I don’t know about you but spring is my busiest season for senior photoshoots! I live in an area where there is no yearbook deadline to meet, so my seniors get their senior photos taken all the way up until graduation. It’s great but it also means there’s a TON of seniors trying to get on my schedule. In today’s podcast episode, I am going to break down what I do to prepare for busy season as a senior portrait photographer so you can enjoy your work with less stress!
I used to be the stressed out, all over the place, busy photographer. You know what I’m talking about. Questioning yourself – why did I do this again? The anxiety and readiness for it all to be over. After a few years of that, I knew there had to be a better way. Because, the reality is that before every storm – there’s calm. The best way to handle the storm is to be prepared. It’s the same in business. The best way to find calm in your busiest season is to prepare before it comes. Here’s a few of the ways to prepare you – and your business.
We need to make sure we have effective systems or workflows for our business so that when busy season hits, we’re prepared. Here’s a few things to consider when designing effective systems:
An inquiry system: When someone inquires, what happens? Do you have something in place to help handle them? If the answer is no, that’s where you need to start. Make a list of what you do from the moment they inquire to booking. Then review the list and determine if everything is necessary and if you can automate any of it. If you need more tips on how to create this system, check out a post HERE with my system!
A senior client system: Once they become a client, you should have a system in place to help prepare them for their session. Remember, you want them to feel prepared so they’re excited and not stressed about their session. Again, this is setup in my CRM with a set of emails to help them with everything from what to wear to my questionnaire about their session.
“After the shoot” system: As photographers, our job doesn’t end when the shoot ends. We need a system in place to make sure that after the shoot, our clients continue to feel well taken care of and everything is completed on time (and consistently). This system includes emails that get my clients ready for their in person ordering session, asks them for testimonials and more.
Editing workflow: If you don’t outsource your editing, make sure you have an editing workflow. And if you do outsource that, YAY for you! That’s amazing. If you’re doing it yourself, your editing workflow should help things stay streamlined and efficient. One easy thing you can to cut your editing workflow down is to reduce the number of images you edit. Then, think about if there’s extra editing you’re doing that may not be necessary. Review this process before your busy season starts so you can get into even better habits.
Having these systems in place before your busy season starts will ensure that you are ready to take care of all of your clients seamlessly. You can concentrate on their actual photo shoot and making them feel amazing because you don’t have to worry about all the emails and the steps. Once you set up your systems, if done the right way, they work for you and allow you time for other things like your clients.
The next thing we can do to prepare for busy season is set limits! This is so hard for me (and probably you too) because we want to do it all. But saying “no” is critical to making sure that you don’t burn yourself out. Remember that saying yes to something means saying no to something else. So while it may seem like a good idea to book just one more session because you want an extra money, it will cost you in family time, sanity, or time.
In order to set limits, we need to set a schedule. Busy season can be stressful. By definition, you’re working a lot more during this time and can forget to take care of yourself. But if you head into busy season with a schedule and with limits, then you allow yourself time for your family and time to take a break so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Start by deciding what days you’re going to shoot sessions. Then, make sure you have wiggle room for makeup dates. I always encourage you to think about editing days, too! And last but not least, your family days and days off. In fact, I’d venture to say you should put those on your calendar first!
One of the best ways to make busy season less stressful is to OUTSOURCE! I know outsourcing feels like giving up control and you may be thinking, “no one can do it as well as I can” but there are things in your business that you don’t have to be the one to do! Ask yourself what things get thrown to the side when you are knee deep in photoshoots during busy season. Social media, blogging, editing? Maybe its more personal things such as laundry, cleaning? Now is the time to determine what you will outsource, find the person you will delegate these tasks to, teach them how you like it done. Now, you’re ready to handle your busy season with that much needed help!
This is a great thing to do to prepare for busy season because having a set of locations that you know will work will help you get ready for all those photoshoots coming up! Maybe you need some new locations, so check a few out. Now’s also a good time to revisit your old locations and confirm they still work for you. It seems like a small thing to do to prepare but it will save you so much time!
Before every season, I update my client closet to ensure that I have the best items for clients to choose from. Almost every client of mine has a wardrobe consultation and access to the closet, so I want to be sure I have fresh, new items for them. Review the trends, ask your clients/followers on social media, and make your purchases!
Blogging is one of the first things that I stop doing the minute the busy season hits. But blogging consistently is exactly what Google wants to see in order to rank you higher in searches. So if you blog then get busy with shoots and stop blogging, your SEO could take a hit. Instead, write blog posts before your busy season starts and schedule those blog posts to go live during busy season.
If you are looking for some already done for you blog posts and content you can reuse as emails to send out or social media posts, check out the Done for You Content in the Seniorologie shop! This product is filled with already written blog posts that you can literally copy and paste, schedule out into your busy season and continue to consistently blog!
At the end of busy season you should absolutely reward yourself for a job well done! So, take the time to plan it. Take a staycation or go somewhere fun. Whatever it is, plan it now before you’re too far into busy season to think about it.
Don’t let busy season overwhelm you. Plan ahead, do what you can before busy season starts, make sure you have systems in place to handle the busy season and you will not only survive but thrive!
Are you a member of the free Seniorologie Community on Facebook? If not, I would love to have you join to continue this conversation and many more! The Seniorologie Community is a great place to get to know other senior photographers, share your wins, ask advice and much more! To join, click HERE!
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Need help with your senior photography business? I’ve put together lots of FREE resources to help you in your business! You can have access to these awesome free resources HERE!
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