Building a proper infrastructure in your business is much more important than learning how to take pretty photos. I am not discounting the importance of being a good photographer by any means. I am saying that if you don’t have the processes in place to deliver an excellent overall client experience, eventually nobody will care about your pretty pictures.
There is nothing simple about digital asset management. It is easy to get hung up on equipment, shooting and editing, but managing Raw files is the most neglected part of my workflow. I feel like I always rush to import my Raw files, bypass backup and fail to organize my photos in Lightroom so I can start editing immediately. That has to stop.
There is no escaping it: We live in a digital world but we operate in some old-school ways. From photography to our tax returns, we must all learn to operate efficiently and effectively in this new world. Here are some of the tools I use to run my business smoothly and make maximum use of my time. This isn’t just about saving time. It’s about giving your customers a unique experience.
I remember the switch from film to digital like it was yesterday. And look where we are now. I’m about to write an article about your workflow…and it’s going to be all digital. If I wrote this 15 years ago, a computer wouldn’t even have come into the equation. But what does that mean for you? Has life gotten easier? Nope. It has gotten harder. You have more to do and more possible ways to do it (i.e., screw it up). Clients are more demanding than ever (I actually had one the other day who, after I gave her 10 preview pictures, asked for more before the proofs were ready). Marketing is a constant effort. So how do you keep up and keep your sanity?
Becoming more productive means becoming more profitable. One option is to do the same number of activities but in less time. Let’s say your time is worth $100 per hour and you make $1,200 for 12 hours of work. If you do the same amount of work in less time, you are now making the same amount of money but doing it in six hours a day instead of 12. Instead of your time being worth $100 per hour, it is now worth $200 per hour. The dollar value of your hour has just doubled.
As creatives, it is in our blood to break out of the box and try something new. If you are not pushing yourself and developing your photography, where’s your growth as an artist? In this article, I give you the tools to try something new and pack a punch with your images. We will dive into corrective adjustments and how to direct your viewer. These are the basics you may already be doing today, but we are going to mix things up a bit.
Your client has just arrived 30 minutes early for her baby’s newborn session and you are nowhere near finished setting up. After hastily greeting them at the door, you scramble, trying to think of where in the world to start. Does this sound familiar? The good news is that you can help prevent these problems by implementing some simple techniques to streamline your newborn sessions. Layering materials, rotating through stations and transitional posing all contribute to a smoother studio workflow.
When we enter a session, we are not only taking pictures, we are creating memories that last a lifetime. Our clients will remember the variety of feelings they experienced while in our care. We need to make it a pleasurable one so they sing our praises to their friends and family. Good reviews travel fast, but bad reviews travel faster.
Shooting and editing Raw files is a major part of my workflow. Editing in a Raw processor is a must for me, and I am always trying new programs from software companies that are always seeking the edge with new capabilities. From a beauty retouching perspective, there has always been such a dependency on Photoshop’s layers. Working in Lightroom, the closest thing I get to layers are local adjustment brushes and editing pins. These lack in skin retouching, requiring me to export the Raw file to another program just to smooth skin. On1 Photo RAW offers a nondestructive Raw processing alternative for retouching.
After shooting a wedding or any eight-hour-plus event, I dread spending countless hours working in Lightroom. Lightroom can be a huge time suck: waiting for my memory cards to ingest, waiting for each Raw to load for culling, waiting for adjustments to render in the Develop module. Are you struggling with the same post-shoot stress? If so, this article will forever free up these worries and let you get to work—at the pace of your computer’s speed, of course.