Photography can be very time-consuming. Over the years, I have picked up a few workarounds, so hopefully ,you can avoid the hours and days that I have pilfered away. These are my five time-saving tips.
Build a Central Smart Catalog
If you are anything like me, you have 30 hard drives and nowhere near enough USB ports. For years, I battled this alongside both working from home and working from my studio. That was until my friend showed me how he had a portable drive that acted as a smart previews catalog for every photo he had ever taken. Now, it took me three weeks to set this up, but right now, from the comfort of my home, I can edit or search for any image I want, pop it in my newly created render folder, and then, when I turn up to work in the morning, I can export them. This saves me a hug amount of time and allows me to do a few more hours of work once the kids have gone to sleep.
To do this, start a new catalog in Adobe Lightroom and add a drive at a time. Don’t copy, just add. Then, highlight all of the images and head on over to build smart previews. This is not a quick task, especially for someone like me, who has a decade's worth of work, but it has opened up new possibilities in terms of where and when I can work.
I stole this from Casey Neistat. I have all of my chargers Velcro’ed onto wooden and metal boards with tacks holding the cables neatly in place; these cables then cascade into a central multi socket, leaving me with only one plug at the end. These are then mounted to the wall with a couple of screws. Pre-psychopathic cabling, if I wanted to go away to shoot for a week, it meant organizing all of my chargers and suitable cables, finding plug converters for whichever country I was in, and then sorting through the inevitable cable monster. Now, I just remove the screws and walk off with the entire set up.
Label Your Plugs
Go buy yourself a white pen. These things are great for writing on pretty much everything. If you end up with a similar setup to me, where you have about a million plugs all running various vital bits of kit, at some point, you will have gone to unplug your fan heater and then look on in horror as your computer goes black. Every plug in my studio has its purpose scribbled onto it. I have then organized where the power goes to try to save any really stupid moments where my brain overrides the labeling.
Label Your Batteries
If you have ever shot weddings with another Canon shooter (I can’t speak for any other brand, as I have no idea), you will get to the end of the night and start the classic “I am missing a body cap and three genuine Canon batteries” conversation. I have my surname written on every single one of my batteries, not because I am paranoid about losing them or a friend pinching a couple, but because it saves so much time when sorting through kit. I would add that it is worth marking your lens and body caps too. I also have mine numbered from 1-20 in the order in which I purchased them. I try to use them in chronological order too; this way, I know when they all need replacing.
Format Your Cards
Once you have backed up your files, pop the card back in your camera and hit format. There is nothing worse than having a card in your camera and not being 100% sure if it is backed up in three locations already. Make sure that you have them backed up correctly, and then, hit format. It will save both time and stress.
What are your time-saving tips?