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7 Quick tips to Git R Done

March 9th, 2011  |  by  |  published in Featured, Shoot

I am a world class procrastinator, but I love being self-employed. So, I trick myself into getting things done. Here are some of my strategies:

1) I recommend the productivity method Getting Things Done by David Allen. The basic premise is to collect all of your to-dos and put them in a big inbox and then sort your tasks by the tool you need to use to get the job done. Then do the tasks using the same tool at once. Using the phone I make a dentist appointment, call my vendors, and call my mom. When I get in the car, I get what I need for the post office, the grocery store and the print order for my favorite venue. The book has a detailed step by step process and is my go-to system for when I get really overwhelmed. Check it out of your library.

2) Fifteen minutes a day: this is a technique I use when I have a massive job with lots and lots of steps that I desperately don’t want to do. Organizing for my taxes comes to mind. When I’m ready to quit work for the day, I put in my 15 minutes. Often fifteen minutes is just enough to get organized: I shuffle papers and figure out my starting point. I might come up across a problem in the fifteen minutes that I can’t figure out. In the following 24 hours, I usually figure out a solution or figure out who to ask for help, and I can bite off another chunk.

I’ve also used this as a one-off jump start. For instance, I procrastinate over putting together blog posts. In fifteen minutes, I can get my momentum going. I’ve used the “Tick-tock timer” which sets off a very satisfying chime at the end of the time. I’ve also used a kitchen timer.

3) The Seinfeld Method: This is a slight variation on this for establishing new habits that I would like to keep forever. Jerry Seinfeld once told a young comic that the key to success is to write every day. And to force himself to do this, he would get a big wall sized calendar and make a big X on each day that he wrote. Once a string of X’s line up you don’t want to break the chain. I’ve used it for working out more than for photography or business.

4) Team up! I use this method when I need outside motivation to get shit done. I have a photo buddy who I work with now and then and we connect by email or phone and set our own mini-goals for the day. Be S.M.A.R.T. about it. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). The other person keeps you in check. Check in at pre-arranged times by iChat, phone or email. Just knowing that someone is going to ask if I have gotten my XYZ done in fifteen minutes is enough to chase me off of Facebook.

5) An hour by hour schedule: When I am swamped and days are slipping by with no work getting done, I will make an hour by hour schedule. First I get all the things I need to work on or would ideally like to do scribbled down on a scrap paper. The day I started this article, I had write first draft of article, calibrate computer monitor, process wedding, work out, clean house, laundry, post office, work on taxes and write blog. I mix up physical tasks with mental tasks, and the most important things tend to get placed earlier in the day. I take into consideration daylight hours (I prefer to edit in the dark). I schedule in eating and preparing food. And I make the timeline do-able. Not too ridiculous. I usually find that I have ten minutes left over between tasks and I will surf photography forums or facebook as a little reward. The greatest benefit, if I can stick to it, is being able to turn off the computer at night and feel like I have accomplished a great deal. Plus my house is clean!

6) Workflow: If you haven’t already done this, sit down and figure out all of the steps you would like to do for each wedding or portrait that you shoot. Be exhaustive. Start at the beginning of the process when you first get an inquiry or booking. Include every step, from the first thank-you you send to your clients to gathering your information, cleaning your sensors, packing your gear, downloading, editing, processing and delivery. Include marketing steps you would like to incorporate. All of your correspondence. Write down your ideal.

Then come up a system to track everything. I use ShootQ to organize my workflow and love it. But there are tons of other tools on the market. You can utilize a dry erase board and create a grid for every task for every client. You could make a checklist and make a photocopy for each job you get and just cross off every task with a pen. Having a standardized list to follow, reminds me to give each customer the level of service that I want to give. In the middle of the season, it can be very easy to take a booking and not send out a thank-you, or to skip contacting the venues.

7) Watch TV while you work: This is crazy-talk, and comes from my own personal desperation. After I first started shooting doubles and triples, and my office chair felt like a stockade, I set up my laptop next to my desktop and picked out some old TV shows and got them playing in the background. I don’t pay too much attention to the shows, although I do glance at them from time to time. The story going in the background does two things for me. I tell myself: I am going to process this wedding for at least one show. And I get rolling. Then I watch another show and another show.

This technique also cuts through my own self-criticism, I am particularly hard on myself when I am over-tired and stressed out. If I am involved in a plot, and I come across a photo that I took that didn’t turn out like I wished it had, I just shrug and move on. I don’t get mad at myself or tell myself that I must be a terrible person because I missed the focus or the exposure or my composition was uninspired. I just do what I can to fix the image or delete it and move on. I don’t know how or why this works, but for me, it does.

I especially love going through old TV shows. I watched all of Armistead Maupin’s Tales Of The City as well as way too many episodes of SOAP. You know I like you now, I wouldn’t spill that little gem to just anyone. :) Pick a show that you find mildly amusing, but not one that will make you want to stop editing so you don’t miss anything.

So those are my tricks. They may seem a little redundant, but they all feel very unique to me. I would love some new tricks to put up my sleeve, so let’s hear them!

Andree Kehn, Maine Wedding Photographer

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Muddy muddy muddy waters

September 13th, 2009  |  by  |  published in Mingle

Stacey Doyle came up to second shoot a wedding in Maine last week and got stuck with me in a Hurricane. The couple had decided on an outdoor wedding with the only shelter from the storm being a tent. The couple and their guests were a hearty bunch, and rolled with the raindrops. They slipped and slided on the dance floor and so did we.

Here’s a shot of Stacey’s feet at the end of the night and the shoes the morning after. They’re posed ceremoniously on my light case. We were two walking mud puddles, it was like being at Woodstock without the hallucinogens.

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Peek-a-boo!

August 11th, 2009  |  by  |  published in Mingle

As you can probably tell, us ShootStylers shoot a lot together–both on personal projects as well as our paying gigs. You might wonder if with two photographers at a wedding, do we ever get in each others shot? Well of course not!

Just kidding! If that were the truth, this would be a really short blog post. At a wedding, we try to be aware not only of the other photographer’s location but also of what they are shooting, the lens they are using, and what they are doing for lighting. This way we can take different shots, giving the client more variety in their final proof set. Of course, since we are all used to shooting weddings by ourselves, when we see a great shot we often jump in and grab it, even if it means getting in the other photographer’s way for a moment (well, unless it is at a critical point in the wedding.)

I’m currently editing a wedding that Andree helped me out with, and I’m seeing a number of times this happened. For instance, during the getting ready period, I noticed that the hair stylist wore his instruments like a gunslinger. Cool detail, so I ducked in and shot it.

Boston Wedding Photographer

I was a few frames into my shot before I realized that Andree was on the other side of the stylist’s table shooting shooting with an ultra wide lens. Whoops, no way I wasn’t going to be in her shot, so I backed off.

Maine Wedding Photographer

Well, I backed off after shooting a quick frame of Andree! :)

Boston Wedding Photographer

Always ready with a backup plan, Andree turned and shot an even better shot of the bride getting her hair done in the stylist’s mirror. I love this angle because it shows the bride and an attendant getting ready, and it also highlights the grandeur of the Boston Harbor Hotel’s Rotunda, where the preparations were taking place.

maine Wedding Photographer

Not too much later, I did it to her again. Andree had climbed behind the table the makeup artist was using to shoot this cool reflection of the bride having her makeup done. Reflections were a theme that morning.

maine Wedding Photographer

I saw a shot I couldn’t resist and climbed up on chair behind them.

maine Wedding Photographer

What couldn’t I resist that required getting in Andree’s shot? Well, through the whole process of hair and makeup,  the bride was laughing and smiling, but her clenched hands told a deeper story about her emotional state..

Boston Wedding Photographer

And of course because I’m a stinker, I shot Andree climbing back under the table.

Boston Wedding Photographer

During the portraits, the reverse occurred. I was lining up a shot of the couple on the wharf, and Andree stepped into grab a detail of the couple’s hands and flowers.

Boston Wedding Photographer

maine Wedding Photographer

No problemo, I just came in closer which was a better shot anyway.

Boston Wedding Photographer

Andree got her revenge when I was shooting the couple from a low angle in another location.

Boston Wedding Photographer

I guess there’s just something irresistible about shooting your partner photographer when they’re on the ground.

Maine Wedding Photographer

Finally there are times when we can’t help but appear in each other’s shots–because events are moving too fast, and we want to be sure to get excellent coverage. Here I was shooting on the dance floor and Andree was on a chair shooting over guest’s heads. You can see her right behind the bride’s arm. This sort of thing doesn’t bother me at all. I’m there documenting the story of their wedding, and at their wedding, there were photographers. If those photographers occasionally appear in the frame, well that’s just part of the story.

Boston Wedding Photographer

I especially don’t mind the other photographer being across from me because when people are dancing, they often turn their back to me. The bride did just that while singing along to a song, and Andree was able to get a great expression that I never even saw.

maine Wedding Photographer

Andree also shot frames where you can see me from this angle. When I get to that point of the edit, if what’s happening on the dance floor is compelling, I’ll leave those shots in the proofs. I wonder if either of us will make the album?

Finally, the wedding had a photo booth set up, and on our way out the door we took our pictures. I promise that we looked a lot better twelve hours earlier when we arrived at the hotel to start shooting. :)

Wedding Photography Team

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Great Diamond! Island

July 30th, 2009  |  by  |  published in Mingle

Stacey (Rhode Island Wedding Photographer) came up to Maine to second shoot a wedding with me, Andree, (Maine Wedding Photographer) on Great Diamond island a few weeks ago. It is always so amazing to have a second shooter along, as you can get tons of great angles and shots that you just can’t get by yourself, partly because you can’t be in two places at once, and partly because with another photographer shooting, you can check to make sure someone is getting the safe photo and then you can get yourself somewhere really different and push boundaries.

Here is the album my designer came up from our work. As with the wedding I shot with Earl earlier this year, the breakdown of photos in the album works out to 50%mine and 50% Stacey’s.

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It’s in the Details

June 22nd, 2009  |  by  |  published in Mingle

Shootstyle members Andree and Earl got to shoot another wedding together. Instead of the standard wedding coverage we see on blogs everyday, we are showing just details from this wedding. If you take a good look at these images, you can tell a lot about the couple and almost everything about the wedding. This was a super fun day. Let us know if you can guess anything about the day. :)

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One Couple Prepared Two Ways

June 15th, 2009  |  by  |  published in Style

Last weekend Andree (Maine Wedding Photographer) invited me (Earl, Boston Wedding Photographer) to return to the shores of Sebago Lake in Maine. We had a developed a pretty good working rhythm during our last shoot together, and for most of the day, we each did our own thing and came away with two unique views of the same event.  During a quiet moment, we asked the couple to pose in front a classic New England setting–a shack which was covered with old buoys.

Andree moved in close enough to see the weathering of the old buoys and threw the couple out of focus in the background:

New England Wedding Photographer Earl Christie

I shot the couple through a bush with a plastic lens, framing the them against the wall.

New England Wedding Photographer Earl Christie

I think that having the same couple, the same setting, the same light, and two shots taken within seconds of each other, really illustrates how two photographers will visualize the same subject differently.

Vive la différence!

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Migis Lodge shoot- Andree and Earl

May 16th, 2009  |  by  |  published in Mingle

Earl Christie, Boston Wedding Photographer extraordinaire, and I (Andree- Maine Wedding Photographer) shot this wedding near my home in Maine. It is one of my favorite venues, Migis Lodge. It’s a small lodge on the banks of Sebago Lake in Casco that tends to have weddings in the Spring and Fall and reunions and get-togethers during the high season. This works out great for me, as most of my clientele gets married outside. In the Spring and Fall they need a venue that gives them an option to escape in side if the weather gets nasty or cold.

The weather was perfect for us however. Here is the album design I presented to the couple, that showcases both Earl’s and my talents equally!

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