It's that time of year again!!! Wedding season!! When weekends are a bust, free time is at a minimum and when you question why you ever got into this field in the first place. The temps begin to soar and you look longingly at swimming pools where your friends are basking in the sun and you are running off to another shoot. The summer holidays everyone enjoys with a cold beer in hand you spend with a cold lens in hand instead. Most of the time though, it's worth it but sometimes you stop and think about all of the fun you are missing. You look at the schedule that is bearing down on you for the upcoming season and feel a bit of dread about losing the weekends you've gotten used to having over the winter break. We've all been there and if you claim you haven't, you are lying.
When I first started out a little over 5 years ago, I would take every booking and let them have any day I was free. The first two "wedding seasons" for me were May - October solidly booked with no weekends off at all, many weekends were with multiple weddings. It took me a few years to finally see that I needed breaks in the summer and started scheduling days off during my wedding season. It took me another year or so to stop feeling guilty about doing so.
Look, I like money. I just happen to like my sanity a bit more.
*insert catty remark about my lack of sanity here* ;)
I'm not saying you need or should take every weekend off but when you start booking up with weddings or portraits, step back and look at your calendar. After a year or two you should know where your sanity threshold is and when you start to hit the burnout stage from back-to-back weddings. I found for me, 6-8 weeks is my max in a row that I can happily do. More than that and I get a bit antsy. Go through your schedule and schedule those weekends off on your calendar and make sure you stick to it unless it is something that you TRULY want to shoot. Also, I know a lot of photographers refuse to schedule sessions on Sundays to take a day off from shooting during the week all together and to have one weekend day with their family. I really like this idea and have been trying to transition to this myself.
I really hope that you take a moment after reading this and hit up your calendar and take sanity breaks for yourself. Even if you've already booked up most weekends with weddings, take Sundays off and stick to not shooting or working that day. I promise you, those little breaks will become a haven for you in the busy months ahead!
Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista (runs Clothes for Pros, clothing suggestions for photographers), travel guru, deal hound and geek rolled into one. She's had a website online since 1997 and a blog since 1999. When not plotting world domination or her next trip, she can be found reading one of the 100+ books she reads a year. Follow her on Twitter.