One of the things I really wanted to look at, was the difference in how successful photographers spend their time - compared to the average photographer. To do that, I had to establish a baseline that we could compare from. Now, this doesn't indicate that if you do not meet this baseline - you aren't successful. What it does mean, is that this is a reasonable measure that we can look at to determine photographers - and studios - that have demonstrated consistent performance that exceeds their peers.
The criteria we used were:
- In business 5 or more years
- Shooting more than 12 weddings per year
- Average revenue per wedding > $5000
I know that some would question my criteria - that's okay. In particular, I know that there are many "very successful" photographers who have been in business for less than 5 years. Here's the thing - it's too soon to tell whether or not some of these businesses are truly successful - or whether they have just had a lot of luck.
There's nothing wrong with luck - but it's not something that anyone else can take and use as a best practice. So for this comparison - I stuck with the above criteria.
Here's how photographers, as an average, spend their time:
And here's how "successful" photographers spend their time:
The average photographer spends about 10 hours a week shooting, and 16 hours a week editing (culling, processing, etc) their photographs.
"Successful" photographers spend the same 10 hours a week shooting, but only 5 hours a week editing.
Successful photographers spend 40% less time doing administrative work than average, but spend more than twice as much time on marketing, networking and growing their business.
Successful photographers spend 30% more time with their clients, but 40% less time fulfilling orders.