As a professional wedding photographer and business owner, there are always tasks on your plate and never-ending to-do lists to complete. Though, to make it as a wedding photographer, it is crucial for you to set aside time for yourself, your loved ones, and things outside of work.
Here at ShootDotEdit, we specialize in wedding photo edits. We also connect with industry pros to bring you valuable information on topics relevant to your wedding photography business. We reached out to wedding photography duo, and ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Shane and Lauren Photography, who have found a way to balance their business and allow for free time. Keep reading to learn their wedding photographer business tips to help you work hard and make time for you.
Shane and Lauren are a wedding photography duo who met on the 6th-grade lunch court, when Shane’s bleach blonde spiky hair and charming personality won over Lauren’s heart. As photographers, they love all the little details and the big moments on a wedding day and find so much joy in capturing them for clients to look back on and share for years to come.
Professional Wedding Photographer
Do you ever find yourself sitting, staring at Lightroom at 1:00am, with 4 empty cups of coffee next to you wondering how long you have been sitting in the same position? Do you ever hide under the covers after a triple-header wedding weekend, hoping your kids will make their own breakfast and you can get a few more minutes of sleep?
If you have done these things or some variation of these, this means you have “made it” in the wedding industry. Your calendar is full of shoots, and you are up to your ears in editing, hooray for you! And you worked hard to get here, damn hard. But now what? We have some tips to help you maximize your time and make sure you are making time for you and your family.
Take a Day (or 2!) Off
First and foremost, make sure you have at least 1 day (really should be 2) off a week. It is easy to pop in and write a few emails or cull that one shoot but you have to resist. If you are nervous clients are going to get mad for not responding to their email within 7 minutes, then create an autoresponder. Say you are doing something amazing like riding elephants in the jungle for that random Tuesday; there is no way they could be mad about that!
You are going to have to be flexible. This industry is fluid. So one week you may take Tuesday off, then the next it may be Wednesday. This is one of the hardest but most important things you can do.
Related: Have you considered these 3 things when finding a balance in your photography business and personal life?
Create Efficient Systems
Ok, so how do you “make up” for that day or two you take off? Hustle! And create systems that are super efficient. Below are areas that take up lots of time but if you have an efficient method for doing them that can cut hours off of your routine.
If you don’t use a service that automatically responds to inquiries, that’s fine, we don’t use those either. What you can do is create template emails so responding to inquiries is quick and efficient. We like to make sure we customize every email inquiry that comes in but we still have a template.
We start the email by addressing the couple by name and reply to a few things they shared with us. If they only shared their venue then we try to say something about their venue, so they know we read their inquiry and are genuinely excited to get back to them. After the initial 1-3 sentences, the rest of the email is a template that quickly gets filled in.
Make Everything Online
Anything that can be done online, do it. Use technology to your advantage; make everything online and streamline it. Do you have a timeline form? Make an online version that a couple can fill out and submit to you. Do you have album options? Again create an online form that they can fill out. What about a pricing guide? Create a PDF that has all the information a couple might need (keep it simple) and put it online, that way you can send it and reference it from anywhere.
Create a folder system and keep it simple. We do not like using dates. It’s hard to search and confusing for me. Again keep it simple and easy to use. When you are on your 40th event of the year, you want it to be organized and easily searchable. I could write a whole article on this so if you have any questions on this please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we would be happy to walk you through at least the process we have found to be really helpful.
Stop sorting in Lightroom! Can I say it again, STOP sorting in Lightroom! And start using Photo Mechanic, it will save you so much time. Also, I would highly recommend a ShuttlePRO, this will save you so much time while you cull and edit.
Related: Do you know which post production software is best to use during your post-wedding workflow? Read our blog post that dives into when to use Lightroom vs. Photoshop.
If you are this bogged down you need to outsource some part of your editing. Figure out what works for you. Maybe you need to outsource all your editing, maybe you only need to do every other wedding, maybe it’s just in the busy season. Whatever makes it so you can maintain that day off. ShootDotEdit is great because they are so flexible and offer options to fit exactly what you need.
Related: How can quickly delivering images and products to clients make you money? Read our post on the benefits of fast turnaround time to learn more!
These tips will help professional wedding photographers like you make the most of your working time. Once you implement these make sure you are meaningful with your time. For example, it’s easy to get on Instagram with the best intentions of posting an image and engaging for a few minutes but 45 minutes later you’ve realized you’ve gone down the Instagram rabbit hole and haven’t accomplished anything. Remember every “wasted” minute you spend is 1 less minute you could have been riding elephants or spending time with your family.
So now that we have created this abundance of time what do we do with it? Make sure you are spending time doing things you love. You just busted your butt to create this time, don’t waste it. Find things that motivate you creatively; things that you are passionate about. Separate yourself from the hustle and spend time with people that you love.
Learning business tips for photographers from fellow wedding pros is valuable because they can share first-hand experiences that you can relate to. Shane and Lauren’s professional wedding photographer tips are ideal for you to streamline your workflow and find balance between your work and personal life. Discover additional tips to create a fast and efficient photography workflow when you download our free Guide: 27 Ridiculously Simple Hacks to Transform Your Wedding Photography Business!