I’ve searched high and low, near and far…okay…so I haven’t. I just sat down on my monthly admin day and made a list of some of my absolute favorite, must-have tools to help my business run smoothly.
Besides having a (shameless plug) lawyer-drafted, photographer-approved photography contract from TheLawTog®, I recommend these for your business in the new year!
These two INCREDIBLY AFFORDABLE and easy to use software programs will revolutionize your photography workflow. I can quickly “stomp” my blog posts or albums and create within minutes. I stumbled upon them a few years ago and have shamelessly thrown praise on them ever since – but I promise you, they will deserve it!
PhotoFlashDrive has been my go-to for custom flash drives for ALL of my brands, including my photography business. While I primarily use digital download as my first method of delivery, I use flash drives to give them a tangible backup and provide a bit more value to the client experience.
Let me tell y’all, I am a huge stickler when it comes to my camera/laptop bags. Shutterbag has been creeping around (probably the wrong term, but I feel like I see her everywhere!) the industry with these incredible bags. I absolutely LOVE mine. It holds my camera, a few lenses, and laptop. In fact, I use it as my regular briefcase + camera travel bag for local and travel sessions. The bag I have has short straps, long strap and even turns into a backpack. And now..the most important part..not only stylish but it is quality and durable. I use the heck out of my bags when I find a good one – and after a few years of slinging it around between WPPI, Hawaii and various states in the US – there is not a single scratch.
Digital downloads are the wave of the future..err..present? ShootProof is one of those companies that I stumbled upon and essentially chased after like a little puppy dog because I loved their product, customer service and awareness of photography industry needs. They offer digital download options, print fulfillment by lab, self-fulfillment, client app (I LOVE this!), archive services, invoicing, contract signing…and there are a few fun things coming this year that I can’t share JUST yet.
This may not seem like a tool, but this is probably one of the best educational resources you can take to learn (that you don’t realize you need to learn) and use throughout all facets of your business. Almost everything you do – marketing, sales, contracts, etc. can be way easier if you understand the psychology of the person you’re talking to.
Spy on your website visitors in real time or through reports. You can break down barriers to their booking and increase the reception of information by knowing if your website is working for or against you. I absolutely love using Session Cam to see if anyone is actually even reading a certain page. For example, are they looking at investment information If they aren’t, are they inquiring even though not in the budget that you have outlined on your site? This is potentially a client avatar that doesn’t match with yours – resulting in wasted time for you and inquiry. By having Session Cam installed, you can make the decision to move investment information to the contact form page to help better qualify clients if they aren’t looking at the investment page. This is just one example of many of how I use this plugin in my business.
Imagely is a photography specific web-hosting company that has incredible customer service and support. I can’t say enough about them!
Presentation is key to continuing the client experience. You don’t want to get them onto a fun rollercoaster only for it to break down before they get the big thrill, right? I feel like this photo packaging is great for presenting their orders to finish out the experience and further establish your value as a professional photographer.
You need to be backing up your files! Please please please please do not be one to lose files because you don’t have a continual cloud back-up going. I recommend pairing cloud backups with your on-site backups as well. In fact, I go a step farther and do BackBlaze + hard drive + ShootProof for my three-backup-rule!
This plugin is a pivotal part of my businesses. It is a robust plugin that has a variety of hats plus integrations. I use it for client feedbacks, surveys, questionnaires, contact forms, even contracts at times! It integrates with major systems such as Paypal and has conditional logic for removing and showing certain forms based on client answers. I recommend this plugin immensely to expand your client workflow!
Okay..okay.. I said 10. But here is a bonus!
PayKit makes it quick and easy to set up automated payment plans for your photography clients. It’s perfect for wedding photographers who want a set-it-and-forget-it way to collect wedding fees or photographers who want to offer payment plan options to their In-Person Sales clients.
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