Today we are SO excited to have the fantastic Graham & Ashley Scobey on to guest blog for us all about creating an efficient workflow! We just love these guys to pieces for their amazing, BIG hearts! And I know after reading this, you're going to fall in love with them too!
If you're like us, the thought may never have crossed your mind that the words "quick" and "workflow" could go in the same sentence; let alone joyfully frolic through the fields together like Julie Andrews and the Von Trapps. But they can. They will.
One of the challenges that we find over and over again with photographers is that we fail to establish a workflow early on in our business – a workflow that will sustain us through crazy-busy times – and we become flooded by inefficiency. But there is a way out of the ocean of work; a way to create a life raft for yourself. And that life raft is called workflow (cue the superman theme music). It's an essential part of running a business, and it is so much more than the way you edit your images. In fact, let's just go ahead and pretend that we never ever thought workflow was just about editing. We break our workflow down into three main sections: Pre-production, Production and Post-production - and we implement time and sanity-saving steps in each beautiful category. Here are three of our favorite workflow tips, broken down by section.
Establish Systems: from file naming to client interaction, establishing systems before you need them is the easiest way to streamline your workflow. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel with every new client – find systems that work for you and use them every time. The more you can automate the minutia of what you do (e-mails, lead management, scheduling, file management, etc), the more you can focus on relationship-building and fun-having (side note: I just used the word minutia in a sentence. If anyone wants to mail me a gold star, I'll totally accept it).
Some of our favorite tools that enable effective systems are:
- Shoot-Q: We use Shoot-Q for 99% of our client interactions, and it’s such a lifesaver. We don’t waste time copying and pasting emails or searching through interactions to make sure we sent pricing – it’s all right there in one place. It manages our contracts and invoices, too, which lets Graham spend more time practicing his break dancing skills.
- Drobo: Responsible file management is such an important part of what we do. Not to get too heavy, but you’re literally responsible for storing peoples’ most sacred memories. Whoa. There should be both backups and redundancies
- Eye One Monitor Calibration: The color in your images is so important. Save yourself time re-editing images by always making sure you’re editing on a calibrated screen. Many calibration systems are portable so you can travel with them and use them on a laptop (if you’re one of those crazies who can edit on a laptop)
Practice Intentional Shooting: I know... I know... it's like I'm Captain Obvious over here, but you would be shocked at how many people we talk to who come away from their Weddings with 5,000+ images. So what? Here's what: That's 5,000 images that you then have to import, cull through, edit, export, put on a disc, and send to the clients. At a certain point more is just more. It's not better and, in fact, I am a firm believe that more can actually be a lot worse. Law of Diminishing Return: no-one wants 5,000 chocolate chip cookies. Even if the idea makes your mouth water, you're bored of those cookies after the fifth one (ok, maybe the 25th if you like sweets as much as I do). The same is true for your images. Instead of shooting everything you see, practice (because it does take practice) the art of honing in on the beauty of the moment, and click your shutter when. it. counts.
Between the two of us, Graham and I come away from a Wedding Day (which, on average, is about 12 hours of coverage) with about 2,000 images. Which, on an abstract level, means that there is more goodness in there. Less chaff, more wheat. Less rejecting, more picking (I don't believe in rejecting images, either. It just doesn't promote self-kindness... but that's a whole separate blogpost). And on a practical level, it's less work for yourself, which equals more time. See? Win/Win.
Lightroom Presets: Sometimes, LR presets get a bad rap. It's like the Kardashians. Seriously; stick with me here. Take one Kardashian, and it's ok... pretty, even. But throw in six more Kardashians and put them on every radio station, news channel and magazine, and it's just too much. Moderation is key. With Kardashians... and Lightroom Presets. We do not use presets to apply "looks" to images. We don't use them to tone or jazzify things. We use them, in moderation, to do the things to our images that we find ourselves doing over and over on our own. Do you bump contrast, exposure, and pull back blacks on 90% of your images? Then create a preset for it so that, instead of using sliders on 500 images, you are just clicking one tiny button.
Creating situation specific presets can be really helpful, as well. If you shoot 15 Weddings per year where your bride is getting ready in yellow incandescent lighting coming from a vanity in a hotel room, create a preset for the white balance adjustment you find yourself making repeatedly. You can also create brush presets that will save you time by allowing you to make the selective adjustments you find yourself making over and over again more quickly.
We do not believe in One Size Fits All. Especially in artistic endeavors. We are all different; and different is wonderful. Your ideal workflow will look different based on several factors (your personality, your desired client experience, how you shoot, etc) – but it’s important to find what works for you, implement it, and commit to it. The slow season after the Holidays is the perfect time to get these systems up and working in your business. If you’re in the Southeast we would absolutely LOVE to have you out to our next Workflow Intensive on Tuesday, March 12th where we delve deeper into how we create efficiency in pre-production, production and post-production and work together to establish a workflow that will carry you through busy seasons to come. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions! We’d love to chat with you!
If you are interested in joining Graham & Ashley at their Workflow Intensive, be sure to use the code "JandM" for $50 off your seat! Now tell us, what is one tip from their post that you are going to implement moving forward?
Whelp. It is most definitely that time of year! Conference season is in full swing, and we are off yet again....this time to go speak at the Showit United Conference in the amazing, amazing paradise of Santa Barbara. I know, it's a tough life! :) I actually have the HUGE honor of giving the closing keynote for this conference this coming Wednesday, and in preparing for it, it sort of feels like getting ready to give a commencement speech at a University or something. I'm not going to lie, I've definitely been trying to channel my inner Steve Jobs...or, y'know, Oprah. Oooh or maybe Morgan Freeman. Yea, I bet if I could give the whole keynote in the voice of Morgan Freeman....that would be WAY more impressive! :)
Yesterday on the plane as we flew out here, I had some work for some upcoming deadlines I probably should have been working on. But instead, I just took that time to slow down and breathe (something I've been working on a lot more lately). I took time to read a book (non business related). To eat Pringles with Justin. And to look out at the world below. Because it is a really beautiful, blessed life that we lead. That we all lead. And if we don't stop and look around once in a while, we just might miss it.
My friend Ferris Bueller taught me that.
Take time to slow down & look around today,
Happy Monday guys!
I don't know about you guys, but I think this looks like the face of someone who wanted to get packed up & come along! We are going to miss this fluff ball SO much while we're gone!
And OHHH do we have a way to kick your weekend off RIGHT!! Remember that "sailor in the snow" picture from December? Well, we are FINALLY able to show you the whole wedding! We've been holding it off the blog for publication in a national magazine, and we are now able to show you the whole day!
Caitlin & Matt were married on the Yale Campus on a snowy day at the end of December. Matt is in the Navy, so the whole day was made that much better by dress blues & swords! :) Caitlin worked with the absolutely incredible & talented Diana from Jubilee Events and Tony from Datura A Modern Garden for flowers to create a flawless day. And just when we thought it couldn't get any more perfect, the most pristine, fluffy white snow began to fall...adding it's own incredible mark on the day.
Caitlin & Matt, we love love LOVE you guys!! We have never been treated more like part of the family than we were that day with you guys & both of your incredible families. It is an honor to call you all friends!
Earlier this month, Justin & I got to fly to The Netherlands to be part of the Dutch Wedding Congress & while we were there we also stayed a few days extra to put on our Walk Through a Wedding workshop - the "Vanity Fair" edition. We had the absolute honor of spending two incredible days with an amazing group of photographers from all over Europe, including Holland, Germany & Belgium. We laughed together & cried together. And somewhere between our four different languages, we found one that we all speak in common: a love of photography and telling stories that will live on. I'm SO excited for the big things that I know they are all going to do and the ripple effects that are going to turn into huge waves in the industry over there! I can't wait to see you all rock it out!
I am also eternally grateful to the amazing Anouschka Rokebrand who is responsible for not only getting us to The Netherlands, but who then worked tirelessly to coordinate, host & put together every detail for our workshop. None of it would have happened without her! She is definitely someone who is making things happen in a BIG way in Europe & you should all definitely go check her out!!
Finally, we want to give a HUGE thanks to all of the incredible artists who came together to make the design board a reality. From the gorgeous flowers & paper to our couture pink gown to the delicious cupcakes & flawless makeup all the way to the impeccable service at our jaw-dropping location & our gorgeous, gorgeous models....we were blown away by the talent of everyone involved. Thank you guys for being so gifted at what you do...you made our job easy!
Right about now we are just getting ready to start Day 2 of our "Cocoa & Chanel" Walk Through a Wedding w/ J&M workshop. We have an awesome group for this one & we're having a blast with them! But we just wanted to hop on real quick with a Short Stack post for you!
We get the question all the time of what our favorite lenses are, and for me hands down it's got to be the Nikon 85mm 1.4G and for Mary it's definitely the Nikon 50mm 1.4G She shoots with that thing pretty much all day & she rocks it out! I think our lens choices really reflect our shooting styles in that Mary tends to be the one closer to the couple & directing them into the poses, while I tend to like to be the fly on the wall getting more candid moments. It works really well for us that way & highlights what we each do best.
As it turns out, Adorama is running a great rebate right now on our two favorite lenses and you can get $100 off of Mary's 50mm 1.4 by clicking HERE & $200 off my 85mm 1.4 by clicking HERE. So definitely check that out if you're in the market!
So now tell us....what's your favorite lens to shoot with?