When you’re starting out in your business (and I was definitely like this) it’s hard to know what systems to use and when to take them on. I spent the first few years tracking my clients on a spreadsheet and post it notes before moving to a client management system called LightBlue which was specifically for photographers. But as my business grew it felt clunky and wasn’t giving me the brand feel that I wanted.
Then there are the marketing tools, schedulers, finance tools, etc not to mention what do you use for the actual photos?!
So in case it’s helpful to anyone starting out or who is scaling their brand photography business here are the systems I use…
This is hands down the best investment and it’s something I wish I’d used from that start purely because it’s much easier to set up when you’re not in the middle of client shoots and it means you’re on a streamlined path right from the off.
What do I use it for?
It is a bit of work to set Dubsado up, but primarily because I was several years in to my business and things were a bit messy. It is though a great process to go through as it makes you sit and look at your client journey, the processes you go through and make it efficient. And if you work with a certified Dubsado specialist like Paula like I did then the mechanics of it is taken off your hands and also means you get beautifully branded forms and paperwork which since doing that, I’ve had comments from lots of clients as to how slick it is. And my admin time is drastically reduced
This is my referral link which will get you 20% off your first month or year (use code akpbsdubs) – I will earn a commission on this but honestly, this is the one piece of software that was was the biggest game changer in my business
Meta Business Suite
Until very recently I used to pay for a scheduling tool, I’ve tried many of the years and there always seems to be some sort of glitch in the end. And as time has passed Facebook has pulled it’s finger out and is actually pretty good at scheduling Instagram and Facebook and it’s free
I don’t personally use this as I don’t manage my Pinterest, but it’s what Paula uses to schedule my Pinterest content. Pinterest is something that’s going to be a bigger focus for 2024 as I build more educational resources and get back into blogging
I wish I’d started an email list sooner, it’s the only marketing data you truly own as social media accounts can and have been closed down for people in the past (make sure you have two factor authentication on). And I’ve definitely had a love hate relationship with emailing as I never knew what to say or if people wanted to hear from me, til I realised if they’d signed up to my email list then they probably are happy to hear from me! So I email once a month, moving to twice a month now to share inside tips and tricks and give them a heads up of what’s going on in the business.
This is where I am culling images – it’s so much quicker than Ligthroom as it’s not loading and buffering full size RAW files when you’re flicking through. So for instance it will take me about half an hour to cull down a 4 hour shoot. I’m often doing this on the train on the way back from a shoot so that when I’m home the images are ready for editing.
This is where the majority of my time is spent, this is where I am colour correcting, adjusting exposure and lighting etc. And for a lot of my images, straightening as I seem to shoot ever so slightly on the wonk!
Photoshop (and Photoshop Beta)
I am using this for retouching, so probably about 5% of my images end up in here for remove of things in the background, stains on clothes, light retouching of skin (spots for instance) and in some instances then going into Photoshop Beta to use their AI tool for bigger removal and manipulation of images, which if you follow on me on instagram you’ll have seen some of this! But I’ll share more about my experience with this in another post
This is a new software for me and something I’ll talk about more in a post coming soon about how I am using AI in my business
For tracking time (although I’m a bit hit and miss on this!) so I can see how I’m spending time in my business, helps with things like pricing and project management
For calls with clients, at the moment I was on the free version as a lot of my shoot planning happens over a couple of calls so we didn’t need more than the 40 minute cap. However, my move into the mentoring side of the business means I have upgraded 🙂
This is where I host all my client galleries, I love the look and feel of it and the client experience. In my wedding days it was also good for selling products such as albums, but I do think from talking to other photographers there are probably better galleries out there for product sales. It’s not a priority for me anymore as brands are my sole focus and it’s all about digital file delivery (and I don’t have a business model where I charge for extra images as it’s doesn’t work for me).
Use this referral link and we’ll both get extra storage space in our accounts (trust me as those shoots stack up you need the storage space!)
Showit and WordPress
My website is hosted on WordPress and designed through Showitt and honestly I wish I’d been using Showit from the start as it’s SO MUCH EASIER!!!! Literally drag and drop!
I’m sure there are other things I use and as I remember I’ll add them into this blog post!
September 26, 2023