From Frazzled to Focused – Creating Photography Workflows and Systems with Iris-Works Founder Meredith Gradle

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master photography workflows

Meredith shows us how mastering photography workflows and systems allow you to bring the fun back to your business, and connect to the reason you got into this industry in the first place: taking beautiful photos.

Introduction (2:28)

A lot goes into running a photography business – there is a lot more to it than just taking beautiful pictures.

How did Iris Works come to be? (4:34)

I had an unhappy client after forgetting to send important communication, so I realized that I needed to do better. Iris Works was built around my brain, after finding other systems too complex and too technical. It is built by photographers, for photographers.

Advice on getting organized and creating photography workflows? (9:35)

The hardest part is to know where to start, so start with pen and paper, and write down every step you need to take with a client. Then it is easy to translate it to a system.

What do you wish more photographer knew about running a business? (13:59)

Most of us get into this business because we love creating art, not because we love business. I wish they would know that just as much education and investment needs to be put into the business side as knowing how to shoot and edit.

Why is clear communication integral to creating happy client relationships? (16:51)

What we do as photographers is relational. We want clients to trust us. We want to give a client experience, which starts with communication, well before actually taking the photos. Communication also continues and pushes the relationship forward, allowing clients to come back, and you to have more money in your pocket.

How do you stick with the systems you create? (19:14)

Once you have a CRM set up, with photography workflows, you can actually be lazy because you don’t have to come back to the steps.

What is an automated email and how do they save time? (22:07)

The emails you sent to clients are typically the same, just slightly personalized. In a CRM, you can say when you want an email to go out, and add customization before sending. The beauty of automation is that you don’t forget to do it.

How to get over the embarrassment of not having any photography workflows in place? (25:47)

There will be more embarrassment when things go wrong because you forgot vitals steps in workflow. So there is no shame in saying things are not running most effectively, but then take action and create workflows.

How do you find time to make these business upgrades? (32:38)

Easy to get stuck in the Shoot-Edit-Deliver cycle. Have a hard conversation with yourself and know that it takes hard work to keep the clients coming. Other photographers who are successful in the long run all have systems in place. It just takes energy and focus.

Where do you start when you have no photography workflows in place? (35:26)

YouTube is a great resource for free education. Then, try a system like Iris Works, which has a free trial, as well as starting points with templates that you can keep or modify.

What are you creatively curious about? (38:24)

Creating creative solutions for other creatives based on how they like to do things.

Also check out this post where I illustrate how I use Iris Works in my own business!

Discover more about Meredith Gradle:

Meredith Gradle is the Founder and CEO of Iris Works. After nearly a decade as a photographer, it became clear that out of all the project management tools, and customer relationship platforms – there was nothing that was made for the creative mind. Meredith realized that there was a huge opportunity to help photographers, and creative entrepreneurs, succeed in business and even thrive, without causing additional work and headaches for them.

Meredith created Iris Works out of necessity, not only for herself at the time, but for many of her colleagues and counterparts in the professional photography industry. Iris Works is now known for being the simplest studio management platform available, serving thousands of photographers.

While she now considers herself a recovering photographer, Meredith works hard to stay at the forefront of the photography industry and her commitment to making the community stronger is what has motivated her to grow Iris Works into the workhorse that it is now. And while the company is continuing to grow year-over-year, Meredith is passionate about keeping her scrappy approach to running her business.

In addition to running Iris, Meredith is also a mom to three kids – Audrey (8), Elias (7) and Lucas (1). Meredith and her husband, Drew, live just outside of Indianapolis, IN.

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