This post is for all my fellow photographers out there about to be drowned in holiday craziness! As the busy season approaches thought I would share some of my insight as a Hudson Valley Photographer! Hope it helps and keep in mind, ultimately you have to find what works for you as a business owner but some things are tried and true! Now that I found my way I am sure to be using this again and again with each season that passes!
After 2011, I sat down with my business and made huge changes. I could not go another year of an insane, crazy holiday busy season. We’ve all done it; the insane editing marathons that brought you way past your bedtime into the morning light, the insane client requests usually a week before Christmas day and the last minute photo shoots that drive us over the edge! Been there but no more!
The first change I made right away was to give my business a time limit both shooting and editing. There is a reason why every business whether it’s an office or restaurant job have opening and closing hours. I had to make this a priority!
One of the other things I did for myself was to look back at all my seasons and analyze the pattern. Most years, clients waited pretty much at the last minute to book in time for Christmas cards and gifts. To avoid this I will now post regular updates on my social media, blog and website plus I let repeat clients know the cutoffs. Doing this will help a lot with scheduling.
Another thing I do is stagger my sessions. I have a strict policy of no more than 1 session a day and no more than 3 sessions a week. I also try hard not to schedule one day after another. If I can, I schedule every other or two days. Having a day or two between sessions allows me the simple necessity of breathing! One of the biggest things I see a new photographer do is 1) scheduling back to back to back sessions that are not advertised as mini one day marathons and 2) having way too many mini one day marathons…marathons were made to be held once or twice a year! New photogs remember: YOU are in control of scheduling, stop scheduling yourself into a corner! If photography is your second job then you must map out a clear schedule for yourself and figure out what you can sanely do within each week. I know if I had a full-time job on top of being a photographer I would only be able to handle up to 2 shoots a weekend which would allow me the weekday after work to edit before my next weekend came up, and even that might drive me a bit insane.
I also had to stop doing editing marathons and find a better workflow! Since I show 25+ edited images in the gallery this has helped with managing my editing better. I edit both in LR and PS; LR for culling/white balance/quality enhancements and PS for deeper detail editing.
I have limited the types of shoots I now do. My talent is in posing the face and body. I eliminated everything else that didn’t allow my talent to shine thru which helps me not be tempted to take on every single photography job!
Which leads to one of the biggest things I learned – how to say NO! I surround myself with a photography network of photographers I trust and admire. I will not hesitate to refer this list out to any inquiry that does not 1) fit in my schedule and 2) is a type of shoot I do not excel in. It is a hard lesson but one that is guaranteed to help in a big way!
And because every post is better with photos, a recent maternity shoot with these two first time parents! photography by Carlise