How To Find The Best Tools For Your Photography Business

By Kyle Wilson

As photographers, we're constantly bombarded with the latest and greatest gear, software, and gadgets that promise to revolutionize our workflow. But the truth is, not every tool is created equal, and not every tool is necessary. 

What's important is to find the best tools that will effectively blend into your workflow and make your life easier. While it's important to stay current with industry trends, you don't need every new piece of gear or gadget that comes along - just the ones that will benefit you. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all for every photographer, so let’s explore how to determine what tools - whether gear, software, or gadgets - are worth your investment.

Identifying The Right Tools

There are four questions you can ask yourself when working out what kind of tools you need for your business.

What Annoys You?

First, identify the tasks that you constantly find yourself feeling annoyed with. Run through your entire process, from booking the shoot to preparing for a shoot and all the way through to delivering the final images to the client. Make a note of what annoys you at each step. There is likely a tool out there to remove it.

Personally, I hate using spreadsheets to track my booked gigs. Every step is manual and it’s open to errors, and it annoys me. Maybe for you, culling is a cumbersome process. Or maybe your suitcase drives you crazy every time you drag it through an airport.

Eliminating whatever annoys you is a worthwhile investment because it frees you up to focus on your work and protects your headspace. So, find a premium app to manage your calendar. Get AI software to do most of your culling. Go buy a new suitcase with better wheels. Whatever will make your life easier is worth having.

What Are You Doing Repeatedly?

Next, consider repetitive tasks. As you scale your business, you'll find certain recurring tasks start taking way too much time. Responding to inquiries, sending invoices, delivering galleries - there are many tasks you will do over and over, so it’s worth exploring tools to streamline them.

If you answer the same questions in similar emails to every client, it's time to automate your email process and/or create a client guide. Not only does it save you time, but it also ensures every client gets a consistent, professional response. Find a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool like Studio Ninja or HoneyBook to automatically handle your communications, contracts, and invoicing.

Investing in tools that streamline your work while your business is in the early stages will save you the headache of trying to implement them when you’re already buried in emails, forgetting to send invoices, and scheduling the next several shoots. 

What Can Make You More Money?

They say time is money, and, as photographers, we can all agree with that. You have an estimate of how long a shoot takes you to process. With rapid advances in AI software, time spent on post-shoot tasks like culling and editing can be halved

Think about that. Essentially, you just gave yourself a pay raise, because you can spend less time getting the same job done. 

We recently launched Narrative Edit, our AI editing software. With one click, you can apply your personal styles to your culled images and export to Lightroom for finishing. Try it for free today and experience how much faster editing can be.

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What Enhances Your Experience?

Time to talk about comfort. These tools might not seem totally necessary, but they can add to your enjoyment and well-being. 

You sometimes spend all day at your computer, so make it a good experience. Get a nice desk and chair. It’s like your bed - you’ll spend hours in it, so make sure you’re comfortable. Get the keyboard you enjoy using. Invest in AirPods, get cool lighting, buy some plants - whatever enhances your unique space. 

You’ll enjoy work more if you have the little things that make you happy. Create an environment where you can thrive.

Tips For Implementing New Tools

  • Experiment. Dedicate time to seeing if a tool works well for you. If it doesn’t, don't waste any more time on it. 
  • Buy quality. Do your research and invest wisely by focusing on quality, whether in gear or software. Cheap will let you down.
  • Ask around. One of the best resources for finding the best tools is to see what others are using. Get insights from other photographers’ experiences.
  • Find deals. Annual subscriptions often save you money. When you find an app or software you like, commit to it for a year.

Find Your Own Rhythm

We are all wired a little differently. Everyone has preferences and quirks about how they work best. I like to stick to pen and paper for tracking tasks (crossing off the to-do list is so satisfying) but when it comes to my calendar, I need the functionality of a good digital app. I can’t stand Gmail so I pay extra for Superhuman because it suits me better. These choices are highly individual. 

You might prefer the complete opposite. The key is to find what works for your brain to be efficient and productive. If a tool removes an annoyance, streamlines repetitive tasks, makes you more money, or gives you a better experience - it’s worth looking into.

Play to your strengths - after all, you’re in charge. 

At Narrative, we know you didn’t become a photographer to spend most of your time behind a computer. That’s why we created the best AI software tools for photographers - so you can spend more time doing what you love. Try Narrative Select+Edit now.