We all only have 24 hours in the day, but sometimes it feels like other people MUST have more. How else can they get so much done? There are a lot of strategies for saving time and being productive, but these are Rachel and Crystal's top five.
Since there are thirteen kids between the two of us (Rachel has 8 and Crystal has 5) and we have teens and toddlers, plus two busy businesses, and factors like autism and epilepsy in our families, we have to make the most of the time we have, because nearly all of it is spoken for. When we first started working together, we were so busy and didn't have a very good plan in place for getting our photography lives together, so the top of our list in the early days was "Don't Sleep." That is not a very effective long-term solution, so we nixed that and added in these solutions.
1) Get it right in camera
I really can't stress this one enough. It might take a little work at the outset to learn your camera and exposure well enough that you can truly nail the basics when you hit the shutter button, but believe me this is a big one. Know how to shoot in manual, so YOU are in charge and not your camera. In fact, we recommend not venturing into business until you have this one well in hand. Once you hang out that shingle, you'll be so busy with serving clients, shooting, editing, marketing, office work, financials, etc., that taking the time to truly LEARN is an incredible luxury, but not one that you'll always have time for. So this one is top of the bunch. If you hit your exposure right and know how to shoot in Kelvin, so you're not having to fiddle constantly to hit the right white balance in post, you will have a MUCH easier time when you sit down to edit. Suddenly the days required for a session will fall into a few hours. So learn exposure. Learn white balance. Understand how to get the best focus you can so that you can use ANY of your images, not just the handful that are in focus. Read books (Understanding Exposure is fantastic), join groups (our Facebook group is wonderful), and practice, practice, practice.
2) Learn to batch process
We love using Lightroom and ACR. Once you edit an image the way you like it in Lightroom or ACR, you can then sync this edit across all of your images that are in the same lighting scenario. So one edit is suddenly 20. Bam. This is a big reason that tip #1 is important. If your exposure and white balance are all over the map, syncing will never work. So having a consistency in your shots is so important. We'll be creating more and more content to help you get all of these right in camera. But we have some fantastic tutorials on how to batch edit. It's easy to get bogged down in touching the minutiae of every image, but get that batch process down, and you'll have cut out a huge chunk of time in your post work. Easily saving yourself the equivalent of days or weeks each year. Of course, we recommend our fantastic presets and actions to help with this process. Amiright?
3) Organize yourself
Look, I have 8 kids, and Crystal has 5 kids, so I am not talking about some intense level of white-glove perfection. No no. I just mean you need an order to your workspace that you can understand. You will feel more at peace if there is an order to your surroundings and you know how to find what you need. Obviously, this applies to your physical workspace, but it also applies to your digital workspace too. Keeping your files organized and at your fingertips is freeing. Crystal and I load all of our images into external hard drives (and a Drobo and to the cloud...for safety), but from there we load them organized by date and then client name. If it is a wedding client, within their folder we have the Engagement, Bridal, Wedding, etc. This saves a lot of time hunting for the right files. Also, in Lightroom, I (Rachel) make sure to keyword my files as I download them. That way I can quickly search through images by client name, date, location, interesting features, color, etc. Just in case I remember an image I want to use and can't quite remember all of the specifics. Keywording is along the right side of the Library module, and you can quickly and easily start keywording as you upload images.
4) Set small goals and reward yourself
Mindset counts for a lot. A lot of times being a small business owner is a lot of work. We know it. We hear you. Sometimes there is a lot of stuff that is pretty thankless that just needs to get done. This is where we like to set small goals and reward ourselves as we achieve them. Got the client emails all answered? Yay, you get to check Facebook! Finished editing 30 images? You get to walk to the mailbox in the sunshine to get the mail. Before lunch, make your social media posts for the day and then enjoy your lunch, guilt-free. Sometimes being the small business owner is hard because there is not a lot of recognition in just how hard you're working and how much you're hustling to get it all done, so it's nice to remind yourself how many things you are accomplishing each day.
5) Keep lists, use Google Calender, etc.
This is along the lines of being organized, but this is mentally. Whether you use a paper organizer, your phone, Google calendar, pop-up reminders, Post-It Notes, etc., give yourself a map and a plan. We all have those days where we are on fire with ideas of what we want and need to accomplish for our business. And we probably all know those days are not EVERY day. So when you have those amazing days, capture them. Lean into the passion, the joy, and the excitement. Let it flow. Capture the ideas. Then map it out. Write lists of what you need to do to accomplish these goals and give yourself manageable chunks. Organize your time so that you know, ok, today I need to make 2 Instagram posts and one Facebook post, and I want to be sure that I check up on potential clients that I have not heard back from who requested quotes. Tomorrow, I need to post to my Pinterest board, send out client orders, etc.
Having a schedule in writing both keeps you accountable, and it also takes the burden of having to freestyle every day. Sometimes it's nice to have someone tell you what needs to be done...even if it's you. (Just a you that is on fire with excitement and passion and vision.)
We use Google Calendar for Pure. We keep it color coordinated. So each day, I can look and see the colors and know exactly what tasks I have to do. (blogging, fb, Pinterest, Instagram and so on).
6) Actions and presets save lives!
Being stuck behind your computer editing can be rewarding for some photographers and a nightmare for others. Speed up that workflow so that you can be out shooting, marketing, and building relationships with your clients and other vendors! If you are stuck "hand editing" every single image, you will get burnt out, very fast! Especially if you are editing weddings! (Seriously take it from us, you don't need to hand edit that picture of Aunt Sally eating her salad! No one is going to look at that image more than once, unless they want to post it on Social media to embarrass Aunt Sally). Apply a clean editing preset, batch that crap and move on! (our favorite is Basic Workflow from our 1st set of presets for both ACR and Lightroom!) and with the code it is only $50! SAY WHAT??!!!!)
We are currently offering 50% off! YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT! 50% OFF our entire store, using the code NEWYEAR
Hurry.... it ends in a week! So hurry and grab your actions/presets HERE! We promise, they are pretty rad!