Hey you! Yes you, the weekend warrior over there. I see you hustling, and I’m proud of you. I know where you are, because I’m there too; working constantly to build a business I am proud of.
In just the past year, I have more than tripled my photography income which has given me so much freedom. I used to be booked up every free second of my time just to make a few bucks. I was draining myself working two jobs, and my friendships and relationships were suffering. I love photography, but it was taking over my life. When I wasn’t shooting, I had my laptop out, responding to e-mails and typing the same things over and over again, editing pictures and spending way too much time doing all of it. I not only had no time for myself, but it wasn’t efficient, and I was feeling deflated.
Until I found some fantastic resources that gave me my life back. With these three tools, I have been able to totally transform my business and focus more on what matters most; my clients overall experience! I am able to spend my time suggesting outfits, helping them pick the perfect location for their session, scout spots I’ve wanted to travel to and focus on my posing technique. I am able to provide more than just a photoshoot – I am helping my clients LIVE during their session and create REAL moments with genuine emotion and authentic memories they can look back on.
So…how did I do it?
How did I triple my photography income while upgrading my equipment and giving myself more freedom? I’ll share with you the three tools that helped me transform my business, helping me solidify my foundation and allowed me to focus on what I really love about this job.
This was, by far, the biggest game changer for my business. I had already spent time developing session agreements and trying to figure out how to make the invoicing process work for me, and then I found Honeybook. This CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool has given me my life back (and I am not kidding guys).
If you didn’t know this already, I got married last December. I struggled to balance things last fall, and definitely took some time off from my business to focus on my soon-to-be husband and our upcoming nuptuals. That was a great decision. I was also coming to the end of some other subscriptions I was using for managing my systems, and so I joined Honeybook as a paid member just before my wedding.
With Honeybook, I am able to track all of my clients in one place. I know where everyone is at, I can see who has paid their retainer fee, which agreements have been signed, who I have sent agreements too, and with every project having a date, it’s impossible for me to double book myself because it’ll give me a nice little reminder that I have another project on that date. This is great when I have multiple brides asking about the same date so I am able to let both clients know someone else has asked first, or someone else wants to book.
Honeybook also has a HUGE arsenal of tools to manage your time more efficiently. You can save e-mail templates to easily respond to inquiries. I already have templates for every inquiry so with a couple clicks and personalizing the message I can easily reply yes to potential clients. And when I get an inquiry on a date I’m already booked, my “Sorry” template has a list of other photographers and their website links so the client can check them all out and see which photographer best fits their style and contact them to book a session. With Honeybook’s mobile app, I can literally respond to them with two clicks and archive the message. GAME CHANGER.
Initially, I just had a free account with Honeybook because you could share jobs, find second shooters and other great resources for creative entrepreneurs. After subscribing to Honeybook, I can’t say enough good things about this program. The best part is, Honeybook actually listens to their users. They take your suggestions and work to make it better.
I switched to Pixieset earlier this year because I wanted a prettier way to deliver images. Pixieset has a variety of ways to customize the look of a gallery so it looks cohesive and on brand. I can choose a cover image to represent the shoot, categorize the shoot based on what type of session we had, add the session date and create a clean, easy to navigate space for my clients to access their images.
The gallery is SO easy to navigate! Each image has a button so clients can click their favorites, download individual images, buy prints and share right from the gallery. This makes it so easy for clients to save their favorites, share with me what they might like for their wedding or family album, and buy prints, canvas and metals right in their gallery!
Pixieset also has a pop-up to help clients learn the ropes before they log in, walking them step-by-step through using their online gallery. Each client is given a password and download pin so only authorized users can view and download the images, keeping my clients photos safe. Without the password, nobody can see their gallery so their images are always protected.
One of my favorite features is the ability to add albums. This is great for my wedding clients who want to share their images. I categorize the images into albums like “Bride Getting Ready”, “Ceremony” and “Family” so that when Aunt Jenny wants to download the photo she took with the bride and groom, she can click on the family album and find it rather than scroll through hundreds of images. Most wedding clients receive well over 700 images, so that’s a lot of scrolling if things aren’t organized.
I love the way the gallery looks too! It’s clean and organized, you can view the summary of the images by simply scrolling through, or you can click on the image to bring it larger and take a closer look.
Pixieset focuses solely on client galleries, so they have perfected the experience, making it easy to use for me as a photographer, and easy for my clients to navigate their gallery.
Another game changer – my new website. If you’re reading this blog, then you’re already in the new digs, and I hope you love this website as much as I do! I worked with a web designer to curate a website that elevated my brand, creating a clean space that represented everything I love about photography. I wanted my website to offer more – and my old website just didn’t cut it.
Photographers, Showit is a GAME CHANGER. I know I said this about both the previous tools, but this one is by far the biggest tool that has helped change the game because this website is essentially my virtual storefront! If a client is searching for a photographer in Fresno, they’ll end up on my website. With this site, they can get to know me a little, preview my work, check out starting prices and contact me all in one place.
I was previously on Squarespace, which I loved because it was so easy for me to use, and Showit is a little more complex (all honesty here guys it is a tough program to learn). But once you do, you will LOVE the results. Showit has tons of templates you can customize for your brand, or you can find a designer to customize a website just for you!
Your website is the virtual you, so don’t waste that space with a design that looks like everyone else. Elevate your brand with Showit.
These tools have MADE my business.
I was coming to a make or break point where I didn’t think I could continue to work and remain profitable where I was at. I was putting in hours of work, making so much less money for all the work I was putting in, and it didn’t feel worth it to me. And now, I not only have my life back, but I have a thriving business. And with these three tools, you can have your life, and your business, back too!
Have you tried these tools? What did you think? Comment below!