It seems to me that much of what photographers lament about their day to day is simply running out of time to do the things they want to do, be that editing, shooting, planning, or any of the hundreds of things a full time or part time photographer needs to juggle. So what would you do if you were magically granted four more hours to your work day? Would you spend it outside shooting? Perhaps you would spend it calling a list of contacts and finally doing that project you’ve been thinking about for years. Whatever you would plan to do with it, odds are you would take those four hours in a heartbeat.

Format, a popular portfolio website service for photographers, recently published a survey that fell across my desk and I was fascinated with the results.

In the first question, focused on priorities for 2015, four out of five responses hovered around the same concept of getting, creating or producing the opportunity to make more work. I believe it. As a photographer myself, there is always a fear of the next “slow period.” If you’re a full time professional, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s often feast or famine for our industry, and we don’t really relish the thought of famine.

Next to that, the survey results overwhelmingly indicate that photographers just generally want to shoot more, and that doesn’t necessarily have a tie to making money. We got into this business in the first place because it’s an art that we love, and sometimes we need to remember that we do indeed still love it. Finding time to actually spend shooting for ourselves is critical, and continues to remind us that it isn’t “work” we do everyday. It’s a passion.

Format released the survey results alongside an update to their portfolio platform, including a series of new features aimed at helping photographers to streamline their workflow and add time back into their workday. 

Most notably, you can now publish photos directly to a Format website through Adobe Lightroom, cutting off several steps that normally bar you from doing something else with your time. My process currently looks a bit like this: edit, resize, export, upload, rearrange, double check, publish. With Format, it would look like this: edit, publish. Compound that process over several iterations, and you have yourself a number of hours that can be better spent.

Format_Streamline

As a busy photographer, you would be remiss not to look at your day and find something you can streamline a little better. Then find something else. And then one more thing. You’ll create a more organized life, recovering a few minutes here, a few minutes there, and then suddenly, you’ll find yourself with a precious hour with which to do whatever you like.

Me? I’d spend that hour removing myself from the internet, unplugging, and just relaxing. You can’t be effective at your job if all you’re doing is your job. You have to find space for yourself, and I’m willing to invest in anything that will give me a breath of free time every now and again.