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Last fall we were able to go on the most awesome trip I’ve ever been on.  We travelled from the most northern point in Washington State through Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and finally into Mexico before coming back home.  A few months ago we had the incredible honor of having photos taken during this trip published in Wildling Magazine which regularly publishes photographers who we follow and have great respect for.  We’ll be doing a full post of the trip in the future but here is a sneak peak of what was published in the magazine.  Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine Joe and Patience in Wildling Magazine

We previously talked in detail about taking some time to really sort out what each half of a married couple is going to do to help move the business forward.  This is a really important step because it will give each of you very specific roles in your business and will also prevent you from stepping all over each other when trying to accomplish the many tasks you have to do on any given day.

Patience and I sat down a couple of years ago and did this exact thing because we were doing things that were undermining each other and our business without us even knowing it.  It was painful at times to let go of certain tasks but in the end it was one of the most important steps we’ve ever taken as business owners.

Here are what we feel are the key elements to our business structure, who is responsible for each task and why we felt either me or Patience was best suited to accomplish each task.Bellingham Small Business and Photography Advice Email and client communication.  This is Patience all of the way.  She is the face of our business and the person that people always connect with from the moment they meet her.  She is able to communicate with brides and moms way better than I would be able to communicate with them because she has been a bride and is a mom.  Our entire business except for a small handful of instances revolves around future brides and moms so it makes complete sense for me to just get out of the way and let her run with it.

Scheduling.  It only makes sense that the person who is in charge of communicating with our clients would be responsible for scheduling as well.  We were concerned that things could be lost in translation if Patience was communicating directly with our clients and I was running the schedule.  The easiest approach is to not have a middle person.Bellingham Small Business and Photography Advice

Blogging.  This one belongs to me.  (Joe)  At one point Patience was blogging when we first started our business because I was working so many hours between my two other jobs but a few years ago I took over the blogging because I was able to do it more efficiently and I think it’s best to have only one person blogging.  We want to create a cohesive voice and writing style so it made sense that I stick with it while also keeping an open line of feedback about our content from Patience.

More recently with us writing about our experiences being full time we have been much more of a team with blogging.  I’m still writing 100% of the series but Patience is very involved in what we are writing about and how we are going from a rough draft to the final version that we are posting.

No matter who is blogging I think it’s very important for the other person to know what is going on with your content.  There are occasions when people will approach Patience about the things I’ve been writing and it’s in the business’ best interest for us both to be able to answer people’s questions.

Culling.  Patience has less of an attachment to images than I do and has a much easier time going through our work and eliminating photos that are either duplicates or just aren’t as flattering.  She truly has a gift in this area and if it weren’t for her we would probably be way over delivering.Bellingham Small Business and Photography Advice

Editing.  We outsource almost all of our editing but I will occasionally do smaller sessions or sessions that need a really fast turnaround.  We have been outsourcing our editing to www.weditoo.com since the end of 2013 and it’s been an amazing experience.  Here’s a post about outsourcing that covers much more than just editing.  http://joeandpatience.com/first-year-outsourcing/

The other editing I do is film scan editing.  This usually doesn’t take a lot of time because I can almost always apply the same settings to an entire roll and then make very small adjustments for photos that were in different light.

We decided that I would take care of the editing because I tend to be able to get more consistent colors from session to session.  One of the most important things you can achieve as a photographer is consistency with your work so definitely make this decision based on who is the most consistent.  

Along with consistency, another thing to consider is who is able to be happy with the session and doesn’t have the tendency to go back and edit more.  I know a lot of photographers, me being one of them early on in our business, who can adjust and tweak a single image for hours just to see how different presets and settings look.  It’s fun to be able to do that but it isn’t very good if you’re trying to run an efficient business.

Editing QC and touch ups.  No matter who is editing I think it’s incredibly important to have the person who isn’t editing do QC.  Patience does the touch up stuff like fly away hair and blemishes but even if the person editing is doing those as well, the other should be doing a QC.  Patience is great at noticing slight color and exposure variations and will either let me know which photos she is concerned about or will make the adjustment herself.  I think it’s a really good thing for both of you to see the product that is going out to your clients.  Big companies have multiple levels of quality control to prevent any kind of mistakes and I think that same approach is really valuable for small businesses as well.Bellingham Small Business and Photography Advice

Vendor relations.  This falls into the email and client communication category.  We want to build long term and mutually beneficial relationships with the amazing local vendors we get to work with and Patience is great at building these relationships.

Equipment maintenance and upgrades.  Let’s face it, I really like photography gear and Patience just wants to have a camera good enough to take photos of people.  I guess by default that puts me in charge of keeping track of what we need and what we don’t need.  Of course we have to make big decisions like this together since most camera related purchases aren’t cheap and Patience is really good at reminding of the difference between wants and needs.

I am also in charge of organizing all of our equipment before weddings and smaller sessions, cleaning all of our lenses, charging all of our batteries, downloading and formatting all of our memory cards, etc.  If we show up to a session or wedding without something it’s going to be on me.

That’s pretty much the bulk of it.  If you have any questions at all about how we have broken up these tasks please feel free to send us an email at info@joeandpatience.com.

Check out the previous posts in our First Year series here:

Personal Fear

Financial Fear

Marketing Part I

When Were We Ready?

Marketing Part II

Learning from Setbacks

Taking Risks

Outsourcing

The One Roll Project

Business as Husband and Wife Part I

The Journey

This week was supposed to be a continuation of what we started last week about working as a husband and wife and we are really sorry to keep you waiting if you were hoping to see how we break down the tasks in our business.  This last week something happened that really got me thinking about my life and the path we have been on to get where we are now.  I promise we’ll get back to our list of tasks next week.

So, what happened last week?

Something awesome is what happened.  I got to see one of my closest friends from my time in the Air Force for the first time in over 6 years.  Even though my schedule was pretty tight and we were only able to hang out for a little over an hour it gave us the opportunity to catch up on what has been happening in each other’s lives.  I got to hear about about the events that led him to Washington after being in Arizona for so long and I got to tell him about the exciting things that have been happening in our life with our kids and with our business.  The best part of it is that even though it didn’t feel like we had been very good about staying in touch during that time we were able to pick right back up where we left off.  Like I said, it was really, really awesome and I feel so blessed that someone I was such close friends with has come back into my life like this.

I’m sure everyone else has this happen in situations where you see someone from a time in your life that is much different from your current life.  You reminisce about things.  You remember the things you used to do, the places you used to go and how life felt back then.  Memories come flooding back like a tidal wave.  Things you haven’t thought of in years are suddenly in the forefront of your mind.  I can’t believe how many memories came back.  I remembered spending time in his office when we weren’t busy, going to concerts in our off time and our trip to San Diego from Phoenix.  Not only that but memories came flooding back from all different parts of my life in Phoenix when I was in the Air Force.  It was an incredibly exciting time in my life because there were so many possibilities, so many options for my future and it was also the beginning of my relationship and marriage to Patience.Monterey Family PhotographerNot long after I got home I sent another friend a message about seeing our mutual friend in Seattle and we both agreed that our time spent at Luke Air Force base was our favorite time of our careers in the military.  You wouldn’t think that such a simple realization would have had such a huge effect on me.  It really was my favorite time in the Air Force.  I was surrounded by people who were far more than temporary friends that I just so happened to be stationed with.  They felt like brothers and the relationships I built with them still mean the world to me.

What in the world does this have to do with our business and our life now?  

I spent my entire time in the Air Force waiting for the next part of my life to start.  Everything around me at that time felt like it was only temporary while I was planning what I thought I should be doing down the road.  My very favorite part of my time in the military flew by and I was only focused on what was ahead of me and never stopped to enjoy what was happening around me during those very short few years as a young adult.

Most people who know me know I am not a very emotional person but the simple idea that I would never be able to experience that part of my life again absolutely destroyed me.  It’s hard to grasp that one of the best parts of my life so far is long gone and I was so focused on my planning for the future that I didn’t see that I was being blessed and that my life was already pretty awesome.The beach in Monterey CaliforniaIt’s pretty obvious that there is no way to go back and relive that part of my life but it’s definitely possible to make sure I don’t live that way anymore.

No matter if you’re an established business owner, someone who is just getting started or maybe you are going through the stress of planning a wedding.  I hope you’re able to enjoy the time you’re in right now.  I hope you’re able to enjoy the huge breakthroughs you’re having, the hustle you didn’t know you were capable of and the struggles that are teaching you lessons that are necessary to succeed.  It might seem like you are just occupying this moment as you prepare for bigger things but really, you are exactly where you are supposed to be and you are experiencing an amazing part of life that you will never experience again.

I know for a fact that amazing things are happening in my life every single day.  This business Patience and I have started, our two kids and the amazing people who hire us to document some of the biggest moments of their lives are all things that will be gone in what will feel like the blink of an eye.  Sure we have goals and plans but we realize that we need to take the time to be thankful for everything God is blessing us with and that we need to allow ourselves to enjoy our journey.

Remember, like John Lennon said,  “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”.  Make your plans and prepare for the future but don’t forget to love your journey.  When it all comes down to it, it’s the journey, not the destination, that will carry the most weight in your life.

Check out the previous posts in our First Year Series here…

Personal Fear

Financial Fear

Marketing Part I

When Were We Ready?

Marketing Part II

Learning from Setbacks

Taking Risks

Outsourcing

The One Roll Project

Working as Husband and Wife Part I

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