Scheduling Sessions 101
When Sal and I first started our studio, scheduling was the bane of my existence. I could never get it right! I would mix up days, have Sal in 7 shoots back to back one day and then the next day have 2 shoots with a 4 hour gap in between them, it was miserable! Below are some things I’ve learned along the way that will change your life and make scheduling a dream!
Block off set times
Before I would work around my clients’ schedule, this usually ended up in Sal shooting 7 days a week at all kinds of hours in order to make the best time for our client. It was miserable! Now I block off set days and make my clients work around our schedule.
Monday-Wednesday are shoot days, Saturdays we have weddings, the rest of the days are for production, editing, marketing, etc. One Sunday per month we will book a day of shoots for those clients who cannot make a weekday work.
When scheduling my clients I first offer Monday-Wednesday, only if they cannot make a weekday work, do I present the 1 Sunday as an option. I am letting them know my schedule instead of asking them what their schedule looks like. Most clients are able to make the weekday work for their session.
I also have set times. I try to book two to three downtown senior sessions in the first part of the day and finish with an engagement session downtown. I do this because seniors don’t have school in the summer when they are shooting, so I can schedule them most anytime that works for me. Engagement sessions however have to take off work, by having their session last I can have them start at 5 or 5:30pm in the summer time so they don’t have to worry about taking off work, and its easier to shoot one person (a senior) mid day with the sun than it is to shoot two people in direct sun.
Just this one tip of setting your own schedule will bring sanity to your busy shooting season!
Back to Back
Schedule your shoots back to back, utilize your time, be efficient! Sal would get so frustrated waiting hours in between sessions because he didn’t have enough time to do production work so it ended up being wasted time.
Now I schedule our sessions back to back, I make sure that when one session is scheduled to end, the next session is ready to go. So if a senior is scheduled to shoot downtown from 11-2pm I’ll have Sal’s next senior ready at 2:30pm to allow him time to travel to the meeting place or grab a snack if needed. Also when you are scheduling sessions back to back, make sure they are in the same location. Don’t have one session at the park and the other downtown, you’re wasting time driving! Have Monday dedicated to downtown and Tuesday dedicated to park settings.
When trying to coordinate with your client follow these steps:
1. Figure out if they prefer park or urban settings
2. Offer date that coincides with your sessions scheduled for those areas (Monday downtown, Tuesday park)
3. Give them the time slot at the same time “Ok I have Tuesday the 1st at 3pm in the park open or Monday the 7th at 5pm available, let me know what works best for you”
Give them details
Lastly give them details, don’t just tell them, “meet at the park at 3pm”, where in the park?! Here is part of my email I send to my clients once we have finalized their session details ;
“We have your engagement session scheduled for June 3rd at 5pm meeting at Al’s Restaurant located at 1200 N 1st St, St Louis, MO 63102, shoots typically last about 1.5-2hours, please be sure to arrive 10 minutes early so we can start on time as we typically have shoots and meetings back to back.”
Give them an exact address to meet at so they can plug it into their GPS, don’t make them search for an address, make it as easy as possible.
I hope these tips help you and make your scheduling as easy as its made mine, there is always room to improve and become more efficient, have a great shooting season!