Streamlining a business… It gets mentioned a lot but more recently in the photography industry. It’s an interesting topic – take a few programs, a messy business and a determined attitude and in a few days or even hours you can create an automated business that allows you to do the things you love and break the chains from a desk.
You and I both know that there are plenty of tools and guides out there to help streamline a photography business and anyone (especially me) can get overwhelmed very easily. Over the past few years I’ve tried many different ‘solutions’ and I think now I may have found the (dare I say it) perfect solutions to effectively streamline your photography business in 2017.
A Studio Manager
Whether it’s lead capture, invoice organization, client contracts, customer management or collecting payments, how about doing all of that in one system? I used to email a client, send them an invoice online, take payment over the phone, send them a contract in the post, receive it back, file it in a folder, add them to the calendar, send them a questionnaire in the post, receive it, file it. Seeing a pattern here?
I think I probably spent more on postage stamps per month than I do on studio management software.
Within Iris works, you can build custom workflows to automate all of the back and forth emailing, questionnaires and even follow ups, but the best part? How about the fact it creates an up to date To-Do list that even has deadlines?!
Price – $
Who becomes a photographer to be chained to a desk? I know I didn’t and I’m pretty sure you didn’t either.
Editing is probably one of the most time consuming things any photographer has to do. Granted, it’s one that many love, but I sure don’t! The first thing I did 5 years ago, when I really wanted to build my business at a greater scale, was outsource my editing even though I shot 13 weddings. This year, 5 years later we’re shooting over 130 as a studio.
The problem with outsourcing, was the lack of support and no-one to talk to, the inconsistent results and the really long on-boarding process! That’s when Freedom Edits (WWW.freedomedits.com) came along, a complete outsourcing provider that can cull images, edit them, upload to a proofing gallery, monitor it for an album selection to be made, design the album and even proof it with the client for you. All of the Freedom staff are in house and they provide you with a team of 3 editors, a dedicated account handler and 3-5 day turnarounds!
Freedom Edits (www.freedomedits.com) offers both monthly and per image price and they even have a handy calculator (www.freedomedits.com/time-saving-calculator) to see how much time you’d save using their service. Check them out at freedomedits.com
Price – $$
There are tonnes! Big companies, small companies. Cheap ones, expensive ones. The works.
I’ve been a photographer for 6 years now and have tried a lot in that time but I’ve finally found one that is easy to use, looks good, and has an amazing selection of fulfillment partners. ShootProof also allows makes it super easy to sell your images and doesn’t even take a commission!
ShootProof has automated email marketing built in to the system making it super easy to sell your images even years after the event. Get it set up, collect emails before the event is even uploaded and start a completely hands off automated campaign that pays! Choose your preferred print partner and really make the system automated with the fulfillment service.
Price – $
It’s a tricky one to know whether to outsource Album Design (www.freedomedits.com/album-design) . It can be super straight forward to design an album, but not so straight forward when faced with barrages of amendments. I’ve tried a few different companies but wanted something to integrate neatly within my current workflow and also be able to handle the proofing side. We’ve mentioned Freedom Edits and their streamlined post production tool to take your Culling, Edits and Proofing off of your hands, but they also design albums to make them a complete post production outsourcing solution.
The best features about the album design service are the extremely competitive rates, the fact it all goes through your existing account handler with the edits side and the ability for them to converse with your client on any changes as if they were one of your very own employees. Those additional services are all completely free of charge!
Price – $
There you have it, 4 of the best tools for streamlining your photography business that are easy to set up, easy to use and super simple to manage. Make 2017 the year you get away from your desk and start enjoying a perfect work life balance while your fresh, automated business runs itself for you. Just get out there and shoot!
Are you ready to get your business streamlined this year? Sign up for free 30 day trial with Iris Works!