9 time saving tips for photographers

In Photo Basics by Rick McEvoy4 Comments

In this article I am going to tell you about 9 things that I have been wasting time doing. Bad habits, things that eat away at my time with little or no benefit. I should have called this post “Mistakes I keep on making” but I have already done that! (5 Photography Mistakes I Keep On Making)

This all started with point number 2, and a book I listened to in the car. More on that later, but it did get me thinking about the things that I do that are just bad habits that I have developed which are not serving me any purpose, and are in fact having a negative impact on me and my photography work and business. A recent holiday brought these thoughts back and this time I have actually done something about them.

So please read on, and of course let me know of anything similar that you/ I can ditch to make your/ our photography lives better!

1 – Get rid of things that eat into your time and distract (or is it just me on this?)

I am talking about Apps on my phone specifically. And to be very specific these two apps

  • Squarespace Analytics
  • Google Analytics

More will be going when I get round to it (You TUbe studio went this morning). So what is up with these two apps?

There is nothing wrong with them at all – they are both excellent Apps, which is part of the problem. But I have had to remove them from my phone.

With these apps I can see how people have visited my website, and the Google Analytics App takes this one step further, telling me how many visitors are on my website Real Time. Yes live reporting of how many people are on my website!

And it is this easy access on my phone to this info that is the problem – I check far too often, and decided that this had to stop. Did checking all the time make any difference to anything? No of course not.

This is the problem – I check them too often!

I now have them on my iPad only, and I can check things on there when I use my iPad, which is much less frequently than my phone of course. Once I had deleted the Apps from my phone, when I went to check the Apps on my iPad it was actually nice to see the number of visitors had actually increased as I had not checked for some time. I know that my visitor stats are not by any means the be all and end all, it is the tangible business enquiries. But this did not stop me keep checking.

Other Apps will be getting the same treatment – I do not need to constantly check everything on my phone. Things can wait. They used to back in the day!

I am concerned that future generations will think it is normal to have a constant instant feed of everything now!!

And that leads me nicely to the next point.

2 – Stop checking your emails so often.

I checked my emails far too often in a day. And now I check them first thing in the morning and at the end of the working day, whenever that might be. Between these times I don’t check my emails, and guess what?

Nothing bad has happened.

This gives me focussed periods of time to work on emails, and I deal with them twice a day so everything gets answered and everything is filed away. After a bit of time, thinking and advice from a productivity chap here in the UK I have reorganized my email accounts so most days I get my email inboxes down to zero, with everything filed away. Check them out here.

I have found that this has given me more time to concentrate on my photography business and make me more productive.

This change was prompted originally by listening to the Four Hour Work Week. I have not gone as extreme as the author Tim Ferris but this has made my photography business more efficient as emails are organised and dealt with twice a day.

And there is that smug satisfaction of knowing exactly where I am with my emails!

3 – Careful image capture selection

I used to take lots of images, many very similar, and some even identical to ones I already had. At the end of a shoot I would find myself going back and capturing the same thing I photographed at the beginning of a shoot.

This of course meant that it took me much longer to sort images in Lightroom.

I got fed up with this, and having done another shoot where I had done just what I described above I came to the conclusion that I needed to sort this.

The first shot of a scene 99 times out of 100 was a the best one, the variations were just unneccessary duplications. And the repeat shots at the end were definitely unrequired duplicates.

I now go to a shoot with a list of essential shots that I have to take. They are listed in a pocket notebook. I tick them off when I have captured them.

I have to plan my shoots of course around the client and the timing and direction of the light, but once I have a shot the only reason to go back to that composition is if the light is better.

One thing I don't like doing in Lightroom

To be honest I hate selecting images in Lightroom – nothing to do with Lightroom – I just find it a tedious, time-consuming process.

I am not gifted enough to just take the images I want unfortunately, but on a recent shoot I managed to get this down to taking less than 80 images and selecting 30 for issue to the client – a much better ratio.

The quality of the images was better, my image selection was better and my editing was better as well. And I was a happier chappy!

4 – Automation of social media

This is a big timesaver. I have written before about my views on social media. You can read those on my article Social Media for photographers- essential or waste of time?

This is how I automate my social media output.

On my Squarespace website rickmcevoyphotography.com I produce a daily blog. Each of these blog posts is automatically shared to

  • Pinterest
  • Google Account
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

From my main Instagram account posts are automatically shared using the iPhone App IFTT (If This Then That) to the following

  • Twitter
  • WordPress
  • Google business page
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Flickr

And that is all I do with social media.

5 – Shiny new syndrome

I used to be dreadful at this. I would hear about the latest shiny new thing and want it. I am talking about

  • Camera bodies
  • Lenses
  • Tripods
  • Tripod heads
  • Bags
  • Accessories
  • Apps
  • Photo editing software
  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • Ideas
  • Tips
  • Tricks
  • Techniques
  • Stuff in general

You name it. I am all over it. I used to listen to all the photography podcasts, and got to hear eveything as and when it happened.

And that was the problem.

  • I was distracting myself from taking photos.
  • I would buy software, try it briefly without learning it, and then move on to the next thing.
  • I would hear about a must read book, buy it and never get round to reading it.
  • I would hear about the latest tripod head and buy it, even though I didn’t really need it.

That was then.

And I have learned the error of my ways. This is my approach now.

I only buy something new if

  1. I have broken something and need a new one
  2. I have something that needs updating
  3. The thing I am thinking of buying will help me make better images.

If not then I don’t buy it.

Well of course I buy the odd thing but that is fine – just don’t let shiny new thing syndrome get in the way of taking better photos.

6 – Lightroom – importing presets and settings

When I import images into Lightroom I use the following settings.

Why do I do this?

The first three setings are simply the best way to get Lightroom to work faster – you only need to make these selections once.

I also add develop presets at the time of import.

I noticed that I was making the same, or very similar adjustments to every image. This was particularly the case with my architectural photography work. So I made a preset, and with one click these adjustments were added in an instant to an image.

All fine I thought.

And then I started doing this to each and every image, and that is when the penny dropped (yes penny – I am in the UK after all!) – I can do this automatically on import.

I tried this out and yes it worked a treat.

I also apply my copyright information using a metadata preset. I don’t add keywords or anything else here – that is an important manual job at the back end of image processing.

You can read my article 9 ways to work faster in Lightroom to find out more.

I know that giving Lightroom more work to do slows it down, and that some of you are still experiencing speed problems with Lightroom,

I have a simple answer for this – I set the import up and running and go and do something else. Like grab a beer. Assuming it is an evening of course……

7 – Image processing – don’t make it an agonising never ending process

I used to spend endless time editing images in Lightroom, and then trying to do more in Photoshop. I wasted so much time.

Now my image processing is a lot slicker. You have just read about my starting point for processing images in Lightroom.

All I normally do is the following.

Crop/ Transform

I start with these two, so I know the exact composition I will be working with. This involves getting rid of anything I don’t want in the crop, and then using the transform tool to straighten things out. I do these two together as adjustments in the transform tool can change the composition such that I either need to crop out the blank bits or fill in the blanks in Photoshop.

Basic panel

I work through the sliders in the basic panel from top to bottom starting with white balance. These are all visual adjustments.

Effects panel

Here I may adjust the vignette from the one added at import – often I don’t, and add an amount of clarity.

HSL Panel

I save this till the last of the global adjustments – this is my favourite tool in Lightroom.

Local adjustments

I add local adjustments using the brush tools, often dodging and burning.

There may be some tidying up to do in Photoshop but not on every image.

And then I am done I am done.

I will leave an image and come back to it the next day – I find this helps – but having gone through this process I rarely go back and do further tweaking.

And I only add information to the metadata of images that I am going to export out of Lightroom – there is no point doing this to images that I am not using.

8 – Do one thing

I am dabbling in the world of productivity here. And also into the universally known and accepted fact about men – we can only do one thing at once!

Multi-tasking to me means doing two things at once badly, or even not finishing two things at once.

Come on all you men out there – embrace this fact and do one thing before moving onto the next one!

There is lots of data to back this up. I have taken it a step further.

I write down in order of importance the things that I need to do in a day. The most important one is at the top. When I have done that I go on to the next item, and I work down the list.

I use the App called Daily Tracker for this. This really works for me, and has made me more efficient.

The most important thing is the one thing that will have the biggest positive impact on my photography business that day.

Check out this website, and the book How to be a Productivity Ninja, which I have found helpful in improving my productivity. This is where I got the info about email management from.

There is even a book called The One Thing. That might be taking it a bit too far…. (but yes I have listened to it).

9 – Learn while driving

I drive a lot. And I have learnt a lot about photography, business and marketing while driving.

These are the podcasts that I am currently listening to which fill that dead time in the car with oodles of learning.

  • Master Photography – formerly Improve Photography Podcast
  • Peta Pixel Photography Podcast
  • He Shoots He Draws
  • The Togcast
  • The Grid
  • This Week in Photo
  • No Name Photo Show
  • Smart Passive Income
  • Ask Pat 2.0
  • The S0lopreneur Hour
  • The Blog Millionaire

I also listen to the following YouTube channel while driving

Income School – check it out.

I have dropped lots of podcasts from my list as I was getting too much information – so much that I didn’t action anything.

I used to listen to pretty much every podcast out there, but have narrowed my list down to this lot above.

And when I stop I write down the things that I want to remember and actually do something with them.

One very important thing to say here – set up your podcast app/ YouTube so episodes auto play while you are driving. I put my phone away and never touch it when driving. If I want to change what I am listening to I pull over and do it when I am safe and stationary.

Summary

I hope that you have found this list of things that will save you time useful – I look forward to reading your comments and also to receiving your ideas of other ways to save time and be more efficient.

 

 


About the Author

Rick McEvoy

Twitter

I am a photographer based in the lovely county of Dorset in England. This is my Website, and I also have a weekly photography Blog. I specialise in architectural photography – well anything to do with buildings, and extend this to industrial and commercial photography which have similar requirements – stationery subjects, no people, no animals. I also enjoy landscape and travel photography. My dream job is photographing buildings in nice places, which I am working on right now.

Comments

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