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6 Things for Photographers to Tackle During the Slow Season

6 Things for Photographers to Tackle During the Slow Season

In nearly every genre of photography, there’s often a slow season — maybe because the weather has turned and none wants to shoot photos in the snow or maybe simply because that particular industry has a slow season. And while photographers should spend some of that slow season taking a much-needed break, there are other things photographers can do even when photo sessions are thinning out. Here’s six ideas to improve while in the middle of a slow season.

Update your website.

Updating the website often takes a backseat in the middle of the busy season — so use the slow time to catch up. If you’ve been good about getting new photos online quickly, you could still potentially find areas to refresh, like updating the home page or adding a page of new information clients have been asking for. Now is also a great time to integrate better SEO tactics to help more potential clients find you.

Brainstorm and plan seasonal shoots.

Get a jump start by planning ahead some of the sessions that usually happen during the not-so-slow seasons. Mark holidays that would be great for mini sessions, develop new specials for a holiday season or plan something entirely new for later in the year. Take the slower season to also slow down mentally — and open up ideas for new ways to improve when your brain isn’t so filled with all the demanding tasks of a busy season.

Clean your gear.

Hopefully, you occasionally clean off your lenses and such, but the slow season is a great time for a more thorough cleaning. Check your camera sensor for dust spots. Match each lens cap to a lens. Clean out your camera bag from the papers wrappers and other unneeded items that tend to accumulate. If you have photo gear that you’ve recently replaced or don’t need anymore, now is also a great time to clean that out and sell the used gear online.

Schedule social media posts.

Social media may be largely in the here and now — but there’s often a number of posts you can schedule ahead of time to keep your updates more consistent. Start a series about tips or other written posts. Create several #ThrowbackThursday posts. Pre-write those holiday posts wishing followers the best on the day.

Look for new places to publish.

Just because you aren’t out shooting doesn’t mean you can’t find a new spot for your pictures. Exactly what this process looks like depends on what industry you are in, but look for a new place to publish your pictures. Wedding photographers could submit to magazines, and many photographers can send shots that weren’t used to a stock photography platform, for example.

Learn something new.

As artists, there is always a way for photographers to improve. Take the slow season to learn something new. Identify what your weaknesses are whether that’s lighting or business skills and take an online class or pick up a book on the subject. Or, get out of a creative rut by experimenting with an entirely new genre or subject.

Working as a photographer often means an unequal distribution of work throughout the year — but that slow season can just be another opportunity for growth.

4 Ways For Small Businesses To Grow Through The Slow Season

4 Ways For Small Businesses To Grow Through The Slow Season

Every small business dreads it, but every business sees it: the slow season. As sales slow, sometimes predictably with the changing of the seasons and sometimes not, small business owners face the temptation to sit and worry, every cent carefully calculated. But getting creative during slow sales seasons can help small businesses create new opportunities for growth. Here are four suggestions.

Partner with a charity.

Give customers another reason to come through your doors through giving. Create an event or a sale that centers around a charity, either one that’s somehow related to your business or one that your target customer is likely to support. There are a number of different approaches businesses can take — for example, some will offer a discount for donations to a canned food drive in store, others will choose a day where a percentage of the profit is donated. Yes, you’ll be giving some profit away, but you’ll also be getting people through the doors.

Find a reason to celebrate.

Slow seasons tend to be scattered in between major holidays — so why not create your own when sales are slow? The suggestion, by The Balance, is to create a day celebrating something related to your product that helps get customers into the store. Look for quirky holidays that actually exist — from National Potato Chip Day to National Middle Child’s Day — or create your own centered around your project. Then, create an in-store tie-in, like free potato chips.

Get visual.

Give customers a reason to walk into your store with a creative display. Sometimes, something as simple as a sidewalk sale helps, while other scenarios could mean getting fancy with the window display or even expanding your reach by creating a contest — customers will probably head into the store after checking out the other entries. If your audience includes parents, make it a kids contest. Once you’re finished, expand the visuals even more by taking photos and video to share.

Bulk up on social media.

Social media is a great way to connect with customers without a big advertising budget — and chances are, if you are slow, you have the time to create a few posts anyways. First, create posts for those charity events and made up holidays, because if people don’t know you are running an event, it’s not going to do much good. Look for high-quality images and video to increase engagement, either through stock photography, learning how to take your own or hiring a professional. Then, schedule some posts ahead of time for your busy season while you have the time — followers will notice your desperation if you are only posting during slow seasons.

Part of running a small business is accepting the slow times with the busy ones — but accepting doesn’t mean you have to sit back and twiddle your thumbs. Take advantage of the down time to brainstorm some creative, cost-effective methods for reaching out to new customers and encouraging return customers. Try a charity event, a made-up or obscure holiday, new displays or stepping up the social media campaigning.

5 Ways For Professional Photographers to Expand During the Slow Season

5 Ways For Professional Photographers to Expand During the Slow Season

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.