10 systems to set you free by HIYA MARIANNE.

As a photographer, you want to focus on capturing beautiful images and delivering them to your clients. However, there are many administrative tasks that come with running a photography business that can take up a lot of your time and energy. This is where having systems and workflows in place can help you streamline your business and save you time, allowing you to focus on what you love – taking photos.

So far in this series, we’ve talked about things such as marketing, finding your ideal clients, turning your weaknesses into strengths, defining your own success and adapting to change. All these things are components of building a business that helps you make a living out of your creativity. But having time for creativity, contemplation, and inspiration can often get trampled by the need to keep the administrative wheels turning. Many creatives burn out because they feel like they’re not built for the relentless ‘boring’ side of running a business.

For me, the secret sauce to protecting my creativity is building solid systems for my business. I know it doesn’t sound very rock’n’roll, and yes, the period of building can be very tedious indeed, but once you have those systems in place, the freedom they afford you is worth every ounce of creative space that’s freed up in your brain.

In this article, we’ll go over 10 essential workflows and systems that every photography business should have in place. Let’s get to it!

1. Client Onboarding Workflow

The first step in any photography project is to onboard the client. This process can involve several steps, such as booking the shoot, sending a contract, and collecting payment. By creating a workflow for client onboarding, you can ensure that the process runs smoothly and efficiently. You can use tools such as email templates, scheduling software, and online payment platforms to automate and simplify the process.

2. Questionnaire Workflow

To create a personalised and meaningful photography experience for your clients, you need to get to know them. By creating a questionnaire workflow, you can collect information about your clients’ preferences, interests, and expectations. You can use tools such as online survey builders to create customised questionnaires that are tailored to your business.

3. Pricing Workflow

One of the most challenging aspects of running a photography business is pricing your services. By creating a pricing guide or quote workflow, you can provide your clients with transparent pricing information and ensure that you are getting paid what you deserve. You can use tools such as pricing templates and client questionnaires to help you create a pricing guide that is tailored to your business.

4. Booking Form and Contract Workflow

Once you have agreed on the shoot details and pricing, you need to create a booking form and contract. These documents outline the terms of the agreement and protect both you and the client. By creating a booking form and contract workflow, you can ensure that all the necessary information is collected and the contract is signed and returned on time. You can use tools such as online form builders and e-signature software to automate and simplify the process, or you can invest in a client management system that will keep all your workflows in one place.

5. Shoot Scheduling Workflow

Once you have onboarded the client, you need to schedule the shoot. This process can involve coordinating with the client, scouting locations, and organising equipment. By creating a shoot scheduling workflow, you can ensure that all the necessary tasks are completed on time, and nothing falls through the cracks. You can use tools such as calendar apps and project management software to manage the workflow.

6. Pre-Production Workflow

Before the shoot, you need to prepare for it. This process can involve several steps, such as creating a shot list, scouting locations, and organising equipment. By creating a pre-production workflow, you can ensure that all the necessary tasks are completed on time, and the shoot runs smoothly. You can use tools such as project management software and task lists to manage the workflow.

7. Post-processing workflow

After the shoot, there are standard things that you need to do, such as backing up images, editing images, creating all the file formats you need to deliver, and naming and storing everything coherently. Having a workflow for post-processing helps to make sure that you’re always on top of things and know where all your files are.

8. Delivery Workflow

Once the shoot is completed, it’s time to deliver the final product to the client. Having a delivery workflow in place ensures that the process is streamlined and efficient. You might have a process where you allow the client preview and choose images, in which case you need to host them in a gallery a client can access. Once approved, you’ll either allow for clients to download images through their gallery or deliver the files via a transfer service or on a USB drive. Having a set process for this part allows you to work much faster and make the delivery process easy for the client.

9. Social Media Workflow

Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your photography business and showcasing your work. By creating a social media workflow and schedule, you can ensure that your social media channels are regularly updated with high-quality content. You can use tools such as social media scheduling software and content calendars to manage the workflow.

10. Workflow for Collecting Client Testimonials

Client testimonials are a powerful marketing tool for any photography business. Having a workflow in place to collect and organise these testimonials can help you showcase your work and attract new clients. Usually, most clients need a couple of reminders, which is something you can have scheduled in your workflow. You could request testimonials via email, or you could have a dedicated form on your website. You could even have a programme for incentivising clients to leave testimonials by offering a discount for the next shoot. It’s also important to remember to use your testimonials in your marketing, so you could have a workflow that reminds you to update testimonials on your website, social media, or other marketing materials regularly.

As you can see, setting up workflows and systems for your photography business can help you save time and energy, allowing you to focus on what you love – taking photos. By creating workflows for client onboarding and shoot scheduling, pricing guides, booking forms and contracts, pre-production workflows, questionnaires, social media workflows, and scheduling, you can streamline your business and create a more efficient and enjoyable working experience for yourself and your clients.

The further you can automate at least parts of these workflows using things such as automated or canned email responses and client management systems, the more time and ‘mind real estate’ you’ll release for doing things that make you feel fulfilled in your life and business!


10 systems to set you free by HIYA MARIANNE.



A version of this column was originally published in Professional Photo magazine issue 214.