Category Archives: Workflow

Getting Ready for a Newborn Session: Your Photographer’s Story

Just spent the last hour and a half packing and getting ready to meet a newborn baby girl in Herndon, VA. First, I picked the props, backdrops, throws, wraps and beanbag covers and got everything ready in one pile in my studio. Here’s a snapshot of what I am bringing to the shoot tomorrow:

Newborn photographer props getting ready for a newborn session

What’s in the pile?(All the fabrics in the pile have been carefully washed and dried, some – handwashed and air-dried, which also took quite some time and planning).

Top right: A large wicker basket, bean bag on top, some beanbag covers (the knit and stretchy fabrics on top of the beanbag)

Top left: some cute newborn baby girl hats, I also packed a couple of headbands with flowers in a ziplock bag, it’s probably hiding somewhere.

Bottom left: cheesecloth and knit wraps to swaddle baby, some ruffle fabrics for swaddling as well, the pink stuff is a tutu and some pink basket filler

Bottom right: wooden trench bowl, black backdrops and beanbag covers, a large textured beanbag cover, faux fur.

I am also bringing (not pictured above): a couple of baskets, a reflector, a canvas bag with background stands, clamps, lens covers, wipes, waterproof blankets, a couple of small washcloths and towels. Aaah, yes, and my kelly moore camera bag with lenses, camera, flash, spare batteries for camera and flash, a few other little things.

In the morning I’ll make 2-3 trips to load my car. Once I arrive on location, I will make 2-3 trips to bring everything in from the car and take 15-20 minutes to set everything up, get ready and do some quick test shots. After the session: load the car, unload the car, unpack, wash, sort, put away to get everything ready for the next newborn shoot next weekend. Ha! Newborn photo sessions is lots of work, my friends.

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Photographer Product Shipping: Gallery Block Example

This gallery block (image printed on professional metallic paper, mounted on wood and laminated) was off to a happy newborn client in Northern Virginia last week. Here is a picture of the gallery bock being packaged for shipment.

Gallery block in the process of being packaged and shipped from the photographer to a Client

Being a professional photographer means that I spend a lot of time on everything that involves running a business. Product packaging and shipping  is one aspect of it. This 20×20 gallery block (along with some prints, a CD, a boutique wallets box, among other things) needed to travel to its new home in Northern Virginia. First I wrapped it in plastic to protect against scratches and minor dents along the edges (the wrap can be seen in the picture). After that I taped a lot of bubble wrap all around (paying special attention to the corners) to protect it during shipment and placed it in a large packaging box specially designed to fit 20×20 blocks with padding. Once the gallery block and other order items were carefully packaged, the box (clearly labeled “fragile” and “do not lay flat”) was off to the post office. Most shipments arrive to clients within Northern Virginia and Washington DC within 1-2 business days!

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Photographer Workflow

Clients and fellow photographers often ask about how much time I spend on each photo shoot. So, here is a quick breakdown:

Before the session: total 3 – 4.5 hours

– communication with Client (this includes scheduling, answering questions, pre-session consultation, miscellaneous paperwork): 1-2 hours

– preparation for the shoot at home: about 30 minutes for on-location shoots and up to 2 hours for a newborn session (includes checking gear, preparing props and backgrounds, packing, studio and lighting setup)

– traveling: usually 60-90 minutes round trip, depending on location; I also usually arrive about 15 minutes earlier for all my on-location sessions

Session: outdoor sessions are usually 60-90 minutes; newborn shoots about 3 hours but can be up to 4.

After the session: total 6.5 hours to 11.5 hours

– file transfer, back up and review: about 30 minutes

– preparation of proofs (editing includes color, brightness, contrast and sharpness correction, skin retouching, work on background, merging photos, etc.): usually about 4-6 hours for an outdoor photo shoot, about 8-10 hours for a newborn session.

– gallery setup for proof viewing, file upload, communication with client regarding proof selection – about 30-45 minutes or about 2 hours for an in-person ordering session

– product, print and file preparation (getting digital files ready on CD, proofing and editing files for printing, communicating with Lab regarding print and product order, packaging for delivery, traveling to the post office): 1-2 hours, more for special orders.

Total time: 10.5 to 23 hours. On average, outdoor sessions involve about 10-12 hours of work, newborn sessions 18-20 (or more, depending on the session).

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