10.5 Ways to Streamline your Workflow!

I realized last year that I was starting to miss things because photography was taking over my life, brain, and energy. Kids are only young once so you have to find systems that help cut your time so that you can spend that time with your family. My son once said to me, “Mom, why do you always work? All you do is sit at the computer!” Ouch! That hurt. I couldn’t really answer that it is because I am obsessed with everything relating to photography. Instead I said, “Shut up kid!” Joking. I told him that I will make some changes so that I will be on my computer less.

Photography is a tricky little business. It is so easy to get sucked in when you feel passionate about something. If you aren’t careful, it can be a big time sucker. How many times have you had a nice block of time to work and all of a sudden it is over and you really didn’t get anything done?

My business model may be completely different than yours but here are some tips that helped me prioritize my time and reduce the time spent on each client session.

#1 – Make or purchase email response templates. (Leah will have her own in the shop later this month!!) Sit down and write a list of emails that you are constantly writing out every time you are with a client…..new client response, confirming session, pricing, etc. Now, go into your email and type an email to yourself with your typical response. Save the email in a folder so that you can just copy and paste. Don’t forget to change and customize the few things before you hit send! That would be embarrassing!

#2 – Shoot less pictures per session! This was huge for me. With everything digital, it is easy to just put it in paparazzi mode and shoot away. Then you get home and you have 500 pictures from a 1 hour session that you have to go through. Be more aware of what you are doing at a shoot. Maybe grab a film camera to help train your eye to anticipate the moments that are important to capture. Prepare for the location by arriving early and planning out the shots you want to take. Don’t take 10 shots of the exact same picture. Every minute that you spend cutting down the images is time spent away from your family. After really paying attention to what I was shooting, my skills improved and I now average 80 images per session.

#3 – Invest in fast equipment and programs. When I first started out, I would edit sessions on our home computer. After a year of being very frustrated with how slooooow it was, I finally popped for the awesome computer with the latest version of Photoshop. My work time was cut in half immediately.

#4 – Schedule your time. Actually type in ‘Blog Johnson Family Session’ into your calendar system. This way, when you get a little email reminder that is what you should be doing, you will get your butt off of Facebook and get it done.

#5- Speaking of internet time, I know that it is so easy to subscribe to a blog that you love. Every time there is a new post, you have to go and read it. Is that really necessary? Are you really benefiting your business and your productivity? I challenge you to go through the list of blogs that you follow and cut it down to blogs that benefit you in some way! It can really free up all the clutter that happens in your brain and makes you feel crazy.

#6 – Don’t be afraid to make any part of the process more convenient for you. I know you want to make it easy for the client but if that means you have to drive 1 hour round trip to shoot a session it might not be worth it. Find locations close to you and encourage clients to go there. If you drive all over town for on location sessions, be sure to factor that into your pricing.

#7 – Make a blog calendar and pre-write any blog posts that you can. I have about 5 unpublished blog posts that I have scheduled to post.

#8 – Just do it! I am a big time pro – procrastinator that is! I know how easy it is to open a email from a client and just think that you will respond to it later. Then that email will take space up in your brain and you are adding it to your mental to do list. This can be a big time and energy waster. You already spent 4 minutes to open and read that email. I suggest either not opening client emails until you know you can respond to them or using your email templates right when you open the email. Of course you want to respond in a timely manner. I suggest that you schedule email time into your calendar…10 minute blocks during your business hours.

#9 – What?! You don’t have business hours?! You need to set office hours and tell your clients what they are. This will not only make them value your time but you will appear more professional and clients will take you more seriously. You have to make it clear that you are only available at certain times and that you have a family that needs you at dinnertime.

#10 – Get organized! If this means that you have to hire a professional organizer because you are completely hopeless, do it! An organized workspace can totally make or break you. If you have to search for 10 minutes for a product brochure, somethings gotta change. I love binders. I have a binder for every aspect of my business. (Marketing, finance, clients, products, etc) It is so nice to know that if I ever have an idea or print something that I like, I can just stick it in that binder and think about it later.

#10.5 – Is it time to hire an office assistant? If you are happy with the amount of money that you are making but still need a little help in the office, find someone that can help you part time. I know about 4 stay at home moms that want to work just a few hours that would love to help me update my client list, update my books, organize my binders, package orders, etc. Anything that I just don’t want to take the time away from my family to do. Ask your network of friends if they know of anyone that is looking for part time/seasonal work.

I hope this was helpful for you and your business. I really hope that you do what you need to do to make the most of your time. Now, I’m gonna go make the most of my time and spend it with these little cuties!

Thank you so much Annie for sharing these great ideas to streamline business workflow! Make sure you have the FREE Go{4}Pro Workflow Desktop Organizer it will do wonders for your workflow!

Go visit Annie Torrini on her Website Facebook and  Blog!

 

  1. i loved this post!!! exactly what i need in my business right now. 🙂

  2. Tammi says:

    So timely! I’m currently trying to juggle full time work, my photography side business and two little ones under 3! Many days I’m wishing for 48 hours on my clock. Thanks for the useful tips! Can’t wait to employ them and feel more on top of things.

  3. Paulina Ochoa says:

    This post was FANTASTIC! Thank you Annie for sharing! And I’m so excited about the upcoming email templates too- I was seriously going to purchase some from somewhere else but now that I know they’ll be available here I rather wait.

  4. Valerie says:

    Excellent article Annie!!! 🙂

  5. Jenika says:

    Great post! My favorite tip was “take fewer pictures” – ahh it’s so hard but what a difference it can make! Thanks for the nudge to work on that. 🙂

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