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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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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The #1 Productivity Tool I Cannot Live Without

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

If you haven’t heard of this online productivity tool yet, I’m about to blow your minds!  It has changed the way I do EVERYTHING in business and at home.

Productivity | Trello | WAHM | Working From Home | Girl Boss | Creative Entrepreneur | Female Entrepreneur | Simply Successful Creative

Please allow me to introduce you to Trello.  I’ve been using this tool for a few years now, and I’m not sure what I would do without it at this point.

What I Love About Trello

  • It’s free!  The thing that baffles me most is that Trello is FREE to use.  There is so much value in this tool!  I don’t know that I’ll be able to praise it enough in this post!

  • Accessibility - It’s accessible on my desktop, phone and ipad.  Plus it synced automatically.  Can I get a heck yeah?!

  • Everything is in one place - It allows me to manage our home & my business(es) in one location - seriously every area of my life is on my Trello boards.

  • Keeping up with the details - It allows me to stay focused and on track with my projects and goals, down to the little details I usually forget.

  • Works well with others - It works great with other platforms (google drive, dropbox, evernote, twitter, etc).

  • Team collaboration!  With tagging and commenting functionality I can easily make notes or assign items to members of my team or family.

How Trello Works

The main things you need to know about Trello are boards, lists and cards.

Boards:

Think of a board as an area of your life or business.  Here’s a snapshot of my boards.  A little crazy, huh?  I have boards for my week, my home, my photography business, this blog and our styled stock shop that is coming so very soon :)

Lists:

A list is created inside of a board.  Think of these as subcategories for the main areas.  

So my week board would have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. . . .

A to-do board could be broken down into calls, computer, errands, home, office, on hold, etc. . . .

A family board could have lists for each member of the family.

You get the idea.  Here's a peek at my weekly queue I have set up for posting to my blogs.

 Cards:

This is where it gets really good.  Cards are the action items in your lists.  The cool thing about cards is that they can be moved around from board to board and from list to list.  

Some other things you can add to or do with cards:

  • Add a due date

  • Add a label

  • Add a checklist

  • Assign to a team member

  • Upload a photo or a file

  • Add links to resources

Are you starting to see the beauty in all of this?  EVERYTHING is literally in one place.  When you are finished with a card it can be archived.  Don’t worry.  It’s not gone forever.  If you ever need to find it again, there is great search functionality within Trello too.

How I personally use Trello 

Blogging

  • Editorial calendar - Trello is perfect for keeping up with my editorial calendar.  I can see a blog post move from idea to outline to writing and editing it and then on to publishing and promoting that blog post.  And because it works with Google Drive I can attach that blog post draft to the card and always have it handy.  

  • Content management - As bloggers we produce a lot of content, right?  And we are always coming up with a new idea for a blog post, social media or newsletter.  I have found no better way to manage all of that content than with Trello.  I keep lists of different types of content ideas for the categories of my blog (business, home and heart).  And other lists for the type of styled stock I want to create as well.  This method keeps my mind clear and my business and blog organized.

  • Promotion management / workflow - Ever published a blog post and wondered if you promoted it in all of the places you were supposed to?  Ever lose a piece of paper with your little checklist?  With Trello that just doesn’t happen.  I keep track of all of the places I have promoted blog posts right inside the card.  And when my mind fails me (way too often the older I get) I can reference back to my handy dandy Trello card to see exactly what I did to promote that blog post.

  • Affiliate info - If you work with affiliates (and I bet you probably do) you know just how difficult it is to keep up with all of the links, passwords, program info, graphics, html code . . . The list goes on and on.  With Trello all of that information goes into one easily accessible card.  Yes!!!

  • Passwords - OMGoodness!  All of the password rules now, right?!  It’s a blessing and a curse.  I don’t save passwords to my computer.  There are way too many horror stories about that.  But I do have them tucked away in Trello.  I love that my team has access to them there as well instead of saving them to their own computers or jotting them down on post-it notes all over the place!

Clients

  • Project Workflow - I think of each client as a project.  And I say that in the nicest way possible!  But I really do have to manage them like a project to be efficient, get our tasks completed and provide the best product or service possible.  With Trello client and project management is so simple.  Checklists within cards makes this very easy.  Being able to tag and communicate with a teammate makes a world of difference too!   

  • Task Management - I keep all of my little tasks that pop up throughout the day in an “inbox” list.  And then I divide them out into separate lists for the places I would be when handling those particular tasks - calls, computer, errands, home, office, etc.  Having tasks in separate categories like this is crazy simple in Trello and it makes me so much more productive in the long run!

  • Automation - Automation is my love language y’all.  If I could automate the kids’ baths I would do that!  Haha!  There are amazing products like Zapier and IFTTT (if this then that) that act as a go between.  If something happens “here” makes this other thing happen “there”.  There are so many options.  You will just have to play around with them to see what works for you, but the possibilities are endless.  One of my favorite things to set up are recurring tasks.  I have an automation set up to post a new card on the 1st of each month to remind me to run payroll and payment plans for clients and another card to create a huge batch of social media images for the next month.  I don’t have to remember to do that.  A card just pops up in Trello to remind me!  How amazing is that?! 

Meal Planning

  • Favorite Recipes - I create lists of different types of meals (crockpot, skillet, grill, mexican, casseroles, etc).  Within those lists are the recipe cards.  I attach the Pinterest link to it because OMGosh I can never seem to find that one particular recipe that I wanted to make!  A checklist of ingredients is pretty awesome to include as well.  

  • Schedule - On Sundays I look at what we have going on that week and plan meals accordingly.  I have an Order Pizza Night card too, just in case.  When I make it to the kitchen I can go straight to Trello and find my recipe.  I love this method.  It makes life so much easier.  

  • Shopping list - It’s simple to create a grocery shopping list in Trello as well.  You can have a list for each category or grocery aisle.  Create a checklist of your staples and add to it as you think of items you need.  When it’s time to go to the store just check off the items on your card as you shop.  Uncheck them for the next trip.  Easy!  No more forgetting that one thing you needed, right?

Kids / Family

  • Chores - My boys are 16, 13 and 8.  They do their fair share of chores around the house.  I love that they take ownership of the things they are responsible for.  It’s not always easy and no, they don’t love it.  But with Trello they can at least see what they need to get done each day and checking off a list gives them a sense of accomplishment.  Mom isn’t nagging them and that is one thing they do appreciate :)

  • Goals - Each year we do list out our goals and try to revisit them quarterly.  It’s fun to look back on them to see what we’ve accomplished and if we haven’t, seeing them right there in front of us is a good motivator to be more serious about getting to them.

  • Bucket Lists - I love bucket lists!  So do the boys.  We try to make them for each season.  Their favorites are summer and Christmas time.  If we find specific things we’d like to do around town we add links too.  I love this because it’s so easy to reference back to.

  • Current sizes / likes - With multiple kiddos who are constantly growing and changing it is nearly impossible to remember all of their shoe sizes, clothes sizes and wish lists.  You know those phone calls that you get, right?  The ones where you have no idea how to answer what your kid wants his birthday.  This is a total game changer!

Home

  • Christmas - Ahhh.  The most frantic (I mean, wonderful) time of the year!  Insert the Christmas Trello Board.  Everybody we buy for gets a card.  I list the gift ideas on the card and when they are purchased it gets moved down my other lists: ordered / purchased, wrapped, delivered.  Hallelujah!  I can keep receipts and tracking info in each card also.  Other useful lists in our Christmas board are wish lists for each child, budget, Christmas card list and our seasonal bucket list too.

  • Maintenance - Oh the joys of home ownership!  Change the air filters, clean the windows, pressure wash, flip the mattresses, declutter the closets.  You know what I’m talking about for sure!  Trello makes it easier to keep up with our seasonal maintenance on the house.  If we have a particular contractor that handles an item their contact info goes on that card too.  

  • Cleaning schedule - If you haven’t outsourced your cleaning yet, Trello can really help with staying on track to keeping a tiny home.  I do wish you would consider outsourcing it though.  I talk about that here in this blog post.  But if you haven’t just yet a Trello list for each day of the week with a list of chores underneath is a great way to manage your household cleaning schedule.  It does make life easier to do a few small things a day than to let it pile up for the weekends.

  • To Do’s - I talked about this earlier with the business, but the same holds true for the house.  I use the same sorts of categories for our personal tasks and it is easier for my husband and I to communicate about what needs to be done when.  This also keeps the “I thought you were handling that” arguments at bay.

  • Finances - I admit that we are not the best budget keepers.  So while I would love to keep a budget in Trello, I just don’t.  But it sure is a good idea, right?!  We do, however, keep track of the vendors, account numbers, websites and passwords for all of our bills in Trello though.  This has really come in handy when their is an issue with an account.  Like that time my purse was stolen, and I had to call EVERY one of them to update our credit card info.  Ugh.  It happens, and Trello did not disappoint that day either.

  • Vacation Planning - There’s always a family trip or cruise we want to take someday.  In Trello we can keep track of our ideas, links to hotels, digital tickets, places we want to eat and other travel arrangements.  Travel is difficult enough as it is.  Being organized with Trello helps the trips go so much smoother.

  • Home Improvement Projects - Trello is a great for managing big projects around your home.  We just finished a remodel and it was so helpful to have everything in one place for contractors, wish lists, inspiration, purchased items, and timelines.  

  • The “In Case Something Happens” Board - Some people have this in a notebook.  I prefer Trello because it is easy to update, and it is always on hand.  We keep a copy of our will, insurance documents and emergency plans here.  It’s something you don’t ever want to talk about, but it is smart to have for every family.

Wow!  That was a whole lot of reasons to start using Trello, huh?  If I haven’t convinced you by now, I’m not quite sure that I can!  Give it a try though.  I promise you life will be a little calmer and you will be much more productive at home and in your business.  

What are you waiting for?  You gotta try it.  Seriously, it’s life-changing girls.

 

 

 

Download Trello for free right here.  

Be sure to pin this post so that when you do start getting life organized with this amazing tool then you can come back to tell me all about it!

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