Hi Phil! I have a question, regarding time management. My annoying tendency is if I say we are shooting for a half hour we end up doing close to a full hour anyways. How do you stay strict with the time limits you have set, without seeming like a jerk when you have to say, “time’s up” ?
PHILLIP VAN NOSTRAND (ANSWER):
Hi Kristen! Great question– I would have to say I’m very excellent at time management. There is a lot of psychology behind keeping people on track and not feeling rushed.
If you are shooting a family in a half hour, I would do the big group in the first 15 minutes, and once 15 minutes are up I would say something like “Ok, we’ve got about 15 minutes left, what combinations do you want to do now? How about mom and dad, and then just the kids and then end with something fun like a jump shot?” And I would do five minutes with mom and dad (actually a lot of time to shoot! At about 10 pictures per minute that’s potentially 50 pictures), five minutes with the kids, and five minutes of fun. It feels fast, but I like that energy, as long as you can give good results under pressure like that. Hope this helps!
[Editor’s note: this relates mainly to shooting 30 minute sessions, something I started doing to negotiate cost/time with people who didn’t want to pay for a full hour. So instead of charging a full $400/hr I would charge $250 f0r a “Power Half Hour” session. The same advice still applies to shooting three looks in one hour, breaking that hour down into 15 minute blocks with 5 minute breaks in between looks]
Time is money- And a happy client means more referrals. I’ve done some shoots and finished early because it’s a businessman on his lunch break. He’s happy that I got the job done fast and efficiently. Some jobs I’ll slow down the pace and enjoy the process with the client. It depends on their personality and how much it seems they are enjoying the shoot. But the key to proper time management is to give people a five or ten minute warning so there is an expectation about finishing. And then you don’t feel like you are losing money by going over time and your client doesn’t feel like the shoot just ended abruptly. Keep it in a nice flow.
ps. You can increase how much you make in an hour if you charge more by the half hour. Say you charge $300 per hour for a full shoot, but you have a family that doesn’t want to pay that much. You can offer them a mini shoot (30 minutes) for $200. This ends up being a win for everybody. You have less photos to edit. They got $100 off and still get great printable images. You essentially charged $400/hr.