The Every Durn Day List For Your Photography Business

I used to haphazardly go about my day. Whatever was most important at the time was what got done. I’d get to the end of my day with absolutely no idea what I had accomplished. The only thing I was certain of was that I WAS TIRED!

Have you been there? Letting your day run you instead of the other way around? The phone rings. I answered it. Email chimes with a question from a client. Off in that direction I went. A photographer friend needed help designing a marketing piece. I’d drop everything to help.

Finally I got tired of being tired and scatterbrained here at the studio. I knew something had to change, so I made my Every Durn Day List! It’s my very technical title for the list of things I absolutely have to get done to call it a successful day!

Brainstorming, I broke my day up into broad tasks I handle every day. Or tasks that SHOULD be handled everyday!

Health

It’s a priority. It has to come first. If I’m not healthy and feeling good, then I am no good for anybody - my family, myself or my clients. So I try to get a smoothie in every morning so at least I know I am getting in some good nutrients, and I try to do something physical every day. This might not happen in the morning. It just depends on my schedule. I love a good long walk / run in the evenings with a podcast going.

Mindset

Getting my head straight and staying focused on the big picture is tough for me. I’m not gonna lie. I see something shiny, new and exciting . . . I’m gonna chase after it! So I decided to review my quarterly goals and big picture strategy for the year every morning. This helps me put my blinders on and stay focused towards what I’ve said was important to me.

Marketing

I heard once before that the smartest thing we could do for our businesses when it comes to social media is to create before we consume. I took that advice to heart and it has made the biggest impact on my business. We have to market EVERY DURN DAY to keep clients rolling in. If we only market during the slow times then there are going to be a whole lot more slow times eventually. By creating before we consume we naturally do what is best for our businesses. When we let other voices in our heads those messages infiltrate our own, and we end up missing the mark. And if you’re anything like me, you get caught up in the good ol’ comparison trap. Ugh. Anybody else?

So before I start scrolling Instagram or Facebook I go ahead and make sure I’ve posted to my own social media for the day. I get them done and out there in the world! Then I can continue on with my happy morning stalking, umm inspiration.

Client Communication

I used to check my voicemail, email, Facebook and Instagram messages first thing each morning and get everything handled. Not bad customer service, huh? No! Not at all. But guess what? None of it was ever really an emergency. By lunch time I was frazzled and lost as to what to do the rest of the day. I am sharpest and most creative first thing in the morning. I need to get my focused work done then because after lunch it can easily go downhill. Maybe that’s just me getting old! But either way, I needed to create a way to get my focused work time done so I simply flipped my schedule. Now I only check voicemail and email after lunch. This one simple thing has been such a game changer for me!

I also try to set aside a little time in the afternoons to nurture relationships. This might mean writing welcome or thank you notes or checking facebook and instagram to see what is going on in the lives of my clients. You can learn a lot that way!

Prep For Tomorrow

A successful morning starts the night before. Have you ever heard that? Well, if not you have now! Believe it because it is so true! Coming into the studio each morning knowing exactly what needs to be done is key for a productive day. Do things always go as planned? Heck no! But at least I have a fighting chance. I set myself up for success in a few different ways. At the end of each work day I will glance over my Google calendar to see what’s coming up. Then I look over my Trello boards and calendar side by side to decide when I can do outstanding tasks. I name my top 3 tasks for the next day and block out time to make those happen. If I get more done, great! If not, that’s ok. I can feel accomplished knowing I got those top 3 done. Be sure to check out this blog post where I talk about how to use Trello for EVERYTHING! I seriously can’t live without it.

The Every Durn Dy List For Senior Photographers | Productivity Tips For Photographers

Here’s a quick recap on my every day list in my photography business:

  1. Health: Always first!

    • Drink a smoothie

    • Move my body (running, yoga, weights, resistance training, etc)

  2. Mindset: Get focused.

    • Review My Goals / Big Picture Strategy

    • Review Today's Top 3 List

    • Time block for something that is going to push my business forward towards one of those goals (1 - 4 hours) - content creation, education, admin day, etc.

  3. Marketing: Create before I consume.

    • Instagram Post

    • Facebook Post

    • Instagram Story (3 times a day)

  4. Client Communication: Always after lunch.

    • Return Voicemails / Call Leads

    • Answer Email

    • Client / Prospect Engagement (write notecards / check Facebook & Instagram - with intention)

  5. Plan For The Next Day: Set myself up for success tomorrow.

  • Review Calendar

  • Create Top 3 List

So what’s on your list? Do you have one? What are you doing in your senior photography studio to make each day successful and to keep driving your business forward? I’d love to know! Am I missing something? :)

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Honeybook: My Favorite Senior Studio Management System

Honeybook: My Favorite Senior Studio Management System

It used to take me hours to get through all of the steps to bring a new senior photography client on when booking a new session. And inevitably I would forget to do something.

I looked at Honeybook several times in the past before finally making the leap, and man, I wish I had done it sooner. I would have saved hours upon hours here in the studio doing meaningless tasks.

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How To Make Working From Home As A Photographer Actually Work

The phone is ringing, the dogs are barking, UPS is dropping off a package, a friend is texting to ask if you can drop her off at the airport and a neighbor wants to talk about the new HOA policy because you know, you work from home.  Insert eye roll here.

I get it.  Completely!  Working from home can be tough.  I’ve owned commercial space, had my studio inside my home and now have a detached studio on our property.  This has been my absolute favorite set up btw :)

Unless you are super organized and protective of your time is can be hard to get anything crossed off your to do list each day.  So let’s talk about how to make working from home actually work for your photography business.

How To Make Working From Home As A Photographer Actually Work

6 Tips For Working From Home As A Senior Photographer

  1. Set boundaries

    Be polite but firm when setting boundaries with family, friends and clients about your business.  Working from home doesn’t mean you can drop everything for a 30 minute chat about what another PTO mom did last week.  While working from home does give you flexibility in your schedule, it needs to be on your own terms. 

  2. Have pre-determined office hours

    Setting office hours are extremely important - for you and your family.  This may change for you as your life changes, the kids get older and as your business grows. But set them and do not let anything get in your way. We’ll talk about distractions in a minute. But I would caution you about sneaking in a few hours late at night when the kids are occupied. Sure this is necessary every once in a while, but it’s easy to form a bad habit. Been there. Done that. Enjoy your family time in the evenings. There will always be work.

  3. Get comfortable with saying no

    Saying no comes so easy to some and it’s extremely difficult for the “people pleasers”. Come on. You know who you are. I am a recovering people pleaser, so I can relate! But what I have learned over the years is that saying yes to trivial or unimportant things in the moment means that I am ultimately giving away my precious time and saying no to my family later on in the day. There are only so many hours in the day and we have to use them wisely. Only say yes to requests that line up with your priorities and values. Everything else can be a gentle “no, I can’t right now, I’m unavailable” . . . you get the picture ;)

  4. Eliminate distractions

    The phone is absolutely my biggest distraction. It’s worse than my kids y’all!! Turning your phone to Do Not Disturb is the best thing you could do to actually get some focused work done! I’ve even gone so far to delete social media apps and email from my phone to keep me from being distracted.

  5. Morning & Evening Routines

    Creating routines (for myself and the kids) has been a lifesaver to me. There are just those non-negotiable things that have to get done each day, right? Take some time to sketch out your mornings and evenings to make them successful. It takes a while to form new habits, but that investment will pay off! A great morning starts the night before :)

  6. Batch your time

    Jumping from one type of task to a totally different one can be such a waste of time and mental energy. To stay productive in your work hours be sure you are focusing on only one type of task - emails, calls, editing, continuing education, etc. Have session days and in person sales days separately so that you can stay focused on one thing. I even close the studio one day a week to run all of my errands and schedule appointments on that one day. Batching things like marketing, client work, post production, calls, emails, and admin work has been a huge time saver as well. The best tool I’ve found to help me with this has been Trello. I’ve been using it for years, and it really keeps me focused and on track. You can read more about it here in this post.

What are some of the things you’ve found to help you stay productive working from home? I’d love to keep the conversation going!

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The Top 5 Things To Outsource In Your Senior Photography Studio

Giving up control of things is not an easy thing to do. Especially when you’ve done it all for so long. You feel like it’s easier, faster and cheaper to just do it yourself! Right?! But guess what? That’s the problem. You will be doing EVERYTHING yourself. And there is only so much of you to go around.

Over the years I have outsourced more and more in our senior studio. It’s a little addicting at this point! It has given me so much peace of mind and personal time back. There’s nothing like it y’all! If you are on the fence, let me try to convince you that outsourcing is the only way to go :)

So what are some things you could outsource in your senior studio? I’m glad you asked!

The Top 5 Things To Outsource In Your Senior Photography Studio

The Top 5 Things To Outsource In Your Senior Photography Studio To Maximize Productivity And Profits:

  1. Editing & Retouching - Turning over our editing and retouching to professionals is by far the best decision I’ve ever made. Was it an easy one to make? Nope. Was there an adjustment period? Yep! But I’m so happy I finally did it. Outsourcing image editing has saved me countless hours of work and given me my life back. Some of my favorite companies to work with are Indy Pro Touch & Rebooku. You can save 10% off your first Rebooku order by using code RefcM7k4li at checkout.

  2. Album Design - I have to give it to Rebooku again for album design. They have beautiful templates for senior albums and have great turn around time on the design work as well. But if you have someone in house to do album design for you, I would recommend using Fundy for custom album design. It’s very user friendly and has helped us cut our design time and costs so much.

  3. Client Management - Gone are the days of spreadsheets, notebooks and word templates. We have been using Honeybook for our client management and absolutely love the freedom and confidence it gives us in the studio knowing we aren’t letting anything fall through the cracks with any client. It’s a lifesaver! Honeybook is giving our readers 50% off their first year with them! How awesome is that?!

  4. Legal - Sure you could write your own contract with your studio’s policies and procedures. But do you know if you’re really covered? I doubt it. I did this for years and never felt safe. Since purchasing our studio contract through The LawTog I feel so much more confident. And yes, it has saved me a time or two with troublesome clients. A studio contract written by an attorney who specifically works with professional photographers is worth every penny!

  5. Branding - Our website and marketing materials set the tone for how potential clients will receive us and for how much they can expect to pay for our services. If you have a flawless professional and artistic design, they will expect to pay a premium. Modern Market to the rescue! They have a site full of Logos, Branding Collections for your marketing materials as well as SquareSpace and ProPhoto Website Design Templates.

Find your wheelhouse. And outsource the rest. If you can make more money in the time it would take you to do some of these things, then it’s a no brainer. Do the things that bring in sales - like shooting - you know, that thing you were in love with way back when you started this business? Yeah. Do that.

Anything else you outsource in your studio? I’d love to know!

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10 Reasons We Chose ShootProof For Our Senior Client Galleries

The majority of high school senior photography clients purchase digital files. Because of that we wanted to offer them the opportunity to reprint their senior images from reputable labs with lasting quality. We needed a tool that would give us flexibility in hosting images, offered printing from professional labs, had the ability to offer digital downloads and could create mobile apps for our seniors, all while allowing us to make a profit.

Enter ShootProof. This studio management tool does it all and then some.

10 Reasons We Chose ShootProof For Our Online Galleries And Proofing In Our Senior Photography Studio

10 Reasons We Use ShootProof For Our Online Galleries And Proofing In Our Senior Photography Studio:

  1. Digital Download Delivery: When selling digital images clients can easily download their digital files through their ShootProof gallery all the while we have complete control over the file size.

  2. Custom Mobile Apps: Clients are impressed when we tell them they can have their very own mobile app included with their senior portrait order. We’ve seen an increase in brand awareness and word of mouth referrals because of the ease of sharing their app.

  3. Social Sharing Options: Everyone loves showing off their beautiful session images and ShootProof makes it easy for our clients to share straight to social media platforms like FaceBook, Twitter and more.

  4. Emotional Galleries & Slideshows Set To Music: We love creating an emotional experience again and again when our clients browse through their images by adding music. ShootProof has over 14,000 songs to choose from making options endless.

  5. Full Control of Products, Pricing and Print Fulfillment With Professional Labs: Different studios sell different products, and we love that ShootProof has taken this into consideration. We can pick and choose which items we will offer our clients, whether they will be fulfilled by a professional lab like White House Custom Color, Miller’s Pro Lab or Black River Imaging (there are lots of others) or fulfilled in-house. Pricing is also set by us, not the labs or ShootProof. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  6. Commission Free Sales: Since we are talking about pricing . . . you’ll be glad to know that every penny of profit comes back to your studio. ShootProof does not take a commission on any portrait sales.

  7. Professional Contracts & Invoices: Keeping clients connected and paperwork to a minimum is really easy with ShootProof. You can upload your own contract or purchase ready-made professional templates from photography industry leaders like The LawTog and The Youngrens. Clients can sign and pay right from their digital device.

  8. Professional Branding So Your Proofing Site Flows Beautifully With Your Website: This feature is super important to us. We wanted a platform that would seamlessly tie into our existing website. Customizing brand colors and watermarks is really easy. Have multiple brands? Not a problem. ShootProof can support that too.

  9. Automated Emails & Customizable Email Templates: Keeping in touch with clients has never been easier. Quickly shoot an email to check in or set up automated gallery expiration emails and so much more. Automation = less brain power. Yes!

  10. In Depth Dashboard: Quickly get an idea of what’s going on in a glance at the dashboard. Everything is right there - gallery stats, visitor activity, order information & sales history.

ShootProof makes life simpler in our studio.

Ready to simplify and up your sales?

 

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Top 5 Studio Tools We Use Daily

I’m often asked what are my most favorite tools that we use in the studio. And that is not an easy question to answer, but I narrowed it down to the 5 tools we use the most in our photography business. Below you’ll see products that have great functionality, easy user interfaces, and most have the ability to sync so that they are accessible even when we are out of the office.

Running a full time photography studio and needing team members to be able to access information at different times, these are all important options for us. Plus, it just makes life so much easier even if you’re a one man / woman show!

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5 Tools We Use Daily In The Studio To Maximize Productivity And Profit:

  1. Trello - Hands down number one would have to be Trello. I wrote a complete blog post about how awesome this productivity tool is. You should definitely check it out.

  2. Fundy - We use Fundy for custom album design for our senior albums and also for In Person Ordering Appointments. It’s very user friendly and has helped us cut our design time and costs so much.

  3. Honeybook - This is our client management system. We are still learning the power of this beast having moved over to it recently, but I am falling more and more in love with it every day. Our workflow automation is on point with HoneyBook! Get 20% off Honeybook here :)

  4. ShootProof - While we are 100% in person sales we do host images for clients who purchase digital files. ShootProof is perfect for that and they work seamlessly with our lab to offer professional quality prints to our clients. We also create and host our mobile apps for seniors with ShootProof as well. They love these on their phones! So do the mamas!

  5. Photobiz - I’ve been with Photobiz for years and have always been so impressed with their customer service and forward thinking in the photography industry. If any photographer is ever looking for a website Photobiz is exactly where I send them!

So there you have it. These are the 5 tabs that are most likely open on my desktop at all times! Oh, and probably one for Amazon because you just never know when you’ll need to add something to your cart, right?!

What’s your favorite tool you use in your studio?

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