The photography busy season for portrait photographers generally starts in the summer and really picks up in October.
And this got me thinking….
Block out times and dates on your calendar that are a no-go for sessions and stick to it
The biggest way that you can survive the photography busy season is by creating a calendar and sticking to it.
Your down time and rest is important to stay feeling refreshed and keeping the burn out at bay. I understand that it might be tempting to add in more sessions to your schedule because it equals more $$$, but this is an easy way to get stressed and overwhelmed. Dedicate your calendar on your terms and don’t look back!
Only offer mini sessions during the photography busy season
If you are finding it too difficult to cut back in your schedule because of the amount of inquiries that you are getting, why not use this to your advantage and only offer mini sessions?
With mini sessions, you can serve more clients in a short amount of time which leaves you working less weekends and even potentially making you more money.
With the mini session only calendar, you can decide on weekends several months in advance and create a sign up page on your website. This will cut down on time responding to potential clients and book your calendar without the added stress. You can even use a booking app like usesession.com to help you make this process even easier!
Create a work schedule
I realize that more work means more emails, travel, editing, and whatnot, but nothing good comes from working 24/7.
You need boundaries, for your mental health and wellness. Plus, if you are committed to working at certain hours, then you will be less likely to become distracted by other things like the internet and social media.
Remove social media from your phone
Or at the very least, lock it out during certain times of the day. Social media can be a great way to connect with your audience, but take it from me – it can also pile on an immense amount of stress, especially during busy season.
Set time limits to your social media plan and stop the mindless scrolling that does you nothing except burn precious time.
Create workflows in your business
Speaking of precious time, do you have workflows nailed down? Everything from booking sessions to editing and delivery photos should have it’s own specific workflow. This not only helps you work faster, but it saves you so much time in the long run because you have a set way of doing things. If you are just winging everything, then you aren’t working optimally – and this will only bring you so much added & unneeded stress!
If you don’t have workflows nailed down yet, then spending a day or 2 sorting those out will be worth it once busy season arrives at your door. Snag this FREE client workflow checklist to help you stay on track.
Say no to the late night editing marathons
How much time are you spending editing? If it’s more than 1 hour per photo session, then you might be wasting your time (depending on your creative editing style and end product). If you get your lighting right in camera, then editing your photos can be a BREEZE.
But, if it is taking you longer than an hour to edit a session (or longer than 20 minutes to edit a mini session), then you might want to consider looking into ways to help you edit faster. I have created this FREE LIGHTROOM TRAINING to help you do just that. Taking 1 hour of your life this weekend to learn how to edit faster could be all the difference between busy season burnout and busy season bliss. Sign up here to get instant access.
Invest in things that help you work smarter
Trying to figure things out in your business on your own is one of the many ways that you can add even more stress during busy season.
It’s funny to me…I notice a lot of photographers who complain about potential clients not valuing their work and/or making statements about “how expensive they are”, yet, photographers can be some of the cheapest business owners I have ever met.
Investing in a $100 course is EXPENSIVE and not worth it. But here’s the thing…how much of your life is $100 worth? Is it worth it to spend that money on something that can help you earn 10x more (and beyond), or is it more worth it to pocket the money and keep doing it the hard, slow way? (that actually loses you money & time in the long run!)
No offense, but if you don’t value yourself and your business growth, then why should others? Want to know when I started seeing major shifts in the types of clients that I was attracting? It was when I started taking myself seriously and started to INVEST in my business through education and resources to help my business grow.
Spending money actually helps you earn money – so don’t be afraid to do just that! Business owners need to be risk takers at some point and you’ll never know what works until you actually test it out.
Increase your prices
One reason you might be a burnt out tog in busy season is that you are working so much serving nit-picky clients that actually make you work harder than clients who would spend 2,3,4, or even 10x more than what you are charging now!
The people who are willing to pay top dollar for photography aren’t the ones who point out every flaw in your photos. They don’t ask for re-edits. They don’t say that they look bad in half of their gallery. They are THRILLED with your work, with the results, and are happy spending that money with you. And if you charge higher, then you don’t have to book as many sessions – you can actually work less and still make more.
Outsource the work that you can
If you are spending too much time doing tedious things in your business, then this could be a good indicator that you are ready to outsource some things. Hire a temp assistant or employee. Outsource your editing (I do this for heavy work like background removals and full gallery acne clear ups).
Hire a bookkeeper to stay on top of your finances. Hire a responsible teenager to help you with the kids while you work during the day. Anything that you can use an extra set of hands with, hire it out! This is a simple way to stress less and beat the burn out.
Family comes first
One of the biggest reasons why busy season can be so stressful is that we just don’t make time for ourselves and our loved ones.
I know this from both personal experience and having conversations with other photographers.
If you’re finding that the busy season is taking over your life, then it might be time to re-assess everything that you have going and see how you can change it for the better. You will never regret taking time off to enjoy your family, but you might regret jamming your schedule to the brim.
Just say NO
If you have created a set schedule and you really want to not be stressed out, then it’s OKAY for you to say no to things that won’t fit in your calendar.
If it doesn’t bring you joy and it won’t be an asset to your business, then saying no can be all the difference between thriving and barely surviving the photography busy season.