Changing leaves, a slight chill in the air, football games, and pumpkin patches—Fall is almost here!
For photographers, Fall means something more- it’s time for the busy season! Fall brings more sessions, tons of editing, and sometimes sheer chaos. While the fall season can be stressful and challenging, with some planning and healthy boundaries, you can ensure your fall season will be successful.
We’ve pulled together our top 10 tips for helping you to have a productive AND profitable fall season without feeling overworked and overwhelmed!
Before you can prepare for a successful season, you must define what success looks like for you. Start by writing out your top goal(s) for a “successful fall season.” Try to limit your goals to no more than 2-3. Remember, we’re trying to avoid being overwhelmed.
When you know what success means to you, you can plan the steps you’ll need to achieve your vision. When you start to feel overwhelmed, look at your key goals and prioritize them. Regardless of your definition of success, the following tips can help put you on the path to an excellent fall season.
Planning the kind of photoshoots you want to offer will help you have a season that is profitable and fits your schedule. Here are two popular options for Fall photo shoots.
Fall is one of the most popular times for family photos. Here are some of our favorite ways to take advantage of this season.
When you are choosing a location for a fall family photo shoot, you’ll want to consider locations that show off the best parts of the season, poses for families, and ideas you can offer to your clients on what to wear.
Some popular locations that will result in beautiful photos are pumpkin patches, rustic barns, apple orchards, and any spot that highlights the brilliant changing foliage. If you have an option for waterfront photos, Fall is a wonderful time of year to take advantage of this type of location.
When you are planning poses for families, think about playing in fallen leaves, sitting on benches (especially if they are under gorgeous Fall colored trees!) walking on a path, and sunset silhouette shots are all gorgeous opportunities for Fall family photos.
Mini-sessions are always popular and in Fall they are even more in demand. Take this opportunity to get some new clients and offer an additional service to your repeat customers. When you are offering mini-sessions you’ll want to do a few things to set yourself up for success. Start by choosing a date, scouting a location, setting your prices, then move on to promoting and booking your sessions.
Here are a few Fall mini-session ideas to get you started!
Calculate all your business-related expenses, including replacing and upgrading equipment and purchasing materials like memory cards, camera batteries, gear and props, website, software, insurance, and any training and education expenses.
If you haven’t crunched the numbers yet, take the time to calculate:
Once you’ve accurately calculated your time and expenses, you’ll have a better idea of what your services are worth. You will also understand precisely how much you need to charge to stay in business, and most importantly, turn a profit.
P.S. we created our Smart Profit Calculator to help you set your prices for profit and viability. Check out how it works here!
Take note: Photographers commonly underestimate both time and expenses - ultimately underpricing themselves. If you want to raise your prices but are afraid to take the leap, do it! You don’t have to wait until the new year to increase your rates. Winter is often a slower season in the industry, so it’s not the best time to significantly change pricing.
Raising prices during your busiest season means that even if a few clients decide to jump ship, you’ll have plenty of other clients to compensate for the loss. So the best time to set profitable prices for your photography business is now.
Do you take your car in for regular maintenance or a tune-up before a long drive? Just like your car, your camera gear and computer need check-ups and TLC to stay in top working condition.
Another way to protect your time and energy is to set boundaries around your work. How do you do this?
In your initial conversation with clients, let them know a realistic turnaround time. Give yourself some wiggle room so you don’t have to work excessively long hours or feel rushed. (These are the main ingredients of burnout!) For example, if your normal turnaround time is a week, tell the clients 2-3 weeks during the busy season. A few more things to consider:
Not making time for yourself is bad for your overall well-being, and it’s bad for your work, too. Aren’t you more inspired and creative when you’re enjoying what you do? If you get completely slammed with photoshoots and forget about making time for friends, family, relaxation, and hobbies, you and your craft suffer. Worst of all, photography will start feeling like a total grind instead of fun work.
As you start filling in your calendar for the fall season, prioritize your personal schedule and can’t-miss events. If you’re planning a vacation, block it off before you start booking sessions. Do you have any favorite fall events? Add them to your calendar. Then, begin booking sessions accordingly.
What happens if you get sick or have a personal emergency? Do you have a plan if you’re out of commission for a week or two?
Ideally, you’ll have a backup photographer who can help you. If not, start compiling a list of photographers you would recommend in case of emergency.
Often, it’s not the actual sessions that get photographers backlogged and burnt out. It’s the other tasks—the editing, marketing, accounting, etc. Consider outsourcing some of these tasks just for the fall season. You can keep your head above water and focus on the parts of the job that you enjoy the most.
If outsourcing photography tasks doesn’t work for you, consider outsourcing household tasks. Get help with cleaning, laundry, cooking, or grocery deliveries. Hire a babysitter for a few hours during the day to give you a little extra time to focus on editing.
And if you’re still not sold on outsourcing, plan ahead with your household tasks. Create a meal plan or fill your freezer with meals you can heat and eat. Choose one day a week to make a big grocery trip and fold your laundry. Anything you can do to make your home run more smoothly will make your work life less stressful too.
And for all of the things you can’t outsource, we’re here to help. See how Picsello lets you run all the business parts of your business with one simple plan. Want to see Picsello in action? View a demo here.
Automation is another time-saver to implement this fall. Do you ever get bogged down in doing the same small tasks over and over? Brainstorm ways to streamline your processes.
For example, consider using an automatic booking system, even if it’s just for the fall. Write email templates to confirm a shoot, send a thank you, and respond to your most frequently asked questions. You can also block off chunks of time for specific tasks, instead of constantly switching gears.
You can also try the following: Schedule your social media posts for the week in one sitting. Order all your prints at once. Write a few blog posts over the weekend, then gradually post them over the next several weeks.
You can find pre-written emails, client questionnaires, contact forms, and everything you need to get new clients and keep current clients booking year after year inside our Studio Manager.
As another busy fall season begins, remember to stay focused on aligning your personal goals with your definition of success. It’s easy to see all the available dollar signs and overfill your calendar because you fear disappointing clients or letting potential opportunities go by.
Remember, if you try to do everything, you won’t do any of it well. If you don’t respect the boundaries you set, you’ll feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and burnt out. But, with some preparation and planning, creating time for your personal life, and ensuring your prices are set to be profitable, you can have a profitable, successful fall season without stretching yourself too thin.
Set boundaries, say no when you need to, and save yourself time with outsourcing and automation so you can enjoy the extra income that comes your way and make a little time to enjoy a pumpkin patch, a football game, and that beautiful fall foliage.
P.S. you can download a free printable of these 10 Tips for a Successful Fall Season here!