As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I recently updated my website galleries and design. Scott Willson, Managing Director of Sandbox Studio, and former new Media Director at The North Face, took a look and said this: "Great website. Did you update it? I remember you had a good one, but this seems more structured and cohesive." That's exactly the response I was hoping for from a leader in my chosen adventure industry. So how did I get there?

It's always a big undertaking for me to overhaul my website as it seems to be something that collects small amounts of odds and ends over time; here an image, there an image, until there's no cohesion or flow. Sitting down to revamp things, I did a lot of research and then spent a lot of time looking at other websites and images. Only then did I establish a direction and start putting things together. However, this post isn't about the process I went through in forming my new galleries (snooze), but rather a total dump of the resources I found helpful when evaluating my own work. Most of these are videos, so I hope it helps.


Portfolio critiques, reviews, and changes I found to be most helpful. Wonderful Machine posts videos of this process by their Photo Editors to their YouTube Channel. I watched them all, but this one was from a photographer in the outdoor industry.

As far as portfolio reviewers go, I would put Allegra Wilde near the top of the list. This is a long watch, but a great resource for understanding what art buyers and editors are looking for and what your images are saying.

Zack Arias recently posted his process for creating his new portfolio and I found a lot of what he said to be helpful. Head over there and have a read.


A couple of things I discovered along the way:

  1. If you're stressed out about limiting content within your galleries, remember you can always create blog posts and use social media for sharing the images that nearly made the cut.
  2. Don't try to be all things to all people. Find your niche, and your style, and serve them both. If an image doesn't fit well within a gallery, push it aside. Make sure people know exactly what they're going to get if they hire you.
  3. Use a blog. This will help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and allow you to share more work without feeling like you're cramming it into the corners of your website.
  4. If you need it, get some outside help. Hiring an editor can be pricey (as much as a new camera). I used Eyeist (see Allegra Wilde video above) and for $150 had my website reviewed by a professional editor. I selected Amy Silverman the Photo Editor for Outside Magazine because she's in the industry I'm interested in. Before she started she asked me lots of questions about my goals and direction and then recorded my review. This was an added benefit. Hearing an editors voice walk through her process helped me a lot in trying to understand her thoughts and perspective.
  5. Lastly, take time out between review sessions. Don't expect to sit down and hammer all of this out in one sitting. You won't be happy with the results and you'll likely be making emotional choices instead of artistic ones.

Hope that helped. If you have any other thoughts I'd love to hear from you.


My hope in posting this is not to make you depressed that you can't get out and climb this wintry weekend, but rather to show you some incredible things happening in the world of rock climbing.


Here are two different takes of the same film from Corey Rich. It's a first ascent by David Lama in Lebanon and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The climb is  incredible, but I would love to get tot he location just to see it.




I've written pretty extensively about the Apps I use for running my business, but I've had a few updates to my arsenal and wanted to provide you with those updates.

For more information about how I run my business you can view my original post here.

FotoBiz X | $149

The features within this software are extensive and I have to admit I only use some of them. I intended to purchase only FotoQuote, but the entire business software was the same price, so I acquired the additional features for free. FotoBiz X is a great way to generate and track image licensure. It automatically sends reminders when a usage is expiring allowing a client to easily renew their license. Stock image pricing and sales are calculated based on usage rights as well. The complete software allows me to easily track my equipment by bag. This comes in handy for insurance submittals and claims and has the added benefit of setting equipment weight and assigning each item a bag for generating packing lists. If you've read this post you know I'm a fan of lists. I do not, however, use this software for billing, invoicing, or tracking clients and potential customers.

My biggest problem with the software is that neither FotoBiz nor FotoQuote are cloud based. As a result, I am required to have multiple seats for multiple computers where other applications I can access anywhere via the web.


I still use Harvest for generating estimates, invoicing, and tracking hours and expenses. Because I invoice and estimate from Harvest, I also track all of my clients and their contact information within the application.

STRIPE | 2.9% + $ .30

Stripe is a credit card processor that works seamlessly with Harvest. Accepting credit card payments from your clients adds an additional level of credibility and allows you to demand and receive payment more quickly. I understand there is a cost associated with this, but having that cash in the bank and not in transit allows you to more easily run your business. The wonderful thing about Stripe is you don't need an additional gateway (Authorize.net or the like) to accept credit cards. Their pricing might be a little higher than some, but at least I know I'm not paying per month for something I may not be using. I like having a fixed cost associated per transaction. This allows me to account for it in my estimation process and charge the fee even if a client pays by check.

Line 2 | $15/month

Ever get a business call to your cell phone after hours? Separate work from home using Line 2. It's an application that allows you to call and text from a second phone number for your business from your personal phone. All calls and texts go directly through your cell phone using WiFi or cellular data. The reception is clear and the features are great. They have a cheaper plan, but it doesn't allow you to set after hours call handling.

There you have it. Those are the big operational changes I've made to my business in the last year. Let me know what you think using the comments below. Is there something I should be using that I'm not?


The underlying thought behind establishing your workflow should be speed and quality. I heard about PhotoMechanic for a year before I bit the bullet and bought it. Now, I can't imagine going back to Lightroom for ingesting and ranking images. However, I also wouldn't dream of editing images in CameraRAW and using Bridge for my processing workflow. Point being, use the right program for the right job and you'll save yourself a lifetime.


I use PhotoMechanic for what it does best: ingesting, creating a backup, viewing, rating, and key wording every image. I do this prior to import into Lightroom as any and all changes are written directly into the RAW file. On import into Lightroom all of my star ratings and keywords are easily viewable. Everything I shoot ultimately ends up in Lightroom, but it starts in PhotoMechanic. If I'm in the field, I can use PhotoMechanic and my laptop to import directly from a one card to two separate drives creating an instantaneous backup. From there, I quickly sort through images using a 3-Star rating for anything that should continue on in my development process. I also apply keywords and location data on import. Even though PhotoMechanic exports color labels to Lightroom, I don't use them at this stage of my workflow. More on color labels later.

LIGHTROOM CC | $10/month

Lightroom is meant to be a database for cataloging and tracking your photographs. It also has a powerful development engine for making non-destructive changes to RAW files. The non-destructive part is important because it preserves the file as it came straight out of camera. It also saves on disk space when creating multiple versions (i.e. color, black and white, square crop). Use it like this. Lightroom is bad at quickly viewing and rating images so find a different program for that portion of your workflow. After import, I use Lightroom to maintain a single point of reference for EVERY photo on EVERY hard drive. I rename all my images to a standard template starting with date (YYMMDD_Location_0001.cr2). Lightroom is my digital darkroom of choice as I've been using it since the Beta release. That's not to say that other digital darkroom softwares aren;t equally as good or better. Lastly, I use Lightroom to store and backup all of my changes to images within my catalog. Collections and Smart Collections can be useful tools to utilize when you are creating multiple portfolios or web galleries.

As part of my process, I assign color labels based on image genre (see below). These images are what I consider portfolio quality. I hold off on using color labels until the end of my workflow because I don;t know the images that will ultimately become 5 star quality until after adjustments are made and compared across the board.

I used to keep multiple Lightroom Catalogs based on image genre, but found color labels worked better. All of my images remain together in single location which aids in search. If an image falls in to 2 categories, I can generate a second version of an image and place it in both genres. Here is how I separate based on genre:

Red - Adventure Work

Yellow - Family/Personal Work

Green - Architecture Work

Blue - Business/Commercial Work

Purple - Wedding/Families Work

Being that I don't shoot Weddings and Families anymore, I have assigned this category to purple because there is no quick key for assigning the Purple color label. One final thought here, If you go back to view images in photoMechanic that you have adjusted in Lightroom, you'll notice it recognizes and displays your Lightroom adjustments when rendering a preview.


If your Lightroom catalog is a mess, there are a couple of things you can do to get things organized. Before starting, recognize that anything you want to do to your catalog of images (rename items, move folders, copy or duplicate images, show parent folders, edit using Photoshop or an external editor) should all happen via the Lightroom interface. if you make these changes from within Lightroom, you won't have files missing or unlinked. I would start by cleaning up my folder structure and hard drive system before moving on. Next, I would organize images from within Lightroom using stars, flag picks, and color labels. Lastly, I would add keywords and location data to small groups of images that are ranked 3-stars and higher.

Here is my file structure for my hard drives:

  • [RAW]
    • 2013
    • 2014
    • 2015
      • 01 January
        • 150126 Moab
          • 150126_Moab_0001.cr2
          • 150126_Moab_0002.cr2
      • 02 February
      • 03 March

Hopefully the above structure makes sense. Using numbers at the beginning of months ensures they stay in the correct order within a yearly folder. Upon import into Lightroom I always make sure the parent folders are showing starting with the year (right-click on folder > "Show Parent Folder"). This is a nice way of browsing for images within Lightroom.

Finally, I turn off all modules within Lightroom that I never/rarely use. For me that's the Print, Web, Book, and Slideshow modules. I also collapse all of the development panes that I don't use. I like having as simplified an interface as I can get so I can focus on my images.


In closing, I wanted to share something I've recently learned regarding DNG files. A DNG can be used for sharing RAW files with clients while preserving the opportunity to share your edit and vision for a specific image. Exporting the DNG allows you to include a JPG thumbnail of your fully developed image while also including the RAW file with accompanying changes for client use. If they don't like your edit, they can always reset an image and start with the original RAW file.

Hope this little update was helpful. Leave a comment below if you have any questions and I'll get back to you.