Somebody, somewhere has decided that Sunday & Monday are the days that photographers should be taking off. And we agree that everyone needs time with friends & family, time to catch up on Netflix, and time to do the laundry. But is your work schedule working for you?
Most photographers are out shooting Friday and Saturday- because, let’s face it, that is when clients are available and most weddings are scheduled. So if you take off Sunday and Monday, that’s possibly four full days before you’re able to respond to clients. We think everyone in the world understands that “Inbox Zero” at the end of every day is not always attainable. However, after four days of radio silence, some clients will move right on down their list of potential photographers.
Next you need to think about when the rest of the world is raring to go- Monday morning. They’ve been out having adventures, relaxing with friends, enjoying a date, and thinking about you! Photos are typically something people need sooner rather than later, so they are excited to book their session (and check one more thing off their list). One business-savvy photographer we talked to about this said her Google Analytics tells her that the best “client contact” days are right after a Facebook post, immediately following a newsletter send-out, and, you guessed it…Monday.
Now, some of you may have family or religious obligations on Sundays. We completely believe that family and core beliefs should always come first. So, if that’s you, feel free to skip over this part (and please take Sunday off). Notwithstanding said obligations, if you are willing to work Sunday, you could reap the financial rewards. Many portrait photographers find that when they open up Sunday, they actually book more Sunday than Saturday sessions. Why? Soccer, swimming, birthday parties, BBQs, etc. usually happen on Saturdays. This means that clients are generally more available on Sundays. Here is some quick math to consider… even if you only take one session each Sunday at a weekend rate of $400 per sesh, that is roughly an extra $20k a year in your pocket. And that’s not including the associated product sales which would likely be much, much more. Cha-ching!
Most photographers need to make a living at this. But that is not why we got into it. We love photography. So you don’t want to reach complete burn-out by focusing only on the dollars.
But there is an idea here of maximizing the most lucrative work hours, and having your life in the less financially productive hours.
Here is an example of how one photographer that we know has her schedule set-up, based on this concept. She works 7 days a week. But only half days, except for Saturday, which she works a full day. This allows her to return client inquiries daily, and take advantage of those lucrative Saturday and Sunday shooting hours and slightly higher weekend rates. It also allows her to pick up her kids from school, take them to sports practice, and make them a healthy dinner- which are all important to her.
We’re not suggesting that your schedule look exactly like the example. There will be times in your life where having any kind of predictability will be impossible. But we are suggesting that you think about your schedule in a more deliberate way so you can maximize your work hours, and spend time doing the things that are really important to you in your personal time.
One last thing we want to encourage is a fairly clear distinction between your work and personal hours. This helps you focus your energy with less guilt all around. And it will also allow you to avoid the feeling that you never stop working. So no online shopping for shoes while booking sessions. And no checking your phone twenty times while at the zoo with your kids. Clear boundaries, people! Clear boundaries.
When you are finished with your photo session or wedding, do you feel a bit like that guy that was recently dragged off the airplane, semi-conscious and bleeding? Because that is basically what it feels like when you’ve lost control of your clients.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to reclaim the power.
Letting your clients know you’re worth it, and setting early expectations for a fantastic experience.
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