We've talked before about how important it is to streamline your business so you have time to do something other than work. Learning how to get more accomplished in less time means you'll have more time to spend on the things you love. However, you'll also have a much more profitable business because you'll have time for the things you need to do, like photography marketing and promotion.
Obviously, with wedding photography, a large portion of your time is going to be taken up with photo sessions. Think back to the last 2 or 3 sessions you had while you're looking over this list and you'll probably see quite a few opportunities to shave off some time.
Visit the Location(s)
Familiarize yourself with the more popular shoot locations in your area. Have some standard shots and poses in mind for each location. Visit at different times of day so you're familiar with the lighting. Visit at different times of year so you're familiar with seasonal landscape changes.
Get to the shoot ahead of the client so you'll have time to set up, adjust for anything that's changed since the last time you were there, and relax for a minute so you can focus on the job at hand.
Have an email ready to send all of your clients, informing them in advance what they can expect during the session. Give them wardrobe suggestions, what they should wear and what they should avoid. Tell them how much time to plan for, where to park, any information that prepares them in advance and helps save time on the day of the shoot.
Watch the Clock
If you've done your pre-shoot planning and you arrive early, then you should be ready to start shooting at the appointed time. You also need to stop shooting at the appointed time. Learn to watch the clock, get the shots, and get it done in a timely fashion. There's always going to be ‘one more shot.' Learn to stop.
Control the Session
It's important that you spend a few minutes making your clients feel comfortable. Make sure you know their names and engage in a little chit-chat, letting them know what they can expect. And then it's up to you to take charge of the shoot and keep things moving. Don't waste your time and your clients' patience. If a shot isn't working, the let it go and move on to the next.
Save those trick shots for last: If there's a really cool shot you've been itching to try or a new technique you want to practice, that's fine. You have to practice on someone, sometime, right? Save it for the end of the shoot. Get all of the shots you need first, and then work on that new shot – IF you have the time left. If not, then you'll just have to try it some other time. You're watching the clock, remember?
You love taking photos or you wouldn't be in this business. But you have to learn to draw a line between your business life and your personal life. At the end of the week divide your profit by the number of hours you worked to calculate your hourly earnings. The only way to improve that number is to either raise your prices or work more efficiently. Start streamlining your business and you'll see your profits grow.