Show Notes: 022 3 Mistakes Every Wedding Photographer Makes

Sandra Henderson 0:00
When we’re living in our own little bubble as self-employed wedding photographers, and we’re scrolling through endless highlight reels of our colleagues, it can be so easy to start feeling like less-than; like our business isn’t running well, and our work just isn’t as good as everyone else’s.

Sandra Henderson 0:15
It’s only when we actually start to connect with one another and have real, honest conversations, that we realize that we’re actually all feeling the same way more often than not. And today on the podcast, I’m going to be talking all about three common mistakes that every wedding photographer makes, and of course, how to fix them, in hopes that by the end, you’ll feel a little bit less alone on this adventure.

Sandra Henderson 0:37
This is episode 22 of keeping it candid.

Sandra Henderson 0:40
(Intro Music) Welcome to Keeping It Candid. I’m your host, Sandra Henderson, an international wedding and family photographer, and business coach. I help wedding photographers use systems to build out the back end of their businesses to gain control and continue to thrive no matter what life throws their way. And on a more personal note, I’m a strong Enneagram 3-wing-2 who is obsessed with tacos, and my love for traveling combined with navigating chronic illness life are just two of the many things that drive my passion for all things systems, workflows, and beating burnout as a business owner. Join me every week for a candid behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like working as a wedding photographer, where I’ll give you actionable steps to take your business to the next level. Absolutely no fluff here friends! So go grab your favorite notebook and pen and let’s dive into this week’s episode. (Music fades out)

Sandra Henderson 1:29
Okay, let’s get right into it. Mistake number one: not taking the time to build the foundation of your wedding photography business. I can speak from personal experience on every single mistake that I’m going to talk about in this episode! This one I’ve come across more than once as a business owner, and it’s the one that I’ve had to tackle again the most recently.

Sandra Henderson 1:48
And when I say the foundation of your business, I’m talking about figuring things out like your why and who your ideal client is. It’s like building an apartment building; you need to have a solid foundation to support everything that’s going to be built above it. You need to know exactly who it is that you’re talking to for marketing so that you can make sure you’re not wasting your time, energy, and efforts on something that is likely never going to pay off.

Sandra Henderson 2:12
For example, if you’re in the luxury wedding market with pricing that starts at $10,000, you definitely don’t want to be talking to couples who are planning a city hall elopement in your marketing. And another example, let’s talk about Peloton. They wouldn’t be nearly as successful if their marketing was geared towards people who liked to ride bikes. They took the time to figure out exactly who their ideal client is, and they created an entire strategy around how an exercise bike will change someone’s life forever.

Sandra Henderson 2:41
And figuring out your why, as in while you’re doing all this work and running this business, to begin with, is going to be part of your driving force on days when you just feel like giving up. You can absolutely use it in your marketing, too – just look at Justin and Mary Marantz. They built an entire brand around a story about their grandparents and how it inspired them to start their wedding photography business. But I think it’s even more important to know on a personal level because the reality of being a business owner is that every day isn’t going to be perfect. Running a business isn’t easy. And on days when it feels like nothing is going right and when impostor syndrome is showing its ugly head. And when you’re thinking “I just cannot keep doing this,” – That’s when it’s really important to think about your why and use that to motivate yourself to push through.

Sandra Henderson 3:29
I’ve been working on a new boot camp for wedding photographers, and I was really struggling with creating any sort of marketing or content around it. I had the basics of what I wanted to say, But I couldn’t turn it into anything worthwhile, And I deleted everything that I wrote over and over and over again. But then I realized I had never actually taken the time to figure out what my why was as a business coach, or who my ideal client was. I was just talking to wedding photographers as a whole, And that is like a huge market of people. But once I sat down and started brainstorming, everything started to become so much clearer. I also added in a new mission statement, vision statement, and I decided on some core values, and just like that, within a few hours, my business foundation was set.

Unfiltered + Simplified – A brand new eight-week boot camp for wedding photographers who are ready to confidently step into the CEO role of their business so they can get their freedom back! CLICK HERE to join the waitlist!

Sandra Henderson 4:15
Okay, mistake number two, overbooking your calendar. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again: Not every day is meant to be a day behind your camera. Yes, you are a photographer, but you’re also a business owner. And unfortunately, that means that taking photos and being creative is really only about 10% of what you do. When we say “yes” to something we are automatically saying “no” to something else. That’s just the reality. We’re not capable of doing two things at once. So when you say “yes” to a wedding on a Friday, and you’ve already booked one on Saturday and Sunday, what kinds of things are you saying “no” to? You’re saying “no” to rest. You’re saying “no” to being available to fully support your clients leading up to their wedding day. You’re saying “no” to giving couple number three the best of your ability. You’re saying “no” to time with your family and friends. You’re saying “no” to getting to that admin work that’s waiting for you, and that endless list of editing this waiting in your queue. The list goes on.

Sandra Henderson 5:15
It’s a hard thing to wrap your mind around, again, speaking from experience, because being behind your camera means getting paid, and we need to get paid. But what I learned was that I was putting money as my first priority above anything else, and everything started to suffer because of it. I was mentally struggling and constantly burnt out. My clients weren’t happy. I was returning galleries late and making small mistakes that were 100% avoidable. Another day, I’ll tell you guys a story about the time that I printed an album wrong and that was a $600 mistake.

Sandra Henderson 5:49
Now, when I started prioritizing everything in my business, and not just making money and taking photos, my business started to thrive differently than it ever had before. I was happier and healthier, my clients were happier and started receiving the experience that I promised them in the beginning, and my bottom line continued to grow even though I was working behind my camera less. Now is the perfect time to take a look at your calendar, your existing bookings and other responsibilities that you might have and figure out what kind of workload you can actually take on this year. Then I want you to go listen to episode 002 of Keeping It Candid to hear more about how I organize my work week to prioritize every aspect of running my business!

Sandra Henderson 6:31
Okay, now we’re on to mistake number three: not utilizing systems in every single aspect. I think it’s really easy to instantly relate systems to things like CRM workflows, but you can literally create a system for anything. Wikipedia’s definition of the word system is:

Sandra Henderson 6:48
“A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole.”

Sandra Henderson 6:57
You might already know this about me, but I do not play when it comes to systems. Even my massage therapist has called me a systems queen, because you truly can build them for literally anything. Here are some examples of how I use systems in my business:

Sandra Henderson 7:12
An automated workflow within Honeybook for new inquiries; a five-week schedule for repurposing content across multiple platforms; a three-step process for uploading and backing up my images; a four-step process for editing; writing timelines for a wedding day in a specific way – which is from the start of the ceremony backwards to the beginning of the day, and then from the end of the ceremony forwards to the end of the reception. And I also have a system for how I decide on what to work on each day and an online booking calendar for meetings and sessions.

Sandra Henderson 7:44
Whether you want to call it a system, a process, a routine, or just casually say that it’s the way that you do things, you probably have more set up in your business than you even realize. Utilizing systems in every aspect of your business is going to streamline the way that you do things, giving you so much of your time back, and also giving each client that you work with the same consistent, incredible experience that you want them to have.

Sandra Henderson 8:09
Okay, let’s recap three mistakes that every wedding photographer makes: number one, not taking the time to build out the foundation of their business. Number two overbooking their calendars. And, number three, not utilizing systems. If any of this resonates with you and you feel like you’re ready to make a change in your business this year, make sure you head to the show notes for today’s episode to get on the waitlist for my brand-new eight-week boot camp for wedding photographers. More details are on their way, but if you’re like “I don’t care what this is, I know I’m here for it!” then the waitlist is the best place to be to get all the info as soon as it’s ready!

Sandra Henderson 8:45
(Outro Music) Thank you so much for listening. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at In the meantime, let’s connect! You can find me on Instagram and Tiktok – just search @simplysandrayvonne. And if you’re loving this podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d go ahead and hit that subscribe button and leave a review. Until next time! (Music fades out)

*Post may contain affiliate links for products and services I love!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *