It’s a common misconception that us photographers work 24/7. Evenings, weekends, holidays, and just about any other time in between we’re often expected (more than any other non-urgent profession like pilots, doctors or, you know, chefs) to work whenever we’re called upon.
But, friends, I’m here to liberate you from that. From this day forward, I hereby grant you permission to say ‘NO’.
In my own photography business I work when it suits me. That is, I set my own designated business hours – and it’s been working just fine for me so far.
I want my business to fit into my life, not the other way around. So, when it comes to booking sessions on evening and weekends, you have to first ask yourself if you actually want to work at those times of day.
If you don’t mind, by all means – go for it! Just make sure you price your skills, time and the high level of service you provide in a way that feels good and, that also pays the bills.
I used to believe I had to be open on the weekend in order to be profitable. So I worked every Saturday. I’d work right through my cherished weekends simply because I thought that was what I was supposed to do as a photographer.
I’d be stuck at my studio missing out on time with my family, social gatherings with friends, and other special occasions. It sucked.
So, I decided to only schedule one Saturday a month. This Saturday would be booked solid from opening to closing. And I hated every minute of it.
Then I decided to double my session fees on the weekend in the hopes that it would persuade people to come during the week instead. To my surprise, people actually paid double! I couldn’t believe it, and, guess what? I still hated every minute of working on the weekends.
So, I decided that I wasn’t going to do it anymore.
I closed up my Saturdays for good. I know that might seem drastic, but then someone told me something that put it all in perspective, and I’ve never looked back.
They said: “You wouldn’t expect to get your teeth cleaned on a Saturday, would you? So why would you expect to get your portraits made on a Saturday?”
Amen to that!
Occasionally I’ll have people say they can only do weekends. In that case I’ll refer them on to another photographer who works weekends. Fortunately this rarely happens and most people understand that I have a life and a family and are happy to respect my business boundaries.
So my advice to you is this: if you don’t enjoy photographing at a certain time or on a particular day, change it.
There’s no need to make yourself miserable because you falsely believe you’re obligated. It’s still possible to run a successful business while having a life – who would have thunk it!
At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you and your business. If you spend all your time running around trying to please everyone and do everything, you’ll burn out – fast. I created a free training a while back on avoiding photographer burnout – go check it out here.
If you do like working weekends, but still want a social life, make those sessions at a premium price – if you’re going to lose weekends or evenings, at least make it worth your time by valuing your time and skills accordingly.
Whether you shoot 9-5 or crazy out of hours times, you must always provide your clients with the highest possible quality products and services – because there’s no better (FREE) promotion than your best clients singing your praises loud and clear from the rooftops!
If you have questions on how to set your prices, build your brand or grow your photography business, I’d love to help. Leave me a comment below and I’ll get you an answer right away!
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