Tools & Apps to Run My Wedding Photography Business
Running any business requires organization, and having tools, systems and workflows in place is essential to achieving success and giving our clients a great experience with us. These are my personal fave tools and apps for professional photographers.
I’ll get into my workflow and systems more in depth in another post, but hands down my favourite tool for client services is Honeybook! It has pretty much everything you could want to help with your workflows, and is so in depth to talk about so I promise to follow up with a HoneyBook Highlights post sooon, but for now you can get 50% off a membership WITH a 14 day trial!!! http://share.honeybook.com/fQVbW
When it comes to sharing galleries, Pixieset still remains my fave. Its very user friendly for both the photographer, and for the recipient; and does have a store option that you can use to plug in all of your beautiful products that you offer, and choose self fulfill (where you look after their order), or lab fulfill. I choose self fulfill to serve my clients because I adore my professional Canadian lab, GTA Imaging, and they aren’t set up with Pixieset. Millers and WHC are I believe, which are very popular American labs. You can use passwords to keep your galleries private, and add a download PIN to make sure that only your client can gain access to the final files. Its clean and beautiful, and offers many stylistic choices to support your brand.
I love to treat my clients to a slideshow to highlight the memories we’ve created, and for that I use Smart Slides. Smart Slides is another ridiculously easy to use program, that makes creating your slideshow project a breeze. It has a great, and always growing royalty free music selection, so you can share to public platforms without worrying about legalities. I also really like it compared to other software because of the LACK of cheesy transitions and backgrounds. I don’t use them, as I prefer to keep the photos the focus. I use Smart Slides to do sneak peeks for all of my clients, and also to reveal initial wedding album design.
To create these beautiful albums, I use Fundy Album Designer. A pricier investment, this album software is worth it if you design multiple albums a year. The team at Fundy is dedicated to keeping the software current and SUPER easy to use. I love that you can choose to edit a single image withing an album spread in photoshop, and when you have made your changes, its saved in the spread design! No need to reimport! Its just great, and I use it for every single album, including those Im commissioned to design by other wedding photographers. (For more on my wedding album design workflows, check out my upcoming workshop!)
Culling (Sorting/Discarding Images)
For culling I cant get enough of how amazing PhotoMechanic is… if you havent tried it – get it. It makes culling 1:1 images a snap – its lightning fast, and once you have your selections, you can highlight them and drag them into lightroom and get to work, having your first cull all done for you! Its the bomb.
Photoshop is limited to enhanced effects for certain things, or removing distracting objects in the final steps of creating art pieces, but the bulk of my edits are done in Lightroom. When it comes to exporting, JPEG Mini is a phenomenal plug in for Lightroom, that reduces file sizes WITHOUT compromising quality. This keeps my hard drives from filling up too fast, and also makes for quicker speeds when uploading to Pixieset. It is also a stand alone program, so if you want to go back and resize older work, or if you dont use lightroom, you’re still covered!
Camera and screen calibrations. I wont edit without calibrating my screens to match the prints I get from my lab. I use Spyder 5 Pro from datacolour to get my colours to match as close as humanly possible, and this gives me the confidence that knowing what Im seeing while editing is what my client will get when they open their albums or hang their art. I recalibrate every month or so. It’s a pretty quick step to ensure Im delivering the best possible products.
Camera calibration is another beast – but any professional photographer will likely fall into a situation where their shots start to miss focus. It blows when this happens, but when it does – FoCal to the rescue! You take photos of a target, the software reads the images and shows you on your laptop what is happening, and walks you through the calibration process step by step. Most of my lenses needed a micro adjustment, and when I go out to shoot I know that Im good to go.
Social Media Apps
Instagram is my favourite free app to share my work on. Its easy to stay in touch with my followers, but I do plan my content to a certain degree. To plan ahead so Im not always digging for content I use a free app called UNUM. It allows you to see how all of your photos will look as a curated collection, and even allows you to write your captions. I do a draft of 4-5 posts at a time, then write most of my captions in a block of time that Ive set aside for the week. This helps me not overthink things at the time, and also be intentional with the message I want to share. Of course there are exceptions were spontaneity is more important and suddenly a cohesive feed isnt a priority, but even with the curation aside, I find using this app I spend less time thinking and messing about looking for content.
Before I sort things out in UNUM, I will head to One Drive. This is where I keep all of the shots that I want to share, so after I am done editing in Lightroom, I choose One Drive as my location, and I have a folder called Instagram Shares that I navigate to, and export at 72dpi so that Im not bogging down my available space. Using cloud storage makes accessing my photos super easy.
To get things the right size when Im blogging I use Blogstomp. Its gets things just right, and allows you to change your image title too which is important for blogging. You can do the same thing in Lightroom, but if you want to have any diptychs or collages on your blog, having something like blogstomp is a huge time saver.
Reduce Screen Time
That’s a lot of screen time isn’t it! So after a long day of this, I try and keep my screen time to a minimum, and using the screen time settings on my phone can be a helpful reminder. You can choose to lock out certain apps at certain times of the day so that you don’t mindlessly fall down the scroll hole (we’ve all been there, no judging)
Tools and apps are meant to be a time saver, not cause us to do MORE work, so that you have more time to hit the beach. Or catch up on Netflix 😉
I hope you found this brief explanation of all the apps & tools Im currently using helpful. If you use a particularly helpful tool, app or workflow helper, send me an email or let me know in the comments below!
Cover Photo by Natalie Frank