Work is going well, I am happy to report. I revamped my workflow over the Winter and it seems to be holding up well, even during busy periods. Especially, busy periods!
Holy moly! I’m a picture making machine in the afternoons. That’s how I like my life. Shooting mornings into early afternoon and home processing pics by 2pm. Done by 4pm. Most days, anyway. I have it down to a routine. Biggest issues are logistics. I average 1.5 hours – 2 hours of drive time a day and that’s not leaving the Vegas Valley.
I’m trying a more fluid approach to my scheduling this year. Take ’em as they come, instead of trying route my days. For the most part it works well, even the long driving days. I haven’t really seen a huge increase in mileage compared to last year. Most of what I get are easy 1,700 sqft- 2,500 sqft houses. Last week I had a 3,500 sqft house and 4,000 something sqft house and made it through those just fine.
Trusty Dell Workhorse
I’ve must have owned at least 12 Dell computers in my life. They’re like the Ford of computer companies. At least 95% of those computers performed more than adequately. Maybe, one was not up to par and they exchanged it, eventually.
I bought another new Dell PC last November. It has 64mb of memory, SSD boot drive and a 1tb storage drive. Works well when different stages of my processing overlap. Throughout my entire process I have at least 1 app running a batch of photos in the background. The computer was a good investment, as it has helped my workflow tremendously.
Finally Learned Lightroom
I feel kind of like an idiot for saying this, but– I waited until the Fall of 2020 to learn Lightroom. I always knew I could use Lightroom as it is very similiar to Camera RAW. I just didn’t like how Lightroom handles files. It’s very wonky, to me. I figured it out and I’m glad I did!
I had always thought what I was doing in Camera RAW would be same as if I were doing it in Lightroom. Nope, I was wrong. There’s a big difference between the 2. I’m the furthest person from a software engineer, so I might not articulate what those differences are well. I can say this– RAW files use Camera RAW and JPGs use Lightroom.
I also use Bridge, Photomatix, and Photoshop. I use Photoshop much less now. Which is a good thing. I was finishing my photos in Photoshop and was doing it all wrong. Lightroom cured that and I still have more to learn.
Is It Showing?
More and more this year I’m getting calls from outside of work. Usually, they come from a friend of an agent I shot a house for at work. They liked their friend’s photos and want to book me. I have to give them my parameters and it usually ends there. I love the votes of confidence and would love to make rate for my work. But, that’s going back to the real world. The photo companies here in Vegas pay very little and do all the editing. I wouldn’t have the safety net that is contracting like I did in California while I built a direct hire business . It would be sink or swim here in Las Vegas.
So, I’m taking only a few direct hires. I can only take the ones that can work with me. That’s a very few. Most of the clients can’t provide the flexibility that I have to have. The only ones that can offer that flexibility are developers and commercial work.
I used to shoot a lot of hotels for a company out of Michigan when I lived in California. They have national hotel accounts and have a network of photographers across the country. Those jobs have followed me to Vegas. They do the editing, but pay well. The only caveat is, I only get 10-15 jobs a year from them.
I’ve also been working with a developer/real estate investor for the past 3 years. I only shoot his properties. Most of which are under 1,000 sqft. Photos only. In and out 20 minutes tops. Easy work. He does an excellent job refurbaging outdated properties. Below is an example of his work. I shot that house the same day I wrote this.
Then there’s the commercial work I’ve been picking up. These guys are flexible and work really well with me. I’m still learning what they want as far as presentation. I’m a fast learner. Commercial work is tricky. It’s hard to judge how much time I need. Most of the time I won’t know until I have arrive. And, more times than not, it’s about half the work or less than I thought it was going to be. I couldn’t figure that out and that’s why I was pulled from the commercial side of the business at work.
Yeah, Work is Going Good
So all in all I feel pretty good where I’m at. The bottom could drop out tomorrow and I think I could survive whatever Las Vegas throws my way. That’s a pretty good place to be. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully more of that constant sunny desert sky.