Photography and retouching are a lot of work. Framing, exposing, getting your color right, cropping, zooming, dodging, burning, sharpening: it’s enough to do your head in! But sometimes, we can get lazy, and in my opinion, it can be beneficial to lean into your own laziness rather than burn yourself out working for 10 hours a day.
Now, I’m not saying that spending 1,000 dollars on a new couch is investing in laziness correctly, but rather, investing your time into learning to do things more quickly and your money in items that can hasten your workflow. Learning your keyboard shortcuts takes a lot of time and effort, and for a period of time, it will undoubtedly slow you down until you get them memorized. There is definitely a period of time when you need to take an extra second or two to remember the shortcut, but just push through! Soon, they will be second nature. It’s a big headache, but in the future, it allows you to be far more efficient while you work and create photos without as much effort. On top of this, if you are with a client, you can really show off and seem like more of the professional you are. It feels great to be able to just look at what you’re doing, hit a couple of keys, and poof! You have your tool selected and you’re on to the next thing.
Investment does not just have to be your time, however. I can edit photos and videos almost twice as fast with a combination of keyboard shortcuts and using the right hardware. Investing in objects that let you work more quickly is another way to reduce your time working and spend more time being creative, and less time working with the same photo rates means more profit for you!
Small things, like investing in wireless flash units to save time on set running back and forth to your lights to change settings or investing in a tablet for retouching and a control surface for editing colors or navigating Premiere/Avid/Davinci/Capture One are fantastic ways to improve your retouching and editing. What used to take me two hours, I can do in under an hour now, thanks to learning my shortcuts and getting the right equipment.
How does this make you more money? Let’s do some simple math. Say that you charge $250 for a portrait session. It takes an hour to shoot, half an hour to edit and cull, and an hour to retouch. So, that’s approximately $100/hour. Now, by doing things like learning shortcuts and getting equipment to work more quickly, you can bring your time down to approximately 45 minutes to shoot, 20 minutes edit and cull, and 20 minutes to do your final retouch, and that means instead of three hours to work, you’re down to a little under an hour and a half to work, meaning you’ve earned $166.67/hour, allowing you to fit in more shoots, more edits, and spend more time with your family and loved ones while still earning more money.
As you can see, proper investment of time and money can mean that you can now spend more time with loved ones, vegging out, and just have more time to be lazy and recharge.