Episode 4 of the Filter photography podcast is all about productivity. No matter how effective you are at getting things done, staying motivated and consistent is something all photographers can do better. In this episode, Matt talks about his five favourite productivity tips and tools for getting more photography done.

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Episode 4 – All about productivity

First things first – thanks for all the kind words about the podcast that keeps coming through! It motivates me to be consistent with it, which can sometimes be hard when you’re having a big week. I record this week-by-week, not by batches. So each and every week I need to record an episode or it isn’t coming out. And that’s up to me to do – no one else is going to do it for me! In fact, how cool is this, someone tagged me on this the other day. It was a pic of something – didn’t matter what – but the writing over it said this:

Two years ago this week I bought my first camera and started doing music photography.

It was something I always wanted to do and something I always saw other people doing and thought, “Man, that’d be cool to do!”

I remember dating a girl who did photography and for some reason thought I wouldn’t ever be able to do that.

Fast forward a year or two, I can’t remember, I was like, ah fuck it, I’ll do it and see what happens!”

I did my research and got the camera I wanted and a 35mm lens and off I went.

I’ve never been to school for it, as you might or hopefully might not be able to tell or been taught anything other than conversations from friends and other photographers.

I quite literally winged my whole way here by making mistakes and learning from them.

Granted, I don’t have a big following or do all the big shows like the people I look up to like Matt Walter or Kane Hibberd, but doing it all on my own, I’m pretty stoked.

If anyone’s thinking of wanting to do something but don’t know how, just give it a punt and see what happens!

So cool man! There is so much information out there. I mean, you’re listening to one of the many options right now. The only thing that holds you back from progression is yourself and your excuses. So this episode, let’s look at some ways to improve productivity. Improved productivity means you feel good and you get more done. That means you can get to more opportunities or create more content.

1. Use a to-do list

Sure, everyone has a to do list, or so it seems like it, but who uses one properly? Theres a little secret i use to keeping myself productive with a to do list. If you complete a task you didn’t have written down to do today. But you do it, mark it off. It helps you feel as efficient as you actually are. Otherwise you might have some tasks leftover for the day and it might eat you up thinking you didn’t get anything done. Categorise your to dos by client or by genre so you know where your time is going. It’ll also tell which areas need a little more time dedicated to them

2. Keep your online storage neat

I have my folders set up so I can either easily send a client a collection of photos from a specific shoot, or a link to their entire collection of shoots we’ve ever done together. So it goes, Dropbox, my other documents, including a folder for photography, clients, individual clients, years and shoot names. If a client loses a link (they always do eventually even if you have a shared folder), you can quickly send them a link to what they’re looking for. If you need to send them a year’s worth of photos with one link, you can do that too. With this structure, you can easily limit or make accessible as much as you want without re-arranging content and breaking links.

3. Create your own Lightroom presets

Once you have your editing style set, you’ll find yourself performing the same actions over and over again. I have a few Lightroom presets that perform certain tasks. So I’ll have one that sharpens it a lot, one that sharpens it a little, one that increases the contrast a lot and also adds a bit of sharpening, one that brings the blacks down and doesn’t change the contrast but reduces some noise. Simple actions like that can save you a lot of time if it’s a common routine edit you make to a photo.

To create an Adobe Lightroom preset, make the changes you want to be in the preset. Click on the plus sign in the preset pane to create a new preset. Give it a name that you’ll remember and choose a folder you’d like to keep it in. Remove all the check marks except for those that you just made adjustments to. Then click create and you’re done! Once you have your preset created, you can even apply it on import. So if you’re a contrast person, you can apply the same level of contrast to all images on import so you don’t need to even select it later on.

But, if you’ve got simple adjustments that you make on a regular basis, you can greatly increase your productivity by creating a preset, and the good news is that it is very easy to do. Here’s the quick step by step process:

Perform the tasks that you want to develop a preset for on a photo in your Lightroom catalogue. For example, if you want to increase contrast and sharpening a certain amount on most photos, actually make those adjustments on a photo.

Then, in the Preset Pane of the Lightroom Develop Module, click the plus (+) sign to create a new develop preset.

Give the Preset a name and choose a folder to keep it in. It’s a good idea to have a system or way to name your presets so you can find the right ones when you need them.

Choose the Check None button to remove all checkmarks, then place a checkmark in the boxes for the types of adjustments included in your preset, in this case, Contrast and Sharpening.

Click Create and then just choose the Preset from your Preset panel the next time you need to make that adjustment.

4. Inbox zero

Last year I had so many emails just sitting there. I had sat on them for so long that even though I knew they were still there, the opportunity had expired.

If I had replied to it when it came in, it probably would have converted. I always told myself I have more time but

Just do it

Last, but not least, when you think of something, stand up and do it. I’ll do it later or I’ll do it after this means you’re wasting time. Everyone deserves their own downtime and away from the camera but this one is totally up to you.

If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know if you’re being lazy or just need some quiet time away from the camera.

I stay motivated to just get things done by thinking that while I’m sitting and delaying things, someone else is out there taking my opportunities that could be mine if I was there to do something about it.

That’s my five tips. They all sound pretty easy and simple but they make the world of difference to your productivity. The old saying of you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take couldn’t be more accurate with this episode.

Let’s quickly answer one question to keep the question and answer trend moving.

What do you think makes photography unique?

Sent in by Lyaa Mendees

This is why I love photography. Because every single photo that is taken is unique. Even if you take a photo from the exact same spot with the exact same settings and then return the following day the photos will look totally different. Because we apply our perspective on the photo during the editing phase. We crop them differently, we draw the eye to different spaces, we darken other areas. Our history shapes our perception of the environment or subject. So we’re talking years of imprinting onto the photos we haven’t even taken yet. So I love the unique stories that photos make. So I think its the artistic influence over a subject or setting that makes photography unique. And I don’t think you can control that, which makes it even more interesting.

That’s it for this week! Thanks so much to everyone who rated the podcast. It’s the best way of getting noticed by Apple and getting on the featured podcast section. You can also send in questions over at the filter website at filter.mattwalterphoto.com/

Have a good week and be productive!

Missed the last photography podcast episode?

Catch up by listening to the last podcast episode, Episode 3 – Style, setting and reliable feedback.

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