Upload & Sell: Off
My first season was 2010. I had two weddings. $500 and $750. I didn't do the job I wished I did. But I was inexperienced. And my clients were happy.
That summer, a local photog asked me to come to a Mike Larson work shop. I met a few other photographers there, and one of them took me under her wing. I helped her grow her business, she taught me a lot, and 2012 was the last year I worked with her because financially it just didn't make sense anymore.
I've grown from 2 weddings in 2010 to 26 for 2014. It's been a crazy ride.
Ultimately, I think I've been graced with a lot of happenstance type scenarios, a couple of lucky bookings, some good advice from fellow photographers, and actually proving to my clients that I enjoy what I do and love it with a passion. Under promise and over-deliver has always been my motto. They're always blown away with my delivery times.
I am where I am due to the support of my wife, and understanding friends who "get it" that I'm not around as much as I used to be. And, what really started all of this "photography thing" was the drive to help my wife be a stay at home mom. I don't mind shooting 26 weddings and working a full time day job if it gets her time to stay at home with our son and next kid on the way.
Additionally, it's been vital for me to keep great relationships with fellow photographers. Making time to send a Facebook message, like some stuff, etc., has been key in getting referrals from other photographers when they're already booked or unavailable. In fact, thanks to FM, I refer weddings to Duy as often as I can. Why? Because I've met him, talked to him, he's a good guy, loves what he does, and that means something to me. He doesn't just go through the motions, and he's all about self improvement. And that referral to him will reflect good back on me. I think I've booked 5-6 weddings for 2014 on referrals from other photographers because, hey, they can only be in one place at once, and they trust me.
Lastly, I hug people before I leave. That's just my personality, but I find as much of the bridal party, the parents, etc. before I walk out the door and I hug them and thank them. It leaves them with a lasting impression. But I don't just do it to get more business. I do it because it really is an honor to be there on someone's wedding day. I firmly believe that. I hope it shows through.