The thing about this blog post is that I’ve pretty much written about ALL of these before on this blog, but just separately! In order to save the people who email and ask some time, I wanted to share the things that SAVE my business and changed the entire dynamic of how I organize, how I edit, how I make it through busy wedding seasons and have two little ones at home…and one on the way!

1. Lightroom — hands DOWN the best editing decision and fit for me I could EVER imagine! Lightroom is MADE for photographers, so yes, Photoshop is some people’s gem but I don’t even own Photoshop anymore at all..I haven’t for years! So many things people used to have to open Photoshop for Lightroom adopted and now you can do so many things that are MEANT for what we need specifically right there conveniently in Lightroom!

I love all of the editing features of course, and I LOVE being able to see the Before and After displaying the evolution of that editing process! Look at these images shot in difficult light and color situations I was able to bring up exactly to my style!:

This image was taken on a day where we lost light about 4 hours BEFORE sunset because of blue and gray dark clouds and storms rampant! I was able to bring their skin back to light, remove noise because of my cranked up ISO and give a real WARMTH to the couple sweet pose instead of letting it fall flat..all with all of the tools available right here in Lightroom!

Post sunset rainy day

The windows in this hotel room are GREEN tinted. They seem pretty from a regular perspective, but to a photographer, they are a nightmare! It reminds me of the Half Moone in Norfolk, which is one of my FAVORITE venues but the tinted windows are a huge challenge to get the color right on the details inside! I was able to warm it up and remove greens easily with this ring shot!

Green windows

And lastly, I love having my categories organized to break down wedding editing SO much more easily! After I cull a wedding, I divide it into categories. Getting ready, ceremony, portraits and reception. When I’m editing, it’s SO nice to say okay, I’ve done getting ready and ceremony, time for a break to eat/rest my eyes! It helps me divide up the work and ADDITIONALLY helps me understand how much I have left by keeping it divided as such.

LR collections

2. Photo Mechanic — I recently was in the car with a friend on the way to see the best performer in the world and she was using Photo Mechanic for I think one of the first times ever and she was LOVING it! Okay, I have to be honest though– when I was talking about Lightroom earlier, know this…I don’t know ALL you can know about Lightroom. I don’t flag or star things, I don’t know it’s full potential. In fact.. those categories at the top? Library, Develop, etc? Yeah…I don’t EVER go PAST Develop! That’s ALL I use! And Photo Mechanic is no different for me in this regard…I STRICTLY use it for CULLING only! I open it, make sure I’m deleting from a source that’s safe (aka BACK UP YOUR IMAGES FIRST SOMEWHERE ELSE! If you delete straight from your cards, and that’s your only source of the images existing because you haven’t backed up, guess what…if you delete a good one? It’s GONE!) — for me it’s usually a folder I’ve copied onto the desktop of my Mac.

This is culling software, and culling is the act of deleting the blurry, bad and non-usable images..that’s it! It’s just “narrowing it down” and when I did this only in Lightroom previously…after we calculated the amount of seconds it took to upload and preview and delete, I save about 5-6 hours PER WEDDING just using this super FAST software! On top of that, it shows me a JPEG preview for the image which is what I want! It shows it quickly, large and exactly how I need to determine in a timely manner if the image goes or stays!

There are a lot of features on there that are great, but I just delete from it. You buy it once and you have it for life– GO FOR IT! Save time, get organized!

PM for BLOG

3. 17 Hats — business software for the girl that HATES business software. I’m not kidding, this has been my #1 best investment and lifesaver this year! Someone sent me a promotion for another resource and I was SO on 17 Hats tribe that I was mildly offended just to be offered something else hahahah! But no really…I LOVE what you have done for my life 17 Hats! This is another thing I’m not using EVERY feature on but I’m using most..and the girl ADDICTED to her paper planner now hardly ever checks it! I LOVE the online calendar, I LOVE the digital contracts (lifesaver lifesaver lifesaver!!) and I love that my clients can pay their invoice and have their copy right there online! I have all my clients in an address book, gosh you guys..it’s a miracle! I am not a business software girl and it’s so user-friendly and additionally aesthetically pleasing and that is actually kind of a huge reason I loved it! It’s not super complicated…but it just takes time to set up your contacts, contracts, etc. “Book time” to do that and the whole program is a BREEZE from then on out!

17 Hats for BLOG

4. Mike — as in my man! I know it sounds cliche and maybe it is..or maybe this is something that NEEDS to be said and absorbed by someone out there and hopefully it helps someone realize the most important thing about running a business for me….it’s about support. My heart BREAKS when photographers don’t have support from family or spouses. It’s a scary thing to say hey, I wanna take a chance on this, and I don’t know if I’m good but maybe I could be. I could list and list all of the things he does for me..but let’s sum it up this way. In one night, in tonight.

I threw dinner in the oven, but then I went upstairs to finish editing and make a Skype call. Mike finished preparing dinner and brought it upstairs to me, took care of the girls downstairs and fed them. Bathed them. Put them to sleep and I’m STILL up here working. He re-heated my corn on the cob and brought me the entire sea salt shaker because I can’t ever get enough. Then he made me a sandwich because I’m pregnant and well I need TWO dinners, lol. He always brings me water, he takes care of me and my heart..and right now? He has to be up at 5:30 am as usual but he won’t sleep until that last basket of laundry is put away because he knows I’m working late and have a day where I have to travel with the girls tomorrow. Support is the most valuable thing asset your business can have. It can be the difference between thinking you should go for it but not being positive you really should try, to having that person that LOVES YOU push you to follow a dream. And he did. We were newlyweds, he told me to “buy the camera” and start our family at the same time because I wanted it so badly in my heart to have both..and here we are with the BEST brides in the world, 2 little girls later and one baby on the way.

All of the other tools rock but Mike I guess you’re the BEST TOOL I could ask for, hahaha! I had to, the wording was just perfect. Thank gosh you love me anyway!

And I know some people aren’t married or dating, other family and close friends can be your support! When I was in the most horrible funk of my life…I tell the story all the time: I literally woke up one day, the clouds were puffy and white and the sky was the brightest blue and I decided to break up with the bad boyfriend and CHOOSE HAPPY and independent for the rest of my life if that’s what it meant to have true support, even if it was just from myself. FIND YOUR WAY!!!! 🙂 Be your OWN cheerleader if you must! XOXOXO

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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.

2 replies on “4 Tools That SAVE My Business! | Photography

  1. Good gosh, when you speak about your husband, I feel your warmth, your love and absolute humblness and gratitude that you see in him. You made me tear up girl.

    You spread so much love and light to the people in the shadows with their doubts, that yes, they can do it too. 🙂 Amanada, you’re amazing and I don’t even know you but, I do because of your blogs but I would love to be your friend. More people in this world need someone like you to lift their spirits up and just feel the warmth you give off. I love it and I love you! Kelp it up girl. You inspire me each and everyday. 😊✌

  2. You were the one that I originally saw posting about 17 hats. I checked it out and I’m with you girl!! Total game changer!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE that software! It has definitely saved SOOO much time in my business! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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