This post definitely won’t win any awards for being the most exciting blog post to date, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important! I wanted to share all of the apps/programs that I use that help me run my business by keeping me organized and allowing me to “work smarter not harder”. This post will hopefully be helpful for photographers who may just be starting their businesses or for those who are looking to streamline their workflows with more efficient working strategies. I’m no expert, but I have been using some of these programs since the very beginning of my business and on a daily basis, so I like to think I know my way around them pretty well 🙂 I have listed them in the order in which I use them, so from the initial inquiry to the final gallery delivery.
- HoneyBook – Oh HoneyBook, how I love thee! I have been using this client management system for a little over a year and I honestly can not imagine running my business without it. Here’s how it works when it comes to Erin Marie Photography…clients land on my contact form on my website. They fill out their details (name and email address), what type of photography session they are interested in booking, what date they have in mind for the session, what venue they have booked (for weddings), and how they heard of me. After they hit “Send”, I get a notification from HoneyBook that I have a new inquiry in my pipeline. Since the contact form on my website it attached to my HoneyBook account, it automatically pre-populates all of the information into the system, essentially building a client profile for me, with all of the details of the inquiring client. I can then choose to respond via the app on my phone or wait until I have access to my desktop (which is what I normally do). All communication is done withing the HoneyBook program so it keeps everything in one place which is SO helpful! It also holds all of my contracts, packages, PDFs, and email templates that I am continually sending to clients. Another amazing feature? It allows for contracts to be signed and payments to be made right online! No more missing checks in the mail or having to keep track of paper contracts! HoneyBook was my business game changer and allowed me to not only feel, but look professional because I can insert my brand logo and colors into my emails and contracts so everything stays cohesive. I love it! Can you tell? 😉 If you’re a photographer and this sounds like something you might want to try out for your own business, use THIS LINK to get 50% off your first year with HoneyBook!
- Photo Mechanic – I can’t even begin to explain how many hours of screen time this program has saved me from! This is what I use to cull (or sort) through all of my images after a session. What I do is insert my memory cards into my external card reader (I use a Lexar Hub), and from there, Photo Mechanic will automatically pop up and ask me what cards I want to ingest (or import images from), and where those images will be stored. After all of the memory cards have been ingested into Photo Mechanic, I can then go through and pick the images I will be editing and including in the final gallery. This is where I can quickly sort through all of the images I took during a session and I can discard any duplicate images, images that are out of focus, images where people are blinking, things like that. I used to do this step right in Lightroom (the program I use for editing), but the issue with that was the time it took for each image to fully load. I was waiting on average about 3-4 seconds per image to see if it was in focus or not. Now that might not seem like a long time, but when I’m sorting through 2k + images from a wedding, those 3 seconds add up quick! Photo Mechanic will show me the fully loaded photo as soon as I click on it so I can easily and quickly decide if it’s final gallery worthy or not.
- Lightroom – When most people think of photo editing, their brains immediately think of Photoshop, but can I tell you a secret? I’ve NEVER used Photoshop on ANY of the images I’ve delivered. EVER. I know photographers who ONLY edit on Photoshop! It just goes to show that everyone has their own way of working! I do all of my editing in Lightroom. Aside from my shooting style, it’s the program that allows me to achieve that light and airy style in my images that I love so much! There’s definitely a learning curve to nailing your editing style, but once you have a consistent shooting style and know how to achieve the final look you’re going for in your images, editing in Lightroom is a breeze!
- BlogStomp – This is the program I use to blog my images on my website, as well as resize them for social media use. My only regret with this is that I didn’t start using it sooner! This program took me the longest to get the hang of, but it was only because I was overthinking it! It’s one of those things that’s so easy, you’re convinced you missed a step. What I do with BlogStomp is I will upload all of the images I want to include in a blog post, and then I will pair images I want to go together, stomp them to the size my blog recommends, and then I’m done! BlogStomp will automatically put all of my stomped images in a folder on my desktop so they are all in one place and easy to find when it’s time to upload to my blog or social media. That’s literally it! It’s so easy and has helped cut my blogging time IN HALF.
- CloudSpot – This is the newest addition to my workflow and so far, I love it! This is the program I use to deliver galleries to my clients. I used to use a different program but after some recent changes, I decided to make the switch to CloudSpot and I couldn’t be happier! The ONLY issue I’m having right now is upload speeds, but their customer service is so top notch, when I reached out to them regarding this issue they were so incredibly helpful, quick to respond and assured me that they were working on it. Since they just recently started gaining popularity, I know I’m one of HUNDREDS making this gallery delivery service switch so that could very well be the issue but regardless, I’m going to stick it out with them because so far, I’m really happy with it! Another reason I wanted to make the switch was from client feedback I was getting. Some were having issues downloading their images and / or full galleries and as a photographer, that was heartbreaking to hear. I know I’ve only had this new program for about a month, but so far, no issues on my clients end! Yay!
There you have it friends! My list of programs I literally could not run my business without. I hope this serves as a helpful tool for you in your own businesses!