Anyone who’s a freelancer is probably all too familiar with the deadening silence coming from your telephone during the month of December. Or maybe it’s just me? Between the extended weekends following Thanksgiving and the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years, there’s not a lot of time where any new business actually gets done in the twelfth month of the year. One thing that’s easy to do is to sit around waiting for phone to ring, growing increasingly depressed as the month drags on and your bank account goes down. Another is to whore yourself out (so to speak) for a quick buck so you at least feel like you’re working. This year’s unusual rainy season has made the first option the easy one this slow season. The second is a bad idea for numerous reasons, including that you’d be undercutting your industry and your time could be better spent. I’ve tried both approaches and neither does much good. A worthwhile alternative is to use your head and try to make the most of your so called “free” time. With that in mind, I decided to put together a “Top Ten” list of useful ways to help your business and yourself when things get slow around the holidays. Other than enjoy yourself and the time you get to spend with friends and family that is! I also realize December’s almost over, but rather than wait until next year I thought I’d put this out there while it’s fresh in my mind. Something to put away for next year perhaps. So, in no particular order, here are the…
Top Ten (or Twelve) Things To Do When Your Photography (or Other Creative) Business is Slow
1. Read and/or watch movies – Books, magazines and films are great places to find inspiration and activate your imagination. We just checked out Daren Aronofsky’s Black Swan the other day. He’s someone I enjoy for both his storytelling and cinematography. I’m also reading The Complete Joy of Home Brewing and rereading The Catcher in the Rye, which I picked up on vacation early this month. Perhaps the latter in honor of J.D. Salinger’s passing earlier this year. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it! Highly recommended, just don’t start collecting copies. I’ve heard that’s a bad sign.
2. Street photography – Get out and shoot! Even if it’s raining! Forget trying to find a subject ahead of time. Just grab your gear and go shoot what you see.
3. Update website or design and print a book – Go through your images from the last several months and see what you can bring into your portfolio (and, while you’re at it, take out!). Or print a portfolio book or a book focusing on a recent project. Blurb books have become particularly popular or print your own and put it in a Pina Zangaro or Lost Luggage binding. Both are more expensive, but look great as long as your prints are good. Blurb and others often have proprietary design software you can download for free. I prefer to use Aperture, which allows you to work from within your archive and can output in formats acceptable to most printers. In preparation for a trip to New York next month I’m printing one on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl and binding it in a frost style Pina Zangaro jacket. Looking good so far!
Keep reading after the jump!