Self Care During Wedding Season
It’s wedding season and you’re feeling it. Between the 6 weddings you still need to finish, the 3 you need to send out, the contracts you need to have signed, the bride emails filling your inbox, and the marketing to fill the rest of the year- YOU ARE TIRED. Being a photographer means wearing all of the hats yourself. Some like to outsource things like editing, and others don’t. Regardless, wedding season is enough to draw up some grey hairs. Here are some things you can do to avoid pulling your hair out this year.
Advocate for Yourself
Self-advocacy goes in hand with taking control of the consult/session/wedding. You are the professional. The more you start budging on things like prices, hours, or location, the more people are going to continue to take advantage of what you perceive as being kind. Making your stance known in the beginning is key. Saying “no, these are my prices” or “I’m sorry, I can’t do that for you” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose a client- it means that you have a way of doing things that they’ll start respecting. In self-employment, we are our own CEO, HR rep, sales person, and everything in between. If you don’t speak up and advocate for yourself now, you’ll regret it later.
All of my wedding packages include second shooters now. They come standard because the benefit outweighs not having one with you. The stress of getting xxx amount of photos, of not having anyone to collaborate your thoughts with, to help calm down stressful situations, and of not having to run up and down the aisle was enough to just add them into my packages and raise the price to include them. Second shooters you love and trust can make wedding season more fun and stress free!
Setting aside “office hours” during editing can make sure that you work long enough to get some solid work done on your weddings, while ensuring that you don’t go overboard and burn yourself out. Stop at 5, if that’s your dinner and family time. Stop. A lot of the time, we are worried we won’t get it done, or love it so much we want to keep going. Regardless of our reasoning, we’re staring at a computer screen, and sitting in a chair. Go outside. Forget about fixing exposures and editing dress colors. Catch up on a show, go out for dinner, or spend some time with the kids. Getting yourself motivated to work is a task in itself, but sometimes stopping can be just as hard and just as beneficial to your overall mental health.
Programs like JPEG Mini and Photo Mechanic can speed up your workflow and compress your files. Adding a program into your workflow that expedites the process cuts back on waiting for images to load and save.
Cut Out Unneccesary Workflow
Some of the things we do during wedding season are things we feel like we have to do. I took a hard look at my collections and products and figured out things that I didn’t need to add in packages- offering USBs was one of them. I felt like it was just something I had to offer since everyone else does. But the truth is that I put their images in a Pixieset album where they can download the entire album and put it onto as many USBs as they want! If they want a fancy rose gold and glass USB, I can absolutely do it for them, but it will cost- just like any other additional product. I’m not stressing out at the end of a session to upload and package a USB that might end up sitting in a drawer for 10 years.
So while USBs were my thing, find your thing. What can you cut out of your workflow that takes time away from your other weddings? And that you simply don’t like doing? It can feel like a huge weight is lifted when you have a workflow you love.
Don’t Cap Your Wedding Prices- Minimal Work for Maximizing Budget
One thing that I have gotten with in person sales is that my wedding coverage price is just that- coverage price. Instead of offering a $3k package for 8 hours, a USB, and a couple of prints- offering an ordering session afterwards lets couples pick out wedding albums, wall art, and prints. It’s easy to order prints and maximizes a budget. I don't put any order minimum on my appointments, which makes clients feel at ease to spend what they want, and not what they feel like they should be spending. The ability to make more money from a wedding is always a good thing, and eases my mind (especially when I have dates I still haven’t filled.)
Don’t Eat, Breathe, and Sleep Photography
Your entire life right now is photography. It seems like all you do, and it can feel like no one can relate to you. It’s somewhat true- they can’t. They don’t’ know the blood, sweat, and tears that is wedding photography. I find it cathartic to join that world for a little bit. I don’t talk about photography, or presets, or lenses like I do with my photographer friends. I hang out with people who want to talk about their week, local politics, food, and things that remove my mind from photography, even if just for a little bit. When I come back to my computer or gear up the next day, I feel relaxed and more creative!
And Make Sure Everyone Knows Your Boundaries
While staying away from the computer can be a good idea sometimes, we rely on it for a ton of the stuff we do. It’s not unusual to spend 8 hours in Lightroom, Photoshop, and answering emails a day during wedding season. Distractions that take you away from finishing what you need to be finishing can be detrimental to your work and mental health.
For me, I love my child but I need to make sure he’s gone and taken care of at school. I need everyone to know I might not text or hang out as much this summer, but it’s not because I don’t want to- I’m just busy! If letting your partner know they need to make dinner so you can work, or you need a few hours alone is going to help you- do it! Advocate for yourself, even with loved ones. But make sure to spend some lazy R&R with them when you make time for it. It’s all about balance.
I'm a girl boss doing my camera thing in the Pacific Northwest. I enjoy mimosas, small plants, warm socks, and smashing the patriarchy. I'm a wedding + couples photographer who believes that all body types, all skin tones, and all loves deserve to be visible in the mainstream wedding community. I love speaking with other girl bosses and fellow mamas who feel as passionately about what they bring as I do. "You are quite the beauty. If no one has ever told you that before, know that right now. You are quite the beauty."