I won’t lie, running a photography and education business full-time while being a mom of 5 and a firefighter’s wife is a surefire way to feel like you’re constantly running on fumes and always behind on something. But, low-key? I sort of love the chaos of this life — and it’s honestly because I’ve found several foolproof time management strategies for photographers that have made my life so much more manageable.
Being a photographer is all about capturing beautiful moments and memories behind the lens. But it also involves managing a thriving business, maintaining a personal life, and balancing family commitments. Your business and clients are important, but so is your life outside of that! Strong time management is the magic cure to achieving success and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Time Management Strategies for Photographers
I want to share my essential time management strategies for busy photographers who have lives and families outside of their businesses — like you and me!
01. Business Automation
One of the most effective ways to save time is through automation. Aka, setting up pieces of your business to run without you. Try out 1 or 2 of the following techniques to streamline your photography business:
- Email marketing: Use tools like Mailchimp or ConvertKit or another email marketing platform to automate your email marketing campaigns, from sending client newsletters to promoting special offers. You can set up email funnels to automatically deploy emails on a drip schedule that promote your services, offers, or products and make sales for you while you’re off living your life. Slay!
- Social media scheduling: Take advantage of scheduling platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your social posts in advance. This lets you maintain a consistent online presence without spending hours each day on social media.
- Online booking systems: Invest in an online booking system that allows clients to schedule sessions with you, without the need for manual back-and-forth communication. HoneyBook and Dubsado are great client management tools that allow you to automate bookings, communication, contracts, and payment with your clients.
02. Planning Your Sessions
Stellar session planning can seriously improve your efficiency and the quality of your work — and ultimately save time. Consider having a pre-session checklist for each type of photography session you offer. These checklists can help you make sure you have all the necessary equipment ready in advance and you won’t have that nagging “I’m forgetting something” feeling.
Also, do some location scouting to familiarize yourself with shooting locations beforehand to maximize your shooting time during sessions. You can also create shot lists with your clients so that you capture all the desired types of photos during the session. Another way of doing this is asking your client for a mood board on Pinterest of what they hope their session to look like.
03. Outsourcing Time-Consuming Tasks
One of the biggest gifts I can give you is reminding you that you don’t have to do everything on your own. Outsourcing certain tasks can free up your time for more critical responsibilities.
Think about outsourcing your post-processing editing work to professional photo editors. This will give you SO MUCH TIME back, so you can focus on shooting, marketing, and client interactions. (And your life outside of your business, too!)
You can also outsource admin tasks when you hire a virtual assistant to handle emails, appointment scheduling, and other administrative duties.
04. Offering a Product Suite
Diversify your offerings to make the most of each session and maximize your profits while saving some time. One way to do this is by creating package deals. These might include additional services such as prints, albums, or digital files. Packages can increase your average sale per client while saving you time on post-session sales.
You can also host mini-sessions on specific dates to maximize your efficiency and book multiple clients in a single day.
05. Time Blocking and Prioritization
During your deep work times (answering emails, creating marketing content, editing images, etc.), time blocks your work to stay on task and manage your daily schedule efficiently. Prioritize tasks and allocate specific time slots for shooting, editing, marketing, and even personal time. It might take some time to get used to, but honestly, it is one of the most impactful ways to stay on task and get more done in less time.
06. Set Boundaries
Yep, boundaries can be a time saver! Who knew? Communicate clear boundaries between work and personal life, availability, and expectations to clients and your fam so that everyone understands when you are “on” and “off.” Make sure your clients always know exactly what to expect before, during, and after sessions, when you can be reached, and what your turnaround time is like so they know what to expect from the jump.
07. Continued Learning Opportunities
Honestly, the more experienced and knowledgeable you become, the more efficient you become in your craft. Invest in ongoing education to improve your efficiency and stay up-to-date with the latest photography techniques and business trends. Trust me, this investment will pay off in the long run by helping you work smarter, not harder. Investing in my business is one of the greatest time savers I’ve found for my own work-life balance.
As a busy photographer with a life and family outside of your business, effective time management isn’t always easy, but it’s going to be a lifesaver if you can master some of these strategies. By implementing automation, planning sessions meticulously, outsourcing tasks, offering a product suite, and setting boundaries, you can strike a balance between your personal and professional life while thriving in your photography career.
Truly, time management is an ongoing learning process, so regularly come back to and adjust your strategies so you can make the most of your precious time.