What do us photographers do when it’s quiet? When the work just stops, when the time of year dictates that little is happening.
Panic. I hear you say.
Well, yes, that’s true.
Don’t forget, us small businesses run on the throughput that our clients give us, and of course, if they have a slack time of year, we have a slack time of year.
It’s true of all small businesses from all sectors of course, a fitness instructor will have a hard time of it in summer when their clients are showing off their tight, tanned bodies, but come January when the turkey and mince pies have been devoured, then they are busy again.
I was always told, by my astute Father actually, that cash flow is the most important thing, and he is absolutely right, it is. Our clients work pays for that prom dress, that holiday, that car service and so on, not for some dividend to corporate shareholders, so without cash flow, that just STOPS.
So, back to how it affects photographers and how to deal with the ups and down of the industry.
Don’t specialise, unless of course you’re a dedicated in-house photographer or have a sponsorship gig from a manufacturer.
This piece of advice was given to me by my very first boss, Frank Barry, a very successful photographer from Hayes in Middlesex.
He was proud to say he was a GP photographer, GP as in General Purpose. This means, he said, that if a client turns up and wants a flange photographing, he could do it. If it were a studio portrait, he could do that too.
In other words, what the client threw at him, he could deal with.
Now wind the world on 37 years, that philosophy still holds true. Dedicated wedding photographers have a short season to earn a crust. Portrait photographers too. Fashion photographers will be busy every three months, Corporate Photographers sporadically. Schools Photographers have a very busy September but Street and Landscape Photographers, well, how do they make ANY money?
But what if? What if you do it all? Seems to me that’s the sensible way to approach your photography business and fill your year up ready toe by that Prom dress and get the bloody car sorted.
Now what’s the number of the job centre?