Professional photographers must be organized. Quite often, as a freelancer, you will be juggling new clients and coming up with quotes, you will be getting new work, you will be dealing with exiting clients, sending off invoices, and of course all the other things you may do in your personal life. Staying on top of things means you will able to work productively without distractions.
When you are new to professional photography, it can be easy to say yes to every job that comes your way. Instead, you should look at your schedule and how much you have to do week to week – what commitments do you already have?
Then look at the free space you have and how things can be juggled. Don’t accept so much into your schedule that you become drained and over worked, and make sure you have enough time to see every job through from the start to the end.
Feel free to book appointments in advance (many wedding photographers do this) but if this is the case, you can also ask for a deposit at the time of booking so that your time isn’t unnecessarily taken if the couple change their mind. You must specify it is a non returnable deposit.
Make sure you buy a diary to keep yourself organized. It can be a paper diary or an online one (Gmail from Google for example has a calendar you can update). You can also use a calendar on your phone, but ideally you want to have a paper copy of things too because that way you can have everything in front of you.
These days many photographers have phones that can do a lot of organization for you – for example Blackberry phones are seen as business phones where you can create a scheduler and get your emails. Make sue you keep notes about when your appointments are, when your shots are and when you need to rent equipment or send invoices, as well as when to send out reminders.
If you become very busy then you can hire someone to do the organizing for you – a part time member of staff or family – it can also be a virtual assistant (someone who helps you organize things from anywhere in the world).
Having a filing system is very important as you will get a lot of paperwork and you will need to keep it all in a safe place. This is especially important for things like invoices and receipts.
When you are doing your taxes you will be able to send your receipts in to claim as business expenses and you may need to prove your earnings so make sure they are in a safe place. Try to keep things dated and organized too – same applies for your emails. They will soon be full of rubbish and junk mail so once a week (not daily!) delete unnecessary messages and file away the ones you intend to keep.