Workflow is about as individual as your small business. It’s a series of processes that begin the first time a potential client contacts you to the point where you delivered your goods or services and are on to the next job. Actually it starts a bit earlier, if you want to including marketing and branding. Or maybe you’re running a couple of jobs concurrent, in which case it’s even more important to understand your workflow. A plan on how all your business processes work together makes your work flow smoothly.
work·flow ˈwərkflō/ noun
the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.
There are more than one way to skin a cat and the same is true for your workflow. There’s really not only one right way that workflow works. They are as personal to you as many other decisions you make in your small business.
In my mind there are two schools of thought when it comes to working with a workflow solution:
Solutions like Shoot Flow fall under the first. They are solutions specific to one type of photography. In the case of Shoot Flow, it’s for wedding photographers. Zach and Jody Grey took their experience at shooting weddings and built a workflow solution around it. They basically let you duplicate the way they work a wedding.
The upside – especially for the inexperienced wedding shooter – is that you get a step by step roadmap to how to work a bride and grooms day. Zach and Judy do a fantastic job, not just on shooting weddings, but also in how they work with their client before and after that day.
In my mind the downside is that you are going to workflow weddings just like they do. I’ve never used shootflow (I don’t shoot weddings) and I know you can customize some of the way it works, but it’s not like what I use.
[Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not dissing shootflow or other solutions like it. In fact I believe it’s vital that we all have a well-integrated solution of our own.]
My customized solution follows my business processes. This doesn’t make it necessarily more expensive, but it does make my workflow solution match my workflow. I use a Customer Relationship Management system as the backbone of my workflow solution. It’s called SalesForce and is one of the largest CRMs in the world. SalesForce aggregates all information I have about a clients, accounts, jobs, ect into one place and since it’s this huge service it integrates with pretty much everything. For instance I use Evernote to …
Remember to change copyright info to include the new year in your copyright notices today. A legal copyright notice requires 3 elements:
The correct copyright symbol is © and that’s not (C). On a Mac you can insert it by pressing <OPT> + <g>. The HTML for the symbol is <©> and in ASCCI it’s <ALT>+<0169>.
Just in case you haven’t noticed it’s 2017. Happy New Year.
In my case that reads: Photography by Depuhl
This is information I learned at an ASMP symposium on copyright. Your copyright notice should read:
© 2017 Photography by Depuhl. All rights reserved.
Take a few minutes to change your © notices today. Start with your website and blog, if you’re using footers – as many of us do – make sure they get changed. Also don’t forget to change the metadata settings in Bridge or any software your using to tag images. If you’re using a watermark on the images you post online (read here why you should), don’t forget to change the notice in your water marking app as well. Most importantly you need to change the metadata inside your camera to show the new year in your change copyright info.
I use PhotoShelter for my website and have a copyright notice in the footer code. Log into your personal account and go to …
Website -> general settings -> footer code
Add this script to your copyright notice:
Now you never have to change the date manually again :)
In WordPress, check your theme, if you’re running one. In my theme the code in the footer can be changed in …
Appearances -> ‘Theme’ Options -> Other Graphical Elements -> Footer
HT @ for pointing out that you don’t have to hard code the year, when you change copyright info anymore (like I did until 2015) – this is even better – instead of having to change the date into your blog and website every year by hand, Bredan suggests the following PHP snippet:
“© <?php echo date(“Y”) ?> [YOUR ATTRIBUTION HERE]“
Where YOUR ATTRIBUTION HERE would be the name of the copyright holder. Although this did not work on my sites, it made me do a little digging and this script works like a charm:
var today = new Date()
var year = today.getFullYear()
Thanks for pointing this out Brendan!
In Adobe Bridge, you’ll need to change the copyright notice in your Metadata templates. Go to …
Tools -> edit metadata template -> scroll to the template you need to change -> scroll to ‘copyright notice’
Capture One (the best RAW processing software on the planet #EndOfAd :) will pull the copyright info from your camera into their metadata field, however if for some reason you need to add it by hand just go to the INFO tab in the software – so if you change copyright info in your camera, you don’t need to do this, but it’s always nice to know where the copyright notice lives.
Scroll down to the IPTC section in the tools column and change your copyright notice there.
If you are importing from a Card, then Capture One will remember your last copyright notice in the import window. Change the date here as well.
Last but certainly not least, you want to change copyright info in your camera, which sometimes is a little tricky.
“How do I get clients?” is a question I asked myself often, when I was starting out. Today I see many small business owners and freelancers on this quest to get clients. So what’s the secret? How do people figure out you’re the guy or gal that can solve their problems, create the content they need or provide the service to help their business succeed?
This should be a given. Your work (in my case photos and videos) needs to speak for itself. It needs to stand out from all the other work out there. Show only you very best work. The stuff that’s won awards, that’s been showcased, stuff others can’t stop talking about – that’ll get clients talking.
Your work has get in front of the right audience. If it sits on your hard drive or on your shelf I don’t care how awesome it is – no one is going to hire you based on work they can’t see. Build a strong web presence. Write a blog. Learn social media. Have a good website. Make it easy for potential clients to find you. Build an audience – (here’s a Roadmap to building your audience.)
Clients book you, because they see a still image or a video you created. And they need something similar. This is what Google calls the moment of relevance. The closer you can get to it in your response to a prospective client, the more likely your chances of getting work from them. (I’ll talk about my response time a little in this post). You must make sure that the work you want to do is searchable – that’s especially challenging for a visual content creator, since search engines don’t speak photo. They needs text to find the imagery people are searching for. Get rid of those IMG_1234.jpeg filenames on your website and help people find your work. [Read: Your filename must include this work.]
Some may say “but I don’t have an image or a video of what I’d like to shoot.” Let me guess and since you don’t have it, you can’t show it – and since you can’t show it, you don’t get clients to book you to shoot it – so you don’t have it … you get the idea.
Shoot it anyway. Shoot it for yourself. Find a non-profit that needs that photo or video and create it for them. Then you have the work to show the next prospect, that proves to them that you can shoot this, because now you can show it. Think that’s to expensive, to complicated, to risky? I went to Afghanistan to produce, film, edit and promote a short documentary for a non-profit, because that’s the kind of work I want to create, the work that would help me get clients.
You know what my clients biggest donor said?
We’re talking about a commission, that represents group of governments, who work with hundreds of non-profit humanitarian organizations around the world and see even more films showcasing the work those NGOs do. What do you think happens, when I show this corporate documentary film to my prospective clients? You think it get’s me more clients? You bet!
“My work speaks for itself.” Yeah. Sure. Future clients want to know…
After falling into shooting images on a whim as a teen, Pascal honed his art over a number of years before starting his own company about a decade ago. Now he boasts an impressive lineup of clients, including National Geographic, SeaRay and Mars thanks to constant hard work and dedication to his craft.
We chatted with Pascal about the first big job that launched his career, how he learned to stand out in a saturated industry and the secret sauce for keeping your happy customers coming back for me. [Much of my success has to do with how I use SEO.]
Read on to hear his story!
Name: Pascal Depuhl
Business: Photography by Depuhl
How did you start your business?
I’ve been getting paid for my photography since my late high-school years. I began assisting and apprenticing after college for four years [Read more about that in “This phone call made my career.” BTW a blog post is a great way to use SEO.] and got my first full-time job in 1996, but I only launched my company in 2004. I honestly don’t know what first drew me to photography! I was saving money to buy a mountain bike and ended up walking into a store and picking up a camera instead.
I opened up my own shop out of necessity. I had gotten laid off from two full-time photography jobs in 12 months and didn’t want to have to rely on someone else to earn my livelihood.
Who was your very first customer?
A friend of my dad had an ad agency that needed photos for one of their clients. I was a senior in high school when I got that job, and the budget for the whole thing — including travel expenses, food, lodging, film, processing, my time and equipment — was a little over $1,750 dollars.
My dad’s friend told me he didn’t care how long I stayed in Israel to photograph, as long as I didn’t go over budget. I was there for a month!
When did you know your business was going to work?
I got an unsolicited email from a company that provided a retouching service to photographers. I realized that they found my business online and were looking to sell me their service [To be honest at that time I did not know much about how to use SEO]. I was so excited, because I’d spent absolutely zero money on advertising, yet someone who didn’t know me figured out I was a photographer based on information that was out there online.
Today, what is your most effective means of getting new customers?
Everything I do, from writing a blog to keeping an active social media presence on sites like Instagram and Twitter, from putting on workshops to volunteering and being deeply involved in the local small business community [all good examples of how I use SEO to build my online brand], is done with …
As many of you know, I have been writing this blog for 8 years now, and I also spent many years of my life as Director of Marketing at Lexar dealing with the ins and outs of the memory card business. And in all that time, I have never written a blog about the do’s and don’ts of memory cards. Now that I have left Lexar and not on that side of the business any more, I feel that I can write this objective piece for you without any conflict of interest.
Most people look at a memory card as a piece of plastic or metal, and they don’t think much about them. But inside those covers, there is a LOT of intelligence. There is flash memory, a controller and much more. The quality of that memory and controller often determines the speed and quality of your card.
2. Format your memory cards in your camera, not on your computer. I have seen countless web sites which tell people to format their memory cards on your computer. This is just bad information! You want to format the cards in the camera. And you should do this on the camera your are shooting with. I am currently shooting with the Canon 1DX Mark II, Canon 1DX, Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 5D Mark III, and I format the card in the camera I am using. You are reading this correctly…I do not format in one Canon camera and move it to another. Will they work?
Photographers have had a good run. From the first photograph ever captured in 1826 until today, we’ve all witnessed countless, amazing advances. Unfortunately the demise of professional photographers is almost complete.
Decade old tech kills professional photography
Ironically the death knell to the business of photographers turns out to be 10-year-old technology. This tech enables everyone to be a photographer, by making capturing a photograph as simple as pushing a button. In short the professional photographer is going the way of the buggy whip maker.
With today’s introduction of Kodak’s “Brownie” camera, Mr. Eastman is leveraging his transparent roll film, invented just a decade ago, and brings photography to the masses. His advertisements for this camera “You press the button – we’ll do the rest.” does not bode well for any commercial photographer and at a price of on dollar, soon everyone will be creating their own photographs.
Why the iPhone is just like the Brownie
That’s what a blog post in 1900 may have read like. Fast forward to today, replace the 10-year-old technology of transparent photographic film with digital image capture, and substitute Kodak’s “Brownie” with Apple’s iPhone. Even Steve Job’s slogan “the internet in your pocket” is a carbon copy of “a Kodak in your pocket”.
It’s true, iPhonography lets everyone carry a camera with them 24/7 flooding the world of social media with photos and video. Today’s trend is definitely away from the carefully crafted photograph, but it is going towards photographers. Heather Elder, a rep on the west coast said it best in a recent blog post “The bottom line is that relying solely on your imagery to speak for you has become dangerous.”
How to survive the final nail in the coffin
Since everyone can create a good image these days, (and if it’s not perfect, a quick Instagram filter can fix that) the focus is turning away from your imagery standing by itself and is shifting toward the photographers themselves in addition to their photographic ability. Heather goes on to say “Adding your voice to that imagery is equally as dangerous, but for everyone else, not you.”
In my experience, many of my clients tell me, that after they find my business through a Google search for a photographer; they look what Google has to say about my brand (i.e. me and my business in addition to my photography). Almost everyone comments that the presentation of my business online played a huge role in their decision to hire me. For more on this, see my earlier Strictly Business post when I wrote about why having a strong online brand is worth more than your skill set as a photographer.
Today our profession finds itself threatened by popular adoption of 10-year-old technology again to the point, where we have to adapt how we brand and market what we do. Being able to see the trends in your industry is essential to one’s survival – after all Mr. Strong was a buggy whip manufacturer who, after foreseeing the death of his business, partnered with the first producer of photographic dry plates: George Eastman.[This article was first posted on Strictly Business the blog of the American Society of Media Photographers in March of 2015.]
I recently was hired to create photographs and video for a client. We agreed on number of images and video I was to create in which time for what amount of money, subject to a joint usage agreement. OK. No problem so far. Then I got the agreement and read the fine print.
Here’s what the proposed contract read:
This job was bid out for a specific number of images and videos. This wording in the fine print says I will turn over every photo I take and every frame of footage I capture at the end of the job for future use and on top of that, I will transfer all rights to the client.
If you’re in a situation like this, how do you handle this request? Here’s what I did: I went and rewrote the fine print of the agreement, changing the language to grant the client unlimited and exclusive usage to the images a final videos we’re creating for them, which is exactly what they need. I added a line that I may use the material licensed to them for self promotional purposes and that all other usage would need written authorization from the client.
Then I submitted the reworded agreement. I received an email asking for clarification on some other issues, that had nothing to do with the usage, reworked the agreement’s fine print again and received a signed copy today.
Here’s the point I’m trying to make: Just because you’re dealing with a big client, don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms with them. It never hurts to ask. I know many photographers that would have signed the first contract, saying “Oh, well it’s just the way that CLIENT does business and if I want the job, I’ll need to play by their rules.”
Sure, I could have pointed out why this doesn’t seem fair, but that usually gets you nowhere. Instead submitting a fair change to the agreement, which now reflects what we had talked about in the first conversations gets you much further. Realize that many big companies have boiler plate language in their agreements that may totally not apply to your project. An agreement is a starting point to negotiate from, not the end. And if it is the end remember you always have the right to walk away from the job, before you sign on the dotted line, but never ever neglect to read (and change) the fine print.
Please take the time to read the agreements you’re asked to work under and don’t assume that they were crafted specifically for your project.
Have your own terms and conditions (your part of the fine print) in place and send them to the client with the first document describing scope, time or cost. I don’t send out an estimate without attaching mine, with this job it won’t be my terms and conditions, but the agreement that we’ve crafted together.
Look for a win for both parties and stick to your guns.
I’ve been working on producing a 5 figure job over the past few weeks, that I was referred to by a friend of mine. Everything looked great, every discussion I had with the client was promising. They liked my work. They were happy with the budget. They were in agreement with the conditions for the job, which we had defined in the fine print of our terms and conditions. They had the money for the 50% deposit. Everything was going smoothly, until