How many times have you added ‘make time for photography’ in your new year’s resolutions list or your weekly TDL and then never actually got around to doing it? If the answer is “plenty”, then don’t worry, you are not alone. You may be a professional photographer, but there may be times when you get bogged down by the countless other tasks you have to perform to keep your business running, including post-production. But it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. Finding time for photography can be made possible when you adopt strategies that increase your efficiency. Things like outsourcing some aspects of your business, using a client management system, and smart photo editing tools could not only help you work more efficiently but perhaps even enable you to offer a better experience to your clients. Stick around, and we will tell you all about how you don’t have to have some grand plan to take out time to capture more of those stunning images.
Setting Up Systems To Make More Time For Photography
Outsourcing tasks that don’t require your expertise or tasks that you are not an expert at or tasks that you find daunting and always push to the end of your TDL but are still necessary are the ones you could consider outsourcing to an expert. Photographers' workdays involve multiple action items, but you could consider outsourcing tasks like blogging, bookkeeping, and even photo editing. This way, you save time to do more important things like taking more photos, booking more clients, and even learning techniques to enhance the way you shoot or run your business. Many photographers are often scared or nervous about letting go of that control over these tasks, but when you find the right fit for you and your company, outsourcing turns out to be one of the reasons why you boost business and success. Pro tip: If you are considering outsourcing your photo editing jobs, then ShootDotEdit is one of the best in the business.
2. Subscribe To A Reliable Studio Management System
A reliable studio management system can help you immensely. From replying to inquiry emails and onboarding your clients to reminding you about their birthdays and anniversaries and handling the payment schedule - a studio management software can do all of this and even more for your business and help you make time for photography. As a photographer, your time is best spent when you are actually shooting, but with running a business come several other tasks that don’t necessarily need you to take out hours from your workday each day. Replying to the same kind of email repeatedly takes up time and patience that you could otherwise be using while taking photos. Therefore, when you get a software that automates these tasks for you and does them without you having to take out the time to pay any attention to it, you save time and also run your business more efficiently.
3. Automate Your Business
Automating certain parts of your photography business doesn’t mean making your business more robotic or less human per se, but more about ensuring that you don’t waste time every day performing tasks that could easily be done on their own. If you are not a fan of studio management software, you could simply automate tasks such as your marketing or emails as well. How many times have you had to reply to potential clients asking about your price list or your hours or payment options? When you create email templates and set up a system that responds back with a relevant template each time you get an email from a client, you free up your time and make time for photography. Think about all those hours you spent replying to emails and responding back with the same information to multiple clients - you could save all that time by automating those repetitive tasks.
4. Speed Up Photo Editing
Photo editing is a crucial part of your job - no matter what genre you have chosen. If you are not ready to let go of that control or simply don’t want to outsource the photo editing aspect of your photography business, you could apply the ‘work smarter, not harder’ motto to your post-production photo editing tasks instead. Lightroom is a great photo editing software, and while it may be a great tool for you to create masterpieces for your clients, it can also help you make time for photography. How? You might want to consider reading up on and creating some Lightroom presets for that. Moreover, it’s not just photo editing that can be sped up with software. If culling ends up taking multiple hours of your time after every shoot, then you could consider turning to AfterShoot - a tool that allows you to quickly and automatically select, rate, and find your best photos.
Besides using Lightroom presets to speed up your photo editing process, you could also use ImagenAI, a personalized photo editing assistant that integrates with Lightroom to make your editing process even more efficient and easier. Luminar AI is Luminar’s AI photo editor that deals with the ‘more boring’ tasks of your job so you can focus on making more time for photography and focusing on the creative part of being a photographer. It saves you time by automating edits with the help of artificial intelligence, gives you great results, and offers educational tutorials that help you learn how to use the software. This next one is a treat for photographers who photograph people. With ON1 Portrait AI, “flawless retouching is just a click away”. It uses machine learning to find every face in your photo and adds just the right amount of retouching to the skin, eyes, and mouth, giving you professional results in no time at all. With all of these advantages that AI tools bring you, get ready to check that ‘make more time for photography’ task in your list.
5. Believe In The Power Of Scheduling
Your social media platforms are important for your business. Besides increasing your brand’s exposure and creating your digital portfolio, social media also helps boost business and allows potential clients to easily get access to you. But as important as it is, is it necessary for you to spend time every day to plan and post something on your pages? Well, not when you want to systemize your business and work more efficiently. Instead of taking out time every day to plan and post, you could simply use a social media management tool that lets you plan ahead. Planoly, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite are some of the social media management tools that you could use to plan your social media timeline even a month ahead. That way, you take out ONE day to plan everything and then just forget about it. The software will do the posting automatically according to the time you’ve set.
Other Ways To Make More Time For Photography
Sometimes, putting systems in place might help to make time for photography but might not motivate you to actually go out there and start taking photos. If that sounds like something that happens to you, here are some things you could do to push yourself to utilize that time.
1. Join A Class Or A Group
Are you planning to try out a new style or learn a new photography technique? Or do you just want to experiment with a different genre of photography? Either way, joining a class or a photography group could eventually help you get out of your comfort zone and take more photos. When you get together with people with the same goals and interests, you are more likely to be motivated and inspired to achieve your goals.
2. Focus On Practice Instead Of Perfection
Sometimes, even as a professional photographer, you might get obsessed with this idea of perfection. And while it’s always a good business practice to offer your clients the best, the chase for perfection might sometimes hinder you from experimenting with your craft. Making time for more photography doesn’t necessarily mean that each shot you take should be a masterpiece, but you could simply use that time to try out new tricks, perspectives, and angles that you can then use when you are on an assignment. Not every photograph is going to be perfect, but the journey to taking that perfect shot is more likely what will make you learn things that you wouldn’t be able to learn if you were fixated on perfection.
3. Make It A Challenge
Challenges can be good. They can motivate you to do more and do better. You could challenge yourself or get other photographers involved in it too. For example, you could do a 30-day challenge where you take a photograph a day or a 365-day challenge where you do the same thing. If you want to add a creative twist to the challenge, that’s your choice. Anything that motivates you to either make time for photography or simply use your free time to take more photos. Once the challenge is done, we bet it’s going to be a great feeling to look back and see how you utilized your time to achieve goals that will benefit you professionally and personally.
Suggested Read: How To Make Money As A Landscape Photographer
4. Hire An Assistant
Lessening your load is one of the easiest ways to make time for photography. Hiring an assistant, who is the right fit for your business needs, can help to lessen the workload and also help you run your photography business more efficiently. From scheduling meetings and handling the onboarding process to client communications and taking care of all the backend work when you are out photographing - the right assistant can really help to seamlessly manage all the business side of your work and allow you to experiment with your creativity too.
5. Create A Strict Schedule
Whether it’s setting your work hours or the time of day you take out for meditation - a schedule can essentially be your reminder to finish your tasks. Similarly, if you incorporate ‘take photos of abc’ into your schedule daily or weekly, you could then get into the habit of doing that without feeling like you have to take out extra time for photography. When you add this task into your schedule, it automatically becomes a part of your day, and just like you would perform any other task that you’ve written in your schedule, taking more photos just becomes another task that you can then check off from your TDL. It always helps to think of it as more than something that you just need to cross from your TDL, but if that’s what motivates you to get out there and let your creative juices flow, then that’s that.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Even though it may seem like it sometimes, making time for photography doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. If it seems like it, then we would highly recommend trying out any of the tips we have suggested above or simply modifying them to fit your business model. Every time you get stuck in this cycle where you can’t seem to make time to take photos, remember why you chose to become a photographer. Your marketing techniques, social media, popularity - nothing can replace your photography skills. And that’s why it’s important to keep honing them. When you make time for photography, you don’t just make time to take more photos. You are essentially making time for evolving as a photographer and giving your clients a better experience. Even when you choose to automate or rely on a client management system to handle tasks that you previously thought you had to take care of, you are not ruining the experience for your clients or potential clients. So whether you systemize your business or challenge yourself and adopt different ways to make more time for photography - choose whatever works for you.
We strive to help photographers be great creatives and business owners too. We hope this blog has given you some insight on how to make more time for photography and encourages you to do more of what you love. For more photography tips, check out the rest of our blogs.