Favorite Business Tools and Subscriptions for Helping Your Family Photography Business Thrive
After being a family photographer for over 10 years, I've tried out a lot of different business tools and subscriptions! And I mean a LOT. So I've decided to compile a list of my 6 favorite business tools for photographers that I feel have made the biggest difference in making my family photography business run smoothly. Some of them are free and some of them are paid, but either way, they will make an impact!
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, but only for products I use and love (seriously, I only included them if I was obsessed with them!). If you buy through them, I'll earn some cash for coffee (or tea). But don't worry, I'll use that energy to create more helpful content for you!
1. Fastest tool for creating graphics: Canva
Okay, I'm a big photoshop user. I went to school for graphic design so I know the program well. But sometimes you need a quick graphic (like creating Pinterest pins!) and it's way more efficient to just make it in Canva. Plus, it's free! You can definitely get the paid version if you want more options, but it's not required to create great graphics. Canva is super easy to use and there are templates for everything you could ever need for your photography business. If you haven't tried out this amazing tool for your photography business yet, you definitely should! It's how I made the cover image for this blog post and it took me less than one minute!
2. The CRM tool I use to keep my photography clients and sessions organized
Another one of my favorite business tools for photographers is a CRM. There are a ton of different CRMs out there to make your family photography business run smoother and your life easier! It takes some research to figure out the one that is right for you, and then it takes some work to figure out how to set it all up. But I promise you it is SO worth it! With 17hats, I am able to book sessions, send invoices and contracts, create templates for everything (emails, quotes, questionnaires...), and create workflows. Workflows are my favorite part because I can set up a series of emails for my clients to receive once they're booked with me (or even before that!). If you're interested in my workflow, you can get my Client Workflow Freebie here!
The thing I like about 17hats over other CRMs is the control! I want to be able to do anything I want, and they have so many customizable fields and options. I tried HoneyBook out one time and although it was beautiful, I couldn't do some things that were pretty important for me. So if you're looking for control, then 17hats is the way to go.
Sign up for 17hats using my referral link and you get half off their normal pricing for two years.
3. The most customizable and gorgeous website templates for photographers
My website was created in WordPress, which I love! It is the absolute best business tool for photographers in my opinion, if you're trying to get ranked on google searches. Plus, it gives you the most control over your design than any other website builder. The template I purchased is from FloThemes and I really can't say enough good things about them. Their customer service has been extremely helpful (I've gotten support several times), their templates are beautiful and easy to use, and you can completely customize them to meet your needs (they even have blocks you can create that have a drag and drop feature so you can do anything you want!). They were made specifically for photographers so they look absolutely gorgeous!
If WordPress seems too complicated for you and you're looking for an easier option, I've heard great things about Showit, which still is powered by WordPress but uses their own builder so you can drag and drop anything. They are definitely more expensive, though. I haven't used them so you would want to do your own research to see if it's a good option for you.
4. The best photo gallery delivery service
An awesome business tool for photographers is a photo gallery service so you can deliver their photos easily and beautifully. I've tried so many of these, so I feel qualified to say that Pic-Time is seriously the best there is! The reason for this is that it not only looks sleek, it's also really easy for clients to download their images (even on mobile!) and it really will boost your print sales. The way their store works is amazing, clients can see their photos IN the print products so there's no guessing what their product looks like that they are ordering. Since using Pic-Time, my print sales have skyrocketed! They also have tools to set up campaigns and promotions inside the client gallery to incentivize them to purchase.
If you'd like to try Pic-Time out they give you a one month free trial! And then if you decide you like it, use my code: 4ZE3RN for an additional free month when you sign up for a paid plan.
5. Best App for Location Scouting
I love photographing clients at golden hour, but no matter when you schedule outdoor sessions, having an app that shows you where the sun will be at any given time on any day will make your life SO much easier! The App I personally use is Sun Surveyor and it costs somewhere around $15, but that is a one time fee. It's definitely worth it! I use it a few different ways.
The first way that I use this business tool is when I am out at a location trying to gauge if it will work or not, I will bring up the app and put it on Live View (by clicking the three lines in the top left corner). It's like looking through your camera, but with an overlay of where the sun will be throughout the day. You can also click on the date at the bottom and scroll through to another day. So if you want to see where the sun will be in the fall, but it's currently spring, you can do that. This is my favorite part about this app!! You can location scout at any time of the day, and see where the sun will be at sunset. If there's a huge mountain blocking it, then that's good info for planning when to start the session.
The next way I use the Sun Surveyor app is when I'm not at the location I want to use, but I want to see where the sun will set there. If I know the location, and have been there before, then I know generally where things are, so seeing the trajectory of the sun within the app, showing overtop the satellite view of the location, is really helpful for planning. Some locations work great in the summer, but in the early fall, the sun is in the wrong spot.
There are lots of other ways this app is helpful, like checking the street views of locations, or just seeing what time sunset will be on a certain day. You can find it in the App Store!
And if you are interested in learning ALL about this subject, I have a location scouting course for photographers that teaches you exactly how to find amazing locations in your area.
6. Lightroom presets to make editing a breeze
One tool that has really helped my photography business is presets! Especially when I was still in the phase of trying to find an editing style that I liked, I found it super useful to try out different presets. The tough thing about it is that there are SO MANY options available so it's really hard to choose.
What I would suggest is to get a few different Lightroom presets that you like the look of, try it on your images, tweak some things, and see what it is that you like and what you don't like about each one. Then you can take this knowledge to either tweak your favorite into the perfect preset or create your own with your newfound knowledge. Maybe you don't like the matte look in one, but you love the colors, and in another you love how the skin looks, but you don't like the contrast. Or maybe you get lucky and find the perfect preset that you don't need to mess with much at all! Either way, having a preset (that you've bought, tweaked, or created yourself) will drastically cut down your editing time!
Here's a tip for you! Save different versions of your favorite preset that you've tweaked to work for different lighting situations. That way you can easily select the right one that works for the image you're editing.
I actually created a preset with 5 different versions for all different types of lighting for myself, and then I decided to sell them so other's could edit faster, too! It's called the Inner Light Collection. If you're interested in learning more, you can check out my preset collection here. It also comes with two black and white, as well as three brush settings to help with your editing. All the images in this blog post were edited with my presets.
Which of these business tools for photographers is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments and then head over to my shop just for family photographers like you and check out more helpful resources!
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