How many sessions per week/month/year should I be shooting?
Photographers who are new in business want some sort of ballpark to aim for. Something to mark that they have “made it” as a professional photographer. And it is common for them to ask, “How many sessions is too many”?
Photographers who have been in the industry for a few years want to know if they are shooting too much. I suspect their curiosity is mainly because they are exhausted and want to know if this is normal.
Here is the thing, that really is a loaded question.
Is there a “sweet spot” for an ideal number of sessions shot per month? Yes, there is. But it is a completely personal number.
I do HIGHLY encourage that you take some time to figure out what that number is so let me help you figure that out…
In order to calculate what your ideal number of photo sessions per month is you need to do 6 things.
- Write down a task list. On this list, I want you to write down everything you do for each client. This means that for every session booked, make a list of every task that correlates… all the emails, invoicing, booking, texting, phone calls, driving, shooting time, culling, editing, gallery uploads, etc. Write down EVERY. SINGLE. TASK.
2. Next to each item on your list, assign a value of time. Whether it is 1 minute or 1 hour, every item gets a time assigned to it.
Total up the numbers above, and now you know just how much time each client REALLY takes.
Take your calendar out and In a given month, before you do anything else, determine your days off and must-do commitments first. These are not photography related, these are personal. Carpool, doctor’s appointments, bible study, workout time, etc.
After all of your must-do personal items and days off are put into the calendar, go week by week and figure out where you can put photography sessions. REMEMBER: For every session booked, there are additional HOURS of time tied up in tasks.
Pro Tip: Leave blank space on your calendar for reschedules. If you book every available slot, every week, what happens when someone has a death in the family or a sick baby or bad weather? Keeping your schedule a tad lighter than normal allows you to accommodate reschedules easily. This is a service to both you and your clients.
3. After you walk through this exercise, you will have calculated a certain number of sessions per week or month. This is your STARTING POINT. The key here is to test this number out for a month or two and see how you FEEL.
I fully believe that your “sweet spot” number of ideal sessions per month has more to do with how you feel than your actual schedule.
And in all the years I have been teaching, I have NEVER met a photographer whose ideal number of sessions is higher than their starting point. In fact, 99% of them feel like a lower number is more accurate.
After you have tested out your ideal number for a month or two, it is time to re-evaluate how you felt.
4. How you felt should determine what you do with that number.
If you were you frazzled? Or creatively stifled? Or drowning in editing? Then that number of sessions needs to go down.
If you felt on fire and passionate. If you had time for self-care and your family, then you found your sweet spot! Don’t be tempted to raise that number. Finding your sweet spot isn’t about cramming more in.
Finding your ideal number of sessions is about BALANCE.
If you still feel like you are struggling with this process, I would love for you to grab my Free Photography Business Blueprint. This is 9 steps to making sure your photography business is set up for long term sustainable success.