Navigating the Unexpected: A 3-Step Guide to Risk Management for eCommerce Studio Managers

Blog – Risk Management

Having quality control processes, realistic budgeting, and successful client expectations management can steer your business toward success. However, despite the best-laid plans, unexpected challenges are bound to surface. After all, a photo studio, much like any creative endeavor, is a tricky terrain to navigate. 

To get insight into real-world risk management strategies, we've gathered advice from our network of seasoned eCommerce studio managers. With the right strategy in place, your team can continue to deliver exceptional work, undeterred and unfazed!

What is Risk Management?

Risk management is a game plan for dealing with potential problems. It involves discovering what could go wrong, creating a plan for these problems, and implementing a strategy to weather the storms. 

With all of this, it's important to use your resources wisely and mitigate potential risks, keep an eye on the situation, and minimize damage if things do go wrong. On the plus side, this also helps you to spot and make the most of any good opportunities that come up.

The 3-Step Guide to Risk Management

1. Identifying Potential Challenges

In risk management planning, the first step is identifying potential challenges your photo studio might encounter. These could range from equipment failure, unexpected project delays, and personnel issues, to client dissatisfaction and even complete reshoots. Understanding the unique nuances of your operations can equip you with the knowledge to foresee such challenges. Brainstorming and writing down these risks allows you to strategize and devise robust contingency plans, setting the foundation for effective risk management.

2. Creating Contingency Plans

Once the potential challenges are identified, it's time to create contingency plans. A contingency plan is a proactive strategy that outlines the specific steps to be taken in response to a crisis or unexpected event. For instance, having an equipment repair or replacement plan ensures you can quickly address any equipment failures with minimal interruption to your operations. Similarly, a plan for dealing with unexpected project delays could include strategies for fast-tracking specific processes or managing client communications and expectations during such events.

3. Implementing a Risk Management Strategy

A well-crafted risk management strategy can be a game-changer for photo studio managers. This strategic planning involves developing, applying, and monitoring risk management processes in your operations, offering a safety net when unexpected challenges arise.

The Operations Manager at I Heart Studios gave us a full breakdown of how their team does it:

Support and training

  • On the studio floor, our risk management strategies consist more of ensuring there's training for our freelance staff, support for questions, and a quality check performed prior to the assets going to our post-production team. 
  • When a new workflow is suggested, we test this internally, prior to implementing. Therefore our internal team is equipped to support any freelance staff attempting the new process. 

Contract Management, Documentation, and Testing

  • Beyond that we always try to get our clients on contracts to mitigate risk, we do test shoots after which we create onboarding documents in which we map all parts of the flow which is signed off by the client prior to shooting. 

Technical Guide + Best Practises and Guidance

  • We notice that clients often lack a part of knowledge and therefore struggle to foresee a certain outcome and eventually find that they actually were looking for something else, in addition to our test shoot and onboarding deck our commercial team has now also created a technical guide to give a short introduction into the vocabulary used on studio floors but also the possibilities and "know-how" on what type of set, requires what type of pre-production and produces what output. 

Additionally, we recently changed our business approach to become more of a consultant and advisor for clients, specifically in eCommerce assets, marketplaces, and/or B2B selling. For this, we regained focus on actively sharing best practices and also offered guidance on for example lighting/ styling/ final delivery formats/feedback procedures. As we mostly advise from experience we can easily show them examples of certain outputs and therefore mitigate risk.

Consider Risk Management Certifications

Investing in risk management certifications for you or your team members or bringing in a professional can provide a deeper understanding of risk management processes and principles. This investment can prove invaluable in not only mitigating risks but also turning them into opportunities.


Managing a photo studio may be a risky business, but with careful planning and the right risk management strategies, those risks can be effectively managed. By identifying potential challenges and creating contingency plans, you can prepare for many events that could have previously derailed your team's entire operation.

So far, we’ve hit a lot of topics across conflict resolution, seamless integrations, and even choosing the right software. You can find all our previous posts on our blog here. From operational tips and tricks to risk management planning, we’re here to learn about and explore the journey of photo studio managers everywhere.

For even more insights and ideas, stay tuned for our upcoming articles and sign up for our upcoming Playbook.