3 Ways to Keep Track of Contracts & Invoices Without Losing your Mind by The Photo Life

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You didn’t get into photography so that you could manage paperwork.

But between all the invoicing and contracts that you manage for your various shoots, it’s easy to feel like you spend a majority of your day managing those tedious details! So how do you keep your desk and brain clear of the clutter from this pile of paperwork? Here are three tips for streamlining your workload, so you can get out from behind your desk, and back behind the camera.

I. Put everything online.

Contracts and invoices can all be done through online systems or services, making it quick and easy for your client to sign and return things to you. Plus, down the road, it’s easy to find all the contracts and invoices under each client’s online folder!

II. Automate as much as possible.

Invoices should be sent out automatically online through your studio management software. If clients pay by credit card, you …

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Two Tips for Managing Critical Client Information by The Photo Life

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One of the biggest drains on a photographer’s time is the back-and-forth correspondence that happens with clients. There is just so much information that has to be collected and then managed – event details, invoicing, contract, album orders, and beyond.

That’s why it’s important to have strategies in place for efficiently managing this information. You need to be able to easily find what you’re looking for and minimize the amount of back-and-forth with clients.

I. Consolidate as much as possible using forms and questionnaires.

Email is a necessary but time-consuming (and annoying at times!) part of running a business, but if you make it more manageable, you’ll have more time to spend on other profitable activities. With all the information that has to be organized, it could mean a lot of emails. Or you could find a better way. Create a handful of forms or questionnaires that are used to gather most of the …

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Why Workflows Were a Lifesaver for Sara France & Made ShootQ Her First Choice by The Photo Life

Photo: Sara France

 

Photo: Sara France

Before finding ShootQ, Sara France was drowning in spreadsheets to track tasks, and wanted workflows that enabled her – and her team – to stay organized without passing bulky files back and forth.

Now that she has ShootQ, she’s able to automate almost everything!

Her studio’s workflows are automated. Everything from invoices, emails, to new lead generation is automated and cloud-based.

According to Sara, “I didn’t want to do that work and needed to focus on growing my business. It’s much more efficient and takes less time. I don’t know how anyone has a studio without this program.”

In this case study, we’ll take a look at Sara France’s business and explore the ways that:

• In order to focus on growing your business, it’s important to have a solid management solution in place • Taking the time upfront saves countless hours over the long haul  • Cloud-based services allow photographers to access key …

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Case Study: Why ShootQ Makes Sense for Anne Almasy

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Photo: Anne Almasy

Anne’s search for a solution that would streamline her growing photography business led her to ShootQ. Because of ShootQ, Anne has been able to set up a faster booking process, better contract management, and streamlined business operations.

In this case study we’ll explore:

• Why early investments in your business do make a difference. • How keeping track of your business in one place, with access from anywhere, streamlines operations. • Why it’s important to find the best solution to manage a thriving photography business. • How to quantify the savings ShootQ provides.

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Case Study: Why ShootQ Was the Only Choice for Leeann Marie

Before finding ShootQ, Leeann Marie was in search of a tool that managed all aspects of her new photography business. Now that she has ShootQ, she’s able to run her business like a well-oiled machine, saving time and headaches in the process!

In this case study, we’ll take a look at Leeann Marie’s business and explore the ways that:

• Investing in your business upfront makes a big difference • Cloud-based services accelerate the speed of your business • Time savings allows for more bookings and work-life balance • Smooth operations lead to successful and thriving businesses

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How to Take the Pain out of Album Design by Kathleen Atkins

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Album design is the one task that I absolutely dread. And when I say dread, I mean loathe. I bet many of you can relate. I avoid album design like the plague.

Before we joined Pictage, I spent hours laying wedding photos out on blank pages, nudging them a little bit to the left or right, cropping a tad here or there. It was tedious; it was a massive time suck! I knew something had to change.

Then, I heard about Pictage’s free album design service from a friend. I was intrigued, but skeptical. First I thought, “Is this for real? For $49 per month, I get unlimited album designs and access to purchase directly through national album companies?” Immediately, I thought, “No way!” But if it were true, I was ready to sign up right then and there.

So that evening, I signed up for the free trial. I watched a few …

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How to Track New Client Inquiries with ShootQ by Leeann Marie

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Managing leads in a studio can be difficult: multiple clients to track, responses to send, and information flying everywhere! Winning a wedding or portrait client’s business is a big deal – so what’s the best way to get them to sign on the (electronic) dotted-line? First you have to get their attention, and keep it!

I’ve heard multiple times from brides that a quick response is greatly appreciated, and the smartest sales tool out there is the art of the follow-up! How can you get both?

ShootQ Lead Workflows help you easily manage your leads, respond quickly with the click of a button, and maintain communication with your promising inquiries.

ShootQ has the capability of managing your leads in a simple lead “bucket” system. I always encourage my ShootQ clients to use the categories that have been set up for them as much as possible. It can be easy to forget who is …

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Monitor Calibration: Are Your Prints Too Dark? by Monty Jessop

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Are Your Prints Too Dark?

If your answer is yes, then improper monitor calibration is probably the reason. Have you ever wondered why when you get your WYSIWG (what you see is what you get) prints back from the lab they look darker than they do on your monitor? As professional photographers, we have a responsibility to make sure our monitor’s profile “matches” or is in “sync” with our primary print lab provider.

Your computer, monitor and printer are all connected by cables tethering them to each other. This allows your printer to recognize your monitor profile. It should print accurately because of this. But what happens when a lab prints images for you, and the lab is thousands of miles away? In many cases you get prints back and they appear a little darker – or a LOT darker – than what you see on your monitor. This is most likely because your computer and monitor are not directly connected to your lab’s printers.

How does the lab know how bright your monitor is?

The only way to ensure that you’re in “sync” is to know your lab’s printer settings. This is why labs ask you to calibrate your monitors.

There’s an industry standard for gamma of 2.2 and native white point standard of 6500K (Kelvin) Luminance (brightness) varies depending on your monitor LCD monitors should be set at 120 luminance, however, CRT monitors are recommended for 90-100 luminance Even though 120 is recommended for LCD monitors, many labs still work with what was common when CRT monitors were the only option for display Back then, the brightest luminance value you could get from a CRT monitor was 90-100. Today, however, LCDs can go above 120 luminance. If your monitor is above that, then it is likely that you’re seeing images much brighter on your monitor than they actually are

What are the benefits of calibrating your monitor?

When you use a colorimeter device to calibrate your monitors, you create a monitor profile that becomes your default profile and it cannot be altered unless you change it. This prevents your monitor’s settings from being changed manually.

What’s a Colorimeter?

A colorimeter looks like a mouse, and you temporarily attach it to the front of your monitor. It measures the smallest variations in color, and is more sensitive than the human eye. When you input the target values/settings mentioned above, it calibrates your monitor to your lab’s printers.

Think about how musicians tune their instruments before a performance. Suppose your studio and lab were about to play a duet at Carnegie Hall, and your pickiest clients were in the audience? We’d tune our instruments first! But instead of tuning sound, photographers tune colors and brightness. When you are “tuning” your color & brightness, you are calibrating your monitor. A colorimeter makes calibration easy. It ensures that your studio’s “sky blue” matches your lab’s “sky blue.”

Test Printing:

Many labs offer Test Printing. They allow you to upload a few files to print WYSIWYG as a testing process. By doing this, you see where you’re at in relation to your print-to-monitor match. Find out what your lab’s recommended settings are for:

Gamma, Native White Point Luminance Purchase a colorimeter and input those recommendations Always use the “advanced mode” or “expert mode” option Try not to use the “easy mode”

Because all monitors experience changes in brightness, contrast and color over time, regular calibration is important. Re-calibrate every 4-6 weeks. This is not a one-time process, because monitors can shift and color channels can go out. Set yourself a reminder, which is usually included in the software.

Bottom Line: 

If you’re serious about photography and are serious about your craft, then take monitor calibration seriously and invest in a monitor calibration device (e.g., colorimeter). Download the software, run the device and submit some test prints. It will save you time and money in the long run. And your images will print as you intended them to look.

If your images look bright like the images on the right when viewing them on your monitor, but they print like the images on the left, then it’s very likely that your monitor is too bright. Proper Monitor Calibration can resolve this issue for you!

About the Author

Monty Jessop has been involved with the professional photography community for over 25 years. He is known in the community as a creative, generous and helpful colleague. His willingness to share his knowledge and skill with other photographers is a hallmark of his career. As both a photographer and a professional consultant, Monty brings a unique perspective to the profession.  

During the course of his two and a half decade career, Monty has documented over 1,500 weddings and events. After establishing Monty’s Photography in 1986, he became a highly-recommended and sought after photographer in Southern California. Monty’s experience began in the “darkroom era,” which gave him a solid photographic knowledge base and earned him the title of “old school photographer.”  Shooting film on medium format cameras long before the digital explosion, Monty adapted his style and increased his knowledge with each innovation in the field of photography. Over the past decade, Monty has utilized a contemporary photojournalist photography style and shoots a limited number of events each year. 

In addition to running his photography business, Monty has over 15 years of experience working as a general manager of two labs in California. In 2006, Monty brought his knowledge and experience to Pictage. As their Print & Product Quality Specialist, Monty helps photographers resolve issues, particularly digital photography issues with color management, monitor calibration and profiling. As an expert in the field, Monty enjoys sharing his knowledge with the many photographers who utilize Pictage‘s services.

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What’s NEW with ShootQ for Photographers? by Katie Van Buren

What’s new with ShootQ? That’s right – there’s a new a batch of updates to ShootQ that will help you streamline your photography business. This release is the second part of a two-phaser. The first phase was especially popular with portrait photographers. Here’s what’s new with ShootQ in this second release…

1. Product Options Visible to Clients – This feature lets your clients choose product options from the “share pricing” pages and proposals. While this has been an awesome internal tool for photographers to keep their product options organized, it is now also available for clients to view and choose options. With this release, the feature now works for ShootQ accounts…and our January Nimbus release will update this feature there as well! Read More Here >>>

2. Calendar Filtering For Users – We’ve added a side panel on the calendar tab for easy navigation to see who is scheduled for a shoot or appointment …

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How ShootQ’s Latest Updates Streamline Your Photography Business by The Photo Life

What’s new with ShootQ? That’s right – there’s a new a batch of updates to ShootQ that will help you streamline your photography business.

There are a few features we think everyone will appreciate, but Portrait Photographers will find these updates especially useful. This release is the first of two phases, so be on the lookout for more improvements in the near future!

Here are a few highlights:

• More Customization: We created a slew of new variables for Contracts, Emails, and Invoice Templates to give you more flexibility & customization. Check ‘em out today and let us know what you think!

• Creating a Shoot Just Got Faster: We added a button to every Relationship so you can load a Quick Lead and create a Shoot in just a few clicks. It’s super simple!

• Add Some Urgency: A new setting allows you to set a custom time-frame for every Proposal. Setting time limits on Booking Proposals can help …

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