One of the biggest time wasters in your photography business is tech, surprisingly. It’s incredible how much tech you have to figure out…whether it be figuring out the best company to go with, or how to use the tech you just purchased. We have done SO much research and have switched over to other tools multiple times in my 7 years of wedding photography but let me tell you when I found the right tools everything clicked.
Up until only a few months ago, I was a solopreneur managing and completing everything myself, and if it wasn’t for these tools…I would have lost my head. Like straight just roll it around on the floor, because that’s how much work I KNOW you are doing as well if you are doing everything solo. I want to help you so you don’t have to spend 7 years testing and finding the best tools for the industry.
So today I’m going to give you the 10 tools that you need for your photography business and a bit more about why I recommend each one, even if you are just starting out today. I’ll also be giving you discount codes to a bunch so you can just click the link and save some money when you join (I do receive a small commission if you do, it’s a fantastic way to support this blog and me)
10 TOOLS I RECOMMEND FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS
You need a CRM system because this is the tool you will use to manage your workflows, your contracts, your forms, invoices and client’s in general. I used to have Honeybook for many years however I decided to make the switch to Dubsado because I was looking for a few specific things that Honeybook wasn’t capable of doing, I really like the client’s experience through Dubsado better and though it is more difficult to set up on the front end, I believe Dubsado makes your life so much easier in the long run.
You are able to set up your workflow once and then have a bunch of parts of your client experience automatically sent out for you.
Another beautiful feature is using the scheduling option because nobody should be trying to go back and forth with a client at the best time they are available to chat. Simply go into Dubsado, set up your calendar once, and send over a link to the client for them to choose what’s best for them.
If you would like to sign up for Dubsado you can get 20% off your first month or year with my discount code HERE.
This is your digital gallery delivery system which for all photographers will be relevant even if you are doing IPS. This is how we deliver our digital photos to our clients and additionally offer lab-quality prints through our galleries.
We used Pixieset for many years and honestly, I love them too, however, Pictime I finally decided to switch over to them for a few reasons. First, the aesthetic capabilities and the minimal high-end look is very on-brand with our photography brand, and in our business branding is everything. Two, I was researching places where I could start to list our artistic photographs both of landscape and nature. Pictime recently released the option to have and sell art galleries within their system. Third, I LOVE that they automate your marketing after the gallery is delivered. This is so important to remind clients that getting photographs taken really is just the first step, why invest in a great photographer without printing and sending the images to loved ones? With Pictime, they make it so that you can set up an automated workflow for discounts and reminders to purchase prints throughout the year.
If you’d like to grab this software, you can receive your first month free with my code: HL7EY4
3. PHOTO MECHANIC
You need this. Simply put, this is the solution to shaving HOURS off of your culling time and this software has made my workflow SO MUCH SHORTER. I’ll be filming a culling video for you guys to see the behind-the-scenes of how I cull and use this tool, but if you are using Lightroom to cull your photos you are wasting a ton of your precious time.
When you upload your images to Lightroom it takes a while to upload, once it’s in there, each image you pull up to review takes a couple of seconds to fully pull up. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re going through thousands and thousands of photos regularly? Yeah, it’s a lot. What Photo Mechanic does is upload everything instantly so I can personally cull through an entire wedding in under one hour.
I don’t have a discount code for you guys, but it really is a necessity and you should definitely add it to your tools.
This is pretty obvious so we aren’t going to spend a ton of time here. One thing I will say is every photographer is different in terms of whether they edit in Photoshop or Lightroom. I personally edit 98% of our images in Lightroom…only pulling up images in Photoshop that need that extra shot of love before they get sent out.
I always teach that if you are a photographer, you do need to be on Instagram. You are an image-based business and Instagram is free advertising, not to mention literally billions of people use it.
Unfortunately, what I see happen often is I’ve seen my students spend at least half of their work weeks planning, scheduling, testing, researching, and consuming on Instagram, and guys…we have more important work to be doing.
Planoly is an automated Instagram scheduler that we use to plan out all of our posts at least a month in advance. This means we sit down for a couple of hours, take all of our content, write the captions, and schedule them to be sent out AUTOMATICALLY! I mean…seriously it’s so easy and most importantly it keeps me from doing the mindless Instagram scroll that is so easy to do.
You can sign up for Planoly HERE.
Websites built specifically for photographers. That’s literally what their headline says and it really is the truth. Their websites are the easiest way to completely uplevel your brand and they have beautiful free templates that can get you started right away.
Another reason I love them is that there is no coding or wonky website design knowledge needed. It’s super simple, drag and drop and you’re good to go.
Lastly, with your Showit subscription, you also get access to a WordPress blog which is the best place for SEO where you can have a blog hosted. So they are a really fantastic choice whether you are just starting out or are looking to change to someone else.
If you’d like to join and get a free month you can use my link here
I’m pretty sure this isn’t new to anyone here, but I do want to stress the importance of having Canva for your photography business. I use this for both the photography business and our education business literally every day.
We use it to create social media posts, marketing campaigns, marketing materials, PDFs, and freebies for our email lists…the question really is what CAN’T you design in here.
I recommend going with Pro so you can have unlimited options for fonts as well as access to better stock images.
8. ACTIVE CAMPAIGN
For some reason, so many photographers think email is dead and that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re likely asking right now, why in the world do I need email? You need email because everywhere else you are marketing, whether it be Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc. is rented space. Meaning, if they decided to go away or stop working tomorrow, your ability to nurture new leads and attract new leads would be gone…POOF!
You own your email list and the people who have asked to be subscribed have asked to hear more from you. When a bride asks to be subscribed, they WANT to stay in touch, and hear more about why they should book you!
I used to use Flodesk which was great and straightforward but really limited in what it was capable of doing in terms of automating (again I’m all about smarter not harder here). When I switched over to Active Campaign it’s been night and day in the way I’m able to show up and serve people who have signed up to hear from us.
Okay, I LOVE Trello because I love to be organized. If you’re feeling a lack of organization in your business, I would highly recommend signing up for a free account and researching some organization videos on YouTube.
Dubsado keeps your client experience in check, but I also like to use Trello in tandem with it because I prefer a Kanban style. That said, I use Trello to keep our team organized, my home organized, my content organized…literally, everything in my life is organized in Trello.
It’s amazing, it’s wonderful and it’s free. You can sign up here.
10. GOOGLE DRIVE
Everyone knows what this is, but it wasn’t until I finally started to really use its resources that I fell in love. Free with your Gmail account, you can use this to organize ALL of your files, documents, and photos.
If you’re not intentionally using this now, I would highly recommend giving this a proper go-through and seeing what’s available through this free tool.
11. BONUS! EMAIL TEMPLATES
This isn’t software but email templates are one of the first things I purchased for my business 7 years ago. As it evolved and grew, I ended up crafting and creating my own that we still use today. You really don’t want to be spending hours of your week emailing when you should be focused on marketing and growing your business.
You have a set of really great email templates that you customize once, clock them into your CRM, and have them sent out automatically at various points in your customer experience. Gone are the days of going back and forth unnecessarily through email
If you’d like to grab our 15 Wedding Photography Email template pack you can access those here. I also include 3 additional bonuses for you including the Pro Email Signature, 5 Additional Email Templates, and Our Client Experience Workflow.
Trust me…grab the templates, make them your own, and start automating your business today!
We just went over 10 (and a bonus!) amazing tools we use for our photography business that I highly recommend you grab for your own as well. Until next time!