As photographers, creating a designated workspace can often be an afterthought. For both professionals and hobbyists alike, the portability and flexibility of photography can force us to reason that wherever our laptop lands should be the office for the day.
But what if having a space designated for work made us better photographers? Whether you have a corner office in a high rise or have staked-out a corner of the kitchen to call your own, having a space that is yours can make all the difference in getting work done well.
That said, even the most extravagant of workspaces can work against you if it isn’t planned thoughtfully. These office design tips will help you create a work environment that lets you get things done no matter the size or location.
1.) Make your office a distraction-free zone
I am a mom to five children. My office is in my home. Let’s get real: distraction-free is not a possibility for me. Ha!
That said, I have taken steps to remove unnecessary distractions from my workspace. This means there is no television in my line of vision, I am away from the home responsibilities that might be calling my name (no laundry or dishes in here!), and I keep all of the school papers, bills, and other “work” that demands my attention in a separate space.
While much of my job requires me to be accessible by phone and email, I even keep those distractions away when I am on an photo editing deadline. Multitasking has been proven to be an inefficient way of accomplishing tasks and so I do everything I can to ensure that I am able to focus on the singular task I have in front of me.
2.) Keep your workspace clean and organized
Nothing is less inspiring than clutter and filth! Having a space that allows you to feel as if you have room to move and function in an orderly manner is sure to increase your productivity.
I understand that there are some personalities whose desks are bound to be messier than others. Still, those desks can have a system of organization that works for those people. Knowing where things are will save you time and spare you the stress of searching for things that should be easily accessible.
Luckily, office organization can be super cute and affordable! I love the yearly planners from Rifle Paper Co. as they are beautiful and colorful and have ample space for me to write down appointments and deadlines. IKEA, World Market, and Target are all wallet-friendly spots that have adorable options that are sure to make you love you space while keeping pens and papers organized.
3.) Fill your office with inspiration
Think of ways that you can create a space that makes your creative heart sing! Consider having art on the walls, a photo of the kids on your desk, an inspirational quote in your line of vision, or even a shelf of books that you find inspiring. Simply being in the same room as these objects can help you tap into that part of your brain that loves to create.
One of my favorite sources of inspiration is music. Whether it be a classical concerto or Cardi B, having music on helps me to focus and fuels my creative drive. I have a Sonos sound system throughout my home with a speaker in my office to ensure that I can have my playlist at hand at all times.
4.) Consider how color affects your creativity
There are all kinds of scientific studies that will tell you that color affects the way your brain functions (orange is supposed to inspire creativity, FYI). However, I am here to tell you that whatever colors make you happy, THOSE are the colors you should include in your office space.
Do you love clean and monochromatic? Roll with that in your workspace! Do you wish that everything could be bright and vibrant all the time? You have my permission to throw the whole rainbow at your office! The point is, don’t hesitate to forego trends and use color to make your designated workspace a place that makes you smile.
While I am a girl who LOVES color, my office is stark white. Not only does this make the relatively small space feel bigger, but it allows the room to be a blank canvas where I can add color for pops of happiness. Even better, I can change things out for different seasons or moods (I particularly like changing my throw pillow covers!) to keep my office fresh and exciting.
5.) Make yourself comfortable while you work
I can guarantee that if my hiney is hurting while I am editing photos, I am not going to sit there for long! Having a place to sit that is comfortable is often a secondary consideration but is truly SO important to creating a functional workspace.
A chair with cushioning is helpful and I love one that is adjustable so I can work at different heights. When I want to really work on my posture and core muscles, I swap my chair for an exercise ball that is surprisingly comfortable AND helps keep me in proper alignment.
Of course, comfort goes beyond your desk chair! I always keep throw blankets and a sweater close by in my office so that I don’t have to leave my space should it get chilly. You will be amazed at how something as simple as a basket of blankets can boost your productivity and keep your workspace cozy and inviting.
6.) Fill your workspace with proper lighting
There is nothing…I repeat NOTHING…worse that fluorescent lights. If you are in a space that has them, turn the switch off and fill your space with lamps. I promise it will increase your desire to go to your office 100%.
While I of course want you to choose light fixtures that you adore, the most important variable here will be the lightbulbs in those fixtures. To create lighting that most closely matches daylight and maximizes productivity, choose a bulb between 5000K and 7000K.
LED lights can last up to 50 times longer than traditional bulbs (keeping you from changing them out so often!) and are always my first choice. I also like to add dimmers to my light fixtures when possible so that I can adjust the brightness of my lights with the light coming through my windows and the brightness of my computer monitor.
7.) Keep the necessities accessible
Anything that pulls you away from the task at hand is going to negatively affect your productivity. Of course, I am not telling you that you shouldn’t leave your desk for hours on end (in fact, PLEASE be sure to get up and move around at least once an hour!). Rather, I am encouraging you to minimize unnecessary trips away from your workspace.
Pens, paper clips, envelopes, stamps and other office staples should be right with you when you are at your desk. While it might be great for your calves and glutes to run up and down the stairs every time you need something at your desk, it is going to interrupt your workflow and make completing tasks that much more difficult. By having everything close by (and organized!) you will save yourself time and increase productivity.
8.) Keep your office healthy
It can be so easy to slip into bad habits when you are busy! Keeping your office full of things that encourage health will keep you energized and ready to tackle any tasks that cross your desk.
I always keep a thermos of tea or water with me when I work so that I stay hydrated. Whole food bars (I am particularly fond of Lara bars!) are the perfect snack to have on hand for when hunger strikes and keep me full for a good long while.
I also love having plants in my office as they add a pop of color to the room and keep the air nice and fresh. When I want a little something extra in the air I will diffuse essential oils (lemon and lavender are my favorites!).
The portability of photography is such a wonderful thing and as someone who is juggling family and home, I am so grateful that I can work wherever I may need to be. That said, having a space that is mine and functions well allows me to be a better photographer in both my professional and my personal work. No matter the task, I want YOU to create a space that inspires you and allows you to be the best, most happily productive version of you that you can be.
What have you done in your office to inspire creativity and productivity? Tell us in the comments below!