My Business Wins & Losses for 2020

Photographer Tips

Everyone knows that 2020 was a tough year for small businesses, especially those in the wedding industry. We saw our entire years work vanish in front of our eyes within a month or two. Although there were so many struggles this year brought myself, my business, and my family- there were also so many unexpected blessings. Read on to see how sometimes pressure turns coal into diamonds.

Losses

Let’s start with the bad news first, as I’m sure it’ll be the least surprising and will make the wins seem that much sweeter. As mentioned, my entire year of work: 25+ weddings were forced to be postponed into the New Year.

What did this mean for me? This meant I couldn’t count on collecting the remaining deposits for these weddings, nor could I book new clients with new deposits on those rescheduled 2021 dates.

I was looking down the drain at an $80,000 loss. Yup, you read that right. 2020 was going to be a year I smashed through my record in the 6 figure club, and was projected to bring in around 120k.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, my husband’s job was also impacted and his salary was cut down by 40%. And did I mention yet that we had just recently welcomed our little one, Hayden, which came along with her own set of costs?

We truly were in between a rock and a hard place. If I didn’t make some changes, and fast, we were in trouble.

Wins

It’s hard to image that my 2020 turned into anything but trouble after hearing all of the above. But I’m happy to report that I had more blessings this year than I could count!

First, I must say that our financial preparedness really came in handy this year. Nick & I live by Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and had a fully-funded emergency fund before the pandemic hit. That means when we realized the money was going to be extremely tight, we didn’t have to worry. Knowing that we had 6mos worth of expenses saved up really took the edge off.

If you haven’t read Dave Ramsey’s book yet, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy here.

Inquires

The thing that most surprised me is that I still ended up with 182 inquires for the year. This is roughly 50 more potential clients contacting me about booking sessions than last year! I know photographers will be interested in learning where my business comes from, so I’ll share in the graph below.

Instagram makes up for 45% of my leads, 35% from referrals, and the remainder from a mix of sources.

Clients Served

Despite all of my large weddings postponing into 2021, I was still so lucky to photograph 10 intimate micro-weddings this year. And gosh, how I loved those! It was so great to really focus on the couple, their marriage, and the immediate family.

I also started offering more portrait sessions this year and loved photographing my 44 families.

New Income

In addition to offering more portrait sessions (a thing I rarely did in the past because my calendar is usually completely full with my wedding clients), I also launched the below revenue streams:

  • Wedding albums
  • Print & Art shop (for clients to order photo prints, canvas, Holiday cards, etc. from their session
  • Associate weddings (I know have a few gals photographing weddings on behalf of Corinna Rose Photography!)
  • Photographer mentoring
  • Amazon affiliate shop (so that I can share links to all my favorite photo gear, home items, and even baby stuff)

New Upgrades

The extra time I had due to the lack of weddings meant I was able to slow down and really work on my business. This year I was able to launch:

  • A new website
  • Start using OCF (off-camera flash)
  • Fine-tune my client experience with upgraded communication, style guide, and gifting process

Awards & Features

I’m so grateful for the below published work and awards from this year!

  • Wedding Wire’s Couple’s Choice Award 2020
  • The Knot’s Best of Weddings 2020
  • Featured on: Amor Latino Unveiled, What if We Elope, Glamour and Grace, Inspired by This, The Knot, and Tahoe Unveiled

Ultimate Win: More time with family.

With the birth of our first child, Hayden, we more than had our hands full. It was such a blessing to have so much time at home to raise our daughter.

Looking at 2021

I’m keeping my expectations low for 2021. Although the vaccine is starting to circulate, there is still so much left in the unknown. Instead I’m going to focus on continuing to serve my clients to the best of my ability, and be the very best wife and mother that I can be.

I pray this was helpful for you to see! May 2021 bring you so much luck and love. I’ll be rooting for you!