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How much do you shoot?
  
 
DannyBostwick
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · How much do you shoot?


I fancy myself a hard working dude, but I also know my limits. I usually shoot 1-2x during the week and a wedding on the weekend for a few weeks then I like a full week off during the week at least. If there's no wedding on the weekend, I'll take 3 shoots during the week. More than that I start to reach burnout and I always feel like my creativity take a dive.

I talked with a friend of mine last night who will shoot 56 weddings this year and shoots 3x during the week. Some of those weddings are 2nd gigs, some are associate gigs, some are his own. I thought that was an astounding amount of seat time and it blew me away. I'd for sure kill everyone around me with that schedule. But maybe I'm just weak and I like my free time too much. So, anyone else here working that much?



Sep 08, 2017 at 12:36 PM
ZachOly
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · How much do you shoot?


I can do engagement sessions all day long. But when it comes to weddings, I start to get jaded after about 3 per month. I have no idea how some of you pump out 50+ weddings a year and keep it together, especially if you're doing a lot of these cookie cutter hotel weddings.


Sep 08, 2017 at 12:55 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · How much do you shoot?


Based on what you describe, your mind and body are saying that you are approaching your limits. Going further is a dangerous slope, your upcoming client's experience will be affected negatively due to the exhaustion working with previous clients. Let's not even get into long term health issues so all this to say, it ain't worth it.

Now, there is little value in comparing your workload versus others, you don't know all the details on how other businesses are run. Perhaps they outsource many areas of the business or hire additional help in the studio. The question is whether the amount of revenue is enough to sustain your lifestyle (and achieve your life goals, ex: retirement) by keeping up with the current workload, let's say that this is your max capacity.

If you say: "well I am at my max capacity but I still stuggle to pay my bills" then it is time to raise your prices and/or streamline your workflow to reduce the hours required on a weekly basis. Then use the free time to pursue higher ROI activities, ex: newer and more affluent clients or gigs.

If you say: "the money is good enough, I just need more free time" then consider outsourcing some areas that have little impact on your client experience. This might seem more costly at the beginning but again, you can use your free time to find new ways to attract higher paying clients, a much higher ROI initiative as opposed to always working at max capacity.



Sep 08, 2017 at 01:48 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · How much do you shoot?


Everyone's different.

100 weddings personally shot last year, and this.
50 more per year for associates
12 engagement sessions a year

I'm 53 and visit the chiropractor and massage therapist every 2 weeks. Hot yoga twice a week. I don't have a problem paying bills, and don't yearn for more free time because I know I'll get it in December. We take the whole month off and we go someplace warm for a couple of weeks at Christmas.

I love photography and love the anthropology of these events. You get the life you want, and I wanted this (drops mic).



Sep 08, 2017 at 02:31 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · How much do you shoot?


Tip to remain sane ... don't eat the wedding food. Bring your own.


Sep 08, 2017 at 02:33 PM
tonyhart
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · How much do you shoot?


I shoot 15-20 weddings per year + a handful of other gigs, engagement sessions, family sessions, commercial work etc.

My weddings tend to be longer (16-18hrs door to door typically), and I spend more time on the pre & post processes than most (due to being a perfectionist) but, if I wanted to, I could work more. But hey, I like my life more than I like my job. Also, the best way I prevent burnout for me personally is making the work feel satisfying. I do that by focusing on quality rather than allowing things to feel like a sweatshop merely churning shit out.

Edited on Sep 08, 2017 at 03:13 PM · View previous versions



Sep 08, 2017 at 03:09 PM
DannyBostwick
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · How much do you shoot?


LeeSimms wrote:
Everyone's different.

100 weddings personally shot last year, and this.
50 more per year for associates
12 engagement sessions a year

I'm 53 and visit the chiropractor and massage therapist every 2 weeks. Hot yoga twice a week. I don't have a problem paying bills, and don't yearn for more free time because I know I'll get it in December. We take the whole month off and we go someplace warm for a couple of weeks at Christmas.

I love photography and love the anthropology of these events. You get the life you want, and I wanted this (drops mic).


Boom. Solid answer. What is the average amount of time spent at your 100 weddings? What part do you play on the back end in terms of processing? Have an editor? Use a service?



Sep 08, 2017 at 03:11 PM
DannyBostwick
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · How much do you shoot?


LeeSimms wrote:
Tip to remain sane ... don't eat the wedding food. Bring your own.


I learned this lesson this year and pack a yeti full of water, food, and even cold brew coffee for the day.



Sep 08, 2017 at 03:12 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · How much do you shoot?


> Boom. Solid answer. What is the average amount of time spent at your 100 weddings? What part do you play on the back end in terms of processing? Have an editor? Use a service?

Most of our jobs are short — 6 hours is the average. Today I'm on top of Keystone mountain for 4 hours, but Saturday is Vail Golf Club for 9. For our associate brand, most of the bookings are 6 hours. I loath shooting hair/make-up on the front end, and hours of drunk dancing on the back end so 6 hours is zen for me. I've been booking a considerable number of 3-hour coverages at our new Morman temple and those are a dream. When people are sober, well-dressed, joyful, and place a high value on physical attractiveness it's amazing how easy your job is.

My wife does customer service, my daughter edits and does album design, my son does video. Right now, it's all in-house but my children are almost done with college and won't likely do weddings as adults so we'll take on employees or outsource. Not there yet.

I try not to meet with clients before weddings. I'm a bit aloof with my clients and prefer to play it old school — wizard behind the curtain and all that. When I grew up, we didn't know who Pink Floyd was, we just knew they were mysterious wizards who make great records. Now we now musicians underwear size, what they eat for breakfast, whose shirts they wear and I think that spoils it. I don't do social media much (no Facebook) and that keeps my head straight, and makes me more of an enigma to my clients. In person, I'm Bill Clinton with a camera and kiss babies, dogs, grandmas, etc. Charming on demand (stole that from Ryan Brenizer). Any religion, color, sexual orientation, or personal baggage, I'm your best friend for the day. Then I go home and tomorrow I'm someone else's best friend.






Sep 08, 2017 at 03:34 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · How much do you shoot?


The BEST part of this business is it's total free market. There's no wedding police to tell you how you have to do it. Shooting 100 a year seems natural to me, while it's a 'factory' to someone else. Having a half dozen pre-wedding meetings with a client seems like a total waste of time to me, but to others they can't sleep at night if they don't get that kind of service. I once was a workshop buddy with a woman who told me she screened her clients more than they screen her and she only works for people she wants to be friends with. I was floored.

Make your own reality. Do what you're good at, and do it consistently. Be honest with yourself and find little ways to keep yourself interested. If you don't like something, change the game.



Sep 08, 2017 at 04:48 PM
 

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Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · How much do you shoot?


We set rules for ourselves years ago and abide by them. Keeps us happy. Keeps us busy. Keeps us traveling. In a year we shoot:

Weddings: 37ish
Engagements: 25ish
Other Portraits: 20-25ish
Commercial: 20-25ish

Around the spring and fall we're shooting 3-4 times a week, every week. Come February we're not really shooting at all. We're happy! Every fall we approach burn out but power through. By spring we're so excited to shoot again. Once we got comfortable with that idea, life became way more enjoyable.

Edited on Sep 08, 2017 at 06:36 PM · View previous versions



Sep 08, 2017 at 05:58 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · How much do you shoot?


The most I ever shot was 44 weddings in a year two years ago. We only had one kid at the time, and it was not too bad. Last year we added the second kid, and at 37 weddings I was dying...most challenging year of my life. By the end of the year I was in such bad shape that I actually started to wonder if I had some sort of disease like cancer because my body was more run down than it has ever been. Even strangers were asking Shannon if I was seriously ill. This year I backed way the heck down to around 28, and it has been much better. I am still completely exhausted because kids, but I am much more healthy.

in addition to weddings, we shoot about 25+ essesions,10+ family/maternity sessions (hoping to start doing more), 20+ boudoir sessions, 10+ event/commercial, and my wife does a handful of newborns



Sep 08, 2017 at 06:28 PM
dhp_sf
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · How much do you shoot?


I aim for about 30 weddings a year (been hitting around 28-32 in the past few years). But 25 is enough for me to live pretty comfortably. I usually pick up a handful of non-wedding client engagement sessions, but the bulk of my work is weddings. I do some fashion stuff but it's more for me and a creative outlet, though it would be sweet if I could monetize it more.

I like the pace of my wedding season, but it does feel too slow sometimes in the early spring and winters. I try to travel then...



Sep 08, 2017 at 06:46 PM
ayjayy
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · How much do you shoot?


I would love to get to 25-30 weddings. I seem to be stuck around +/-15 for the past few years. I thought going full-time this year would help me get there but it doesn't seem to be working.


Sep 08, 2017 at 07:40 PM
sold5
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · How much do you shoot?


I shoot 20 to 25 weddings a year - typically a 16 hour day door to door - with no more than one wedding taken on in any weekend. I don't do engagement sessions, don't blog or advertise and don't do a whole lot of editing except white balance and exposure which cuts my time input right down. But I also deliver on average 16 training course days a month so weddings are a sideline to my main business.


Sep 08, 2017 at 08:56 PM
flash
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · How much do you shoot?


I'm planning to retire from weddings entirely. I'm bored. Time to move on.

Gordon



Sep 08, 2017 at 09:46 PM
shackleton12
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · How much do you shoot?


My average year will see around 30-40 weddings, mainly between April and October, giving me stacks of down time over winter which I happily fill with climbing, biking, kayaking and skiing. A great balance for me that seems to work well.


Sep 09, 2017 at 07:14 AM
glort
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · How much do you shoot?



No Doubt some clowns looking for cheap shots will take this the wrong way, but like I care....

In all innocence and honesty, I don't understand how people can do what I would say was so few weddings or other work and feel like they are being so taxed. It's just so at odds with what I and so many other used to do and pretty much a working life mindset.

I worked for a Studio doing mainly ethnic, Italian, greek, serb etc weddings. I would do 3 a week on average or the sunday would be a christening in the morning and an engagement/ 21st/ anniversary in the evening. As the place I worked had 3 halls, it was not unusual to do 2 of these events at once. MC did the 2 at the same time so he would let you know when the official parts you had to be there for were coming up and wait till you were there.

The weddings were ALWAYS long, min 12 hours and I would always do back to backs twice a week and triples at least twice a month. Yeah, come Monday I was fked and rarely got out of bed before about 2 PM but I'd be doing an interview that night, shooting portraits/ glamours or commercial work through the week and basically taking everything I could get. Every one did, no one I knew would ever give any work away no matter how much they had on. If it was there, you bloody well grabbed it and anything else you could along the way. No one thought any different.

I wasn't shooting a lot of my own weddings then, probably only about 20 a year but I never had some sort of limit on what I did nor did I ever hear of anyone else saying they could only do so many either.

The limit of what you did was what you could get or fit in. When I couldn't do anymore myself, I got others to do them for me. I hated doing all the behind the scenes work like numbering negs so I hired a secretary when I left the studio and was doing all my own jobs to do that crap for me. they handled the clients as well apart from initial contacts although I wasn't always there so they often booked the interviews as well.

I had my holiday time, my mentor drummed it in to me that you ALWAYS had your next holiday time written in the book but other than that, I just can't ever remember anyone I knew that said they could only do 25 or whatever weddings a year before they got burnt out or too tired. The goal really was to book in as many as you could. I think the most I ever did of my own was around 80 but when I was working for the studio it was more like 120 weddings plus the other smaller jobs which could be even more hours in total. Most weddings I ever did in one week was 4 as there were regularly what I called the " Society " weddings which would be typically on a Monday, tuesday or Thursday. These were always upmarket events at premier Venues like the opera house or the city race courses or high end restaurants. They were always I felt the most boring and insincere as everyone was so busy air kissing and minding their social graces no one ever actually seemed to enjoy themselves or have fun.

Friday weddings were about 45 fridays a year in the ethnic community. It was very unusual not to get one but if you didn't get a wedding it would be a 21st or something else in the evening anyway.

Seems the attitudes in the game have changed a lot now and this is a prime example. Everyone I knew and that was from shooters doing the cheapest shoot/ print/ handover jobs to the guys doing the highest value coverages in the country whom I was good friends with always seemed to be trying to get in all the work they could. Even the guys doing 20K weddings 20 years ago didn't have a limit other than being booked out. They were pushing the most creative work available and always leading the trends and the more they did the more it seemed to drive them.

The ONLY guy I can remember that limited himself was at the time a living legend of Photography, charging the highest fees in the country and was in his 70's. Every time he got too many bookings, he put his price up another $1000. And then had too many weddings again the next year.... :0)
Not putting anyone down whom has a limit, just saying it's a different thing to hear now that what I heard and did back then.

Even with the glam shoots, I'd never put a limit on how many of those I did. I remember one year after a very successful 4 day show I shot for 16 days straight. Yes, again I was fked at the end especially as I started the day after the show when I could barely speak but the " rest" was to get the mrs to book a week away at a nice resort. Figured we earnt it, that was how to enjoy it. Came back and was full on for another couple of months till the winter came and it died off.

I want to get back into this again and given the opportunity with enough bookings, I'd certainly do it again. At least I'd try. Not sure I could do it but then again, the way I worked for a month a few weeks ago moving home that caused me to loose 11Kg, It could not be anywhere near as hard as that and If tthat didn't kill me, shooting photo jobs sure as heck won't.

Guess I did it too hard for too long to ever feel I was in a position of what I would consider such luxury to not take any good and profitable work when it was on offer.
I guess even now, at least for the forseeable future till and If I can achieve it, the mark of success will be getting all the work I can handle. When/ If I ever get to that goal, then it being achieved, the goal may shift to doing all I want. All I want and all I can get are going to be very hard to separate after all these years Though. :0)



Sep 09, 2017 at 09:04 AM
BKphotography
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · How much do you shoot?


flash wrote:
I'm planning to retire from weddings entirely. I'm bored. Time to move on.

Gordon


To do what?



Sep 09, 2017 at 09:25 AM
flash
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · How much do you shoot?


BKphotography wrote:
To do what?


Studio shooting. Commercial. I've got my commercial drone licence, so some arial work. I've got a 24" printer I'd like to use more. Probably going to end up semi-retired. I'm set up. Don't need to work myself to death.

Gordon




Sep 09, 2017 at 11:27 AM
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