Q & A: How Producteev “alleviates email trailing” for a photography studio


The core team at Vaughn Media includes: Matt Prested, producer; Cari Vaughn, director of business development; and Joe Vaughn, photographer and director.

Joe Vaughn’s images have graced the pages of Vanity Fair, GQ, NY Times magazineFast Company and Sports Illustrated. He specializes in portrait, food, travel, and lifestyle photography.

Like most modern companies, their Michigan-based office is often on-the-go, with an international client list. The team appreciates Producteev’s mobility and relies on the app to decrease time wasted with email.

How do you use Producteev?
Joe: Before Producteev, I would just use email for my workflow, but I found that after about a week, tasks were not getting done. It was difficult for me to keep up with emails, and constantly going back to read old messages was inefficient.

When I was looking for a work solution, Producteev was definitely a contender. I liked its aggressive approach to tackling the problem and how the developers seemed to work hard towards making their web application better. I got on board while the company was still in beta and have been satisfied ever since.

Matt: In addition to our regular clients, over the course of a year we may have anywhere between 40-50 one-time jobs. When not working on a photo shoot, we put less emphasis on a calendar-based approach and really rely on the app as a task manager.

Privacy settings have made a big difference, especially with our photography and design interns. Also, any given shoot can have a peripheral team of 3-15 freelancers. We’re more selective with what we let them see, but Producteev helps us eliminate some of the guesswork.

For our interns, however, logging onto Producteev is usually the first thing they do when coming into work. The system’s been handy with assigning them tasks, like updating our website, and has helped coordinate their irregular office hours.

Cari: Without Producteev, we wouldn’t get anything done! The three of us stay connected with the iPhone app and stay on task with notification reminders.

We use labels extensively to keep things organized. Joe may have as many as 50 active tasks, which we label by client and our own unique ticketing system to maintain order. We also label according to status, for instance, we have a label titled “invoice” to manage our invoicing.

Joe: The search function’s great, too. If I ever need anything from a completed job, I can easily search for and find projects from several months back and retrieve files, links and documents from those tasks as needed.

Describe your experience with Producteev.
Joe: Some of the more involved photo shoots have multiple art directors, an art buyer, and others within the ad agency. Email conversations could go in circles, without any final decisions being made. The system alleviates email trailing, with Producteev acting as a hub.

Matt: I oversee the administration of client needs and filter through the email trails to help Joe with priorities. We use creative briefs to record pertinent information and attach them as PDFs to tasks.

Joe: As a result, we have a much more manageable jobs list, and all I have to do is click on a task to see everything related to that assignment. This is a dramatic improvement from excessive email chains.

For more information about Joe Vaughn and Vaughn Media, visit www.joevaughn.com.

Put Producteev’s priority features to work, spend less time scheduling and get things done without relying on a calendar.

  1. Indicate priority level while adding a task by using asterisks (2* or **) 
  2. Add a priority level to already existing tasks to the left of task titles
  3. Go to the footer and Sort by – Priority to list tasks in descending order of importance

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