Archive for Organize/Time Savers
I just had a scare. Remember a few weeks ago I was discussing selling my old negatives and digital files? Well I sold four files from 2006 and I did not have my retouched CD from that shoot to sell. Not to panic, my paranoid multiple backup systems paid off! Here is what I do.
Immediately upon downloading a session to my computer I burn a CD or DVD. Nothing has been done to the files at all, I just burn a copy. I label this my “Unedited Raws” disc. This is filed in a separate file cabinet and not with the order. In the event I loose my client’s order envelope, I have a copy stored somewhere else. Periodically, I take these CDs home to store, so they are off location.
Then I go ahead and edit my session, renumber the images and burn my second CD, the “Edited Raws” CD. This CD goes into the client’s order envelope.
Once the images are selected that will be ordered from are retouched, a “Retouched” CD is burned and it filed in the client’s order envelope. And of course by now my camera cards are rotated back in for reuse.
My hard drive is backed up to an external drive but before deleting anything off of my hard drive, I copy a bunch of sessions to a DVD. I copy the Retouched and the Edited Raws from as many sessions that will fit. This DVD gets filed off site as well. I probably do this every couple of months. So there are four copies of files in the end.
To make this process faster, I have three sets of pre-printed labels, a set for the “unedited Raws”, the “edited Raws”, and the “Retouched”. I color code each with a highlighter for even faster identification. There are also lines for the client’s name, type of session, and date.
So what happened to my 2006 files? Well, even though I have a checklist of what needs done for every order, it appears that I forgot to make a copy of the retouched images. But I was able to go home and go through the 2006 DVDs and found them in less than 5 minutes! Logically, I could have pulled the original Raws and had them retouched again, if I was desperate, but that would have cost a lot more. What a relief to have organized backups.
Many of you do dances and proms. Do you have a system for that? Do you feel prepared or are you scrambling at the last minute?
My system starts with a file folder, backed up with electronic copies on my computer.
- The first step is making sure I have a team to assist me. I don’t have employees right now so I call the ones I used to have to help out at this event.
- My checklist of things that I need to take to the Prom which you will read below.
- My original order form that I need to make copies of.
- Extra copies of last year’s forms we did not need. Provided there are no price changes, then I am good to go.
My dance checklist is similar to my Camera bag for going on location checklist which you can find in my “Photography Studio Must Haves” available at http://barbgordonphotocoach.com/blog/products/musthaves
Here is my list I will need for dance night:
Photo session notes with contact names and cell phone numbers and my location.
My camera bag will include: Camera, Lenses, Digital media: Compact Flash Cards, Batteries, Grey card, Business cards
The accessory bag will have: Camera battery charger, Flash meter, Radio slaves: both parts and their cords, Back up synch cord: In case the radio slaves quit working. Extra batteries, On camera style flash unit: As a backup. Lens cleaner.
Lighting: Flash unit and cords, Softbox, Light stand, Reflectors
Supply bag for all of the non-camera gear: On location light stands, Collapsible soft box, Small background light stand, Flash umbrellas, Three prong adapters: For older homes and buildings with only two prong outlets.Binder clips, Background clamps, Duct tape, Extension cords, Power strip
Taking a background: Pole system, Background, Clamps
Event/Dance supplies: Change: If collecting money at the event (get the day before). Order forms: Prepare the week before. Pens, Calculator, Business cards, Bank bag: To carry all of the above in.
Be sure to give a last call for your photography services so you get everyone photographed who wants to be! This should eliminate the stress of being asked for a photograph as soon as you get your first light packed away.
Do you know if your promotion was truly a success? How do you track what you did and what you want to change next time? A promotions binder will do just that! And as a year end thank you to all my subscribers, I have included a free template that I use to record my promotional success on.
While I was working on call script about specials and promotional ideas for the F2.8 Protégé Club, I was perusing my old three ring binders for the promotions that I wanted to talk about. It is such a valuable tool, so I wanted to share the concept with you.
My promotions binders have also become a business history and a scrap book of sorts. I found it interesting and mildly entertaining to go back to the very beginning of my studio and see what I did. It brought back a lot of memories and makes me appreciate how far I have come as well.
- I use a basic three ring binder with sheet protectors to keep all of the following information in:
- I keep a hard copy of each brochure, postcard, price list, and sales letter of every thing I have ever done in this binder.
- I record how many pieces I print, the number I mail out, the number I handed out or left at other businesses. I recorded how much money I spent on the piece and how much the postage was if I did a mailing.
- I also recorded the expenses, the income, the results, and the referrals that came doing the promotion.
- I made notes of what I learned. Some of my older notes were hand written and quite entertained me sixteen years later. The things I know and understand now seem so easy, but were really big revelations at the time I was discovering them. I even had notes what the current popular movies were at the time that were the conversation topics with the children.
- I made notes about what I would change next time I did the promotion.
- One promotion I did, I even kept a 5×7 fiber based image I printed myself. The little boy in the photo is still a client today!
- I have a photo of the final display board that was on display in the sponsor’s locations.
- A copy of the follow up thank you letters to sponsors and judges of the event.
I also find it interesting to see how, with the improvements in technology and my skills, the look of the pieces have changed over the years.
I suggest you keep records similar to this. It does not have to be fancy; it is for your eyes only. It may prove to be valuable to you in more than one way.
Photography Business Tip- Make an Equipment List
One helpful step in starting a photography business, or even if you have been in business forever, is to write down some details of your major purchases. An equipment list will become a valuable time saver. If you start your list as you buy equipment, you will not need to spend much time on it. I have a simple Excel spread sheet I just add to as I buy larger ticket items like cameras, lenses, and backgrounds.
Having a detailed list of your equipment purchases will be helpful for many reasons. It will be a big time saver if you need to find out any information about a purchase.
Some equipment purchases can be depreciated so for accounting purposes you will want a list of those yearly purchases.
My equipment list was a big time saver for me when I had a camera break down. The first question was, was the equipment still under warranty? Well, I couldn’t remember exactly when I bought the camera. I was not sure which vendor or supplier I bought it from either. I could spend a few hours going through every file folder of receipts from the time I think I bought it or pay staff to dig for it. But I was most relieved to be able to refer to my equipment purchase list and know in one minute all of the information I needed. Then I knew who to call for repair assistance. And it was under warranty!
If you ever want to sell a piece of equipment you will have a start on deciding how much you want to sell it for.
If anything is stolen or you have a fire, you will need to know the total value of all of your equipment including backgrounds and major props. The insurance company may want serial numbers and maybe even copies of receipts. By having the list of dates you purchased items on, going to the file cabinet to retrieve them will be so much faster.
Here are the key columns of information I have on my equipment list spreadsheet.
- Date of purchase
- Make and Model
- Price I paid
- Vendor I purchased it from
- Serial number
- Any repair notes and the date of the repair
By having all of these pieces of information readily available will prove to be helpful and time saving in the future. If you have not started your equipment list, today would be a great day to begin.
Photography expert Barb Gordon, Master Photographer, weekly publishes Barb Gordon Photo Coach’s Shooting For Success, a free ezine. If you’re ready to take your photography to the next level, get your FREE reports “Make Photography More than a Hobby” and “15 Ways to Make More Money with your Photography” now at http://www.BarbGordonPhotoCoach.com