Since Spring is in the air, we’re sharing a series of Best Business Practice posts featuring the team of ACEs. Get to know them and learn how their tips and tricks will streamline your studio this season! As any ACE will tell you, the reality is you can’t do it all. Successful photographers understand this, which is why they begin with a clear vision for their business. This vision guides them to set specific goals. From there, they set up systems to accomplish their goals. This week, ACE Kate Passaro shares her tips for running a streamlined business.
Q. What’s your primary area of photography and when did you start shooting full-time?
ACE Kate: My primary area of photography is people – littles, bigs, at a wedding or at home. I currently do not work full-time on photography; I still maintain my full-time job. This is my fifth season documenting weddings and families.
Q. What was your biggest challenge when starting your own business?
ACE Kate: Finding the time that a growing business needed. There are so many moving pieces that need to be tracked, and while working full-time it was hard to make that extra time during off-business hours.
Q. What are your favorite 5 tips for keeping track of client communication?
ACE Kate: You can only go so far with post-it notes and auto-reminders. To really run a business, communication with your clients and vendors is paramount!
Here are my 5 tips:
1. Document your communication workflow with a few brides from start to finish. Note what helped and where additional communication would improve your relationship. Use this as a roadmap for your workflows.
2. Standardize communications you’re sending. Too much time rewriting emails is less time for everything else!
3. Create a standard response time and stick to it! Pledge to yourself to respond to clients within a specific amount of time. Schedule this into your day. Decide if you want to answer emails after hours and be consistent.
4. Decide if your response time to clients at different stages is appropriate. Perhaps a new inquiry should be answered immediately regardless of time, whereas an email about an album design can wait until your scheduled time.
5. Acknowledge when things are broken. ShootQ is fluid enough to adjust things as you perfect your process.
Q. What’s the most interesting or funny thing you’ve been doing while ShootQ booked a shoot for you?
ACE Kate: I’m especially fond of the times that I’ve booked weddings while on vacation. ShootQ is working for me while I’m not in the office. I was sitting in a pub in London while a bride was completing all of her contracts and questionnaires! But as a photographer with a full-time position, it’s incredible to have couples booking me, completing questionnaires and receiving correspondence during normal business hours without my intervention. My clients don’t notice that I have another job, and that’s how it should be. They can do things when it’s convenient for them, as opposed to when I’m available.
About ACE Kate Passaro
I am a New Englander through and through. I can smell incoming snow and estimate remaining light with my hands. (It’s a cool trick, ask me about it.) I’m a computer programmer in my other life, and wear the “weekend warrior” tag proudly. As a problem-solver by nature, I wasn’t happy with shuffling papers and hard-copy contracts mailed back and forth between clients. And the nagging feeling that something was scheduled, or a payment was due drove me crazy. I jumped on ShootQ and couldn’t be happier with the improvements made to my time management and record keeping. With the time I save using ShootQ – I love reading books with pretty covers, pretending to be a jogger, singing too loudly to music in inappropriate places and using far too many exclamation marks.