WHAT DO PHOTOGRAPHERS DO IN THE DOWNTIME OF THEIR BUSINESS?

I want to chat about something that’s not often discussed—what we do during our downtime as professional photographers. If you’re like me and run a photography business, you understand that downtime is precious. Early on, when my business was just starting, I didn’t have a clue what to do with my spare time. I had a lot more of it back then, too. My client list was small, and I was still learning about the art of marketing.

The Early Days

Back in those early days, I probably wasted a lot of valuable time. I hadn’t nailed down my email marketing strategies, and while I was on social media, I didn’t have a clear understanding of my target audience and my brand messaging was all over the place.

How I Spend My Downtime Now

Fast forward a few years, my business is flourishing with many clients coming though the door each month, and while I still get some downtime, I know how to make the most of it. These days, my downtime is mainly focused on marketing activities because, let’s face it, marketing is constant when you’re running a business without a dedicated marketing manager. Here’s a breakdown of what I do:

  1. Social Media Marketing
    • I use a tool called Plann That, an amazing social media scheduling app that helps me to batch-process my social media posts in advance. In just less than an hour, I can schedule 5–10 posts complete with captions for the next two weeks. It’s a massive timesaver!
  2. Email Newsletters
    • I send out two newsletters: one for my small business clients and one for fellow photographers. Drafting them during my downtime helps me stay ahead, so when things get busy, I can quickly polish and send them out. For newsletter that look amazing and are easy to design I highly recommend Flodesk. Click here for my affiliate link
  3. Stock Library Submissions
    • Believe it or not, looking through old hard drives for images to submit to stock libraries like Adobe Stock or Wirestock can be incredibly worthwhile. It takes less than five minutes to upload an image, and it’s a great way to generate passive income.
  4. Client Outreach
    • With the end of the financial year approaching in Australia, I’ve been reaching out to past clients to suggest updating their headshots. This type of direct outreach often results in repeat business and reinforces client relationships. I’ve also spent time following up on past leads that have not yet booked.
  5. Promoting My Offers
    • Whether it’s through my broadcast channel on Instagram, LinkedIn, or my email newsletter, I’m always finding new ways to promote my offerings. It’s all about consolidating and distributing my marketing materials effectively.

Planning and Creating Content

Downtime is also an excellent opportunity to plan ahead and have content ready to go when times are busy again in the business. I can create shot form video to use as reel covers, or take shots for cover images on my next freebie opt in. But I also look at my calendar to schedule future workshops and training, especially for my audience of photographers. If I’ve got a bit of a lull, I jump into creating and recording content even batch-recording the podcast.

Refreshing the Photography Business Website

Another productive use of downtime is refreshing your website. Update your portfolio with new images, tweak your website copy to better reflect your current brand, and ensure all your SEO elements are up to date. Even something as mundane as adding alt text to your images can make a big difference in Google rankings. Also think about renaming as many files as possible, if you have been like me in the past and uploaded images without renaming the files to work with Google, now is a great time to fix them up.

Blogging

Lastly, I dive into blogging. I have so much more to share now compared to when I first started. Blog posts provide value to both my business clients and my fellow photographers. And if you feel like writing is not your strength, tools like ChatGPT can help proofread and flesh out your drafts. Plus, your blog content can be repurposed across your email newsletters and social media channels, which becomes a huge time saver.

Hopefully, some of these ideas inspire you to make the most of your downtime. It’s all about thinking a few steps ahead so you’re not scrambling when things get busy. And remember, if you need to, you can always reach out to me on Instagram. Join my broadcast channel for more intimate conversations, polls, and more.

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