Okay guys lets get down to business. When it comes to the tools you will use day in and day out in your business you really need to find what will work best for you. Believe us, since starting Emry Photography in 2015 we have gone from a very grass roots wedding photography business to a very intentional and strategic daily business operation.
Believe it or not we can look back on our path since Emry Photography’s origin and actually put our finger on the exact tools that have allowed our business to get to the next level by streamlining things, giving us back our time, elevating our brand experience and our perceived value. All of the tools below have allowed us to be more productive, happier and more profitable in our wedding photography business.
It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new in your business pursuit or you’ve been hustling hard for the last decade if you feel like you’re whelmed on the daily by your biz then keep reading because we are here to tell you that there is no reason to be overwhelmed by your to do list or underwhelmed by a lack of inspirational tools that make a variety of daily tasks so much more enjoyable and dare we say even, fun?
We put together this list of our most highly recommended tools that have allowed us to scale our business to new heights in 2020. So let’s all get back to operating at our highest selves by doing the things we love and streamlining the things we don’t so they aren’t a total time suck. Okay, time for the meat and potatoes the tools that changed the game for our business.
Honeybook is the most used tool in our business on a daily basis. For that reason and the fact that this was such a catalyst for up-leveling our wedding photography biz is why Honeybook is landing at number one on this list. We can be honest and say we look back at our beginnings and cringe at our client experience. Our old emailed contracts that would have to be signed, scanned and then emailed back to us literally have us sinking into our chair out of embarassment. News flash the average couple is planning their wedding a few hours every night in the evening after getting home from their 9-5, they’re exhausted and time poor and the more we can streamline things for them the richer the client experience becomes. Honeybook not only makes your life easier it makes your couples lives easier too and that my friends is a win-win and worthy every penny (and for what you get it really doesn’t cost a lot of pennies).
We used to have so few touch points with our couples between them signing the contract and showing up to photograph their wedding. Not anymore, with Honeybook workflows we have been able to automate so many touch points and the delivery of a lot of resources to our couples so that they feel educated, inspired and cared for which we can say with every ounce of confidence will revolutionize your business.
We no longer are operating from numerous spread sheets, email inboxes, and external survey providers that caused us to perform this crazy juggling act that would keep us up at night hoping that nothing slipped through the cracks. Honeybook keeps everything in one beautifully organized, aesthetically pleasing location. Once our couples book it’s where all of our correspondence takes place so there is never the question of “Hm, where was that email they are referencing?”. Our contracts, questionnaires, and credit card payments all take place in Honeybook. We also use it to keep track of all of our expenses making the dreaded end of the year tax filing WAY simpler although still dreaded haha. You can also post and reply to opportunities from other Honeybook users, it’s how we have found styled shoots, associate photographers and videographers for our company.
Because we love Honeybook so much and truly believe everyone should be using it to gain hours of their life back using automated systems we have a sweet little deal so you can try it for yourself. Sign up using our link for a FREE trial and then 50% off your annual subscription when you sign up. Also to make your life even easier and get you on your way to a better client experience with more touch points we’re including a special offer from us. Sign up with honeybook and receive our email templates FREE. Just email us your receipt and get the goods. You’ll get every single email we have automated in our Honeybook workflow so you can get out of your inbox and back into doing what you love. See how we fuse professionalism with a welcoming friendly voice. And never let that blinking cursor give you it’s teasing wink again. Because none of us got into photography to sit behind our computer all day.
So we just hopped on the building your email list bandwagon, we can admit when we’ve overlooked something and we totally overlooked the importance of building your own email list. We never wanted to seem “sales-y” or “spammy” but we had it ALL wrong. Your email list serves your couples and your leads with relevant content that they want and helps them with their struggles.
Not only are you serving your audience with awesome content that helps answer their burning questions but you are also establishing that know, like and trust factor by showing up for your audience consistently in their email. That way when you do have an offer, a launch, a sale, need to fill your calender with sessions your email list is going to be much more apt to buy from you because you’ve already served them so well. It’s the jab jab jab right hook method out lined in Gary Vaynerchucks book and it is such a powerful tool for you and your business.
The other thing to really think about if you’re considering whether or not you need an email list is that with an email list you own those emails. That means if Instagram were to vanish tomorrow you would still be able to market to the people on your email list. As far as marketing efforts go we definitely believe all of the eggs should not be in one basket because we never know when these platforms will go away. The other thing that is variable with marketing on social platforms is how much reach you get for the money, how much you have to pay to play so to speak. That’s another reason having an email list that you can market to at no cost other than your monthly Flodesk membership is a beautiful thing.
Okay so do we have you on the email list bandwagon with us? We hope so! Flodesk literally makes the entire process SO easy it’s kind of mind blowing. Also I cannot get over how gorgeous the email templates are. They have everything you need right there and you just plug and play. You add your photos, you can add your brand colors and custom fonts too. It links out to your social channels and any PDF files you want to serve your list with. We just created our first form for our website to get site visitors to sign up for our email list by offering them a freebie wedding day checklist download and we already have 250 subscribers.
If you don’t have a website you can create a landing page that will capture emails for you and add this to your Instagram Linktree and Pinterest profile bio. The templates give you great content ideas to serve your audience with as well. Get 50% off your Flodesk subscription with our link. Also, if you don’t have a Linktree yet in your IG and Pinterest then check that out here its FREE for the basics which is what we use.
We made the switch from being “shoot & burn” photographers to photographers that offer print and wall art about two years ago and we haven’t looked back since. It has had a serious positive impact on our perceived value as photographers. There have been studies actually done on this and they have shown photographers who offer albums, print, and wall art are perceived as more valuable than those who do not. So you can make more money from each client by selling them products and they will think you are worth more than the shoot and burn photographer down the street, that’s a no-brainer to us. Not only that but USB will eventually become obsolete we truly believe preserving your clients memories in something tangible that they can pass down in their family is SO important and it’s putting your client first. The power of print is a real thing and again studies have been conducted that had a subject hooked up so that the stimulated areas of their brain would light up when they experienced printed photos vs. those on a screen and the experience is so much more visceral with a printed product.
We wanted every couple we work with to leave with their first family heirloom which is why we decided to include a wedding album in every one of our collections. After making the decision the hard part came which was shopping album companies. We have been through a few but landed on nPhoto over a year ago and we cannot give them enough praise. They are based out of Poland but work US hours to be able to respond quickly to any calls or emails. The quality is unsurpassed and the options are widespread. Even being in Poland the turnaround time is between 9-14 days. They offer wall art, folio boxes and albums. One thing that makes them so different is that you can select any spread within an album and make it metallic (most album companies the entire album would have to be metallic). The metallic spreads are a huge seller for us and are such a show stopper too.
They offer amazing prices on sample albums and with our link you can get yourself 30% off client albums so you can increase your profit margins while offering your clients the best in terms of quality.
04. Fundy Designer
We have been using Fundy for our blog layouts long before we even offered albums. But not that we offer albums we couldn’t imagine our album workflow without Fundy Designer. Being wedding photographers in a wedding destination location like San Diego, CA we get many couples who live in different corners of the country and fly everyone in for their wedding. Because of that we can’t always do IPS (in person sales) for our albums. Fundy Designer suite has an amazing proofer that allows us to design our couples albums and send it to them via the proofer for approval before it goes into production. The proofer allows them to make comments on the photos like switch photo 1200 for photo 1186 or take this photo off etc. We usually have two rounds of revisions before they approve it and Fundy makes that back and forth so much easier which also enhances your client experience. It shouldn’t be a headache for your couple to design their wedding album.
Fundy also has integrated Perfectly Clear which gives you the power of one click retouching options things like “intelligent retouch”, “clear skin”, “healthy glow”, “strong glow”, “full coverage”, “high fashion”, “the works”, “supermodel skin”, “rugged skin”. They also have auto design which puts the photos you choose for the album into the spreads allowing you to only need minor tweaks to have it ready to send in the proofer for your couples. Follow this link to start your free trial.
If you are a wedding photographer in California that news of the ab5 law may have made its way to you. Basically any contract employee that was a 1099 tax form now has to be made into an employee based on the new law. As a husband and wife led photography team that has mutiple associate photographers and a wedding videography team this law hit us hard at the beginning of the year.
We had to scramble fast to switch over to a payroll system and after extensive research we landed on Gusto. Gusto had the best prices for our sized team of under 10 and makes filing payroll super easy for us to do. That’s always nice because it’s never fun saying goodbye to money. Honeybook and Gusto have teamed up to offer you your first three months free just follow this link.
Pixieset is such an amazing online gallery provider. Now they also offer free websites that are so beautiful its crazy they’re free. We love how easy Pixieset’s interface is and how beautifully it displays your online photo galleries. Your clients will be wowed by the presentation of their photos. It is also very easy to download from for both your couples and any vendors that you send the gallery link to. And they won’t be sent spammy emails after downloading from the gallery.
07. Sticky Folios
So we mainly use Sticky Folios for our interactive online investment guides. The software is way more robust than we truly need but we haven’t come up with another alternative yet. But if you love the idea of giving your clients a sneak peek on an app that says their name that can be added to their phone’s home screen then this would be perfect for you. When we first purchased Sticky Folios we used it for client sneak peeks which was great because the app is easily shared with their friends and families and includes links to your website which is perfect for free marketing just from your clients sharing their gallery. It also publishes the sneak peek online and is optimized for SEO which can get your site found.
However we could only include around 10 photos or so and our sneak peeks were much larger. We LOVE our investment guides where we can send them online, they are interactive and linked to our Calendly, they include links to our website and have our wedding videos embedded as well. Now that I am writing this I am actually feeling inspired to go back and figure out how we can use all of the amazing features of Sticky Folios in our business more.
08. Fuel Your Photos
Corey and Dylan of Fuel Your Photos are the most dynamic duo when it comes to SEO FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS. We have worked with them for 3 years now and it is amazing to log into our Google Analytics and see the leaps and bounds their SEO optimization has made in our rankings. SEO is a long play but a necessary one if you ask us. When other platforms disappear your SEO will be there to still get you discovered in organic search. Yes, no add dollars spent, how great is that? These guys have a FREE FACEBOOK GROUP where they give so much value and educate freely on numerous topics to help your photography business. The fact that they are specialized in SEO for photographers makes their knowledge and expertise unparalleled in the photography industry. They also just began a PODCAST and a YOU TUBE CHANNEL. They have an in-depth SEO for photographers course that you can purchase if you really want to go all in on your SEO strategy. We purchased the course and have slowly been going through it and our minds are so blown on all of the information it actually has us fired up to be a disruptive force with our SEO and rank above the competition in our area. Especially in a city like San Diego where every fourth person you meet is also a wedding photographer it is imperative that you rank on at least the first two pages in Google search.
We are wedding photographers with a crazy amount of weddings every year and a toddler so setting up adorable images of coffee mugs and workspaces for our blog posts and Pinterest isn’t really at the top of our to-do list. Quite frankly there are so many amazing and free images on Unsplash for us to pop into a blog post about best business practice etc that we would be wasting our time to sit and set up our own photos. Our couples aren’t booking us for our photos of plants, our laptop or our workspace they are booking us for our wedding photography and engagement photos so using a stock photo service for the other stuff doesn’t bother us at all. You can sign up at Unsplash and start browsing tons of free stock photography for your blog posts and Pinterest pins. The image from this blog was actually from Unsplash and then we just brought it into Canva to add the title overlay, easy breezy.
As mentioned above we love Canva. We mostly get by using the free services but you can always upgrade to unlock more. The upgrade is billed monthly so our tip would be to upgrade in a month when you are slower and want to be in all out content creation mode. Create all of the graphics, pins, blog banners etc that you will need and then you can go back to the free plan when you’re done. Use Canva to add pretty graphics over your photos to drive traffic from Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.
Alright guys, who’s ready to take back your time, become the captain of your ship and up level your business? (cue Fat Joe “I’m All the Way Up”). These tools are going to help re-inspire, save time, beat overwhelm and we argue make you more profitable. When you aren’t stuck behind your computer think about all of the things you could be doing that will actually move the needle in your business. Our goal with these blog posts is to give you the tools and knowledge to get you work ON your business like a CEO rather than IN your business like a worker bee.
We 100 million percent recommend these tools because we truly use them day in and day out within our business. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which give us a little bit of moola when you sign up, affiliate programs like this allow us to keep serving you with amazing free resources. Score! Featured image credit goes to Kyle Glenn on Unsplash