Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding & portrait photographer serving DC, VA & Worldwide. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!
Manali Photography is a wedding & couples' photography business based out of Washington D.C. and Charlottesville, VA. When she's not making couples laugh or editing for the fastest turnaround time you ever did see, you might find her with family & friends at a vineyard with cheese & rosé to share! Cheers!!
The fall is coming up which means getting back into the swing of getting to capture beautiful weddings and getting my editing grind on! That being said, when you have a lot of shoots and a lot of photos to edit, it’s very easy to get lost spending long hours behind your computer and start to feel like a zombie after no face to face contact with other humans.
THE TWO RULES OF EIGHT
This is SO elementary but somewhere along the lines of growing up, people lose sight of this easily and often first when they get really busy. GET EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP EACH DAY GUYS!! This is something that should be non-negotiable!! I don’t care how busy you are, there is ROOM to get 8 hours of sleep unless you have someone waking you up in the middle of the night (young moms get a pass on this but that’s about it). If you don’t believe me, read 168 Hours with Laura Vanderkam and you’ll see that you can ALWAYS find time in your week for eight hours of sleep.
Also, drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day! I’m the first to admit I’m that chick that RUNS on coffee but your body needs water to function at its best and avoid health-related problems! IT NEEDS WATER. For me, this actually takes more planning than it probably does for others but if you’re like me, here are two things that have helped me stay on track with getting enough water in my system (along with doses of coffee) each day.
TIP #1: Set a reminder on your phone every 2 hours to drink water. I know this seems kind of strange but it definitely works! This also forces me to GET UP from my seat, walk up and down a flight of stairs to get water so it doubles to get my blood pumping a little within the workday which keeps me awake and productive!
TIP #2: If you LOVE checking things off of your to-do list, this might work really well for you! On my planner, at the beginning of each month, I make 8 little circles on top of each daily page to help track my water intake! I like checking these off throughout the day! After tracking these for a little while I’ve noticed that I tend to get sick / get migraines / feel sluggish when I have a bunch of consecutive days without drinking enough water.
TIME BLOCKING TASKS
I set specific time deadlines for tasks in my business. For example, if I’m editing a wedding, I’ll first break it up into different Lightroom Collections based on parts of the day. Then I’ll give myself 1 hour to edit the Reception Collection and block off say, Monday from 10 to 11 AM to get this done.
I’ll block off different times throughout my editing days for specific collections to get done! This makes me focus on what I’m editing and edit as efficiently as possible without getting distracted to get each section of the wedding done within its time limit.
I also use this tip when working on other parts of my business such as responding to emails, prepping blog posts and social media content, tracking website analytics, etc. It’s harder to pick up your phone and start mindlessly scrolling and wasting minutes of your day when you’re trying to meet a deadline!
Along with this, I force myself to have a hard stop time for my workday! This might sound strange, especially when you have a lot of work to get through on a day, but this actually forces me to be more productive during the time that I have! I can’t get distracted and HAVE to get my stuff done if I know I’m shutting off my computer by 5 PM and can’t touch it again until the next day!
Along with time blocking tasks, I’ve found that my brain tends to work better when I know exactly what I’m working on for each day ahead of time. Each day during the week is given a certain business purpose and I actually plan shoots & meetings around this general schedule.
Here’s how I designate weekly tasks to each day in my business! I’ll write a longer blog post on this where I go into detail on exactly which tasks I do on which days but here’s a quick overview!
Monday – Content Prep Day aka Editing Blog Post Images, Prepping Blog Posts & Social Media Content. This is a day I typically reserve to be at home!
Tuesday – My Out of the House Days! Shooting Engagement Sessions / Portraits, Client Consultations, Errands
Wednesday – My Editing Day! This is also another day I reserve to stay at home and go HAM on editing images from weddings
Where would my life be without checklists and systems in place? Not entirely sure but it DEFINITELY would be hella chaotic. Systems help me stay on top of tasks, keep all my information organized & easy to access, and ensure a smooth and consistent client experience across the board! I use a combination of Trello, Google Calendar, and my Simplified Planner to keep track of my monthly, weekly and daily to-do’s.
Each wedding & portrait client gets their own card on Trello with a checklist that I run through to make sure I never miss a deadline, forget to communicate something to them (which helps solve problems before they ever arise!), send a gift/card, or prep ahead of time for a flawless day!
Write out your workflow and make a checklist that you can easily reference for EACH client! Also, I’ve found helping make a chart that shows the progress of where each client is in the overall process has been super helpful to easily see what I’ve done and what needs to still be accomplished for each client at a quick glance!
HoneyBook has been a tremendous help to systemize and automate things like sending out proposals, contracts, invoices, questionnaires & timelines within minutes with email templates that I’ve pre-written and saved for easy use! I have a workflow added to each project so I’m always reminded of tasks by due date and never miss anything crucial! It also helps me keep track of my source of referrals and financial monthly reports that I look at especially while paying sales tax for each month!
Here’s my discount code to get 50% off of HoneyBook for your first year! Trust me, you won’t want to look back!
There are SO many other features and resources within this system that makes it an absolute MUST HAVE in a growing photography business! One of the biggest things I’m so happy I did while I was growing my business was to set up HoneyBook before I was at full capacity of shoots. It totally saved my butt when my business really ramped up and I had a lot of clients to keep track of especially while still working my full-time job at Accenture!
Within Gmail, I use Canned Responses ALL THE TIME to cut down on the time I spend writing similar emails over and over again! That being said, I still personalize each and every email I send out since I always want to keep a personal touch while emailing with my clients and show them how excited I am to be working with them!
DO SOMETHING ELSE EACH DAY
Going to keep this point short & sweet because clearly, I write way too much! The biggest thing to help you balance your life & business is to close out of your computer by a certain point each day and DO SOMETHING ELSE for the day! I’ve found that journaling, reading, playing piano, going out to happy hour, watching Gilmore Girls or football or doing ANYTHING else helps switch my “business brain” off and stops it from consuming my entire mind! This makes it easier to go to sleep at night as well which goes right back to point #1!
Well that’s it for this post! If you liked this post, you should check out these Business Related posts as well!
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