It took me years to find the tools that I love and use today for my photography business. I found out about them from word of mouth, searching online, and a lot of trial and error.
These really are the tools that I'm using in my photography business right now. They have helped me go from less than a dollar in my bank account (seriously, 81 cents!) to being the proud owner of a 6-figure boudoir photography business! With so many people asking for advice on the best photography tools out there… making this list just made sense. 😉
Be sure to take a look through it and find a new favorite tool to try out! And, if there's a tool I missed that you love to use for your photography business, definitely share about it in the comments section of this post.
Note: I'm not naming any of my own products as “best tools,” but rather focusing on others' products. However, I obviously think my own camps, ebooks, toolkits, and templates are awesome for increasing your sales in 2016! In my products I show you exactly what I do, how it works for me, and how you can implement those ideas step-by-step: You can check out all of my Boudie Shorts educational products for photographers here.
Full disclosure: Some of the below products that I've mentioned are or have been sponsors of Boudie Shorts or they are affiliate links, but I don't recommend any products that I don't love and use myself!
#1 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Sticky Albums
This tool is all about increasing word of mouth referrals and increasing sales. Choose one of your client's photos for the app icon, and when they open the app, your photos of them are there to browse. Clients love it!
I'm going to be talking more about how I rock referrals to increase my sales in Boudoir Marketing Camp, which is launching in February this year. Make sure you are on my VIP mailing list if you want an email the moment it is open for enrollment!
I personally use Ontraport. It used to be super expensive and still is depending on the level you get but they now have a free level (called Ontrapages) and a more affordable level, it's totally worth looking into! In addition to email list building, it also allows me to build landing pages, create photo shoot order forms, and more.
By the way, if you don't have a mailing list yet, you need to start one! This is by far my best marketing technique. My toolkit and ebook, Set It & Forget It, can help you completely set up your email marketing if you are new to it, so check it out!
#3 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Simply Color Lab
Simply Color Lab provides albums, boxes, canvases, etc. for you to showcase your best work. It is super important for every photographer to find a good printer, because if the work isn't up to par, it will make your photography look bad… and most customers will think it is you, the photographer, not realizing it was a poor print job.
If you haven't already, I recommend purchasing a few canvases from Simply Color Lab to put in your studio if you have one. That way, during the viewing, people can see the actual products, and it will encourage them to order more. I talk about this technique in great detail in my Boudoir Sales Camp, so check that out if you want to learn how I average $3000+ on sales with my boudoir clients.
#4 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Shootq
Developed by photographers for photographers, ShootQ is your virtual studio manager, assisting you from the moment a prospective client contacts you until the final product is delivered. It keeps your job leads and workflow organized, and always reminds you what needs to be done next. Plus, with ShootQ, you’ll spend less time doing paperwork and more time being creative!
ShootQ can work in perfect conjunction with any email marketing you do using Ontraport or Mailchimp. It is especially helpful for keeping track of clients who had actually booked shoots with me so I don't have to try to remember all of the details.
#5 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Pro Select
Run a professional sales session without a hard sell by personalizing the experience and eliminating ordering mistakes. Pro Select allows you to create and present emotional slide shows to boost your profits and get your life back.
I'm a huge advocate for in-person sales (seriously, I could not believe how much more money I started making when I started doing in-person same-day viewing and ordering). However, if you must sell online, you should also consider SmugMug, which allows you to create beautiful galleries to send to your clients. You can also use SmugMug if you do non-boudoir photography too and want to make your photos available for purchase for everyone, not just clients.
#6 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Photo Flash Drives
Beautiful packaging makes all the difference. Sure, I could just put my clients' digital files on an dinky old flash drive or CD, but it doesn't feel very upscale or professional to do that. Customized Flash Drives are the way to go when it comes to delivering images to clients. Most of my clients want a flash drive anyway, over a CD or having to figure out how to download files from an online source.
It's the little things like this that make the experience feel high-end from the moment my clients walk through my home studio doors, and when an experience feels high end, you're going to get those higher sales. Again, this is the topic of my Boudoir Sales Camp, so check that out.
#7 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Boudoir Photographer's Guide to Lingerie by Jennifer Rozenbaum
This 80-page guide is packed with information on different styles, functions, tips and tricks for every client. As an added bonus there's a 6-page customizable cheat sheet that you can present to your clients to make sure they're properly prepared for the shoot.
If your plus-sized clients are looking to buy lingerie for their shoot, Hips & Curves is a great place to send them. It can be super hard to find cute, affordable plus-sized lingerie that really show off a woman's curves perfectly for a boudoir shoot, but Hips & Curves has you covered.
#8 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Natalie Kita's Shoot to Sell (The Naked Way) Boudoir Photography Posing Guide
The poses range from demure to provocative, and there is instruction included on simple ways to make a pose more modest, or more daring, depending on your specific client. Natalie is awesome!
While her posing guide will get you started, I definitely also recommend Boudoir Shooting Camp if you want to really hone your skills in the studio. I banded together with three other photographers to bring you this 4-week course which covers topics like lighting, plus-sized posing, the cameras and other equipment we use, and more. Natalie also did a bonus video for Boudoir Shooting Camp that you don't want to miss!
#9 Best Photography Tool for 2016: Facebook Marketing eBook (FREE!) from The Modern Tog
I love freebies! Jamie from The Modern Tog has an excellent blog post AND free Facebook Marketing eBook showing you how to create Facebook ads that get you photography clients.
The majority of Facebook ads are a waste of money for photographers – but not because they can't work… because people aren't setting them up the right way! This book will help you if you are confused.
We also have some advanced training on Facebook ads in Boudoir Marketing Camp if you want even more advice.
#10 Best Photography Tool for 2016: How Clients Make Decisions About Money (FREE!) eBook from Psychology for Photographers
Psychology for Photographers explores how psychology fits into the everyday workings of creative businesses. Learn what you can do to rearrange your packages to change what and how your clients feel about buying from you.
It is always really fascinating for me to learn about what makes people tick and how I can use that knowledge to increase my sales and make sure customers are happy!
#11 Best Photography Tools for 2016: Boudoir Contracts by The Law Tog
Here you'll find several legal contract bundles designed especially for boudoir photographers. If you do nothing else in 2016, make sure you get your business in order, so you aren't putting your livelihood at risk. These contracts can help.
If you're new to boudoir or have been neglecting all those nitty-gritty things you have to do to get your business set up, I also recommend signing up for our complete free toolkit for boudoir photographers, Break into Boudoir.
#12 Best Photography Tools for 2016: Backup or Die: Learn to Keep Your Photos Safe by Photography Concentrate
A few years ago, the place I was renting caught on fire. It was one of the worst days of my life, but it could have been a lot worse – I could have also lost my entire business.
It is really, really easy to put off backing up your photos, because it can be confusing and time consuming to figure out the best option. This ebook makes it really easy.
What Other Boudoir Photographers are Saying:
I asked photographers in my Boudoir Photogs Group what they thought were good additions to my list, and here’s what they had to say:
- “I love GTG Actions, Jen Rozenbaum’s Boudoir Cookbook, and a set of good white sheets for photo shoots!” – Megan Bivins, Studio Three Photo
- “Miller’s albums for sure…Miller’s prints too. We use this blanket I got from Ikea and love it, it is white and has great texture on it. Champagne, strawberries, and great music is also a must as well!” Ashley Gunnin, Southern Belles Photography
- “My favorite product is Miller’s for albums, Mpixpro for accordion mini albums, redimat for print mats, and photo boxes from Michaels. For behind the scenes I like Zenfolio for gallery hosting and Tave software for questionnaires.” Elaine Turso, Elaine Turso Photography
- “I love me some Nation’s Photo Lab! Their customer service is personal and phenomenal. Portrait Professional software really lightens the editing load as well. Outside of my love for Boudie Shorts, I look for education and inspiration from The Boudoir Divas, the always entertaining Natalie Kita with Get Shot Naked, shamelessly feminine Jennifer Goldberg Rozenbaum, and bad ass Craig Lamere of Moz Studios. My favorite go-to free resource is CreativeLive.” Brandilyn Nicolia, B Lyn Boudoir
- “I love WHCC for albums, Image 3D for the peep show viewers, Creativelive for education, Sticky Albums, Animoto, Colorvale for actions and marketing material.” Kristin Gibson, KGPhotographs
- “I love Artisan State for albums and Miller's for prints. Sticky Albums! Love it and it makes it easy for them to share pictures without actually publicly displaying them on the internet.” Katie Jones, Kate Jones Photography
So how about you??! What tools do you think would be a good addition to this list? Post your comments below! I love hearing from you!