Winter can mean slower business for many of us, especially wedding and natural light, non-studio photographers. And even more so for those of us who live in regions with cold weather. The inquiries are slower to roll in and for a period of time, work is slower. This can often be discouraging for many photographers, but the cycle is completely normal. So, what can we do during this time to stay inspired and on track? Here are 4 things to do during the photographer’s off season when business is slow.
As photographers, we should always be evaluating where we’ve been, where we are right now, and where we want to go. Doing so can help us set up goals to get where we want to be. During your slower times, take some time and do a considerable amount of reflection on where you are at, and then set goals for where you will go next. Really put some thought into this process and give it attention. What worked during the last year? What didn’t? What changes do you need to make, and what steps will need to be in order? What areas do you need to grow in? Setting goals will give you direction, and attaching actionable steps and soft deadlines to your goals will keep you accountable and make your goals manageable.
Slower seasons are the perfect time to immerse yourself in education and training. To make this time even more effective, invest in your education after you have reviewed your previous year and set goals as mentioned above. Did you set a goal to increase your marketing, but aren’t sure how to effectively do so? Perhaps training on effective marketing strategies for photographers is in order. Or maybe one of your goals is to get better at posing families. Investing in training related to family sessions would make sense. Tying your education to your goals will help you to make intentional decisions with your education investments, so that you can get the most return professionally and financially.
Use your off season to look ahead and map out timelines for the coming year. When do you want to begin promoting your upcoming events or sessions? Are there props, equipment or marketing materials that you will need to create or acquire? Think through your year and determine what types of promotions you may want to run and when, and plan them on your calendar. As an example, I have made notes on next year’s calendar to begin marketing and shooting my Fall sessions earlier than ever before, since my calendar has filled completely during my last couple of seasons before the end of summer! Use the results of your current year to help you adjust your plans for next year!
And finally, the off season is a great time to just shoot for you. I love to do personal photo projects when my work is slower. It recalibrates me, helps me grow without the pressure of client expectations, and keeps my creative juices flowing.
During my slower times, I shoot a lot for a personal project I’ve started called “When Daddy Comes Home.” This project documents the playful relationship that my kids have with their daddy, and documents one of our favorite moments of the day: When Daddy comes home! So whether you go with a formal photo-a-day project, or come up with your own personal project, find a way to shoot that is only for yourself.
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It’s good to have time to think through where you want to go as a photographer, and to come up with and execute a plan to get there. By using the off season wisely can go a long way to keeping you on track and successful during the rest of the year.