If Part One was titled ” Reassessing Gear,” then I guess this post could be titled “Reassessing Business.” My off season is a time for me to do some spring cleaning for my business. I take some intentional time to think about and jot down a list of the types of things that worked for me during the year, the things that didn’t work so well and the things I want to see improved, tweaked or changed. It includes, but is not limited to, branding, marketing, legal stuff, financial stuff, scheduling etc. Let’s give you some some real life examples:
Just like with gear, these are things that I’m consciously thinking of throughout the year and making a mental checklist of anyway. However I usually only have time to minor tweaks rather than a whole revamp during my working season. I would not suggest doing crazy overhauls of your business while in the middle of your season– it was like the time I decided to paint one of our bathroom in July and it never got completed until November :S Doing a complete revamp or adding new things to your business take a lot of time whether its the research stage, transfer/implementation stage or the re-adjustment stage (or all of the above) which is why my off season is the ideal time to dive into this.
If you haven’t noticed, my blog has a minor change to it mainly in the form of color scheme. It’s to match my totally new, completely overhauled and rebuilt webpage! :) And believe me, doing something major to your business like getting a new website built is something you REALLY want to keep for your off season or when you know you can dedicate a lot of hours to.
The process of getting a new website actually started 2-3 years ago. You see, my old site was coming up 5 years old so you can say that it was time for a refresh. So as of about 3 years ago, I’ve already been researching designs and layouts, slowly taking steps in the redesign process. There seems to be a trend of “blogsites” in the wedding industry where photographers get rid of a formal portfolio and use their blog as their one and only site. While I think the concept is good (especially for young photographers who do not have a complete body of work to make up a portfolio yet), I come from a background where you’re always shooting for your book aka portfolio. Your portfolio is THE motivation for you to keep pushing yourself to shoot something fantastic and have it book-worthy. A portfolio is a highly thought out and selective body of work to best represent a photographer’s style and approach. If we were talking about musicians then it’d be their album. The blog (imho) is for the extra little goodies and the in betweens. I couldn’t imagine telling a photo editor or art director to dig through my blog (which includes a bunch of irrelevant personal content and banter, such as this) in order to see applicable work or worse: showing them my blog at a portfolio meeting. That’s totally messed up. So how could I ask a newly engaged couple to do just that?! For me, the idea of me not having a formal website portfolio as a professional is mega weird.
Requirements when looking for my new site? Clean, simple, intuitive. Mobile friendly. Easy to update. Hassle free change-over with zero downtime. My poll concluded that people place a high importance on thumbnails so I wanted to make sure I had a kickass thumbnail feature! As for ease-of-use, I had my mom test drive it and she seemed to figure it out pretty quickly so … I think we’re set haha (No offense mom!) I went back to a website style which resonates with the industry standard in the editorial and advertising world because that’s the world I learned and grew my craft in.
It took several days to get everything smoothed out from CNAMEs, redirecting DNS, crazy data transfers to a new server, I almost lost this very blog and three years worth of data but was able to salvage it! Point in case to make sure you have a lot of dedicated time to spend on big overhauls in your business :)
Hope this was helpful!
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