Photographers Guide on How to recoup from busy season burn-out

We know that many of our loyal readers at Daily Mom are mom-turned-photographers, or professional photographers themselves. Every year, we strive to publish relevant information within the photography world such as gift guides, and informative posts. For many of us in the realm, we’ve made it through the busiest season of all: fall. From all the families that have to schedule a photo session to proudly display on their annual Christmas cards, to those brides and grooms that want that perfect, crisp, fall weather, we know first-hand that, come January, you’re ready for some down time. We’re here today to give you some amazing suggestions, and be the photographers guide on how to recoup from busy season burn-out.

While some of us may be looking forward to the slump that typically accompanies the cold weather, and after-Christmas depleted budget that most clients face, some of us yearn to take the down time and do something that we have been putting off for the past 6 months. Below are some ideas on how to challenge yourself, both creatively and as an entrepreneur to better yourself, learn new skills, and ensure that your business is off to a good start with the beginning of the new year.

photographers guide

Work on a new creative project:


While many clients aren’t overly excited to shell out the money to freeze their faces off for a winter session, the warm winter sunlight, bare trees, and bright snow can make for some stunning photos. You know that, but others may not. Grab your closest friends or family, and convince them to let you photograph them pro-bono in exchange for them letting you use their images for your portfolio. This way, it shows that you are still actively photographing, and your paid clients won’t know the difference. It may inspire them to venture outside their typical family portrait season and schedule something new and different during your slower months.

Also try learning something new and different. Maybe try some amazing double exposure photos, or bust out a 30 cent piece of copper piping and try the ring of fire technique. Or, take that lens off and venture outdoors for a free-lensing experiment. This slow time is the perfect excuse to build your skill level, and experiment with some techniques that you may not have felt comfortable with trying in the past.

You can also try a fun project like a 365 Photo Project through Facebook. Many of our own Daily Mom’s complete them yearly, and love looking back over the course of 12 months to see how much they’ve grown as a photographer, and smile over those small daily moments that would have otherwise been forgotten. The idea behind the 365 challenge is that every single day you take a photo with your camera, and upload it somewhere (album on facebook, blog, tumblr, instagram…wherever!) There are also many other photo projects floating around the internet, and even Daily Mom will be hosting an upcoming challenge where you submit a photo a week with a specific weekly theme, so stay tuned for that announcement coming soon.

Educate Yourself:


The off-season is a great time to take some classes that could help you grow either creatively, or as a business owner. Maybe you’ve been wanting to learn more about wedding photography. Or, maybe you’d love to learn how to edit your photos using professional programs. Sites like Creative Live are a fabulous resource for photographers. There are tons of different classes available for any level photographers, and the online webinar format is easy to follow and perfect for the busy mom because you can break it up into smaller sub-sections. If you haven’t checked it out, Daily Mom’s CAPTURE section is also a helpful tool if you’re wanting to learn how to initially use your DSLR camera and challenge yourself to not shoot fully in Auto mode.

 

photographers guide

Update your website/galleries:


If you have a website, now is the time to go through it with a critical eye and update all your information and galleries. The same thing goes for a business Facebook page, too. If you don’t have a website, now is the perfect time to create one. Facebook groups such as the Rising Tide Society are a great networking and resource group to find other business owners that could help you with your needs. The group has over 70 thousand members from across the globe, and a simple post could yield a variety of entrepreneurs from graphic designers to copy writers.  They are also helpful to network locally, as each sub-area typically has a smaller local group, as well. These fellow business owners are a great sounding board for running ideas off like-minded people, or fine tuning your strongest images for your online galleries.

Think of your website as an online magazine that people visit to learn more about you, and your brand. Put your best foot forward, and have informative posts on your website, updated galleries that show your current work, and a clear and concise way for people to contact you for more information. If your Instagram game is strong, make sure to link that heavily, or find a website theme that displays it proudly. If you tend to be forgetful in updating your website throughout the year, devote an afternoon to doing a clean dump of your 2016 work, and only feature your latest and greatest images.

Work on your web ranking and SEO:


We’ve done entire posts on how a business owner can improve their SEO on their web pages. More and more people are turning to search engines like google to find a photographer in their area, and ranking on the first page is ideal. Most brides won’t want to crawl through 20 pages of search results to find your business. A quick way to make your business appear towards the top is to register yourself as a business on google. From there, blogging your photo sessions with deliberate keywords you’re wanting to rank for (such as “{Your area} Wedding Photographer” or “Professional Photographer in {your area}”) is a good way to quickly put yourself and your business into search engine results. Daily Mom’s resident SEO expert has also created a free group for creatives on Facebook that is very resourceful. Check it out here.

 

photographers guide

Invest in advertising:


Now is the perfect time to update your marketing materials, and invest in some targeted advertising, either on Facebook, or niche sites like The Knot. Boosting Facebook posts may yield some good results for a lower investment cost. Make sure that you are targeting your audience through the boost platform so it doesn’t show up to random people that aren’t your target demographic, or aren’t in your area. Facebook videos have been reported to show up better in the newsfeed algorithm, so you may consider making a small slideshow and putting that on your timeline to switch things up and bring in new clients that may not see your posts otherwise.

If you don’t have a budget, make a resolution to challenge yourself and utilize a different social media platform outside your comfort level. Maybe your Instagram feed is a bit tired and stagnant, log in and start interacting with people that way! You’d be surprised the number of clients that have booked a photographer by finding them via Instagram.

Find a local network:


Chances are, there are photography related Facebook groups that are local to you, whether it’s by region or state. Joining a local group is beneficial in so many ways. You can network within those groups, as well as meet other photographers that can turn into amazing friends. Being able to have a “tribe” of local people is a powerful asset to photographers, and collaborations are beneficial to you personally, as well as within a business aspect. Groups like the Rising Tide Society, or Shoot & Share are great places to inquire about local and smaller sub-groups.

Service Your Gear:


If you are a Canon shooter, consider enrolling into the Canon Professional Services program. In the Gold and Platinum level, you receive a free cleaning and maintenance check for your gear. You simply ship your items to Canon and they will quickly clean your gear, update the firmware, and give it an extensive check to make sure that it’s in perfect working order for you. In our experience, we shipped out the gear on a Monday, and had everything back in our possession by that Friday. You also receive a repair discount, in case any of your items need to be fixed and/or cleaned past the standard. You can also receive free equipment evaluation loans from Canon when you’re enrolled in this program, so it’s the perfect time to test out that lens you’ve been eyeing and use it for your creative styled session.


Whatever route you choose to do, we wish you a restful and rejuvenating time “off” during these slow months. Those of you who are lucky enough to live in beautiful weather climates year round, please know that your freezing cold photog-sisters to the north of you are secretly jealous of the fact that you can still hold sessions without having to wear 35 layers of clothing and risk frostbite to your extremities. We’d love to hear how you recoup from your busy photography season in the comment section below.

Make sure you stay tuned to Daily Mom to hear all about the upcoming weekly photo challenge link-up we’ll be running in the New Year.


Photo Credits: Kristen Lee Creative | Mulberry & Sage Photography

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Megan

Megan lives in Michigan with her husband, daughter, and son. Her days are spent hanging out and doing family projects on her real-life farm, and spending time on the Great Lakes. She loves swimming, celebrity gossip, University of Michigan and Denver Broncos football, trashy reality TV, and writing. In addition to being a Mommy and self-proclaimed urban-farmer, she owns a photography business located in Southeast Michigan, Memoirs Photography.

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