Summer is nearly here. Couples are getting engaged or preparing for the big day. Kids are graduating. Families are spending time together and making memories. And you know what that means? Yep — it’s the photography busy season.
With a booked-out schedule and dependable work, the busy season can be exciting for photographers. But it can also be stressful. That’s why we’ve put together these tips for surviving the photography busy season. Take a deep breath and keep reading. You’ve got this!
Figure out your bandwidth
First things first: You should figure out your maximum capacity for the busy season.
There are only so many people you can serve and only so much time you can devote to each client before the quality of your work slips. Take on too much, and things will get harder. Shoots are rushed, edits take longer, and clients aren’t happy.
Figure out now how many clients you can accommodate, and do not go past that number! Don’t let yourself say yes to last-minute bookings or extra services. It’s not worth the extra income if you get overwhelmed and the quality of your photos suffers.
Get clients. Get paid. Get happy.
Create a schedule (and stick to it)
Now that you know your client capacity, create a work schedule and stick to it. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when planning your schedule:
- What’s my session limit per week?
- What are my work hours each day?
- Which days should I reserve for shooting?
- Which days should I reserve for time off?
- Are there any commitments I need to block out in advance? (Family time, personal events, appointments, etc.)
And yes, you’ll notice that we included time off in your schedule. Don’t skip this step! It’s important to take time for yourself. Powering through the photography busy season is much easier when you’re well-rested and energized.
Automate tasks to free up time
You’ve set your boundaries and planned your work schedule. Great! To make the most of your time on the clock, look for ways to automate certain tasks. Working efficiently can boost your productivity and help your photography business run more smoothly.
For example, are you using an app that forces you to stop what you’re doing while your photos upload? That’s time wasted that could be spent on, well, anything else! The ShootProof desktop uploader app lets you work on other stuff while your photos upload in the background. Here’s another example.
If emailing your clients takes more time than you’d like, create templates for your most-used messages. Need to answer a common question, book a session, or thank them for choosing you? Templates speed up the process. (Just remember to personalize each message real quick before hitting “Send.”)
Reconsider your services and prices
If you find yourself wanting to take on more sessions than you have space for, think about why. Your prices may not be high enough. And, since your time is even more valuable during the photography busy season, you may want to raise them.
There are a few ways to do this. One way is to offer premium pricing during your absolute busiest weekends. Instead of charging $250 for a session, charge $350 instead for those premium weekends.
Your other option is to rethink your services during this time. If you manage multiple brands and one is more in demand during this time, put your other brand on the back burner. Make more space for your wedding photography services and only offer mini sessions for family portraits, for example.
The bottom line? You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. You will have clients who are willing to pay more for your services — which means you won’t have to overwork yourself. Offer mini sessions only. Set premium pricing. Limit other jobs you take on based on which of your brands is busiest
Sell photos and print products directly from galleries
Another way to boost your income besides raising your prices? Generating more sales automatically.
With ShootProof email campaigns, you can automate your sales process after you deliver galleries to clients! Our built-in marketing tools make selling prints and print products a breeze. No time out of your schedule or hands-on sales required.
Plus, you can sell all year long; you’re not limited to the busy season. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the holidays, Valentine’s Day: encourage your clients to give the perfect gift with our email campaigns.
Prioritize your to-do list
No matter how organized you are, there will be some days when your to-do list feels completely overwhelming. Schedules change or some tasks take longer than you expected. It happens!
To prevent overwhelm, take your to-do list apart. Pick your top three priorities for the day to tackle first. Evaluate everything else still on your list. What can wait until tomorrow? Until next week? Can anything be delegated? Can anything wait until the busy season ends?
Here’s a gentle reminder to avoid multitasking, too. It’s tempting, but it can actually be less productive and more distracting. Focus on getting one task done at a time and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
Streamline your tools
You have enough to keep track of during the photography busy season. New client inquiries, sessions, galleries, delivery dates — the list goes on. Not to mention the “business” side of your business like taxes and contracts and invoices. It’s enough to make your head spin!
Using one tool to manage multiple systems in your business can help you be more productive and efficient. With ShootProof, you have everything you need for your photography business in one centralized location, like:
- Letting clients proof galleries and purchase prints
- Showcasing your work on a portfolio
- Communicating with clients
- Setting prices and running special sales
- Getting paid through customized invoices
- Managing sales campaigns year-round
Juggling multiple programs and tools can waste a lot of time. Make the busy season (and not-so-busy season) more manageable with ShootProof!
Delegate what you can
There’s only so much one tool can do for you. (The ShootProof team can’t file your taxes, unfortunately!) If there are any other tasks on your plate that you can outsource, do it.
Look for tasks that you find tedious, that you’re starting to resent, or that you’d prefer to hand to another professional. Think about hiring a virtual assistant to take care of your administrative work. A bookkeeper, social media manager, or even an editor can help lighten your load. You might even use AI software to take care of your editing for you!
Start your free trial with ShootProof
Enjoy your time off
Last but not least: really, truly enjoy your personal time off. Avoid the temptation to check your emails or take care of “just one more thing.” Turn off your phone and step away from your computer. Give your full attention to whatever you’re doing, whether it’s self-care, spending time with loved ones, working out, going outdoors — whatever floats your boat.
You can’t give your best to your photography business if you’re not at your best mentally, physically, and emotionally. Take that block of personal time off in your schedule seriously! Then you’ll be ready for whatever the next day during the busy season throws at you.
Images by Hannah Cessna Photography via TwoBrightLights