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Efficient Photography Workflow: 4 Ways To Get Your Life Back

11 min read

Improve your photography workflow with these easy-to-implement tips for outsourcing and streamlining! (Photographed by TARYN GREY)

Finding an efficient photography workflow is just as important as learning your camera…

It’s almost midnight.
Thank goodness.
Just a few more tasks to wrap up and you can climb into your soft, cozy…
Your sheets are still sopping wet in the washing machine.
And you’re only halfway through a 1300-image edit…
You have 73 unread emails in your inbox…
You haven’t posted a new Instagram photo in… 2 weeks?
And you have a pile of invoices to process and a couple of checks to cash and a stack of bills to pay and…
Oh, well. Who needs sleep?

Trust us: you do.

And the only way you’re going to get sleep – or get free time, or you time, or family time, or (heaven forbid!) a shower – is if you get help.

“But I can’t afford help!” you may think. Maybe you’re thinking Help = Full-Time Employee. You’re thinking Help = $$$$$. It doesn’t have to!

Photos by Taryn Grey

Here are our suggestions for HELP with the tasks that overwhelm your photography workflow. Reclaim that time, and reinvest it into making more photographs, establishing new connections, and strengthening your brand.

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Photography Workflow Tip #1: Outsource Your Post-Production

Though it’s the scariest of all photography workflow outsourcing options, post-production is a greedy, time-devouring beast that must be tamed lest it consume your every waking minute. (Rawr.)

On average, photographers invest one to two  hours into post-production for every one hour spent actively shooting. That’s as many as 16 hours of dumping, culling, toning, retouching, exporting, and uploading after an eight-hour wedding shoot, and three hours of added work after a one-and-a-half hour portrait session.

Time spent editing is time NOT spent:

  • Executing an inspiring new personal project that will enhance your photography portfolio and attract new clients
  • Taking a vendor or colleague out for coffee and cultivating beneficial networking relationships
  • Developing a big marketing push to reward your loyal fans and find new followers
  • Eating lunch and brushing your hair like a normal person

Find Your Post-Production Pros

Thankfully, there are a plethora of fantastic post-production companies who can tackle even your toughest editing job. Here are some of our favorites:

Chromanauts (An Atlanta local, y’all!)
Foto Fafa
Photographer’s Edit
The Image Salon
Freedom Edits
My Lavalu

Photos by Taryn Grey

With so many post-production services to choose from, how do you know who’s right for you? Here’s what to ask:

  • What is the company’s policy on changes and re-dos if you aren’t happy?
  • Will the company work with any filters or presets you already have in place?
  • How does the company ensure consistency from job to job?
  • Does the company specialize in your genre of photography? (E.g., weddings, schools, families, etc.)

Lastly, search for online reviews, and see how photographers like you enjoy working with this company. What satisfies a senior portrait photography workflow may not be the right fit for a wedding photographer.

Photography Workflow Tip #2: Make Emailing Easy

Email is invaluable for its convenience and speed, but nightmarish in its ability to seemingly reproduce in the span of only a few seconds. (Even rabbits aren’t that good!)

While you can’t eliminate email altogether (and wouldn’t want to!), you can reduce the amount of time it requires with a few simple tricks.

Photos by Taryn Grey

Use ShootProof Email Campaigns

ShootProof Email Campaigns are the best way to stay in touch with clients and sell products.

There are 3 types of Email Campaigns to choose from:

  • Custom Date-Based Email Campaigns: This type of campaign allows you to choose specific dates to automatically send emails. Perfect for promoting holiday sales or celebrating occasions like client birthdays or anniversaries with follow-up emails.
  • Custom Trigger-Based Email Campaigns: This type of email campaign allows you to schedule emails  to send based on a certain number of days before or after certain gallery trigger dates, like Expiration Date, Gallery Release Date, or Order Due date.
  • ShootProof Email Campaigns: This type of email campaign is a series of emails, based on photography genre, pre-written and pre-scheduled to send automatically, based on gallery expiration dates. If you need a little help getting started writing your emails, this is the best option for you!

Photos by Taryn Grey

The Kawasaki Rule

Originally evangelized by entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki, the Kawasaki Rule dictates that no email should be longer than five sentences. Any more, and you lose your audience and waste time. Give it a try. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in five sentences or fewer. (Like this paragraph!)

Photo by Taryn Grey

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Photography Workflow Tip #3: Alleviate Your Accounting Woes

Nothing ruins a perfectly good New Year’s Eve like waking up on January 1st and realizing you have to catch up on the previous year’s bookkeeping.



Thankfully, there’s help!

Photos by Taryn Grey

Look Into a Bookkeeping Service Like QuickBooks

If you still have time for some level of DIY, a simple subscription to QuickBooks will do the trick. Many accountants recommend QuickBooks Online for daily bookkeeping and end-of-year report generating. The phone app makes it simple to keep up with day-to-day transactions, and at tax time, you can give your tax pro access to your QuickBooks file with a custom Accountant’s Login.

Photo by Taryn Grey

Hire An Accountant

We mean it. Right now. Send a few emails. Schedule a few meetings. Find someone who makes you feel comfortable and confident and capable. A good tax professional should be able to explain tax procedures to you in a way that you understand, and guide you into good tax habits so you can stop worrying and focus on your photography workflow. (And no – a shady accountant is NOT a good accountant!) When you interview a tax professional:

  • Be honest about your numbers. Your tax pro can’t help you if they don’t know what you’re working with.
  • Ask for a quote. Know up front what the accountant’s fees will be for filing both your personal and business taxes. Rates vary vastly. One firm may charge $1000 for the same job that only costs $350 at another firm. This does not necessarily mean one is better than the other. Remember: accountants are business people just like you, and their rates are based on a variety of factors.
  • Find out if the accountant is prepared to guide you throughout the year. Should you be making estimated tax payments? Will the accountant remind you of those due dates and prepare your tax forms? Make sure you have someone who will work to help you thrive!

Empower your clients with gorgeous galleries.

Photography Workflow Tip #4: Get Social Media Savvy

You know you need social media for marketing, for community, and for connection. But how do you keep up with it? If your current social media efforts look like a cat clinging to a ceiling fan, it’s time to outsource.

Photos by Taryn Grey

Sure, you can hire a college student (or your own toddler) to type words and choose pictures; but you are the voice of your brand. You just need a little boost:

  • Plan your social media content in advance. Yep. That’s right. Don’t wake up in the morning and haphazardly post a photo to Instagram. Determine your photos, links, and text a full 2 weeks prior to the publish date, and you’ll save both time and stress!
  • Schedule your social media content to go live automatically. Tools like Buffer, Schedugram, and Facebook’s own scheduler do the work for you.


Buffer offers everything you need to keep your social media calendar fully loaded! Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all integrate with Buffer (as well as LinkedIn and Google+), allowing you to schedule Tweets, status updates, and photos far in advance of your desired post date. If you want a one-stop shop for ALL your social media content (including Instagram), Buffer is the place to be!

Bonus: Buffer produces a pretty swell podcast – perfect for those long car rides you’re tracking with MileIQ.
The Downside: Facebook tends to grant less organic reach to posts scheduled through third-party apps like Buffer.

Photos by Taryn Grey


Facebook has a pretty swell built-in content scheduler – no third-party app needed!

  • Log in to your Business Page > Publishing Tools > Scheduled Posts > Create

Create as many posts as you like, complete with photos and links, and schedule them as far in advance as necessary.
Bonus: Scheduling posts natively through Facebook increases your organic reach!

And Finally…Shake It Off

It’s time to wash your hands of the things that are weighing you down.
You don’t have to do it ALL.
You don’t have to be the only one.
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s even okay to pay for help!

And it’s REALLY okay to adopt new approaches that will streamline your photography workflow, enhance your efficiency, and free you up to focus on what matters most.

Photos by Taryn Grey



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