body, so make sure you can take it, so keep your body in great shape and last for part one. Number 12 blogged regularly. This is going to be one of your prime. Any primary means of attracting customers so blogged at a minimum once per week. Ah, but ideally more than once per week. So blawg regularly. That's it for part one 46. Best Practices Part 2: number 13 Re edit your portfolio with every shoot with every wedding portrait. Shoot engagement shoot. You're gonna be taking your favorite images and see if you could replace any of the current images in your portfolio. That way it will be continually upgraded. Number 14 become smile and have fun. The truth of the matter is, if your clients like you, they'll like your images. If they don't like you, they won't like your images. So focus on being personable and fun to be around. Number 15 designed lots of great album spreads and let your clients build their own albums . Don't try to sell them anything. Just design the ultimate album and let them choose. And chances are they will choose a lot. Number 16. Stand by your prices. Don't be defensive. If you ever get challenged on your prices, simply say this. I'm getting Curt. I'm getting fully booked at these prices, so I'm gonna be raising them soon. That should put an end to the matter. Number 17. Work fast. Several reasons for this. If you don't work fast, your quickly going to get a backlog, which is stressful and miserable, you don't want that to happen. Number two Working Fast will mean happier clients with better reviews and more referrals. And lastly, the client is never more ready, willing and able to buy than they are right after the wedding. So working fast will mean bigger sales. Number 18 Always be networking. You should strive to be continually meeting with other photographers, getting to know other vendors, florists, Caykur, caterers, bakers, DJs. So you should strive toe. Always be contacting them. Make at least one. Call it a schedule. Coffee. You want to be having to do this a couple times a week and always expand your network number 19 b A shark. Keep your prices moving forward and upwards. Don't stand still. If you're continually getting booked, then bump up your prices. If you keep on getting booked, then keep on bumping up those prices. Number 20. Use quality album companies. A wedding album is like an advertisement. The couple your client is going to be showing that album to everyone they know if it's a cheap album and if it falls apart and if it's not impressive than your business, is not gonna look impressive. So use quality album companies number 21 don't stress over social media and don't spend too much time on it, either. Just pick a couple social media platforms and then post something a few times a week. I recommend Instagram and Pinterest number 22. Don't over process your images. Not only does this take a lot of time, but it will also make your images quickly look dated. So it's much quickly, quicker and much more timeless to simply use natural processing And number 23. Most importantly, get started today. Don't wait. Don't put off networking. Don't put off making great sample albums. Just get started working now. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will have a profitable wedding photography business.