Intro by Skip Cohen
As I wandered through Chamira Young’s archives, I couldn’t help but be struck by the irony of her reflections on the new year ahead. At the time, all of us were looking forward to a clean slate and new year of growth. We had no idea what was coming, let alone how words like social-distancing and hunker down would come into our vocabulary.
Yet, as I read Chamira’s thoughts on the year ahead, it struck me that nothing has changed in terms of the importance of each point. The infrastructure for your business is still there, and as things start to pick up again, you can’t duck the responsibility you have to clients, or for that matter, yourself.
A lot has to do with your perspective. JP Elario said recently, “It’s like an extended slow season.” As business slowly starts to pick up again, keeping that in mind, Chamira’s points are still just as valid as before the pandemic!
By Chamira Young
As a new year greets us, there are likely many things you’ve been thinking of improving and goals you’re shooting for over the next year. And while this is the perfect time for making adjustments and improvements, you should also be taking time to reflect.
To start, think about some of the things you’ve accomplished and then start to make attainable goals for different parts of your business. Each part of your business is important and instead of making an overhaul of everything, take time to reflect and make calculated plans for the next year.
First and foremost, you will want to take some time to reflect on your workflow. Ask yourself a few crucial questions about what worked and what didn’t during your last year. This is an idea to really scrutinize and analyze how and why you do certain things along the way.
To make this effective, start by writing or typing out the steps you take as a photographer from the moment a client shows interest in your work. What is the first email you send, the first notice, the first document? Identify those things and find a way this year to make your workflow smoother and more efficient.
- Editing Process
As with all photographers in any niche imaginable, editing takes a lot of time. Reflecting on your editing isn’t necessarily about making the process faster, but instead, finding reasons why you edit a certain way and making sure that the editing process shows your best work.
This could be the year to try some new editing techniques or to really hone in on your personal style. No matter where you are in your photography career, trying new things to stay fresh and creative is a crucial part of being a great photographer.
- Quality over Quantity
A third factor to consider and reflect upon is quality and quantity. There are many photographers out there who really struggle to say, “No,” to clients. Work is money and money is needed to keep working, right? True, but what if you could take fewer clients and give them a better, more personalized experience?
Instead of agreeing to 15 or 20 contracts for major projects this upcoming year, try to take a step back. Analyze how you can make the customer’s experience better if you are only focusing on one or two projects instead of four or five at a time and then you start to find better quality work.
- Customer Experience
Finally, going hand-in-hand with quality over quantity, this is a great time to extract as much information as you can about the customer experience. This is something that can always be improved on. If someone works with you and has a great experience, they are much more likely to share that with someone else.
Take it upon yourself this year to focus on the customer experience. Find ways to be more warm, welcoming, efficient, and caring for the people you work with, and it will pay dividends in the future without a doubt.
No matter what year in business you are going into right now, this is a good time to set goals and resolutions, but it’s an even better time to first reflect and take a closer look at the facets of your business so you know which goals you can pursue and which you can’t. This year is your year to make big things happen for your business and sometimes it takes a step back to see the whole picture before you can step forward.