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What Are You Going to STOP Doing Once You Get Back to Shooting?

Published: 16/05/2020

Darlene, from Buffalo, NY writes:

“I know there are some photographers working right now in different parts of the country, but not me. When this whole Covid-19 thing started, I thought that I would use this unexpected free time to my advantage by knocking things off my to-do list in my business. Instead, I’m doing other things like playing with my kids and reading rather than worrying about my list. I’m just wondering if others are feeling this way or if I’m wasting an opportunity to catch-up and get ahead of the game.”

It’s a very interesting thing that you’re bringing to light, Darlene, and I’ll be curious to hear what others in our community have to say about it. Personally, I totally understand what you’re going through and for what it’s worth to you, I don’t think you’re wasting an opportunity. In fact, it sounds to me like you’re taking advantage of an opportunity! I don’t want to sound preachy but at the end of the day, one of the positive things that I think we all hope is going to come out of this pandemic is that a great mass of people will stop their obsession with to-do lists and focus more attention on trying to find some meaning in all of this turmoil and loss that we’ve all been feeling. I think on some level, Darlene, you know that your to-do list is probably never going to be completed--and given that you have some unexpected time with your kids who are at home from school, maybe now is not the time to focus on that to-do list. For you, there's probably more meaning (and value) in spending time with them, so take advantage of it!

I also think this same principle of looking for what’s most important can be applied to your photography business. What are the things in your craft/business that you’ve been giving too much attention or have been worrying too much about? What would be easiest to let go of? Perhaps, the best way to answer this question is to take the mental energy that you’d use to come up with “to-do” lists and instead, use it to develop a “to-don’t” list. Anyway Darlene, I've been feeling exactly the same way you’ve been feeling. I’m trying to fight my workaholic tendencies and instead, I’m trying to be more “present” in my day-to-day life.

I know this hasn’t been the typical PFRE blogpost but I hope it’s been of value, anyway. If so, what are the things you’re going to do differently in your photography business, when you get back to work?

Tony Colangelo

3 comments on “What Are You Going to STOP Doing Once You Get Back to Shooting?”

  1. A "to-do" list is one of the things that helps me keep on track. It's a living document and items get on it, fall off, get done and get shuffled all of the time. I'd never just throw it away.

    A "don't do" list could be a good way to keep reminding yourself of the bad habits you fall into with your photography. If you aren't getting a good front exterior photo, decide what you don't like about the ones you make and put that composition on your don't-do list.

    On a bit of a tangent, one of the best teachers I had way back in high school taught me to identify how I learn. Some people are visual and need to see something to understand it. Some are auditory and need to hear it. Some people are kinesthetic and need to do it or feel it. Even you are are highly visual, there may be a difference between seeing something pictorially like a sketch or written words. I found that I take things on board in different ways depending on whether they are technical or creative (right brain/left brain). Another thing that always helps is if I write things down, with a pen/pencil on a surface. Notes on an electronic device such as a phone don't do it. If I write out a shopping list on a piece of paper, I'll probably remember nearly all of it while shopping. If I type it into the phone, I'll need to have the phone out and keep referring to it to keep from not getting something on the list. I still put things on the phone as I can do that continuously as I find things I want to get. If I write down critiques of my work, it helps me improve and get out of ruts I may have formed. Just the act of making longhand written notes while I advance a job online helps me be more focused when I get to the job even if I leave those notes at home. Learning how YOU learn may be a key to getting better.

    Business is super slow and I'm doing more home projects, but I'm trying to not get out of the work habit. I'll get the drone out after I've had some lunch and take some photos and video as well as learn some more of the flight programming. I'm going out with a friend to photograph abandoned buildings nearby in the desert and treating it like a work assignment. When things pick up again, I don't want to have lost my workflow.

  2. Sleep. That’s what I WON’T be doing.

    Our market opened back up on May 7th. I have not gone to sleep before 2am on any day since the 6th. I won’t be tonight either.

  3. Its been such a strange few months living with this pandemic. I'm still working, a little, and let my agents know I'll only shoot if the property is vacant (owners not present when i'm shooting) and has been sanitized. My area here in FL, is a vacation destination location, so people who cant sell their home are starting to open it up for rentals, which they stage and want shot. I've been very lax on shooting walk through videos, because its out of my comfort zone, shooting and editing, but am getting more and more requests, and many of my agents offer me some very nice homes to practice on. so next week, I'll be working on walk through videos. I'm also being asked for 3D tours, more now that the pandemic has hit. virtual open houses, which I'm not sure what is needed from us.

    Also, because I can loose focus (for really) and need structure, I still get up as if I was going to work,and do some self promotions, as if it was an assignment. and like Ken, I love shooting abandon buildings and factories, but not many here in my area on the beaches.

    The positive side of this pandemic, is that we get to spend some family time with the kids and grand kids, who were too busy with their friends to hang with the grand parents until now. And even though we miss the hugging, we make time to do some activities, like bike riding and teaching my 12 year old grandson how to fly the drone, which he he kicks butt on. kids learn so fast and have no fear of crashing, especially when its Grandpas DJI Phantom that he doesn't have to pay for. I'm thinking, since he is almost finished with school for the season, I can break him in on drone flying and doing aerial videos.

    But what my wife, daughter and I find so challenging, is helping the grand kids with their homework. it truly gives you a better appreciation for teachers and what they have to do. I find its so different and much harder than when we were growing up................ So imagine how great I felt, when I got a B+ on my grandsons science homework from military school.

    I not sure where this pandemic is going to take us as real estate photographers, but i'm trying to keep positive, and thinking how I can keep improving my quality and letting the agents know that hi quality photography and great customer service will help them market their properties and shorten their listing time.

    Wishing all of my fellow RE photographers the best

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