My Favourite Business Tools
Running a wedding photography business can be EXPENSIVE and time consuming. Can I get an amen?! When I was a young (relatively) and naive (very) new photographer with a cropped frame camera and one kit lens in hand, starting to dream of working for myself, I calculated how much money I’d need to make to be able to leave the day job. Added up the income I needed and what I believed my business cost would be. Oh the blissful ignorance of those days! Turns out running a successful photography business is more expensive and time consuming than I ever imagined. Over the years, in a quest to save time and be more efficient or to improve my business I’ve thrown money at almost every piece of software or resource going. Some have been lifesavers, others a complete waste of money. This blog post is all about sharing the ones that I’ve come to love and couldn’t live without. Some of them save me time (and time is money!) some of them help improve my customer experience which is turn allow me to charge a premium for my photography services and some of them just make my job a lot more enjoyable!
PHOTOMECHANIC – CULLING IMAGES
Photomechanic is a tool designed to help you cull your images quickly. You can cull in lightroom of course but Photomechanic is fast fast fast. And when you’re shooting weddings almost on a weekly basis and regularly coming home with 5000+ images from each wedding then fast is very important! Photomechanic allows me to cull an entire wedding in around an hour. Costing about $150 some people find it a bit pricey. For me it’s worth every single penny! Find out more about Photomechanic here.
SHOOTPROOF – AN ONLINE GALLERY
Shootproof is the online gallery I use to deliver my client’s finished wedding pictures. Back in t’day (ok about 18 months ago) I used to deliver the final images on USB. But the times they are a-changing. Lots of couples don’t own laptops or computers – so they have nowhere to stick that USB. USB’s get lost. USB’s fail. And ok I admit it. I spent faaaaaarrrrr too much time of Etsy looking at pretty USB boxes. An online gallery removed all those issues. It’s accessible anywhere you have an internet connection, it’s super duper easy to share with friends and family and the images are safe. There are a few great gallery suppliers out there but I chose Shootproof for the following reasons – I love the way it looks. I love the ease of use and I love that I can sell prints through the gallery really easily. I also liked that I could start off with a cheaper package and upgrade when I needed more space. If you fancy checking out Shootproof then click here.
JPEG Mini – SOME FORM OF MAGIC
JPEG Mini is wizardry. I don’t know how it works and frankly I don’t really care. It just does. Google loves a fast website. Photographs slow down websites. Photographers have lots of photographs. We need beautiful, sharp images on our websites but we also need to make them as small as possible so the website runs quickly. You see the problem here right? JPEG mini takes a normal JPEG and compresses it to make the images smaller without reducing the quality one little bit. Incredible! Now this tool might not save me any time but it does help my website run faster, which helps with my Google rankings and higher rankings mean more potential couples find me online. For less than £30 you can’t argue with that!
DIVI – A WONDERFUL WEBSITE BUILDER
When you start looking into building a website, most of the experts will tell you that WordPress is the way to go. And they aren’t wrong. WordPress is ridiculously flexible and customisable. If you can think of it, you can most probably create it on WordPress (or at least find a skilled designer who can). But it doesn’t half take some getting used it. I remember spending three weeks crying trying to build my first WordPress site. So when I decided to move back to WordPress from Squarespace I needed to find a website builder that was common sense and easy to use. And into my life strolled Divi. It’s so easy to use, completely customisable and there’s tonnes of help and support online. If a WordPress site is what you’re looking for then this is money well spent.
Yes she’s a person. A website and design goddess in fact. No you can’t buy a copy of her unfortunately but you can buy one of the many awesome products and services she offers. I’ll start with her website templates. She makes some absolute beauties full of gorgeous details. If you want a beautiful stylish website with no faffing then buy one her templates, upload your own images and text and away you go. You could have an amazing website ready to go within a day. Melissa’s website designs work on Divi too!
As well as website templates Melissa also offers a few different online course. There’s Site School which is a MUST if you’re a newby to web design or WordPress. It’ll go through EVERYTHING step by step. From setting up your first WordPress site, to all the jazzy design elements to SEO and launching the site. It’s honestly worth every single penny. You’ll also be added in to the Site School Facebook Group where Melissa is on hand to answer questions and frequently shares new content.
Check out Melissa’s store The Design Space Co. right here.
GRUM – INSTAGRAM IN A FLASH
I love Instagram and I know that my couples love it too. So many couples use it for planning their weddings too so it makes perfect sense to be posting regularly. The thing is like most social media platform it takes time. Last year I purchased a lifetime access code for an app called Grum and I LOVE it. It’s a scheduling app for Instagram and it’s one of the few that actually posts directly to Instagram for you. It saves me heaps of time – my old process was choose images, resize them on my computer, upload to a dropbox folder, open the dropbox app on my phone, download the image, upload it to instragram, write out the text and hashtags. Now I do everything from my desktop and even better schedule posts in advance. So I can create a month’s worth of Instagram posts in under an hour. It costs $10 a month for 2 accounts or keep an eye on AppSumo incase they sell the lifetime access again.
SERPSTAT – KEEPING YOUR EYE ON YOUR SEO
Around 80% of my enquiries and bookings result for people finding me on Google. SEO has been super duper important for my business and it’s wonderful that it’s free. It is however very time consuming, a little bit baffling and often frustrating! If you set off down the SEO route you need to know you’re using the right tactics, targeting the right keywords and making good progress. One way to monitor what you’re working on, research keywords and keep an eye on your competitors is to use a paid SEO tool. There’s plenty of them out there offering different features. Some are eye-waveringly expensive and therefore not an option for us little sole-traders. I’ve tried a few and my favourite is Serpstat. It’s affordable (around $19 for the lowest plan) and has lots of nifty features for researching keywords, ideas for blog posts, finding out how people are finding you and clocking what your competitors are up to. To check out Serpstat click here. Don’t hang around though – they’re getting rid of their cheapest plan in November 2018. If you sign up now you can secure it.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. I’ll keep coming back and adding new resources when I discover them.