Wedding photographers work in a very seasonal environment. We go through seasons where more couples are getting engaged and booking weddings, and there are definitely favorite seasons in the South when couples choose to have their weddings (um, hello FALL in Georgia). There is always a time in the year where we experience downtime in our businesses. In the south, the most consistent seasons where we experience downtime is January through mid-March and July through early September. And rightly so, those summer months are brutal!
While we’re crushing it during the busiest wedding seasons of spring and fall, any work that isn’t client-focused naturally falls away so that we can give special attention to our clients. Because of this, it’s important to recover from the rush of intense wedding seasons and evaluate our business during the off- season. This helps keep our businesses running smoothly and attracting those ideal couples that we value so much!
After taking a poll on my instagram, it didn’t surprise me that 72% of photographers didn’t know their exact Cost of Doing Business! This is something that we as creatives unintentionally avoid; we just don’t like doing it. It’s always scary to face the hard truth that we may be spending too much, not charging enough or both! But it’s important to face the facts and evaluate how your numbers are showing up.
Add new work to your portfolio and review the language on your website. We constantly grow and evolve as artists and creatives, so it’s important to consistently update our work and the way we present ourselves.
Do some site maintenance: review your Google Analytics to see where couples came onto your site and where they left. Evaluate what is working and what is not working so that your website becomes stronger once the season picks up again.
This goes hand in hand with updating your website, but I’m getting specific on you because blogging is so important, not just for your SEO (which it totally is) but for your future clients! Modern couples want to know who they are hiring for their wedding day. What better way to relate to them, show off what you can do and give them a dose of your personality than writing on your blog? Plus, no one trusts a photographer whose last blog post was 2 years ago. In fact, couples might think you’re not in business anymore!
I get it, blogging takes time. But the more you practice, the easier it will come! Commit to catching up on all of the weddings, portrait sessions, engagements, and personal achievements you experienced during busy season! Take a day to bulk write and prep your blog posts and schedule them to go live throughout the year. This will save you so much time while also giving you a little boost!
Are you providing a consistent client experience to each of your couples? If the answer is yes, grab a cocktail and take the day off! If your answer is no, then you need to do some work. Evaluate your entire client experience and take notes on where you can improve.
A great way to start is by outlining an ideal client experience for your couples, from start to finish. Add this client experience workflow to your client management system like Honeybook and set up your workflows so they automatically help you out during busy seasons. This was the BEST thing I did for myself and for my couples! By setting up workflows with my client experience, Honeybook has become my own personal assistant and like a little clone of myself!
You’re not doing right by your clients by getting burned out. It’s easy during busy seasons to get into the motion of capturing wedding days systematically (I’ve been there!), but our couples deserve more from us, and we deserve more for ourselves. Take time during off-season to get creative, push your boundaries as a photographer and learn new things. Invest in new education, explore, set up creative editorials, play with styling details. The more you get creative in off-season, the more your on-season will reflect your hard work and the more you’ll grow. I believe doing photography and capturing art for yourself is the foundation of avoiding burnout.
Slow seasons are also a time of REST so it’s important to bring balance back into your life and not get too carried away with doing #allthethings. By setting aside an hour or two each day to intentionally focus on evaluating your business and making these important updates, you’ll pay yourself dividends in your next big wedding season!