8 Things to Do During the Slow Season | TKP Education
As we enter the month of November, we want to share how grateful we are to have such a supportive community of photographers. Hopefully your busy season is winding down and you find yourself planning ahead for the slower season.
It can be simple to become distracted with all of the day-to-day to-do's of a small business that we forget how to best plan our time to work on our businesses when given the opportunity.
Or, it can be equally as easy to fall into the rut of crashing and not getting anything done once we have a moment of spare time!
The team here at The Kindred Path has compiled a list of eight things you can work on during this slow season to help you, your business, and how to move forward.
We hope you find this helpful!
1. Write a list of 1-3 goals you want to have accomplished by the end of next year.
It's always best to start with the end in mind. We find that if we know exactly where we want to be months, or even years, down the road, we can intentionally plan our paths moving forward.
Once you have an idea of what you would like to accomplish, identify the smaller steps needed to achieve your goal. Perhaps you want to be fully booked over the course of next year. What needs to happen to achieve that? Do you need to blog weekly or post five times a week to social media?
Some goals will have multiple smaller steps, and it's important to know that. If you know what needs to be done to accomplish each goal, you are much more likely to be successful.
Lastly, schedule check-in points over the course of the year to assess yourself on how well you are reaching your goal(s).
2. Work on your website.
Our website represents our brand, who we are, and what we do. When clients are looking for a photographer, it is likely they are browsing multiple photographers' websites. Ensure your website includes your location, what you do, and easy access to your work. Although these points may sound obvious, they are likely the first areas a client is looking for. You need to ensure they don't have to hunt to find them - a potential client is likely to leave your website if they don't see this information within seconds.
Additionally, the winter months may be a good time to work on your website's SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO is how clients find you when typing in relevant keywords on Google. SEO is a powerful funnel - probably one of the most important - because potential clients go to Google to specifically find answers to a problem. They don't "stumble upon" your profile by accident, which is easy to do with social media. Clients are actively looking for a solution to their problem, in this case finding a family, maternity, or newborn photographer.
3. Find New and Inspiring Locations!
By the end of the busy season, sometimes it can be hard to be inspired when you've worked in the same locations time after time. The winter slow down can be a wonderful opportunity to get out and explore. Maybe you've been dreaming of doing a creekside session in the summer, or are looking for the perfect rolling hillside. We know how limited our time can be with full calendars, so use these winter days to get out in the sunshine and scout out some new spots that you'll be thrilled to share with your clients. Once you've found a few new locations, you can use them as a content for a blog post and/or design a location guide to include in client welcome packages.
4. Work on a New or Developing Skill
One of our favorite things about being a creative is that the sky is the limit in terms of growth and development. We try to never put ourselves inside of a box, because finding inspiration in new things is what really keeps us going when we feel like we need a fresh perspective on our craft.
Do you consider yourself a natural light photographer? What better time to see what artificial light can do for you in those scenarios when natural lighting is just not ideal. If you're used to shooting outdoors 99% of the time, grab a friend and get creative with posing, movement, or lighting indoors.
Have you been considering using film? Shooting that first roll can be scary, but also so surprisingly exhilarating . Getting started doesn't have to be a huge investment, especially if you are willing to start with 35mm to see if it's a fit for you. Not to mention our "slow season" is typically found in those cold months right after the holidays, so *hint hint* maybe add a few rolls of film to your holiday wish list.
5. Do a Model Call
We talk a lot about finding your style around here, and it's one of those things that can really up your game in the family photography world. The more you advertise using images that fit your brand, the easier it will be to find your ideal client match.
At least once or twice a year we like to do a model call, where we get to control all the elements of a session to perfectly fit our own vision and creativity. There are plenty of ways photographers do this, whether you offer a set amount of images for free to the models or just call on some good friends to get creative with you, but however you do it, make sure you get the final say on date, time, location, and wardrobe.
We like to think of these as a styled shoot, compiled with all of our favorite elements. What are your go-to brands for family wardrobes? What location have you always wanted to shoot? What is your favorite type of session to shoot (newborn, young children, large families, motherhood)? Planning these during slow season gives you an opportunity to really think through and build your brand the way you want to, without any restrictions.
6. Enhance Your Studio Space
If you're fortunate enough to have a studio, you can use some of your downtime this season to enhance the space. Perhaps you could paint a wall or a backdrop for additional options during a session. Maybe hang some textiles to create depth and texture for a more styled session. Creating different vignettes in which to place your clients will create for a more diverse gallery and inspire creativity during your time together.
7. Get Organized
It's really important to ensure everything you need for your sessions and your clients are ordered, prepared, and written out clearly before business picks back up. This includes your inquiry forms, emails, pricing guides, prep guides, studio samples, rack cards, and anything unique you offer. Have your entire workflow organized so when you're busy, you're working efficiently. Organize your office, your client wardrobe, your film and memory cards, organize it all. This could also include drafting blogs with your SEO keywords so you're able to blog your sessions with ease when the time comes. Work smarter, not harder (preaching to ourselves here, too!).
8. Cohesive Branding
Okay, so you've scouted for the perfect locations, took some model calls to fit your ideal clientele, have a stunning website, practiced some new skills, wrote down your goals for the year, and everything is organized and ready to go... right?
If you want to be consistently hired by your ideal clients then you need to go through every single detail of your business and see if you have a cohesive brand. Does the copy on your website resonate with the images you're sharing? Do your guides align with your email inquiry response and your website copy? Does your brand clearly speak and showcase the same style and wording or is it all over the place?
Take your time to clearly identify who your ideal client is and make sure when you do each of the 7 steps above, you have your ideal client and brand in mind. It should all flow cohesively.
P.S. - Don't forget to take time to have fun. Just because business is slow, doesn't mean you're failing. Taking time to relax and enjoy your friends and family doesn't make you a bad business owner. When you're scouting for locations or working on a new skill, play around and have fun. Fun sparks imagination & creativity!
Adrianne Shelton, Beatific Visions Photography
Becca Allen, Becca Allen Photography
Lauren Sosler, Lauren Sosler Photography
Marie Tilkens, Marie Elizabeth Photography