Am I Too Stupid to Keep Things Simple?

This is my crazy photo & video workflow board, that’s long and complicated and already contributing to brain fatigue! Am I disobeying the KISS principle here?

I am a wedding photographer and cinematographer, and all my clients generally go through the following stages of initial contact, through to delivery of products. There are many steps in between but everyone goes through all these stages.

This is my attempt at creating a project template that I will duplicate for each client (I am on the free version)


  1. Do I have too many sections?
  2. Should I use sub tasks at all?
  3. Would you utilize TAGS to bring things to an easy view?
  4. Some persons would suggest a project for each stage instead of a board with multiple sections. Agree or disagree?

With this method, I have to go in and create due dates for each task as I am on the free version so that’s also very tedious

(What’s probably also driving me crazy is that I’m trying to do this with the free version but I want to at least test this for 3-6 months before I can legitimately consider this worth investing in.)

Hi @Darren_George,

Funny headline–no way! I think your approach to enumerate all the steps so you don’t miss anything is smart. But I agree you should try to simplify (without losing value).

Your capsule summary and great screenshot provide a good window into things, but that doesn’t mean I can really understand enough about your business and how you use this project to necessarily give you good suggestions…but why let that stop me! :smile:

Take with a grain of salt, but my thinking is that you could:

  • Use a List not a Board project – much more compact and other advantages
  • It’s fine to keep those sections – in the List project you can View Incomplete Tasks and mark completed tasks as you go to condense your view
  • Use subtasks more – if you’re not collaborating with anyone, and all these steps are reminders primarily or they at least have very minimal metadata/content (primarily a due date), then probably this is a great use for subtasks, and those will work well with a List project
  • Use fewer due dates – With the use of subtasks, maybe it’s just the parent tasks that need due dates, and that will simplify and save time
  • Parent tasks could represent big tasks and milestones (both); and just assign due dates to those that you really need them on
  • I don’t think you need tags necessarily unless you uncover a need that’s unmet
  • One (List) project per client seems good to me.

I hope that may help!



Hey Larry! Thanks for the input

I like the suggestions so far. I realize that most persons running projects in Asana use lists and the boards are not so popular so maybe I should just stick with that. I did choose the board layout because it gives a left to right progression when you look at it so it’s easier to view the progress of the client through the stages.

With that being said, how do I convert this to a list :exploding_head:

I do these steps mostly with my administrator who handles the admin stuff, and my shooting assistant has a few tasks in there but nothing major. So whilst there is some collaboration, I still think your advice if relevant.

So I’m just waiting to see if anyone else chimes in before I do a redesign

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As you point out, there are advantages to each view, and I agree you should get some more input from others here, and maybe your admin and shooting assistant too.

If you do want to convert to a list, you could wait (a few weeks/couple months???) because Asana will be enabling both tabs for all projects; this is coming but the exact date is unclear. To do it manually–one way is to multi-home (add to project) all the tasks to a new list project, then when you’re sure they’re all there, remove the original board project from the tasks (or just ignore it). But that is most easily done with Advanced Search, a Premium feature. If you really want to do this maybe you could do a Premium trial during which you could make the change.

On the other hand, if it’s working for you as is, no need to change!



how do you track status of each task in a list? is there an intermediate status before “complete”?

If I were you, I’d consider splitting the workflow into two: one to track leads (the sales workflow) and another one to track the actual shooting (the production worfklow). Once a lead converts into a customer, you create a new project from your template production workflow.


I second the divide between leads (sales process) and clients (shooting and delivery).

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@Reed, If those statuses should be the most prominent organizing principle, then the same columns could just be maintained as sections in the list project. Though not an option for Darren, custom fields would be a more flexible option; he could use tags as an alternative to sections.

I like your suggestion to separate sales and production.


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This makes perfect sense. Many advisors makes a victory sure.

So splitting the workflows is exactly what I’ll do. It also will allow me to outsource the sales aspect since that can be done by anyone, an advantage I never thought of before.

That plus the sections and tags, and it’s all coming together for me now. Great


First off, I think board view is better because it makes sense visually.

The key here is to not just digitize a manual process. The point of software is to streamline and automate our processes.

I would suggest to look closely at Asanas integrations and find ways to get data into Asana and out of a Asana when you need to. For example, which invoicing app do you use? Does it track all leads and customers in a CRM type interface? If so, and you’re using it to create quotes, you’ll want to get signatures on those quotes and maybe even take some payment up front to convert them Into invoices and then automatically have them show up in Asana so you can then move them through Asana. Also when they move in Asana into a new section, what automation tools are available? What is you move a customer into a section called waiting for final payment, you might want an email or something to occur that is triggered automatically. Or maybe your invoicing app does that. In that case, after a “task” expires in Asana waiting for payment, you might want Asana to move all tasks (clients) that are expired waiting for payment, and haven’t been paid to automatically move to a section called “must collect Before sending photos” or something.

I’d like to see this type of automation in Asana. There’s so many use cases.

If anyone has suggestions on how to accomplish this type of automations/triggers, I would love to hear!

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Very good prompts here!

To summarize:

I’m using a software called Sprout Studio for CRM, invoicing and general studio management. It’s specifically for photographers so it meets the needs pretty well. I also use Convertkit so there’s some amount of going back and forth between these three software. there is a suite of automation in Sprout and Convertkit.

The reality is that I can’t find any software that can automate everything I need to do, because there needs to be a manual human element. With Asana, what I’m trying to fix is the problem of keeping track of what to do and when to do it. I’d love more automation to be in there but I don’t know how to do that at this point, especially in the free version

What I do know, is that I use Zapier to integrate Sprout Studio with Convertkit and SMS and it works. You gave a great suggestion of moving things automatically in Asana using automation and I’m goin to try to let Zapier or IFTTT attempt to accomplish that.

Be great!

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Very cool. I’d love to know what you used and how the flow of triggers work.
Having the items moved to the right section in asana, and having events occur in other apps, or emails, or reminders for clients be triggered in other apps is key here for automation.

Looking forward to seeing what ends up working.

Really hope Asana can build out more integrations natively. Asana is expensive enough as it is, I dont wan’t to pay for Zapier although good to know it works for your current integrations.

Note to Asana: I’d love to use Asana business, but it makes no sense at all at the current 5 user minimum its set to. IMO there shouldn’t be any minimum number of users required for the Business level of Asana.

Yes I also wish there was no minimum for the levels. That’s the only reason I haven’t signed up yet and I’m trying as best to leverage The free version.

I also use Zapier free but to me, the paid version is definitely worth it because you get multiple steps and includes logic steps. It’s powerful! If I can do what needs to be done with Zapier, I will definitely pull the trigger on it.

Be great!

Looks perfect. This is appropriate use.


Just a quick question: Is it more important to you to know which task to do next for a given shoot, or would it be more helpful to have an overview of which shoots are in which stage? It may also be a question of whether this is to be used for project management and prioritization versus collaboration with other photographers and/or staff.

If it is collaboration, then I agree that your current setup (whether list or board) might be best because the status of this particular shoot is absolutely clear to anyone looking at it and it includes all the instructions for what to do. It also allows you to invite a helper to only the shoot (project) they’re involved with.

However, if you are primarily doing the work yourself and you do a fair amount of shoots, you might consider zooming out a bit to give yourself some visual/mental simplicity while prioritizing your work. Since you are not a business customer, you don’t have portfolios, and you’d have to open each project to see where it is in the process. Sure, you’d have your “My tasks” project where all the individual tasks could live, but if you’re not careful, it can get out of hand with this level of detail.

What if you have one board (or two if you separate your Sales and Production flows) and each shoot is a card on that board. Then you have all the tasks for each project as subtasks of that card. Your columns remain the same as they are and you just move the card from column to column as it moves through those milestones. Then, in one glance, you have a clear view of where every shoot is in it’s process. And since you clearly know your process, without even looking at the checklist, you will have an idea of what needs to be done for a shoot given its place on the board. You can always zoom in to the subtasks as a reminder (just be warned that subtasks don’t disappear when they are completed, so you’ll have to do some scrolling to find your next task).

Here’s what it could look like:

I find this set up ideal for helping me prioritize my work. However, as I mentioned above, if your primary purpose of Asana is to collaborate with others on specific projects rather than have an overview of the entire business, then stick with what you’ve got.

Hope that helps!

Thank you for your input

I watched a video about this same concept last night on YouTube. The person did exactly what you are suggesting - they had a Kanban board with an overview and I thought - this is exactly what I need.

So, I think having both setups is best.

The only problem is, I don’t know how to quickly create this Kanban board. How I have it setup is that I’m depending on My Tasks and project color codes to get a very rudimentary version of what you’re suggesting.

I’ve posted a screenshot of this
Pink project means they are in the post-production workflow
Orange project means they are in the pre-production workflow
Green project means they are in the inquiry or pre-booking workflow

So I already have tasks with tags with important qualifiers like “awaiting approval” or “outsourced” that kind of help with that. I have a section of favorite tags so that I click on them and then I can see quickly, which tasks are on a deadline or awaiting approval or urgent etc.

However, having a big picture view, as the project manager for the business still is valuable. How would I do this quickly and simply, or maybe even automatically? Or would I now have to create a Kanban board like you suggested, and enter into the sections manually the names of the clients?

I don’t think your screenshot made it onto the forum here; can you try posting it again?

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The image shows

  • Favorites (according to tags)
  • Wedding client management is a team effort, so each client is a project by itself

Sorry I fell of the forum for a while. How’s your process coming?
I have a couple of ideas that might help, but if you’ve already found your way to something that works, it’s probably better to not try and add more complex organization.