Crickets. That’s what I should hear based off of how eerily quiet it is. I quickly get up from my computer desk, which mind you has already been moved into the dining room to be able to watch the kids while I work. Hesitantly following the trail of toilet paper only to find my son feeding his sister the roll from the now empty ream. So now I am stuck with a mess of a house, on top of yesterday’s mess – which I told myself I would clean today. And my editing queue is not that much lighter.
Two words. Time management. Picture the Brady bunch. And not mom- Alice- the always-there housekeeper, but throw a camera around her neck. There, now were getting somewhere!
Being you is tough! Running a business no matter what the stage is a timely task. We all have seen the chart of what photographers really do but what about how we really should do it? What about that slice called “life”?
Whether your wiping snot from your teething 1 year old , running your teenager to football or even just keeping the hubs happy and fed, life takes all forms and needs to be accounted for. I by no means have found the perfect strategy or am saying it will work for you but take at least one thing from this and if it helps you a little bit I’ll be happy with that! Time is money folks!
There are many aspects that play into properly managing your time…from having proper pricing to adjust your flow, using social media at appropriate times to best serve you and so on.
I would like to focus on the family aspect. I know so many photographers who struggle with balance; entrepreneur, mom, wife, caretaker, super hero- take your pick. (this can apply to men too!) What’s important is finding the proper order!
Family – Make time and protect it!
First and foremost comes family. Whether it be your littles or just your little yorkie named Tuggles- they come first. Now obviously putting food in those tummies, not to mention yours, is rather important in the whole “caretaker” role. Cue breadwinner hat, gotta make that money!
At the Smith home, it is me, my husband, and two littles under the age of 2!
Ideally, my day goes like this: Morning time is when I will straighten up the house, I used to do this right before bedtime but that cut into my hubby time so I stopped that quick. Happy wife , happy life. And honestly it doesn’t keep me up at night knowing my dishes aren’t done and the toys are all over. We have playtime or a quick errand, lunch rolls around and then it is nap time. <AKA Business Time – see below>
Now I know some people edit after 5, but for me that is my family time. I do enough family and maternity sessions in the evening that I really can’t afford to take anymore time away from them. I will hop back on right before going up to bed to post my Facebook updates as this is my prime time, 9-11 pm.
Business – Carve out a set time and use every minute wisely!
I like to call afternoon naptime my “golden editing hour”. It is the same concepts as the golden shooting hour. I have found the time that will yield the best results. Glorious nap time…Gah, see that gorgeous light ( and that hallelujah choir)?…Golden hour. Mine happens to be 2- Go me! This is when I edit. Here are my streamlining techniques to make the most of my prime time:
- Nail the SOOC.
- Shoot with custom white balance.
- Upload my sessions to my computer right after shooting.
- Use Lightroom.
- Cull to 30-40 images.
- Run my presets over them in mass.
- Adjust individuals as needed with lighting, brushes and spot healing.
- Run my Sharpening preset.
After I edit a session, I set it aside and bring up the last session I edited. This gives each session a day or two to settle. Then I have fresh eyes to look at my finished edits from the day before. This is where I normally adjust the temperature as I tend to edit too cool the first time around. Sometimes I do not adjust anything but I like to keep a fresh eye and do a look over before the client views them.
Depending on how many sessions I have in queue will determine what I do next. Editing another session or working on the numerous side projects like website updates, blogging, marketing brochures or even reading up on new things for the business. But most importantly…
Facebook is CLOSED during my Golden Hour. Call it the Golden Rule of Golden Hour. For me, I can answer all emails and Facebook client messages from my iPhone while playing with the kids and what not, and not be at the computer. That separates Facebook and email from my editing time, so that Golden Hour yields some great productivity!
The Goal: Happy Families and Successful Businesses
I have talked with so many photographers who feel discouraged when their spouses don’t understand or appreciate what they are doing. Both get defensive. Why are you always on your computer? Why don’t you ever support me in my business? Both are misunderstood. To them it may seem as if all your focus is work. While to you, you are working to be able to focus on them!
Learn to balance. Set boundaries and keep them. Have a set time to edit – whether it be specific hours or rather just a specific amount of hours. Set up office hours, and follow them. When you work from home it can be hard to differentiate between work and home, but having set times for everything and sticking to it gives everyone expectations to count on.
Bailey Smith of Bailey Smith Photo is a regular Contributor to this blog!