The other day I was chatting with another photographer and they asked me how I was able to get my sessions edited and returned to my clients in time. If I could be honest, I sometimes find myself crunching to get photos back on time, but I have yet to miss a delivery date (*knocks on wood*)!
That conversation got me thinking about my personal work flow and I decided that I would share what I do from the end of a session to the delivery of the photos.
I do want to note that this is something that works for me and it might not work for someone else, however, I wanted to share my process for someone who is looking to try something new.
This is a no brainer, but I upload my photos onto two different hard drives (one that I work off from and the other that is a full back-up of my desktop). I'm in the process though of finding a good cloud base service for doing a third back up in the event my hard drives fail.
2. Cull Photos
This part can be fun and at times annoying, haha. I am going to shamelessly plug Photo Mechanic because it's what I use for culling images. I used to cull my images in LR using the star rating, but the amount of time it took for LR to render a preview of my RAW file really slowed things down for me. Photo Mechanic on the other hand renders a JPG preview of the RAW file so much faster that I really did save time in the culling process, which again can be annoying.
The nice thing about Photo Mechanic is it also uses the same star rating that LR does and saves that information into the .XMP file. Once I've tagged and rated all the photos, I delete the photos off my hard drive that didn't receive a tag or a 3-5 Star Rating. Afterwards, I then import the "keepers" into LR.
3. Edit Photos
I can totally make this an actual blog on its own, if that's of interest, but this is something that I actually look forward to because I've gotten MUCH better at editing. That's beside the point though. Anyway, at this point when I'm in LR I will most likely only edit the photos that have a star rating of 3-5. Once I finish editing them I may even change some of the ratings (either lower or higher the rating) based on the final proof of the image.
Even though there are images that won't get edited because of their rating, I keep them around if I ever feel like going back to play with an image. Does that happen during the same calendar year? Sometimes. Will it happen a year or so later? Most Definitely.
If an image needs to be taking into Photoshop, I will then export the RAW file into PS from LR and do any edits I need to do in there. Otherwise, I will export the images into a folder that has been created on my hard drive that later gets shared onto my desktop to be backed up.
4. Social Media & Blog
Social Media: I try and get on a schedule of posting either content to my actual feed OR I try and interact with my followers via my InstaStory. Because I try and post regularly or get in the habit of good posting I use apps to help me. One of those apps is Planoly. Another app that I use regularly is WhenToPost (Link is for iOS devices). This app gives you three of the best times on a given day when you should post. As far as posting goes, I personally am a fan of posting in sets of 3. So I'll either post 3 or 6 photos from a session. Again, it's not a rule, just preference. Find what suits you best.
Blog: Blogging is something that I'm trying to get better at in 2017. The reason I try and blog is it's easy content to update my website with between finishing a photo session and delivering it to the client. My goal is to try and do three types of blogs throughout the year: 1) Sneak Peeks from a Photo Shoot, 2) Business Related Blogs, and 3) Creative/Personal Blogs. For me, each has its own purpose on my page as it gives life to the images by accompanying them with the story or the day of events. Plus, it gives my clients an opportunity to relive those special moments before they get their full gallery.
Now, much like I try and get in the habit of scheduling my Instagram posts, I do have a schedule that I follow for blogging. There are a few exceptions, but typically I try and get a preview blog up from a photo shoot within one to two weeks after the shoot. For the business related and personal blogs, I try to at least get a few of those in there here and there throughout the year, but aside from that there's no real schedule I follow when those ones go up.
Once the social media posts have been shared and the blogs have been written the final thing I do in my work flow is upload the photos to PixieSet so that I can deliver that information to my clients so that they can now see their full gallery! Now, before I post the full gallery on my website under the portfolio, I give my clients some time on getting to see their images first hand. But once I know they've seen them and I hear back from them, I go and post their gallery on my website for you guys to see!
Just wanting to end here and say again that this is my personal work flow. It's what's worked for me since I started to pick up more clients, especially weddings. If you're looking for a work flow go and try this one out and tweak it a bit to fit your needs.
If you already have one though, I'd love to hear what yours is down in the comments! So go ahead and leave me a comment down below on what your work flow is from when you get home after a shoot to when you delivery the products!
- Rick Baleros