Updated: Aug 24
Starting a photography business sounds easy. Get camera, advertise on Facebook, get paid. NOT. Running a real, profitable photography business is so much more than that and requires planning and tools to help you be successful without pulling out all of your hair. Here are my four favorite and best photography business management software programs and apps that have helped me get sane and run my business with a little more ease.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which may compensate me monetarily or otherwise when you use them to make qualifying purchases.
Táve - Customer Relationship Manager (and more, let's be real)
I signed up with Táve after I had thoroughly trialed Honeybook (like, I was ready to buy Honeybook) and I have since also tried Dubsado. Táve is, in my opinion, the most robust CRM out there and is integrated with the popular gallery delivery system, Shootproof. I could probably go on for days about why I love Táve and truthfully it could be an entire blog post unto itself, but I'm just going to lay out my top reasons it's the best CRM as concisely as I can.
Fully customizable branding with CSS and no Táve branding on any client-facing pages, this also includes custom domain options.
Advanced quotes allow you to save popular packages for easy emailing of proposals and upselling prior to the session.
Handle emails, quotes, contracts, invoicing and questionnaires all directly within Táve. You can even bundle multiple questionnaires and contracts into a quote proposal.
Detailed and customizable automations for lots of hands-off aspects of your workflow. I hardly ever talk to my clients about money which is amazing for me.
Create and assign different workflows for different types of jobs (e.g. wedding or newborn) and also different types of products and a custom workflow will be created specific to the type of job and products your client books with you. So you don't have to check off unnecessary tasks that don't apply to your job or drop the ball on something because a task didn't get added to a workflow tree where you needed it.
Email tracking is in depth, letting you know about every open and link click a client makes.
Detailed trend reporting so you can track booking rates and what marketing efforts are paying off.
Robust income and expense reporting, so no need for Quickbooks.
You don't need a special app to use on your phone or tablet, it's completely mobile optimized.
Sign up for Táve with my referral link and get an extended 60 day trial!
Pic-Time - Smart & Beautiful Galleries
Just because I use Táve doesn't make me an automatic Shootproof lover. My preferred gallery delivery system is Pic-Time. Pic-Time is like an extension of what I do to maintain my client relationship. I haven't trialed the other major gallery platforms extensively, but have done lots of feature and price comparisons, so I feel confident saying that for the price you pay, Pic-Time is the most comprehensive gallery delivery platform out there. Other platforms like Pixieset and Sprout Studio are moving to become the all-in-one thing, where you're getting your gallery & CRM or gallery & website with one subscription. But Pic-Time is focused on being the BEST gallery system out there, so every feature release they bring is an improvement on the client's gallery experience or yours as the photographer.
I have so many features I love about Pic-Time, and many of them can be found in other gallery providers. So the things that I think set Pic-Time apart are:
The sheer number of integrated print partners, particularly for global print needs. Pic-Time is not a US based company, so many of their print shop partners are based around the world, making Pic-Time the ideal gallery choice for the international photographer.
Sales features, particularly the automation of it. You can design all sorts of sales campaigns, some of them quite in depth, and save them to just one-click install in a new gallery and then your special sales for that gallery are automated for you.
Integrated album design features, so clients can either design their album themselves right in the gallery and order from your gallery store OR you can upload pre-designed album spreads to the gallery and they are able to make specific notes directly on the uploaded images.
Custom branding with colors, fonts and domain naming. It also has a very detailed and extensive watermarking system
The ability to collect client testimonials that will link directly to your Google reviews (Sa-weeeet!)
Use my referral code (N6UNZ2) when you're signing up to gain an extra free month on your Pic-Time subscription!
Catch - because you gotta pay your taxes and save for retirement
When I first learned about Catch I was like, "YAAASSSSS! Someone gets me!!" I am total shit at saving money, I always have been. So setting aside money to pay my income taxes, let alone save for retirement or a rainy day fund, was a huge thorn in my side for my business. Catch makes it so easy and painless for me to do and in a few short months I've managed to save almost $2000 without even noticing it's gone. WHAT?!
It's connected to my business checking, so every time a deposit hits the account that I have classified as a "paycheck" Catch automatically transfers an amount I've specified to three different accounts it has opened on my behalf: a savings for my taxes, a savings for vacation time, and my retirement fund.
One of the things I'm really happy about with Catch is that I can choose a socially conscious portfolio for my retirement fund. And they're constantly adding new features! You can sign up for life insurance, as well as health, vision and dental insurance. They've also added education savings plans and student loan repayment, too.
If you join Catch with my referral link and save $100 in your accounts, they'll deposit a $10 bonus into your account!
Square - gotta get that money!
Square was I think the very first thing I signed up for when I started my business. I wanted a professional way to accept payments and I had already had bad experiences with PayPal through my SO's business. I researched and landed on Square after reading a LOT of reviews. It's easy to use, integrates with Táve, and when you sign up they send you a card reader to be able to accept payments on the fly through your phone with their app. The fees are pretty standard with most other processors out there, and I can say that after having a weird snafu where my client accidentally disputed a charge she made with me, Square was really great at helping me through the dispute process and getting it resolved in my favor.
Use my referral link to get up to $1000 in processing free of fees!