Essential Tools of the Trade for Photographers
As a business owner, there are things that in my opinion, you simply shouldn’t run a business without. As the owner of a wedding photography company, I think that list gets even more specific. Over the years, both with our own experience growing and with the development of new technologies, there are a few things that I would say are essential tools of the trade as photographers.
A great accountant or financial advisor
You thought this list was going to start with amazing gear or fantastic software… it is. And it’s not. The thing that makes tools helpful is that they get you to where you’re going. Tools that repair my car help me travel to my destination, obviously. For us, serving our clients well means that we have a business that can sustain itself over time. We need to be there 10 years from now when they call and need help with wall art for their new home, because a family member has passed away, or know that we can survive something like a global pandemic and still photograph their wedding. In order to do that, you must have a strong foundation, know your numbers, and what it takes to make it through the long haul. If you’re like most creative entrepreneurs, this side of the business might not be your strongest gifting. Guess what? It is for someone else. You need someone in your corner who can help you look towards the future, not the next piece of photography gear. To me, this is essential, in whatever capacity you can bring them on.
This one is fairly new on the scene for us but I think it’s made a tremendous difference. I want to be very clear about what it does and does NOT do. It advertises that it’s one-click culling, and perhaps in the right set of circumstances that might be the case for someone but that is not even close to how we’ve found it works best for our workflow. The unfortunate reality is that we’re spending just as long culling as before, touching each and every image. However, the zone of the genius of this program is that it will group images that were photographed in the same moment together. So when we’re photographing something on 4 different cameras, 4 different lenses, two different angles, and two photographers… It’s pulling all of that together and saying here is the pile, we liked this one. We can then agree, disagree, or add more selects. I find that we may not be saving time but were getting a much stronger cull and delivering much more concise and beautiful galleries to our couples simply due to the organization of it all. That’s a huge win, especially when you’re working with multicultural, multi-day weddings where we’re dealing with tens of thousands of images. Click [here] for 10% off of any subscription AfterShoot offers.
This one is so close to a part of the family we call her Debby. I’m not kidding. Around our studio, you’ll hear us say things like “did Debby send that out already?” like a bunch of people who think they have an imaginary friend. Dubsado (Debby) plays such a key role in our business simply because details matter. We work with a lot of people. We need each of them to walk through a process that feels (and often times IS) entirely unique to them, helps them navigate something they’ve never done before, and keeps track of everything from where the groom is getting ready to who designed a bride’s dress. It’s a lot of data, and it’s all monumentally important. Having a CRM is essential, and while Dubsado is built to work for anyone, it works well for those of us with a team, and not all of them are. You can start a trial of Dubsado and use it until you’re ready to go live (something I love) and they have amazing resources for people just learning how the CRM works. You’re welcome to use our link [here] for 20% off your first month or year.
Although we have an editing company as well, Imagine AI has quickly become a go-to solution we almost didn’t know we needed. I think for many photographers when they first hear about Imagine AI it’s met with a level of distrust. To me, it’s almost laughably good as an editor, so I say, just try it. It started as a fill-in-the-gap solution and it’s quickly become a workhorse of sorts. Is it perfect, no. But it’s wildly good, and can revolutionize your workflow if you play with it. You can use our link [here] for 1,500 free edits to try it out.
It’s hard to understate how important Asana is for us. Every day begins and ends with Asana. Because our team isn’t always in the same room it’s the perfect task management software to really help us get work done. Where Dubsado handles systems and workflow, Asana handles everything else. Working on a quarterly goal? It’s in there. Researching something? There is an Asana project. Collaborating on a project with someone? Asana is the perfect place for everyone to be able to contribute and work from their own space and move the project forward. Everything from daily task management to long-term goals we use Asana for and love it! Although there is a paid version, for almost everyone the free version will work just fine! You can find that [here].
Bonus tip: Don’t put your eggs in one basket. You’re welcome for that nugget of wisdom. But most of us know we live in a world controlled by algorithms and corporations. As a small business, it can be really challenging to have a strong voice in a world of noise. We love Flodesk for an easy way to manage all of our emails, newsletters, and direct communication that isn’t overly complicated. It’s simple, pretty, and better yet. It doesn’t have an algorithm deciding who gets what you send them. You’re more than welcome to use our code [here] for 50% off your first year, and have fun with it! This can be a lot of fun to play with.