June is notably a busy and stressful month for everyone, with many events, such as weddings and holidays. In particular, the summer months can be hectic for photographers and videographers as this tends to be the wedding season. Especially now after the global pandemic, where over two years’ worth of weddings were continuously cancelled and postponed, resulting in a backlog of weddings for the upcoming year. This means that everything relating to weddings is in high demand, albeit caterers, venues, planners, photographers, etc.
Understandably, a wedding is quite a stressful time for everyone involved, and now with the new circumstances, it is even more stressful than ever before. Read on to find some tips to help manage wedding stress as a photographer by implementing a booking system, and using organisation and time management techniques.
Implement a booking system
Implementing a booking system may seem like the most obvious option for some, especially for established photographers. However, this feature could save any new or budding photographers from a lot of stress during busy periods. Booking software like SimplyBook.me has free plans available and paid plans that offer much more customisation and features.
Implementing a booking system has many benefits, allowing you to set workdays and days off. When a new client wants to book, the system will show when you are available. You can sync your personal calendar with your work calendar and employees to show when you are available. There is no opportunity for errors in double booking, as both the client and you have the same view of the available dates.
Other benefits of using a booking system include getting bookings through Facebook, Instagram, and Google and sending automatic reminders to your customers to reduce no-shows. Using a system like SimplyBook.me also allows you to accept payments and deposits online, and you can offer gift cards for your services. You can view the full range of features suitable for photographers on the SimplyBook.me website.
Organisation is one thing which you either love or hate. Personally, I’m a lover of organisation and planning. Although, some might view it as a tedious and ineffective task that results in even more work. The issue with this is that usually, these people are not organising in a way that works for them.
There are many different ways to organise; you just need to find the right one which works for you. Some people like to make lists and tick every task off as it gives them a sense of accomplishment. Some prefer a planner – either digital or good old pen and paper. Others make a process for their daily tasks and live religiously by it as it never fails them. No set way works for everyone, so try different methods and see which works best for you and your business.
An example for a new wedding photographer could be to make a list of required shots with the client. The list should be realistic and manageable for the photographer in terms of skill and ability and coincide with the wedding timeline. It is also helpful as a guide and gives the photographer something to refer back to.
Why is it important?
Organising your work allows you to prepare for a job better as you can plan everything out and have a clear plan of action to get the job done. Not only does organising help reduce stress, but it also promotes productivity – especially in the work environment. There is nothing worse as a creative than feeling burnt out, unmotivated and uninspired. By organising yourself and your workspace, you will likely feel more inspired and productive and less likely to feel burnt out.
Managing your time
There is no point in organising and planning if you can’t manage your time. It’s likely to leave you more stressed. Managing your time goes hand in hand with organising yourself, but it is sometimes easier said than done.
An essential step in managing your time is to list all the tasks that need doing to have an overview. The next step would be to schedule these tasks using the time batching method.
You might be wondering what is time batching? Well, batching time is where you group similar tasks and block out time to focus on them. It is an effective method proven to improve focus, save time and alleviates stress. The theory behind it is that you spend so much mental energy going back and forth between different tasks, making you less productive and motivated and resulting in more mistakes.
Time batching works for any task as long as they are similar and use the same energy level or time. For example, you would batch replying to emails and responding to social media comments and schedule them for a time when you have a lower energy level. Another batch would be for time-consuming tasks, such as culling and editing photos; as these take up quite a lot of your day, you should schedule enough time for them.
Overall, time management is a necessary skill for a photographer, but don’t worry if time batching doesn’t work for you. You can try plenty of other methods, such as the Eisenhower Matrix. This technique segments your tasks into four categories; Urgent & Important, Important but not urgent, urgent but not essential, and neither important nor urgent. The Eisenhower Matrix helps to establish which tasks should be a priority, ones that can go on the back burner and those you can perhaps delegate or outsource.
A personal favourite for managing my time is the Pomodoro technique, where you add all the tasks that need doing. The application sets the timer in twenty-five-minute intervals with a break between five and fifteen minutes. This technique helps with longer jobs as it breaks them down into smaller chunks so that you do quality, uninterrupted work, and then during the breaks, you can check notifications and grab a snack. The Pomodoro technique is helpful for tasks like editing, where you usually spend hours upon hours, and it can get straining rather quickly. For a job like this, it is better to plan it into sections, for example editing the first two scenes of the wedding in the first interval, then a short five-minute break followed by the following two scenes etc.
Being a photographer can be demanding as most are usually self-employed, running their own business. So there is a lot more than just photography going on—things like payments, bookings, taxes, cleaning equipment, editing, etc. Implementing a booking system is a crucial step when having your own business. It takes a lot of pressure off of you through the automation features and it keeps everything available in one place for your potential clients. Finding techniques that work for you using organisation and time management techniques can help reduce stress, especially during busy periods when things are more chaotic. Overall though, the most important thing is to take care of yourself – take regular breaks when necessary; there will always be more editing waiting.