The Photographer's Guide to Efficient Workflow Management

As a professional photographer, you wear many hats – artist, editor, marketer, and business owner. The passion for capturing perfect moments often leads to a long list of activities, from photoshoots and client meetings to post-processing and the ever present marketing tasks you always need to do. Amidst this hustle, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

It’s not easy when your inbox is flooded with inquiries, your editing backlog is growing by the minute, and your social media pages are begging for attention. You are getting more and more stressed as you struggle to juggle all these tasks. Eventually, cracks start to show. Your creativity drops, your client interactions become less personal, and the quality of your work starts to suffer. 

There is good news though: mastering time management can help you avoid these pitfalls. Learning how to manage your time effectively can help you maintain a high standard of work, build strong client relationships, and keep your creativity thriving.

Once I started marketing, and I started to get regular bookings, it became clear pretty fast, that without making changes, my business would consume every waking hour. And that was NOT why I started my business!  I realized that effective time management was essential not just for business success but for my personal well-being too. 


Here is a list of things I did as a business owner to efficiently manage my time and business:


Tip #1: Invest in a CRM

The first major step (and one that I was putting off for a LONG time) was implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. I’ve been using 17hats since 2015. I looked at all the others out there, and 17Hats was the one I went with, mostly because of ease of use. 

Once I got that set up, that saved a TON of time right away.  No more writing the same emails over and over. No more wondering if I responded to this inquiry, or did that client get back to me? No more back and forth trying to make appointments.  17hats has that and more built in, and once it's set up, you will be blown away at how much more time you now have.

When I started my business, I handled everything myself.  Which is fine... for a bit. But if  you want a successful business, where you have a steady stream of clients, you MUST implement a CRM, and you should do it BEFORE things get busy! Ask me how I know.

Once you open up more time on the repetitive things and have your workflows set up, now you have time to consistently market your business.  Marketing is the thing that most photographers get wrong. It's something they do as an after thought, when they have time after shooting and editing.  Marketing needs to be done on a consistent basis, so you stay consistently booked. 

Utilizing a CRM like 17hats, gives you your time back.  If you dont already have one, DO NOT wait.  Get it set up now.  If you want to take a look at 17Hats (always my recommendation) go here and get 50% off your first year using my link.


To further ensure clients receive timely responses and high-quality service, automation has become a game-changer. Through 17Hats, I send pre-written and scheduled emails, contracts, and questionnaires automatically. Also, I use an AI tool called Aftershoot to help me cull and edit photos, which has helped me significantly reduce turnaround times while maintaining my high standards of service. But more on that later!


Tip #2: Value your time

They say, “Time is money,” and for photographers, this couldn’t be more true. If you aspire to earn $100 per hour or more, it’s crucial to recognize the value of your time. Why would you spend your valuable hours on tasks that you could pay someone $20 per hour to handle? As a business owner, your focus should be on high-value activities that only YOU can do. Things like shooting clients, marketing, networking, and driving sales -these kinds of activities are what earn you hundreds of dollars per hour.  These types of activities also are the ones that you would have to PAY someone else hundreseds per our to do properly.  THOSE are the tasks you should be doing.  Anything else, you should be outsourcing as soon as you are able. 

YOU spending time doing lower-value tasks, takes away from time you could be spending on more lucrative activities.

Once I realized this and shifted my perspective, I realized the importance of delegating less critical tasks to others, which allowed me to focus on the business growth and profitability.


Tip #3: Streamline your workflow

I have a workflow for each stage of the client experience, and I follow it EXACTLY for every client. This is super easy to do using 17Hats. My workflows are organized into five stages: Inquiry, Booked Shoot, After Shoot, After Sales Session, and After Delivery. Anything related to scheduling is handled through an online scheduler, eliminating the need for back-and-forth communication with clients to find suitable dates and times. You would be amazed at how much time that alone can save you! By figuring out ways to make your workflows more automated and efficient and sticking to them, you can streamline your processes, save valuable time, and ensure a consistent, high-quality experience for every client.


Pro tip: While I don’t follow a specific daily routine, I do make it a habit to schedule my days to use my time efficiently. I believe a crucial habit for sustainable business growth is ensuring that your time is spent on activities that move the needle forward. This means focusing on tasks that only you can do and delegating everything else. Prioritizing high-impact activities and efficiently managing your schedule can drive your business forward without getting bogged down by tasks that others can handle.

#4: Streamline your post-processing workflow

Post-processing is an important part of your photography business, obviously. However, this phase, particularly the tasks of culling and editing, can be SUPER time-consuming. Many photographers find themselves overwhelmed by the extensive amount of images to review and the detailed work required for editing.  For me this was the part that I would agonize over... editing and re-editing...going back to imaged I culled and re-culling.  

It took a TON of time.

Once I found Aftershoot, it REVOLUTIONIZED my culling and editing process.  It DRASTICALLY sped up the workflow.

If you have not heard of Aftershoot, Um hi.  I'm about to save you so much time.

Aftershoot is an AI culling and editing software that has helped thousands of photographers save time in their post-shoot workflow. Truthfully, I was initially skeptical about AI's ability to match my editing style. I did not think I would like it, and honestly did not think it would work for me. 

I was pleasantly surprised by Aftershoot's efficiency and adaptability. It actually learns and replicates my editing style, and it processes images in minutes not hours. This saves a TON of time, and you dont need to hire a retoucher.

Before integrating Aftershoot into my process, I used to cull myself, and outsource my retouching because as you know, it takes so much time and was leading to burn out. Now I maintain my photo style, and reclaimed my time.

The editing feature in has been exceptionally beneficial for me as a boudoir photographer.  I take my time when I shoot, and have a flow, so my shots are already well-refined, culling is actually a pretty quick task for me. However, editing posed a significant time investment until I started using Aftershoot. It's intuitive editing tools understand and replicate my style seamlessly. What used to take hours now happens almost instantaneously, and that allows me to deliver beautifully edited images to my clients as they expect. With this tool, I've saved easily at least 2-3 hours per shoot. 



Finding the Balance as A Photographer

Once I've automated workflow, editing, emails, scheduling and more, I've been able to focus on strategic marketing efforts and a consistently booked calendar. My days are no longer spent chained to a computer screen; instead, I'm able to engage actively in client outreach, I respond promptly to inquiries, and  I've found time to share my expertise through teaching and coaching other photographers on building successful businesses including The Mastery Summit (which runs several times per year)


My advice to you?

Try Aftershoot. It's free for the first 30 days, and you get a discount with my link here.

Get your CRM going!!  Save 50% off your first year of 17Hats with my link here, and you can get started for as low as $75/year!  



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