wedding photography business

non-refundable retainers, photographyIn theory, it's hard to understand. But once you've actually suffered a major financial loss due to a wedding cancelation, it starts to make more sense from a business perspective. Let me explain.

Our contract terms have always been to collect 1/3 of the payment at the time of booking. It is a significant amount; and I am making a significant commitment to the client. Doesn’t matter if a “better offer” comes along (or I change my mind, or I win a free trip to Europe, or J.Lo wants me to photograph her 4th wedding) I am committed to the original client and their date. It works both ways, and the non-refundable retainer is the client's way of making that same commitment to me.

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headshot of Vivian ChenToday I'd like to introduce Vivian Chen, who will be guest posting on PhotoMint from time to time. Vivian is a long-time studio assistant for several well known San Francisco photographers. Her roles include second shooting, editing and color correcting, album design, customer service and studio operations. Because she is familiar with the inner workings of some of the best studios in town, she knows how to streamline day to day operations to keep everything working smoothly. In her free time, she works at building her own photo business. PhotoMint readers, please give Vivian a warm welcome by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.

As a second shooter, your job is to be back up to the main photographer. An effective 2nd shooter is one who can balance understanding what the main photographer is expecting while also having enough initiative to capture moments on your own.

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How Networking led to our Biggest Career BreakYou know by now that networking is important right? It's one of the best ways the best way to start your photography marketing, period. In the following video, I share the story of how a single networking event (and my first actually) led to our studio landing the job to photograph a major baseball player's wedding. And that wedding led to us photographing another major baseball player's wedding. Plus a bunch of other weddings actually.

Networking is the foundation of vendor relationships. It's where you have the opportunity to meet and mingle, get to know people outside the hectic event day. Networking can be very powerful when done right. It's why I want you to network for your own business. Attend events, talk to strangers and then follow up. So many great things are in store for your business, but YOU have to get out there and make it happen.

This is the story of how we made it happen-how we launched our wedding photography business. And how networking led to us meeting one of our favorite people in the industry who became one of our biggest fans and supporters. It completely changed the course of our career.

I promised another video soon, here it is. If you enjoy this video, I would LOVE for you to share it. I need that kind of positive reinforcement to keep doing more videos!

If you feel that your business would benefit from more bookings I encourage you to check out my latest ebook, Get Connected: How to Build Relationships to Drive Your Business. It's only $29 right now, it's a-step by-step guide to creating powerful vendor relationships that will lead directly to more bookings for your photography business. It's packed with stories, case studies, examples, tips and as much goodness as I could pack in to 160 pages. From the feedback I've gotten, people who bought the guide last week have ALREADY gotten leads from implementing some of the strategies right away.

Wedding albums are a great way to add profit to your studio.

In any business there are 3 things you can do to increase your profits. You can raise your prices or you can make your packages smaller (thereby cutting your costs) but the only thing you accomplish with those 2 tricks is making your competitor look better. Your third alternative is to think outside the box.

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New Year's ResolutionsWith 2012 literally right around the corner, it's time to think about your goals for your business next year. What do you want to accomplish? What do you need to achieve in order to make the coming year work for you?

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