The start of the fourth quarter seasonality is only a short time away, and you’re all hoping for a busy holiday season. Time flies, and before you realize it, you’ll be chasing last-minute details for IUSA, WPPI, etc.

TAKE THE TIME NOW to think about your 2024 first quarter schedule and what conventions and workshops you’re going to want to invest in. But let’s go a little deeper and think about assessing your skills!

I know how much fun it is to attend programs with your favorite speakers but balance them with programs that focus on your weaknesses. For example, I’m so tired of meeting photographers who tell me they’re a “natural light specialist.” That means they haven’t taken the time to learn lighting. (If I just described your skillset, then look for classes in lighting.)

The same thing goes for other specialties. Don’t be a one-trick pony. For example, according to the Census Bureau, most young couples wait three years before starting a family. So, if you’re a wedding photographer and you did a great job at the wedding, why wouldn’t you want to be there when the first child is born? That means maternity, newborn, and family photography are logical extensions. But they’re only logical if you develop the skills to become habit-forming and exceed client expectations.

And if you hate the idea of diversity in your skills and the clients you want to target, then consider developing a referral business with other photographers. One of the most logical “teams” is a wedding photographer teaming up with a maternity/newborn and a family portrait artist. There’s so much potential to build business for all three entities.

Even better, work with Marathon on the design, production and mailing of an oversized postcard. The cost would be split three ways, reducing your out-of-pocket expense by a third. Plus, all three artists become ambassadors for each other.

Here’s my point about education: Step outside your comfort zone and look for at least one program each day at each convention to expand your skill set. Look for ways to become more diverse and support your target audience even more than in the past.