Someone asked me the other day how I avoid burning out when I photograph people almost daily. I should start by saying I'm an introvert and I'm pretty vocal about that on social media. For all you extroverts out there FYI, Introverts, by definition, expend energy when they’re around other people. We recharge our energy by being alone, doing solitary activities like reading, watching Netflix, meditating, spending time in nature, and in my case editing photos at home.
You could say I run a higher risk of burnout from too much social interaction as I am an introverted photographer and I work with a lot of people. In this article I'll explain how I shoot almost every day and don’t burnout. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
I Guard my schedule fiercely
Anything that involves interaction with people, like client meetings, photo sessions, and networking events all drain my energy. Don't get me wrong, I love photography and everything that comes with it but I can feel very low on energy at the end of these social activities.
I’m very careful that I don’t force myself into a schedule with too many social activities and not enough recharge time. I like to alternate photo sessions or meetings with plenty of down time. This is where time blocking really comes in handy and I learned this strategy in the Book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.
I find it necessary to give myself permission to rest and recharge even though it can be hard sometimes.
I Prepare Mentally & Physically
By preparing in advance for photo sessions and meetings etc, I allow myself time to become mentally engaged in what I’m doing. I have to be ready and prepared to shoot so I don’t feel put on the spot or unprepared.
I also find it helpful to prepare physically. For example, by cleaning my gear, charging my batteries, and packing my bags the day before a shoot, to keep myself from scrambling at the last minute, and having to worry that I forgot something.
Another way I like to prepare is finding photos on Pinterest or Instagram the day before that I can show my client on the day of shooting for posing ideas based on what we are photographing, Fashion, lifestyle, portraits, etc.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In order for me to instruct my models confidently, I need to practice my favorite poses until I’ve mastered them.
My clients take their cues from me. Not all my clients are professional models working for an agency, so by practicing ahead of time I’m able to feel confident and secure in my directions which allows for less anxiety during a shoot. You don't have to be a high energy outgoing extrovert to be a successful photographer. If you’re a soft spoken introvert like myself I would suggest using pictures like I mentioned above as examples to have your clients mimic the pose.
I Rest and Recharge
As I mentioned above, as an introvert I have to set aside time for rest and relaxation. This could be meditation, reading, Netflix, Location Scouting, walking outside, hiking, playing with my dog, a good workout, or going to a movie.
I know how hard it is to stop working when there’s a mountain more that could be done. It’s so easy to say, “I can read when I’m done. I’ll just edit one more picture.” Which turns into 2 then 4 then 10 and before you know it hours have passed. So I HAVE to time block to get it in.
The truth is there will ALWAYS be something else you could do. If you don’t take time out for yourself, you’ll burn out, resent your business, and quit. And if you don’t quit you sure as hell won’t thrive in your business so give yourself permission to rest and recharge, so that you can continue to serve your clients and serve your business like a Rockstar.
If you’re an introvert like me, chances are you’re even more prone to burnout than others. It’s just a fact of life. Especially at the end of a long, intensely busy day or week or month of shooting. But take it from me, you CAN avoid the burn!
Hope these tips help. And if you have any to add please do in the comments below 🙏😀
Lance is a well known published Portland based Portrait photographer.