How to avoid burnout as a photographer, during the busy season!?

I have struggled with burnout every Summer since I first started photography over ten years ago. Every year it’s a bit different. And every year, I have learned more and more about how to avoid burnout. Or at least get back on track when it hits.

No matter what your job is, burnout happens! I feel like it happens, especially for creatives! We book and book because we love what we do! Summer here in the Midwest is our busy season, then Fall hits, and we are on overdrive! We are so busy we nearly have enough time for lunch. If we eat, it’s usually at our desk with a million windows open. Our To-Do list is never-ending. And this is only from someone’s point of view that does not have kids. So much respect for working Moms and dads!! I have no idea how you do it all! You are rock stars!

I am going to tell you all how I am avoiding burnout this year! The steps I have taken throughout the years have allowed me to stay creative and not burned out.

how do i avoid burnout as a photographer

What I have done to avoid burnout!

Schedule a Day off EVERY WEEK!

I wrote a blog about exactly this! Please read it here! This is the best thing that I did for myself! Yet, you must know that I am writing this blog on a Monday! The day I take off! I still do some work, but I don’t schedule meetings or sessions. PLUS, if I do not feel like working, I don’t. Without regret, I don’t!

The Monday’s that I do happen to do some work it is on my terms. I edit previews, return emails and rarely shower! Sometimes I even take a nap!

  • How to make this happen?
    • Take a good look at your schedule, which day do you find yourself not wanting to do anything?
    • Make sure you post your schedule EVERYWHERE! Google & your Email Signature are GREAT places for this!
    • Stuck to it!

Create Boundaires!

Once you have your day off worked out, find the hours of the day that you are most productive! These are going to be your daily business hours! When you see these, STICK TO THEM! This is super important to your health and business!

  • As an example, my business hours are:
    • Monday – CLOSED (my day off)
    • Tuesday – Friday – 11-6 PM with meetings 2-6 PM
    • Saturday – Sunday by appointment only & meetings 2-4 PM

Sticking to these hours has allowed me to have a life, feel happier, and have a better life and work balance. Do I always stick to this 100%? No, but I do my best!

Be clear to your clients about these hours and stick to them! You are not Walmart and open 24/7!

Establish a routine!

The biggest thing that has helped me feel more refreshed every day and happier to get to work was when I found my mourning routine! And I stick to it!

  • What is my routine for Natural Intuition Photography?
    • Wake up at 8 am
    • Eat breakfast & drink coffee (breakfast is usually baked oatmean or overnight oats) Having an easy breakfast eases the day.
    • Read while I eat breakfast.
    • Start work by 11 am
    • Tackle as much of the small things on my To-Do list as possible
    • Batch work
    • End at 7-8 PM Even though my hours are only until 6. Having that time to myself to work as much as possible before signing off feels great! No pressure!

This works for me and has made me thousand times more productive! I listened to myself and KNEW I was not good at my job at that time, so I needed to take it back. Knowing yourself and when you do the best work and are your best self is essential! You will make fewer mistakes!

Schedule mini trips!

Just this year, the best thing I have done for our busy Summer was scheduling FIVE camping trips! I wanted one for each month but missed July! These are short trips from 2-4 nights! The short trips away just here in Wisconsin! And it’s been simply perfect so far!

I started this because we went to San Fransisco for an engagement session a couple of years ago. It was just a short 3-day trip. And it was just what we needed to refresh!

This year we didn’t have the budget or time to fly anywhere. So we stayed close to home. These camping trips are less than 4 hours away from Madison. But camping is by far the best thing to do to get away from it all. Most of the time, you don’t have reception so you can’t work. It’s freeing.

nelson dewey state park campsite photos, state park camping in wisconsin

I don’t niche down!

I know this one may seem controversial, but I don’t niche down my photography. I stay true to who I am, but I photography just about everything. I also don’t open a new brand if I want to photograph it all. It just seemed more stressful and not what I envisioned for my business.

Not niching down has also allowed me to stay creative. Each of our clients has a unique session because I can bring every aspect of photography into their session. Wedding Photography has some product photography, and family sessions have some wedding photography, and so on!

I believe the reason my photography stays fresh and clients stay happy is because I stay creative! I walk into each session and wedding with new eyes!

Schedule time to PLAY!

No matter how long you’ve been a photographer, book yourself a few just for fun sessions! These can be for anything! you can even go big and plan a styled shoot! These don’t have pressure put on you to be perfect, and you get to play! Each vendor gets a chance to play and try out new things!