Workflows with Sam Hurd

In this episode, Scott speaks with wedding and portrait photographer, Sam Hurd, about his photographic and photography business workflows.

[00:00:00] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Welcome to workflows presented by ImagenAI workflows is a podcast about saving you time and money in your photography business here from people just like you put down that camera for little connect the headphones and get to work with workflows. Sam Hurd is a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia area.

[00:00:24] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: His style is distinct as a result of unrelenting commitment to his craft and complete trust from his clients. The trust Sam receives drives him to find the perfect balance between creative experimentation and honest documentation. Sam believes that the rise of artificial intelligence has paved way for entirely new approaches to work.

[00:00:47] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: That are now possible. He uses multiple AI tools in his workflows and he's embraced it wholeheartedly, which has led to more time and efficiency in his photography business and much higher profitability. So without further ado, let's head over to my conversation with Sam heard. Hello, Sam,

[00:01:08] Sam Hurd: he's got what's

[00:01:09] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: up.

[00:01:09] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: So we We finally met in Copenhagen and now we are ironically, it does seem like a lifetime ago. Ironically, we live like a three-hour drive from each other, but we had to go overseas around the world in

[00:01:24] Sam Hurd: the midst of a pandemic. Yeah. Yeah,

[00:01:28] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: it is really so, so what's going on with you? How has has well right now, the time we're recording this, you're winding down.

[00:01:35] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: No winter season is here. Okay. Winding down. Yeah. How has that all gone? The

[00:01:42] Sam Hurd: throes of editing right now, it is buried under a mountain of files, but it's okay. It's going, trying to pace myself and I go through fits and bursts of just knocking out like three weddings in one day and then nothing. A couple of days.

[00:01:57] Sam Hurd: And then yeah, I tend to be really like stop and go with, with my approach to editing, but I'm just trying to knock out as much as I possibly can. I've got previews for everybody you know, pre pre Christmas or pre holidays or whatever, which is nice. That'll tie it. I think most people over, but I do feel bad that there's some full galleries.

[00:02:14] Sam Hurd: I'm not going to get out to people, but I just, you know,

[00:02:18] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. Yeah. Are you getting clients that are hounding you for their photos

[00:02:23] Sam Hurd: during this holiday? Everyone's been very polite, like, Hey, just saying hi, hope you're doing well when you're awake. And like, I know exactly why you're saying hi, sorry.

[00:02:34] Sam Hurd: They're not ready. I'm trying to be good. Yeah. So I'm in the middle of that. I'm visiting family. I've been here for a day or two and my sister just moved back here and she hasn't. The second kid on the way. So a lot happening. Family-wise it's nice to be, I, this is a very small town. This is an area called Lynchburg, Virginia.

[00:02:52] Sam Hurd: It's like 70,000 people. It's where I grew up and it's always nice to retreat here for a week or so and chill out. So that's what I'm doing. Yeah.

[00:03:01] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I just that like

[00:03:02] Sam Hurd: a travel travel last week. It's crazy.

[00:03:05] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Is that a, like a farmland type area in Virginia or is it more,

[00:03:10] Sam Hurd: there is Farmville. There's an area called farmable, right?

[00:03:13] Sam Hurd: Nice. Outside of here. And another area called forest. It's like nice. I'm now realizing the theme here, but no, it's a city. It's a legit city. It's got a nice downtown along the river, very old place since the civil war. So yeah, but it is pretty isolated and there's not much happening around. Yeah, closest airport is like Richmond, Virginia, which is larger.

[00:03:35] Sam Hurd: It's a capital, but it's not it's not DC or Baltimore, anything on the east coast.

[00:03:40] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Well, you get to breathe for a little, you get to take a, take a little break from the weddings and whatnot.

[00:03:45] Sam Hurd: And that's the kind of place where every time I go out to coffee, I'm like, oh, Hey. Yeah. How are you? I haven't seen you in a decade.

[00:03:50] Sam Hurd: How are you doing that? Kind of everyone's knows each other sort of thing. It's funny. So my first question. Oh, you have questions. Let's do it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:03:59] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. Well, I, I, I I'm good. I'm good. Otherwise you can just get you're about to ask me, but I'm good. I'm good. Awesome.

[00:04:07] Sam Hurd: Are you recovered from the jet lag?

[00:04:09] Sam Hurd: Did that hit you pretty hard from, you know, I,

[00:04:11] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I was in Copenhagen, such a little amount of time that my body didn't adjust. That's good. I, I w when I, when they asked if I wanted to go, I was like, I do, but I want to be home for Thanksgiving. Cause it's. The one holiday really? That my wife's family, like that's their big fester big, even though we celebrate a lot of Jewish holidays, that Thanksgiving is the big one that we celebrate and I wanted to be home for it.

[00:04:36] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: So, I was in Copenhagen for like almost

[00:04:39] Sam Hurd: two full the, yeah. My Thanksgiving was spent with a woman named. Oh, her name escapes me now, but just side-by-side on the airplane. He had a nice little chat and I showed her all of my photography and she's very interested. She was flying back from Italy for an opera.

[00:04:56] Sam Hurd: I was like, who are you? My okay. Yeah, zipping over very quick opera in Italy or whatever. She's retired and apparently very well off, but it was a nice person to have a little Thanksgiving with a Thanksgiving day, but also a little depressing, no Turkey. I was kind of bummed. But, yeah, I'm glad you had a good one.

[00:05:16] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I was a, I was a little nervous about the long flights and, you know, with everything going on in the world. So I wound up not really eating on my flights. I had like little snacks. Shoved down my throat as fast as I could, and then put my mask back on. But

[00:05:32] Sam Hurd: yeah, you know, I'm convinced though that airplanes are one of the safer environments to be because everybody, especially international, everybody has tested.

[00:05:39] Sam Hurd: Everybody has been probably vaccinated. The air circulation's quite good. And depending on who you're sitting next to you and what they might've been doing, the literal. No, I think it might be one of the safer areas, but it is still like the optics of it are anxiety-inducing you're just like, I don't want to breathe

[00:05:56] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: you.

[00:05:57] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah, exactly. So, but yeah, I did feel safe but I was still. Paranoid,

[00:06:03] Sam Hurd: I'll say, what do you think you would hear about it by now? Maybe I've just been completely oblivious, but you think if it was a serious issue, we would know that flight attendants are like getting sick in droves on a regular basis.

[00:06:15] Sam Hurd: And our pilots, like for sure know if they were at more risk than, you know, restaurant workers or something, for example. Yeah.

[00:06:23] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. So in Copenhagen you talked about. Well, you talked about multiple AI tools. You talked about how AI and a variety of other things like your mini controller and stuff like that has helped you save, save you time in a variety of aspects of a photography.

[00:06:39] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I'm wondering my first question is what is one thing that you do for your, for the photographic process that has saved you?

[00:06:48] Sam Hurd: Photographic process now, is that within the process of like literally making the image or do, would you like me to fix? Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. The process of making the image was, I would say the biggest shortcut for everything.

[00:07:05] Sam Hurd: And this may not be the case for everyone, but for me, it was like a light bulb moment was embracing live view with DSLR cameras. That happened years ago for me. Obviously with mirrorless, you have no choice, but to embrace sort of live view because there's no optical viewfinder, but that was 2015, maybe 14, the Nikon D.

[00:07:26] Sam Hurd: For was the first DSLR that live view is fast enough and responsive enough that I could, I was actually manual focusing. Most of my shots still cause the autofocus just wasn't there yet, but pre visualizing the Boca, the exposure of course, and just my framing. Having, you have to think about it this way.

[00:07:43] Sam Hurd: Like when you have the optical viewfinder up to your eye, the relative size of where, like the amount your eye has to traverse is kind of huge. It's almost like you're looking at it. Movie screen like a theater or something where, you know, you really kind of have to like, not literally turn your head, but you really have to look up in the upper left corner to get to the corner and then traverse all way down when you pull back and just look at the tiny little live view screen, you know, a foot from your, your head.

[00:08:08] Sam Hurd: Do you see? Yeah, the resolution is less than, it's a little harder to tell if it's actually in focus maybe, but you get a sense of the composition. I think a lot easier. Then you do when it's right up in your face. So embracing a live view early on which now basically virtually everybody does, if they shoot mirrorless save me so much time, just in the iterative process of like knowing what I wanted to change right there in the moment, as far as getting rid of something in my composition, positioning it a little bit better.

[00:08:37] Sam Hurd: So a sign isn't in there or. Or whatever it is reading, getting a read on the light, all of that happened again, just like a giant shortcut for my brain by embracing live view and not, you know, I do miss the optical viewfinder for some things in some situations it'd be great to have a hybrid solution with a full-frame mirrorless camera.

[00:08:55] Sam Hurd: I don't think that exists anywhere yet. Fuji's the only one I'm aware of and they're all right. But yeah, exactly. Yeah, but that embracing that early and just riding that wave now, now it's like a dream and you don't even think about it as like, oh, what was life like before this? But there was life and it wasn't as grand.

[00:09:13] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. So, so if you had to put a percentage on, when you do it, when you do a wedding, your average wedding, How much of it. Are you looking through the now your electronic view finder versus pulling it away and looking at the screen?

[00:09:27] Sam Hurd: So this is rapidly changed in just the last month because of the Canon R three, which I just published my full review about, I made about 25,000 frames, which didn't take long because that thing freaking flies.

[00:09:40] Sam Hurd: Oh my God. It takes so many pictures with, but I would say pre R three. So I was shooting the R six or five briefly, and then the ESR for the longest amount of time 90% of the time the flip. Out in front of me at an angle, closer to my waist or something, which I actually love, because it's such a, by default, your perspective is more interesting than everyday life where your eye level is.

[00:10:03] Sam Hurd: So that's a huge benefit, but with the the, I control, autofocus the ability to move your outlook. By just looking, it tracks your, your people and where you look at physically moves the auto fixed point that is so much faster and has such a natural feel to it. That I find myself now I'm coming back to the viewfinder.

[00:10:27] Sam Hurd: And yeah, the perspective may not be as by default Great. It's also fine for a lot of situations. It's not like you always have to be at a completely fascinating angle or extreme angle on things. It's fine at eye level and it's so fast and intuitive and smooth that I'm now working my way back to that.

[00:10:43] Sam Hurd: So it's a balance between both, I would say. And I find myself seriously. I control was so good that when I do have the flippy screen down at my waist or whatever it's slower and a little bit more frustrating for it to not just focus where I'm looking like, oh, So I'm gonna attract my eye from this distance.

[00:10:57] Sam Hurd: It's so good. I mean, yeah. You could just touch the screen, but I've never actually enjoyed the touch. Yeah. I never liked that either awkward and not yeah. It's a bit anyway. Yeah, so,

[00:11:08] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: you know, you could, you, you, you, you could start squatting to get to your natural.

[00:11:15] Sam Hurd: Yeah, we can walk around like a crab, you know, I mean, honestly I used to lay down a lot for like more creative angles with couples portraits.

[00:11:25] Sam Hurd: Right. And I knew I didn't have. Right over to catch a moment or something. Right. But I had more control. I would just lay down on the ground totally flat and look through my camera, viewfinder that way, especially with the Nikon cameras. Cause they didn't have a pull-out screen until the D seven 50, I think.

[00:11:40] Sam Hurd: So you kind of had, if you wanted to see it all, what you were capturing, you really had to lay it down on the ground with it, with. You know, honestly, though it was annoying because you would get dirty and it was like a little bit more painful or whatever. I, you do win over some, some client. What's the, I don't know the word.

[00:11:57] Sam Hurd: They just get a little more invested in what you're doing. Cause they see you physically be working harder. There's something to that for sure. When you're just like walking around. Yep. Okay. Photos done. They don't even realize you've made it like, yeah, you'll get the natural expressions, but they may not realize how hard you're working.

[00:12:13] Sam Hurd: There's some, yeah. There's something you gained by being the physicality of shooting is something you have to think a lot about. Cause it impacts your, your subject so much. Yeah.

[00:12:24] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Cool. So I, I just asked you about the photographic process. Now I want to find out what is one thing that you do for your business that saves you time and money?

[00:12:34] Sam Hurd: I've been using a studio management software, specifically built for photography studios since forever. It's not one I would recommend now if you were to start from scratch but it is what has carried me through. All the tedious aspects of keeping up with invoicing and all that kind of crap, sending proposals off and.

[00:12:55] Sam Hurd: Yeah. You,

[00:12:55] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: you mentioned it in Copenhagen. I forgot which one it was. What was the one that you'd cue shoot

[00:12:59] Sam Hurd: cues, right? The actual original iteration of QQ still exists. I don't know that you can sign up for it now. I'm kind of grandfathered in to it still working, but they have a new overhaul version that looks better, but functionally is still not quite as good.

[00:13:14] Sam Hurd: It does the bare minimum of everything I need, but it doesn't do anything. Better other than the visual aspect being more modernized. So there are other better solutions perhaps that a, and I've tried to switch over to a couple of them, but there was always like one missing feature. Like the imbedded calendar link wouldn't have at a link to the like, yeah, I would show the event, but it wouldn't have an embedded link to the shoot, the job itself that I could just easily tap.

[00:13:40] Sam Hurd: Like she has that, like, there was always one small thing that it would add more friction than I was willing to. And so anyway, I'm still stuck in this like hybrid of the newer version and the old version of shoot Q. But at the end of the day, it has saved me so much because you can create these automated workflows that, and I know other, other services do this.

[00:14:02] Sam Hurd: But it's really tough to put a value on how much time it saved me to not have to follow up with invoicing, questionnaires having, you know, a proposal interface that people can take their time with that auto expires and like all this kind of stuff. That's, that's really handy. I would easily pay like triple the amount that I paid monthly for, for that service.

[00:14:20] Sam Hurd: Mostly cause I'm a very disorganized person aside from maybe what a lot of people might think. Yeah. I'm not particularly organized and I don't set goals and I don't do all kinds of stuff that you probably should as a disciplined small business owner. Simply because shoe Q exists and can do a lot of that for me, it was a bear to get set up, but yeah,

[00:14:39] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: yeah, yeah.

[00:14:40] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: But I mean, that's, I, I would say most business owners are not super organized, but that's why they use tools. To, to get them organized and to keep them in check and to remind them, to remind their clients to do this, or, or to automate that process or just to keep it all flowing without you having to, you know, Keep your mess in check.

[00:15:04] Sam Hurd: That's the biggest thing in my business. I'm trying to think if there's any other big, like, easy to point to tool that saves me time or money. I

[00:15:12] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: mean, you, you even mentioned scheduling, like that's a big thing, right. You know, just even a. Trying to schedule podcasts with guests, right? I'm I'm in the process of setting up this podcast is so new.

[00:15:26] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I haven't even had a chance to set that up, but yeah, I'm in the process of doing it. And once it's done, I won't have to go back and forth about, is this date good? Is this day, could you just check the calendar? They can book it and it's done. And that's the same thing with, with your, with your clients.

[00:15:42] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: They can just go to your. See if you, that date for their wedding is available with you and they can book it.

[00:15:49] Sam Hurd: Yeah, for sure. Yep. So that's, that's a biggie. Yep. Scheduling is a pain and especially scheduled. Sorry about that. I think this is a very scheduled podcast. It is. It is.

[00:16:02] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: But yeah, so, but, but like, case in point though, like, You're not just a photographer.

[00:16:06] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: You're also, you know, speaking at events, you're teaching other photographers, mentoring, other photographers. So you've got multiple schedules that have to intertwine and having a tool that basically automates that for you and your clients. That's a huge time saver. Yes.

[00:16:25] Sam Hurd: A hundred percent. Yeah.

[00:16:26] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Okay. So.

[00:16:28] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Moving on to the next also related is one. What is one thing that you do for editing that has

[00:16:34] Sam Hurd: saved you time? Yeah. Aside from the obvious, like incredible asset that is Imagend in the AI that you guys do. I would say before that the biggest thing that I did was to never look at my images, unedited straight out of.

[00:16:52] Sam Hurd: Other than obviously while I'm shooting. So I never used photo mechanic, for example one of the things, yeah, photo mechanic, you can import or pull up a folder and the images are right there. Ready for you to look at, but you start to create a sense of what the images look like in your. If you call entirely, especially in an entire wedding with the straight out of camera profile applied, once you start editing, I always started to second guess myself, way too much by then applying a preset, like a baseline preset or whatever, and then editing from there.

[00:17:26] Sam Hurd: So I always, for probably since 2012 now import directly into. I never use photo mechanic and have my entire baseline starting preset applied, even if it was wildly off, I still like the tone curve and everything was consistent across all the images so that I call through there. And then when I started editing, I have this new baseline sense of what the images look like and need to be.

[00:17:53] Sam Hurd: And that created a huge amount of consistency across everything I did, even if I would, again, wildly adjust from what my import. Did which sometimes, you know, an extreme lighting situations or maybe there's a really intense color of red or something on someone's face. Like, yeah. I might make some pretty extreme adjustments, but still starting from that base of not being straight out of camera.

[00:18:14] Sam Hurd: Sped things up and created a huge amount of consistency for me. So, that also by default just the nice consequence of that forced me to find ways to optimize Lightroom, to make it as fast as possible, squeeze as much efficiency as I possibly could out of everything. You know, I got way ahead of the curve on getting Lightroom to run quickly and efficiently using smart preview standard previous and all these different things that a light room didn't come out of the box optimized to do it still doesn't, which is blows my mind.

[00:18:43] Sam Hurd: But yeah, I've been running like know with no need for photo mechanic since literally like 2012. My main editing laptop used to be when I was on the road and it was a Mac book air, like P scrap Mac. It's crazy how fast you can actually get those things to run. But yeah, you know, you kind of had to follow a specific order of operations, which not everybody cares to do.

[00:19:03] Sam Hurd: And yeah, I know all that. So anyway. Yeah,

[00:19:07] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, I've, I've historically always done the same thing. I had my, you know, space that laid my import preset predefined. So every time you would run through and do my basics, including turn our lens correction, which is. So I do a lot of portrait work, but my, my love and photography is actually going on the edge of a mountain or whatever, putting my camera tripod and just going to the Zen Zen zone for, for two hours.

[00:19:34] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: And so it's a lot, there's a lot of wide angle stuff. There's a lot of zoom stuff, things that require lens correction. Now th the, the upside to that is I don't have to think about it afterwards. But the downside to that is it slows down Lightroom when you turn that on. So

[00:19:48] Sam Hurd: I never turned that on.

[00:19:49] Sam Hurd: That's interesting. I didn't realize there was a processing overhead that, yeah. Yeah. Interesting.

[00:19:55] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Hmm. I actually am in process. I'm just writing the script, but and maybe by the time this episode is out, this video will be available and I'm actually doing a video on light room optimization because a lot of the Imageners in the community have been asking, how do I speed up so that I see the.

[00:20:11] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Show faster and it's complicated because it's not just us. It's Lightroom. Right. You have to make

[00:20:16] Sam Hurd: sure that yeah. And Adobe is the worst at partnering with anybody out there. I don't know how far down the list, like still photographers are on their list of priorities, but I have a feeling where we're sadly.

[00:20:28] Sam Hurd: Low because, yeah, I don't know. They seem to be quite, and they're leaving so much money on the table. Like, oh my God, there's so many things they could do to improve Lightroom if they would just be willing to partner with certain other third-party companies. It's crazy to me, but yeah, hopefully, yeah. You can find some workarounds that make people happy.

[00:20:48] Sam Hurd: Imageners I like it. Thanks. Yeah, that's

[00:20:52] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: good. Okay. And this one is a, it's sort of a 30,000 foot view down on earth. Can you share an outline to breakdown of your workflow from lead to deliver?

[00:21:06] Sam Hurd: Okay. So lead comes in through my contact form, which is hooked into shoot queue. So every aspect of their name, email phone number, the wedding date gets auto entered into my, the lead section of shoot queue.

[00:21:20] Sam Hurd: So it's actually on my calendar as a lead. I don't have to do any manual entry of their details unless I want to add some notes. So that's really nice. And then gets. Two copies to the same inbox and then a third copy to a backup email address, just so I never miss a lead. That always sucks. Yeah.

[00:21:34] Sam Hurd: So that's nice. It does a little extra headroom with having to swipe away the backups, but it's worth it just to know that I've responded and see that the duplicated. I replied to that. I use a fantastic email app. It is 30 bucks a month, which some people recoil at because email is like free on Gmail, but it hooks into Gmail, but the entire front end is totally custom.

[00:21:53] Sam Hurd: It's an app called superhuman that I. Th always standby is one of the best things I've ever done for my business as well. That actually, I don't know why that didn't surface to the top. When you asked me that question previously superhuman, it's fantastic. But it's so ridiculous the 30 bucks a month.

[00:22:09] Sam Hurd: And in order to get in and use it and set up your account, you're required to meet with them for a 30 minute consult. About how to use it and all that. It's hilarious. People are like, what? This is email. I'd be like, why can't I just get a free account and go because they're human, they're super humans, but yeah, it doesn't matter.

[00:22:26] Sam Hurd: It's an amazing app. So I reply in superhuman using a canned response. It's pre-written I do customize it based on any elaborations. The original inquiry may have made. If they talked about my work or mentioned anything about their venue, I'll customize it. So it doesn't feel super robotic, but I do have a template that I go on.

[00:22:42] Sam Hurd: I include my pricing three full client. One sort of generic, one specifically all nighttime in the rain. And one specifically somewhere else, I can't remember just outdoors or something. Yeah, just outdoors in the city and then one in vineyard. So I'm trying to hit all bases without having to specifically send a gallery.

[00:22:58] Sam Hurd: That's like,

[00:22:59] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: What nighttime nighttime in the rain. That's a, that's a good one. Troy is

[00:23:04] Sam Hurd: Eve man. Detroit use Eve son was set by like five. It rained the entire evening. It was one of my favorite weddings ever. I love shooting at night. I mean, the couple is a little more stressed. Probably most couples would be having to think about that, but it can actually be super fun because it looks just so different than anybody else's wedding.

[00:23:20] Sam Hurd: Like it just does. Yeah. As long as you're prepared with an indoor venue in heating heat and umbrellas and all that kind of stuff, which they were so. I replied back from that. And then I say, you know, I'd love to maybe I'll ask a softball question. Like, do you have your venue booked or something to open the door for them to easily respond and have something else to follow up with themselves, but generally just end with, Hey, if you'd like to meet, let's set up a time.

[00:23:43] Sam Hurd: And if I Then in superhuman kind of snooze that for two weeks, if it comes back to me and they haven't replied, I immediately send it off to somebody who actually subscribes to get my extra leads. I don't try and follow up with them for my own booking, if they don't follow up within those two weeks, I assume they didn't want me that hard, or maybe there's a budget issue or whatever.

[00:24:03] Sam Hurd: Send it on to another photographer who then does, or doesn't book them themselves. And they're rejected from my, my life forever. If they follow up and say they want to meet, I just throw out some dates. And we, we collaborate for about a 30, 45 minute meeting. I get to know them. And then at that point I send them a proposal link custom Made proposal based on their needs for the wedding, whether they want an engagement session and wedding album, all the stuff we talked about in the meeting, I send that the booking system I use does have some ad-ons.

[00:24:30] Sam Hurd: They can choose if they want, like an extra photo booth or one of my more recent and profitable ad-ons is a two week turnaround editing time. So they, they can jump the queue. I don't remember exactly how I phrase it, but for an extra 500 bucks there, they bumped to the top of the priority line for turnaround on their full gallery.

[00:24:46] Sam Hurd: The only reason I'm able to. Imagen I could never do that in any way that would scale with meaningful volume if, if, Imagen didn't exist. So I feel confident that I can hit a two week turnaround time if half or more, even all my clients opted for that as an option, I could still do it and deliver within two . Weeks.

[00:25:04] Sam Hurd: So that's when,

[00:25:06] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: when you, when you talked about that in Copenhagen, you blew my mind. I was like, I never thought about that was even a possibility. And now I'm like, Listen to everybody,

[00:25:14] Sam Hurd: you got to do this. Yeah. This is, this is the time to take advantage of the kind of edge that Imagend gives a photographer eventually.

[00:25:21] Sam Hurd: Right. That edge might go away as it becomes standard. It's like, of course, as I, I use AI to edit, like everybody does, like, that will be the case someday. Right now. It's time to find those areas that you can Profit from, from gain that edge. And I think a two week priority turnaround is, is pretty reasonable.

[00:25:38] Sam Hurd: You don't want to go like next day because yeah, nobody wants to, as much as clients may think they want to see their photos like the next day, which I could reasonably do as well. Like no, B there's a sense of value attached to time. And I think two weeks is right at that edge of people that maybe have paid me $5,000 to shoot their wedding.

[00:25:57] Sam Hurd: Also believe that two weeks is a good. Meaningful amount of time spent on editing them to look the best that they're going to look if I delivered stuff the next day, again, even if it looks exactly the same, their sense of value is going to be distorted in a negative way I believe.

[00:26:13] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: But let's get back to that.

[00:26:15] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Let's get back to that a little bit. Because I have, I do have some thoughts on that too, but let's go back to that. Put a

[00:26:21] Sam Hurd: pin in that. Yeah. A turnaround time and sense of value. So anyway then I do, I send a proposal link I say upfront, this will expire within two weeks. So, and, and the date's not yours until the deposit paid and it's.

[00:26:35] Sam Hurd: Contract assigned if it expires after two weeks that I don't even bother following up if they do. That's great. If not, then I just let them go and yeah. But if they book, then we'll do an engagement session whenever If they don't have an engagement session, I show up about a month and a half before the wedding, I send the final invoice reminder.

[00:26:52] Sam Hurd: I only take a thousand dollars flat deposit upon signing the contract. So the rest isn't due until a month before the wedding, same time a questionnaire gets sent it's about 25 questions, all related to photography, sensitive family issues shot lists that I need, which are all just the family groupings.

[00:27:06] Sam Hurd: As long as I've got. Filled out before the wedding day. I review that and show up and I have everything that I need to cover it confidently. Say, bye. And then usually two days after three days after I post maybe 10 previews on Instagram and then full gallery month, month and a half after the wedding that's delivered through pick time.

[00:27:24] Sam Hurd: And that's sort of the nutshell of my entire workload. Now pick time does have some cool followup apps to. Do you know, potentially generate more business from them, like a subscription to keep their client gallery online that they're built for once a year. That's another app I helped develop with pick time.

[00:27:40] Sam Hurd: That has been really great. After, after the first year of their gallery being online for free, they get a reminder that says, Hey, your gallery is going to be sunset or you activate it or whatever. But if you want to pay 60 bucks, you can keep it up. And every year you'll be reminded and it's totally up to you, but that's been a nice little.

[00:27:54] Sam Hurd: As more and more clients sign up for that and other, other than them collaborating on an album or something. Yeah, that's sort of the, the main aspects of my workflow. I didn't even get into editing, but yeah,

[00:28:05] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: yeah, yeah. We'll get it. We'll talk more bending, but so, so, as somebody who doesn't think he's very organized, you, you definitely have it all mapped out, which is incredible.

[00:28:14] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: And, and you're using different tools in different ways to help that process, which you know, is so important, especially as somebody who is. Not just a wedding photographer, but a busy, you know, like you've got a lot of weddings and portrait works, you know, portrait work that you're doing on a consistent basis.

[00:28:30] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: There was something else that you mentioned that I want to I want to see if you are superhuman. So you ask for your most wedding photographers, you asked for the shot list, right? So you're asking for, you know, mom, dad, you're asking for names, I'm assuming. Right. No, no names. You're not, you're

[00:28:45] Sam Hurd: just asking for general.

[00:28:46] Sam Hurd: I'm never going to remember anybody's name. No, see, I wanted

[00:28:49] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: to see if you were super

[00:28:50] Sam Hurd: human. Sometimes I don't even remember the couple's names. I'm like, this is no, no, no. No, just I have a check mark next to the shot list is all orbiting around family groupings. So, I don't remember exactly how it's phrased.

[00:29:03] Sam Hurd: No longer have bride and groom as like the, I have it. Basically like who's filling, what's the name of the person filling out this questionnaire and then your partner's name. So it's always sort of gender neutral. It can apply to any variation and culture or style or whatever of wedding, which is really great.

[00:29:18] Sam Hurd: But on there, once you get to the family section, it's like, okay, so partner. Filling out this questionnaire, it's more elegantly stated in that, but your mom and dad or your parents or whatever, like, do you want that together? Immediate family nucleus, like there's check marks next to everything. And then there is a box to fill in where they can elaborate specifics, unique to their family and their, it can spiral sometimes where I get.

[00:29:42] Sam Hurd: 50 different lists of people. And I will follow up with them setting expectations that I like I'm here for it. I will do this entire list. You need to know that this is going to take two hours. Like even if we like, just do the math guys and I'll do the math for them, even if we take one minute per grouping and you have 50 groupings.

[00:29:59] Sam Hurd: So like we're here for, and we're not going to take one minute per grouping. Some are going to be much longer than that. Maybe some, a little shorter, like we need to set some expectations and trend larger and get rid of any redundancy. And my suggested. Family groupings always have the couple together in every shot, because once you start doing the separate, like say you have a bride and groom and it's like bride with just her family and then add the groom and do the exact same photos.

[00:30:23] Sam Hurd: There's a whole lot of redundancy there that is probably not necessary. Like you want the couple, they just got married. Like they should be together. And almost every photo say for a few of like just maybe the bride and her mom or the bride and her dad, like a few of those one off. So I manage those expectations a lot in the, in the questionnaire.

[00:30:40] Sam Hurd: And I don't even remember what your original question was. Yeah.

[00:30:43] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Well, so my original question was, was going to be basically, how do you, how do you remember everybody's name if you were a number of businesses, but

[00:30:50] Sam Hurd: so the mom and dad,

[00:30:52] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: right? Yeah. That's what I do. I mean, I don't, I don't do many weddings. I do about one a year just to keep it, you know, nice.

[00:31:00] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: You know, so like, so I can talk about it. I want to, I got to do it so I can talk about it. But. You know, so I do the mom and dad, the sister, all that stuff. Right. But so do you memorize the shot list? You just know it because it's natural and it, unless there's some oddity that you need to be specific, do you so a lot of times because I don't do it often, I'll make a reminder.

[00:31:22] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Okay. On my phone, which then goes to my apple watch or I can just like peak and be like check done and move on to the next one. Do you have any see any

[00:31:30] Sam Hurd: tricks? Yeah, I don't my questionnaire to a PDF that's on my phone. So I will refer to that, especially if the. Utilized that open box to elaborate on photos they want yeah, I'll refer to that for sure.

[00:31:40] Sam Hurd: Just on my phone or handed off to a second tutor if I have them, or if it is a lengthy shot list, I will recommend assigning sibling. If they have one or a close family member to help me coordinate, which generally people are all on board with. Everybody's. I don't think I've had a client that's like, please make this as long and complicated as possible.

[00:31:58] Sam Hurd: Like nobody wants that. They just want photos of people that are important to them. So, you know, I really try and give them suggestions. Somebody who does know names to faces better than me or whatever to help, but I do have a general flow that I aim for. And that's coupled together. That's me dialing in my settings for family photos.

[00:32:15] Sam Hurd: Then I'll pick either side let's say the bride in this case. Okay. Her parents let's add her parents and then. And then any other extended family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, then all those people go away except for the parents. I'll keep them there, swing them around to the bright side. Then add the groom's parents.

[00:32:32] Sam Hurd: They'll do one with both sets of parents. If they have all them, you know, depending on if there's a divorce or what have you, then I'll get rid of the bride's parents. Now it's just the groom and his parents. Then we'll add siblings, extended family, and build from there. So I kind of like go through this.

[00:32:48] Sam Hurd: Series and modify it as needed and then any other extended family. I just, I really went in. Let's just go like one last name that I can yell out and get all those people together. You know, unless there's somebody super, super important, like an aunt that they're really close with or grandparent, right.

[00:33:05] Sam Hurd: Yeah, that generally that flow of getting, you know, the individual parents together, both sets of parents together and then siblings at some point and everything and that, but maybe I should elaborate on the bridal party as well. I have a bit of a template that I follow with. And this will vary depending on time, but it usually takes me about 15 minutes.

[00:33:21] Sam Hurd: That's what I give as guidance. I'll do the full group shot and then sand one half away. Let's say the groom side, like guys, just go hang out over there. I'm going to photograph, you know, the bride and her side bride with each person one at a time. So each person has their moment with the bride.

[00:33:36] Sam Hurd: That, that is pretty key. And then we'll do the big group shot for that. So everybody's kind of warmed up. They're not as nervous in front of the camera. We'll do all the bride side as a photo and then we'll have. Sit and rest I'll do the groom with each groomsmen and then the whole groom shot together.

[00:33:52] Sam Hurd: And then one more follow up with a slight different perspective or backdrop of the whole group together again. And that's it. That's, that's what I try and hit it. Usually in that order, sometimes it changes up, but it can knock that out 10, 15 minutes. No problem. As long as nobody disappear.

[00:34:08] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah, it's one of those things like you're doing it so much that it's, it's ingrained in there.

[00:34:11] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: It's uh, you know, certain aspects you don't really have to think. Certain ones.

[00:34:15] Sam Hurd: It's nice because you know, if you do have like a nice kind of process of how you want to do things, I'm still highly sensitive and completely open to the, oh, can we do one with like my sorority sisters? Yes. Yes. We got time because we already knocked everything.

[00:34:28] Sam Hurd: Let's do the slight different, one-off like unique to them groups of just brothers or something like that. And I'd make it clear that I'm open to those suggestions after we've done. Everything I'm listening. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because you don't want, you don't want to get derailed in the middle of your flow because then I start to forget what I've already done.

[00:34:49] Sam Hurd: The certificate. They're like, you really want to save some buffer time for those, like, oh yeah, I see. Of course I want a picture with blah, blah, blah. Let's do it. If they haven't already put that in the questionnaire at a

[00:34:59] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: time. And a lot of times there's there's times during the party part of the wedding where you can knock out the additional.

[00:35:05] Sam Hurd: That is something that I tended to suggest if people do have really large groups of cousins or, you know, college friends, I will say let's save that for the reception. Do you, does it really need to be in the formal backdrop of where we do your family photos? Like probably not. Let's just knock that out.

[00:35:22] Sam Hurd: They're probably at a table together anyway. Let's just do that at the reception and that's no problem. I'll keep that in mind. Again, I have my questionnaire as a PDF on my phone. You would think I would utilize my watch, but it's way too. Small and an inconsistent with when I'm like pulling it up and looking at it, my phone it's all right there.

[00:35:38] Sam Hurd: So, yeah. Right, right. Cool.

[00:35:40] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Okay. Let's move into go back to the AI part of things. So my first question about AI is what does the future of AI and photography look like to you?

[00:35:50] Sam Hurd: I think an ideal future would be the ability to have such confidence in what it's doing that. Hit publish and deliver it to my clients without even needing to look at the files.

[00:36:03] Sam Hurd: Like literally that would be amazing. Not that I don't want to look and I'm probably going to take a cursory glance through everything, but without really meaningfully have to like look through every single image that I'm delivering and, you know, and nudge it into place with exposure or gradients or any of that stuff.

[00:36:19] Sam Hurd: Like to be able to just like, have it imported, have it run through the AI, have it uploaded. Publish and be confident in sending a delivery email. That would be the dream that I would, I would really like, not because I'm lazy, but I would just love that amount of accuracy and consistency and still have it look exactly as I would intend if I did sit down and hand at it or close to me sitting down in hand, edit each individual image.

[00:36:45] Sam Hurd: Ambitious enough.

[00:36:46] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. I, hopefully we get there. Hopefully we get to the point where, where we can fulfill your

[00:36:51] Sam Hurd: dream in my mind. No doubt in my mind. It's just a matter of when.

[00:36:54] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. Yes, exactly. Exactly. Okay. So my last question to you is something that you touched on already where the question is, how did Imagen AI impact your life and.

[00:37:05] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: You've you've touched on this already from a business standpoint, right? From the idea that not only are you editing less, but you're actually making additional revenue, right. You're making a digital revenue with your $500 add on which I do want to touch back on as well. But to other, other, other aspects of your life that ImagenAI has been.

[00:37:25] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: You're not going

[00:37:26] Sam Hurd: to like this answer. Oh, okay. It has allowed me to procrastinate more because I know I can knock it out in no time. Like the actual upload at most takes 25 minutes for a full wedding and the edits will come back in five or. Like I, for certain weddings I've just waited for the couple to follow up with me.

[00:37:48] Sam Hurd: Like, Hey, our photo is ready once I get that email, boom, I turned around in 40, 45 minutes in 30 days. So it has enabled me to Embrace my procrastination lazy side a little more than I think. So I, I'm sure that's not quite what you anticipated, but if you can fight that tendency, I I've always struggled with procrastination, but obviously you can stay ahead of being late and, and use it in a way that actually reduces your mental and your workload overall way ahead of schedule, which is the idea situ ideal situation to.

[00:38:23] Sam Hurd: Consequences of using something like this, but it has allowed me, I'm so confident that I can like flip it around within 30 minutes of an email of a client asking, Hey, are our photos ready that I kind of started to wait until then? Which, you know, actually I think still demonstrates the effectiveness and the incredible speed that Imagend.

[00:38:41] Sam Hurd: But yeah, that's, that's definitely, I've noticed myself being like, you know what, I'm going to relax a little more and not worry that I'm a couple days late on this gallery, unless they send me an email and then boom, it's turned around in 30 minutes. It's wrapped up and out the door. So,

[00:38:54] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: In, in, in Copenhagen, even joked that, that which, you know, may not actually be a joke, but that you could be playing video games while you're photographing.

[00:39:03] Sam Hurd: Yeah, man, it's crazy to be able to do. It actually is very, I will say, okay, I'm joking a bit about the procrastination, although that has happened a bit, I do feel a little bit less pressure to constantly be keeping up on things on a day-to-day basis, but it is an incredible feeling to send or hit upload in the Imagen app.

[00:39:27] Sam Hurd: And then. Also be doing some other aspect of work, like emails, there's something other than photo editing and feel like that is free money. Like free time. Like I'm getting the app is doing all this work for me now. Or like on the flight home. I uploaded a batch before I took off coming back from Copenhagen and when I landed, it was all there and it felt like I didn't have to do any work on the plane because.

[00:39:49] Sam Hurd: It was being done for me. So it's this amazing sort of release of pressure.

[00:39:53] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Instead it's kind of an amazing thing that typically if you were to do an over the seas overseas wedding, and then you were flying back, you'd, you'd be editing your photos on the flight back on the laptop, which yeah, that's, that's pretty cool that you're able to point a to point B and you didn't have to.

[00:40:10] Sam Hurd: Yeah, I could, I could actually sleep, which I did on the flight was awesome. Aside from my little Thanksgiving dinner with, I think her name was Betty and I don't know. Anyway.

[00:40:20] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: So, so to briefly touch back on the, the $500 optional add on that you have, right? So $500, they're guaranteed a two week delivery.

[00:40:30] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: You know, and you said like, you know, you could do it next day. Would people actually do it? Is that psychologically, you know, not the best. I'm thinking. And tell me if, if you disagree, but let's say you got a celebrity wedding, right? Okay. Well, you know, the got endless deep pockets. You could say it's an extra thousand or $1,500 for next day delivery of your wedding.

[00:40:56] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: And I could almost guarantee they would pay.

[00:40:59] Sam Hurd: You think so? I don't know. I don't know that people care about seeing their full gallery that quickly as much as we might've.

[00:41:07] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I think, I think somebody that's in a, like, for example Kardashian, right. Somebody, you know, they could afford it at the drop of a hat that somebody

[00:41:18] Sam Hurd: also just to have it.

[00:41:20] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Yeah. But it's also somebody who cares about. Public perception where they're going to want their wedding photos so they can get it off to the media and then the world sees it. Right? Sure. So at that point, you know, $500 for the average normal human being might, might be like tough to tough to pull for some people, but also psychologically might be the perfect dollar value for what you're getting two week delivery, but $1,500 for a next day for somebody who.

[00:41:55] Sam Hurd: I can see it. And so this isn't even something I talk about during the client meeting. I just, it's very, self-explanatory, you know, I, I think it struck me to, to offer this model while I was waiting to board or sitting in the waiting area of an airport. There's like, you know, every single airline has you want priority boarding, 40 bucks just, do you want it or not?

[00:42:16] Sam Hurd: Yes or no. Right here. Friction is removed. Like, you know what kind of do boom. And. I don't really nudge people back to their booking portal very often, but I do kind of wish there was a reason for them to keep coming back to it, because if I could have that option ever present, you know, maybe seven days after the wedding, they would say, you know what?

[00:42:36] Sam Hurd: I do want that option. Let's do it 500 bucks. We can get our photos in the next week. That'd be amazing or something like that. You know, like that, that I think. Would be even more compelling, but you know, I don't know how you nudge people. They're not waiting for a flight, right? They're not going back to their client portal for any real reason, unless it was integrated with their client gallery somehow or where you deliver their previews, which is why a studio management system needs to integrate with something like a studio gallery system.

[00:43:02] Sam Hurd: I don't know why something hasn't come up. Come along to do it all. I mean, there's been some places that do kind of do it all, but none of them well enough. It's crazy. Anyway. Yeah, it's you're right. I mean, so I don't talk about it to my clients and I could easily have, I could see a tiered, like two weeks turn around 500 bucks.

[00:43:21] Sam Hurd: Two day turnaround, 1500 bucks, something like that. Yeah. And have two options and just leave it at that and let them choose. Yeah, you

[00:43:27] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: could go, you could go all out and just do a same day wedding lyric. Just kidding. That would be insane. Yeah.

[00:43:33] Sam Hurd: I mean, that's the dream again? That's the dream. I could see you being there someday, but man.

[00:43:37] Sam Hurd: Yeah. Yeah. I remember when I was very first starting out, there was a photographer. I think I want to say his name was Scott. I can't remember his last name, but he's much older. Well-established guy. I'm showing off. I think I want to call them spider lights or something that were continuous lights for studio work.

[00:43:54] Sam Hurd: They didn't strobe at all. They were just on and at the time, like 12 years ago, this was a big deal. It's like, holy crap, we don't have to have strobes, whatever. The, his thing was. Oh, he shot and had a video, like a reaction video of this is like 2008. Dad shot the entire wedding and then had an album made and presented to the clients at the end of the reception.

[00:44:17] Sam Hurd: Here's your wedding day, any printed book onsite, Grazie. And that was a very wealthy. Yeah, money was no issue.

[00:44:26] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: It's possible to do, but it is possible to do, but yeah, you got to have a team at that point,

[00:44:34] Sam Hurd: but that's where Imagen in other tools like them, there are kind of representing the team for me, like in my brain, Imagen.

[00:44:42] Sam Hurd: Sort of becoming an employee that has this task that I can control. And it does what I want with my intention and my unique sensibilities. And I don't have to pay them a salary. This is it. This is, this is the way of the future. Sadly,

[00:44:59] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I have a friend who, who got married four months ago and they, they were a twice postponed wedding because of the pandemic.

[00:45:06] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: They finally just did it. Their wedding after postponing their wedding twice, they had their wedding and their wedding photos took four months to come back, which I know to you and I, that may not sound so you know, so crazy. Cause it happens. Right. But, so I said to them, if you were offered $500 optional add on to guarantee them that those photos come back in two weeks, would you have paid it?

[00:45:34] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: 100%, they would have paid that. And I said to them, well, tell your photog for, to check out, Imagen AI. And she said, well, how much would it have been? And I, and she, she teaches math. So I was like, how many photos did you get back? She said 900. So I said time, 6 cents each. And then she, she was like, what?

[00:45:55] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Like, you know, at that point she would have paid 500, the photographer would've made a huge profit on that. And. And, you know, they would have been happier than, I mean, they were happy with their photos, but they would have been happier getting it back in two weeks then than

[00:46:09] Sam Hurd: four months. So, yeah, for sure.

[00:46:11] Sam Hurd: That's happening a lot now. I mean, with so many photographers shooting doubles and triples that the consequences for sure delayed longer editing time and yeah. Yeah. It's not like photographers. Aren't stressed, not just with the volume of photos, but just having to deal with some people still rescheduling, some having to wear a mask, maybe, maybe not the trout, like there's just so much extra stress and work like photographers need breathing room, like every other vendor to to just force some time away from their computer.

[00:46:41] Sam Hurd: When they're in the midst of. Working probably the most they've ever worked in a lot of their careers. But anyway, again, though, this is like perfect time for a tool like this to be embraced. I mean, you guys launched, I don't know when the official launch was, but about a year, year and a half ago, something like that.

[00:47:00] Sam Hurd: And it was 2020, I think. I don't know when the exact formation of the company was, but that was the perfect time to start experimenting and playing around with this option as a photographer, when you were stuck at home, if you weren't buried under a blanket of depression from the pandemic to actually get up and like kind of retweak your workflow in embrace tools like this, it's tough to do.

[00:47:22] Sam Hurd: Now already behind by four months or whatever. But anyway, yeah, yeah.

[00:47:28] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: I completely agree. Yeah, I would too. So Sam where can listeners learn more about you connect with you and of course see your incredible photography.

[00:47:38] Sam Hurd: No. Awesome. Instagram is where I'm most active on social media. So my handle is I am the Sam, but easy.

[00:47:44] Sam Hurd: And then my website, Sam Hurd,, sort of where all my wedding oriented blog posts and things are. Of course, I do have a Patrion, which is where I'm most active in terms of sharing behind the scenes, everything thoughts on a review image, deconstructions, community, portfolio reviews, all that kind of stuff.

[00:48:03] Sam Hurd: Hurd. And that's H U R D gives anybody's confused, but yeah, that's, those are kind of my three main areas of activity. And I try and be super accessible to everyone, not just patrons, but you know, always feel free to reach out and send me a DM. Yep.

[00:48:17] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Awesome. Thank you, Sam, for joining me today on this podcast and for sharing all of your insights and.

[00:48:27] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: All the different workflows that you have going on to help the craziness get streamlined. No, it's good. It's good. I mean, we want to share the nitty gritty as much as we can in less than an hour. So I guess it's a little tricky, but we're right at that hour, mark. Yeah. Yeah. So, thank you so much.

[00:48:45] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: And hopefully I will see you at imaging USA. This, this might even be out after imaging USA, but you know, hopefully I'll see you at imaging.

[00:48:54] Sam Hurd: Thanks God. Yeah. Look forward to seeing you again and excited to see you. What is next for Imagen it's going to be awesome. Okay.

[00:49:03] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: Thank you, Sam, for that incredible conversation about your photography workflows.

[00:49:08] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: And thank you for listening to this episode of workflows. Be sure to check out our show notes at / podcast, and don't forget to join the other Imageners at the ImagenAI community. You can do so by going to / community. Thank you again, and we'll see you in the next episode, you've been listening to work flows presented by Imaginarium.

[00:49:34] Scott Wyden Kivowitz: To see the show notes and everything referenced in this episode, please go to Imagen hyphen

[00:49:43] Scott Wyden Kivowitz:

Workflows with Sam Hurd
Broadcast by