Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
Phew! We are STILL recovering from the whirlwind of activity this week that was Headshots on the Lawn 2018. Although we’re still working on finishing up the editing, we thought this was a cool opportunity for a little behind-the-scenes look at how Hunter and I run events like HotL!
During our three afternoon sessions, each only 2 hours long, we managed to capture headshots for over 180 students, faculty and community members! That comes out to only 2 minutes per person and, in fact, I timed Hunter on Tuesday afternoon when we were at our busiest, and he was cranking some of the guys out in 50 seconds or less!
How did we manage to capture so many professional-quality photos in such a short amount of time?
Short answer: efficient systems. Slightly longer answer: systems that have gotten more and more efficient each time we’ve done this event, and are still improving each time we head to the Lawn.
For example, the first year we ran this event, we had a terrible time coordinating who was in each photo with who signed up. We were depending on people getting photographed in the exact order they signed up, which made for a nightmare when it came time to send the photos. The following year, we instituted the business card method – having each person write their own UVA email on a business card for their first photo – this way their photos can never get separated from their contact info!
Last, year, we noticed another inefficiency. While Hunter could crank out the photos in two minutes or less, it was actually taking longer for the students and faculty to sign in at our table! This meant that Hunter would finish with his current subject, and wait a few seconds or even a minute for the next person to get through the registration line.
So this year, we introduced pre-registration, where our guests could actually fill out all their contact information and even pay in advance online! This, combined with hiring an extra hand to help me at the sign-in table, basically eliminated the line for registration! Great news, right?
Well, unfortunately this only moved the bottleneck elsewhere. We did get more efficient overall, but yesterday afternoon when things really were at their busiest, the line waiting at Hunter’s back was over 25 people long! Yikes! We felt really bad about this since we had hoped that the online sign-up would prevent the line, rather than just moving it.
However, that’s the one hiccup in an otherwise wildly successful event! Over 180 people served, and they’ll have their headshots in their inboxes before the week is done. We’re already dreaming about how we can improve the event next year and eliminate that line, because we know how crucial these headshots are for many of the students, especially third-year students looking for summer internships and fourth-year students looking for full-time employment or applying to graduate schools.
Best of luck to all our job-searching Wahoos!
Sarah + Hunter