The majority of the contents in this guide apply to both StudioPlus Spectra AND myStratus Desktop.
In most cases, instructions referring to "Spectra" also apply to myStratus Desktop.


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Production Overview

NOTE: This feature is available in the Professional and Enterprise versions of both Spectra and myStratus Desktop.

What is Production Tracking?

Post-session production is everything that happens after you shoot a session. Do you retouch? Design albums? Prepare slideshows? Process client orders? Order custom frames? Post to a blog? Burn a disk?

There are a lot of "jobs" going on in your studio at any given time! You need a way to keep track of them all to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. When outside vendors and/or multiple internal departments are involved, production (and preproduction) orders are the best way to keep on top of things. You can use the Production hub and Production Status reports to see the status of a particular order or to get an overview of how well you're keeping up. By using the software's production tools, you can make sure you’re not falling behind, that jobs aren’t slipping through the cracks, important deadlines aren't being missed, and that your vendors are delivering timely service.

The production tools in Spectra/myStratus Desktop are designed to help you prepare and process your digital orders. Features include integration with Lightroom and Photoshop, the ability to create archive CD/DVDs, as well as multiple ways for you to get your orders to the lab (CD/DVD or FTP). The 2016 version of the software also includes a full printing workflow for in-house printing. See Printing Workflow Overview for more information.

What are Preproduction and Production Orders?

You can use Spectra/myStratus to create preproduction and/or production orders based on your sessions and invoices. So what are they?

Preproduction Orders

Preproduction orders (sometimes called "Proof Orders") are mainly used to provide some type of proofs to your clients (printed, electronic, etc.). Preproduction orders are created from a session before the client places an order. See also: Preproduction Order Reference

Production Orders

Production orders are created from invoices and are used to order prints from a lab, print photos in house, or order other products needed to fulfill an order (i.e., frames, albums, etc.). Just like an invoice is used to record a client's order, a production order is used to record the order you place with your lab, a vendor, or even an internal department to fulfill the client's order. A single invoice can generate several production orders, depending on how many vendors you use to fulfill the client’s order. See also: Production Order Reference

Setting Up Production Tracking

The first step in using the software's production tracking features is to set up the various steps/stages your orders go through to reach completion.

You can use the software to organize your post-session production by tracking sessions, preproduction orders, and/or production orders. Post-session procedures are optional; use the features that work for your business. Click on the following links to learn how to set up the tracking features you plan to use:

  1. Session Statuses - If you haven't already done so, set up session statuses to track sessions from booking through completion.

  2. Preproduction Statuses - If you create preproduction orders (see definition above) in Spectra/myStratus, create preproduction statuses to track them.

  3. Production Statuses - Set up production statuses to track production orders created in Spectra/myStratus.

For each of these, take time to answer the question, “What step (or steps) do my sessions or POs need to go through?” In each area of post-session production (session, preproduction, and production), you will define the steps that make up the cycle and the amount of time each step takes. You can use the software's status triggers to automatically generate phone calls, tasks, emails, and/or SMS text messages for any step you choose. Status reports are also available for each step in the process. See also: Order Status Reports and Triggers

See also

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