2013 // A New Year, A New Plan

New Years always brings around new resolutions and goals for the upcoming year and if you are like many people you probably find yourself 3 weeks into January and realize you haven’t worked out one day when you made a new years goal to lose weight, gain muscle or just simply work out so many times a week. I’m right there with you too. It seems like day 1 of January just blew by in a heartbeat and I find myself at 10:00 at night realizing I haven’t done a thing on my list of goals. Whoops! A little advice, writing them down and hanging them somewhere, maybe a bathroom mirror will help greatly so you have the daily reminder to keep to it. So you better believe this has already been done by me. 🙂

Aside from personal goals though, I look over my past year as a business. Where did I fail? What needs improvement? Where did I succeed? What is something new I can be doing? And so on. At the beginning of 2012 I made a goal to start booking more weddings outside of the Effingham area, and I looked at what I was doing and asked myself what I can I do to ensure I book more outside weddings? Since then, we have done weddings in Chicago, St. Louis, Springfield and Champaign. I know these aren’t far away destinations, but it’s a stepping stone. I love having an opportunity to see new places and photograph places that are totally unique at least from my everyday norm. Last year we also introduced our wedding video. This was something brand new for us and something we definitely look forward to in the future to providing video that is unlike any other around here. Most videographers in this area are very old school traditional (i.e. 2 cameras on a tripod, cookie cutter transitions, very quickly thrown together, etc). We strive for more of a story telling cinematic approach. We also introduced our Photo Booth last year. With the additions of these two services we are now able to provide a full-service experience of capturing your event.

This year, however, what do we have in store. Of course because video and the booth were just introduced you can definitely expect both of these services to excel (quickly) and evolve into something bigger and better (as time goes on of course). So this will definitely be pretty exciting, but in regards to photography the goal is the same; go bigger and better. We’ve had many upgrades happen over the past couple months so this of course helps in that aspect. But there’s something about 2013 that I’m really excited about. I honestly can’t say what it is specifically but I have an abundance of excitement for the upcoming year. Maybe it’s more weddings, more travel, I’m not sure what it is but there’s something about this year. My goal though for the business is to travel a lot more. We just got back from an amazing Las Vegas engagement shoot last week and I would definitely like to do this more often. We are already half way to our goal for weddings booked this year and our senior ambassadors have been chosen and we are moving forward there as well.

In regards to travel, because I’m sure many people might think it’s not possible to travel to do a shoot for whatever reason. A shoot doesn’t have to be in Las Vegas, but if it was, if you went during the off season there, you could probably fly and stay for a few nights for under $1000. Granted this isn’t something you do on a whim and make it work (in most cases), but a 5 night vacation to Las Vegas for right at 1000 isn’t a bad price for nearly a week long vacation. And when we can make it work for our schedule, we don’t charge anything extra to travel!! Having unique pictures that will be cherished for many years to come is definitely a lot easier than it may seem. So the pictures we get from this not only remind you of a great vacation, but they remind you of what an awesome engagement session you had. Now, I realize that Las Vegas is a trip, and most cases we will travel to Chicago or St. Louis and both of these locations still provide an awesome backdrop for your pictures. In either case we love to travel and the pictures that come from it and the experience you have with it are amazing. However, don’t let this sound like we don’t like staying in this area, because trust me I definitely do! Don’t get me wrong, travel is great, but you can only do so much till you want to be back home, so having that mix of travel and staying in the small community setting works out great. I love photographing at the family farm, or the wheat field, these are actually some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken with the blue sky in the background or the sun setting. The point is, we are planning on doing what we did last year and going bigger. 🙂

Our packaging has been evolving as well, and while this isn’t a huge factor in your pictures it’s definitely a part of the experience we love to provide. We’ve made some changes in house to ensure a quicker and smoother turnaround and ordering process. Our albums are a lot better than they were last year with some minor tweaks. All in all, it’s about change. I fully believe the statement, “The only constant is change.” and  this is exactly what I am doing. I don’t want to be one of those photographers that becomes comfortable in their ways and I find myself 10 years from now producing the same kind of work I am today, or providing the same kind of experience. It’s all about evolving and providing something new. This is a market with new photographers blooming almost daily and if you aren’t willing to change you will quickly become a dinosaur and you see this happening all the time even in this area with some well grounded photographers.

So here’s to an exciting year. I look forward to what it provides as well as working with so many more amazing couples!!

As a teaser, here’s a shot from our Las Vegas engagement session.