I’m one of those people with the mind set…if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I get stuck in my ways and it takes a LOT to get me out of them. I figure something out my own way and I don’t want to change it for the life of me. Maybe it’s laziness. Or stubbornness But nonetheless…it’s the way I am.
When I started my business I had to figure out how to do things on my own. I read blogs and googled everything. But the few things I knew how to do I hung onto for dear life. And the things I figured on my own out were inevitably set in stone. Unable to be changed. Truthfully…it’s an awful way of doing things and I definitely don’t recommend it. But if I’m being honest…it was the way I did everything.
What I never realized was the amount of time I was wasting. I mean A LOT of time. I was working a full time job and trying to build a photography business and time was not on my side. In my head…the time it would take to learn a new system…or a new way of doing something…was time I didn’t have. But what I wasn’t realizing…was the time I was wasting was ten fold compared to the time it would take to change a few things. Finally…last year (after I went full time)…I decided to sit down and reevaluate my work flow. I just needed to take a step back…listen to what people had been telling me…and start figuring out all the things I had been avoiding.
As I sit here now I laugh at myself because I can’t believe I ever wasted so much time. I mean it’s kind of embarrassing but really just hilarious because I was so stubborn. And now…I can’t imagine doing things any other way. I call these things my ‘LIFE-savers.‘ Because that’s exactly what they did. They gave me back my life. I can get things done 20 times as fast and get back to my life. The reasons why I do this in the first place…the people who are most important to me. Since I figured there is no way I am the only person who has been through this…I thought I would share a few of those things today.
**Disclaimer…I know the majority of you probably use all of these things…but for anyone like me who never made the jump. This is for you.**
This program is seriously amazing. I had heard people talking about it but I didn’t understand it so I just refused. I used to open every single image in Photoshop, resize it, then copy and paste it onto a watermarked file and save it for the web. That may not seem so bad for a a few images…but for a wedding…this took me HOURS!
Now…with Blogstomp…I just open it up, drag my blog images into the window, and click-stomp-click-stomp. It automatically sizes and watermarks my images and puts them all into a folder of my choice. You can sharpen the images for the web and name them for your blog all by just clicking ‘stomp’. You know those wedding posts where you want to put 3 or 4 detail shots together…Blogstomp does it. You just select all the images you want to use together and it collages them for you until you’re happy. It truly is amazing. I can blog an entire wedding in under 10 minutes. The best part…it’s only $50! LIFE-saver.
This was probably the one I was most resistant on. I couldn’t understand why I needed a program to cull. I mean I could cull just fine in Bridge. But finally I gave in a tried it out and whoa…changed my life. You know when you’re culling in Lightroom or Bridge and as you scroll that second lag that happens before your image appears sharp? I never even realized how much time I was wasting waiting for the image to load until I started using Photo Mechanic. Photo Mechanic is instant. You can color code or star your images at lightning speed because there is no loading time. Your images instantly appear sharp as you scroll. And it’s only $150. I promise…it is worth it’s weight in gold!
When I first started my business…I am completely embarrassed to say that I would open every single photo in Photoshop and edit it. Then save it in color, turn it to black and white…and save it again as black and white. This was after I went through all my images in Preview and wrote down the image numbers of the files I was keeping. This was my version of culling. Then I would go through…manually select those numbers and move them into a folder….and start the Photoshop process. It would take me weeks to edit a wedding. Thank God back then I was doing mostly families…because I wouldn’t have lasted long otherwise.
After I realized that system really wasn’t working…I started using Bridge. I could Cull like a normal person…and I would open 20 or so images at time in Camera Raw and edit that way. This seemed like lightning speed compared to my pervious way of doing things. Once I got my groove in Bridge I just was not budging. In the back of my mind I knew I needed to try Lightroom…and last January (yes like 6 months ago) I opened it up and gave it a try. With the amazing help of Christy Tyler…I was a pro in a day (OK…maybe not a pro but I got the gist).
At first I had a couple issues with it. I felt like it really flattened all my images…and I hated the way it made my black and whites look. But…the pros far outweighed the cons. Since I didn’t have to edit 20 images at a time…I could fly through them. I would edit the first image in a series (similar lighting situation) and then select all the images in that series and sync them. Then I could just scroll through them all to make sure they look good and I’m on to the next series. I can even do a little pseudo Photoshop work right in Lightroom. Touch up problem areas or lighten/darken certain areas. In the entire editing process, I never open a single image in Photoshop. Sure there are exceptions…but 99% of the time I do everything right in Lightroom.
When I’m done editing all my images (which usually takes me 3-4 hours, never in a row because I have editing ADD)…I export them all as JPEGs. I mentioned earlier that I hated the was Lightroom made my black and whites look…so I came up with my own solution. Because I’m kind of psycho about black and whites. Back in my Bridge days I had created an action for my black and whites. So after I export all my images from Lightroom, I select them all and batch process them through Photoshop using my black and white action. I know I said I never open an image in Photoshop…but literally I don’t. I start the process and walk away. In 20 minutes or so all my images have run through and there is a black and white copy of each one happy and waiting in my final images folder. Some people may love what Lightroom can do with their black and whites…I just haven’t found a way yet.
Well there you have it…my little list of LIFE-savers. I apologize for the incredibly long post. And again…this is only the way I do things. It is by no means the only way. But hopefully this helps any of you out there who feel a little stuck and want to get their life back!