Most of you reading this blog already have full time jobs. Whether that’s as a corporate executive, coffeehouse barista, or full time mom, we’ll assume you have your hands full 40 hours a week.
Being a service provider, part time photography allows you to dictate your own hours. You can book as much or as little work as you wish, maintaining all of the flexibility you need to take care of your day job and familial responsibilities.
I’m a workaholic, love what I do, and am able to spend a lot of my working time with my family, so I invest a lot more time into my part time photography business than most people might. After a typical 9-5 day at my journalism job, I’ll probably spend five to seven hours doing photography work – marketing, shooting, processing, and selling.
You certainly do not have to make such a time commitment to be a successful part time photographer. You can work as much or as little as you like. If you want to just get your feet wet, try a half day or two each month. If you want to go all-out, try four hours a day, six days a week. If you want to aim for a balanced start, let’s take aim at four hours per week.
Getting better at anything takes time and effort. The more you put into your part time photography business, the more you will get back.
The more time you invest in your business…
- The more you will accelerate your learning of the photographic and post-processing arts, making your portfolio more impressive and images more salable;
- The more you will be able to network, in person and via social media, to expose potential customers to what you have to offer;
- The more money you will make, through creating ever-improving salable art and taking in more customers;
- The more quickly you will learn how to balance life and business while making the most of both.
With that said, you don’t want to burn out on your new money-making part time job. Unless you’re a desperately passionate workaholic like me, you’ll tire quickly of daily photo shoots and photo processing work.
But you know what? How much time you invest is your own business, literally – only you know what time you have to practice part time photography, and how much time you want to invest.
The Four-Hour Set
The complete workflow of my part time photography system is built on four-hour sets.
- Hour One: Marketing – This is where you get your art and business in front of potential customers.
- Hour Two: Shooting – The creation of beautiful photos for your clients to purchase! Not to disrespect the art of photography, but for our purposes, the goal of taking photos is to create a desirable product to sell your customers.
- Hour Three: Processing – Here you will separate the wheat from the chaff. You’ll pick only your favorite images from the shoot to show your clients. On those photos you’ll do some light post-processing to give them a nice punch. Again, the purpose being to show customers the most salable art / product you can.
- Hour Four: Selling – There is no better feeling than someone handing you a nice check and sincerely saying, “Thank you for what you do!” The viewing / sales session is when your clients will get to see the photos you’ve made for them and make their purchase.
You are able to split these four hour sets any way you like. If you want to work four evenings a week, aim at doing four sets of four hours of work, equally split between the four above activities. If you want to only work on Sundays, set aside eight hours to do two sets of four hours. Split your time however it best fits your lifestyle.
Look at this time like a good workout for your art, business, and wallet. Specific exercises or activities done in manageable sets will give you balanced improvement and maximize both short- and long-term results.
The flexibility of this system also lets you shift time into marketing during lull shooting times or early on when too few people even know you’re in business. In Part 4 of the Your First Customer Series, you’ll learn how to fill up your shooting schedule as fast as possible – then keep it that way.
But slow times are sure to come eventually. Customers, bless their hearts, are the only part of the system that you don’t have hands-on control of. However, with good marketing practices, we’ll minimize slow times and keep you earning as much as possible.
I’m very much so a learn-by-doing kind of person, so the part time photographer system will have you shift your time entirely into marketing during slow times so you can get back to shooting and practicing your skills in real world situations as fast as possible.
And don’t worry, marketing in my world is just about connecting with people, being social, and having a lot of fun. You will never have to sacrifice ethics or honesty to get people in the door, and you won’t have to trick people out of their money when you’re doing sales. People will only buy what they love.
Tomorrow in Part 2 of the Your First Customer Series, I’ll show you the 10 best and easiest photos you can take and sell to customers. Along with frolicking in your own artistic playground while shooting your customers, these 10 images will result in the first dollar bills you’ll earn as a part time photographer.
- Write down all of the sections of “free time” you have outside of your day job. Decide how much time you would like to invest each week in your part time photography business, thinking in sets of four hours (which can be split over several days, if you wish; the hours do not need to be consecutive). Look at your sections of free time and decide when you would like to dedicate to your part time photography business.
- Brainstorm session: Write down what obstacles stand in your way of doing at least four hours of part time photography work each week. What creative ways can you overcome those obstacles? Can you work at odd hours? Can you work weekends? Can you work on Sunday afternoons?
- I will write many more articles about the workflow of being a part time photographer in the future. To keep up with these and other juicy topics, feel free to click on the “Subscribe” link at the top of every page of this web site.
- When each week will you be a part time photographer? Have you found that you are at your most productive and artistic during certain times of the day? When? Leave a comment below, e-mail me, or call or text me at 830-688-1564.
- What does a successful part time photographer look like? – Startup Series, Part 4
- Want to make money as a part time photographer?
- What should I charge for my part time photography? – Your First Customer Series, Part 3
- Response time and turnaround – how to beat the competition for free
- Productivity for Photographers: Morning Routine