A Guide for Photographers
As a photographer I have come across work related anxiety on multiple occasions, in fact with almost every session.
The questions that often go through my head are:
Will I click well with my clients? Will the session go smoothly? Will I be paid for my work? What if they don’t love their gallery? What if I forget about replying back to someone? What if I don’t get enough bookings to cover the bills?
Did I spend too much on props or other business related expenses?
There is a lot that goes into this business and it can be super mentally draining doing it all on your own.
My biggest advice for any new photographer just getting into the game would be to make lists for yourself. I personally still prefer to use paper contracts and make daily “To-Do” lists for myself; “Reply to ___”, “Edit ___’s Session”…
My lists always consist of my personal tasks as well, because I’m also a full time mom. Scheduling and remembering a million things in a day can be super challenging at times.
The key is to prioritize your list with what needs to get done first. Start with the high priority items and then work your way through it. Don’t stress about not being able to finish your list every day, I personally rewrite my list every day so I can start fresh.
Managing Client expectations is huge when it comes to Time Management. Let’s say you told a client that they would have their edited photos back within 3 days of their session or of them choosing their images. But then your kid gets sick, or you get sick, or suddenly you’re having to bake cookies for every kid in your child’s class. Maybe the day after your session you’re still completely exhausted and can’t even think about anything but surviving for the next 2 days. Sessions take a lot out of us, both mentally and physically. It’s always better to give yourself more time and get the project done early. For example, if you know editing usually takes 3-4 days, tell your client 7-14 days and impress them by getting their photos back to them super early. Life happens and it’s so much better to relieve some of the pressure by just giving yourself some buffer room. Let’s say you suddenly had 4 newborn sessions back to back with no breaks and each session was 20 images of editing. You now have to make sure they all get their images back to them within the same or similar time frames. Manage client expectations by being honest. Tell them you’ve had a super busy few days and will get their images back to them as soon as you can. “Hey I’m super swamped right now but you will have your gallery back for sure by ______”
Communicate with your clients. Make sure they know that they’re special to you and that you’re doing everything you possibly can to give them the best experience possible.
Now when it comes to scheduling. Having a google calendar set up really helps, along with using google forms for booking. You could use a site like Honeybook for example but those cost money and have been known to glitch from time to time. So what I do is gather the information and throw it straight into google calendar. They way I never miss a session and I can keep track of when I’ll need childcare.
That all sounds great, but what about not booking enough to cover the bills?
My super brief advise on this one is to work backwards when budgeting. I’ll go into this further in a future blog post.
Usually with a budget you start with your salary or regular pay to determine how much you can spend in certain areas such as rent, gas and food.
But with this business, especially when just starting out, you have no idea what you’ll make per month because bookings can be all over the place. Either you’ll be too busy or not busy at all. So what I do is start with how much money I need first and then figure out how much I need to make to cover it. Always remember to also plan for savings.
Anxiety is a normal part of running a business solo. There are so many things to consider and wrap your head around but eventually you’ll get the hang of it. Just remember to take things one day at a time. If you feel overwhelmed by a task or an aspect of your business, it’s okay to take a day - sleep- and come back to it tomorrow.
Sleep and Self Care are important! Your business and Your Family need you at your best. And you can’t be at your best if your cup is empty. Remember Anxiety can be normal but there are ways of dealing with your anxiety and you’re doing great!