Now that you have an idea of what sort of daily work schedule you would like to create for yourself, let’s look at a few areas that will help you stay organized, focused and stick to your daily schedule.
Of course, your schedule is going to change on a regular basis depending on what type of projects you’re working on, but focusing on a few simple tasks daily will help you find it easier to handle varying workloads.
1) Stay on top of your finances. For most people, the idea of keeping up with your income and expenses within your business can seem overwhelming, but if you make a point of tracking these numbers on a regular basis, they will not get out of control, and when it comes time for taxes, you’ll have everything you need on hand to file on your own, or to give to your accountant.
Shannan Painter at Accounting for Photographers has developed a lot of great products that can help make the financial aspect of your business much easier, and most of all, fun. Yes, she actually makes it fun! Visit her website, and you’ll find she has everything from spreadsheets to eBooks, all geared towards photographers.
2) Do not be afraid to kindly say no. When you are first starting out with photography, giving your friends and family discounts on shoots can be a great way to build your portfolio and increase word of mouth, but there can also come a point where your may be doing too many discounted shoots. Once you factor in time shooting, time editing, gas mileage and expenses, you may actually be loosing money on these shoots, and placing a giant workload on yourself. So, use your best judgment, and if you start to feel as though you have too many shoots lined up and you are falling behind with your editing, then cut back on how many discounted shoots you are doing.
3) Be sure to have clear goals and objectives for your business. Start by asking yourself simple questions like, “What is unique about my brand?” and “What would I like to accomplish by this time next year?” Just answering these two questions can give you a clear picture that will help you take small steps towards your goals. There are so many different jobs within photography – from shooting portraits and weddings, to selling prints, to creating Lightroom and Photoshop designs – that it can be easy to get distracted by all of the different avenues. Identifying what sets you apart, and where you would like to go with your business, will help you make the best decisions for your business.
4) Find ways to speed up your editing. We all want to give our clients the best possible photos, so it is important to pay attention to the details in our editing, but often the details can consume us in our editing. Photoshop and Lightroom are so helpful because you can quickly edit photos through presets, so shop around for presets and actions that suit your style. Also, keep your original photos as organized as you can, because sifting through originals can take up a huge chunk of your time when you are editing. For example, when I am working on a shoot, I have 3 primary folders: the originals, a “Working 1” folder that is just the preliminary crops and white balance adjustments, and a “Working 2” folder that contains all of the photos that I have edited. Then, after the clients have received their photos, I save their originals and final edits onto an external hardrive to free up space on my computer. Again, this system works well for me, but you may be able to tailor something even better for yourself.
5) Last, but certainly not least, take care of yourself. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we often forget to do this. Now, there are times when you are working on a deadline, and you have to stay up really late to finish up your editing, but making it a regular occurrence can damage your productivity if you’re not getting enough sleep. So, be sure to sleep well, eat right, and spend some extra time with your family. If you are crunched for time while editing a shoot, taking a 15 minute break to go for a walk will be much better for you than powering through your editing, because you will not only be getting a bit of fresh air and exercise, but you’ll also be giving your mind the time it needs to reset and refocus on the goals at hand.
Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her fiancee, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.