Where did the weekend go? I can’t believe it’s time for my weekly SSG blog already! I’m Jodee Ball, professional time-waster, coming to you from JP Ball Photography.
Today’s Eye on Business blog is self-convicting. I’m sharing some time saving tips to help you run your business smoothly and efficiently. It’s convicting to me because I am a master of wasting time. Over the course of the past few years, wasting time has cost me sleep, quality of work and money.
I’m an avid goal setter, and this summer my goal has been to get back to my old morning self. I know I’m furiously productive when I rise early and exercise before starting the day. These are tips that I’m working to follow daily. And I’m so much happier when I attend to these!
Client relations/Photography workflow:
1) Pre-sell to your clients by way of pre-consultation and during your sessions. You’ll avoid time grabbing emails and phone tag following the session while you are trying to secure their order.
2) Plan sessions according to lighting conditions. You’ll spend less time trying to find the right light and waiting for the sun to set. Remember you are the director of your business!
3) Utilize the services of a professional MUA for your senior girls. Check out this blog by fellow blogger, Suzanne Mellott!
4) Shoot with the end in mind – I wrote an entire blog entry about this just last week. If you missed it, check it out here!
5) Follow a system for organizing and converting (if necessary) image files. I personally create a new folder using the client’s name and year. Then, inside that folder, I create another folder called “clients name_originals.” Because I shoot with a MarkIII, I need to convert my images to DNG. So, in this process, I rename the files with the clients name and start numbering them at 100. I then save the DNG files to another folder under the main set and name that folder “Clients Name DNG.” I try to keep it very simple and always use their name so it is easy to do a search in the future, if necessary.
6) Streamline your editing. Use a program to batch edit and soft proof for your sales session or online sales gallery. I use Lightroom to organize my gallery choices and then do a quick edit, if necessary. If you do #4 and use a MUA for your girls, this should be a fairly quick process. Sometimes, it is necessary to pull the images to Photoshop for more fine tuning on skin blemishes or special effects that you want to sell to the client.
7) Host in-studio sales sessions. If you don’t have a studio or meeting space, meet clients at a coffee shop. However you need to do it, you’ll save time meeting face to face. You’ll be able to show your samples once again, and encourage them to make their choices sooner rather than later. You can take payment on the spot and close out the sale.
8) I know many of you function as I do. Squeezing in office time around your family schedule. That’s part of the beauty of a photography business. You can work solely at a studio or utilize a home office. However, working from home has some serious disadvantages. In the time I’ve been writing this article, I’ve been interrupted 3 times by two very thirsty preschoolers.
I’ve found these strategies help me to work more efficiently.
- Make a weekly task list and revisit it each morning
- Set apart work increments in the day that fit with your family’s schedule and stick to them. I knew that today I’d write my article between 11 and 12 today once I made my list yesterday.
- Avoid social media recess breaks during work time. THIS is my downfall. I am easily wooed by my Facebook notifications. But, really, I could care less if I’m invited to play Candy Crush Saga.
- Answer all messages and emails at two points in the day, morning and evening. Use this time catch up on social media as well.
9) Exercise – Photographers spend so much time sitting at their computers. Our posture suffers, our activity suffers and eventually our bodies pay for lack of movement. Make time to exercise a few times a week! I’m a formal boot camp instructor and lost my passion for exercise during the first few years of starting my photography business. I’m now forced to get back to it and it’s painful, but I can already see how it is helping my business productivity. I’m more alert and energetic, ready to take on the tasks of the day!
10) Sleep – I know you are up to the wee hours editing, posting blogs and surfing Pinterest. For me, I would stay up all night in the name of efficiency because no one else in the family was up to interrupt me. I have paid dearly for the hours of sleep I have lost over the past few years. And for what? I wasn’t more efficient. I was exhausted. I’d stay up one or two nights, work the days that follow and then sloth around for the next 4 days to recover. How is that efficient? It’s not. It’s simply not. Your health is more important your business!
I hope you find some of these tips will help or inspire you. Most are common sense, yet if you’re like me, I still need to work on adhering to them.
Here’s to happy, healthy, and productive SSG followers and fellow photographers!