Every business deals with the ebbs and flows of being busy. As a wedding and lifestyle photographer, winter is typically my slowest time of the year. It’s easy to sit back and want to relax during these months, letting business matters slip to the wayside – but that’s not the smart way to work.
Since the winter season gives me extra time, I like to tackle projects I’ve don’t have time to complete during other months when I’m buried in shoots, client meetings and more. It feels good to devote attention things I’ve been keeping on the backburner, but I’m not going to lie, the slow season for a professional photographer also brings financial stress.
The fewer shoots I’m doing, the less direct revenue I’m generating. Notice I said direct revenue though. You must remember, there are things aside from shoots that help to set your business up for financial growth.
Instead of stressing out about money during your slow season, I challenge you to channel that anxiety into accomplishing the slow season tasks I’ve listed below.
What To Do During Your “Slow Season”
- Get all your gear professionally cleaned and serviced so that you’re ready when business picks up!
- Update your portfolio. And if you need help choosing the right photos, download my free guide!
- Read through all your website’s copy and update the text – ensuring it reflects your business and values. Your business is constantly evolving – so your website language should evolve with it.
- Blog any old weddings or sessions you have time to during busier months. Let the world see those gorgeous photos!
- Reevaluate your prices to make sure they are accurate. Not sure if it’s time to increase your rates – check out my top three signs here.
- Book a session to update your headshots. Pro Tip: Consider trading with another photographer – which can be a win-win for you both!
- Make yourself a styling kit. I made mine for under $80!
- Reach out to vendors you’ve enjoyed working with and let them know how much you appreciate them. Treat them to coffee, send a thank you card or just a simple, (but thoughtful) email. Use your slow season to foster relationships that will enhance your busy season.
- Evaluate your workflow and streamline any areas that don’t feel efficient. Not sure how to start? This post will help!
- Consider adding new gear or upgrading your camera bag and then give yourself time to play with them. Have you been eyeing a new lens? Get it!
- Goal plan for the year. I love using Powersheets for my yearly goals, but use the system that works best for you – as long as you get those goals out of your head and documented somewhere!
- Update any marketing materials that need a refresh.
- Create (or update) your ideal client profile. Download my free worksheet with detailed instructions!
- Design and print a new sample album.
- Catch up on your reading and learn something new. Check out some of my favorite business books.
- Follow up with any clients who have pending album or print orders. Sometimes a quick email is all that is needed to button up those loose orders.
- Clean out and organize your office or working space a la Marie Kondo. This would include your computer, camera bag, office, files, and any other work-related space.
- Sit down and write out your dreams for your business and life moving forward. Read about how I do this!
- Get involved in your professional community! Look into local networking opportunities or groups to join.
- Organize your bookkeeping and prep for taxes. If you’re not already working with a bookkeeper, here are 3 reasons you should be.
- Update your contracts. I highly recommend Annette Stepanian’s contracts!
- Create a newsletter list (if you haven’t already) and plan out content for the month or (if you’re feeling ambitious) the entire year.
- Collaborate with local vendors to create a styled inspiration shoot. This is a great way to stretch those creative muscles.
- Look to ways to elevate your client experience. Here are a few ways I do this in my own business.
Whew! Your slow season doesn’t seem so slow when you think of things you can do other than client shoots, right? It may seem like a lot of work, but if you pace yourself – I promise that you’ll feel invigorated and more capable when those crazy months creep up!
Do you have any suggestions on how to work smart during your slow season? Leave them in the comments below.