One of my lovely readers asked a while back if I would disclose some of my favorite business tools and why I love them… and because I actually enjoy the business side of running a photography business I said SURE, I’D LOVE TO!
It might be the nerd in me but I love looking into all the new business system tools online. It seems like a new one comes out once a month! Internet, social media, and technology change so frequently so sometimes NEW means better, but sometimes it doesn’t. This list only reflects what works for me but I know several other business owners, photographers, and bloggers who also use these tools and LOVE them!
I use Mint for budgeting because it lets me have a ton of control and it connects to all my online banking accounts, etc. And I love the GOAL section! I use to have an Excel spreadsheet of my goals but since it wasn’t connected to anything else, it was hard to track my progress. Also, emails alerts! Mint is not new and I’ve seen a few newer budgeting tools around but Mint is great about updating their software and keeping it current. This is one of those times where if it’s not broke, I don’t want to fix it.
To track expenses and income, I use Freshbooks. A long long long time ago, when I was a web designer, I used Freshbooks and it worked extremely well, especially for invoicing. So when I started my photography business, I knew exactly where to turn! Because I do my own taxes (with the help of my dad), the reports that Freshbooks creates are spot on and so helpful!
WordPress all the way, friends. I’ve been blogging for years – since 1998 – no joke, no exaggeration. My first website was with Geocities…. most of you probably will have no earthly idea what that is and it only exists in Japan now so that should tell you something. My first blog was on Xanga and I switched back and forth to LiveJournal. When WordPress first came on the scene in 2003 I switched and am still with them today. WordPress gives a designer soooo much control but does not force the average blogger to code.
For more than a year now, however, I’ve also been using a photographer wordpress add-on called Prophoto. I’ve seen it used for more than just the photographer’s blog but that’s what it was created for. It sort of blocks a lot of the creative control that wordpress alone allows but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. The galleries are gorgeous!
At first, I also used WordPress for my portfolio site but have since fallen head over heels in love with Showit. It’s not the cheapest out there but for the photographer, it is the best. It’s flash based but created with simple drag and drop. The design options are endless and I love that I can customize it 100% to my brand!
For over a year now I’ve been using Wedding Wire. While I do love them, I’m thinking of switching over to something that will integrate into other aspects of the business for my 2015 brides. Invoicing is now handled through Wedding Wire instead of Freshbooks, mainly because it is automatically on Wedding Wire’s Bridal Dashboard, which I love! Everything is there: the contract, questionnaires, and payment options! Whatever I switch to will have all that and more! Who I switch to has yet to be decided but all my 2014 brides will be well taken care of on Wedding Wire 🙂
I’ve blogged about PASS a couple times now man I really can’t say enough it! It’s so easy to use for the photographer and the client and, with the addition to gallery customization this year, it’s the most beautiful gallery on the internet! I have the option to allow anyone and everyone to download the images directly from the gallery but it also allows me to offer prints from my favorite professional printing lab! Only downside is that I don’t get to set the pricing for the prints I offer but hopefully that’ll be in the works soon 🙂 Also, the Shoot & Share community that PASS is based around is seriously the BEST community for shoot and share photographers!
A few months ago I opened my storefront up on Square to give my clients an easier and faster way to pay. This has been a major life saver! They take their fair share, of course, but it’s less than Paypal, it’s free up front, AND it has a simple and lovely look!
This might come as a shock to some but I don’t advertise. I do market through Facebook though! The reason is simple: everyone and their mother (true story!) is on Facebook these days!
Those are just a few of the the tools I use to run my photography business… soon I’ll detail more tools that are more photography based instead of business. Have a question? I’d love to hear what YOU would like to see on the blog! Feel free to comment or shoot me an email 🙂 Happy Friday the 13th!