Photography is sometimes a fair-weather business — outdoor portrait photographers often see few clients in the snow, brides tend to keep wedding photographers busiest during the summer, and families often schedule their pictures in time to print Christmas cards. Often, the slow season is a welcome time to take a minute to breathe after the heyday of weeks packed with sessions. But, once you’ve caught your breath, the slow season can also be a time to put the camera down and start thinking business strategy. Here are five ways for photographers to expand during the slow season.
Reconsider your pricing.
Just how busy was your busy season? If you are booking every available slot in your industry’s busiest season, you may want to consider a price increase. Many busy photographers stay busy — or at least earn the same amount of money in less time — even as they increase their prices to reflect their growing skills. Busy season not so busy? It may be time to reconsider your prices or consider broadening the scope of what your business offers.
Launch an early booking special.
Encourage clients to meet with you during your slowest weeks by offering a booking special in your least busiest months. Wedding photographers, for example, could throw in free prints or a discount for brides that book during the slow winter months. Besides helping to avoid scheduling meets with future clients between shots in the busy season, those early deposits may be helpful financially during the slow months too.
Update your portfolio.
Now that you’re through the flurry of sessions, take some time to update your portfolio with your very best shots. Photography is a continuous learning process, so naturally, you should continue to update your portfolio with your best work as your skills expand.
Write and schedule blog posts in advance.
The busy season often leaves little time for things like blogging or planning marketing projects. Get some breathing room by doing these projects in the slowest months — and then scheduling them for later. Most blogging and social media platforms allow users to schedule posts well in advance. While of course you can’t share photos from recent shoots until after the actual shoot, generating some how-to’s and helpful tips for clients that aren’t time sensitive can help strengthen your online presence without the stress of tackling the same tasks in the busiest months.
Re-design your marketing materials — or add helpful client guides.
Just like clothing trends, graphic design tends to go in and out of style. How dated does your website look? What about your business cards? If you’re happy with the way your current brand publications look, consider expanding those documents in a way that’s helpful to clients. Wedding photographers can design their own checklist for brides. Portrait photographers can craft a “what to wear” or “what to expect” packet to ward off potential snafus before they happen. Adding an FAQ section to an existing website can often save photographers time by not repeating the most common client questions.
Photographers often deserve a chance to put their feet up and take a break after the stress of their busiest season. But, the slow season can also be a great time for photographers to look for new ways to improve by digging into business strategy and looking for new ways to expand.