I attended Showit United 2017 at the beginning of the month and then read the E-Myth the following week. I am in super-entrepreneur/business mode right now! It is busy season here in Arizona and I have need a better way to keep track of my inquiries and where clients are in the process with me. I feel like I have a good foundation in posing, shooting, editing, my why and my strengths/weaknesses. Those are all very foundation concepts but have little application in efficiency of the business. The next step is to create a steller, highly-efficient workflow that enhances my clients’ (and leads’) experience while saving me time. This post will compare some of the leading software systems for wedding photographers.
In Depth info will be later on in the article, I just wanted to list them out here for you. Full disclaimer-I only spent around 30 minutes in each. They are all very similar. There are probably a ton of features I didn’t notice because I am just focused on workflow and lead management right now.
Pixifi-They were at Showit United and I like their interface and the management for workshops which I do want to start hosting eventually
Honeybook-I hear so much about them since they are tied with The Rising Tide Society which is an amazing organization that brings creatives together
Tave-Without testing any of them, I like their site and features the best. Most have all the same features, it really comes down to the user interface and what you like
Dubsado-Seems to be the crowd favorite in the Facebook Groups I am in
Studio Ninja-Don’t know anybody that uses this, but I wanted to make sure this article had all the best options (I am looking for long term!) and this company came up in the Google results
Sprout Studio-I just know one person that uses this-but they include gallery and album workflow so that makes it a one stop shop
Iris Works-I found out about them from the Law Tog
17 Hats-They are not specific to photography, but could be a good place to start if you just need some organization
Shootflow-Zach and Jody were at United promoting this software and it seems like the epitome of the E-Myth, creating a turn key business. Not only is it a studio manager-they included all their own proven email templates and workflow strategies which you can customize and add your own of course as well.
* I have been wanting to get tax bot so I am still considering that even though all of these have accounting software. Taxbot you can take photos of receipts and also track mileage really easily.
**I currently use shootproof (affiliate link because I love them). I like that I can gather wedding guest’s emails with pre-registration of the wedding gallery, then send automated emails to them to purchase prints. It also includes invoicing and contracts. It would be great if galleries were included in the new CRM software so that I don’t have a million places to login and softwares to manage, but I am okay to keep shootproof if it doesn’t. It lets me add contacts and also mark them as referred by another contact which is not, but doesn’t give me a way to see all my contacts and at what stage in the process they are in. If you are just looking for gallery solutions shootproof, pixieset, and PASS are all great!
Save Lead Data-Easy searchable contact info so I can reach out to my clients in the future
Lead Workflow-Easy way to track all of my current clients and where they are in the process
Calendar-Easy to manage with to-do list and reminders. Simple co-scheduling feature to setup shoots with clients.
Email Templates and Auto Replies
Questionnaire-getting vendor info before the wedding
To save money be able to replace shootproof and taxbot would be nice but not a deal breaker
Shootflow! I will definitely be using them. My biggest pain point was setting up calendar reminders for tasks in my workflow with clients. I have to do the math and set reminders for a ton of emails, meetings, and mailing gifts. I was keeping track of my clients in excel-super time consuming! They include an easy way to track leads and show my upcoming tasks for them. I still plan on using shootproof for galleries, invoices and contracts (which I actually get cash/check and sign in person anyways so no big deal). None of the softwares had an app to track my mileage and photograph receipts like taxbot so I still want to use taxbot.
I work full time and have 2 children-I will always choose spend money and save time over doing it myself. Outsourcing to software is so much cheaper than hiring an assistant too. I highly recommend that you start so you can be better organized and save time! Another big selling point for me was saving time on the setup of the workflow. Zach and Jody are seasoned wedding photographers and put in a wedding workflow for me, I felt like this was super valuable in itself! Other photographers sell their workflow in a PDF, but shootflow you get an easy way to implement it as well! Setting up my workflow in the others would have taken me weeks, perhaps even months since I have so many touch points with my clients. I already setup shootflow with a real client and am stoked!
I really enjoyed Dubsado, Shootninja, and Honeybook though! If I was looking for full studio management with employees and needed steller branding customizations-those would be the better options. I am just starting out though so I am refining my client experience and brand. I just need something to keep my leads and clients organized for now.
For the sake of simplicity I used the regular monthly price. They are all discounted if you pay for yearly terms upfront.
I tried them first because I love how it was built specifically for wedding photographers. They included their own workflow and email templates you can use. I was beyond impressed with how easy they made it and everything is done for you! You can just customize the emails and workflow. They are working on a 2.0 version with the ability to create more than the 2 flows it comes with and have a mobile app so I can’t wait for those!
The home page-you can see what tasks are next for your clients
A full workflow from inquiry to anniversary and you can customize it with your own tasks
Dubsado $25/month-I would totally use them if I had employees working with me to easily divide up task or if I was further along in business where I needed all of my branding to be exact. If I had my client process down and the time to input my own workflow and email templates.
I loved their questionnaires! You could add photos and they looked so nice :).
The getting started series were helpful as it has a lot of features to configure upfront. They have a lot of customization to really enhance your brand when sending contracts, questionnaires etc. It was easy to setup a workflow (reminds you and can send automatic emails) as well. I liked the home page being the week calendar, with to do list and a snapshot for financials. I also really love their task boards-so you can create a board say for “Chores” then list multiple tasks for that like laundry, pay bills, etc. You can add users and documents as well.
Tave $24.99/month- I like how you can customize the home page so you can see your calendar, to do list, revenue! It was a lot more techie, like you have to install plugins into your workflow then I had a hard time finding what they did. I wasn’t sure how to add my own workflow-they have a simple one for following up, but I couldn’t see how to customize it easily.
17hats $37/month-They are super intuitive. It was really easy to setup a workflow, you can add task reminders as well as automatic sending of emails/invoices etc. It was super simple so there wasn’t as much customization like Dubsado. 17hats has a client portal which is nice, so clients can login and see all their invoices, questionairres, documents related to you in one place instead of having to sift through their own emails for info.
Honeybook $40/month-I love their whole look and it was pretty intuitive to use. They are really set apart by their community feature to be able to add other creatives to your project, this would be so great to get with other wedding vendors before a client wedding.
The home page
Shootninja $17/month (1 year, then $23/month) The cheapest so far and it was built for photographers! I love their client page-you can add pre-shoot, shoot/production, and final tasks to keep track of where your client is in the workflow.
Sprout Studio (lite $17/month, basic with album and gallery proofing $34/month) I only got to try the lite version. I love that it included email templates, I didn’t see an easy way to setup a workflow though. The big selling point with them is the album proofing so you can just have one place for all your business needs.
Pixifi $25/month ($49.99/month with workshops)-It wasn’t very visually appealing, it was straight to the point with text. I liked how you could keep track of leads and group them like 2018 brides, it was very business oriented with finance tracking and lead management. The workflow wasn’t easy to use though.
Iris Works $25/month (integrates with shootproof or you can pay for gallery storage as an addon)-I like they had location scouting included which was unique from all the others. It is integrated with shootproof and lawtog. They include some email templates (you can setup automatic) and workflow templates but it was more like creating a to do list with no other features.
What studio management software do you use? Let me know what you think in the comments!
November 21, 2017