I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…
Becoming more efficient with your time and having a fast post processing photo editing workflow is the number one way to keep your business costs down and boost your profits.
Do you agree?
If you agree that having a fast Lightroom editing workflow is so important and crucial then why do so many spend soooooo much time editing?
I have a hunch that I know what the problem is, I think you just might be a little too much of a “perfectionist” and spending way too much time trying to make each and every photo within a photo shoot absolutely “perfect”.
I see it every day online, photographers asking for critiques and working on the very smallest of details in the photo, or Photoshopping a photo back to life.
Here is the thing though – 95% of the time (I just made that number up so don’t hold me to it!)…
Your clients don’t care.
Your clients (mostly) are not photographers. They aren’t going to be reviewing the photos and getting hung up on “technical perfection”.
Here is what they are looking for…
Do they look happy?
Do they look good?
When was the last time you had a client email you to say…
…the photos look great but they are a bit underexposed?
…the white balance is off and should be warmer
…the sky is blown out
Odds are you’ve never had a client tell you this, or certainly very rarely. For the record – in 6 years of shooting and over 100 weddings and the same number of engagements/portraits I’ve never had a client email asking anything technical.
My Suggestion and Wish for You
I want you to have happy clients. I want you to have a successful business. I want you to make a lot of money.
Unfortunately, in this totally wild industry, many photographers will never survive…it’s tough out there, reaaaaally tough.
Follow these rules and you will be on the right path, I promise.
Rule #1 – Quit being a perfectionist. You are spending way to much time working on each and every photo given and the vast majority of your clients would have no clue what you did to make it “better”. In other words you are adding excessive costs to your product for no additional gain or profit (except for your own emotional gain – but that doesn’t pay the bills…)
Rule #2 – Priority on mastering your camera. Editing techniques or even programs may come and go but mastering your camera and exposure in camera will stay with you forever. Not only that, this step is vital to also having a faster Lightroom editing workflow.
Rule #3 – Adopt a Lightroom workflow process and stick to it. There are a LOT of steps that go into post processing the photos after a shoot. Download, import, edit, re-edit, re-touch, export, import to gallery, blog post, deliver to client etc… This is where a ton of people can get twisted up and do things differently all the time. The key is to have something that works and is efficient for you to follow ALL the time.
Rule #4 – Edit like a machine, take away the emotion. I cull through each of our wedding images (2500 or so) in 40 minutes or so using Photo Mechanic (click to watch me) because I have programmed myself to become an editing machine. Culling is very black and white, make the culling process to be either the photo is a keeper for the client or not. Don’t focus on if its a 4-star vs 5-star photo or any of that, it’ll slow you down way too much. That step comes later for me. And also…is the photo out of focus? It’s trashed. There is no “saving it” with editing.
Rule #5 – Batch editing with your favorite presets can get your photo 85-90% of the way finished, leaving you to only work on the photos that need the small fine tuning. I use the Crisp & Clean Presets Collection with each and every one of my clients. I start with the “Crisp, Clean on Film” preset and then adjust from there when needed. The best part, I’ve created them to be truly 1 click adjustments to save me hours of time per shoot.
Rule #6 – Don’t waste time keeping photos that might be “save-able” with Photoshop. Make very few exceptions to this rule, this is a time killer!
Resources for You & Summary
I sure hope that this post has been insightful for you. Can you relate to the above? Are you a perfectionist? There is a time and place to perfect a photo.
When our clients order wedding albums…I spend a lot of time reviewing the photos and making them look as awesome as possible. If someone buys a 24″ x 36″ canvas you can bet that I also, go through the photo and make sure it’s as nice as possible. But spending time perfecting photo by photo among the 100s in the photoshoot will lead you to disaster, and that’ll make me sad…
I was serious when I said that it’s a crazy world out there, there are simply too many photographers (thanks technology!). Because of this, it is more important than ever to focus on how you will be different and ultimately beat the competition. In my humble opinion, the easiest way to beat the competition is by giving your customers a better client experience.
One way we do this is by delivering their photos quicker.
Our wedding clients get a sneak peek the very next day, a blog post awaiting their return from their honeymoon and then the full gallery around 2-3 weeks from their wedding. I spend on average a whopping 4 or 5 hours to edit an entire wedding…that’s it.
I do so by following those rules and becoming a Lightroom expert.
Here are some helpful resources that can help put you on the path to success for your business!