If you’re a photographer who lives in a colder climate, it’s likely that your shooting season is compressed like mine. You drive hard from April to November, and your business slows down during the winter months. I love the seasonal nature of my work and actually prefer it to the alternative…the hard part is October. With that in mind, I’ve come up with 4 tips for surviving the busy season!
For the record, I’m colossally failing at each of these tips at some point on any given day in October. Here are four reminders for myself that you’re welcome to read…strategies that re-orient my weary heart (when I’m strong enough to apply them).
Don’t edit on days you shoot.
Maybe that’s not reasonable for us every day, but we can at least edit less. Our clients aren’t refreshing their inboxes looking for our galleries—and, if they are, they don’t value the creative process enough…waiting will be a teacher. Creativity is a large(ish) but exhaustible bank account…eventually, we’ll deplete the funds and write a bad check. It’s counterintuitive to force ourselves to slow down in our busy season, but it’s also counterintuitive to believe our best work can be on our last thread.
Cuddle your muses.
It saddens me to confess that I’m not the only one who suffers in my busy season. My husband and kids suffer too…they’re enduring my distracted state and short temper. The very people who inspired this work, I treat like barriers to success in this season. The irony is that my attitude is self-perpetuating. The crankier I get at my family, the crankier I get at my business…the crankier I get at my business, the crankier I get at my family. How much better to break the cycle and “dance with the one(s) who brung you.”
Remember dreaming about that business you wanted to build? Remember the way your heart ached as you begged for clients to see beauty in your work? Remember looking around wondering where other photographers found all their clients? Gratitude is a word we toss on and off like a favorite hoodie. It feels warm and cozy when we wear it, but we take it off and leave/forget it everywhere. Friend, we need it now more than ever. Gratitude combats grumpiness. This crazy season we’re in?…we asked for it, and the universe delivered. I have to remind myself to count my blessings and…deal. There’s someone out there who would love to be in my shoes.
Our October clients deserve better than a photographer just surviving this season, right? You’ve heard the saying that life is 1% what happens to us and 99% how we react to it. We do actually have choices about our margins/schedule and attitudes amidst the crazy. We need to be gentle with ourselves. Push away from our desks, have healthy boundaries on our output, and do whatever self-care is needed to guarantee that we’re bringing a sense of wholeness into each session. Only in our wholeness will we have the clarity of heart and vision needed to love our clients the way they deserve to be loved.