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It is easy for us as photographers to feel overwhelmed as we try to take advantage of what can be our most profitable season: getting all those clients booked, shoots completed, client images edited & out for review-it feels like a never-ending marathon of a sprint. 

But of course, that’s not all we are doing.  We still have to take care of all the back-office work that needs to be managed, the time and energy invested in exceeding our client expectations - and we can’t forget family and personal responsibilities. So what can we do to make it all come together in a way that makes sense?

The key to success is to try and keep our wits about us, to stay in the moment, to learn from each day and every shoot - to take note and reflect on what went well and where things may have gone wrong or could have gone more smoothly. 

The 30-Day Take Note Challenge

By “taking note” of the opportunities and wins we experience, we will be able to be more successful with each shoot, client, and photography business overall- all while practicing how to be more mindful and feel greater satisfaction doing what we love.

From marketing and emailing, to responding, booking, shoot prep for you and your clients, the shoot itself, follow-up, delivery, reaching out for repeat bookings, and maintaining client relationships -there are opportunities everywhere to take note of what worked and what didn’t. 

Every shoot and every client experience is different which gives us so many chances to reflect, learn, and try something new in situations that didn’t go as planned or implement something that worked well into our workflow going forward. 

Photographer is taking notes at his deck about his photography business.

How Taking Note Can Transform Your Business

Reviewing your notes from an earlier shoot with a client can help you better prepare for how to improve upon the experience the next time around. Taking note can help you:

  • Feel more confident, more empowered, and more in control
  • Have better, more authentic relationships with clients that will lead to repeat clients and bookings
  • Create smoother shoots so you and your clients have less anxiety going into, during, and post-shoot

Focus on the positive

As we reflect on our shoots, we need to celebrate those things that did go well and, quite frankly, we nailed. These moments are there, throughout each day of running your photography business.  

Keep a positive attitude when you are taking note of past experiences and then look through the lens of how this can be done differently and better in the future. Always be trying something new and your business will have continual growth!

Taking Note- In Action!

Time for a little show and tell as Jane shares how she has taken note over the years in her photography business!  These real-life examples will help you spot a problem and turn it into a new point of success in your workflow in the future.

Photographer shooting in the city.


Situation: Did you rush to a shoot and not look at the ages of the kids and only looked at the name and address? You thought the family shoot was with one kid but it turned out to be an extended family shoot? I like to have a plan for the shots in my head and those last-minute details really threw me. 

Solution: Now I print the questionnaire that my clients filled out pre-shoot along with a shot list that I know I need. 

Situation: Did you ever get to a shoot and realize your camera bag was empty? I may have done that once, yikes. Luckily, this time I was 5 mins away and I was early to my shoot with lovely repeat clients- but that was pretty embarrassing and not something I wanted to happen again. 

Solution: I developed a  pre-shoot checklist that I print off before each shoot- click to download our free pre-shoot checklist for yourself!

Situation: During my first few fall holiday seasons,  I would get frantic emails from clients over thanksgiving weekend about the status of their images. Even though  I added in due dates in the post-shoot emails, and had discussed it on the shoot, I came to realize that that holiday weekend is a time when my clients had time to do their holiday cards or were with grandparents so wanted to share with them. 

Immediate Solution: If this is happening to you right now, can you look at your schedule? Make sure you have enough time to get the majority of your clients' images to them by that weekend. Know that you will get those urgent requests. If you can't handle it, try to outsource some tasks - even if it is your personal life tasks .

If you take last-minute bookings make sure to let them know at booking when their images will be ready - if they need them ASAP,  perhaps add in a rush fee. Prepare your personal life to be ready for the mad rush!

Long-Term Solution:  I modified my schedule to avoid that mad scramble and did my last shoot for the fall the first week of November (plus I get cold LOL) 

Situation: Sometimes my radar is off. I like to think I have a good read on my clients but now and again I get one that makes my life a little too difficult. I realize that not everyone can be a perfect client/photographer fit, and I probably get a few mismatches each year, but over the years, I learned that I can’t mentally take that during a busy season. 

Immediate Solution: If you are dealing with a difficult client right now, know that you will get a few mismatches each year, and try not to let it get to you and ruin your season. Easier said than done - right? Before you decide to hang up your camera and quit - take a look at our post on How to Deal With Difficult Clients or send us a message and we can try to help you as we know it can get all-consuming!

Long-Term Solution:  I created a VIP email list. This list consisted of repeat clients who can book me during extremely busy times (clients that were not a good fit for me don’t get these emails!).  This process has helped save my sanity during the extremely busy season. On these shoots with great repeat clients I know they trust me, the kids warm up quicker, and everyone is a little more relaxed (unless the dad doesn’t want to be there but I know that in advance and prep accordingly)! 

 Always be learning

No matter where we are in our photography journey, we are always learning. Remember that everything is an opportunity to learn and grow!

Photographer is sitting at his desk taking notes.

Taking Note Can Help You Set Healthy Boundaries 

Taking note isn’t only about your business, it’s about your personal life, too. Finding a way to manage everything with your business, your life to-do list, and finding a bit of time for yourself is crucial to being successful and avoiding burnout. Learning to say no when you need to is a necessary part of setting healthy boundaries around your business. So, what does that look like?

Just say no.

 Want to spend time with your family on Christmas Eve? Then say no to any client. Want to spend weekends with your family? Then just raise your prices on the weekend or simply don’t offer weekend shoots. Knowing when to say no is important to maintaining boundaries and clients. 

Pro Tip

Focus on what you can control most first, then move on to the things you have less control over. Noting missed opportunities (personal or business) can lead you to add a way to ensure that won’t happen again.

One More Helpful Note…

Over the years, Jane has had plenty of opportunities to take note and reflect on her shoots. She makes it a point to do so after every shoot. Here are some of the ways it has helped in making her a better photographer with every shoot.

“I always recap each shoot to see what I did well (and why and how it can it be replicated) as well as what went wrong and how I could improve. It can be as simple as I wish I had sent a reminder text earlier to them to help with parking. I always try to make sure I am improving with each shoot. Taking care of as many details as I can with clients before the shoot helps set everyone up for success.”

Now It's Your Turn- Ready to Join the Challenge?

Now that we’ve gone through the pieces and parts of why, how, and when we have the opportunity to take note, let’s talk about the challenge to bring this super important step into your business. Like anything worth doing, it takes practice to implement something different into your workflow. And there is no better time than at the beginning of the busy season to start looking with a careful eye at the ins and outs of your business. This Take Note challenge can help you incorporate this reflective process into your photography business- here’s how it works!

Get started with the Take Note challenge!

First, download the Take Note worksheet. Or, you can simply do the steps of the challenge in a notebook or on your favorite notes app on your phone.

Next, for each of your shoots Take Note of:

  • Date, client shoot names, and location
  • What went well?
  • What could have gone better? How can you improve it?
  • Favorite part of the shoot
  • Something you were proud of
  • What would you change or apply moving forward?
  • Personal details of note about the client
  • Anything else you want to reflect on that is specific to your shoot

Where to follow along and share

Follow along and share with us using #picsellochallenge and tag us @teampicsello! When you download the printable, you’ll get tips, inspiration, and ideas for ways to share your experience with the community, so keep an eye out in your inbox for those!

Remember- we are here to help you so if you are struggling please reach out via the help button or email!

What are some problems that you have turned into opportunities in the past? If you haven’t yet, have you seen someone do this in their business and been inspired? Let us know in the comments below!

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Join the challenge to download this handy dandy printable and get started today on Picsello's Take Note Challenge!

Join our "Note Taking" Challenge today.

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