Workflow? What is a photography workflow and what does that even mean? I get it. Getting into photography and figuring out the most efficient ways to take your pictures, edit them and then get them out into the world can be overwhelming. There are tons of different options available. I have felt that way before and still feel that way some days. I’m always trying to improve how I create photos and get them to my clients.
Having the right tools to create and deliver beautiful images to your clients is imperative, so let’s take a look at all the tools I use in my photography workflow from start to finish. My hope is that this will give you a starting point to begin implementing a full photography workflow so you can worker smarter, not harder.
*Full disclosure, this post does contain affiliate links, meaning if you click through, I will earn a commission on purchase that you make. However, I only align, endorse and affiliate myself with products I use and love myself.
1) Booking and Securing Clients
Obviously, you can’t take pictures if you don’t have anyone to take pictures of! Granted there are lots of other areas of photography that don’t require people, such as landscapes or product photography. But if you want to get paid for you work and professionally book paying clients, you need a system that makes it easy!
There is no reason to be emailing contracts as PDFs that need to be printed, signed, then sent back to you. This is such a hassle for not only your clients, but for you! As a photographer, I have prided myself on providing hassle-free service to all my clients. And how do I do that? I use Dubsado!
What is Dubsado you ask? It is a do-all-the-heavy-lifting cloud-based software so you can easily get contracts signed and invoices paid! I’ve used Dubsado from day one. It’s affordable price and robust features made it a no-brainer. I could do an entire blog post about Dubsado and all of its lovely features, but here are the major takeaways:
a. Send, sign and receive contracts digitally
b. Send invoices and collect credit card payments
c. Schedule appointments for your clients and consultations, all online.
d. Custom branded emails and contracts to match your company
e. Create custom workflows with triggers to automate your workflow. Never forget to send an invoice again!
2) The Photo Session
The photo session is a must, but I include it here because it isn’t always so simple as showing up with your camera! Before all of my photo sessions, I work with my clients over a consultation to figure out their exact needs and wants. This ensures that I am showing up prepared, with poses in the back of my head, any props in hand or any additional photography equipment that might be needed.
Think about it! A wedding is not the same as a maternity session, right? For a wedding, you’ll probably need additional lighting, extra SD cards and extra battery packs. For a maternity session, your client might have an outfit change or you may need to bring a special prop. Make it a point to find out exactly what your client wants so you are ready to deliver!
2) Upload into Lightroom
Most professional photographers use Lightroom to edit their images. Lightroom does more than just edit your images, though. In Lightroom, you can cull your images, play slide shows, design book layouts and more. Lightroom has it downsides for the newcomer though, such as a choice between a hefty price tag or a smaller monthly subscription. The learning curve to Lightroom can also be steep if you are new to the world of editing RAW images. However, it is a powerful program which I couldn’t imagine doing my job without.
I’m sure there are other programs out there that can do what Lightroom can, and I highly suggest exploring any program that can handle RAW image processing and editing. In fact, I’m in the process of exploring a program called CaptureOne because unfortunately, Lightroom does not have the support to tether with Sony cameras.
3) Finishing Touches in Photoshop
Photoshop is both my best friend and enemy. Can you relate? Photoshop is incredibly intimidating and it has taken me a long time just to master the basics. However, everytime I learn a new skill or master a tool, it lights me up and I feel like it only takes my work to the next level.
Now let me clarify: I do not take every image into Photoshop. I use Photoshop for a couple of things such as enhancing a very specific image to get to the next level. A great example of this is from the image below. This was a personal project and themed photoshoot. I took the image into Photoshop to soften skin, better color tone the image and add the smoke effect.
Other uses of Photoshop include removing stains from clothing, doing headswaps or extending backgrounds.
4) Upload Final Images to Shootproof
Shootproof is probably my favorite tool in my workflow for so many reasons! Shootproof is an online cloud platform that is used to create online galleries for your clients. You can do so much with these galleries. As a matter-of-fact, my next blog post will be a full preview and review of all the things you can do with Shootproof.
Here is a highlight of my favorite features:
a. Password protect and right-click protect images
b. Manage digital downloads (such as whether your clients get five or 10 digital images)
c. Play a slideshow with music of the client’s gallery (this is a big WOW factor for the client)
d. Sell physical print products and wall portraits directly from the gallery
Shootproof is constantly adding features that help you sell more products and raise your profits as a photographer. A recently added great feature is the ability to add a video to your gallery so you can walk your client through the buying process – it seriously helps! Clients ask fewer questions and feel more confident buying from you because you’ve covered all the bases from the start!
As you can see, I use a lot of tools! But they are all so essential to the way that that I run my business. Don’t let this overwhelm you. My suggestion is to pick one tool at a time and become proficient at it before moving on to the next one. So, where in your photography workflow can you improve? Do you need better editing software? Do you need a better way to handle client contracts or deliver client photos? Ask yourself this question and it is easy to go from there!
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