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100+ Ways for Photographers to Keep Busy and be Productive during a Slow Period

100+ ways for photographers to keep busy and be productive during a slow period.

We all experience a slow or down time at some point in the year. And when that downtime hits, it can feel like a full throttle punch to your creative soul.  Slow times can come about for a plethora of reasons. Maybe it’s the typical slow seasons, but other times may be health related, bad weather, or even something as halting as the Covid-19 virus that is affecting small businesses worldwide. These times come and go, some longer than others… but that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic or give up.

Anyway it comes, it may leave us wondering WHAT AM I DOING NOW?!

These slow periods can actually give some great time to breathe and dig into important matters and “to do’s” that our business (and artistic minds) really need.

Well friends, we have some ideas to share with you!
Some fresh thoughts and ideas to help get you through the tough times and actually HELP your business in the long term.

100+ things for photographers to do in downtime


Things to do, and practice, during your downtime:


  1. Read photography blogs… like ours! Dig into all of the free and fabulous information at hand.
  2. Learn how to composite in Photoshop. Get creative!
  3. Make new photography props. Grab some fabric, artificial flowers, and get busy.
  4. Take a class on photography marketing.
  5. Read your camera manual. Unless you have mastered your camera already, it’s a great time to dig into the nitty gritty and become a master of your #1 money maker.
  6. Learn and play with a different mode on your camera. Play with that dial!
  7. Watch editing videos in the Summerana membership. It’s always fun, and educational to learn new tips and tricks.
  8. Learn how to fully use Lightroom. It’s such a great tool, especially for those RAW images (see why shooting and editing raw is beneficial here).
  9. Get up to date with new Photoshop software. They are updating it all the time, so see what’s new!
  10. Learn what photographer imposter syndrome is and how you can push through your fears and anxiety and gain confidence.
  11. Read photography books.
  12. Market gifts cards for future sessions during your downtime so you can be ready for when you are back.
  13. Create and fill out a calendar to plan out the best times of year to market seasonal photography sessions as well as year round photography sessions.
  14. Come up with new photography session and editing ideas (such as imagination sessions for children using Summerana’s overlays and digital backgrounds to create magic, silhouette sessions, milk bath sessions, etc.) that may not already be available in your area which can bring in clients looking for unique images.
  15. Learn how utilizing Photoshop overlays and Photoshop actions can take your business to the next level and how they can save you time and money.
  16. Redesign or update your website.
  17. Grab a product from the Summerana membership that you haven’t tried yet and challenger yourself! Maybe some great overlays, or an action set. If you usually only edit in Photoshop, you can try out our presets for Lightroom.
  18. Create a Facebook business page and then follow us there for inspiration!
  19. Get outside and take a walk or hike to refresh your mind. Fresh air is a proven creative stimulative.
  20. Create a vip Facebook group for your photography clients.
  21. Refresh and update your logo or watermark! Learn why watermarking your images is important and how to create one.
  22. Learn more about SEO for your website and how it can help you land more clients.
  23. Enter photography contests and competitions.
  24. Submit to local or national photography magazines (a’hem, ours is pretty fun!).
  25. Learn how to utilize social media ads like Facebook ads and Instagram as well as Google ads.
  26. Set your business up on sites like Google and yelp for local clients to be able to easily find you. You can see our Google business page for an example of what this looks like.
  27. Gather reviews and testimonials for your business and display them for clients to see. Example, you can see how we did this on our review page. Gathering screenshots help show the reviews are authentic and are from real people. Adding the text as well on your website helps with seo.
  28. Get listed on sites like Wedding wire to open yourself up to the possibility of more clients wanting to book you.
  29. Start a photography blog or add to your existing blog – read here why starting a blog is beneficial and how it can help you grow your business here.
  30. Join photography groups such as the Summerana Photography Tribe to connect with fellow photographers.
  31. Scout or research new locations to shoot, including for each season (spring, summer, fall, winter).
  32. Download free resources that can help your businesses productivity, design, customer service needs and more.
  33. Rent new camera lenses to try.
  34. Learn how you can maximize your productivity while still having time to spend with your family.
  35. Organize all of your images and Photoshop files on your hard drive such as your overlays, actions, client images, etc. – here is how to do that.
  36. Earn extra income by becoming a Summerana affiliate.
  37. Reorganize and clean your desk/office.
  38. Visit an accountant and make sure your books are in order.
  39. Get legal, if you haven’t already. Set up your business to state standards and registration.
  40. Make sure your camera bag is packed with all the essentials.
  41. Create resources for your clients such as style guides, what to expect at your photo session, how to prepare for their shoots, etc.
  42. Create or update your photography contracts and learn why contracts are important.
  43. Clean your camera and gear. This is great to do every 6 months or so.
  44. Reorganize and clean your camera bag.
  45. Learn how to overcome self doubt as a photographer and gain confidence.
  46. Evaluate your business costs.
  47. Study up on your photography terms such as focal length and aperture.
  48. Set up a shoot for yourself where you can feed your creative soul.
  49. Schedule posts and images ahead of time on your social media pages so you have one less thing to worry about or do. Here are some tools to help you schedule in advance.
  50. Hire a videographer to create a marketing video of you in action for your business.
  51. Earn extra income by upselling previous photography sessions, here are some examples on how to do this.
  52. Change your business to an IPS model so you can book less sessions but earn more. Learn all the benefits of in person sales plus how to do them here.
  53. Join a book club.
  54. Pull up an old image and re edit it.
  55. Reevaluate your pricing model.
  56. Master the art of shooting black and white images as well as how to edit black and white images in Photoshop.
  57. Study ways to keep you and your clients safe and comfortable during shoots.
  58. Make an outdoor emergency bag for yourself and your clients including tick and mosquito repellant, bandaids, etc.
  59. Learn when and how to say no to clients that are not good for you.
  60. Stock up your studio on essentials (newborn diapers, hand sanitizers, etc)
  61. Make a Pinterest for your business and follow Summerana for pinspiration.
  62. Learn how you can help your clients connect during your photoshoots so you can capture emotive images they will treasure for a lifetime.
  63. Take pictures of your own children (nieces/nephews, etc), in their daily atmosphere.
  64. Learn how to use a reflector.
  65. Study newborn safety and take a first aid class.
  66. Learn the difference between your image files such as jpeg, png, tiff, raw, and psd and why you might want to choose each type of file.
  67. Practice shooting in different types of light situations (high noon, morning, evening, how to shoot in low light, and full sun) so you can be fully prepared to know how to shoot no matter what your lighting might be at a photoshoot.
  68. Learn how to use studio lighting.
  69. Listen to a podcast – business or pleasure.
  70. Start a personal instagram and take pictures of your own life/family. This is a great way to capture your own families memories and getting practice in.
  71. Mentor with another photographer (online or in person) to refresh your skills or learn something new.
  72. Try something new you haven’t yet such as off camera flash, studio lighting, gels, etc.
  73. Put together a model call to update your portfolio and/or get practice.
  74. Familiarize how to use video to capture your clients special day and create emotion in your marketing.
  75. Watch tutorials on how to to create animated images.
  76. Learn how Photoshop actions can save your business time and money.
  77. Install and play with mobile editing tools, like LR mobile.
  78. Go through your accounting and make sure all bills and receipts are entered.
  79. Start a photography newsletter for your clients and learn how it can help in the long run.
  80. Create brand awareness – make sure all of your social media and client accounts have same branding.
  81. Study posing for your clients.
  82. Network with other local small businesses.
  83. Learn why you should calibrate your monitor and how to do it.
  84. Create or order thank you gifts for clients.
  85. Test prints or new client products with a photography lab.
  86. Learn in advance how to recover deleted photos from your memory cards so you can be calm, collected, and resourceful if it should ever happen to you.
  87. Take an art course, maybe painting or watercolor. Get in touch with your inner artist.
  88. Try new shooting techniques such as the Brenizer method, shooting with a fisheye lens, shooting a silhouette image, etc.
  89. Be sure you and your clients are up to date with photography dangers you might not be aware of such as with shooting in running in water and shooting on train tracks. For instance, you can learn editing techniques to be able to get creative yet keep your clients safe from the dangers of fireworks, sparklers, animals, and smoke bombs. Learning how to use sparkler overlays, animal overlays, firework overlays, and smoke bomb overlays instead give you full creative control and you avoid any risk of injuries or legal trouble for yourself and your clients.
  90. Master getting sharp images in camera
  91. Practice yoga or start an exercise regime to become more flexible, energetic, and fit during your shoots.
  92. Try new editing techniques such as editing a surrealism image, a painterly edit, etc.
  93. Visit a chiropractor or masseuse especially if you edit or shoot for long hours.
  94. Develop good habits to help you prepare for every photoshoot.
  95. Update your personal look such as your photographer wardrobe, hair, nails, etc.
  96. Study up on the new ways social media is helping/hindering businesses.
  97. Create an Instagram account for your business and follow us for inspiration!
  98. Learn how to photograph large groups of people and keep them in focus.
  99. Blogging – get caught up.
  100. Set up a backup system for your images.
  101. If you are still shooting in auto mode, learn how to shoot in manual mode and learn reasons why you should consider switching to manual.
  102. Check in with clients, send them a personal message.
  103. Create flyers for your business, that you can bring to other local businesses.
  104. Enjoy some landscape photography. Step out for a walk and bring your camera with.
  105. Start a personal photography project.
  106. Take a break from social media. 24 hour ban and refresher for yourself.
  107. Selfies! Take a new headshot of yourself, and enjoy being on the other side of the camera.
  108. Study up on the rules of composition and learn composition techniques.
  109. Go to a museum (online or in person!). Nothing feeds the creative soul like a museum trip.
  110. Grab an inspirational book – feed your soul.
  111. Download helpful photography apps for your phone.
  112. Start a journal. Write down all of the things you would love to see happen for your business (or personal).
  113. Dabble into iphoneography. You might be surprised how much fun your mobile phone and an editing app may be!
  114. Take up a fitness class (even online).
  115. Customize your Photoshop workspace.
  116. Challenge yourself to shoot at a less than desirable location, and make it beautiful! In example, there are some that have gone viral such as shooting at a michaels craft store or hobby lobby. Just be sure to ask for permission first if you decide to try shooting at a place of business such as these. Here are some location ideas and tips on how to turn a drab location into fab!
  117. Deep clean your studio and rearrange.
  118. Create a calendar with weekly/daily marketing/postings ideas.
  119. Create fun photography crafts with your kids.
  120. Plan a work getaway, even if just a daydream. For instance, I love to travel & shoot, even local, with my photography friends!
  121. Trade images with a photography friend, and edit each other’s work.
  122. Learn how to deal with criticism, negative feedback, industry bullies and how to protect yourself in case you might run into this in the future.
  123. Jump on to YouTube and indulge in our freebie videos.
  124. Look into adding a makeup artist to your team.
  125. Become a master at capturing bokeh in your images.
  126. Download coloring sheets to use in photoshop to practice using your Wacom.
  127. Learn how you can still run your photography studio while working a different job full time.s
  128. Grab a bouquet of fresh flowers (or succulents!) and dabble in still life photography.
  129. Reach out to another local photographer and plan a coffee meet.
  130. Master your histogram and how to get the perfect exposure.
  131. Try your hand at shooting a subject you haven’t yet to expand your target market, learn how to shoot stunning food photographs, family photography, wedding photography, toddler sessions, posed newborn photography, children photography, lifestyle newborn photography, labor and delivery photography, etc.
  132. Shoot with a polaroid or film camera! It’s so much fun, and gives you a new perspective on shooting.
  133. Educate yourself on the best memory cards for your camera and be sure you have enough in your stash for backup.
  134. Print all of YOUR personal photos and put them into photo albums.
  135. Learn how you can speed up your editing process to save you time.
  136. Research ways you can make future bookings better for both you and your clients, such as learning why you should recommend unplugged weddings.
  137. Try shooting with a new prop you haven’t tried yet such as ladders.
  138. Learn the benefits of using a full frame camera is you are still shooting with a crop frame camera and learn how they differ.


How do you keep busy during downtime or what will you be doing from our list of ideas?

Share in the comments below!

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