At the beginning of the year, I sat down and listed out 30 goals for my business in 2013.  I share them here on my blog as a way to hold myself accountable to them and to share my progress along the way.  Every quarter, I like to sit down and see where I am with them.  So this is the first quarterly check in of 2013!  Below is the list of my 2013 business goals and a short recap of where I stand in relation to each one so far this year.

1.  Read Film is Not Dead – DONE!

2.  Purchase a used film camera and start shooting film for personal projects… with the hopes of eventually integrating film into my client work – not yet, but I’m getting close.  I hope to have my film camera by the end of the summer :)

3.  Attend WPPI in 2013.  Get inspired + implement what I learn to better my business – I attended WPPI last month and it was amazing.  I still haven’t had the time to really sit down and reflect on everything I’ve learned, but I have started to implement some of the things I learned already and I’m excited to see where it takes my business.

4.  Keep working on my off-camera flash technique – I recently decided that off-camera flash really isn’t my thing.  It’s probably because I haven’t learned how to use it to my advantage yet, but I was absolutely HATING my images whenever I was using off-camera flash.  I actually much prefer the look of a bounced flash.  That’s not to say that I won’t ever use off-camera flash in my work, but right now, this isn’t at the top of my list of things to conquer.  That being said, I’d LOVE to take a Justin + Mary Lighting Workshop to see how they effortlessly incorporate it into their work without making it look flashy.  I love how they use off-camera light and can totally see myself going that route in the future.

5.  Have my wedding photography work published in print (Southern Weddings, Charleston Weddings Magazine, etc.) – not yet…

6.  Have my pet photography work published in print (Lowcountry Dog, Maryland-Virginia Dog, etc.) – I was recently added as a Staff Photographer for Lowcountry Dog Magazine, which is super exciting.  My work has been published in the February/March 2013 issue of Lowcountry Dog magazine and I’ll also have some work published in the next issue as well!

7.  Have my wedding photography work featured on Style Me Pretty – not yet… but I’ve got a few weddings coming up that have potential so I’ll keep my fingers crossed :)

8.  Receive Best of The Knot 2013 honors – not yet…

9.  Shoot with purpose.  Slow down, think about composition + styling, analyze the environment + light, focus on quality shots – I’m getting a lot better at this but it’s still something I really want to work on.  When I’m shooting bridal prep, I’m taking the time to find the best light, clear out distractions, and do whatever it takes to get the best shot.  When I’m posing my couples, I still need to slow down and really pay attention to the details – especially my clients’ hands!  For some reason, I sometimes forget about them and I’m kicking myself later on :)

10.  Continue to second shoot as often as possible – this spring, I’m second shooting with Patricia Lyons (which I’m SO excited about), Paige Winn + Kate Thornton.  I hope to fill in some open dates with other second shooting opportunities along the way :)

11.  Book/shoot 18 weddings in 2013; book 25-30 weddings for 2014 – so far, I’ve booked 15 weddings for 2013 and I am still waiting on at least one more contract for 2013.  I hope to fill in some of my fall dates soon and expect to hit my 18 wedding goal for the year.  So far for 2014, I’ve booked 2 weddings with a few inquiries pending – including my cousin who is getting married in Iowa!

12.  Integrate Preveal into both businesses – I honestly don’t think I’ll use Preveal with my wedding photography business… at least right away.  I do plan on using it for my pet photography business though!

13.  Participate in at least 2 styled shoots – I have one on the books for this summer and another that was cancelled at the last minute this winter that still needs to be rescheduled.  I’m hoping to have them both done this year :)

14.  Continue to build friendships within the wedding industry + possibly start a local Charleston vendor meetup group – Since the beginning of the year, I’ve met so many new vendors in the wedding industry.  I’ve made a ton of new friends + connections which is amazing.

15.  Constantly look for ways to work more efficiently + streamline my workflow to decrease turnaround time and improve the client experience – My new iMac has been amazing and helps me turn around my wedding images super quickly, which is a big part of my business model :)  Photomechanic has also been a huge time saver and makes culling much less daunting.

16.  Work on shooting in Kelvin white balance – not consistently yet… but last weekend I had to shoot in Kelvin while shooting a vow renewal at Magnolia Plantation because their ceilings are red wood and the tones were all weird when bouncing my flash.  This weekend, I’m planning on trying to shoot in Kelvin as much as possible to get used to it because once I master it, my editing time will go WAY down!

17.  Create promo videos for both my wedding + pet photography businesses – not yet…

18.  Implement office hours… and stick to them! – I’m ashamed to say that this hasn’t happened but I am getting better about taking time for myself and shutting off at night.

19.  Blog three times per week using the blog calendar system… from now on, you’ll see posts on Monday, Wednesday + Friday on both blogs – DONE!

20.  Continue to mentor/educate new photographers and answer questions whenever I can – I continue to help others whenever I can by answering emails, writing “For Photographers” blog posts on my pet photography blog, and I’m even starting to offer mentoring/coaching sessions for aspiring pet photographers!

21.  Start training Brian to become my second shooter :)  Yup – I’m hoping to make this a permanent thing for my business and Brian is totally on board! – Well, Brian changed his mind and doesn’t want to join me full-time, which is totally okay.  However, he will definitely be helping me at a few weddings this year, so stay tuned!

22.  Create strong relationships with a select few wedding vendors/venues that attract the same types of clients I do and add them to my Bride Guide for referrals – I have a Vendor Guide that I send to my brides with a list of vendors I LOVE!

23.  Have a custom Showit website created for my wedding photography business – the project starts in May… eeeek!

24.  Shoot a stylized engagement session – not yet…

25.  Work with local rescues/shelters to focus photography efforts on difficult to adopt pets – I photographed some adoptable dogs for the Carolina Coonhound Rescue earlier this year and hope to work with some other rescues in the area soon

26.  Order sample albums and guest books for my wedding clients – DONE!  Although now I want to use a different album company that I found at WPPI and fell in love with, so I need to order yet another sample this year…

27.  Attend at least one photography workshop (online or in person) – I watched the Jasmine Star reSTARt workshop on creativeLIVE this winter and loved it.  I also took Katelyn James‘ Posing Evolution workshop at WPPI, as well as Kristen Weaver‘s Highrollers workshop – both of which were great!  Like I mentioned before, I’d love to attend a Justin & Mary workshop this year as well.  And if Trevor Dayley happens to make it over to the East Coast, I’m there!

28.  Dedicate one day a week to professional development/education – I’ve been making it a habit to spend at least one day reading or watching something that will help me build my business and/or myself.

29.  Consistently happy clients – always working on creating the ultimate client experience for my couples – I think I’ve done a good job with this so far but there’s so much more I want to do for my clients in the future.  I am so grateful for every one of them and want them to feel loved… because they are!

30.  Shoot a personal project focused on pit bulls – I haven’t started this yet, but definitely want to!

So there you have it.  I think I have a pretty good start on my 2013 goals so it will be interesting to see how much more progress I can make in the next 3 months.  Thanks for coming along on this journey with me!