Sometime ago, there was an interesting pie chart about how a professional photographer spends just 10% of his time clicking pictures and 90% handling business and delivery. That’s a tough life for most photographers who’d rather be shooting than sitting tethered to their desks.
It doesn’t have to be that difficult!
Photographers who seem to have all the time in the world, traveling to exotic locations, meeting people and doing fun stuff…you know, the ones you envy…can teach you a trick or two. Mostly, it’s about how they manage their time, making their post-production and image management processes efficient with tools that make their lives easier.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s look at how a typical wedding photographer can cut down the time spent on “post-op” activities…after a wedding shoot. You can take away some of these techniques and apply them to other forms of photography that you practice currently.
#1. Copying and culling
Essentially the most important step after your shoot, copying and culling images can often take an entire day or more.
Adobe Lightroom or even Adobe Bridge is commonly used for this process, and the import and preview delays of these processors make for great coffee table conversations.
You can instead use workflow acceleration tools that are designed specifically for this purpose. Unlike image processors that come in later.
We have a top recommendation: Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits.
It’s not new; it has been around since 1998. A lot of event photographers would vouch for its efficiency—in ingesting files, generating previews and helping in the culling process. Plus, exporting the culled or rated images to an image processor is a breeze.
#2. Image processing
As a wedding photographer, you’ll be working with a large number of files. If you’re already using Lightroom, you’d know how easy and quick it is to batch-process images. Plus, if you’re using presets, delivering 100-150 images within a couple of days is a piece of cake.
#3. Album layouts
The wedding album is your flagship product—it’s the best way to make a lasting impression and also stay ahead of competition.
But, this can often be a long-drawn process, because most album makers have proprietary layout applications that may not work with another album maker. Trust us, these are not the most well-designed interfaces around—some of them can frustrate you to no end.
An alternative to this is third-party software that can give you more freedom to design and have fewer flaws. Because you can choose from several options, at the end of the day, you will always find one that matches your needs.
Among the popular ones is Photojunction—a very powerful, photographer-friendly platform that makes album layout design extremely simple. You can choose the sizes you want, use inbuilt templates (or even go freestyle), make changes easily and create hi-res JPEG or TIFF files for proofing.
#4. Preview and proofing
When your layouts and images are ready, you’ll need an efficient means to collaborate with your customers—to receive and incorporate feedback.
Emailing your customers back and forth is an archaic process. If you’re looking for more efficient options, online services like Zenfolio, Smugmug, Photoshelter, and so on can make your life a whole lot easier.
After you upload layouts/images, customers can view and suggest changes by embedding comments that you can view later. All you need to do to follow up is upload the modified files and you’re good to go. When the layouts are finalized, you can pass them on to the album makers.
#5. Backup process
Backup is an important step in your workflow. Check out this detailed article that tells you how to approach this all-important process.
#6. Blogging and social media
We live in times where social media marketing is the in-thing. But, how often do you find time beyond writing blogs to publish them in a dozen sites, keeping track of schedules, and so on.
Tools like CoSchedule are pretty damn useful for the likes of you. Check it out.
#7. Maintaining your website
A website is, in addition to social media sites like Facebook, your portfolio. Maintaining a website with a few hundred images is no walk in the park. You’ll have to be prepared for downtimes (which also means losing potential clients), functional tests, and so on.
Take the load off your shoulders and choose from one of the many online publishing platforms. Squarespace, for instance, can get the whole shebang done for you. From hosting, to providing readymade clean websites, to maintenance to upgrade to the ends of the earth and back. Your job is just to upload images whenever you find the time.
Summary: Top post-production, image management, and publishing tools recommended
- Photo Mechanic
- Adobe Lightroom
These are a few efficient tools that we recommend to make post-shoot processes more efficient. Do you use other tools that do a similar job or better? Let us know.