How to Save Time and Make More Money in Photography

I’ve been thinking about my photographer friends. They are absolutely passionate about what they do; they capture memories that last forever; they make people look so much cooler than they are in real life; and most of them are absolutely, totally exhausted.

And that has me wondering: What’s going on here?

Because of the pride they take in their images, they are absolutely killing themselves by poring over every minute detail and working their talented fingers to the bone.  Sound familiar? I hate to break it to you, but if you’re working your tail off with 12-plus-hour days, you’re losing money.

We talked last month about the essential moneymaking activities in your business and how you simply have to dedicate time to them every week.  Well, if you’re as overworked as most of my professional photographer friends — attacking those all-too-urgent but nonessential tasks (and feverishly chasing distractions on Facebook, Youtube, and Pinterest for stress relief) — you’re probably too busy to do them.

Your Biggest Limitation: Time

It’s time to break your self-dependence.  Don’t even tell me that you can’t afford it.  If you want a truly profitable photography business, you can’t afford not to get some help. Think about it like this:

1. How much do you get paid hourly?

2. How much would it cost you to get someone to do the mundane work for you?

3. When you subtract the cost of hiring someone from your hourly wage, do you have money left?

Investing in hiring some help — and it is investing — will make you money. Why is that? Because every hour you gain by having someone else do your non-moneymaking (but necessary) chores is an extra hour you can use to tackle those moneymaking tasks.  So even though it comes with a small expense, it’s still actually making you money.

Don’t fight me on this.  Your business can only grow to the limits of your finite time and energy resources; if you want to keep growing, you need help.

It’s Time to Outsource

What tasks can you outsource?  How about starting with the stuff you hate to do. Take these tasks:

  • Blogging
  • Social media
  • Organizing and filing images
  • Paperwork
  • Bookkeeping.

Get rid of the most dreaded ones first.  You might even be able to get an intern to do some of them for free. It’s easier to find good help than you think.  There are plenty of people who would love to earn $10 an hour for the privilege of helping you.

Where to Get Relief

1. Your kids.  Don’t laugh this one off; most of them probably know their way around Google and Facebook better than you.  Put them to work.

2. Colleges. Contact your local colleges and offer a job position. I suggest that you don’t hire a photography or arts major for administrative work. You’re better off with a business, communications or journalism major for busy work.

3. Hire a virtual assistant. That’s someone who works for you from home.  Some great sites to find someone:,, and

Whatever you do, don’t keep slaving away all by yourself.  You got into this business to pursue your dreams, and you deserve it! Ditch the busy work so you can focus on what you really want to do, and free up a little precious free time in the process.

What’s the No. 1 task you’d like to outsource?

2 Responses to “How to Save Time and Make More Money in Photography”

  1. Why are you advocating to ignore hiring arts or photography students to help run a business?

    Half of the problem with the photography industry is that students are coming out of degrees without any business understanding.

    By doing what you suggest here surely you're just feeding the downward spiral where students graduate and don't know the details they need?

    I really enjoyed Black Star articles, but lately ones I've seen have been a bit lacking.

  2. Suggesting that you NOT hire a photography or arts student is not an attempt to keep these students from acquiring much needed business skills. My intention is to hire a person who has the type of personality and work style that will get the job done most efficiently and effectively for you.

    Photography and art students typically don't have the organizational skills necessary to do administrative work.

    If your goal is to train up a budding artist, by all means, hire them. If you goal is to get the most efficient, effective help for your business, hire someone who has the strengths you lack.

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