29. Taking time off from your photography business

Sustainable Photography
Sustainable Photography
29. Taking time off from your photography business
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Podcast cover for episode 29  "How to Take Time Off"

In this fast-paced photography industry, taking time off seems difficult for photographers. Owning a business can be hard. We work days, nights, and even weekends. Most of the time we also work on holidays when our clients are free to book.

Our email inbox and Instagram are always open, and it’s too easy to check throughout the day. So what can you do, to be able to take time off, without losing business?

It is also important for you to realize the importance of taking time off. Here are some things to keep in mind for you to achieve that work-life balance:

Set boundaries

Yes, photographers have a lot on their plates. Your calendars are filled with bookings. A lot of requests pop into your inbox. The list of tasks is endless. Believe me, this will take a toll on your body.

You must have the courage to say “no” to give yourself time to rest. By setting boundaries, you allow yourself to have time for other things. You can use your time for other social activities. Take the time for your other hobbies. Hang out with your friends and family. Set boundaries on the things that you can and can’t do.

Automate and market smart

Of course, you can take time off at any point. You can stop replying to emails or don’t do any marketing. The problem is that your business may suffer from that.

That’s why it is important to set up systems or automate some tasks. Make your business visible and work while you rest. An example is setting up automated replies on your email so that clients will know when to expect an answer. First, you have to decide how often you want to check and reply to your email. Once a day? Once a week? And then set up your auto-response.

For Facebook, you can also automate replies to inquiries. You can set up frequently asked questions or FAQs answered. This could be your location, rates, promos, and many other things. 

This is a good idea whether you’re planning to take time off, or not. You can always change the response time for when you’re feeling like you’ve got too much on your plate, or when you’re away.

Personal experiences when it comes to marketing on auto-pilot

To be honest, I still work when I’m on holiday. But only a tiny bit. Just enough to make sure I’m still communicating with clients and potential clients. Right before the pandemic, I was in Bali for 3 weeks. And while I was there I booked several weddings. All I had to do was send out contracts and invoices and reply to a few emails. I had everything ready to go. All the marketing that gave me those bookings was because I focus heavily on SEO and my website. My bookings mostly come on autopilot. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a long road to get to that point. But at least I’ve made sure I don’t have to post on social media daily to get the clients I need. That would stress me out so much!

And when I do post on social media it’s almost always scheduled ahead of time. I’ve set up auto-posting so I don’t have to think about it. That also makes taking time off so much easier. For example, I know that my following is most engaged at night, between 6 and 9 pm. But I don’t want to spend that time posting, so I have scheduled my posts to go out then anyway.

Listen to episode about automating your marketing using Pinterest with Kate Wilkson.

Episode 14

Outsourcing for better time management

For things that take much of our time, it is very helpful to outsource. It can feel like a scary concept because it means giving up control to a certain extent. You may also feel like it’s cheating. But honestly, what other professionals do you know that insist on doing everything? From shooting to editing, web design, accounting, and marketing, do they do all these?

If you want more free time, outsourcing is such a great solution. But that doesn’t mean that the photos won’t still be yours. It means that you show a professional editor how you edit, or you share your presets with the editor. It can save you so much time and so much frustration dealing with white balance adjustments and all that. Check out Marjon if you’re looking for an editor.

You can also outsource accounting, blog writing, social media management, web design, submissions, and setting up your CRM. You are still a photographer even if you don’t do everything yourself. You’re might end up being an even better photographer because of it. Because you’ll have more time to spend photographing and learning. Rather than all the other things you deal with.

Taking time off, making the balance work

Remember that photography should be fun, artistic, and a creative outlet for you. You need your business to be running smoothly in the background. Taking the time off also makes your business sustainable. You may want to check the Sustainable Photography Program for more details on this. 

Give yourself the freedom to do the things that you want to. If you try to do all these things, it can so easily come back to haunt you. Not to mention – what a waste of your talent. You’re an amazing photographer and you’re spending precious time doing all sorts of things. When the reality is, anyone could be doing that for you.

If you KNOW that you only want to do weddings, should you say yes to other things? Stop perfecting offers you don’t even want to have. Raise your prices so you don’t spend your time working without it being truly worth it.

Please remember, life is short. Taking time off can do a lot of wonders for you. We have no idea what’s coming, so don’t waste yours. Do what you want to be doing and live life while you’ve got the chance. Enjoy life to the fullest. Remember that your business will be sustainable if you, yourself have a stable life-work balance. 

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Ingvild-Portrett

hi, i'm ingvild

I spend as much of my time as I can being outside taking photos of happy couples in love. I live with my dog and boyfriend in Norway, and I love traveling the world in search of beautiful locations and love stories.

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