Thursday, June 28, 2012

1057. How to succeed in the wedding photography business

Jun 28, 2012
National Library Board
Professional Photographer  Feb 2012
THE BUSINESS - New Series - "What recession..." Kevin Mullins Pg 73

His plan was to double the bookings year on year to a comfortable level.
In his first professional year in 2009, he shot 15 weddings. In 2010, 33 and in 2011 doubled again to 58 weddings. In 2009, the standard wedding rate was 800 pounds. In 2011, over 2000 pounds. Success affected his personal and social life.

Success factors:

Every enquiry made in a preadsheet and keep track of enquiries even for dates he is not available.
Can see whether the referral came from (website, oral etc), the venue, date of wedding and importantly the date of enquiry.
*From statistics, he checked his business practices e.g. venues, busiest periods for enquiries is in Jan and Feb. 2nd spike inend of summer. Plan for 2011.
 *statistics gave him a profit per hour per wedding. assess whether worth sacrificing 6 days a week and lot of his social and personal life.
*do not really want to increase his fees a lot. Decided to spend less time to make the same amount of money per wedding.

Three moves that changed his business for the better:
1. Move to a time-based fee
2. No more pre-wedding shots (taking up lots of evenings and Sundays) for wedding packages.
3. Reduce the amount of editing per wedding

2. TRIM YOUR SERVICES*His brand is a photojournalistic wedding photographic style, so it does not lend to pre-wedding shots (which is stationary, like taking pictures in Taiwan).
*if do pre-wedding shots, should charge for time spent in the package prices and do it at times suitable to his business and his family.
*reduce number of imagaes from 400to 200 to clients. So he saved many hours a week time in editing output
*got new tools in his workflow e.g. Photo Mechanic - another article.

*He noted that he rarely leave a wedding on time. He usually worked on a "bridal prep" to "first dance" basis. (Singapore does not usually have "first dance"). He found that in 2010 he spent 60 hours after the "first dance" unpaid.
*now he charges overtime (like caterers, DJ, drivers etc)

*58 weddings are too much to shoot and edit as he has no personal life. In 2012, he capped bookings at 30 in his diary.

The SWPP is great for mentoring, support and access to great photographers
*frequently use a photography forum called IPPN  ( - very helpful.
*learning all the time as idustry is tough. He knows that he must be on top of the business side of things to be successful.  

Conclusion. Keep track of your business through metrics and accounting (including workflow and marketing), a lot of hard work and beautiful photography, have a faithful and honest work ethic, business will grow.

The above factors apply to the business of veterinary practices too esp. using metrics and proper accounting, hard work and do beautiful surgery (good surgical outcomes, no infections).
Today, I read that a "bogus vet" in Singapore was to be fined $42,000 for doing stray cat sterilisations in her Bishan apartment. She was a veterinary nurse working for a veterinary clinic. The Cat Welfare Society alerted the clinic that they had received invoices with two different types of clinic stamps. She gave $5.00 commission to the transport man for every cat brought to her and was using the clinic's invoices.

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