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Maria Estes Photography » Blog

2018 Goals

2018 Goals

Last year I really focused on the client experience side of my business. I want to make sure my clients feel taken care of from the first phone call to the final image delivery. That meant overhauling the information I sent to them to better prepare them for what it will be like in front of the camera. I have found that many people are nervous before their sessions, but that a lot of that stems from not knowing what to expect. If I can help my clients with wardrobe choices, what to expect from me in terms of posing and direction, etc. it’s one less thing they have to worry about it, and they can focus on having fun. It’s made my clients’ experiences better, and you know what? It’s made my images better too. It’s definitely something I want to keep getting better at in 2018, but I feel like I served my clients well last year, and I’m so, so happy to be able to say that.

Last year I got to shoot a dream wedding of sorts, for one of my favorite UNC basketball players ever. In a new way I felt confident in what I was doing. I had reasons for every recommendation I made to my clients and I could articulate them well. I was able to consistently draw genuine emotion from couples and families during sessions and so many people told me they actually had fun. But getting to a place I’m proud of with this business has given me a taste of what it could be if I don’t settle. So I guess you could say that my biggest goal this year is to keep pushing. Not to sit back and relax but to work hard to make 2018 even better.

I feel like this year’s theme is quickly becoming education. I particularly want to get better at the business side of this thing, so I’m going to try to read more. I want to get better at choosing portrait locations and posing. I want to get better at anticipating moments and photographing them in a unique and beautiful way. If you can’t tell, I’m pretty fired up for this year, and all the credit goes to the first video in my Katelyn James All Access course. Keep reading and I’ll tell you more about it =)


  • Go through the KJ All Access and Marketing Jumpstart courses – I don’t know if any of you busy people can relate, but sometimes I’ll pay for educational material because I know it’s important, but then never actually use it. This year I have two courses from Katelyn James, and I am NOT going to make that mistake with them! The all access course is basically a film crew following Katelyn around for a whole wedding day. She explains why she made certain decisions, what lenses she chose, etc. I watched the first video and was blown away by how excited and inspired I already feel. Guys, it’s going to be a great year!
  • Read 2 books about business – I realize this is not a lot of reading for a whole year. But one of my personal reading goals it to read one book a month, so I’m going to make sure at least two of them are about business, entrepreneurship, or something similar. I’m proud to report that I’ve already finished (almost) two books, and it’s only February 2nd! I’ll probably pick something from this list to start.
  • Keep a running portfolio – I’ve known this is a good idea for a while now, but this year I’m actually going to start doing it. It will save SO much time and energy when I update my portfolios and do my “Best of” posts this time next year.
  • Re-work mini sessions – I’ve been offering mini sessions every fall and spring for several years now, and I want to brainstorm how to make them even better!
  • Simplify workflow – I want to streamline some things. There are lots of emails and questionnaires and to-dos, I want to make sure as much of it is automated or easy as possible. That frees up time and brain space for the most important things: taking care of people.