Gearing up for 2016 | Business Tip Tuesday | Columbus Wedding Photography

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We have one wedding left for 2015 and our brains are focused on what 2016 is going to look like. We believe it is vital to look back each year at every aspect of your business and see what worked and what didn’t. As one season ends we start to think about the plan and vision for the next year. Here is what we are thinking we want to change up in 2016.

1. Studio System- We use ShootQ currently and we are not overly thrilled. The price was something I was able to overlook if it really made a difference for me. The biggest thing I LOVE about having this system is it tracks our financials, bookings, and more. So, we can look back and see when we booked the last 2 years. We can see what our income will look like each month next year. That is a nice feature! BUT.. We are not crazy about the payment methods. Our clients have had a lot of trouble with it working. The contract side of things isn’t as presentable as I would like and it’s email system doesn’t sync with ours. SOOOOO here is what we are trying out.

• Honeybook- We are going to try this studio system out and see how we like it. We have heard good things.. but again.. for the money it needs to be GREAT! We will see.

• AGREE- We are currently using Agree for contracts and honestly.. It is still in its beta form so it is not perfect yet. I love the idea of it and I love how the forms look. Once the payment option is set up I would consider using it for payments and contracts and filtering every part of our business through that and then using something separate for our task manager, email, and questionnaires and such.

2. Email- We need to update our emails and create new ones that are a little more personable and look branded. We did change our brand a bit so we need to do that to match. We also switched our website services so we had to change who we did or emails through as well. We are now doing everything through gmail and our emails are not clean around the edges. We need to spend some time thinking about a more personable way to respond to emails effectively and also find a way to schedule emails to go out since we may not be using ShootQ anymore. We have ShootQ send out an email two weeks before the wedding with reminders, and one week after with a Thank You, and more auto emails! So this is all an area we have to rethink!

3. GEAR- Oh man do we need to change the way do things here! For years I have bought everything used and I swore by it. Now that I have been using my used equipment for 2+ years it is REALLY running down. Our cameras need replaced in a bad way. The actuations are high, but the cameras still perform at a good level.. but not perfect for what we do. I have discovered that when you are going to shoot at the QUANTITY we are.. it is probably best to buy new so that the equipment can handle the amount of shooting.

Also, we shoot on two different cameras and the color modes are completely different! This makes it nearly impossible to edit and get them to look cohesive with each other. I have spent so much time trying to get the colors right when it could all be eliminated by shooting with the same body.

I could go on and on about what we are going to change but I am just going to list out what is going to be different!

• Staying with Nikon but switching from the D600 and d700 to TWO d750’s as our main shooting cameras.

• Changing our flashes from 2 sb900’s, sb600, sb700 and pocket wizards  to Yongnuo flashes with the built in transmitter and receivers!

• Changing our memory cards that are slower to the fastest version -90x or more. We have some cards that are super slow and waste a lot of time refreshing! In this same realm we are ditching all of our amazon rechargeable batteries and making a decision on which ones we are going to try next.

• We are getting rid of our 28-70mm and 80-200mm and switching to all prime lenses. We only have one 50mm 1.4 and we meed two! Here is what I am thinking we will do! 35mm 1.4, 2 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.5, 105mm 2.8, and one other lens for further distances.

4. Presentation and Design- We have used D+H Photo packages for consult packages and bought ribbons and other things from Joannes. This year we are trying out some different products like Kraft + Juke, Woodland Albums, and more! We also went ahead and just redesigned our entire wedding guide and all of our stationary to match it. A few months back we redesigned our site and switched it over to WordPress so that was a move that was necessary for the following year. We brightened our mint color to better match our style and made some slight changes to our fonts.

5. Organization- Wow. I have lacked this year in this area. Moving in the middle of wedding season caused me to throw a lot of systems out the window! BAD.. very bad! This year we are looking into a digital receipt tracking system, switching to Quickbooks online, and hiring an accountant to help all year long! I plan to really monitor our extra business spending and find ways to drink the same amount of coffee for LESS! lol! (That counts for organization right?) I also plan to get some better shelving in the office and utilize my planner to the fullest.. These are goals so we will see what happens!

So why do I share all of this? I want to show you that what we DID last year may not always work for the NEXT year. It is always good to evaluate your systems, branding, gear, and the way you do EVERYTHING. Maybe you need to change the way you get your education every year and actually GO to a conference. Maybe you need to hire an accountant. Maybe your lighting system is not working out! As your business slows, it is a great time to get honest with yourself and look at all the areas that have room for improvement. We believe every year should get better and better! What do I mean? Not just money and business… but your business should get easier to manage and become more organized.  You should grow to understand what works BEST as time goes on.

SOOOO.. get that list out and start writing out what is working and what is not! I hope by us sharing what we are changing maybe it sparks some ideas for you!

Sharing, serving, and celebrating,

Andrew + Chrissy