I don’t mind the slow season. It’s nice to enjoy some family time and get some business stuff done. And I get to have extra time to dedicate to personal stuff and side projects. I don’t have a studio and typically the only indoor projects I take on are newborn photo shoots. That means once it gets cold, my slow season begins! It’s funny- when you get snow in Eau Claire, the family photography business slows way down!
This year my slow season has included finishing up work on a book cover, a few rounds of head shots, and taking several workshops. (I LOVE TO LEARN!). I’ve even taken a couple digital marketing classes because marketing/communications was my career before photography. I like to stay in the loop. In addition to more formal workshops and classes, I’ve watched more webinars than I can count! Hopefully I’ll have a few new tricks up my sleeve when I start my 2019 family and couples season!
I’ve also taken the time this slow season to launch my website (still needs a few tweaks). My new online system will help me manage things like sending out things like brochures, proposals, contracts, taking payments online, and organizing my projects. Also with that I’ve designed style guides and photo session guides to send out so my clients know what to expect during a photo session. I’m excited to have all of those things available and I think they are going to make photo sessions so much easier. (If you’ve worked with me, my previous contracts were print, sign, scan/email or mail… 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 my clients that adjusted their schedules to get in during the windows of time I could lift! Some squeezed in sessions before surgeries or booked between lifting restriction windows. 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 St. Paul/Minneapolis. 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! If you’re looking for an Eau Claire Family Photographer, I’m your girl and I’m READY!