My favourite photography business tools
Over the last few years, I have tried and tested different business tools to help me run my wedding photography business as efficiently as possible. You’re probably all too familiar with the need to keep track of multiple bookings, invoices, as well as all of the client communication. When I first started, I used the good old spreadsheets to keep track of my bookings and deadlines for sending invoices, but this meant that sending contracts and invoices was a time consuming task. I’m not sure about you, but I knew there would come a time where I would outgrow this system and something would have to change. So after one too many trial and errors, I have created a list of my favourite 5 photography business tools.
Customer Relationship Management for Creatives
After months of using spreadsheets, I made the jump straight into a Customer Relationship Management system, also known as a CRM. There’s a few similar systems out there, but I was instantly drawn to Dubsado. The simple and easy on the eye layout, as well as its relative ease of use, meant that it didn’t take me long to set up my workflows and be ready to go. The Dubsado team provide extensive help on their website, with helpful tutorials and webinars. But what really drew me in was their Facebook Group. I joined the group before I made the decision to purchase the annual plan, and I was instantly blown away by how wonderful their community is. Each query or question is answered not only by someone from the team (usually the awesome owners, who are a husband and wife team), but also loads of other Dubsado users, who have been there and done that. This support network is absolutely invaluable and I have often had my questions answered by another helpful user as soon as I posted. Not only that, but all users rave about Dubsado and their customer support – something that’s hard to come by these days. The team also take into consideration all user suggestions for new features, ensuring that your voice will be heard when it comes to shaping the development of Dubsado.
Before the days of Dubsado, I used to use HelloSign to complete my online client contracts, but it meant that I had to update client information in a word document, save it as a PDF before uploading to HelloSign, to then send a separate email to the client with the link to the contract. Not only that, but HelloSign only offer three free contracts per month, which means that you’re likely to quickly run out, and will soon have to start paying to use this service.
With Dubsado, I have a workflow where all of this is triggered automatically once the client confirms they would like to book. They fill in a Booking Confirmation form, and the data entered there gets populated into the contract and invoice. I can’t explain how helpful this has been. It’s meant that I’ve been able to do all of this on the go, on boarding clients even whilst on holiday, as it only takes a couple of minutes to set the job up, and you’re ready to go! The system also allows you to send beautiful client proposals, as well as questionnaires to collect information prior to the wedding. In the past, I had to use a separate website to create my questionnaires. Now, it’s all incorporated into my workflows and set to send 30 days before the wedding. One less thing to remember about!
Alongside all of the standard features of a CRM system, Dubsado also allows you to create a Client Portal, where the client can access all of their documents in one place. This avoids confusion and helps your client keep track of the payments they have made and forms they have submitted.
You can create a free account and onboard up to three clients, before you decide whether it’s the right choice for you. If you would like to find out more, you can do so here. If, however, you’re ready to sign up straight away, you can use my discount code ‘pearandbear’ to receive 20% off your monthly or annual subscription.
Oh, and one last thing – Dubsado also integrates with other software, such as Quickbooks Online and Zapier, making your integration possibilities endless. I really could go on at how great it is, but I’ll save it for my next post dedicated to Dubsado. I’ll be writing a separate review, talking you through workflows, creating jobs and invoices, so keep an eye out for that!
Now, you might be wondering why I’m talking about Google Docs if I’ve just told you that I don’t use spreadsheets anymore. Well – I don’t! Not for keeping track of my client booking process. HOWEVER, I do use Google Docs to track where my bookings have come from, when I received them and whether the client booked or not. This is super handy when I come to analysing my marketing efforts. My spreadsheets show that since the start of last year, Instagram has been my biggest single source of enquiries for wedding photography. It means that my effort to stay consistent on Instagram is paying off, but it also shows that there’s room for improvement when it comes to other marketing channels. I keep track of my enquiries, as well as my website Google Analytics data using the Google Docs app, making it easily accessible, even when I’m on the move.
Back it up!
All photographers know the importance of keeping your files backed up. It’s one of the most important aspects of wedding photography, as wedding photos simply cannot be replicated, and therefore have to be kept safe and secure. My usual workflow includes backing up images to two separate hard drives, but I feel like that’s not quite enough. That’s why I searched for the perfect cloud solution. Backblaze allows you to not only back up your computer files, but it also allows you to select external hard drives too. Once selected, the backup continues in the background, giving you piece of mind that your images can be retrieved should the worst happen. The initial backup can take a while, but at $5 per month, you really can’t go wrong! To get your first month free, sign up here.
Pixieset – the home of online galleries
Pixieset plays a huge part in my wedding photography workflow. All clients receive an online gallery and although it’s live for a limited period of time, the gallery is where they view their photos for the first time. Pixieset has been designed specifically with photographers in mind, and it creates gorgeous galleries effortlessly. It also means that the couples can share their gallery with family and friends who live further away. All galleries can be password protected, and allow files to be downloaded. It is up to you which file sizes you allow your clients to download. Separate folders can be created within each gallery too, meaning that you can divide it into smaller categories such as preparations, ceremony, reception. Pixieset makes for a nice addition to my workflow and ensures that couples receive their wedding photos as soon as they are ready – no need to wait for the post to arrive! When you first sign up, you receive free 3GB of storage – it will last you a while if you compress your images (only do this if you provide your client with high resolution images on a USB at a later date). By using my referral link, you’ll receive an additional 250 MB of free storage, which might come in handy! You can access it here. One more thing – Pixieset also allows you to sell prints directly from the gallery. Your clients can select the photos they would like to receive, and Pixieset can take care of it all for you. You have the ability to set your prices, and should you choose, you can also opt to fulfill the orders yourself. Either way, it could bring in additional income at absolutely no effort to you.
Get your creative juices flowing with Canva
This is an amazing tool for any business owner wanting to up their social media game. Not only does it have all sorts of templates, perfectly sized for the appropriate social media platform, it has an extensive choice of photos and frames too. Some are free to use, some have to be paid for, but given that the platform is generally free to use, it’s not a big cost should you decide to use some of the paid content. Canva is particularly great for creating Pinterest graphics – just add a photo, some text, your logo, and you’re good to go! This tool has saved me so much time over the last few months, and it means that you don’t have to be a graphic designer to produce awesome looking content. When you’re done designing your graphic, simply export as a jpeg or PDF file and upload to your social media or website. It really doesn’t get much easier than that!
So this is it – these are my 5 favourite photography business tools. I really hope they come in handy, and if you have any questions at all, you know where to find me!
Please note: This article contains some affiliate links, which means that I will benefit when you use them, at absolutely no extra cost to you.