workflow chart for photographers

Photography workflow chart [Free Download]

Key Takeaway

With a clear timeline of tasks for each of your client set out in a workflow chart you will always know exactly what your progress is in the delivery of your products to your clients. 

Free Workflow Chart for Photographers

How to never feel behind in your photography business

Free Photographer Workflow Chart Template

Please raise your hand if you got a client call once, and you knew instantly „Argh…. I should have called her earlier about this”. Or raise your hand if you set down at your desk, and you didn’t know where to start with editing your images. Was it wedding XYZ or newborn shoot ABC?

Or maybe you found out a little too late that you promised images early tomorrow, and now you have to work all night to get it done, leaving your spouse/partner/dog/cat or Netflix alone again ;-).

Sounds familiar?

We have all been there, and heaven knows, it’s only human.

But it’s not what we want right?

We want to be in control.

Not doubting ourselves when we look at our to-do list.

We want to work regular hours and feel free when we are not at work so we can enjoy our work time & our own time to the max.

workflow chart

Photography workflow chart – Or how to create an overview in your photography business

Here’s the good news.

Organizing your photography work can be done.

With the right template or tools at your disposal, you will have peace of mind in no time.

Download the free template workflow chart at the end of this blog post and you are well on your way.

You will be able to track the progress of all your shoots in a glance.

If you like your workflow chart even more automated and always up to date you can start using ShootZilla.

But let’s start with the basics first; set up your ideal workflow.


... or create your automatic workflow with ShootZilla and get step by step guidance.

7 Steps to creating your ultimate workflow chart

1. Define who you want to be as a photographer

Before you start diving into any elements of your workflow, you need to have an understanding of what kind of photographer you want to be.

Will you be a full service highly branded photographer or, a no-frills – deliver images on DVD and ready – kind of photographer?

For each kind, a different workflow will evolve.

Keep this in mind when you write down your essential workflow steps.

2. Get a pen and paper and write down the basic workflow steps that you already perform with each client that books you

For example:

    • Schedule Meeting – usually people meet at least one time with their photographer, you can also do Skype calls if your clients live abroad
    • Thank + Finance – thanks for booking me + send an invoice for the deposit or first installment
    • Finance – final payment if you gave the clients a payment plan
    • 1 Week Confirm – talk details through 1 week before the wedding
    • Shoot
    • Finance – if any additional charges have come up
    • Backup
    • Culling of images
    • Edit
    • Send images – Could be either on DVD or via online gallery
    • Backup – one final time with the edited photos

3. Add the tasks that you would like to perform when your life is allowing you to be the perfect photographer

A high-end exclusive photographer that includes an engagement shoot and album might come up with this:

      • Schedule Meeting
      • Receive contract & deposit
      • Schedule engagement shoot
      • Shoot engagement shoot
      • Cull engagement shoot
      • Edit engagement shoot
      • Deliver engagement shoot
      • Blog engagement shoot
      • Send client questionnaire for the wedding
      • Send pre-wedding gift
      • Invoice Balance
      • 1 Week Confirm
      • Shoot wedding
      • Send thank you note
      • Cull wedding
      • Edit wedding
      • Deliver wedding images
      • Layout of album
      • Send layout to the client
      • Approval received
      • Order album
      • Invoice Balance – if any outstanding
      • Send album
      • Thank you – ask for referral/testimonial
      • Publish – get wedding published on a wedding blog
      • Vendors – Send photos to vendors

I am sure you already perform some of these extra tasks sometimes, but the key to growing your business is being consistent with it!

Consistency will make you stand out from the crowd, so I challenge you to do these tasks for every client from now on!

You may think that it’s an exaggeration to do a thank you ánd a pre-wedding gift, but there is a really good argument for that.

Let me explain.

There is usually some time between a couple booking you and the actual shoot.

During this period, the couple might hear from other married couples about their photographer or get some late replies to other inquiries they made with wedding photographers.

This and many other things may get them doubting if they have made the right choice.

When you reinforce their correct decision with thank you notes or pre-wedding gifts, you make them feel reassured in their decision to book you.

And they may refer you to their friends even before the actual shoot since you made sure you were top of mind again.

A pre-wedding gift is also a perfect way to bring your branding across your clients once more, and just plain simple let them know you appreciate them.

See these examples from photographer Jasmine Star: Personalized chocolates and cookies.

For more inspiration on what you can do in your photography timeline to be super prepared for each and every shoot, check out this blog: Wedding Photography Timeline: Ideal Times for Your Photography

4. Create deadlines for yourself for each task

If you are not convinced yet that deadlines will make your life easier, read my blog post „4 reasons for deadlines”.

[pullquote align=”normal”]Create deadlines for your tasks so YOU are running your business and your clients are not running YOU! [/pullquote]

Deadlines for our workflow could be:

[one_half_first]

Task
Schedule Meeting
Receive contract & deposit
Schedule engagement shoot
Shoot engagement shoot
Cull engagement shoot
Edit engagement shoot
Deliver engagement shoot
Blog engagement shoot
Send client questionnaire for the wedding
Send pre-wedding gift
Invoice Balance
1 Week Confirm
Shoot wedding
Send thank you note
Cull wedding
Edit wedding
Deliver wedding images
Layout of album
Send layout to the client
Approval received
Order album
Invoice Balance (if any outstanding)
Send album
Thank you – ask for referral/testimonial
Publish – get wedding published on a wedding blog
Vendors – Send photos to vendors

[/one_half_first]

[one_half_last]

Deadline
ASAP after inquiry
ASAP after booking
After booking and before the wedding
Appointment Date
1-3 days after the shoot
1-3 days after the shoot
7 days after the shoot
14 days after the shoot
8 weeks before the wedding
8 weeks before the wedding
4 weeks before the wedding
1 week before the wedding
on the wedding date
1 day after the wedding
1-3 days after the wedding
1-7 days after the wedding
14 days after the wedding
4 days after delivering images
4 days after delivering images
14 days after delivering layout
2 days after receiving approval
0 days after receiving approval
14 days after ordering an album
1 day after sending an album
within 6 months after the wedding
within 6 months after the wedding

[/one_half_last]

5. Combine your tasks and deadlines in one chart

All you need from this point is to chart them, so they become visual to you, and you don’t have to keep all the information in your head anymore.

There are two ways to do that:

  • You can download the workflow chart I created from this example for you. It’s a PSD file so you can edit the tasks to your taste and style. See the link at the end of this post.
  • You can use ShootZilla to create a dynamic workflow chart for you. See the benefits of digital versus paper in the box below.

Digital versus Paper workflow chart

You probably know that I am the founder of ShootZilla and since I know how helpful it is, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t promote it like a madman ;-).

But I do want you to get started with organizing no matter what budget you have!! So, therefore, I offer you my PSD download for a nice paper workflow chart for free! Having said that, there are some disadvantages, otherwise, I would have never started ShootZilla. Here is the overview so you know what you are getting into ;-).

  1. For starters, you calculate all the deadlines for your tasks by hand. When you enter your client, you enter their shoot date, and then manually calculate backward, when is my pre-wedding survey due? And forwards, when are my blog posts, edits, album layouts, etc. etc. due? Enter all these dates in your paper sheet. Manually.
  2. For every shoot that gets delayed, you have to manually scratch names and dates on your nice workflow chart. Now, this won’t happen often with wedding dates, but yes for engagement shoots. And so all the deadlines that were dependent on that shoot start to move up as well. Time to get your marker!
  3. If you think of another step that you want to add to your workflow – which is great btw, you are getting more professional and automated with every step! – then you have to create a new pdf, print it out again and copy all old names to your updated workflow chart.
  4. A shoot gets canceled. Cross it out. Too bad that it looks a bit off on your wall now.
  5. You ordered all your shoots chronologically and now you get another booking with very short notice. So long for your chronological order ;-)
  6. And of course, all the other things apply when you don’t have your work digital and in the cloud. You have to bring it everywhere you want to work!

In ShootZilla that all works automatically. New tasks are updated to all existing jobs and when you change a shoot date, all tasks will be given a new deadline, calculated from this new date. Also when a new client books you, the shoot dates will be shown in the right chronological order.

6. Bring all your existing clients to your new workflow chart!

Basically, just enter them chronologically from left to right and see your checked off tasks moving from top to bottom!

7. Enjoy the overview that you have now

No more feeling behind or overwhelmed. Always on top of your game and serving your clients the best way possible by working ahead!

BONUS: When you are working with a great workflow and are super organized, be sure to let your clients know about that too.

You can tell at every milestone what’s in store for them, this way they don’t have to be insecure about any point in the process and this will give them peace of mind too.

They will tell all their friends what a good choice they made by booking you!

Now, you’re ready to list your steps. Do it first on paper and then in the PSD. You will have your overview within the hour.

If you are more of an online person, you can start right now by checking out ShootZilla.

Start with the ‘basic photography workflow’ in ShootZilla that will fit most shoots and enter all your clients. (approx. 10 minutes for first 10 clients you have in progress).

Add more workflow steps later when you are used to the overview and know that the important milestones are all taken care off (they will appear green in the dashboard).

>> Check out ShootZilla

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