Whether you’re a full time photographer or have a photography business on the side, keeping track of your workflows can be a full time job!
Managing the organization of your clients, budgets, ideas, photo spots, invoicing… it can take even more time than the shoot itself!
Here are four tips and tools that can help you excel as a photographer, helping your business succeed and making the internet work for you.
BOOST YOUR GOOGLE TOOLS
Google is a giant machine that you should be using to your advantage — it’s not just Gmail! There are plenty of other capabilities if you haven’t begun to scrape the surface of your Google account.
Use Google Forms to create forms for people to fill out. This will provide information to you that will be returned in an easily organizable Google Sheet. This can be extremely helpful if you don’t have a form on your website (or if you don’t have a website!).
You can use templates in Google Docs and Sheets to create documents for your business too. Whether it be a to-do list, a budget, or a calendar in Google Sheets, or a letter or project proposal in Google Docs, make Google work for you instead of creating these things from scratch. Even though they are templates, these templates are customizable. Google allows you to add your own color, logos and fonts.
You can also use Google Sheets to track your expenses, mileage and more, which will be extremely important come tax season.
Google also allows extensions to boost productivity. Using an extension like IFTTT can allow you to track work hours in Google Drive, automatically back up your camera roll photos to Google Drive, and more.
If you are using Gmail to keep track of your clients and work, try using labels and categories to keep your inbox clean. There are also new organic tools like the scheduler that can help you keep things organized. This will be sure to keep you on top of everything that comes into your inbox.
USE AN ORGANIZATIONAL TOOL FOR NOTES & TO-DOS
If you’re like me and NEED to write things down before you forget to do them, you might need to start using an organizational system. Luckily, there are many free options to get you started.
The NJspots team uses Trello to keep track of our to-dos, notes, and planning for everything from maps to meetups. You can create multiple “boards” with “cards” to organize each of your clients and shoots, including to-dos for yourself. You can assign due dates and mark them as done to track your progress, too!
An example of a card on Trello. Note all the things you can do with it in the right-hand column![/caption]
And of course, if you’re planning shoots, check out our maps. You can even download them to your phone for easy planning!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to share files that were too large over email!
WeTransfer is the free solution to that. Simply upload your photos/videos and share the link via email to your clients or colleagues. It’s that simple! Firefox has a similar sharing platform called Firefox Send. Also free!
Many photographers opt to use Dropbox as well, but it can get pricy if you are storing a lot of files.
Of course, you can also use Google Drive for large files if you are already using Google as your main file system.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR FINANCES, GET PAID, AND GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Ah, the fun part! Getting paid is a very important part of the job, so let’s make sure it happens — and make sure you’re tracking it!
Wave is an online platform to track your accounting, from invoicing clients, to payments and your own receipts. If you’re looking to expand your business or you already have too much to take care of on your own, this might be the tool to look into. An example of what Wave looks like.
There are solid pros to using PayPal, especially when you can keep track of everything in one place, while also being able to request payment from clients.
And of course, there is HoneyBook if you really want to launch your business! HoneyBook takes care of everything photography — from communication with clients, to payments and booking. Clients have the option to leave reviews for you here, which will be helpful for future business.
An example of the HoneyBook interface.[/caption]
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments!