Owning your own photography business, or just any business for that matter, means you wear a lot of hats. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re in charge of everything from finding clients to sending contracts to hiring help to delivering the final product. Then there’s all the little stuff in between. And honestly, it can be really easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you never have enough time or even just forget something from time to time… yikes!
One of the things that has helped me the most when it comes to managing the many facets of my photography business is finding great programs that save me time by helping automate various parts of my business. Forget complicated, let’s make life more simple. So, I want to share the top 6 programs that I use that my business truly couldn’t thrive without. This is definitely the type of information I wish that I would have stumbled upon earlier on in my career so I wanted to share all of this in hopes that it will be helpful to you!
First up is Sprout Studio! This is one of my favorites because it does so much in just one program. It is more than just a client management software program. Sprout handles all of your communication needs and makes booking so easy. You can set up automated emails which really helps create an ideal client experience along with using their email marketing feature. Imagine touching base with your clients multiple times before their shoot without having to press a single button.. ideal, right?! As for the booking process, it’s super user friendly for your clients and you can attach contracts, invoices, calendar invites, and questionnaires to client portals. And when someone books a session, it automatically adds it to your calendar so your whole schedule stays in one place. It’s seriously like having 5 programs in one – it’s a must.
Bonus: Their customer support is the friendliest. It sounds small, but the people they choose to be on their team are there for YOU. They even have “Sprout School” which is a video library that offers detailed walk-throughs of their features so that you don’t have to feel lost.
After using Sprout Studio, I was able to double my income. Don’t wait on growing your photography business with such an all-inclusive program. Make more money. Save time. Look more professional.
I recommend Narrative Select because it makes the culling process so much easier and quicker. I’m talking about culling weddings TWICE as fast. It has a beautiful and easy to use layout. The best part is that it does all of the tedious and time-consuming stuff for you. It even tracks eyes to see if they are open in photographs or if someone’s face is blurry. All of the keyboard shortcuts help tremendously. Plus, when you’re done culling, you can move all of your selected gallery images directly into Lightroom for a smooth flow.
QuickBooks is another really great program that cuts out a lot of time-consuming, manual logging. QuickBooks is used for all things book keeping, so it connects directly to your business bank accounts and categorizes your transactions, tracks your income and expenses, tracks sales and taxes, invoices, and accepts payments. Another feature I love is that it automatically tracks mileage in the app – you just swipe right for personal and left for business. And because QuickBooks is an Intuit product, it easily connects to TurboTax and automatically maximizes tax deductions, which saves such a headache!
If you’re not already using Canva, we have to change that because it’s a must have for all of your visual needs. You can create ebooks and other electronic products like portfolios and media kits, graphics for social media, emails or your website… you name it, Canva can help you do it. And the best part is, Canva is totally free. You can pay to upgrade to certain elements, but you can absolutely work within Canva for no charge if you want to.
If you’re new to graphic design or it’s not in your wheelhouse, one of Canva’s best features is that it offers customizable templates. You can also create a brand kit within Canva where you can add your brand colors and upload any logos or brand fonts. Seriously, whoever blessed us with this program is a true treasure.
Adobe is one that you’re probably already familiar with, but it’s an essential for us photogs out here. Lightroom and Photoshop are two of the best photo editing softwares. Lightroom is especially great because you can speed up your workflow with batch editing. I also love that any updates to the Adobe apps are done automatically with the monthly subscription. There’s nothing worse than opening up a program to find out you have to pay for updates- never again. Adobe in general is a nicely integrated system – you can have both Lightroom and Photoshop (along with other Adobe essentials) on your laptop, desktop, and phone. Everything transfers from devices seamlessly for on-the-go access.
Finally, Flothemes. Web design is a skillset all of its own and every type of business needs different features for their websites. I love that Flothemes is there to serve photographer websites specifically. Having a website theme that’s beautiful, elevated, and showcases business services in an optimal way is pure gold. Their themes are user friendly on the client end but also easy to edit and tweak as the business owner. Not to mention, their support and customer service is next level which just makes them a no brainer. & let’s be real- I’m all about the overall vibes their themes give!
These programs have completely transformed the way I run my business. The time saved allows me to invest more into being a more creative business owner. As with anything, there can be a learning curve when you’re first getting started with these programs, but I promise you it’s worth every moment of learning the systems because the time you get back in the end is seriously invaluable.