How the Magic Happens!
There is more work in photography than meets the eye. To give some insight, I thought it might be helpful to share with everyone my workflow process from scheduling to delivery and beyond! Like most of my posts, I want to add a little disclaimer that no two photographers are alike in their workflow process and if yours is different than mine that is TOTALLY fine! For me, checking out other photographers' methods often helps me discover tools or tricks to make the most of my time and make the photography experience easier for all parties involved.
Step 1: Scheduling!
So someone is interested in getting some work done by you - this is great news! For a long time, scheduling was a quick process that didn't take much work on my end. However, I recently upgraded my scheduling procedure. When an inquiry comes in now, I make sure to collect some crucial info from my client in addition to a date and time and fill out a Pre-Shoot Information Form. As you can see, I take down names of all shoot attendees, take note of photos they must have, outfit changes, props, etc. This really helps streamline the shoot once we get to the location - everyone knows what to expect, who they are interacting with, and so on. Feel free to mimic the form I have below if you think it will help you! I have mine in Google Docs and make a copy of the original each time I start the scheduling process.
Once I have the information, I reference my pricing sheet and make sure I track whatever income I can expect from the shoot! I recommend making your own pricing sheet as well to make your life easy and keep your charges for various sittings consistent. It might also be a good idea to discuss payment methods before the shoot. Oftentimes people will not bring payment to the shoot and will ask at the end how you want to complete the transaction.
Step 2: Photoshoot-Eve!
The day prior to your scheduled shoot, look over your pre-shoot form again and make sure you know who you are working with, where you are going, and so on. Most importantly make sure your batteries are charged and your gear is packed up. I always make sure to check the weather as well to make sure no random storms are going to ruin the shoot (it happens!).
Step 3: Shoot!
This part is pretty standard. Not much to say here except to reference your must-have photos and poses and be aware of timing if your client is doing outfit changes or location changes. I am planning on a post in the near future that digs into my method for keeping shots candid, clients comfortable, and shaking off any obnoxious distractions (like people stopping to watch you work - annoying!).
Step 4: The Transfer!
It is important to transfer your images to your computer in a timely manner. When I was prepping for one of the first weddings I shot, this article suggested that, even though you might be exhausted and ready to relax after your shoot, you upload your images and make sure they are safe. Goodness knows what to do if the files are for whatever reason unusable or unable to transfer (#panic) but I have never had that happen 🤞🏼 Regardless, immediately transferring photos to my Lightroom Library is a habit I have adopted permanently in my workflow.
Step 5: Post-Production
Post-production is a unique beast! Tame it so it works best for you! My workflow when it comes to post-production is intricate but is second nature to me.
• Like I mentioned, I import my shoot to Lightroom. While in the Library module I select the images from the import and, on the left-hand side of the screen, create a Collection with the images from an individual shoot to help me organize.
• Then, I go through all images in the collection and hit 8 on my keyboard (which marks them as green) on all images I know I want to edit. These are the images that are not duplicates, are not blurry, everyone has their eyes are open, etc.
• I will then select for only images marked with green to be shown and I will move over to the Develop module in Lightroom and begin my editing process.
• When I am happy with the quantity and quality of "winning" pictures, I select the thumbnails that are ready-to-go, right click, and "Export To...". Just like Collections in Lightroom, for each individual shoot I create a new folder on my computer or external hard drive with a unique name. I'll also custom the file names so they are unique to the shoot (ex: Smith Family Photos). These folders are created within even larger folders categorized by year. When I go to retrieve the images or upload them to social media, I will go to my Pictures folder > Year Folder (2017) > Specific Folder (Smith Family Photos).
Step 6: Delivery!
My delivery process has changed a million times over the past few years. I am currently using Pixieset to present and deliver images to clients and it is definitely the most personable, aesthetic, and functional method I have used. I cannot recommend this free service enough! If you already use Pixieset, let me know how you like it in the comments 😊
I upload my images to a collection in Pixieset (like the Specific Folder on my computer or hard drive), organize it to my liking, and use the Pixieset email template to send clients a custom message with their photos thanking them for the opportunity to work with them. I enable a Download Pin so clients can download conveniently and it requires little to no instruction on my part to complete the delivery process.
Over time you will tweak things here and there as new tools become available to improve your workflow process. Like I said, my process changes every few months! There is nothing wrong with changing it up when your workflow doesn't work for you anymore - in fact, it will help you grow and find your footing in your photography business!
I would love to hear your own workflow strategy and your suggestions for other tools that make your life as a photographer easier! Drop any of your thoughts in the comments!
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