Work – Life Balance for Wedding Photographers

Work/life balance. We all talk about it and I think most of us would like more of it! When you run your own small business it’s so easy to let it consume your life. As wedding photographers we make a commitment to our clients that we’ll be there on their wedding day months and sometimes years in advance knowing that we’ll miss all of the usual stuff that normal people do on weekends – watch the kid’s soccer games, go to birthday parties, go out for dinner on a Saturday night. However if you can’t remember the last time you had a day off, your significant other wonders if you still share a home, your friends and family have given up on asking you to stuff, you don’t ever shut your computer down…then this post is for you. Obviously everyone’s schedule/home life is different but here are some things to consider and try:

– Set up your schedule to avoid reaching your breaking point. You might need one weekend off every month or one off every six months, just make sure you schedule it!

– You can set any policy you like as long as you’re clear about it and your clients are not caught unawares. For example I don’t do engagement shoots on weekends. I’m either shooting a wedding or spending time with my husband.  I let my clients know that engagement shoots take place on weekdays only. In the summer you can shoot until late in the evening and even in spring or fall they’ll usually only need to skip out of work an hour or two early. I have a limited number of weekend appointments for an additional charge of $300 and this is clearly stated in their contract.

– Set “office hours” and after that time turn off the computer and be present with your family. Yes, it’s important to be responsive but you don’t really need to reply to an email at 11pm.

– Book family/friend/date night appointments into your calendar and treat them like client meetings i.e. don’t cancel them! If a client asks if you’re available that day/evening you don’t have to go into a ton of detail “Oh but I haven’t seen my husband for 3 weeks…” just say “I’m not available at that time but I do have these dates/times free right now.”

– Weddings usually take place on weekends, so figure out if you need a weekend-replacement day, maybe Wednesday becomes your Saturday

– Consider raising your prices, if you’re booked flat out and the volume of inquiries/meetings/client communication/engagement shoots/weddings/editing is killing you, it might be time to put the prices up! You’ll probably see a drop in volume but you’ll be doing less/same work for more money

– Look at how you’re spending your time. For a week or two keep a quick time log of how you’re spending your days. You may find out that you’re spending too much time on activities that don’t move your business forward

– Consider going offline for a few hours a day. You can still work at your computer but you won’t have constant interruptions from email/distractions from facebook!

– Remember to consider outsourcing to free up more time

 

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