January 19, 2012

Pancake Session: Ginny Corbett on Workflow & Renewal

We haven’t gotten to really hang out with Ginny Corbett in real life. But just from the internet, I feel like we already know her. (The internet is a powerful thing, my friends!!) Her name had come up from so many different people that I love & respect, that it got my attention. I started paying attention. And following along. I wanted to get a feel for what she was about, what she stood for…and what I can tell you is this: I was way beyond impressed. Let this be a lesson. Whether you know it or not, you are always representing yourself and your brand. And people are always paying attention.

And from what I’ve been able to observe, Ginny is the real deal MacNeal. :) She is kind, funny, humble, endearing and so so helpful to other photographers. And she has some really gorgeous work, at that! I first started really hearing about Ginny from her For the Love Workshops and then most recently I saw her announce the Renew Workshop. I clicked over and started reading along, and everything she said just….moved me. I think it’s something that we all need to hear. And that’s when I knew we had to get her on here. So that she could move you too.

Introducing: the fantastic Ginny Corbett

Hi guys!

I’m excited to introduce myself to many of you for the first time today.  It is such an honor that Justin and Mary asked me to be a part of their Pancake Sessions.  I’ve looked up to this couple since I’ve been in the photography industry.  I love how freely they give to other photographers, and I’m excited to share a little bit of my passions with you.  My name is Ginny Corbett.  I am a wedding photographer based out of Raleigh, NC, and today, I wanted to chat with you about how I strive to stay renewed and inspired while constantly pouring out my heart and soul to my clients week in and week out.  I figure that if I can keep my creative cup full, then I will have plenty to offer my friends, family, and above all…my clients.  

1.  Know your Strengths

Have you ever felt like there are areas in your business that no matter how hard you try, you can not seem to stay on top of them?  For me, no matter how hard I try, I can NOT seem to be great at keeping my financial books organized.  I’ve spent YEARS beating myself up about it.  I read books about it, invest in programs that will help me track finances, even ask my other friends for advice on what system I should apply to make myself better at it.  But, no matter what…I can not seem to force myself to sit down in front of my computer and input all my receipts into Quick Books every week.  I avoid it like the plague.  I was starting to feel pretty hopeless about it.  Until, I was introduced to Strengthsfinder 2.0 by a friend.  He explained Strengthsfinder like this….every individual is created uniquely.  We all have our own set of strengths and we are the most effective when we operate in those areas.  Hearing my friend talk about it was a breath of fresh air.  For years I have been enslaved to my weaknesses.  I thought that if I focused all my attention on my weakest areas, I would eventually overcome them and turn them into strengths, thus producing a better version of Ginny.  The unfortunate thing was that I did not experience much success in my years of trying to transform my weaknesses.   So, after talking with my friend, I immediately rushed to Barnes and Noble and purchased my copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0.  Enclosed in the book is a code used to take the test online.  30 minutes later, after I had finished my test and received my report, I laughed.  It’s no wonder why I lack in the business side of my photography business.  These are my strengths (in order): Futuristic, Positivity, Empathy, Adaptability, and Restorative.  If you put me in a situation that involves planning out future events (like photography workshops) or big picture ideas, I thrive.  If you put me in a room of people, I come to life.  If you put me in an environment that needs problem solving skills…I’m all over it.  It’s almost as if I was created to do those things…..duh!  However, if you put me in an analytical business setting, it’s like my brain shuts down.  Or, if you ask me to sit behind my computer and input data, then you better find someone to stand beside me with a bull whip, because there’s a good chance that it won’t get done.  

So, all I’m saying is this, find out what your strengths are and spend your time and effort operating in those things, because you’ll find that you will be renewed when you operate in the areas that you are gifted in.  Then, outsource the rest.  

2.  Invest in an Automated Workflow.

If I can spend less time behind my computer, and more time living adventurously, then I’m a happy girl.  So, there are a couple of tools that help me automate my life.  

ShootQ is the most effective tool I invest in.  It’s like having a full time assistant for only $40 a month.  It manages my bookings, bills my clients, manages my contracts, organizes my client communications, and allows me to set up an automated workflow so that I don’t have to repeat myself over and over again.  It’s amazing how easy it is to keep up with each client, because each client has their own workflow. And at any given time, I can see where I am in the process so that I’m not racking my brain trying to figure out where I left off.  

I will say, that ShootQ was intimidating for me.  I remember getting all pumped up about it, signing up, and then getting completely overwhelmed with setting up all the emails, contracts, and workflows.  So, I highly recommend purchasing the Youngren’s complete workflow.  You can find it under the “Market Place” section of your ShootQ site.  When you purchase it, it’s quick and easy to activate, and you’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll be a ShootQ genius.  

Action Runner-
Action Runner is great because it allows me batch edit my photos with multiple Photoshop actions.  I made a little video to give you a peek at what my workflow looks like using Bridge and Action Runner.  

Text Expander-
Don’t you hate it when you have to type the same thing over and over again? Text Expander is another great tool that Jeff Youngren introduced me to this year.  It allows you to type up automatic emails and assign a short cut to them so that all you have to do is type out the shortcut and the rest of the email will appear.  For instance, my shortcut for my signature is “sig”.  When I finish typing out an email, I type three simple letters “sig” and my signature with all my social media links pops up.  I use this a lot with frequently asked questions.  That way, I’m not wasting time on repetitious emails.  

3.  Do What You Love

I’ve found that the root of my happiness is rooted in my heart.  So, from this point on in this blog post, I’m going to start using a lot of heart language.  I LOVE photography, but I’m not passionate about every genre of photography.  So, last year, I started paying more attention to my heart and what energized me with life and what didn’t.  I began to see a pattern.  I found myself over-the-top excited when I was gearing up to shoot a wedding, but when I was driving to a family shoot, photography actually felt like a job.  So, I decided to focus my business and shoot ONLY what I love, and the result of that was freedom.  Now, every day feels like a hobby because I actually love what I do.  I love meeting with brides over coffee, I love photographing engagement sessions, I love being such an integral part of the grand scheme of my client’s love stories.  Now that I’m immersed in only weddings, I no longer dread certain photo sessions.  So, I encourage you to listen to your heart.  Think about what gets you excited in photography.  Do you find yourself on Pinterest pinning wedding photos, or are you shopping on Etsy for cute baby swaddles?  Once you pinpoint what brings you the most life, then focus your business on that area and become a specialist for that field.  

4.  Indulge in LIFE

This is the last thing I’m going to chat about today.  This is my most passionate topic.  It’s short and simple.  Indulge in the little things in life that bring you joy.  Life really is short.  When I first started photography, I put all the things that I loved on the back burner and pursued photography full-force.  The result of that was being very busy and experiencing what some may call “success”. But what it led to was me being isolated in my home office editing photos in premature burn-out mode.  So, now, after all the things I’ve listed above that have helped me work smarter, I have more free time to really indulge in life.  Roasting coffee.  Music.  Spending time with family. Traveling. Going to concerts.  Rocking chairs. Massages.  Sunsets.  Wine.  It’s these things that increase the quality of my life on a day to day basis.  It’s because I indulge in the small things that bring me peace that I actually live a renewed life.  So, my advice to you is this….allow yourself the luxury of making what you love a priority in your life.  If you like antique shopping, then schedule a monthly shopping trip.  If you love the movies, then go to the movies at least twice a month.  If you love sleeping in, then make it a point to have one day where you are able to sleep in.  Believe me, you’ll find every excuse to skip out on your indulgences, but if you don’t do those things, then your cup won’t be overflowing, and you will not be able to give what needs to be given to everyone around you.  

So, take time for yourself….enjoy life.  

Ginny is going to be taking her Renew Workshop filled with even more life balancing goodness to 5 cities across the South this February & March. I highly recommend you check one out!!

  1. Abby Grace

    I love her point about only shooting what you love. I decided a couple of months ago that this year would be year I stop shooting sessions that I’m not absolutely crazy about, and PHEW! It’s made shooting so much more enjoyable!

  2. sharon elizabeth

    Great Advice!!!!

  3. Cory + Jackie

    Aww…we love Ginny! Such an awesome person!

  4. Beria Charles

    This brought tears to my eyes. I so needed! I so need to learn those steps in order to continue doing what I love! Thanks J&M! Thanks Ginny! I wish I could afford going to your workshop. I hope one day, after organizing my workflow like you kindly show today, I’d be able to. May God you tons.

  5. Gabby / En Route Photography

    Lots of interesting links and advice! I´m definitely checking out Action Runner! Thanks Ginny! ;)

  6. Faye Bernoulli

    I love LOVE workflow tips and learning what other people use! I’m not quite ready to invest in ShootQ, but it’s in the near future!

  7. Deborah Zoe

    That’s pretty much how I feel about Ginny too:)! I’ve never met her but I FEEL like I have and I think she’s fabulous:)!

  8. Danielle Smith


  9. Chelsea Giles

    Oh Ginny. I am so excited to see where the Lord continues to take you on this journey. You are an inspiration to so many. Just know that I have so much respect for you . J & M, you guys have featured a wonderful person today, you totally earned cool points!

  10. Karen Stott

    OH MARY…. you are in for the biggest treat of your life when you meet Ginny! Just be sure to carve out a solid few hours to soak in all of her goodness…

  11. Tiffany Deming

    Love me some Ginny!!! OXO Thanks, J & M for being a touchstone in my morning routine, and for inviting one of my favorite people to your blog. And to Miss Ginny…seriously, awesome stuff girl!! I woke up this morning feeling discouraged, and this was just what I needed to hear! <3

  12. kristin brown

    love this!! i was JUST thinking about how important it is to indulge in things you love FREQUENTLY. i love what you said there. thanks so much!

  13. Nancy Mitchell

    I LOVE GINNY! Yes, I only know her via the internet, but I LOVE her heart and everything she has accomplished. She is very knowledgeable. I can’t wait to meet her one day. QUESTION: Do The Youngren’s complete workflow work with PIXIFI? I would LOVE to integrate that into my new office manager:)

  14. R. J. Kern

    Long time reader, first time commenter… great ideas, y’all! Also one of the bonuses of using Pictage fro $100/month is free Shoot Q!!!

  15. Jaime+Chase

    J&M thank you for featuring one of the most kind hearted, down to earth women I know! Ginny, this is perfect! I love that you opened you heart and spoke from the depths. It’s refreshing to hear passion for Life in order to freely give to others! You are a blessing friend! xoxo

  16. Sarah Kittredge

    Its almost like you know what we’re struggling with! Thank you for sharing!

  17. LEOLAK

    Wow..thanks for the introduction!!! Definitely needed to read this today!! My thanks to you guys and Ginny!

  18. Tiffany Farley

    Justin and Mary sure do know how to pick their guest bloggers! This was great! I may print it actually. :)

  19. Sarah Goodwin

    Such great business & life info all rolled into a great post! I gotta check out TextExpander for sure!

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