Setting boundaries and avoiding burn out in 2023!

And just like that, another BUSY year in business has nearly come to and end. If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely also a photographer, and likely feeling alot of the same feelings I am currently soaking in.

Feelings of gratitude and so much fullfillment from such an incredible year, creating memories for even more incredible people. Feeling blessed to have a career that allows me to be creative, to make art, to help people see their beauty, to capture priceless memories and the most special of occasions. Thankful to support our families doing something that we truly love.

Typically though, at least in my experience – we love our careers SO much, that we can very easily lose track of having any semblance of routine, boundaries, balance, breaks, and lack all self care. We love our art and our clients so much, that we give them our all. Because truly our art means the world to us, and the fact that other people see our value and our vision and want us to freeze their moments in time… that’s something so special.

Year after year after year… the winter rolls around and I catch myself, and my fellow photographers, sharing online about our burnouts. Sharing how grateful we are, but also how run down, fatigued, drained, and stressed we are. I see photographers saying “Next year… Next year I will NOT overbook myself!!!”. Yet… without a doubt we always do. We always overbook ourselves… and we’ve got to be the ones to create our own balance and only take on what we can! But it’s easier said than done.

Now… overbooking isn’t a crime. If you’re at this stage in your journey – be proud!! For the most part we find ourselves in this situation because we LOVE our jobs. Like absolutely love. The thought of saying no to client is hard, crushing most of the time. SO instead of honouring our “day off”, we fit in another clients because we simply don’t want to turn them away. We love our jobs and our people. But what we are sacrificing by people pleasing… is our own personal time with our own family & friends, our down time to rest and recharge, our supper with family, our weekends doing the things we love. Sacrificing moments in our own lives that we won’t get back.

Aside from the dread of saying no to an inquiry, we are also constantly bombarded with hustle culture. Which is a tricky subject on it’s own. I love to hustle, I will admit that, but that feeling and drive for me comes in spurts and seasons – when I have the capactity and the creativity to bring all my ideas to life. But on social media, we are being indoctrinated to always be running at full speed, 10/10 energy, and taught that rest = laziness. We become consumed with hustle culture telling us that if we aren’t working 24/7 we are doing something wrong.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Trying to sprint through your creative process at full speed only leads to exhaustion and burn out. Simple as that. When you take on 30 clients in a month, with no days off, you will burn out and crash. There is no time to keep up with what it really takes to run a business and keep it functioning – ie: keeping up with the client communication, emails, invoices, bookings, your ever growing editing list and deadlines, posting on social media/marketing, website updates, etc etc. Not to mention, overbooking simply does us and our clients zero favours – we lack the literal ability to put in the proper amount of focus, love and attention that each session needs and deserves.

Business aside – running this way allows no time for self care, rest, and no time to be reinspired creatively. Which is so important. When we’re overworked, exhaustion takes over, our mental health takes a dive, and so does our confidence. We CANNOT pour from an empty cup. Just can’t.

SO hear me out – I am guilty of all of this. And it is time that we put some boundaries in place to set us up from an incredible 2023 season – easing our stress and workload, while living our own damn lives too! This will allow us to be stronger and better business owners, while giving ourselves the proper amount of downtime that we require. Even if you’re brand new to the industry – these are tips I believe you should be implementing from the start – healthy habits to growing your business to last! Let’s try some of these tangible steps together. It’s time to be strategic and intentional with our bookings and our free time!


Planning ahead is always a good idea. Prepping your months and schedules in advance allows you to know when your shoot days will be ahead of time, to block off your days off, and prepare for how many sessions you need to take on in a month to hit your goals. This will look different for everyone based on the financial number you need to bring in, your season of life, parenthood, school, other work commitments, travel etc.

  • Set up your months in Google Calendar or Client Relations Management (CRM) – I use Honeybook – Look at what days you know you’ll have commitments to work around ie: events, extra curricular activities, family events/birthdays/holidays, and mark down those days as personal so you don’t end up accidently booking work.
  • Maybe you want to have 3-4 days a week that you book in sessions. Decide on what days those will be and set those as shoot days in your calendar. And then stick to it! This will also allow you much easier marketing when you know that: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are shoot days! You can easily create a booking system and graphics ahead of time listing your shoot days so clients know when you are available and when you are not. Instead of taking on any and every inquiry before you even realize you’ve filled every single day of the month!
  • Set days for focus on different areas of your buisness. Example: Mondays = weekly content creation + emails. Tuesday = editing and sneak peaks. Wednesday = update blog and send galleries. Etc.
  • Look at what you already have booked in far in advance – this will typically be weddings. Carefully decide how many large projects like weddings you can realistically take on in a season. If you don’t want to be booked with a wedding every weekend – make sure you stick to your boundaries with what weekend are your personal time. Summers go by so fast and it’s easily to spend all those summer weekends shooting large events. If you’re a mom like me… you know what I mean. Missing every evening and weekend with your kiddos as they grow is hard on the heart.


Like I said before, it’s much easier said than done to stick to your boundaries with how many sessions you take on. I am still working on this every year myself. But sometimes we have financial goals or numbers we need to hit. Sometimes this looks like we need to take on more work, and sometimes thats just the reality of it. But there are ways to hit our goals while maintaining organizations and sanity.

  • Deep dive into your income goals. How much do you need to or want to bring in a month? If your monthly goal is $5,000 – based on your pricing, exactly how many sessions do you need to book? If your lifestyle session rate is $500, this would look like booking in 10 lifestyle sessions per month. When you look at it that way, it allows you to space out those sessions over your available shoot days each month without overworking and overbooking yourself.
  • Evalute your pricing, and make adjustments accordingly! Inflation is real, things are just dang expensive these days – so are professional services like photography! If you haven’t done a pricing increase or package update in a couple years, it’s TIME. Every year you gain more experience, more knowledge, and your talent will grow – your pricing should reflect that and grow with you! If you find you’re needing to book in 20-30 sessions to hit that $5000 monthly goal – your prices are TOO LOW. If you’re able to fill those 20-30 spots, but could be hitting the same revenew doing half the work – it’s time for a pricing increase! I know that pricing is such a tricky topic, but your charging your worth is always important.


One of my favourite ways to use the slower winter months, is to do all the updates to my business that are necessary to keep the busy season flowing. Things that usually get pushed to the back burner during the busy months, or just feel impossible to keep up with. The slower months are the perfect time to goal set, get creative with new marketings, brainstorm your ideas, and set intentions for the new year.

Some extremely useful ways to set your business up for sucess before the spring/summer/fall rush sets in:

  • Update your pricing and packages
  • Create or update your client PDFs, info guides, welcome guides, and other digital materials
  • Set up a CRM if you haven’t already done so! Honeybook has completely changed my business for the better. Organization isn’t my strongest area, and HB has helped me immensely.
  • Prewrite and save your email inquiry and response templates
  • Update your website images and copy and brand mission
  • Invest in personal development, mentorship, workshops, or take time to read or listen to inspiring podasts
  • Revamp your branding colors, fonts, vibe to suit where you’re at and where your business is evolving to.
  • Use Canva to work with these brand elements and create a backlog of content or social templates to use throughout the year
  • Get your own photos taken! Whether you set up selfportraits like I do alot, or hire a photographer you love. Take this time to get in front of the camera and have some fun! Showing yourself in your marketing is the best way to attract your ideal clients. Allow them to get to know you and what you’re all about before they even book in with you. Show up as your true authentic self – and images of you help with this so much!

Lastly – take time for YOU! Remember that those days off in your schedule are important and crutial. Important for your rest and personal life, and important for you as a creative. We need that time to recharge, to let our dreams flourish, and to be able to put out our best work and create from the soul. Your mental health is so important. Take care of yourself amongst doing it all for others.

Cheering for you always. If you read anything here that resonated with you and you’ll be implementing into your business, let me know below in the comments!

Erin xo