What does a portrait photographer do when they’re not taking pictures?
Anytime you have booked a photographer you’ve probably only thought about the time that they spend on things having to do with your session. Like planning, shooting and editing, and then delivering your gallery. Totally natural!
But maybe you’ve wondered what portrait photographers do the rest of the time? Do we get to kick back and take some time off?
Oh, if only it were that easy!
CHERYL JACKSON PHOTOGRAPHY | CENTRAL OKLAHOMA SENIOR + FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER
Don’t get me wrong, we do have some flexibility in our schedules which is one of my favorite things about being a photographer. And to stay balanced, you have to schedule some time to breathe and chill.
But if you’ve ever thought about starting your own photography business or you’re just a little curious, I thought I would give you a glimpse into all the other things a senior and family portrait photographer does in their non-shooting time.
To put it very eloquently….a lot.
Because even if you had a busy season with lots of sessions, there are so many things to do to continue to keep your business growing so you can have your next busy season!
In no particular order, here are some of those things.
- Accounting and paperwork. That’s right, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way on this list! While many photographers have some kind of software to help with customer management, there are still plenty of things to record and update with each session and for our business like mileage tracking, sales tax reporting, income and expenses management, monitoring profit and loss, etc. Besides actually doing these things, we are always working to implement systems and processes to improve handling all this stuff.
- File management. Maybe I should have put this as the first thing because I think it’s even more boring than accounting! With many photo sessions comes many many many SD cards, photo image files and Lightroom catalogs. These things have to be organized and photo files need to be backed up in multiple places. Because space is limited you’ve got to keep these things moving and purge older sessions to make room for the new ones.
- Content creation. The demand for content is never-ending and frankly can be very overwhelming. Between blogs, emails, social media posts, YouTube videos, and podcasts, to stay relevant and competitive in our photography market, we have to write, create, produce and schedule consistent content. Doing this correctly takes some serious time, to put it mildly, which has to be fit in around client sessions.
- Improving client experience. Especially at the end of a quarter, I like to go back and review my client workflow from inquiries to thank you's, and find ways to keep refining and improving it so that my clients come away as raving fans who are so happy with their experience.
- Education. No matter how long you’ve been a photographer or how much experience you have, there’s always something new to learn! From new editing techniques to improving posing or image quality, there’s a class available to help with it. Investing in education really helps you stay relevant and on top of your game.
While this is by no means a complete list of all the things photographers do to run their business, I hope it helps you understand a little more about who we are and how our small businesses operate.
To be clear, all the tasks and hard work are so worth it when we get to meet our awesome clients like you who let us capture their memories for them! We wouldn’t trade it for anything!!!