Staying Organized as a Photographer

As photographers, it’s crucial that we stay very organized – especially if you are considering making a living from your craft. Creatives are usually said to be Right Brainers, meaning that we are subjective, intuitive, and tend to look at the big picture. Left Brainers are people who are very analytical, logical, and rational. Among those things they are also most likely to be organized and have a great business sense. I’m not saying that Right Brainers aren’t capable, but it’s far less common.

Without getting into a big psychology discussion here, I’m going to share with you some of the tools that I use in order to stay as organized as possible. Organization helps bring focus and direction, which are very important when it comes to meeting client deadlines and getting work done. I hope you find some of these useful, and if there are other things that you use that I haven’t mentioned here, feel free to let us know in the comments.

  • Image Organiztion – I use Adobe Lightroom 2 and 3 Beta 2 to organize and keep track of my photos. I have my own naming convention that works for me, but I can go into Lightroom and find any image that I need rather quickly. The keywording and metadata features assist in that chore immensely. Here’s the link for more information.
  • Estimates & Invoices – If you have any desire to make a living at photography, you have to know what’s going out and what’s coming in. For this, I use BlinkBid. I can store client information, create estimates and invoices, and also keep track of client image licenses. I can also record when a payment is received and generate all kinds of useful reports. Since it’s already made for creative pros, I didn’t have to spend a lot of time setting it up. Here’s the link for more information.
  • To Do Lists – I use an awesome app on my iPhone called Things to keep track of what I need to do and when I need to do it. I can add tags to my items, create projects, set alerts, and more. Couple that with the fact that I can sync it to their desktop application for Mac wirelessly, and I can always stay on top of my tasks. The app is now available for the iPad too! Here’s the link for more information.
  • E-mail – I really like Apple’s Mail application, as it’s simple and clean – yet powerful enough to keep e-mail neatly organized. I use Smart Mailboxes to sort out message in my inbox and move quickly through e-mails covering specific subjects. The Junk Mail filter does a great job of keeping out messages that I don’t care for, but allowing ones that are relative to pass through.
  • Calendar – Some may disagree, but I find Apple’s iCal very useful. It syncs with my iPhone and I can also sync it with Google Calendar on the go, then update my MacBook Pro when I’m in front of it again. Really, really handy. The color coding is nice for different calendars too. I can take one look at it and know exactly what’s what based on my personal color schemes.

I could go on and on about all the cool little apps that I use for organization purposes, but I think that you get the idea. I do whatever I can to keep track of the things that I’m working on. As a Right Brainer myself, I need all the help I can get. 🙂

Before I sign off for today, if you’re thinking about making the leap and turning PRO, be sure to take a look at Going Pro NOW. Jack Hollingsworth, Selina Maitreya, and Don Giannatti have put together a seminar for emerging photographers who want to know what it takes to be successful in the commercial photography business. Be sure to stop by and say hello – tell ’em that Stephen sent you.

If you’re interested in learning more about portrait photography, be sure to check out my upcoming workshop in Napa, CA on May 30-31, 2010! Here’s the link to my workshop website where you can find out all about and sign up! I hope to see you there!

That’s it for today folks. I hope you have a great week and if you’re not there already, it’s time to get organized!


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