The Importance of Policies and Procedures

Before every job I go through my equipment checklist in Evernote.

Today I’m going to address something that may seem boring, but it’s a habit that every business should have. Creating policies and procedures for every aspect of running your business.

Years ago my wife and I attended one of those business seminars where various professionals from different businesses get up and share their secrets to success (right before convincing you to invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in their system). Believe it or not, we actually did take away some valuable lessons. One of them was from a real estate pro who talked about the importance of establishing policies and procedures in your business. Do you have written down specific policies and procedures for things like…

  • What do you do to prepare for a shoot? Do you have a checklist?
  • How do you dress and or act while on a shoot?
  • What do you do when you get back from a shoot?
  • How are your photos/videos to be post processed?
  • How and when do you process receipts and checks?

Over the years we’ve created both written and verbal policies and procedures. I even wrote up an Editing Guide to give my contractors and employees that covers everything from our style of editing to how to name files and media. The best way to start creating them is just to start. Jot them down in Evernote or Google docs. Just write it out. Here’s our procedures for after a shoot back at the office:

  • Immediately re-charge all batteries
  • Immediately dump all cards onto our Drobo and the back-up hard drive (in two places)
  • Once files are copied to Drobo, transcode using MPEG Streamclip. Save to the work drive.
  • Put tripods, etc., away in storage area.

It’s so simple, but very powerful. Here’s why. Because life is busy and if you don’t get into the habit of doing these things right away, it will bite you in the butt when you least expect it. There have been a few times when I was on a shoot only to realize that my batteries were not 100% charged. Or the cards I was shooting on still had media from the last shoot and I couldn’t remember if I dumped them or not. Luckily, these happened when I was doing internal projects for our photography company Teen Identity (as opposed to on a client job). But nonetheless, it was frustrating.

Create your policies and procedures when you have time to sit down and think through everything clearly, then stick to them when you do your job. Trust me, life will be so much easier if you do.

7 thoughts on “The Importance of Policies and Procedures

  1. This was a great idea. I mentally remember everything I have, but having it down on “paper” or some other form as a checklist is a great idea. I downloaded Evernote to all my devices, and started creating the checklist … then realized how much stuff I actually have! (I should show clients this list when I send them my proposals and fees.)

    Thanks Ron!

  2. The more that I am at this, the more I realize that is absolutely necessary. It especially rang true when I forgot my battery charger for my Nikon D700 as I was leaving to the Middle East and to Malta for a few weeks. I’m really trying to get better at this. I’m loving these almost daily posts on your blog, really good stuff. Thanks!

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