As an independent, client-focused event photographer, it can be easy to let your own needs fall by the wayside. As your skills, reputation and clientele grow, your free time dwindles to almost nothing. Here are a few ways you can restore your sanity, take back some time and get what you really want out of your photography business.
If you're the kind of go-getter who sets up shop and hustles for clients, you're probably not used to taking breaks. You may feel fine when you first start your business, but you'll quickly burn out if you never take a rest. Make it a habit to take short breathers whenever you can, even if it's just for a five-minute lull at an event. When you cover multiple events on the same day, try to schedule an hour or two in between, as well. You'll feel refreshed, and you'll probably produce better work for your customers.
Pack a snack.
Tired, irritable or unable to focus on the job? You might just be hungry! We all forget to eat sometimes, and you may not even feel any hunger pangs, but a little bit of quick energy can make a big difference in your well-being and mood. Start carrying some protein bars, fruit and dried nuts in your bag or car, and nibble on them throughout the day. You might just find a second wind on those all-day shoots.
Plan time off.
Short, daily breaks can only help so much. It's tough to pry yourself away from your own business, but everyone needs a break from time to time. If you're already feeling burnt out; start looking at your schedule and future commitments to see when you might be able to get away. Once you've made your plans, stick to them! In the long run, that break will help you and your business a lot more than one gig you choose to turn down.
Ask for perks.
Those small snacks aren't going to carry you through an entire day's work, either. Chances are most of your events feature some kind of food – ask for some! Caterers prep most spreads well ahead of time, and they'll probably be able to give you a meal before the festivities begin. One more plate won't cost your clients much (if anything), but it'll make a big difference to your workday.
Raise your rates.
Want to make the same amount of money – or more – in less time? Charge more! That may seem too simple, but you can't expect to grow and improve your business without ever raising your rates. Far too many event photographers work side jobs because they're afraid to charge professional rates. Once you've built a portfolio and established a good track record, there's no reason you should suffer through low-paying gigs.
As a freelancer, you're always going to have times when your work piles up. At some point, though, you'll need to consider what you really want out of your business. If you never have any free time, and if you're always exhausted – is the money really worth it? Establish a happy work-life balance by not overbooking.
Want more tips to help you grow and expand your photography business? Download the free guide, “Best Business Practices for Event Photographers” today.