Some people think that to be a professional photographer all you need is a big fancy camera and BAM! You’ve got yourself a photography business. If only things were that simple! There are a lot of outside factors that play into the world of professional photography. By having set tools and workflows I am able to have a sense of control over a few things; making the things that I can’t control come to pass a little smoother. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that if you implement these 6 things you’re automatically on the path to being a business owner. That would be false hope and frankly a big fat lie. But, these tools have helped me to continually grow my business!
A camera is obviously a pretty important tool in a photography business; but frankly, if you’re a good enough artist you can make even the most rudimentary tools like a point and shoot, polaroid, or iPhone work. That’s a discussion for another day.
My camera brand of choice for my photography business is Nikon. I’ve shot with plenty of different brands, but keep coming back to my trusty ol’ Nikon. The current camera model I use is a D750. It’s excellent in low-light situations, when I shoot the occasional wedding. But my favorite thing about this tool is the creamy, natural skin tones it delivers every single time! That is a feature that is consistent across the brand that I have seen in my 5 years as a professional, (and 3 years in school before that.) I don’t much get caught up in all the techy nonsense, it makes my head spin. As long as I can shoot in manual, I’m a happy camper.
Adobe has a Photography bundle for creative cloud; it includes Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ve been using both programs since college. I started out using a program called Bridge (another adobe product) to sort and categorize all of my images so when I had to switch to Lightroom in grad school it was a complete nightmare and I hated it with a fiery passion. Now I can’t imagine my life without a LR workflow. It makes culling, sorting, and editing super easy and simplified. And, if you’re a photographer you know that your editing life is like 85% of your whole life.
I’ll drop into Photoshop to perfect the color temperature, whiten smiles, enhance eyes, and skin soften (you can actually do this in LR, I just like my PS plugin better!) I have actions and keyboard shortcuts set up to speed up this workflow.
Whenever someone spots this nifty little tool on my desk I’m always asked to demonstrate. I’m kind of obsessed with my Wacom Tablet and hate editing with a traditional mouse or trackpad. It takes so much longer! With the Wacom I am able to use the pen to draw my edits rather than dragging a mouse all around my desk. This, in conjunction with my keyboard shortcuts and muscle memory, make the editing process quick and (nearly) painless.
Here at EKP we do in person sales(ISP.) The program I use for these sessions is ProSelect. I honestly couldn’t tell you if there are other program options out there. I have been using this my entire professional career and all the photographers I have worked for in the past used it (which is how I learned.) ProSelect allows me to enter all of the products we offer at EKP into the program and makes IPS super easy. I’m also able to project the images from my computer to a big screen so my clients can see their images larger than life. I can compare several images next to each other so clients are able to choose the perfect image for their products.
I use Táve business management to keep my shit together; for lack of a better description. I wrote a whole post about why a studio management program is important. There are plenty out there to choose from, you just have to take the time to learn the system and set it up correctly. I use Táve to manage client profiles, schedule appointments, accounting, and to keep track of orders, to name a few. Táve integrates nicely with iCal so I am able to schedule sessions in the program and they automatically populate my digital calendar; which I live and die by.
The To-Do List
I’m the person who has 1000 notebooks floating around her world. In college I nailed down a system to track all of the shit tasks I have to do. I call this secret weapon the To Do Notebook. Super fancy, right? I still use this method to this day. Here in the last week, one of my business besties introduced me to an app called Asana. It’s like my to-do notebook on crack. It’s a learning curve to get used to using the projects and boards, but I’m seeing the future of my to-do notebook moving to Asana. I’m really liking the way I can categorize everything and note due dates. If you’re organization is more than a solopreneurship (what I am) the app allows you to invite teammates and such to view projects, which is pretty cool!
These are a few of the tools and programs I use every day of my life. Being a photographer is more than making beautiful images. There are many behind the scenes factors that go into a photography business that I don’t talk much about. By using these tools and the workflows that accompany them it ensures ease throughout the business.
What tools do you use in your business? Anything that I need to look into?