I know it can be so overwhelming to look at all of the things you “should” be doing when you first start off as a photographer. You also don’t always want to invest in tons of equipment, tools, and subscriptions until you are bringing in enough income to support that. I totally get it! But eventually, as your business grows, you will need to make some serious changes when it comes to your workflow. It’s important to have organizational tools that both keep you on track and are convenient and appear professional to your clients!
I started off scrappy just like everyone else with LOTS of back and forth emails, taking payments through cash or Paypal, and using a paper planner for scheduling. As my business grew, I slowly invested in and began implementing these important tools and I owe much of my success to the pivotal role they have played! Here is a list of my must-have tools that I can no longer live without for my photography business:
Hands down, Honeybook is the #1 tool I use for my business. I truly don’t even know what I would do without it! Honeybook is what I use for my Client Relations Management and it streamlines literally EVERYTHING from sending proposals/invoices/contracts, collecting payment, responding to inquiries, and more. It has allowed me to set up so many incredible systems and automation so that I can serve my clients well with ALL of the information they need and convenience when it comes to working with me. I could seriously go on and on about how helpful this software has been for my business but you will have to check it out for yourself to see how much yours can be transformed!
When I think back to the days when I used to MANUALLY type out my availability each time I got an inquiry, it makes my stomach hurt. I wasted SO much time on something that could have been automated from the start! Calendly allows you to set your master availability, individual session types, etc. so that all you need to do is send a booking link to your clients. AND it will do all of the following for you:
- sends an email to you and your client when they have booked
- adds the session to the calendar app of your choice
- option take payments
- option to send text reminders + automatic emails
- prevents you from double-booking since it will integrate with your Google calendar
As soon as I started using Calendly it was truly LIFE CHANGING.
Pixieset is the site I used to host my client galleries and print stores. I have been continuously impressed by its reliability, upload speed, and usability for my clients! I have been able to set up systems and structures that have both saved me a ton of time and helped me reach a greater potential for scaling my business. Some of examples of how Pixieset has done this:
- ability to set “default” gallery settings (so things like wedding galleries are pre-divided into folders for client navigation)
- includes customization of your print store – you can set your own pricing, self-fulfilled products, signature packages, and more
- connects directly with Stripe so any profit made from print or album sales can go directly to your bank account
- create discounts/coupon codes to treat your clients to incentives
- ability to create mobile apps for your client’s gallery
- easily track download and favorite activity on your clients gallery so you can learn what they are gravitating toward
I’ve been using Canva for years and it has gotten better and better as time goes on. Canva is such an incredible tool for your business because it allows you to create custom, professional-looking content for your brand and business! Some examples of things I use Canva for:
- pricing guides
- portrait session guides
- social media posts
- branding session mood boards
- educational documents
50/one time purchase
If you’re a photographer then you know the pain of CULLING. It can take forever to load such huge files, especially when shooting in RAW (which you always should!). Photomechanic allows you to easily cull your images with both ease and speed! You can set particular settings to your keyboard so you can rate images with the click of a key. It even allows you to color code and rate images with 1-5 stars. When you open Lightroom, all you need to do is drag and drop your images into the import section and it will only upload images you have selected. Another game-changer tool!
Planoly is the app I use for planning my Instagram content! It makes it easier to both curate your feed and plan on your posts ahead of time so you’re no longer worried about what to post each day. Planoly allows you to upload images, videos, etc. and see what they would look like on your grid. It includes an area where you can write out your captions for each corresponding image, and even gives the option to schedule posts to automatically send to Instagram for you! I don’t use the auto-post option too often so that I can still get authentic engagement on my page. However, this comes in handy when you have time-sensitive posts that you don’t want to forget, when you want to stay present on IG while on vacation or maternity leave, etc.!
7. Google Calendar
I truly don’t know what I would do if it wasn’t for Google calendar. I used to be one of those people who used a paper planner for everything because that’s what I was used to. But using a digital calendar has revolutionized my planning and workflow. It helps both me and anyone I’m working with to stay on track and remember important dates, sessions, and meetings. Sometimes I am really grateful for the reminders that will pop up on my phone to let me know it’s almost time to leave for a session or hop on a call!
$99/year (pro account)
Kiss Books is the company I use for all of my album products. Not only do they produce the best quality items I have ever seen, but they 100% have the BEST customer service around too! Their design software interface is quick and user-friendly, and they have so many helpful tools when it comes to marketing and pricing your albums within your business. It is built specifically for photographers to build profitable businesses — not just anyone can go to their site to order an album themselves. Kiss even offers incentives for your album sales each year that will unlock new perks! I will forever sing the praises of this incredible company and my clients are in love with their heirlooms too.