What You Should Be Doing During the Off-Season

facebook_0137 I'm sitting here in my pink leopard long-johns, hoping to find some grain of inspiration to write.

It's the quiet season. The mounds of editing have dissipated, all neatly delivered via PASS, and I'm staring at my empty camera cards wondering what I should be doing.

To avoid complete photo hybernation, write a list of epic To Dos that have long awaited your priceless attention.

Do:

- Plan a creative Styled shoot  There is loads of potential here, work with a volunteer model or friend, do something out of the box. Winter wonderland themed shoot...

-Collaborate with other vendors, meet, greet, drink coffee. This is the perfect season to catch up and network with other creative professionals. Your network is your "net worth" as they say- so build it up! Vendor to vendor referrals are so valuable and are an automatic client booster.

-Look into the winter bridal shows- This will be my first year as a vendor at a Bridal show- Bring it on! Luxe Bridal events captured my eye because it's held at the stunning Castaway venue- a venue that I have photographed in previously and would like to again ;)

-Submit your summer weddings to publications- All those gorgeous summer weddings are dying to be featured! Pursue Two Bright Lights as a publication tool, or individual blogs and their publicity options.

-Catch up on your book-keeping - Um yea. We all tend to push this off, but it's vital to the success of your business. If you don't know whether you're actually making money - you're probably not. KEEP ON TOP OF YOUR BOOKS.

-Emphasize a different kind of photos- (i.e. boudoir season, or family photos)

-Volunteer to second shoot or assist on a shoot. Again, staying active in your photo community, getting vendors together and being creative.

-Decorate your office or creative space (even if it's just a wall) Having a designated creative space/desk is essential. Make it yours.

-Read. Stay inspired. Your creative genius is often unlocked through other means of inspiration. The creative arts, ballet, sculpture, music, literature, broadway plays, exhibits, etc. soak it in! Look into books on business, creative marketing, brand differentiation.

-Spend a day at the magazine shop, just looking at your favorite mags.

Don't: 

-Don't fall for the trap of reinventing your website every winter. BAD idea. Yes, see to the few necessary updates or broken links, but don't feel like you have to undergo a complete overhaul.

-Don't get stuck in the doll-drums. Keep up your creative juices.

-Don't constantly surf other photographers websites and wallow in photo envy. Too much looking at others work is a deterrent to your own.