Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding & portrait photographer serving DC, VA & Worldwide. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!
Manali Photography is a wedding & couples' photography business based out of Charlottesville, VA. When she's not making couples laugh or teaching other photographers how to save time in their biz, you can find her at a vineyard with wine & cheese in hand toasting with friends & family!
Amid the current situation, there is a lot of fear and uncertainty for small businesses. I’ve had my fair share of up’s and down’s throughout it all but at the end of the day my heart really goes out to all the couples who are having to reschedule their weddings and the Class of 2020 with the rest of their semester looking drastically different than what they had imagined. I can’t imagine going through that and while as a small business I feel the impact of everything shutting down, I’m hoping to focus more on the positive side of things as much as I can!
With photographers shooting fewer weddings & sessions in March, April and May, we are gifted with an extended period of “off-season” where we can work a little bit more ON our businesses rather than within it day to day servicing our clients & editing away. Here are six parts of your business that you can focus on growing over the next few weeks to start to see more growth & traction in your photography business or side hustle!
1. Have a clear vision or goals for where you want to take your business within the next 1, 3 and 5 years.
Now I know this can sound super futuristic but I think it’s really important to have a clear idea of where you’re going down the road to avoid a LOT of confusion and to help avoid comparison with everything that everyone else out there is doing! There are so many things you can be doing in your business, but that doesn’t mean that you should be doing all of them. When you have a clear sense of purpose and the end outcome you’re looking for years down the road, this can help inform exactly what you need to be focusing on today!
Trust me, I’ve fallen into this trap myself before of only thinking of the near future! When I was ramping up my business, I was solely focusing on being able to go full time with it within the next year. I directed all my energy towards it which was immensely helpful but as soon as I hit that milestone, I hit a lull. For MONTHS I was in a bit of a mental fog and very unclear on what my next steps should be. This was because I hadn’t really dreamt or thought past just the one year ahead of me. I didn’t have a longterm vision for the business and I lost a LOT of time because of my uncertainty and the fact that I hadn’t spent some time to truly think through what I wanted for the business longterm!
It took some afternoons and mornings, carving out the space to sit with a blank piece of paper and dream up what I wanted the future to look like. What sounded fun and exciting to me to create and what longterm goals I wanted to bring to life over the next couple of years. I think it’s hard to constantly sustain working in your business when you don’t have a clear sense of purpose and where you’re going. If you want some more advice on how to think through this for your own business, I recommend checking out Bonnie’s blog post here, here and here!
2. Make sure you have a consistent brand & website!
Now is the PERFECT time to spruce up your website & your brand if you haven’t given it some love over the past couple of weeks, months or even year (hey no judgment here!). Take a look at this post here for my best tips for sprucing up your website and what you should include on each page!
Now is also a great time to really think through what your brand values are. What do you want your brand to convey to the people that come across it? Is your brand refined & polished, funky & spontaneous, cozy & welcoming, artistic & creative, etc.? How are you helping to serve your clients, what is it about you and your process that sets you apart? How do you naturally do things a little differently just due to your own personality traits? Make sure to include that on your website! This is what helps you stand apart in the industry!
It’s also a great time to go through and make sure that your portfolio is up to date with your latest weddings & to put up some blog posts if you didn’t get the chance earlier to showcase some of your best work! I know I’ll be behind my computer coming up with a TON of blog posts to go out during the rest of the year when photographing picks back up like crazy!
There are more tips on branding & website updates in the freebie guide that goes more in-depth on the six ways to grow your photography business.
3. Use a marketing strategy that works for you & your clients
How easy is it to get stuck doing something because you see everyone else doing it but you get frustrated trying to figure out why it’s just not working for you? I want you to keep a few things in mind as you figure out where to focus in on your marketing efforts so you’re not stretching yourself too thin trying to market your business in ALL the places! Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind as you figure out where to consistently show up to market your business in an effective way:
Always remember that YOU are in charge! You can have a plan for where you will show up and where you will NOT show up. What platforms are worth your time?
Choose a platform that acts as the hub of all your content! This should be somewhere that won’t go away and is something that you can point back to from other (social) channels!
Figure out which social media platforms you’ll spend your time on! I recommend 1-2 platforms to start and once you have automated your process for showing up on one platform, you can add another one in!
While choosing the platforms above, I recommend taking a look at your numbers. Where are your current clients finding you? Where do they cite as their referral source? Where are the clients that are actually BOOKING you coming from? This is a good place to start if you’re not sure which social platform you should be directing your energy towards!
Decide how frequently you’ll show up on these platforms. Dig in, do a little research and see how many times a week or month is effective to show up on a platform! For example, Instagram used to reward showing up frequently (think twice a day) but as of late, due to the algorithm, each image has a larger shelf life especially if it gets a lot of engagement so it’s okay to show up a few times a week with really quality content over quantity!
Figure out where you’ll house your editorial calendar so you can get an at a glance view and know exactly what needs to go out when! Trust me, marketing is so much easier when you can see it laid out in front of you and have a plan that’s strategically driving to your sales goals for the quarter.
If you want more education like this delivered straight to your inbox on a weekly basis, pop in your email address below! I’m always emailing back and forth with my list to tailor this content to be EXACTLY what you want to learn about 🙂
More Great Business Tips – The MP Education Series
If you’re looking for a personalized plan of action to takes you from overwhelmed & stressed for time to running a systemized business that you love & allows time for what matters most, feel free to hop on the waitlist below!
This is for photographers who are looking for a customized one-on-one photography mentoring session that includes a two-hour video call or in-person coffee date to work through a pain point or build a sustainable business strategy for 2020. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if this would be a good fit for you at this time!