Previously on mompreneurship:
I’ve already shared why it’s important to outsource. I had heard it discussed for literally years before I bit the bullet and decided to try it myself. And when I tried it, I said what every other person had said, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
Outsourcing is the closest you’ll be to getting time back. How you spend this additional time is up to you. Maybe it’s investing your time in more shoots or trying out a new clientele (seniors or babies or families, you name it!); maybe in your family and your children; maybe in resting your body; maybe in doing styled shoots or photographing things just for you, not for client work; maybe it’s allowing yourself to slow down and enjoy life more. Whatever the case is for you, you’ll now at least have the option to do other things besides spending hours upon hours with your computer screen.
This leads me to post-production.
As mentioned before, I outsource my editing. I cull all of my images, then send them off to Photographer’s Edit. I had someone ask if it takes some time to sync together, meaning getting them to edit just like you would. It does. I worked a lot at first to get things set up correctly.
Here are some ways to help make sure they are on the same page as you:
- Create your own preset for color and black & white. Chances are, if you’re editing yourself right now, you’ve got your go-to presets already. Upload those presets into your preference panel so will be able to use the same ones for your photos as you would.
- Take the time to do some before/after shots of your editing. You can do a total of 4 so I picked 4 images from various weddings with various lighting conditions and edited them exactly how I want them to look. Then I uploaded the before (raw file) and the after (my edited file) so they can easily see real examples of what I want my final product to look like.
- Fill out your entire preferences list. And save yourself some time by also filling out your general order list. There are several options for brightness, white balance, and contrast (you can see some examples here) and you’ll want to determine which of those options fits your style best. If you have a blog, you can also provide the link so they can reference more of your work if need be. (They work really hard to edit to your specifications and style!) Add any additional comments that you’d like them to know. (Please note: you can add specific comments to each order; the comments placed here in the preferences panel are umbrella comments that would apply to every upload.)
It does take some time to communicate exactly how you want your images edited so don’t expect to simply send off the images and get them back exactly how you want them the very first time. Give feedback! Those first many edits, I gave feedback on how I wanted my images straightened and cropped and if the white balance didn’t look right. You are paying for a service so take the time to get it perfect. It will be worth it in the end! After a few months and lots of feedback, I now confidently upload my images knowing they’ll look exactly like I want them to when I get them back. (And I still give feedback now if it’s necessary!)
If you want to try them out, you’ll get 20% off your first order by using this code: RefwQY61fG4
I rarely have Photoshop work done on my photos, but when a red car is driving along the road behind an otherwise perfect bridal party photo, I send them off to a professional Photoshopper. I use a private professional. She’s amazing and I am constantly blown away by her skills. She also has a baby (he’s 3 months older than mine!) so I have no idea how she manages to do it, but she’s fast and straight-up good.
As for album design, I’m one of the few photographers in the world who loves album design. I didn’t realize I was a rarity until I was attending a seminar and realized that out of about 500 photographers, only a handful of us actually want to design albums. I credit this to becoming fluent with InDesign many years ago and started out using these InDesign album templates. (I’ve added my own custom templates to the stash over the years so I know how quite a lot of options.)
If you don’t love designing albums though or if it’s something that you should outsource due to the time it takes you, I would highly recommend having Align Album Designs put your albums together. They are a small business owned by Melissa Jill (who helped me so much a few years ago when I was treading water and trying to figure out how to move forward in my business).
If I ever have to stop designing albums myself, I will outsource to Align. In the meantime, album design is one of my favorite part of the storytelling process of photography.
As a business owner and a new mama, many people have asked me about the juggle, the balance. It’s a lot. And aside from being hyper-organized, there’s also the issue of time. Never enough time.
As a photographer, I’m in a service industry. A lot of photographers provide great photos. I want to provide more than that. I want my clients to feel something. I want them to feel cared for, loved, and beautiful. It’s imperative for me to be able to stay on top of my clients’ needs and provide not just great photos, but a great experience. That goes far beyond the time we spend together in person, but in my communication over email, surprise gifts in the mail, and quick turnaround time for photos.
So how can I do all of that with a 6 month old? More importantly, if you’re a business owner (specifically, a photographer), what can you do to prepare for motherhood while also running your business?
I don’t claim to have all–or even many–of the answers, but I’m going to share what works for me in hopes that it may help some of you mamas get your life back.
Here are some of the topics I’m planning to cover, but please let me know if the comments if there’s anything else that would be helpful!
- Outsourcing (what, how, and where to)
- Post-production: culling, editing, & album design
- Email organization & client communication
- Monthly task list
- Client gifting
- Office management system
- Wedding timeline management
- Workflow & systems
- Maternity leave
Let’s get started!
There are certain aspects of your business that you have to do. As a photographer, one of those would be taking photos because, obviously. But there are other elements that you can get help with.
Think about all that you do as a business owner. You wear so many hats: human resources, marketing, customer service, bookkeeping & accounting, etcetera, etcetera. If all of that seemed too much before you had babies, it undoubtedly feels impossible now that you’re also a mama. It’s important to pinpoint tasks that can be done by someone else so that you can thrive at the ones you’re best at. You didn’t start a business to immediately burn out and continuously run on the proverbial wheel.
Take a look at what you do every day related to your business and make a list. It’s important not to leave anything out and be specific because this will help you evaluate what you have to do and what you can outsource or pass off to someone else. Here are some examples:
- Photograph engagement sessions and weddings
- Import images to computer and backup files
- Clean gear
- Meet with potential clients (consult)
- Cull photos
- Edit photos
- Album design
- Send client gifts
- Mail anniversary cards
- Email invoice due reminders
- Create proposals for potential clients
- Follow up with new bookings (welcome & gift)
- Prepare customized wedding day photography timeline
- Backup blog and website data monthly
- Blog sessions
- Update portfolio
- Send vendors thank yous
- Manage social media accounts
For most of us, that’s a very small list of what we do. Once you’re done with your list, go through it and figure out which tasks…
- must be done by you
- can be done by someone else
- that you’d like to do even though someone else could do it
For example, I could photograph a wedding and then send all the raw files off for culling, editing, and album design and literally not to any post-processing at all. When looking at that I knew that I must take the photos (#1); I could outsource the culling, but prefer to have control over it myself (#3); I could outsource the editing (#2); and I could outsource the album design, but I love that part so I’d like to do it myself (#3). By coming to that conclusion, I now cull all of my images, then send them off to Photographer’s Edit for editing (more on this in part 2 next week), then design the album when I get the images back.
When considering outsourcing any of the tasks that fall into categories 2 & 3 above, determine the following:
- Is this a strength of mine?
- Do I enjoy doing this?
- Does this directly affect my clients?
- Is it worth my time?
For example, I outsource my Lightroom editing because it doesn’t directly affect my clients and it’s not worth my time. I also outsource any extra Photoshop editing that needs to be done because it’s not a strength of mine, I don’t enjoy doing it, it doesn’t directly affect my clients, and it’s not worth my time. See? If you can say “no” to 2+ of the above questions in relation to a task, it’s probably worth thinking about outsourcing.
Next week, I’m going to dive into all of this a bit further and discuss exactly who I outsource to and what my process is for my post-production.
I’d love to hear your feedback! Let me know if this was helpful and/or if there’s more you’d like to know.
Old Brick is a corner church in downtown Iowa City. I love how small, but timeless it is. The steps (lots of steps!), the brick, and the steeple make you feel like you’re walking into a bit of history, which I suppose you are! One of the things I loved most about Kristen & Tim’s wedding there was their use of white and light pink to make the space look bright and airy.
I had first met up with Kristen & Tim last fall for their engagement session at Wilson’s Apple Orchard and I first fell in love with her hair (for real! Just look at her beautiful hair!) and then I fell in love with their sweet interactions. I found out from their family that they are both stubborn people, but the beautiful thing about their relationship is that they have managed to balance out the stubbornness in each other. They listen, they care, they compromise.
Their wedding day was filled with family and friends, laughter, and the most delicious brick oven pizza during cocktail hour. It was such a perfect day and I’m just so thrilled to show you some of my favorite images.
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Seven months ago to the day, you became a father. I remember when Henry was born, we both looked at him, then at each other, then back at him, and you said, “He’s perfect. He’s absolutely perfect.”
And while my love for our son has no limits and the weight of it is sometimes overwhelming, you must know this: my love for you continues to expand and stretch every day. It’s true that I loved you when we got engaged. And on the day we were married, I loved you even more. And each year after that, I continue to think, “How can I love this man so much?” And though my love for you six years ago was real–very real–I know now that it doesn’t stop growing and changing. Love matures with age. It gets more beautiful. It gets deeper, richer. It gets worn and then polished from disagreements and reconciliations. It’s ever-changing and that’s a good thing.
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My darling boy,
This past month has required a lot of flexibility from you. Right after your 6 month birthday, wedding season hit with a bang. We haven’t had a full weekend home since, but you’ve proven to go with the flow and my mama heart is very grateful for that. Your grandma told me after babysitting you last Saturday, “he just does exactly what he’s supposed to.” While I feel you may have her fooled only slightly, I do realize that our months of a steady and consistent routine are really paying us back now.
You love routine. You love to know what’s happening and when it’s happening. You’re so like your daddy in that way. That part of your personality has made these past few months so much fun and has definitely made the transition for me back into full-work mode a lot easier.
You’re generally a really happy little guy. You can entertain yourself, but also love to have attention and interaction. You’re a good balance of the two which I’ve read is a good thing.
You’re developing so quickly that it’s hard for your little body to keep up with your brain and sometimes I think you get frustrated that you can’t quite make your fingers work exactly like you want or your legs to hold you steady when you wish you could stand. Bit by bit, child. You’ll be able to achieve all of these things soon.
You love sleeping in your crib and I usually just sing you a little song and lay you down. While it’s wonderful (!!), the only part I miss is having you fall asleep while I’m holding you. You’re kind of independent like that and prefer to get comfortably sprawled out before falling asleep. But I did have a moment a few days ago where you woke up early in the morning and couldn’t resettle yourself. I went in to your room and picked you up and rocked you. I sang every lullaby I could think of and I finally heard your breathing settle into a deep sleep as your little body curled against mine. I probably could’ve laid you back down in your crib, but I just held you and memorized the smell of your hair and the warmth of your cheek.
You’re sitting on your own now and rolling over with ease. You started eating solid foods last month and you continue to love to eat. You’re the least picky eater I’ve ever seen and will happily eat everything I give you (save papayas…you’re not sure about them yet). You’ve just figured out how to make the “b” rumbly sound with your lips and that means lots of spitting everywhere, which is especially non-fun and messy when you’re eating. You think it’s the greatest thing though and I’m completely unsure how to teach you to stop doing that during dinnertime.
You love being outside and you’re still obsessed with the interstate. Lucky for you, there’s construction happening on a nearby avenue so all the detour traffic is routed down our street. That means you’ve gotten extra car-watching time this month as you can see the interstate traffic from the living room and the detour traffic from the kitchen. It’s your own little version of Disney world.
You love your bath, but shrieked when I tried to put you in a baby pool at your friend Emmett’s house. Granted, the water was cold and you had just had your shots the day before so you were still not feeling completely yourself yet. We’re going to try the pool again, this time with warm water. I think you’ll be a big fan. I also learned a lot that day about swim diapers. Apparently they don’t catch pee at all. As I was sitting on the ground holding you (because you didn’t want anywhere near the pool), I kept feeling progressively wetter and wetter. There was water dripping off of your swim trunks and I just couldn’t figure out where it was coming from since you hadn’t even gotten more than your big toe in the pool. After much research and advice from other mothers, we’re going to be trying out some other options (like double diapering a reusable over a disposable for starters!). I don’t mind you peeing in the pool (Lord knows you pee in your tub every night), but I’ll be keeping a towel handy for when I’m holding you!
Now that you’re sitting and faux-walking and jabbering non-stop and giggling, I keep seeing glimpses of a toddler in you. We’ve still got a ways to go until then (but yet not really…) and those glimpses remind me to enjoy every precious moment with you because they continue to move quickly.
My darling Henry Pie, I could never describe to you how my heart aches with love for you. There is nothing quite like a parent’s love and even then, knowing that every parent must love their child as big as I do mine, it’s hard for me to believe. This love feels so special and unique and personal. It feels overwhelming and powerful. And I think, “Is it possible all of us mamas in the world are all walking around with these big, powerful, aching hearts brimming with love too big for them?” I imagine so. But the wonderful thing about you and me, honey, is that my love for you is ours.
If there are a hundred billion shining stars in the night sky, my love would still shine brighter.
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Weighs: 17 pounds, 1 ounce
Loves: the song “Open, Shut Them”, jumping, standing, watching the traffic on the interstate, chewing on Sophie the giraffe, reading books, getting lotioned up after your evening bath, being outside, going for walks in your stroller, and watching other children playing
Wears: some 3-6M still, but mostly 6-9M in clothes, size 3 diapers
Sleeping: 8:00PM-8:00AM plus 2 long naps during the day
She was in the hotel room. Comfortable, but fidgety. Her hair and makeup were done, she had eaten lunch, and she had carefully laid out everything she would be wearing that day. There was nothing left to do but get into her gown. As I began photographing, she softly moved about, busying herself with any last minute detail she could think of. “I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m anxious to see him. There’s nothing else left for me to do. I’m so ready.”
While their ceremony and reception were being held later on at the Celebration Farm, they both got ready nearby at the Marriott. It was forecasted to potentially rain that day, but instead we got humid sunshine and a very slight breeze. Thankfully, as the day progressed, the weather also got more comfortable!
Stephanie & Matt were not just a beautiful couple to photograph, but a truly gracious couple to work with! I could say a thousand wonderful things about them, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Her gown was so perfect for her! Her and Matt are both very athletic and this gown hugged her body in every right way possible. I love how unique it is!
This. If you’re on the fence about a first look, this is reason enough to have one. You know in this moment there is no one else in the world but her and him.
This photo is one of my instant favorites. It was a happy accident; I think they had just kissed and she laughed and said, “We’re such dorks!”
We drove out to Celebration Farm for the rest of the day and were met there with a gorgeous bridal party.
I love a good pun and these mugs were pretty much my favorite. I obviously put it to good use right away.
The sunset was golden for stepping out for a few more photos and I’m so glad we did!
Let’s take a moment to admire those triceps. Girrrllllll…
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Tweedt Weddings
Venue: The Celebration Farm Amphitheater & Timber Frame Barn
Makeup: Salon La Di Da
Hair: Salon Voche
Bridal Gown: Sarah’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Gowns: David’s Bridal
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Florals: Heaven Scent
Cake Artist: Deluxe Cakes & Bakery
Catering: Ruzicka’s Catering
DJ: Big D’s Jamz
Paper Suite: Zephyr Weddings
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