I have been promising for a while that I was going to do this– and I’m doing it! I want to share what has changed the ENTIRE year and overall level of office work success for my business. Okay– I’m not perfect though and I want that to be clear! Just this morning my December bride (I LOVE typing that, I’ve always wanted a December bride!) was asking about an email that didn’t get sent to her, and there it was, sitting in my drafts folder. I slipped! I will continue to occasionally slip but dag gone if I’m not going to work SO hard to be as close to perfect and 100% organized as I can be! I LOVE IT!

This HAS to be a series. It has to because otherwise it would be the biggest blog post of all time. A semester’s worth of info in one class. CAN’T DO THAT SISTER. Ain’t NOBODY got time fo that!

So— here goes Workflow Series #1—— this came from lots and lots and lots of FAILS. Two years worth actually. Time to shine and succeed and help others along the way! πŸ™‚

Step One for ANY sort of workflow…Preparation.

Two things to cover: Pre-Session/Wedding checklist and Folder/Collection creating

I have a binder next to my desk that is FULL of lists and workflow systems. The first of these is the Session and Wedding checklists that I have detailing everything that needs to be ready BEFORE a session/wedding. Even better if it’s all done and ready the day before. Please note that just going ahead and DOING this the night or day before, no matter how tired, can REALLY help you. Last week I told Mike, I’ll just pack for the wedding in the morning. He said no- let’s just get it done. It’ll be done and you can spend more time with us. He was RIGHT! I almost forgot something small and if I would have packed that morning, I wouldn’t have remembered to bring it. Being prepared and scheduling “packing” and “card clearing/batter charging” time is key! Especially the day before a wedding. I recommend blocking off an hour of time at some point to dedicate to this. It’s worth it.

Here is an example of PART of my wedding checklist. Some of it I’m not sharing because it’s embarrassing because I literally write EVERYTHING (hair ties, bobby pins, deodorant, etc, lol..) but that’s going to be the whole basis behind these workflow systems I’m introducing. Writing down everything and listing everything is the key.

Charge all Canon batteries and pack
Charge all AA’s and pack
Put all chargers together in same spot
Make sure AA car charger is in place
Pack business cards
Print and pack COUPLES blog post info cards!
Pack all food and water bottles
Wipe and dust all lenses
Clear memory cards and bring 5-6 (16GB+)
Format cards
Put one 16G in Mark III and one 16G in Mark II
Pick which main bag will be used
Shootsac packed with cover on
600’s both set with batteries already in and charged
Lens hoods
Lens wipes
Mini air can
Tissues (for me AND the bride:))
Wedding day printed information
Pick out outfit day before
Set email auto response
Post on Facebook about wedding day/event
Prepare client gift
Directions to ceremony, from ceremony to reception printed
Phone number list and venue number list
Reflector and Diffuser
Laptop Charger
Card Reader
Business cards for laptop/same day slideshow
Cord from camera to laptop in case card reader doesn’t work

Seem like a lot? For some this is nothing– for me, this is normal– for some other people this is a huge list! And that totally makes sense because we all are at different places in our businesses. The thing is, this list has tripled compared to what it used to be for me or for what I would have needed to prepare because I didn’t have a lot. Actually, I never even HAD a list before. That was my big problem. I kept everything inside of my head and never had any system or list to reference, I just tried to remember everything.

I had no lists for getting ready for a session or wedding.
I had no list/protocol after booking a client.
I had no post-shooting workflow list.
No marketing, Facebook, blogging, etc list.

NO LISTS. And I amΒ a LIST person, so no wonder I always felt so stressed and chaotic!

Your list may start out small but having it there so that you don’t skip any little beats is key! I can’t wait to share the difference in my post-processing list from two years ago until now, that will blow your mind! That is for another day though. On to the last part of preparedness. Making FOLDERS and collections.

Seems like something you can do later, and it totally is. BUT- when you have to edit 500-1000 images from a wedding and you need to go fast because you’re not yet outsourcing, do you REALLY need to stop and make all of these little folders? Nah πŸ™‚

So here are some screen shots of folders I make before a wedding on my desktop. Basically the first is RAW files, then I have a Watermarked, a FINAL images, images to upload to Facebook, images to Blog and images to Submit to be published. Having this done ahead of time means I plug my card in and GO! I immediately start backing up all of the raw images into the RAW folder, and then I copy that RAW folder onto my external hard drive for safe keeping in the mean time. Then the rest goes without saying, but it helps to have things set up already!


Okay, so simple right? I’m no genius, and this may be a non-brainer, but I know a LOT of people who don’t do anything like this ahead of time and this little thing has actually helped!

This next one is something I JUST recently started using. I’m not one to “flag” or “star” images in Lightroom, I really don’t have time for that as great as I’m sure it’d be! The one non-editing tool I use in Lightroom now is creating COLLECTIONS to break down the wedding day and edit more easily! This also helps me successfully export the images and keep track of them when changing the file name from SBA2903 to Jack-Jane-Pink-White-OBX-Wedding-1, Jack-Jane-Pink-White-OBX-Wedding-2, etc.Β  This also lets me know how far I am into the day and when to take a break if I need to.

The blue lines are beside the wedding day categories. The yellow line is to show you how LOW my Lightroom load is! I definitely back up and delete all of the images I can once I am done editing because that can REALLY slow down your computer! Not everyone’s I know, but probably just mine cause I have a PC πŸ™‚


Another quick tip on PRE-SESSION/WEDDING preparedness:

Some other things you may want to do to prepare is posing research, maybe a little Pinteresting, etc? When you’re in a creative rut, there is nothing better you can do than start reading up and looking for ways to get more variety. I LOVE wedding magazines and will flip through them in bed, perfect way to relax and not “work” but still finding a way to grow! All while snuggling up and hanging with my husband. AND– here’s another fun tip. Ask your husband/wife/partner/etc to flirt and play with you! Practice posing with them! What feels natural when you sit on the ground together? When you face each other, when he runs up behind you while you’re doing dishes, etc! Mike will go to flirt with me and we’ll end up in “cute poses” all time– seems lame but it’s been helping me a lot hahaha! And I get to flirt with him more, jackpot! πŸ™‚

Next Workflow Series Post? CULLING πŸ™‚ Coming next week!

Posted by:amandahedgepeth

Hey there! We're a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.

9 replies on “Workflow Series #1 | Preparing | Photography

  1. Amanda this is so insanely helpful you have no idea!!! Well, I think you do actually πŸ˜‰ Even just after reading the post once, I have ideas of ways to take even just the basic ideas of what you’re doing and make them work for me! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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