Best Practices for Tracking your Time
Here is a sample time track log. Every day, you are going to write down the start of your day to the end of your day. If you can do this for two weeks, you are beautiful shape. I did this, I can't say I made it exactly two weeks, cause I was already pissed at myself after like three days. Shhh, I gotta change. So I made some adjustments after a very short time of seeing where my time actually went each day. And then, I gave this to my employees and made them do it, and they hated me for this, for this, for two weeks. I said for two weeks you are going to write down every minute of your day, what's going on, what you are doing. And it was helpful because I realized, number one; that the person that did my production work on my photography, she wrote down, and I would see that she spent sometimes 10 to 15 minutes finding pictures. This was back in days when we stored everything on CDs. Remember those things? CDs, those round little disks. So, we had all this cabinet full of all these lit...
tle CDs, and they were just alphabetized, by job number, and she would actually spend 15 minutes, going and finding it, digging through our system, maybe it is lost and filed in the wrong place. So, then she would have to go and do it So, then I realized, oh my god, 15 minutes and we are printing one 5x7 from this thing? When we look at our pricing, you are going to realize that 15 minutes and how you are pricing your 5x7, is like ooh that doesn't work. What I am charging is not enough considering it takes her that, so I got to do two things; change my prices, and I got to make sure she is more efficient. So we fixed that, changed our system so she took two minutes to find something instead of 15 minutes. So, that is what this time track log gave me as an idea of where time is actually spent. And if it is actually needed to be spent in producing a product that needs to go into my cogs. So, if you can commit to doing this for two weeks, I want to feel like, I want to give you a prize or something because this is so hard, this is the hardest thing you will ever do, next to giving birth. Which I have not experienced myself. But, I have told, been told it is pretty hard, but this is second to that. So, a couple more time efficiency tips, use Lightroom to edit, you guys all edit with Lightroom here I am assuming most people do these days, there a still some photographers just using Photoshop and not really into the Lightroom thing. Honestly, it really is the best workflow tool out there. And, I teach Lightroom classes as well. We have done them on Creative Live, you can look them up. Lightroom workflow classes, with Jim, actually I did that one last time, or a couple times before. Another thing is creating a reliable backup system. Now, you guys, if you are photographers, been in the business a while, you know, we all have this problem. Where do you store your images? How do I back them up? How do I get to them quickly when I need them? How do I ensure they are going to be there if everything burns down today in the house, or the garage, or wherever you store this stuff. Right, do you guys think about these things when you store your images? How do you ensure that you don't, your hard drive doesn't crash and you've lost everything? Right, you got to have them in multiple places and all that. So, I have a system, I am going to show you a little picture of the very simplified version of my system. Also, people always ask about online backups. Is online backup, prime time, means backing up to the cloud, or something like that. And, I have tried tons. Honestly, I spent way more times than you guys want to know, trying to figure out, trying different systems. And at times on my computer I have had four or five different companies software backup software running at the same time all in the background. So, I have got multiple copies of my stuff, only because I wanted to test them to see which works, which is simple, which didn't. And, my favorite, really is Backblaze. I don't know if you guys ever tried that. But, this Backblaze is amazing, it a simple little utility you install on your computer. You can get a free month, they have this deal if you use my link here, you get a free month with it. But, what I like about it, is you turn it on, you tell it what to backup. Whether my computer, you can even backup external hard drive if you want, as much as you want, it is all included in a single price. It is very affordable. And you just turn it on, and you forget about it. Anytime your computer is on, it is backing up as you work. Backing up to their cloud backup system in the background. And it has been flawless, it's been in-obtrusive, has not crashed, has not had any problem, I am stoked on it.
RAW files too?
Anything, your entire computer, entire hard drives, whatever you want. It will back it up. Now, keep in mind if you are backing up gigs and gigs and terabytes of stuff, it is going to take a while depending on your internet connection, but once you get it seeded and you can actually, I think they have a service where you can send a whole hard drive to them to start the backup, and then you can say pick up from there as you add stuff to it, it is called seeding the back up. I am pretty sure they offer that. That is one way to start. Or, you start it, like when I did, I started it, and it literally took me like about two to three weeks to actually get everything backed up. And then it is pretty much real time, because as you create a file, as soon as you put a file on your computer, it is sending it there and backing it up to the cloud. And a cool thing is, it is one price, so you can put as many hard drives, as much as you want on there, one price.
You can back up all your old stuff too?
No. Can I back up all my old stuff, no. But, I do have back ups in my office of my old stuff, and off site. And, in my home office I've got backups of my office stuff from old hard drives. But, I basically started the Backblaze with where I am at now, new jobs going forward.
So, will it mirror your hard drives, if you delete files will it also delete it off the backup?
Mmhmm yup, it basically yeah, just creates a mirror. And, it has recoverable, like the, I don't know how many levels, but let's say you deleted something, and then you say oh crap I needed that, and its gone. And you've erased it, you can actually go to Backblaze and say let's go back to yesterday and pull up when I still had that file, I can pull it back out. So, super cool and you get a month free if you want to use my link, and I get a month free if you use the link. So, it is a win, win. But, honestly I am not doing it because I want a free month, cause I have already paid for several years of this thing in advance, it is pretty awesome. But, it really is, of all the things I have tried. I can't remember them all but I have tried a bunch.
Do you prefer Lightroom to Photoshop?
Do I prefer Lightroom to Photoshop? 90% of my work I use Lightroom. I still use Photoshop, I have actions and effects in Photoshop that I can't replicate in Lightroom, and I still use it for that. I still use Photoshop for heavy duty retouching, head swapping, things I can't do in Lightroom. But, basic retouching, color correction, sizing, gosh, so much you can do right in Lightroom and it is so much faster than doing it in Photoshop. So much faster. So, even basic skin retouching. Most of my portraiture, unless there is a big problem, like a head swap, not going into it today, because it is not the class. But even just line retouching, blemishes, things like that. All that in Lightroom is so easy and fast. There is not even a reason to go to Photoshop for that. So, can do. Alright. The other one is a Synology NAS. Which is a network attached storage. This is what I have in the office itself. It looks something like this. So, here is a simplified peak-a-boo at what your simple, minimal system should look like. Alright. So, you have your laptop. On my laptop there is a folder, where all my Lightroom catalogs go. I keep individual catalogs for every job. And they are all in one folder. That folder, is synchronized to my RAID NAS Synology thing that is in my office. And that is syncronized real time, so whenever I change a catalog, anything in the catalog gets, it is still on my computer, it is also syncronized there. So now the actual images themselves are on external drives. I have multiple little external drives. So, I am working on the images but the catalog is on the computer, but the images are on the externals, and those external drives syncronize to the RAID as well, through a little software called Good Sync, that syncs it in the background. Alright? So, at all times I have all my images there, all my images are here backed up. My catalogs are there on my computer, and my catalogs are here backed up. So I have two catalogs backups, and the working one, I have two images, the working and the backup. And, actually what you don't see on here, there is another level of this, like this whole box with all the backups, get backed up to another one of these whole boxes as well. So that way if this whole thing dies for some reason. I have got everything on a second one over here. If this dies, I have them here, if my computer dies, I have got everything here. So, it kinda like, everything is backing up everything. Does that kind of make sense? We have a Q&A slide coming up, so I will leave this on screen if anyone has any questions on this or anything we talked about earlier? And, Jim you can pull out your audience I've got one right here.
Plus the cloud?
Plus the cloud, yes that is a good point. So, the cloud is backing up, everything here and everything here, to the cloud. So literally, if my office burns down, all of this is gone. But, it is still up in the cloud.
What is the difference between RAID, and an external hard drive? Like, why would you use that?
Yup, good question. So, RAID is, this has four hard drives in it. And the four hard drives work in tandem, to protect each other from crashing. They look like one hard drive to your computer. So, in a RAID system, so if one of these four hard drives in here die. And hard drives do die, I have had many of them die over the years. All of your data is still essentially still protected, it is still going, it's still good. You have to replace that drive, so basically what you can do is, this drive dies, this light goes off and it starts blinking red, saying this drive is dead. You pop it out, you replace it with the same drive, a brand new one. It will start to repopulate, and all of a sudden everything is good and back and good to go. A regular hard drive, that drive dies, everything is gone. End of story, right. It is very unlikely in a RAID that you are going to have two hard drives die at the exact same time, unless there is like a power surge crazy thing. So, the beauty of RAID and why they use them, is that you can have four hard drives, but you will get the capacity and usable storage of three of them, the fourth one is used to make this redundancy. I don't know how they do this magic, or how you can backup three drives with one.
Can you install this or no?
You can, they don't have to be, you can use regular hard drives. But, there is some computing magic that makes one extra hard drive, give you enough to protect all of it, all the three, the information that is on three.
How did you figure out that system, how do you put them on all three and then they go to the RAId, and then that goes to the cloud?
I use a software called Good Sync, its Mac or PC. And with Good Sync you basically can say, this is my source, this is my destination, I want it to run when, you can have it run on timing intervals, or you can say whenever I change something on the source, make the same change on the destination. And you just leave it running in the background, and it just watches that drive, and it sees you changing a file on your images, your editing, editing, and as your editing it, anything changes, it is popping those changes over to the backup at the exact same time. So, you don't have to go and say, I got to remember to back up, I got to remember to backup. It is just doing it in the background at all times.
Are we allowed to ask questions about Lightroom, or is it about cataloging? Why do you make a catalog for each job?
Catalog, why do I make a catalog for each job? Is something I discovered when I first started using and teaching Lightroom years ago. It was better to keep one catalog per job because I could backup that entire clients catalog into their client folder, the catalog also doesn't get corrupt. Whereas, where you have one catalog with thousands, and thousands of images it starts to slow down. It starts to give you error messages, you got to rebuild the catalog things, and it eventually just dies, and I have had that happen over and over again with big catalogs that just get corrupt and die. And then you have to rebuild everything all over again. Whereas, keeping the catalog small, one job, maybe a wedding, 5000 images max. Easy peasy for Lightroom to manage 5000 images. 50,000 images, 100,000 images on the other hand is going to choke that catalog eventually. So, it makes it safer, faster, and easier for me to backup everything for one client into one folder. So, the clients folder will have their images, their catalog. Everything.
One question, on the three hard drives there, are you, can you explain those three hard drives? What are you backing up, the images three times?
These would be used individually. So, my job, when I create a new job, say portrait session. All the images will go on the hard drive. And then the catalog goes in there for that client. Into this folder of all my client folder catalogs. I just put multiple drives here to show that I use more than one because this one will get full eventually, then I use another one, this gets full, I use another one. I switch back and forth, like I have to pull up a job from 6 months ago, it might be on this drive.
Okay, got it, thanks.
But, you don't need, sorry, you don't need three at one time, it is one or the other that you would use at a time.
Do you have the folder where the Lightroom catalogs, saying, like naming the external drives. Do you do like 6 months on one, and then trade out and 6 months on another external?
Yeah, you don't really have to cause. Yeah, in the Lightroom when you open up the catalog, it tells you where that originated, where the images came from because what I would do. I would put the images and port them first straight into here and then build the catalog. So, the catalog knows what drive, and you know that little missing icon? It says where are the images? They used to be on external drive B, or whatever, monkey brains C, or whatever you call your drives. And they will tell you right in Lightroom where that drive is. So, all I got to do is just find that drive, plug it in and boom I am in business. It is all kept in Lightroom catalogs, it knows everything about where you started from and where they are.