This is about the time of year that you’ll start seeing the “year end wrap-up” posts on photographers’ blogs, and I am no exception to that! This particular post is one that’s been a long time coming- I dubbed 2014 the “year of disorganization” early on, and it didn’t get much better as the year went on. Being organized is something I’ve always struggled with, so I’ve found that the more STRUCTURE I have in my business, the easier it is for me to keep things in place. When there isn’t a system for a particular area of my business, that’s when things gets messy.

Here are my Best & Worst Practices from the past year!

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BEST

1. Refocusing from just weddings, to anniversaries + weddings– this is one of the biggest success stories for me. I’m still in transition, as these kind of changes don’t happen overnight, but having the chance to hone my business into a niche market I’ve created for myself has been so, SO life-giving! (read more HERE)

2. Outsourcing album design– holy cow, Align has been my SAVIOR on this! Albums are now completed and ordered with way more efficiency than I ever managed while designing on my own, which means my couples get their books in hands much faster! (read more HERE)

3. Interns– my 2014 AGP Interns were the BEE’S KNEES. I’ll be posting a bit more about them after New Year’s, but just know that making the switch from the “different second shooter at every wedding” method and the “AGP Interns” method made things WAY better!

4. Pixifi/Paypal– Prior to Pixifi, I’d been collecting paper contracts, and paper checks for payment. This meant there was often a several weeks-long delay in verbally confirming a booking, and actually BOOKING it when I received the contract and payment. Now with everything online, the process is faster, smoother, more secure, and I can access my client information/booking calendar from anywhere in the world that has internet :). (read more HERE)

5. Day Designer– having a daily planner that allows me to keep track of my calendar and has room for goal setting, notes, daily breakdowns, etc. was golden. I didn’t use my DD to it’s full extent (something I’ll work on for next year), but it’s been really helpful in keeping track of tasks! (read more about how I use the Day Designer HERE)

6. Switching to Kelvins– yeah. GAME. CHANGER. If you’re still shooting on Auto White Balance 100% of the time, do yourself a favor and go read this blog post. It’ll change your shooting life.

New York City High Line elopement- Abby Grace Photography

WORST:

1. Not outsourcing my editing– this has been harder for me this year than ever before, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the mental aspect of it all, knowing that I need to buckle down and just power through 6 hours of editing, but I’ve really struggled with allowing my editing to spill over from week to wee this year. I’m hoping to change that in 2015 by finding an awesome editor to take over editing weddings for me!

2. Failing to take my meds– I’ve made brief mention of it before, but with adult ADHD, it’s often really, really hard for me to get through normal tasks that others can breeze through without a problem. I know that my Adderall helps me focus, but I struggle with feeling weak when I take it. It’s a lie I tell myself, and I really just need to buckle down and take the dang meds. But it’s part of the reason I have issues with organization and getting through my editing!

3. Workflow– this sort of relates back to editing; I don’t have structure in place for when I’ll edit images after an event. I need to come up with something like “Editing portraits on Mondays, Album and Product Orders on Tuesdays….” etc. Otherwise I wake up, shower, and then ask myself “what do you WANT to do in the office today?” Which almost always results in blogging or Facebooking, and never results in filing my monthly sales taxes.

4. Inbox-ing my usual lighting-fast response time has definitely suffered this year, and I’m going to credit that in part with laziness, and the other part due to a failure to have specific e-mail times during my day. I typically just leave my Gmail window up in the background and answer emails whenever I’m trying to procrastinate editing. This means I do short, unfocused bursts throughout the day, which doesn’t usually result in my inbox decreasing much, if any.

5. Working from the couch– some people are couch potato-working masters, but I can’t do it. I get distracted, visit the kitchen for tea way more often than is necessary, and typically end up fooling myself into thinking I can watch Netflix and edit at the same time (I can’t). Newsflash, Abby: we bought a house WITH AN OFFICE DOWNSTAIRS so that you could run a business from it. And while our lovely sectional couch is wonderful, it’s not an office space. So hop to it.

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What about y’all? What are some of your best and worst practices of the year? What can you not WAIT to change in 2015?

2014: Best [and Worst] Practices

December 23, 2014

  1. Jessica Bulloss

    December 23rd, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Love this post! First off, I can relate to so many of the struggles above and you said it so well! Also you are rocking the anniversaries!! Congrats on making it happen 🙂 🙂

  2. Jessica Fike

    December 24th, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Great post, Abby! I like this kind of “end of year” post better than the “behind the scenes” posts. Maybe that’s because I have like three pictures of me in action, ha!?! But really, I like evaluating and putting together a list of good things and bad things that happened. I’m definitely going to do it! 🙂

  3. ashley mitchell

    December 29th, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    We have several of the same goals for next year! I am determined to outsource my editing this year – I haven’t even seen Frozen but I imagine I would be singing that Let it Go song somewhere about here? Also, big check on the “you have an office now USE IT” category – I’m sooo guilty of this!

  4. Janine Enold

    January 2nd, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Hi Audrey! I know what it can be like to have a full time job and a photography business. I too am working on transitioning to doing photography full time. A lot of your goals are in line with mine for 2015! In terms of workflow, I know that outsourcing my editing was a big help! I have an editor that does all my basic editing (color correcting, white balance etc) and can even do retouching or Photoshop work if necessary. It’s really helped to free up some more time in my workflow and allows me to focus on other hands of parts of my business such as client service and marketing. I am making a lot of changes this year! I can send you his email if you were looking for someone to help with this – He will be accepting new clients in 2015! Best of luck with everything!

  5. Janine A. Enold

    January 2nd, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Hi Abby! Sorry about that! There was an issue with another post on another site as well and they got swapped :-(! Oops! I am looking forward to 2015 as well! New Year, New Goals! Time to Make it Happen! I agree with outsourcing your editing! It helps me so much with my workflow! I have a fantastic editor that I work with who is listed on Katelyn James’ editor list! I highly recommend him and I can send you his email if you are looking for someone! Hope you have a Happy New Year!

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