In my previous post about efficiency, I posed a series of questions designed to get you to think about the major tasks that you face in your digital photography workflow and how you can increase performance. Today I’d like to present five quick, but major tips that can help you speed things up even more and get the most out of your time in the office.
Again, I want you to really think about this because a few seconds spent here and there throughout the day can really add up to long minutes, or depending on how much time you “waste,” up to an hour or more per week. In that time, you could write up a bid for a client, make follow up calls on your invoices, edit a batch of photos, prepare an image submission for a client, meet with a customer face to face, go out and shoot some new images, or spend more time with your family.
I’m not saying that I’m the most efficient guy either. I waste plenty of time each week and write this post as much as a reminder to myself as to the rest of you.
Anyway, without any further time lost, here’s the list:
Upgrade your computer: This is the biggest one. A new computer will be fast, snappy and, of course, you’ll be so much more excited to work on it, you won’t be able to resist sitting down and getting the work done. An up-to-date computer will really chew through those processor intensive applications like Lightroom, Aperture and Photoshop. Plus, if you’re one of those non-linear folks who likes to do more than one thing a time, with a fast computer, you’ll be able to keep more windows and apps open at any given time without much slowdown.
Add More RAM: Not nearly as expensive as buying a new computer, this will help increase the performance of your existing machine so that it can better handle those big programs and multitasking sessions. Memory is cheaper every year, so consider maxing out your machine if possible.
Upgrade your software and OS: Software developers are able to improve performance of the programs they write with each new version. Not only do the latest versions run more smoothly on your system’s processor architecture, they’re packed with shortcuts and other time-saving features that will indeed speed up your workflow. Spending some time to learn how to use new features in your workflow is time well spent, and it will pay off in the weeks and months ahead.
Use keyboard shortcuts: You don’t have to do everything with your mouse or trackpad. Make use of keyboard shortcuts, which can save you lots of time throughout the day. Most digital imaging programs are packed with shortcuts, many of them single key, which can really speed things up if you use them often. Also, don’t forget about the system shortcuts like “page up/down”, “home/end” and the various control/command/alt-click options that are built into your OS.
Buy software that’s built for each task: We self employed people like to pride ourselves on being resourceful, which often means saving money and making do with the software that we already have to do certain non-photo related tasks. Know when to make smart investments on programs that will help speed things up in your business, like photography business and bidding and invoicing software and client database/record or accounting software. You perform these kinds of tasks every day, so set yourself up with the right tools to do the job quickly.
Dan Bailey wastes plenty of time as a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska. Follow his own blog at danbaileyphoto.com/blog and see his daily updates at facebook.com/danbaileyphoto.