While perusing Amazon recently, a major deal on a pressure cooker, called Instant Pot, jumped out at me. Not because I’m an eager cooking aficionado — quite the opposite, actually — but because SO many entrepreneurs talk about the crazy amount of time it saves them and how it helps with their business productivity.
After grabbing one of my own, I learned it certainly lives up to the hype — you can make the most tender pork tenderloin you’ve had in your life in less than 45 minutes. When you’re an insanely busy photography business owner, these kinds of time-saving gadgets are priceless.
Because without time to run your business, there is no business. That’s why I’m always on the hunt for tools, tricks, and gadgets that will help me make the most of mine.
That said, with so many time-saving tips out there, it can be tough to hone in on which ones are worth it and which will only waste even more of your time. And that’s exactly why I wrote this post.
You can trust that the photography business productivity tips highlighted below will put your money to good use as they are critical investments in your business’s success.
Streamline Your Workflow
A smoothly run photography business is the equivalent to an efficient system, so you want to make sure everything in the system is streamlined to your benefit.
Start by taking inventory of how much work you do for each client. Write down how much time you spend editing, emailing, making phone calls, and filling out documentation. This can be a little time consuming and tedious, but it’s a crucial step that will save you a ton of money in the future.
Next, assess what can be parsed back or easily outsourced.
For example, one of the reasons Melanie Anderson is so successful, is that she runs just a few basic actions before her sales and proofing sessions, and she only edits the photos that her clients actually buy.
Those types of small, easy changes to your workflow can save you a tremendous amount of time (and money!) in the long run.
Stop Editing So Many Photos
Speaking of editing, stop doing it so much 🙂 Editing is a major time suck that can be easily minimized with the right steps.
One thing you can do, is simply shoot fewer photos. In the digital age, it’s too easy to take hundreds of photos when you likely only need a fraction of them to get the shot you’re after.
Next, consider outsourcing.
This can be a scary word for professional photographers because we tend to want our hands on every part of the process. But the reality is, there’s a finite limit to how much your photography business will grow if you don’t outsource at least some of your editing.
The process doesn’t need to be scary or overwhelming — just treat it like you would if you were hiring any other employee.
Provide a short test to get an idea of their different editing skills and, once you provide feedback, test how well they receive it and are able to make revisions to your liking.
Also, be sure to give them examples of what you don’t like, as well as examples of your favorite images and edits, being careful to explain what, exactly, you like about them.
Finally, create a screen recording with audio documenting your process and the ways you like things to be completed. This is a super helpful step, as you can use it over and over again when hiring prospects, so take your time with it. It will pay dividends with your photography business productivity.
All of that said, if you truly love to edit, you absolutely still can — just outsource the boring stuff like culling, color correction, blemish removal, etc. and save the artful parts you enjoy for your yourself.
Automate Your Meeting and Session Booking Process
Little wastes more time than playing email and phone tag with your clients. Fortunately, this is something that you can nearly eliminate with the right systems in place.
The first thing to do is, again, take inventory of your process. How many emails and phone calls, on average, do you have with each client? How many times do you have to go back and forth just to figure out scheduling?
Between the first inquiry, scheduling a consult, then a session, then a proofing/sales session, and rescheduling for any conflicts, that’s a whole lot of time you can automate with an online booking page for each type of meeting.
It’s also helpful to create a similar page for scheduling a free 15-minute phone consult. This works because prospective clients will feel more of a commitment to you when they add their names to your calendar, which makes them less likely to look elsewhere.
Be sure to make it as easy for them as possible by putting a link to the sign-up everywhere — put it on your homepage, in your email signature, and on your Facebook business page. Everywhere.
Once you’ve vetted and connected with a potential client, you can send them a link to an exclusive session booking page.
On this page, block out your time while keeping in mind that you want to look available but not too available — it’s generally better to lean toward fewer choices because you want clients to know you’re in high demand and your time is valuable.
Finally, make sure you require a credit card down payment.
Doing so will hold clients accountable for your time and give them the impression that it’s scarce. This greatly reduces no-shows and last-minute cancellations, and it creates social proof that you have other clients vying for your time.
Tools such as StickyFolios and the like make it possible to create booking and scheduling pages so don’t feel like you need to do it all on your own. These automated online booking forms can be used for anything, from sales sessions to general meetings to phone calls, all of which will save you a ton of time — and most importantly, money — so use them with abandon!