Today I’m continuing my Monday photography education series with a post all about what it takes to run a photography business. Most of the time when I tell people that I run a wedding + senior photography business, they tell me how amazing it is that I’m able to make such good money for a few hours work. The reality is, that actually taking photos is less than 30% of what I do. There’s so much more that goes into running this business. So today I’m taking you behind the scenes of the many hats that photography business owners wear!
I’ll start with the obvious – I do spend time actually taking pictures of course! My wedding season just got started and I have about 16 weddings from now until the end of the year. Each of those weddings involves about 8-10 hours of shooting time on the day of and some of them also include engagement + bridal sessions. I also shoot senior sessions which are usually 2hrs! Taking pictures is why I fell in love with photography and so this is my favorite part of my job. I love creating beautiful images for my couples and seniors!
Culling + Editing
After a wedding or session, I cull and edit all the images. Culling just means going through all the images and selecting the ones that I’m going to edit. Some of the photos are out of focus or duplicates, so I get rid of all of those and save the ones that need to be edited. This usually takes 30 minutes for senior sessions and a few hours for weddings. Fun fact – I usually take about 700 images at a senior session and over 3000 on wedding days. Obviously not all of these images need to be delivered, but I have to go through and select the best of the best for the gallery.
Once the photos are culled, I transfer them to Lightroom to edit them! This is my second favorite thing to do. I love editing images and making them look consistent and beautiful! I edit to adjust the light and coloring of my images but try to get as much right in camera to save time on this. Editing usually takes me about 3-4hrs for a senior session and 12-15 hrs for a wedding day. This is usually spread out over many days because I don’t want my eyes to get used to the coloring and edit the images off-color. It can also be very exhausting to look at a computer for so long!
Uploading + Delivering
Once the gallery is ready, I upload it to Cloudspot which is my online gallery delivery service. For weddings, I separate the images into categories to make it easier for the couple to navigate. I then email my clients to let them know how to access their gallery.
I spend a lot of time communicating with potential and current clients. When someone first inquires I send them over information about my packages and offer to set up a consultation. I meet with most of my clients either in person or over FaceTime to discuss my packages in more detail. Then I spend time throughout their experience emailing them about timelines, tips for how to prepare for the shoot, and to discuss locations/outfits. For weddings this process is a lot more intense than for seniors because there are so many details to be worked out to make sure things run smoothly on the wedding day. I use honeybook to manage my client communication and I love it!! You can use this link to get 50% off of honeybook!
Website + Blog
Another thing that takes a lot of my time is managing my website and blog. When I first got started, building my website took a ton of time. I used showit to design and create my website. Now I spend time maintaining it by updating my portfolio, maintaining SEO, and blogging regularly with new content. This helps me to appear in google searches and show my newest content.
Social Media is the number one way that clients find out about my services. So I have to constantly but updating my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with my newest content. It takes a lot of work to keep up with with social media accounts but it is so worth it because of the leads that come from them.
I am continuously educating myself on the different aspects of running this business. I’ve taken photography courses, listen to business podcasts, and read a number of books and blogs. It’s important to keep up with education because there is so much to learn about photography and business! I love keeping up with my education because I’m constantly getting inspired with new ideas to build my business.
If you liked this post you might also like: