Workflow Week :: Post 2 :: Our Workflow

In our first Workflow post, we discussed some tips we find helpful to keep ourselves on task & stay ahead of schedule. I wanted to delve deeper into a few of these tips to give a little more detail of how we’ve implemented them, specifically, into our business.

Tip 1: Keep your workflow the same. Every time. No excuses.

This is a huge one! I’d say, since our 3rd wedding, we’ve followed the exact same process before & after the weddings. It’s effective, and really helps keep us organized. Since I think the steps taken before the wedding are just as important as the steps after, I’ve included all of them!

Initial Inquiry: Most, if not all of our client inquiries come through our contact form on the blog. Since attending the STL tour with Justin & Mary in February of 2010, we learned that we can best use this form as a ‘filter’. We ask strategic questions in order to narrow down our potential clients. We get their responses in an email. Depending on how excited they are about us shooting their wedding, we either schedule a phone meeting or an in-person meeting.

Meeting*: Our meetings are relaxed. It’s all about the clients. We know that if they are taking the time to meet us, they’ve done their research already. They want it to work out! They want us to photograph their wedding, it’s just a matter of discussing the details & giving them our pricing guide and other parts of the meeting packet to look over. *We almost never send our pricing via the internet. Again, this helps to weed out price shoppers. We want to work with couple’s who value photography as an art form and we want to work with couple’s who are absolutely in love … and have a story to tell. There’s almost no way to figure this out by just emailing our pricing.

Booking: We always send a contract home with our client (or mail one if we’re conducting a phone meeting). We like to put the ball in their court, without imposing pressure on them to book on the spot. Once a client books, we send out a welcome packet, which is full of goodies. We also input their wedding date, anniversary date and payment dates into our computers … We put the signed contract in a binder along with our workflow sheet for their event.

Along the way: Of course, between booking and the wedding, there is a ton of stuff: engagement session, client correspondence/gifts, dinners, game nights, etc. While these aren’t the same for every couple, we do try to get to know all of our couples on a personal level so we’re all super comfortable on their wedding day.

Wedding: Obviously, every single wedding is completely different. Most of them go like this: show up, shoot for 6+ hours, have a ton of fun, stop at Taco Bell on the way home, and buy a bottle of cheap champagne to celebrate another day of living our dream (we’ve done the Taco Bell/Champagne tradition since wedding #1. We don’t intend to break the tradition anytime soon).

After the wedding:

These steps are pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll keep it short!

  • Back up cards to main, working drive (done the night right after or day after wedding)
  • Cull through images to find 500 – 800 of our favorites (done on Monday after wedding)
  • Back up favorites onto second, working drive (done on Monday after wedding)
  • Delete unused photos & format memory cards (done on Monday after wedding)
  • Add wedding guests email addresses into our newsletter database (done on Monday after wedding)
  • Select one photo for the ‘One Frame’ blog post (posted Monday after the wedding)
  • Send bride & groom email with link to ‘One Frame’ (done on Monday after wedding)
  • Send newsletter recipients from the wedding the link to ‘One Frame’ (done on Monday after wedding)
  • Edit favorites (done on Monday after wedding)
  • Update second, working drive with final images & transfer to our main storage drive
  • Upload favorites to online gallery site
  • Blog 30-50 images from wedding (done the Wednesday after the wedding)
  • Email bride & groom email with link to the blog post
  • Send newsletter to wedding guests with link to the blog
  • Email bride & groom email with link to full gallery (done anywhere from 5-20 days after the wedding)
  • Send newsletter to wedding guests with link to the gallery
  • Burn DVD of images (if applicable)
  • Mail DVD w/ thank you card

At this point, we are essentially done. Since the images were edited within 4 days of the wedding, we can decide how long we wait to deliver the images (remember, our contract gives us 28 days). The only thing left is designing albums, fulfilling print orders.

By keeping everything streamlined into this structure, it has given us so much more freedom to work on personal projects AND have a personal life outside of the business.

We’ll leave you with a photo from the end of a roll of film in Chicago … love when shots like this happen.

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