When you have a job, you have sick leave. If you don’t feel good in the morning, you simply call in and take the day off.

But what if you have a huge client waiting for you? You’re doing a commercial shoot, have rented out space, props and models. And you have a crew from the company waiting for the images – today.

Or what if you’re shooting a wedding. You’ve had it booked for months, it’s a huge event with 250 in attendance, and the bride and groom are counting on you?

If you run your photography business long enough, its bound to happen. And if you are the only photographer – a sole business owner – it can be a difficult thing to face.

Know Your Limits

There’s a big difference between a cold with a few sniffles, and chest pains that land you in the hospital. With the job mentality, you may have called in sick when you felt a head cold coming on. But when you have a corporate client waiting at the shoot for you, you may have to load up your bag with cold medicine and push on.

One of our best weddings ever occurred when Andrew was the sole photographer – and his head cold turned into a full outbreak of the flu. With fever and chills hitting him throughout the day, he pushed through, focused intently on getting the best images possible, and came home for 48 hours under the covers.

Have Someone You Can Rely On

While some photographers are leery of other photographers, we welcomed our photography group. Because we knew and trusted a number of other photographers throughout our area, we wouldn’t hesitate to jump in for them, or have them jump in for us as needed.

When I was one week overdue with our daughter, Andrew had a wedding 90 miles away from home. While I wasn’t in labor when he walked out the door, we also knew we didn’t want him stuck at the wedding if the time came. One of our friends tagged along and became the second photographer for the day. We still had over a week to go, and Andrew would have made the wedding just fine. But it was nice to know we had friends willing to cover our backs.

Give Yourself Some Room

Whenever you set deadlines and make promises, give yourself some wiggle room.

If it normally takes a week to Photoshop, order, and finish production on an order, tell your clients it will be a two week turnaround. Then when the order is completed in one and you call your clients early, it will be a welcome surprise. This also gives you options if you are sick, have an emergency, or need to reorder because of errors.

Invest in Smart Technology

In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine life without our laptops, cell phones and tablets. While they help out every day of the week, you’ll especially appreciate them when you’re sick in bed. You may have a hard time sitting up at a desk, but spending 10 minutes checking email propped up on your pillow will put you and your clients at ease.

Plan In Advance

Don’t wait for the inevitable. Instead, work out a plan for the just in case scenario. Ask yourself a series of questions:

  • What would I do if I were sick for a day?
  • What would I do if I ended up in the hospital for a week?
  • What would I do if I had to take 6 weeks off?
  • What would I do if I broke my leg?

Questions like this can help you discover answers that are logical to your lifestyle. Maybe you need some production help. Maybe you need a second shooter. Maybe you need better insurance.

Then take action. Don’t push it to the back burner and tell yourself you’ll think about it later. If you take action now, you’ll be better prepared for if and when something happens in the future.

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