The first 24 months for a new photographer are exciting and usually easy as they build their clientele and deliver wonderful images. It’s after the “honeymoon” period as things get busier and schedules become overwhelming that reality hits. I’ve been there and done that – 20 years ago. I was a mother with 4 young children and suddenly found myself overbooked, staying up too late culling and editing, answering emails at 1am. I was always tired, and never felt like I had a firm grasp on everything. I got things done, but were they done well? Some yes, some no. I began my career shooting film, when digital came out it was touted as being “faster.” But I quickly discovered that was not the case for photographers, it was the exact opposite. There was no Lightroom, all of us were figuring out how to handle and organize files, edit, archive, deliver, and keep our clients happy. Digital was not faster, it added to my workload. If I could go back and do one thing over it would be to outsource some of those tasks. And culling would’ve been my number one thing to outsource. There were months when I shot 6 weddings on top of a full portrait schedule before the holidays. My family suffered the most during those years and I can’t get back the time I lost. Why do we think we should literally do everything? Outsourcing is the answer to most issues with all businesses. Everyone knows if you hire good people and delegate, you get great results and your business runs more efficiently. Your business is like a chain, it’s only as strong as its weakest link. If you’re experiencing bottlenecks in your workflow and you’re always telling your clients you need more time, that should be the first clue to outsource. Pass off just the culling process or editing or both. If wedding albums cause a backlog and clients take years to order, outsource the entire album process beginning immediately after the wedding. Outsourcing is the answer to getting your life back, to having time for family, and most importantly to feeling peace of mind.