Champaign wedding photographer | Goals for 2017

My friend Emily did a blog post about her 10 goals for 2017, and I loved the idea so I’m borrowing it!! I got much wordier here than I normally do, so bear with me. :) 2017 photographer goals

Book 1-2 destination weddings Let me be clear — I *love* all the Illinois weddings I have done (plus one just a tiny bit into Iowa), but who doesn’t love the idea of a destination wedding? As a photographer, that is the dream! I have several friends who have been all over the place to photograph weddings — Aruba, Ireland, Jamaica. I would be over the moon to photograph in any of those places, but I do like to sleep in my own bed at night too, so I’d just like to do a couple. And for that reason too, I will always love my local weddings!

Update my camera (if I can find a suitable replacement from Nikon) I think it’s safe to say I have been fairly disappointed with the recent new Nikon camera models, and haven’t found anything I love better than my beloved D700 (I have 2 of them!). There are rumors of a D760 coming out sometime this year, and I’m holding out hope that it’s the new full-frame camera with amazing color and features that I have been hoping for. We shall see!

Take more control over my social media I want to start being more intentional about my social media presence, especially when it comes to scheduling. There are ways to use my precious time more wisely, and scheduling posts on Facebook, blog posts and Instagram are great ways to do that. I always want to learn Snapchat better and start using it a bit more for business. I want to keep continually increasing my Instagram following a bit, and be sure to not accidentally post anything to my personal page that should be on my business page anymore. I hate when that happens!!

Book 6 more weddings To get to my goal number of weddings, I’d be comfortable booking about 5-6 more total. I know it’s getting a bit late in the year to book spring or early summer weddings, but I still have a few dates open, and you never know who might want a really short engagement if they can plan it quickly!

Donate my time more in a non-photography way Over the past decade, I have found fantastic ways to donate my photography to charitable causes, and I am super proud of the total time and value of all that I’ve donated. However, I’d like to donate my time a bit more without using my photography skills. Here are a few ideas swimming around in my head: volunteer to play cards/hang out at the Phoenix (for CU @ Home), volunteer at my son’s school/PTO, volunteer at a local pet shelter, volunteer at a soup kitchen. I’m open to ideas or specific suggestions!

Deliver images to vendors in a more timely manner I have been pretty good the past few years about delivering images to my clients well within my contracted time (usually about 3 weeks). I have the best intentions of also delivering images to the vendors from each wedding, but it turns into a whole extra set of steps and I just run out of time. I need to make a foolproof system and intentionally work it into my workflow. I can do it!!

Be an amazing friend I have some awesome friends (many are even photographers!) and we are pretty good about getting together to just have lunch or coffee/tea, commiserate, chat, and work together in a fairly regular manner. I sometimes feel though like I am just there, and I want to be my intentional in my time with and without them. I want to remember them on days when they need a pick-me-up even with just a short text message or handwritten note in the mail. I want to read between the lines on their FB statuses and see that they need a small gift delivered to their door for no reason at all. I don’t think gift giving is my “love language” but I can always try. :) There’s more I want to say here, but I’m not sure how to put it!

Go over and above on my customer service There are always going to be occasional mistakes — nobody is perfect. When those things happen, I want to just take care of it in a timely manner and not let it eat at me and make me lose sleep. I’m pretty good at returning emails and solving problems in a timely manner, but it always knocks me down a peg when I make a mistake that could have been avoided. I know I am too hard on myself sometimes, but it also gives the opportunity for great customer service. I want to come up with ways to improve even that — reinforce to the customer that they made the right choice in hiring me.

Learn high-speed sync and actually use it (gotta get a bit technical on you here!) A few years back I took a class on high-speed sync, and while I do understand how it works, I haven’t successfully figured out how to use it to my advantage and make it look right yet. I probably have a couple of smaller pieces of equipment I need to purchase to make it work effectively, so I need to research that and then I need to test it out and actually start using it in the field. If I can use it at 2-3 weddings this year, I think I would start using it on a more regular basis.

Get published in 3 online publications and 1 print publication I haven’t been great about keeping track of how many times I’ve been published, but I know I’ve had weddings posted on at least 2 different blogs (including The Knot!), and had 1 engagement photo published in print (also on The Knot - Chicago). For non-wedding work, I’ve had photos published in two magazines (including one cover image!) with another one to be released I believe in February. Can’t wait to see that one! It is so exciting to see your image online somewhere that I didn’t post it myself, but it is an entirely other thrill see hold your work in your hands in the form of a magazine. So exciting! To keep things going, I’d like to submit roughly 25% of my weddings this year to try to get a few of them published. It is obviously great exposure and great for my own marketing purposes.

Thanks for reading! Maybe as I wrap up 2017, I’ll revisit this post and do a follow-up to see how things shook out. I’m excited for what this year will bring!