Sometimes work is just scarce. It isn’t necessarily a reflection of your skill and is rarely a reflection of price.
When I was an agent, and there was a lull in work, I used to jealously watch photographers pop off to the movies, take their kids to the zoo, and go on holidays. Meanwhile in the office, we would be busy managing all the sales and marketing activities we needed to complete to ensure our photographers were top of mind once the work was happening again.
So make the most of the spare time and be proactive. Here are some ideas:
1. Do you have a marketing plan? If not, now’s the time to think about the best ways to get your brand out there. Look at photographers who are busy. How are they marketing themselves? Who are your potential clients? Are you reaching out to them in the places they go to? What magazines do they read? Which blogs?
2. Get on top of your website and social media. If you don’t have a system implement one. Update your blog (is it really two years since your last blog post?), your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your LinkedIn account. Remove all the crap from your Instagram feed. Spend some time aligning accounts so your posts are simple when you’re busy. IFTTT (if this then that) is a brilliant tool, as is Buffer.
3. Edit your work; I’ll bet many of you have archives of files which haven’t seen the light of day. I guarantee that some of you will have enough new shots to create an entirely new folio. In fact I know photographers who have created entirely new websites out of beautiful personal work they’ve had stashed away for years, on the assumption that clients only want to see commissioned work they’ve produced.
4. Shoot! Get out there and work on some personal projects. Build on your folio shots. Gather together teams of people who might also have a quiet spell- make up artists, stylists, etc., and collaborate on something amazing. (Make sure your team is a good one though)
5. Maximise your opportunities. If you’re shooting your personal/ folio work out of town, contact potential clients/ agents in the area prior to going and let them know you’ll be there- they may book you for something if they don’t have to pay for travel expenses. Or just arrange to catch up with them. Shoot everything you can and approach businesses in the area about the shots you have taken. They may just buy some. Contact a stock library and see if you have shot anything they might want. Or find out what they want before you go. Tweet about your journey and upload cool shots as you go. Advertising & travel photographer Pete Seaward is a great inspiration.
6. Update your folio and get it to your agent, or book appointments with clients to show your work. Let them know if certain groups of shots are un-commissioned so they can be considered for potential stock usage.
7. Get on top of your systems and processes. Do your assistants know where your gear is? How you like your coffee? Protocol specific to your shoots? Write it up and save yourself valuable hours of explanations when you’re busy prepping for a shoot.
8. Go to some galleries and exhibitions and look at amazing art and photography. Be inspired. Plan your own exhibition.
After all, you do this because you’re passionate about it, right? If not, hopefully some of the above will help you find that passion again. Because having it will get you through the hardest times.