The Top Five Tips To Maximize Your Photo Time

Photography can not only be an expensive hobby/profession, it can cost you the precious commodity of time as well.

A few years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for me to sacrifice sleep, family time, and spend hours upon hours attached to some type of photography related activity.


At least, thats what my inner conscience said.

So I made a few changes. And low and behold, a session from start to finish (shoot, edit,upload, etc.) now takes me only a few hours max.  Sometimes even less.

Here’s my list of the Top Five Tips that have helped make that difference:

1.  Shoot in Manual

Auto mode may deceivingly seem faster, but it really isn’t.  I promise.  When your exposure is correct, your focus is correct, and your depth of field is correct you have a whole lot less to do in editing your pictures. Want to learn how to shoot in manual? Take my Photo Basics Class!

2.   Have a plan

My sessions used to take around two hours. Maybe longer. As soon as I learned how to create an effective plan for a shoot, I got the images I was after much more quickly.  I knew how to use my location, how to pose, and how to interact in a way that captured emotion.  The plan makes it possible to have a 45 minute session yield many wonderful images.  You can learn more about all those planning elements in the Advanced Pro course!

3.  Take less pictures

Once I stopped firing off the shutter for an hour straight, and instead began to concentrate on “when to take the picture“, I ended up not only with better images, but less!  How much time do we spend culling?  We don’t need 10 versions of the same photo. And there’s nothing quite so underwhelming as having hundreds upon hundreds of images to filter through.

4.  Edit in Adobe Lightroom

Let me pause while I quickly go and do an interpretive dance and sing an ode of joy in praise of how much I love this program!  I used to edit every image in photoshop and I watched my life pass before my eyes (yes, even using actions!).  Lightroom was a game changer. I can now edit one image that was taken in a particular light setting and apply those same edits to all the other images in that location in a matter of 2-3 mouse clicks.  An entire session now takes me about 45 minutes as opposed to several long hours before.  BONUS:  Blogstomp preps my blog images in a matter of seconds (resizing, watermarking, etc.)  HUGE time saver!  

5.  Learn to be satisfied

Perhaps the hardest one of all for some of us!  I can do everything above and not even have it matter if I can’t learn to be satisfied with my efforts.  I can extend shooting a session another hour (even though what I got the first hour was great) if I don’t learn to be satisfied.  I could edit over and over and come back and make all sorts of new changes that consequently extends my time, simply because I didn’t accept satisfaction.  Perfection here, doesn’t exist.  Especially if its being sought after by changing the white balance slider two degrees.


The following images are from a “favor” shoot I did recently.  (Casey & Sue were my models for a photo class video I made last year and I was returning the favor of their incredible participation!)

Total Shooting Time: Maybe 30 minutes.

Total Editing Time: 30 minutes.



If only I could look this cute for my own “angry face”…









And here’s what Beloved can do within three minutes of shooting (hard to go much longer when your little one is running down the street and eating rocks)



Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She is somewhat obsessed with time management. She threw away the family t.v., works under a timer, and schedules playful recreation.  Um yes.

Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.

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5 Responses

  1. YES to manual shooting. Such a time saver. I tried lightroom once and I could not get quite the looks I wanted. I’ve been really disappointed with any adobe camera raw presets out there. Finally found a set last night that I think will change my life. Similar to Red Leaf Studios PS actions but in ACR. Oh happy day!

    Beautiful photos you’ve been churning out. So much joy in them!

  2. Awe! Love these!

    I am so excited to take your advanced class AND you’ve really got me wanting to take the Beloved class!! I LOVED your Lifestyle class & looking forward to learning more with you! I’ve just got to get this baby out first! 😀

  3. Brooke! I love this session! How fun to see this couple that I remember from your video with their adorable little girl! Such fun shots! And, Great great tips. #5 is the hardest to learn. 🙂

  4. “Learn to be satisfied”

    This is what I find so difficult. I come back from every shoot feeling as if I have completely failed. I upload the images and start looking through, only noticing what I ‘got wrong’, what I missed. It usually takes me at least a day to actually start liking the shoot and appreciating the moments I captured. Does it get any easier?! Any tips for giving yourself a break?!

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