Taking photos is maybe 35% of what I do while the rest is post session work as well as maintaining a business. This is just a small peek into most of my work days. Not every photographer works the same but the basics are there for all of us.
Or should I say mounds of paperwork? It's not as bad as it may seem if you stay organized and have a plan right from the start. I have contracts, release forms, receipts, taxes, invoices, quotes, client information, schedules (or 3), and many more! I consider this my foundation because without the files I wouldn't know what was going on or be legally operating for that matter. Paperwork is important!
Without advertising there would be no clients and no one will know of your services. While this is an important aspect it is also time consuming and can require an investment. I'm constantly striving to keep up-to-date with my business social networks, website, newsletters, ads, flyers, and this blog. You may have even spotted me handing out postcards and coupons in the community before. I love connecting with people and try to set aside time each work day for all of these. This is how I am able to keep my prices low while still covering my costs.
I really can't stress this one enough! This is an ever changing world and we all should love what we do enough to want to keep up. I'm always learning new things about my equipment or new processing and editing techniques. Never get comfortable with what you know because there is always something new out there to learn.
While a huge bonus to this job is the beautiful locations, my favorite is meeting great people and giving them amazing photos to treasure. It may take extra time to offer client services such as consultations, extended shoot times, proofs, and schedule showings but it's a time that makes my job worth it! Any one can snap a photo but it takes time and dedication to capture exactly what the client is seeking.
In addition to scheduled photo shoots, design work, and events I also do stock photography which is photos licensed for creative use. This means travel time, numerous photos at a time to process, and then placing them for sale. It's a great way to turn some active time out and about into work.
Once I leave a photo shoot I immediately backup my files (important). Then begins the sit-down work! This is the part where processing and converting files begin and shortly followed by editing. At any given moment I have several programs opened and going on my desktop. Depending on the shoot length and size this can take up to 2 weeks in addition to all my other daily work. The editing is a time where I need to slow down and focus on what finished product I will be showing to my client. It's also usually the part where I get so excited over certain photos I send little sneak peeks as well.
Product and Print Orders
May seem simple and done especially with the great methods of ordering we have available now but for professional prints they must be cut properly and printed right to maintain that crisp clear image. This requires time to size each photo to the clients needs and finding a great, quality assured, and fast printer. I also love creating cards, posters, and other great products with images as well.
To answer a few additional questions I get from time to time:
-Your camera takes great photos!
No my camera doesn't do all the work for me (I wish then I could book more shoots!). I hope that my blog above can help every one understand the level of dedication that goes into each photo. Life passes by too quickly, each moment should be cherished and it's my job to do that well. Saying "Your camera takes great photos" may be an innocent statement but it causes most photographers to want to show you the process and how much heart they put into it. The biggest mistake new photographers make while shooting is saying, "Oh I can fix that in Photoshop." Mistakes can and will show quickly in photos which is why practice and studying are so important for photographers.
-Working from home must be wonderful! I bet you can take nap, watch TV, and relax?
Like going to work with a boss, I take this seriously. I dress for work (most days..we all have our moments) even if I'm not leaving the house. I maintain professionalism while contacting clients, and set schedules/deadlines for everything I do. I'm very busy every day and still have life and my family going on around me as well as running out to shoots, events, meeting clients, design work, and volunteering. Unlike some jobs where you can be gone for a day and come back to a new day's work, I will have to catch up on that missed day plus the current day. Sick days don't happen with a personal business. Then again mom's don't usually get sick days any way do they?
-Why are your prices higher than the mall studio?
While my prices are very low for the local on-site photography market I do understand the hesitation to spend the extra money. The difference between on-site/personal photographers and most chain studios is that you will get the vision you are seeking with a personal photographer. I'm not limited to a studio or pull down backgrounds so I will create an appealing environment for your photos. I offer options for locations or a portable studio space. Also your photos will be edited and specials like black and white photos are not extra. I try to work with every client to help fit their needs so that they don't have to miss out on any moments they love! Photography is an investment in a fast paced world. Instead of taking your family into a crowded chain studio where they may feel uncomfortable or stiff, try an outdoor or in home session where the photos will move with you and in a moment where you can be yourself!