How are you at printing your personal photos? Yeah, I'm looking at you, person with the thousands of photos on your phone and/or hard drive that have been neglected and are crying out for some lovin'. Don't ignore me over here, I've got stuff to tell you.
In my younger and more carefree years, I was amazing at printing photos on the regular. Then, I got old and busy and tired, and it seems like my print orders got spread out farther and farther until I was so backlogged on photo printing I didn't know where to start. For me, that was totally unacceptable.
So, I sat down, came up with a plan, and I've been printing my personal work like a boss ever since. Ready to get your life together and start printing your personal photos like a boss, too?
I thought so.
1. Find a print company you want to marry and have little photographic babies with.
Weird visual, right? In all seriousness, you need to find a print company you love. For me it's Artifact Uprising followed by Nations Photo Lab. I LOVE them both so SO much. They have the best customer service I've ever dealt with and both of them have great quality products. I know how their websites work and what to expect when my boyfriend the UPS driver shows up. Maybe you already have a company you love or maybe you are still shopping around. Find one that makes you swoon, don't settle. I'm only this passionate about a handful of things, but dammit, pick a good print company. (said with love!) Plus, if you are only mediocre about the prints you get, is that really any kind of motivation to print?
2. Write it on your calendar in colorful pens and washi tape.
Crazy, right? But it works! I have office hours M-F and each day has a different task assigned to it, Friday being a day of digital clean-up, organization, and printing. EVERY Friday I do this. I might not order prints every Friday, but every Friday I get photos uploaded or work on an album. Maybe you don't shoot enough or have enough time in your schedule to do this weekly, so try bi-weekly. If you work a full-time job other than photography, maybe you take one evening hour or one hour every other Saturday? Whatever you do, write it down like you would a doctor's appointment or a child's athletic event. Don't cancel and make yourself show up, rain or shine.
3. Make lists to divide & plan out work (because Rome wasn't built in a day).
Right now you are probably thinking, "Ok Ashley, this is all great but I'm so behind on printing I need a year to catch up, a day a week will never work!" First of all, stop right there, Negative Nancy. I don't want your bad vibes bringing my print party down. Second of all, you can do it! Every Friday before my office hours start, whether with coffee or while the kids are playing, I make a list to make sure I go into my digital clean-up with a plan. You know the saying, if you fail to plan you plan to fail? It's true here too. I at least have a daily plan but if I know ahead of time what needs to be done, I'll write it in my calendar along with PRINT DAY. Maybe this week and next week you work on organizing and printing photos from a vacation last summer, and the week after that you start tackling the photos you took October and the next week you focus on the photos on your iPhone.
My weekly workflow looks something like this:
1. Upload weekly photos for my Project 52 to my album in AU. I do this so at the end of the year I'm not hit with a huge task of uploading a years worth of photos and then avoid doing anything with them.
2. Go through other weekly photos and decide what is print worthy. Edit and upload. Print when there is enough to make a decent sized order.
3. Once a month: go through the iPhone memory and upload any photos that are worth keeping (for some reason I end up with a lot of weird photos on my phone)
Ok, that's it! See, that wasn't so bad. Don't you feel all motivated to get your calendar, get to scheduling, and get to printing your personal work like a boss?
PS if simplifying your photography and making personal work a priority is your love language, you might want to check this out!