I don’t mind the slow season. I enjoy my family time, get some business stuff done and have extra time to dedicate to personal stuff or side projects. I don’t have an outdoor studio and under most circumstances the only indoor projects I take on are newborn photo shoots so that means once it snows or gets below a tolerable temperature, my slow season begins! I do a few outdoor shoots in the winter but because some young kids aren’t always as photogenic in the cold (cue the unhappy faces and red noses) and some people wishing for grass in the photos hanging year round on the wall instead of snow, it really slows down for me.
This year my slow season has included finishing up work on a book cover, a few rounds of head shots (not a normal project for me because of not having a studio), a workshop on creating video during photo shoots and incorporating short videos into a photography business, an off camera flash workshop (currently taking), and a landscape workshop (starts next month). I’ve even taken a couple digital marketing classes because marketing/communications was my career before photography and I like to stay in the loop. I miss it! In addition to more formal workshops and classes, I’ve watched more webinars than I can count! I hope to have a few new tricks up my sleeve when I start my 2019 family session and couples season!
I’ve also taken the time this slow season to launch my website (still needs a few tweaks). I’ve added a new online system to help me manage things like sending out things like brochures, proposals, contracts, taking payments online, and organizing my projects. With that I’ve designed style guides and photo session guides to send out so my clients (especially new ones that haven’t worked with me before) know what to expect during a photo session. I’m excited to have all of those things available to my clients and I think they are going to make their photo session experience so much easier to have everything available online. (If you’ve worked with me, my previous contracts were print, sign, scan/email or mail, or bring to the session… kind of obnoxious for my customers IMO.)
I’m so excited to have all of these things in place to give my clients a better experience during the planning and booking phase.
Slow season this year was also a chance to schedule a surgery (or two) that I put off until busy season was over. I didn’t put this out there very much but I had two surgeries that had lifting restrictions for 6+ weeks after each and my camera gear was over my weight limit. I’m so grateful to all of my clients that adjusted their schedules to get in during the windows of time I could lift, either squeezing it in before the surgeries, booking up quick while I was between them, and everyone who is patiently waiting until I can lift again to get their session in (Mid-April! Can’t wait!!!!!!!). I’m also really thankful to everyone that knew about the surgeries and checked in or helped me in one way or another during that process. Too many to count.
I also had another year of sewing tote bags to send to Ronald McDonald House. This is my second year doing it and this year we selected the Ronald McDonald house in the cities. If you’d like to read more about that you can find the blog HERE.
The learning, business, and personal stuff I took care of during the slow season was important to get done. Business is business and you have to nurture that too to grow. But can I say how much i MISS MY CLIENTS!?!?!?!?! Seriously, I LOVE my clients. Guys, they’re the BEST. I love taking pictures but the thing I like about portraits versus something like landscape or wildlife photography is getting to know the people in the pictures. I love paying attention to their expressions and capturing my clients’ personalities in photos.
A lot of times portrait photographers will specialize in one type of portraits. Like, maternity and newborn, or just family sessions, or only graduates. In fact that’s kind of the recommended practice so that a photographer that does only senior pictures doesn’t have to store a bunch of newborn props. Or an engagement/couples photographer doesn’t have to spend time, energy, and money marketing and advertising to EVERYONE, they can just market to couples.
But Friends, I LOVE the people in all of the above scenarios so much and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to NOT doing a certain type of portrait. I love my families for the way they engage and nurture each other. I love my couples for their one on one relationship and laughter. I love my seniors because they are about to launch- they are ready for what’s next. They’re not exactly sure what it looks like but they are ready. I love my newborns because they are tiny and sweet and their parent’s love is so fresh and raw. I love my families that bring pets for the way their dog (usually) is just one of the crew and eager to please, even know he or she doesn’t understand what I want them to do and we have to play around and improvise.
I just LOVE my clients!
So I’m ready. I’m ready for slow season to be over. I’ve taken care of the business and now I’m ready for the fun. I’m ready to hang out with the people in my pictures again. As much as I love to learn and nurture the business and take care of myself, I can’t wait for my busy season to start again because I really miss my clients!
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