Oh my goodness, being a photographer can be way too complicated at times, can’t it!
And whether you’re just starting out on that path or a seasoned pro, I’m pretty sure you’ve already figured that bit out!
It all sounds so much fun and exciting, but you get caught up in edits, juggling admin, working out what jobs to do and when….and that’s all still whilst seeing friends and family, paying bills on time, and keeping your home life as chaotic-free as possible (which is basically, impossible!)
Well, if you’re nodding your head in agreement to any of the above, and wishing there was some solution to this crazy balancing act, these little tips below are hopefully gonna help.
I’ve been in the storm of that craziness, on countless occasions, trying to balance everything at the same time, and it’s hard. Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. But if you love photography, then you can make your work life and your home life blend together a lot easier by just implementing a few of these tips and tricks that I’ve stored up my sleeve.
These tips are here to help make your life simpler. That doesn’t mean effortless.! ‘Simple’ often requires a whole lot of effort to follow through and make it habit. But once it’s habit, then it’s a lot easier to make it part of your everyday life!
So without further ado, let’s take a look at this list to help you out…
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1. Follow a pre-shoot check
Don’t assume all’s going to be fine with your kit because it was the last time you used it. Get a little pre-shoot routine going and run through a checklist of everything you need. That might include checking your battery (and having a charged spare) memory cards, cleaning your lenses, packing a tripod, spare flash gun, making sure your reflector is clean etc
2. Pack water and a snack in your kit bag
Sounds obvious, right? Or pointless perhaps? But you can never predict when a photoshoot will overrun, when you can’t make it home between jobs, or when you’re just out and about and forget to eat in the creativity of the moment! Pack a couple of oat or healthy fruit or nut bars in your bag, to make sure you can always keep your energy levels up.
Same goes for water. Now, obviously, you don’t want this too close to your gear, but either leave a fresh bottle in the car, or strap one to the outside of your photo bag. Photoshoots might be outdoors with no tap or nearby shop, or you may just get stuck with a socially-unaware client who forgets to offer you a drink. You own water keeps you hydrated at any time.
3. Get a purse organiser
Grab yourself a handy bag that has everything you need for everyday – spare credit card or cash, lip balm, hand lotion, tissues or wipes, hairband for long hair etc. Don’t waste time on this small stuff before a shoot when you can just have a grab bag and go
4. Listen to podcasts and audio books
As photographers, our eyes get a helluva strain. Constantly looking through a lens, on an edit screen, or on our mobiles maxing out social media and emails, there’s no rest for our little peepers.
So, download podcasts and audio books for downtime. It’ll help switch your focus away from the visual in your life and hopefully calm you a little too, as you drift away into an audio escape. Whatever you fancy, comedy, drama, thriller, music – just don’t turn to your phone or TV all of the time when you want to relax (- I know, I know, it’s hard, Netflix is amazing!)
5. Book regular eye tests
When was the last time you took a trip to the optician or optometrist? You might feel like your sight is in perfect working order, or that your current prescription lenses are doing their job. But why risk it? You use your eyes sooo much on a daily basis, that it makes sense to take proper care of them and ensure you’re not putting them under undue strain when a simple change in specs might make all the difference.
And on that note, kepe a little bottle of eye drops to hand to refresh those peepers (especially when you’re working in air-conditioned offices or outside in the winds
6. Make time for quiet time
Take some time each day, just 5 minutes even, to close your eyes, sit in a quiet room and meditate.
Don’t worry if you don’t know ‘how’ to meditate. Meditation, at its most basic, is finding that stillness and calm. Remove the ‘noise’ from your head and soul, and allow your mind & body to feel relaxed.
Follow your breath – listen to it, feel it fully, and release tension with every outward breath. I’ll be talking about the lovely benefits of meditation in another post, so keep a lookout x
7. Embrace the cloud
I had my trusty portable hard-drives with me for years before I switched to the cloud. And I can’t believe I didn’t switch sooner! Google Drive and One Drive both provide terrific online storage options and price plans – I’m pretty sure both still offer free storage to a certain level, so check them both out.
It just means that at the end of each shoot and edit, you can upload and then access your files anywhere & anytime. And bonus, you avoid having duplicate files scattered around the place and not knowing which is the right one!
8. Set up your own edit system
I’m not even going to attempt to cross the minefield that is ‘software choice’, because I know that everyone has a favourite they couldn’t do without. But regardless of which software you do choose, set up your own system.
Be consistent with how you upload, edit and export. Keep track of your files and your storage of them (hopefully on the Cloud, right!) and you’ll soon find that you’re in a good habit.
Plus, when it comes to finding files at a much later date, hopefully your naming system (and meta tagging if you use it) will really come into its own then.
9. Always carry a business card
So you’re out and about, at the supermarket or the park or a kid’s birthday party… and someone you’re chatting with says they need a photographer. They ask if you know one… Amazing! YOU’RE a photographer AND you have your business card on you, right in your purse or pocket!
Don’t fumble for a notepad & pen to scribble down your number – just carry 5 cards around with you and you’ll never be short. It looks professional, appears organized, and will instill confidence in the person you’re talking to, right from the get-go.
10. Keep a planner
A planner doesn’t have to be as rigid as a diary. It’s not about dates or meetings or schedules. It’s more than that. A planner lets you mark down appointments sure, but also goals for that week, admin that needs to be done, clients you need to contact, kit you’re seen that you like, budget plans for the month ahead, exhibitions you want to see, books you want to read, music that inspires you …. you get the idea 🙂 And it’s not restricted to a day, month or year even – it can be kept as long as you need it.
In short, a planner helps get everything out of your head and onto paper – where you can then see it in all its glory, and start actioning little steps one at a time.
One of my fave notebooks for this is this dotted notebook – it has numbered pages, plus an index page at the front so you can scribble all your page content down – a time saver, trust me! And it comes in loads of gorgeous colours, so you’re spoiled for choice!
So there you have it – 10 steps to simplify your photography life.
But I wouldn’t leave you just like that! If you’d like the Photography Life Planner PDF then pop in your email and I’ll send it to you for free!
You can print out a few copies if you like, and that way have lots of weeks and months planned to help you make life simpler and happier.
With my happy photo love,
Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts…