If you’ve been following Photography Awesomesauce since the beginning, you probably know that saving time while editing photos is something I’ve worked hard on over the years. Editing photos is one of the biggest time-sucks a photographer can have. I’ve struggled with it myself time and time again. However, I’ve always believed that the quicker I can make the editing process, the more I can gain in income. I can also get some of my life back.

When I first started taking photography seriously I learned about Photoshop actions. Wooooo! I thought these were the lifeblood of photographers. You could just make a photo look “cool” with one tiny click and voila. So I edited weddings with Photoshop actions, individually applying each one to a photo. Then I learned about batch editing and Adobe Camera Raw. Game-changer. Editing still took me hours and hours though. Finally I realized we could take batch editing to the next level with Lightroom. Again, my life was changed. Then I learned about Lightroom presets and that was it, my life was saved. Then Photo Mechanic and I met and Holy Guacamole! Now I could cull faster an Olympic sprinter. Through all of theses phases as I became a more experienced photographer I learned to save a little bit of time here or there. However, the biggest thing for me was learning to time myself and setting a rule that I was not allowed to edit photos for any longer than I took them. If a wedding was 8 hours, I only had 8 hours to edit those photos.

Over time I’ve become better and better at editing. I’ve even learned that the quicker you can process your photos and get them back to your clients (in the height of their excitement after their session or wedding) the more likely they are to be satisfied and inevitably they are more likely to buy more prints. So the faster you edit, the more money ends up back in your pocket! That means anything I can do to make the process quicker is a huge win for me. Even though that’s the case when I edited I used to do it on a laptop, the awkward placement of the track pad giving me hand cramps. So I tried keyboard shortcuts and then upgraded to a bigger laptop, then a desktop. I don’t know that a bigger computer actually made anything faster. I knew a handful of keyboard shortcuts, but every second my hand would go from the keyboard to the track pad or mouse and switched settings around, the slower I was. Those seconds are valuable and they add up when it seems like sometimes all you do is edit photos. I never really thought anything could change that. I just assumed that’s how it was and that I had reached my maximum potential for editing speed.

Not long ago I heard about something called Palette though. I think a stray Facebook Ad came across my news feed and I thought, meh, seems expensive. I bet it would be hard to program. What is it? It’s a bunch of buttons, dials, sliders you can individually place in any order you’d like and assign them various tasks like keyboard shortcuts, Lightroom or Photoshop specific actions. It sounds simple and unnecessary, but it wasn’t until Palette sent me a kit to try that I really got to see how much I needed it. I have now been editing with it for about one month. I’ve edited roughly 10 weddings and sessions with Palette and I am truly deeply in love.

I should make it clear that when a company like Palette sends me a product to test out and review, I never guarantee a positive review. I would not be writing this if I truly didn’t feel like Palette was the exact addition I needed to complete my editing workflow and make things much easier on my hands (no cramping) and far more intuitive. I’m also not paid to write this post, and I don’t get any kickbacks if you purchase one (although hey Palette I love affiliate marketing!). Just thought I’d shout that out. 😉

Here is how it works. You order one online >here<. It comes to your door, you plug it in (it just uses a simple USB) and you follow the direction to go to the website and download the software program to your computer. Once the software is there, you can connect up all the buttons, dials and sliders in any order or arrangement you’d like and start assigning each one an individual task. You’d think this would be difficult to set up, or that you’d have to worry about programming, but I think mine was set up in under 5 minutes. The only thing I’ve done since then is change button functions to whatever ones seem to work best for me. These are a few of my favorite features of Palette.

  1. You can add additional buttons, sliders and dials at any time by purchasing them individually. So if you find you need more than one of their starting kits, it’s easy to do. That means the options and settings you could have are truly endless and 100% custom.
  2. You assign the buttons tasks in a visual manner. The software program recognizes the order you’ve put your palette together and you just click on a button and select the function from a drop down menu after you chose the program you want to use (like Lightroom, Photoshop, etc).
  3. You can set up different workflows. I have one set up for Photo Mechanic, color editing in Lightroom and black and white editing in Lightroom. So I can easily switch between the workflows for different functions or editing styles if needed.
  4. The dials more than any of the other tools in the Palette allow for incredible fine tuning. It’s much easier to edit and get a photo at the exact setting you want in a matter of seconds compared to when you try and edit with keyboard shortcuts or with a mouse or track pad.
  5. If you order one you can use the Palette discount code: PhotographyAwesomeSauce to get free shipping!

If you want to get in the habit of editing faster you’ll gain so many benefits by doing so. There are tons of great tools out there, but Palette is such a great place to start with a more intuitive editing style. When you combine Palette with the use of batch editing in Lightroom, culling in Photo Mechanic, and timing yourself you will be editing faster than you ever imagined. Which will leave way more time for living life and focusing on the stuff that really matters the most like hanging out with your family. Not only that, but when you edit faster you spend less time working, which ups your own hourly wage. Not to mention that clients who receive their photos back sooner are more likely to buy large amounts of prints and products. Tools that help you edit faster really do help you make more money!

Anyway, get Palette on your list of things you need to rock the rest of 2017 and years into the future. Use the code PhotographyAwesomeSauce to get free shipping when you order. If you already have one or want to learn more you can always email me or join the Facebook group and ask me some questions. I’d be happy to share my Palette set ups and workflows with anyone who would find them beneficial!

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Carrie Swails

I'm a serial entrepreneur. Owner at Photography Awesomesauce, Rock Your Weird and Made in the Lab and I photograph offbeat weddings. In other words, I'm crazy. I have a birthmark in my armpit, and am a terrible mathematician. What I lack in understanding of complex theories such as Pi (clearly a food item - apple is my favorite) and invisible numbers (if I can't see them, why should I care?) I make up for in awesomesauce. I believe there is no right way to put the toilet paper on - I'm just happy it's available. I believe there's no such thing as a bad fortune in a fortune cookie. I believe we only live life once so we should wear costumes as often as possible. I believe wine is like the force - it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together. I howl with my basset hound every morning, call my brother to beat video game bosses for me, and love eating fried cheese.

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