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took a long time. Finding a workflow that actually WORKED for me wasn’t an overnight concept. I tried numerous different techniques and I learned a ton a long the way.  That’s why I encourage all of you photographers out there to try to find YOUR OWN organization style because this is one of the many areas in this industry where copying may not be in your best interest. I say this because I experienced this! I had a TON of photog friends that fell in love with ShootQ and started running every aspect of their business through it. Brides can book online, contracts are online, etc….. and I wanted that! I wanted it all!!! ha! So I purchased ShootQ and starting playing

around with all that it had to offer. I became frustrated that I wasn’t 100% thrilled with the online booking system and everyone else seemed to LOVE it. Well why didn’t I love it too?! I wanted to be cool, hip and technologically advanced like all the other cool kids! Well, I started to realize that I needed to organize my business in a way that worked for ME.

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For me, having a ton of automatic emails and online booking strategies didn’t excite me. Now I’m always trying new things and finding what works best and it could be that in the future I do start booking totally online… but for now this is what I have found that works for me. ShootQ is my BEST FRIEND when it comes to clients and their accounts! It manages their packages, it sends reminder emails automatically when payments are due and my clients can view their account to see when checks have been received and view their remaining balance. It’s awesome!  I NEED ShootQ to keep me straight in that area and it does a fantabulous job (that is a new version of “fabulous” that I think everyone should start using).  So! I realized that ShootQ was worth my money because it was keeping my client accounts straight. However, I tried using it for task management/workflow purposes and it was a major fail. I really don’t know why I didn’t like it but it wasn’t doing anything for me and I needed a new system. So I spent a whopping $5 on a hanging dry erase board that hangs on a wall beside my desk.

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When I was planning my wedding and still shooting everyone else’s….I became really overwhelmed and I couldn’t remember whose CD I had mailed, whose gallery I had uploaded…etc. etc. So I made this workflow board that I could glance at constantly and see how well I was doing. It worked like a charm.  I became obsessed with writing those little “check” marks and I was rolling through weddings. Also! I tried outsourcing last summer… hated that I was spending a small fortune on it and wasn’t crazy about the results and so I decided to SPEED up my wedding workflow…. and this charting system helped that! (I’ll blog about the outsourcing dilemma one day!) Anyway! A few people have asked how I blog so quickly and the answer is my “Chart”! I hate falling behind and so I try to have a strict pattern for blogging. If I shoot a wedding on Saturday, it WILL be on the blog that following Thursday ….and if it isn’t… I get a little on-edge. I really don’t like falling behind and even though that happens sometimes… I make it a point to stay on top of my workflows because I promise my clients that they will have their images in two weeks… and they do. When I’m shooting weddings every weekend, I can’t afford to let weddings back up! Has anyone ever had 3 or 4 weddings un-done?! Um.. I have, and it’s a MISERABLE feeling! So this is a way that I keep myself on task and crank those images out in a timely fashion! (ps. I used to have a BIG ugly whiteboard that was falling apart and my husband found this little one for me….he’s a keeper).

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So I hope all of my rambling helped a little bit! Remember to find what works for YOU.  ShootQ works for me in a totally different way than it does for other photographers and I’m realizing more and more that that’s OK! I’m figuring out what works for Katelyn…not the whole photography industry! So happy Monday and here’s to a happy, productive and joyful week!!!!

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Ps. I can now officially say that I have caught up with the “My CD” column… it was struggling there for a little while!

xoxo, Katelyn
19 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Shuva Rahim reply

    Amen to your post! and your organization system! I got asked by a photog friend what my organizational system is. ShootQ? Um, no.. I have a Word document on my desktop – essentially a “things-to-do” list that includes my blog schedule. I delete as I get stuff done, and add according. It works wonders!

  2. Michelle O reply

    Where did you find this white board??? Love it!

  3. Amanda West reply

    well that’s fantabulous! lol. Happened to be in my pocket dictionary, you know, that imaginary one we all carry and protest that the words we say are REAL words. hahaha.

  4. jenifriend reply

    I have a white board that I transformed into my own personal calender and it’s worked wonders for my business. It’s for blog purposes only, designating which specific day of the month I blog recurrent themes and whatnot. I was trying to find a way to organize the flow of my clients needs, though, and I think this may just be what does it! Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Jennifer reply

    Cool idea! Will do please do a blog on your office/work space? ….how you organize your desk, room, etc? Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

  6. Sarah reply

    Reminds me of this studio workflow “assistant” that Design Aglow sells. Something I planned on purchasing and blogging about as well. http://www.designaglow.com/store/img/graphics/product_images/essential_workflow_tools_large.jpg
    You are so right though, not everything works the same for every person. You have to find what works best for YOU.

  7. Cassandra reply

    Same here. I am loving the whiteboard… and thank you for only being $5.

    There are so many things I dream about purchasing being in my first year: actions, showit, more lenses, let’s just say the list is long. So a deal like a $5 whiteboard that really works for me… just makes my day.

  8. Candace reply

    Katelyn, I am SO glad you did this post. I have been struggling to find an effective way to keep track of everything in my workflow. Thanks so much, you’re awesome!! :)

  9. johnna brynn reply

    thank you, katelyn for this post! i thought maybe i was the only one that seemed to constantly change up my own routine in search for what works for me. ;) I use Tave, which is similar to ShootQ, but only for client file organization -like you! Also, i wanted to ask… what is the second column “5*(star)” refer to? ;)

  10. admin reply

    @johnna hey girl! ok I should have explained the whole “5 starring” thing. I started culling images in LR when I first started and I would give the best images a 5 * rating….so my roommates started saying things like “oh katelyn is in her room 5 starring” and it stuck! haha

  11. Courtney reply

    Katelyn I am not a fellow photographer and I actually do not know you…i came across your website from my wedding photographer Ashley Pearce. But I just wanted to tell you I read your blogs all the time and I must say, you are a true inspiration!! I get cool new ideas on decorating, organizing, and sometimes just life in general from you!! The way you see things is so refreshing!! You rock girl!!

  12. Liz Kausteklis reply

    I love this post! I love that the something as simple as a wipe-board is the answer to those “I’m feeling very un-organized and need to keep myself on track” questions that I have! I am going to invest in a wipe-board! Thanks :)

  13. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    Hi Mrs. Alsop!
    I have two questions for you:
    1) Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG? Why, or why not?
    2) What is the best time of day to shoot portraits (engagements, families, etc.)? I’ve heard that it is late afternoon and in the morning, but I wanted to see what times you suggested because your pictures are so beautiful! :)

    There’s no rush to answer me back…just whenever you have the spare time! :) And thank you so much for all the “Ask Anything” posts – they have helped me a lot! :)

    P.S. – and if you’re wondering who in the world I am…I found your blog through Lauryn Galloway and I absolutely love the way you take pictures! I love photography myself (especially photographing people) and looking at your pictures always inspires me and gives me ideas!! I’ve been “following” your blog for about a year now and I just got my own design book about a month ago!

  14. johnna brynn reply

    ha! that’s awesome! love the “5-starring”! Thanks so much for sharing. I guess i’m a “flag” girl. LOL ;)

  15. Gail reply

    I have yet to come across a photog who SO hits my own philosophy on the head on approaching ShootQ! Love it for the financial/contract end of things but I’ve NEVER gotten the hang of using it for workflow. Mine looks like yours, without the chart! But THANK YOU for the inspiration for my own version. It’s already so similar to your approach that I can’t wait to add this last visual step!

  16. Cecilia Flaming reply

    So helpful! I love hearing how other photographers organize and finding out their process that works for them. Great to hear I’m not the only one with a checklist on my wall!

  17. Alicia Candelora reply

    KATELYN! I so needed this post. I am with you on needing to be more organized but just not finding that right workflow thing. ShootQ is AWESOME for doing payments, invoicing, etc but I just don’t get the workflow part. When i saw this post I immediately said “I can do this! THAT is what I have been looking for!” and I promptly went out and purchased a dry erase board. Thanks a million for the idea…as simple as it is!

  18. Tip Tuesday – Get Organized » Callie Hardman Photography reply

    […] I recently took a little tip from Katelyn James because I am a visual person and KNEW this would be the right approach for me. Sticky notes with […]

  19. cat reply

    YOU’RE TREMENDOUSLY PROFESSIONAL KATELYN! I LOVE READING UR POSTS AND MAYBE THIS IS MY FAVORITE PAGE EVER HAHA! WE HAVE LOT OF THINGS LO LEARN FROM YOU! THANKS FOR SHARE. XXX CAT

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