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Portrait and Wedding Photographers Side Hustle: Avoid Burnout, Get Ahead with These 10 Success Strategies

4 Mins read

We are asked on a daily basis how our ambassadors seem to be busier and more booked than ever in this post Covid-19 era. In fact, even with a looming and questionable economy on the horizon, many of our ambassadors seem to be making more money than they ever have before! A booked calendar with a ton of shoots in the pipeline is a good problem to have, right? Of course! But that doesn’t mean the resulting burn out is any fun. That’s why we have compiled a list of ten strategies for portrait and wedding photographers that will not only make your side hustle lucrative, but turn it into your number one gig without the burnout.

1. Value Your Time

Time is money so be sure not to waste it! Shooting a session will certainly take your time and there’s no way around that. Successful photographers use lots of tools to save time and streamline processes. In doing so, they can better focus on the face-to-face moments with clients, creating stronger relationships with them, and have a life outside of work.

2. Communicate Consistently

It can be challenging to keep up with each client in a timely manner when you’re knee deep in editing and have a full calendar up ahead. Successful photographers focus on the entire client journey, from the first inquiry to the delivery of high end albums and wall art, and they don’t drop the ball in communication. That’s why every photographer should rely on helpful software tools to keep them organized. Some of the best, and easy to use, studio management systems are Honeybook, Pixifi and Studio Ninja. These platforms will help you to keep track of leads and communicate with clients – ultimately saving you hours of time and helping you to not flake.

3. Represent and Present Well 

Every part of your process should stand out and fully represent your business and brand. Creating studio magazines and marketing cards that show off your photography, your process and final print options are the best way to seed the client experience. Presenting your brand beautifully should start immediately while engaging prospective clients and last all the way to the print purchase after a session.

4. Plant the Vision

Never be afraid to over communicate with your clients. Let them know what to expect from the beginning and be sure to communicate the value of printed products, such as albums and wall art, throughout the entire process. You may consider starting with a “what to expect” communication that lays the groundwork ahead of time by walking through what will happen at the shoot and describing the print options available afterward. Look for opportunities during the shoot to say phrases like, “this shot will look great in your album” or “these photos would look amazing as a wall art collage.” Use every opportunity to plant the vision.

5. Ask Questions 

This one seems like a no-brainer, but many photographers miss the mark on truly understanding the client and shooting their story. Ask a lot of questions! What is special about this time in their life? What are some activities they enjoy doing together? What types of photos do they prefer (i.e. posed, candid or creative)? Some photographers will provide a brief questionnaire prior to the shoot so they can get this information ahead of time. Ultimately, getting to know the client and making a genuine connection will help you to find out what is important to them and what they want photographed.

6. Focus on the Details

Highlighting accents and focusing on the details are wise tips we hear from successful photographers. Wide and medium compositions are visually stunning, but don’t forget to zoom in with your lens or physically get in close to focus on the details. This will help you to tell a more compelling story. In the end you’ll be able to offer more photos to the client that can be compiled into an album or wall art collection.

7. Streamline Culling and Editing

Culling and editing is the most time consuming part of running a photography business. Every photographer has experienced those late night moments of editing where they feel stressed and fatigued. Save yourself countless hours each shoot and avoid burnout by utilizing AI culling and editing tools. From batch editing and retouching to fav culling and grouping, do it all in minutes vs. hours. Two companies are currently battling it out for the king of the hill in this arena, Imagen AI and AfterShoot. Fundy Designer also has one-click skin retouching and auto-design grouping to help you cull the design faster.

8. Automate It

Simplify everything by investing in software that can automate the entire design process–from albums to wall art to custom announcements and cards. Successful photographers know the importance of representing their brand artfully and will use software, such as Fundy Designer, to help them create and present professional designs both online and in person in minutes. Let dynamic slideshows and online proofing speak volumes about your brand, upsell every client and that can add $50,000 to $100,000 in annual revenue.

9. Present More

Be sure to present more options to clients than they thought they were going to see. Wow them with bigger layouts and more wall art collections. Based on what we have seen, they will end up buying more if you show it to them. It’s as simple as that. Clients will feel comfortable taking spreads out, but we often find that they leave in a lot more than they take out.

10. Seal the Deal with Music

Music combined with photos will trigger special memories for your clients so don’t be afraid to get sappy! Bring your clients back to their special day by adding thoughtful music to your slideshows and presentations that will prompt an emotional response. All of our ambassadors have seen their sales increase by using this tried and true tactic. Fundy Designer is the only IPS tool with built in music specifically curated to increase sales.


Successful photographers have it figured out. They implement the above strategies into their business to easily add $5,000 to $10,000 to the bottom line per client. These photographers know the importance of building their brand, spending their time wisely and automating out tedious work. Ultimately, they have figured out how to make money while also avoiding the all-to-inevitable crash and burn that many photographers experience as they struggle for work life balance throughout the year.###

Andrew “Fundy” Funderburg is the creator of the Fundy Design Suite software platform and the founder of Fundy Software. The Fundy Suite has transformed countless photography businesses and facilitated the production of millions of photo stories worldwide. The software design tools are simple and efficient for the busy photographer looking to capture the emotions of the moment and lay out the story of their clients with albums and wall art. Twitter handle:

Wedding stock photo by al1962/Shutterstock

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