Time Management Tips for Photographers
Let’s face it – photography is not your typical 9-5 job. The love of photography and creating beautiful art starts from our soul, then branches out into our personal life, and eventually for some becomes our livelihood. Without boundaries in our life photography has the nasty habit of taking over. That’ why I’ve created these time management tips for photographers.
So how do we go from having no boundaries to being balanced?
1. Set Business Hours
First of all, set some actual business hours or “best time to reach me” hours. Even if you run a part-time photography business like I do, it’s still important to have set hourly boundaries in place. Share on your website and with your clients that you can’t be reached on Sundays, or that from 9-5 you accept phone calls, or that afternoons from 2-4 is the best time to reach you. I recommend not just doing this for your clients, but for your families as well. Most of us are married, or have children, and really when it comes down to living our true lives, we won’t regret having those business hours in place. When our kids grow up way too quickly, and memories are fleeting, our most important job is to be there for the people we love.
2. Decide What You Can Handle and Stick With It
If you’re trying to do too many things, you won’t excel at any of them. So decide what your schedule will look like, and physically mark off the days that you decide not to schedule clients. Maybe you decide to work for three weeks and then take a week off to catch up. Or maybe it works best to work three evenings a week and do all your editing on Saturday morning. Having a structured schedule creates the freedom to spend the time with your family and friends. Your work won’t always be hanging over your head because you know you’ll get it done within your scheduled timeframe.
3. Keep Organized
A lack of organization can lead to forgetting to contact your clients, or remembering where you left off in your editing, and with which client. It can set you behind on your bookkeeping and create a backlog of clients waiting on album designs. If you’ve become unorganized, breathe and take a step back. Write down everything that needs to be done, even if it seems miniscule. Next prioritize what needs to be done first, or begin with what you dread doing the most. Decide whether you have enough time to do it all or if you should hire some help. There are companies that help with album design or photo editing. For a small fee you could get caught up very quickly. Stay off of Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest as they only help us procrastinate.
4. Specialize, Scale Down, or Increase Prices
Sometimes as photographers we get to a point where we just can’t keep burning the candle on both ends. It’s time to sit back regroup and figure out what you really want to do. Do you love shooting seniors or newborns? Once you decide what you want to focus on start working toward a specialized schedule. Spread your other clients out (maybe the ones you don’t enjoy shooting as much) and slowly allow yourself to shoot more of what you love. If you love it all consider increasing your pricing. Shooting less and getting paid the same or more doesn’t sound bad, right?
In the end our main goal should be to excel at a job we love, and still manage to spend precious time with the people in our lives that we love the most. Following these time management tips for photographers can help create structure in your businesses and give you more freedom in your life.
Jenna Stoller is the owner of Patch 36 Photography. She adores working with senior girls, couples, and also shoots lifestyle family sessions. She has worked with Clickin’ Mom’s as a mentor and teaches a semi-annual photography workshop in Northeast Indiana. You can find more of her work at www.patch36.com.