Are you ready to refresh your photography goals? Our free yearly planner will help you create achievable goals and fine-tune your brand for success!
Your New Year’s resolution is set: to eat more vegetables, read one book a week, cut back on screen time… Or perhaps you’ve adopted a focus theme, calling this your “year of yes,” or “year of no,” or “year I quit adopting all the stray cats.”
But do you have a resolution for your photography business?
It’s important to find a fresh focus and purpose. Renew your commitment to creativity and your clients with refreshed goals, fine-tuned for the next 12 months. By outlining your goals, establishing your priorities, and taking a deep-dive into your dreams, you’ll build a business that’s more successful – and more fulfilling – than the years before.
What could be included in a business planner?
Before you begin the search for the perfect planner, take a look at some of the elements that can help organize and align your workflow with your goals:
- Daily, weekly, monthly calendars or a combination of the three
- Address book
- Information pages
- Blank, lined, or dotted pages for notes
- To-do lists
- Goal-setting and project management pages
- Blog and social media planning pages
- Customization capabilities
- Pockets or folders
The Best Photography Planners for Photographers
The best planner is the one with features you’re actually going to use. After all, a planner serves as a guide for you to think of goals and write steps on how to achieve them.
If a planner’s features or components aren’t suitable for your needs or style, you’ll probably forget about using it. While it might be tempting to pick a photo planner with bells and whistles, think about the functionality of it. With that said, here are the most useful paper-based, digital, and hybrid planners for your photography business.
ShootProof’s Free Yearly Planner for Photographers
Refresh your photography business plan with a FREE yearly planner! You can interact with this guide online, but we recommend printing it out. Hand-write your ideas to solidify them, and doodle in the negatives spaces to stimulate your imagination.
Get focused with your FREE yearly planner for photographers! Get the guide, and we’ll email you a PDF booklet of worksheets dedicated to:
- Set goals and priorities for the coming year – both professional and personal.
- Fine-tune your photography workflow for ultimate efficiency.
- Review your products and prices, and make changes where necessary.
- Map out your money situation so you know exactly how healthy your business is – and could be!
Complete Photography Business Planner
This photographer planner from Modern Market will make managing plans and goals easier using a client session checklist. As long as you commit to updating the checklist, the notebook can serve as a reminder of when to send contracts, collect payments, upload, cull, or edit photos.
Set monthly goals and use the weekly planner to achieve them. Track your business progress using pages dedicated to daily duties, income goals, and long-term goals. There are also sections when you want to brainstorm blog posts or plan photoshoots.
If you’re always scrambling when preparing a timeline, the client checklist page allows you to identify tasks you need to do right away, for next week, the day before the event, or after a shoot. The downside is that it may involve too much writing, and you might end up wanting to print the digital file.
Colorvale’s Printable Yearly Business Planner
Colorvale makes use of printable templates to let photographers build their own planners based on information they need. The pages are best paired with binders so they’ll be easier to add or remove whenever you need to.
One of the sections you’ll probably appreciate is the photo session checklist. You can print it out a few days before every shoot to ensure you’ve completed all workflow steps and prepared the necessary gear or props needed.
Other basic sections include a calendar, to-do lists, client workflows, session planner, monthly objectives, blogging scheduler, location scouting, equipment checklist, and an income tracker.
This photography business planner is perfect if you want to see an overview of your monthly schedule, along with the ability to dive into each day and see detailed notes.
Plum Paper Planner
One of the awesome things about a Plum Paper planner is that you can customize the pages when you order it. It allows you to choose the cover color, add your business name, and have separate calendars for business and personal tasks. There’s also a photographer expansion pack that includes expenses, session details, location scouting, mileage, and vendors pages.
The notebook comes in three different sizes, and you can choose between horizontal and vertical layouts. It uses hard plastic, a waterproof cover, and an aluminum coil to keep the pages intact. This planner is durable enough to last you all year, and you don’t have to worry about it getting ruined if you toss it into your bag or bring it along if you travel for destination shoots.
While the planners start at a reasonable price, the cost can add up if you want a completely personal notebook. Additionally, there are no folders or pockets, or snaps to hold the notebook closed.
Elephant Planner by Papercode
This functional yet no-frills planner from Papercode doesn’t have dated pages or tabbed months; however, don’t let that deter you from picking up this planner! While you will need to add in your days and months manually, on the bright side, this means that you can start whenever you want, even if you buy the notebook mid-year.
If you are into bullet journaling or simply prefer having lots of blank pages, there are 12 monthly spreads, 52 weekly spreads, and 58 notes pages for you to enjoy. This is ideal if you adore scribbling photoshoot session notes, take client meeting notes as you connect, or want to jot down quick workflow details.
While it’s only available in one size and the pages are thin, the sleek profile and gender-neutral design make this notebook suitable for all kinds of photographers.
The Epic Studio Planner for Photographers
Created by photographers for photographers this Epic Studio Planner is geared towards helping you run your photography studio. There’s an entire section devoted to scheduling, which allows you to manage tasks per day, week, month, and year.
When it comes to the creative process, you can manage tasks through client and session workflow, location log, client profile, shoot planner, and time tracker. If you often struggle with technical and marketing matters, there’s also space for planning social media and blogging projects, client meetings, and brainstorming various ideas.
While this one is an excellent option for planning, the product is a downloadable digital file, so you’ll need to print it out and create your own DIY planner if you want it in a physical form.
If you want to stay completely digital in your planning efforts, Planner Pro is an app you can consider downloading. This one focuses on work-life balance by letting you write notes and create to-do lists, while ensuring you won’t miss a deadline or ruin your timeline.
For photographers that like to be able to have their daily schedule at the tips of their fingers, Planner Pro works really well. It’s more robust than the default calendar your phone comes with, especially when viewing your day-to-day plan.
While the weekly calendar view is only available for the paid version, the daily view is equally good. You are still able to see a breakdown of your tasks, appointments, and notes in a straightforward manner.
This is a great option if you prefer an uncomplicated planner and just want something simple. However, the unpaid version contains ads, and you’ll have to pay a yearly fee if you want to unlock additional features.
What’s special about Trello is its ability to organize and prioritize projects in a fun yet rewarding way. Trello is more advanced than Planner Pro in terms of integrating apps like Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox.
This digital bulletin board lets you create intuitive checklists, boards, and cards to manage tasks. With the addition of automation, other members of your team can also handle projects. The app can stay in sync across all of your devices, so you can collaborate with your team wherever you are. If you are looking for a tool that you can streamline and use with multiple team members, Trello is one of the best options to add to your workflow.
The downside is that you’ll have to pay to add a calendar and set notifications. Fortunately, the basic program is free and available online and as an app.
One of the reasons why some photographers delay or forget their goals is due to complicated processes. ClickUp focuses on simple controls to help you strategize in accomplishing tasks and keeping you focused on your daily and monthly goals.
Aside from the usual task checklist, to-do list, and time-tracking features, the software also lets you flag projects depending on its importance. In this way, you can identify which tasks are low, normal, high, and urgent priorities.
Automate your entire workflow using hundreds of the software’s pre-built templates, which you can also customize to make the actions more suitable for your business. Although there’s a free trial, unlimited storage, projects, and apps are only available for monthly and yearly subscriptions.
If you have a Google account, you already have access to a plethora of useful apps for goal-setting. For your creative needs, there’s Google Photos which you can upload screenshots and photos for mood boards and inspiration..
When it comes to administrative tasks, set one goal at a time using Google Keep, level up scheduling skills through Google Calendar, and always keep a client updated via Google Messages and Chat. If you are tech savvy and love to nerd out with spreadsheets, you can build some incredibly robust templates using Google Sheets and create your own comprehensive planner.
While Google Apps are free and easy-to-understand, you’ll need to download several apps on your phone for different projects. When you use a computer or laptop, you’ll end up opening lots of tabs.
What will your year look like?
Use the 2020 Planning Guide to refocus and refresh your photo business plan, then share what you’ve learned in the comments below.
Maybe your dreams will inspire someone else’s!
Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by JEN BILODEAU | Planning Guide created by RACHEL LACOUR NIESEN