A Photographers Guide to Time Travel

If you’re going to be someone, in any industry, then you’ve got to manage your time! That’s very true in what I do! The phone won’t stop ringing, the emails are stacking up, a different pool everyday, and then you’ve also got to remember to take some time off to relax here and there. I shot over 30 pools last month, one per day essentially, but finally found an evening off. So what does a photographer do when he has a down day? Haha! He goes out and shoots a photo for fun! This is the Be Someone Bridge in downtown Houston, TX. (Talk about a crazy version of Frogger to get that shot! Yet totally worth the rush!)

One of the hardest things I had to learn last year was how to manage my time in the air flying. (Traveling from one job to the next.) Every time I hopped a plane flight, I made sure to draw a new line to represent my flight path on a map of the US I was building in Illustrator. This is April 2nd – November 22nd 2018.

I realized at the end of the year, I needed to stay in one place at a time, for longer amounts of time, so I can be more productive in one area at once. For example, I went to Texas 5 times last year alone, and each time I hit Houston, Dallas, and Austin on all 5 trips. (I call it the Texas Triangle now) I lost so many days just traveling I realized at the end of the season. So this year, I hit Florida for a short bit early in the year, and then decided to start in Texas for the first 2 months of the busy season. I’ll be back towards the fall for one more run in Texas, but boy was that the best move I’ve made personally. It’s all about managing your time to get the most out of it.

When it comes to traveling to the job site, I wish I had an answer for pool builders specifically. I’ve heard it 1,000 times now. Builders have a job an hour north of town. Then two others 30 minutes from the office, one East and one West, not to mention all the other projects peppered all around town in between. How do you manage that? It’s tough right. It’d be awesome if every pool you built could be within a few miles radius of the office huh?

But, we don’t live in an ideal world, and all the customers on “Whatever Avenue” aren’t going to call and ask you build all their pools in the same month, so there might not be much you can do about that issue.

But, we don’t live in an ideal world, and all the customers on “Whatever Avenue” aren’t going to call and ask you build all their pools in the same month, so there might not be much you can do about that issue.

But if you’re super busy, another way to look at it is to ask yourself do you get more help? I had to. I can’t manage my schedule, and focus on shooting when I also need to edit all day long at a hotel, and then be ready to shoot in the evenings. It does no good to burn yourself out! Been there and DONE THAT! So, to manage my time better, I spent a month training an editor every day for hours on end every day. Matter of fact, I had a planned hernia surgery in March, so I spent the entire month of May training my editor. Talk about managing your time, yet on pain killers? Somehow we got through it! Lol

Now I send the files off to the only person in the country now who’s been trained to edit “my style” of photography. And it’s worth it because it allows me to focus on working “on my business” almost as much as I do working “in my business”. I think there’s a fine balancing act between those two things that need to be paid close attention to. Some folks just have a natural knack for it I guess, but I had to learn the hard way by trial and error.

Hire another secretary? Get a person delegated to handle your social media? Take more classes? Read a book on managing your business? (Traction by Gino Wickman is a good one I read last year.) Join a group of experts in your industry and ask what they do themselves? There are all sorts of things to help your business I believe, but I think one of the priorities firstly should be how to manage your time more effectively.

Keeping it short because I’ve got to get packed up and to the airport this afternoon!

God Bless, Jimi – Jimi Smith Photography

— Jimi Smith of Jimi Smith Photogrpahy