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5 Ways Photographers Can Rock the Off-Season

For Photographers

February 4, 2016

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I'm so glad you stopped by the blog! Here you'll find advice on planning your wedding, tips on what to wear to photo sessions, and of course, my favorite clients & people!

Hi, I'm meghan

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Once upon a time I thought that December/January/February meant “vacation mode” for photographers. A chance to take a break? Eat on a normal schedule, do those projects I’d been putting off all summer? Go into hibernation, maybe? But I’m learning that’s not the case at all! While I may not be shooting as much as I do during the rest of the year, I’ve found that I’m actually just as busy, as the work is just as important, too! Here are 5 ways I’ve tried to make the most of my off-season so far!
1. Spoil Vendors. I really wanted to make an effort to show my appreciation to my vendors this year, to demonstrate to them that I’m on the same team as them and we all have the same goal: make our clients’ wedding day the very best it can be! I also didn’t want to come across as a networking shmooze, either (someone just trying to promote themselves). One thing that I did after my last wedding of the year, was purchase Katelyn James’ Vendor Highlight Magazine template and got to work making magazines for all the venues I shot at in 2015! The template is split into categories such as Getting Ready, First Look, Ceremony Location, Cocktail Hour, and Reception. I did have to learn how to use InDesign to use this template, but after an hour or two on the first magazine, I knew enough to only spend a few minutes dropping images into the pages for the rest of the venues! Then I ordered several copies (some for me to keep to show brides, too!) from blurb.com, and had them shipped to my house. When they arrived, I boxed them up with chocolates and a thank you card, and mailed them to the venues! I’ve had some great responses from them, and the hope is that these magazines will do a service to THEIR business! Now they have something to show their potential brides that displays what their venue can do for them on a wedding day!

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Another way you can spoil other vendors besides venues, is make a quick 5×7 postcard with images of their work on them! If there was a florist or baker or DJ whose work you loved, make them a display card with photos you took, and put THEIR information on the back, not yours – that way you are giving them a gift they can feel confident in handing out to customers, and each time they share your cards with someone, you will be top of mind!

2. Spoil Clients. Since I didn’t have any December weddings, I was able to use that time to order a small Christmas ornament for all of my 2015 brides! Another HUGE project that I was able to finish last month, that has been a goal of mine for a long time now, was my Bridal Guide! I really wanted something to send to my brides to welcome them into the #mrosebrides family! My Bridal Guide is also a great teaching tool for my brides! I include information about the ideal timeline, some tips for family formal portraits, preparing for the engagement session, and the best lighting for the ceremony! I’d love for my brides to keep their guide throughout the whole wedding planning process and refer to it as they make decisions about the wedding day timeline or what details to include in their getting ready room or the reception, or any other aspect of the day! I believe an educated client will not only be the best fit, but will also end up being the happiest client because they will have been an informed collaborator WITH me throughout the whole process! Again, I used Katelyn James’ Bridal Guide as a starting point, but added and changed things to make it my own!

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3. Education. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am currently taking online courses from the International Academy of Wedding Photographers. These courses are meant to be done at your own pace, which is both a blessing and a curse for me – a blessing because I probably could not keep up with a rigid course schedule at this point in my life, but also a curse because now I don’t spend enough time on these classes! However, since December I have made a bit of a dent in them! I’m currently taking Amy & Jordan’s Wedding Day Workflow course and implementing lots of awesome things into my systems and the way I interact with my clients from the first inquiry to after the wedding!

I have also been reading more business books – including How to Win Friends and Influence People and Never Eat Alone. I am part of a book club with my church and this month’s book is The Happiness Project, which goes right along with my goal to Be Happy in 2016.

Another great education opportunity during the off-season is to attend a conference! The Creative at Heart conference is right in my neighborhood, in Annapolis, this March! I won’t be attending this year (I spent all my money on, you know, a trip to the other side of the world!), but I do hope to attend the C@H at some point! I did attend Katelyn Jame’s workshop a few winters back and I can honestly say it revolutionized my business! If you are at a point in your business where you feel stuck, uninspired, want to give up – or maybe you don’t want to give up, but you just don’t know the direction to go in – I would HIGHLY recommend a workshop or a conference. Just make sure you do your research beforehand! The NUMBER ONE factor in me pressing the “Purchase” button on Katelyn’s workshop two years ago was her promo video. The fact that I could hear her voice, see into her home, and watch her interact with attendees, completely convinced me that she was the right match for me, my business, my personality, and my needs at that point in my life. Make sure whatever or whomever you choose, is the right fit for where you stand in your business, and is not just the trendy option!

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4. Update your website. You’ve been working hard all year long, no doubt creating some of your best and favorite work so far! That’s what happens with practice – the more you do it, the better you get! So don’t forget to display your hard-earned progress and images that you are most proud of! Make sure you update your website and portfolio to reflect your most recent work! Not only will your work have improved in skill and technicality, but I’ll bet that your recent work also better reflects your personal style, your ideal client you want to attract, or the type of work you hope to shoot in the future. Your website is literally your own personal space on the web – make it count and make sure it matches you and gets your type of clients to fall in love with your work! Don’t just update the portfolio images, either. Consider getting new headshots, re-writing your About Me page, or reworking your Investment page and packages!

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5. Shoot what YOU love! During busy season, I don’t have much free time to spend on shooting for purely creative reasons. I’m not saying that shooting what others have hired me to shoot is not inspiring or enjoyable, because clearly it is or else I wouldn’t be doing this! – but I am saying that it is important to take time to shoot for YOU. Use the off-season to try something new, even if it’s not exactly “on-brand.” If it’s something you think you would enjoy, give it a shot! This is where styled shoots come in, too! I really wanted to photograph in the woods, at my own house, with a very “rustic meets soft” vibe. So I made it happen on my own!! If there is something you have been dying to shoot, or even a certain venue or location you have been eyeing out for awhile, get a team together and use this bit of down time for inspiration and crossing things off your Photographer Bucket List! You don’t have to do anything crazy or over-the-top, either! Just grab some friends and tell them you want to experiment! Break out those flashes you’ve been terrified of, play around with a macro lens, photograph your kids more often (!!!!) or try your hand at landscape or pet photography. Doing something different will fire up your juices and get you pumped for the upcoming year! I’m happy to say that I’ve been researching trying something new for myself, but I’m not quite ready to reveal it yet. I’m going to keep it a secret for a bit longer 🙂

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  1. Michelle says:

    I want to know about this secret thing you have been researching!! Can I know? Can I please?!

  2. Jaclyn says:

    Love love love this post meghan! Such great advice and I just got Kately’n bridal & vendor guide so I am most definitely going to be working on it in my down season.

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I'm Meghan and I'm so glad you're here! My blog is where you'll find advice on planning your wedding, tips on what to wear to a session, and of course, my beautiful clients!

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