This month's Peer2Peer survey asked our readers what they do during their off-peak seasons. Though most of us would love to enjoy our downtime on the beach somewhere in Cabo San Lucas, most have to maintain steady revenue throughout the year. If your peak times revolve around national holidays or special occasions, what do you do when the only holiday in sight is Flag Day? If you're a wedding photographer, the spring and summer may be your busiest times of the year, but what projects do you take on when you don't have a blushing bride waiting in the wings? We surveyed our readers, and with more than 900 respondents, here's what we found
Of those who answered our survey, 72% agreed that their peak times revolve around national holidays or special occasions.
The majority of our respondents use their off-peak times to undertake personal projects (20%), educate themselves through seminars and workshops (18%), and beef up their marketing efforts (16%).
More than half of our respondents (63%) don't run different specials during off-peak times.
Of those who run specials, 38% offer coupons/discounts on prints, 17% include extra service offerings (retouching/longer shooting sessions), and 17% will include additional ancillary product offerings (i.e., prints, CDs, photobooks, picture frames, gift cards/certificates).
The majority of our respondents (64%) answered that they will take on other types of photography jobs outside of their niche during off-peak times.
"July and August is our downtime period. I plan a large painting commission for July, and this year I am having a gallery show in August. We prepare for our fall season, set goals, finalize marketing pieces, write newsletters and emails, update our website, and design our specialty sets. We stay in contact with our client base through email. We also try to take a vacation to relax and get inspired."
Janell Mithani, Janell Mithani Photography, Altadena, CA,
"In the slower months, my baby planners keep me busy. I also seem to have enough maternity clients and newborn babies to cover the holes in the schedule. But frankly, I enjoy the slower times."
Livia Fremouw, Fremouw Photography & Design, Eugene, OR,
"I have a regular full-time photo job with a company, and my freelance is a must. My focus now is on marketing. With a limited budget, I plan to launch a portfolio website [to] display my work."
Robbin Cresswell, Cresswell Digital Photography, San Antonio, TX,
"I contact customers who have not completed their selection of action/performance photos from the previous school year."
Mary Scott McNabb, EVENT DigiPhoto,San Antonio, TX,
"Although we specialize in wedding photography for most of the year, during our off-season we will normally take on more child portraiture jobs, and maternity sessions. We also use the time to work on projects for vendors like a bridal fashion shoot, which we can use for our marketing materials."
Gina DeConti, Imaginative Studios, Chicago, IL,
"During my off-peak time, I offer simple glamour and event sessions. And if I'm not doing those, then I enjoy doing artistic photos to keep up (and challenge) my creative skills."
Maiphotos, New York City, NY
"We focus on wedding photography. During our slower months, we encourage our clients to schedule their engagement portraits and pre-bridal sittings."
Krista Kowalczyk, Impressions Photography, Fort Myers, FL,
"During the Christmas holiday, which is slowest for me, I sell cards, albums, and photo pendants that contain images I've taken during my peak summer period."
Kat Pasco, Artistic Attitude Photography, Evanston, IL,
"During the months of November through March, which is my downtime, I teach photo workshops and offer a digital photography class at a local community college. I also have revenue coming in from stock photo sales."
Anthony Dezenzio, Tony Dezenzio Photography, Stamford, CT,