When I tell people I am a photographer, I generally get quite a positive reaction – it certainly beats telling them I am an Accountant (which I used to be!). Then almost immediately I get asked “So, do you shoot weddings?” Which I don’t, or at least, don’t do regularly. There are many misconceptions about what a Photographer’s day might look like so I thought I would do a “Day in the Life of …..” blog post. I’m doing a typical Monday for this purpose ……..
6.50 am The alarm hasn’t gone off yet but the cats are letting me know that it’s breakfast time so I’m up to sort them out. I’m straight into my running kit for a quick half an hour round town before the rest of the family are up. I don’t manage this every day but if I have a day when I am likely to be at the computer a lot then it’s a good antidote.
7.30 am I’m back in time to see the family for breakfast as the kids get themselves sorted and ready for school – the joy of teenagers being that I’m nearly redundant on this front; I just try to get a teensy bit of chat out of them before they disappear.
8.15 am Time for a quick tidy up and domestic sort out before I am at my desk to start the day.
8.30 – 10 am Check emails, social media and photo orders that have arrived via the website before starting on photo editing. Weekends tend to be my busiest days for shoots unless it is nursery season (May and October), or unless I have had corporate shoots, so it’s not unusual for a Monday to be spent editing and sorting out photos from weekend shoots. At a typical family portrait shoot I will take around 100 photos, at a teen photoshoot party around 275 photos (I’m remarkably consistent!) and at a nursery shoot I could have as many as 500 images to process. All these images need to be uploaded, backed up and reviewed in order to select those suitable for further attention. Following a family session I would prepare a selection of images to show the client at a viewing session (usually within a week of the shoot) – and my favourite images would be edited in terms of lighting levels, colour v black and white, crop, special effects. Depending on the shoot I may create a slideshow with music etc or need to spend time on detailed photoshop work to remove skin blemishes or other unwanted details. All of this can be incredibly time consuming, but if it’s not too complicated then I listen to the radio as I go.
Mid morning Definitely need a coffee and usually I haven’t got this far without several interruptions. There are many advantages of working from home, but the downside is that it is quite easy for the day to be hi-jacked. I take phone calls as I go and am pleased to be able to schedule in an afternoon headshot for a Sales Manager who needs one urgently for his Linked In profile.
Doorbell Aha, the postman is there with a HUGE cardboard box. Very exciting! This’ll be the customer frames from a couple of family shoots a few weeks ago coming back from my supplier. I absolutely love getting the finished products back – I unpack everything to check it is all looking good and send some quick messages off to my customers to let them know their frames are ready for collection.
There is also a big packet of prints from a teen party a week or so that I extract, check and start to package up for my customers. Each one goes into a folder mount and is double checked against the original order. BY the end of the morning I have a big pile ready to go to the Post Office (one of my least favourite jobs).
Lunch A quick lunch in the kitchen and a scan of the headlines to see what has been happening in the world. I like something pretty healthy so that I can indulge later on!
Afternoon Time to check the studio is set up for the headshot coming in before he arrives. It turns out to be a very nice chap who is leaving the corporate world so wants an updated and fresh image for his social media/ Linked in profiles. We have a great chat about all sorts of things as we do the shoot, and venture into the garden too for a bit of variety in the imagery. He has a look at the images on the back of the camera and I have a pretty good idea of which ones he likes best but we agree that I’ll put them on a gallery for him to show his family later prior to final selection.
The headshot guy has gone so I immediately load his photos up and do a quick edit before creating a gallery for him and sending the details over.
4 pm My daughter is back from school so time for a cuppa and a chat before she retreats to her bedroom
4.30 pm I have a customer viewing coming soon so I check the projector and laptop are all set up ready to go with the images from the shoot. These sessions are sometimes in the evening to accommodate working parents but these people are coming at 5 pm which is a little more civilised. Usually I allow about an hour for people to make their selections but this can sometimes take much longer, depending on how decisive people are. And how many of them are involved in the process, all with their own opinions. I try to help as I can with suggestions of what I think will work best.
Evening Viewing session, at the end of which I have a lovely frame order from my customer – that’ll be tomorrow’s job to prepare and send off.
Depending on the time of year, I can sign off for the evening. During super busy periods though I might well find myself drifting back to the computer to finish some edits or package up some orders late at night.
Is it what people think?
I suspect that people think I spend most of my time out and about with my camera and then that (somehow?) these photos are miraculously transformed into beautiful finished products. The reality is that there is a huge amount of time spent uploading, selecting, culling, reviewing, editing and preparing images in order to get to the final selection, and this means a lot of time in front of the computer. Which I don’t mind – but the challenge for me is to be disciplined and not to stray – it is oh so easy to be distracted by a video about the latest fantastic photographic gizmo when I should be photoshopping! But as Benjamin Franklin said, “if you want something done, ask a busy person” …. this is oh so true!