6 Workflow Hacks for the Productive Photographer | Twyla Jones Photography
Can I ask you something?
Do you find yourself setting realistic to-do lists, remaining focused on the task at hand, and consistently feeling peace about where you are at when the workday ends?
The best way to be able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions is by assessing and revitalizing your workflow. Your workflow as both a photographer and business owner is an imperative piece of the success puzzle. Not only will you feel more focused, you’ll actually get more work done and be able to take on more passion projects, spend more time with family and friends and open yourself up to enjoying more of the small moments that make life worth living.
Below are my top Workflow Hacks. It’s by following these hacks I’ve been able to focus more on what makes my heart beat; capturing the moments of others, spending time with my growing boys and husband, and pursuing unique projects I had once only dreamed of.
1 - Outsource Tasks
That’s right, you don’t have to do it all. Each of us has areas we are strong and skilled in and areas where feel less strong. In these weaker areas, and in areas that don’t generate immediate revenue, try outsourcing.
If you find yourself agonizing over the $10/hr tasks teach someone else to do these so you can focus more of your talents on the $100/hr tasks.
Paying someone else to do these tasks frees up your own money-making time. Do you love to blog? If the answer is no, try hiring it out! Know someone who is extremely organized? Ask them to help you set up your own processes and procedures to streamline your automation process. For every task you dislike, there is someone out there who can do it for you-- and will actually enjoy it! I use an amazing Canadian company company called WellCurated Creative Agency to outsource a lot of my tasks I can't find the time to do. We use an online workspace where I get to, essentially, make wishes, assign them to someone with a due date and then they magically get completed for me!
2 - Email TWICE A Day
Emails often take a lot more time than we would like to admit. Allot specific times during the day for opening up and answering emails. This can be a hard one-- especially when you’re new to business and you want to treat every email like a precious nugget of client gold. Opening up every single email that comes in as they appear, or even being distracted by email notifications while you’re in the groove doing a task, can be detrimental to your success.
Allow yourself a set amount of time each morning to go into your inbox and delete junk mail, prioritize and file emails. This time can also include responding to urgent emails and filing emails that can be responded to later. I use a program called Polymail that enables me to schedule and sort emails from multiple accounts with just a swipe so tasks that aren't urgent can be scheduled for when I need to address them and keep my inbox empty. Once your time is up, close your email and begin to work on the rest of your tasks for the day. Once more, closer to the end of your workday, revisit your email and follow the same process; assess priorities, respond and send any emails you need. If you can, set an auto-responder letting those emailing you know you will respond within 48 hours to give yourself time and to set realistic expectations with clients and potential clients.
3 - Set priorities for EACH DAY
When looking at your to-do list, try additionally writing out the time it will take to perform each task, THEN prioritize your tasks. You only have a certain amount of time in a day, so set priorities and shift your to-do list throughout the week based on the time it will take. This small step of setting priorities with the time will be sure you aren’t imposing unrealistic expectations on yourself.
4 - Schedule Social Media Posts
Scheduling out my social media posts means I’m not constantly putting off posting on social media because I’m too busy or focused on the task currently at hand to post. Social Media has become a crucial aspect of running a business, so planning ahead just makes good business sense. I use Planoly for Instagram and can link these posts directly to Facebook. I also plan the content I want to go out in my Facebook Group. If I schedule in advance I know I am remaining a consistent voice in the industry and am also consistently showing my work to my tribe and potential clients. Scheduling takes less time than you think. As photographers, we have the upper hand with already having sessions upon sessions of images to select from. Allow the captions to flow honestly from your experience during the session; sharing what may have sparked the emotive response in the photo. You can also see your caption to also showcase your favourite passages from books or poetry.
I touch on the importance of batch editing in my blog post My Top 5 Lightroom Tricks. Batch editing with your own set of customized presets is one of the biggest time savers, positively influencing my entire workflow by cutting down dramatically on my time spent editing sessions. You can apply your presets to an entire batch of images, then go into each image and make any fine-tune adjustments. If you’ve really put the effort into the detail work of creating your own custom presets based on lighting and location, applying your presets in batches should limit the adjustments required for each photo-- perhaps even eliminating the need to perform additional edits on some images!
When I was first starting out I found I was receiving a lot of the same questions in my inbox. My first hack was to create canned responses covering the wide array of topics I found being emailed to me. My next hack has taken it one step further; I’ve created Client Welcome Guides for clients that answer any and all questions they may have! These welcome guides cover everything from what to wear, what to expect, timelines, and even provide a space for them to give me more information about themselves; their passions, how comfortable they are in front of a camera, and if they’d like to include anything memorable in their shoot.
I know these workflow hacks will transform your life when you sit down at your computer and begin the business side of work that can be a little intimidating when your passion is behind a lens capturing moments that make people’s hearts spark with an overwhelming love and tenderness. Try out these workflow hacks and let me know how they go for you!