My Photo Power Hour

In my workshop this week, one of our topics is Workflow.  I thought it would be a good time to share an extra step I have in my workflow, my monthly "Photo Power Hour."

I'm a ginormous fan of Gretchen Rubin and her latest book, Better than Before is my fav.  She talks all about habits, how to make them how to stick with these habits, and what strategies work best for different personality types.  

One thing Gretchen suggests is something called "Power Hour."  She takes exactly an hour each week to get those annoying tasks done, those things that are important but not urgent, think phone calls, cleaning makeup brushes, and filing away that pile of papers.

A few months ago I decided to dedicate one "power hour" a month to my photos.  I take a lot of photos and I KNOW I need to organize/delete/print but it's just not something I do as much as I should.  It's just something that can be put off forever (and the longer I put it off, the more I dread the task).

So now, at the end of each month I take care of the previous month's set of photos.  Here are my steps:

1.  I organize my photos by year and then month in Lightroom.  The first step I take is to clear out the duds.  I just delete them (being very careful not to delete too many...sometimes I let the technical mistakes cloud my opinion of a photo...I make an effort to keep the emotionally great but technically imperfect photos).  

2.  Next I keyword my photos.  I wish I had done this from the beginning of time because it makes it so much easier to find the photos I want.  In LIghtroom, I can assign a word or words to each photo.  I keyword with the year, month, name of anyone in the photo, and sometimes another descriptive term (like school or Halloween).

3.  I'll take just a bit of time to edit my photos.  I'm a very minimal editor so usually this just involves adjusting the crop, exposure, contrast and maybe color temperature.  

4.  I'll take one more look at the month's photos and give 5 stars to the top photos.  

5.  Those top photos get some special treatment.  First, I e-mail them to my parents' digital frame.  We bought them something like this frame a few years ago for Christmas.  I can e-mail them photos and they will show up in the rotation on their frame.  My parents LOVE it.

6.  Then, I'll send the top photos to mPIX.com to get printed.  I'm a HUGE advocate of printing photos.  You think your grandchildren will ever come across your external hard drive or your Facebook account?  Even if the photos are unorganized in a shoebox, there's something special (and oh so important) about printing photos.  I like the website mpix.com.  The quality of their prints is fantastic and prices really reasonable.  (This week, having printed photos at home was a huge time saver! Madelyn came home needing photos for her "Star of the Week" board at school.  In the past, I found myself running to CVS at 8 pm to print photos for school.  This time, she just grabbed a few of her favorites).

Those are my steps for now.  I know I NEED to add a 7th step that involves backing up my photos to a hard drive.  I DO have a program called "Crashplan" and it backs up my whole computer into its cloud.  At least I know the digital copies of my photos are places other than just my computer.  I'll look into that for November.