In this episode of Oh Shoot! Cassidy Lynne (@cassidylynne) gives a fall survival guide for photographers with her top nine tips to get through busy season!
Fall Survival Guide for Photographers
For a lot of people that aren’t photographers fall is such a fun time of year! I love fall. I love the leaves and the pumpkins. I love going apple picking and all those things. For photographers, we are very busy during the fall. We’re basically up to our ears in editing and shoots and weddings. Personally, I have this overwhelming sense of having so much to do. I have a wedding like every weekend and multiple shoots a week. I have so much editing and on top of that, my other work like social media and emails. It feels never-ending. We’re all in the final stretches of shoots and weddings! Even though you may be physically and mentally exhausted, I hope these nine tips help you finish out this busy season strong!
9 Tips To Survive the Fall Season for Photographers
#1 Staying Organized
Organization will help you survive. It’s very easy to go to a shoot and upload your SD card to your computer and hard drive and that’s it. That’s the extent of your organization. You want to be organized and ready for the next month of life where you’re going to be editing away all day every day. Get your gear and your hard drives organized.
#1 Tip: Cull Through Your Photos Right After
One huge thing that helps me stay organized is culling through photos from a session right after. Whenever I’m working on the previews, I will cull through all of them. Do not wait to cull through your photos and sort them later. The sorting process is such a huge chunk of time on its own. It’s a two-step process. You have to sort through your photos before you edit them, so don’t put it off. Get the sorting process out of the way as soon as possible when you already feel motivated to get those previews out. When it’s time to edit that session or wedding, you’re already going to have everything culled and ready to edit.
#2 It’s Okay if a Wedding or Session is Not Your Dream Vision
It’s okay if a wedding or session is not going as perfectly or as exactly as you wanted it to be. This is a good mindset to have. It’s okay to not love everything you shoot or to love every single thing you’re booking. With social media we feel like we need to book the most picture-perfect sessions and weddings and everything we shoot needs to be viral-worthy. Honestly, it’s not a realistic expectation to have.
Also, remember that feeling of when a session or wedding doesn’t meet up to your vision, and keep that in mind when you’re booking for next year. Ask yourself, “Does this inquiry light me up? Does this get me excited to go and photograph this right away?”
If you’re at a point where you’re so busy, don’t be afraid to bump up your prices. Your time is worth so much! You also don’t need to take every single wedding or shoot that comes in the door to fill up next year as quickly as possible. It’s like a fine art to use your intuition for booking and having a feeling that this is something you’re really excited about or not.
#3 Everyone Wants the Same Basic Photos
Every single person wants the same basic fall photos and that’s okay. We’re all basic like that. We all want the same photos in the fall underneath the perfectly orange tree with the pile of leaves.
Remember it’s okay to duplicate things. It’s okay to go to the same location and use the same tree for a shoot because at the end of the day you are giving the experience to different people. It can get to the point where it feels so repetitive and like we’re doing the same thing over and over again. Even if it feels repetitive, but you’re still booking and booking at your prices then that means you’re probably doing something right!
You do need a little bit of a system and a process for things. For example, maybe your locations and time of day you shoot can be replicated. It will make your life easier knowing you can send the same emails to people and use the same locations.
#4 Create a Schedule for Editing
For editing there needs to be a system and a schedule because at the end of the day we’re humans. There are things we’re going to forget. Dates we’re gonna forget. Sessions we’re gonna forget. So you need a system and organization for editing and knowing when things are due.
Create a Weekly Editing Schedule
The easiest way to do this is to create weekly schedules for yourself and tell yourself from this time to this time on this day I’m going to be editing this wedding. After this day I’m going to be editing this session. This is the best way to make sure you are actually fulfilling everyone’s photos and getting them out on time. You don’t want to forget about a session and not have a good system in place to remind you. Schedule out when and what you’re editing.
Have a Running List of What Needs to Be Edited
Keep a running list of all your sessions and weddings that you need to edit with dates they need to be done by. In my notes app, I have a running list of my editing queue with the dates that I need them finished. I usually set the due date one month from the day I photographed it and that’s when I want to have it done.
Schedule in Personal Time
When you’re creating a schedule for editing, also create a schedule for free time. If you work from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every single day for the whole week that’s the definition of how you burn out. It can be really hard in the fall season to overlook your personal needs because of the work you have to do. There’s always going to be more work to do. There’s always going to be another session to edit. When you’re creating a schedule for yourself, keep evenings open or certain times open to give you the opportunity to do something you want to do. Maybe that’s a hobby or just an opportunity for social time and to meet up with friends. It’s totally up to you what you want your schedule to be, but scheduling your editing and making time for time off is really going to help you survive the fall.
#5 Make Your Editing Space Cozy
Make your editing space super cozy with a nice, different vibe than what it is normally. No matter where you edit, whether it’s on your couch, the kitchen table, the office, the bedroom, or a coffee shop, create a different vibe. Rearranging and adding a cozy element to your editing space is going to spark something in you to want to spend time there and edit!
Things to Add To Your Editing Space:
- Moody lighting
- Different music or a podcast to listen to.
- A warm, cozy drink
#6 Schedule a Creative Shoot This Month
Schedule a shoot that is not paid and that will get your creative juices flowing. It’ll give you something to look forward to and to be excited about. For example, if there’s a studio near you, go book it for an hour. You don’t have to have an idea in your head for it. You can play around with different ideas like maybe self-portraits or put together a fun outfit for a shoot. Or have a couples session in the studio. You could schedule a fun hike with a couple and take photos of them at the top of the mountain.
Basically, you need something to look forward to and this is a great way to keep that photography spark going!
#7 Pick Something to Outsource
Pick something to outsource and actually do it! A lot of times we think of something to outsource, but then four months go by and you don’t actually outsource it. It can be hard because it may feel like you can’t find someone, so literally schedule yourself 30 minutes to search for someone to help you outsource whatever it is.
How to Decide What to Outsource
First ask yourself, “Do I feel like I only have time to work and nothing else?” If that’s the case, then you definitely need to outsource something.
Next, ask, “What is the one thing that I dread doing or the thing that feels like the biggest burden on me right now?”
For me, some of the first things I outsourced were my Pinterest, Honeybook, and emails. Those were the things that stressed me out the most. With Pinterest, I specifically get stressed because I know there is so much potential and it can really help my business, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s just enough work that’s it’s not desirable for me, so it was one of the first things I outsourced. I’ve outsourced editing in the past and it’s truly helpful if you dread editing. I know sometimes we feel a little bit of guilt because it’s such a huge part of the creative process, but there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing your editing.
#8 Give Yourself Grace
You are literally one human. You are not a robot. You are not two people. There are people that get a lot done and who are really successful, but they have a team behind them. So give yourself grace.
Editing deadlines are something you face in the fall. For me, I have a deadline that I want to get the photos done by and then I have the actual deadline where I HAVE TO get the photos to the client by this time. So my actual contract deadline is 8 weeks, but my mental deadline is 4 weeks. I want to underpromise and over-deliver.I know the exciting feeling of getting your photos back sooner than expected and I feel like as a client that really affects your experience with your photographer. The problem with having a mental deadline and then an actual deadline is the lines get blurred. You start to tell yourself the mental deadline is your actual deadline. This is where the control thing comes in where you literally need to let go of the fact that maybe you don’t have them done in four weeks. Maybe you can have them done in five weeks, but you’re still within the contract and it’s still okay. So have grace for yourself if you cannot meet your mental deadlines, but obviously, make sure you deliver on your actual deadline.
#9 It’s Grind Time
Right now is the time to hustle. The fall is grind time and we’re all doing it right now. We’re hustling. We’re getting it done. There is going to be a time to rest and chill and not have as much to do during the week. Now is not the time. You don’t have to hustle and grind all the time. You need personal time, but there are hustling seasons and there are seasons where you can chill and relax.
Especially if you are first starting your business, then you need to hustle and grow your business. Then there comes a point where you’ve hustled for six months and you can take a week or two of rest. It’s just how it goes. So let’s get to it and get it done!
You’re doing great and I hope this guide helps you grind through the rest of your busy season!
EMAIL TEMPLATES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: Take me there!
Shop New Merch Here!
Get 50% off Honeybook here: http://share.honeybook.com/cassidylynne
Want more free education? Check out my website for photography freebies, presets, & courses!
Are you a part of our photography Facebook community group? Go to http://facebook.com/groups/cassidylynne/ and join the discussions of thousands of other photographers.