Let me be honest for just a moment, I am not a pro at running a photography business. I definitely make mistakes, more than I care to admit. However, I want to save you some trouble and let you know about some programs that have literally changed my business (I don't know what I did before these programs - actually I do, and it was a mess)!
5. Google Calendar
I've actually been using Google Calendar from the beginning. I started using Google Calendar, alongside my paper planner, in high school. Trust me when I say I use it RELIGIOUSLY! Google Calendar has since completely replaced my paper planner. I find it's so much easier for me to have everything electronically planned and synced to multiple devices. I color code everything based on category (i.e. CSC Photography, School, etc.), and because everything is synced to my phone and laptop, it's so much easier to make plans (without having to carry another item everywhere).
4. Microsoft Publisher and PowerPoint
When I first started my business, I used Word for all of my contracts and pricing information, etc. It looked really simple, to say the least. Many photographers and business owners use Adobe InDesign for business materials. I've found that my materials still look professional without having to buy this extra program. I already have the Microsoft Office programs for school, so using Publisher and PowerPoint for my business materials is cheaper, just as efficient, and I didn't have to learn a new program.
P.S. I use PowerPoint to design this blog cover! I create a template and just switch out the picture and blog title every time I need to make a new one... this saves me hours of work!
Trello is a FREE task management system. My family calls it a glorified to-do list, but it seriously does wonders for task organization. This program uses a system of cards (which are like individual tasks), lists (which can organize your cards into different categories), and boards (which is a further way to organize into categories). Personally, I use three boards... one for my business tasks, one for my school tasks, and one for my internship student.
I have one mentorship student who is doing an internship with me, so she is one my business board and the internship board. When I finish tasks that need something from her (ex: I get her to proofread all of my contracts, prep guides, and other business materials), I can upload the materials as a Dropbox attachment (you can also do Google Drive, etc.), move the card to her board, and she can access everything online! It is so convenient for her to make corrections without being right next to me!
This program is completely able to be customized to whichever workflow system you want to use. There are hundreds of Power ups to make sure your workflow is optimized and efficient. This is just the outline of the system I currently use. There's also an app, so all of your tasks can be synced to your phone.
I use BlogStomp for most of my blog images. This program allows me to easily import sessions, and create collages for my blog with just a few clicks. This saves so much time from when I would create collages in Photoshop, resizing every image by hand, etc. It is also more aesthetically pleasing, rather than only uploading a bunch of single images.
1. Lightroom Classic CC
What would I ever do without Lightroom?! This program changed my editing game tremendously! For the first six months of my business, I either didn't edit my images or edited them on a free filter app. When I got Lightroom, it took me a couple sessions to get the hang of all of the features, but now my photos look more professional, more consistent, just better! Of course, I've learned better shooting methods which also helps, but I'm not sure I will ever edit on anything other than Lightroom ever again (with the exception of some light blemish removal in Photoshop)! I recommend this program to everyone, even my mom who just got a DSLR camera! It is a life changer!
See you soon,
Caitlin S. Cornett