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As an Engineer, I have built my work around efficiency and productivity. We are always looking for new tools to automatize recurring actions in our day. So over the past few years, as an entrepreneur, my toolbox has increased a lot.
As a professional photographer, being efficient and productive is more important than ever since time is the only resource you cannot increase. Plus, you need to do your job efficiently to improve your revenue.
Here are 13 tools that you could use to improve your workflow, become more productive, and run a more successful photography business.
To run a successful photography business, you need clients. One way to be found by new clients is social media. To do this effectively, you need to have a strategy and be present on your clients’ social networks.
Handling different social network accounts is a struggle, but there are some great tools available to help you do it more efficiently.
If you need to manage different social network accounts, Hootsuite is a great tool to do it quickly and easily. You just need to connect your different accounts and then you can manage all of them directly from Hootsuite.
You will be able to engage with your followers, schedule posts, manage content through all the different global networks, follow influencers, follow any mentions you may have, find out what’s going on in your sector, etc.
Forget the struggle to connect to all your accounts and post the same message on all of them. Do it in one click!
Buffer is the easiest tool to publish on different social networks at the right time. It allows you to schedule your posts at the perfect time based on the activity of your followers.
You can post any content easily through a browser extension. So if you like a website, a quote, or whatever it may be, with one click you can schedule to share it on your social networks at the right time.
With Buffer, it is very easy to regularly add new posts on your social networks without thinking about when you should post. Even during your vacations, you can post great content.
Instagram is a great network and a viable tool for promoting yourself and your work. But the problem remains that it is a mobile platform and posting edited photos from your computer is a real struggle.
However, a new Lightroom Plugin makes things considerably easier and faster. LR/Instagram lets you post images to Instagram directly from Lightroom.
It’s a great start and so promising!
When you deal with clients, you need to communicate with them easily. All the time you spend emailing, following-up, and arranging meetings with your clients is a cost for you, so you need to be very efficient.
Appear.in is a great tool you can use to have a conversation with your clients. It’s like Skype, but on a web browser, and they don’t need to install any software. You just need to send them the link to your room and start talking with them.
It’s very easy, convenient, and so quick to set up a conversation!
Another great tool I love is called Boomerang. This product allows you to set a reminder if your email is not read or replied to within a certain period of time. It is especially awesome for important emails as you will receive a reminder directly on your email account if your recipient didn’t open or didn’t reply after a certain amount of time.
You will never forget again a follow-up and your recipients will thank you for doing this.
Evlaa is a time-saver Lightroom Plug-in I’m working on. It is designed for professional photographers to simplify the photo selection workflow with a client.
In a nutshell:
With a Lightroom plugin you can publish a private collection that allows your client to rate and comment on all of your photos from their smartphone, tablet or computer. Then you can retrieve these ratings and comments directly in Lightroom.
With Evlaa, no more struggling to retrieve your clients selections (no export, no big email with filenames, no errors, etc.). It is very easy to use for both photographers and clients.
The main goal of Evlaa is to save a lot of time (for you and your clients) by optimizing this workflow.
In the startup industry, we use Trello as a project management system to handle our roadmap. For a photography business, we can laso use Trello to handle the to-do list or as a Customer Relationship Management tool.
It also allows you to very easily create different lists (such as contact, follow up, meeting, etc.) and create a card by customer. At a quick glance, you’ll get a good view of the different clients you have and what you have to do for them.
Trello helps you to be more organized and to prioritize the things you need to do. With simple drag and drop you can organize your following weeks.
Studio Ninja is a Studio Management system for photographers that helps grow your business, frees up your time, automatically keeps in touch with your clients and makes sure all your jobs stay on track.
Features include calendar, invoices, payment, client relationship and much more.
Payment is one of the most important parts for people who run their own business. Some systems allow you to simplify this and handle online payments quite easily.
Stripe is the leader of online payments. It’s built for developers to create online payment tools. As it’s now a standard, a lot of tools are built on top of Stripe to handle numerous types of payment workflows.
One of the best parts of Stripe is that they send the money directly to your bank account and the fees are not that big. You don’t need to work with your bank or do any paperwork to allow payment on your website anymore.
There are plenty of great tools that use Stripe, so depending on your need, you will certainly find the perfect one for you. You can find a list here.
Your client will also be able to pay you directly online in one click, which helps ensure that you will be paid on time.
For photographers, some of Stripe’s best tools are the ones with invoice features. You have a lot of them like Xero (from New Zealand), Octobat (from France) or Payfacile (from France), to name just a few.
A lot of these products allow you to have an easily customized checkout page with automatic invoicing, so you will not need to handle that part of the process anymore and therefore, save a lot of time.
Day To Day Work
Small tools can be really helpful for your day to day life. I would say that for all the small things you regularly do, you should be able to find a tool to automate the boring part. Have a look at your routine and try to avoid the repetitive actions. You will save minutes every day that you can use to focus on photography or enjoy your life with friends and family.
Here are some of the tools I am using on a daily basis.
There’s a ton of great information on Internet. You always find inspiring articles to read, discussions to follow or websites to discover. But the problem is that if you interrupt your work to read a new article, you will need 10 more minutes to focus again.
So at the end of the day, you will miss a lot of time.
Pocket allows you to save these links in one click so you can read them later when you have free time. It is a perfect way to stay focused and be very efficient.
Todoist is a tool created to help you handle your to-dos. Every morning you check your todos, re-prioritize them and get things done. It’s an easy way to be efficient and know what you need to do every day.
Todoist is also usable on multiple devices, so you can view and manage your to-dos quickly and easily from just about anywhere.
These 2 similar tools allow you to easily automate some actions.
So for example, you can do automatic actions like: if you receive an email with a particular subject, then forward to your associate; or you could automatically post all of your Facebook posts on Twitter, etc. The possibilities are almost endless.
Additionally, tons of applications are integrated with these tools and you can basically do whatever you want since it’s very customizable.
Running a successful photography business is not only making great photos. You need to be productive and have a lot of auxiliary tasks done as quickly as possible. Finding good tools to help you with those tasks and improve your workflow is primary and will allow you to save time and earn more money.