Well hello there! It is about time I introduce all of the behind the scenes equipment, software, apps and other tools I use to run my full time wedding photography business!
A little background, I am Taylor. A full time fine art wedding photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. I have photographed close to 200 (195 to be specific) weddings now and I work exclusively for my wedding clients. That meaning I don’t photograph outside portrait sessions. I photograph my client’s weddings and engagement sessions for those wedding clients. So my business relies mainly on referrals from my current clients. That means I value my client experience more than anything. Everything in my business is set up to give my clients a smooth and informed experience and to also give myself a consistent method to make sure my clients are taken care of and that my business back end is taken care of logistically all while giving myself a few days off sometimes!
So let’s start with my client portal Honeybook. Honeybook is my client management system that I use to capture every new client inquiry (I use their contact form on my website), then I share my investment or pricing guide with each new inquiry using Honeybook’s smart file feature (basically a beautifully formatted custom guide I build inside the HoneyBook system). Then I store all of my notes from each new client consultation, I send questionnaires, contracts and invoices through honeybook and collect my retainers and payments there. I also send out any guides like my engagement outfit guide to my clients via honeybook. I use the honeybook automation features to set reminders or send certain emails automatically. Honeybook allowed me to automate my entire client experience. That way I make sure that each client I serve gets the same resources and experience that is to the best of my ability to provide.
Also on Honeybook my clients can view all of their documents in a secure place as well as schedule and place payments on their invoices.
I made the switch to honeybook in September of 2021 and am a customer of theirs for life. As a honeybook affiliate I actually have a special code that will give you 50% off your first year of honeybook, and you get a 7 day free trial too.
And here is a code you can use at check out if you’ve already started your free trial- honeybooktnp
Next up has to be PicTime. This is my gallery delivery system for my clients. I also switched to this last September of 2021 and am blown away by the aesthetic of the galleries, the ease of client use, the increase in print sales, the fact that they manage my print sales tax for me, and their customer service! PicTime has wonderful automations available too like automated email sales for your clients. I run a couple of these now but need to increase this in the future too because wow that is a powerful tool!
So on the gallery side it allows my clients to select favorite images, share their images to social media, and even back their images up to the cloud. After they have scrolled through their galleries it auto populates their favorite or most clicked on images to previews of printed products they could purchase a the bottom. So beautiful and user friendly!
From my end this gallery system has everything I need too. I sell wedding albums to about 50-60% of my wedding clients. I can create a selection for each client to fulfill and send reminders if they haven’t completed their selections yet. Then once they finish their selection I can download the images and design the album. (I will share more about Fundy later!) Then my all time favorite tool is actually the album proofing. I upload the files to the album proofer, send that off to my clients and they can make comments on pages and even pin comments to specific images to let me know what changes they want to see in their design. Then after the design is complete I actually send them one more form on honeybook to let them choose their album cover selections like material and custom text. So the pictime and honeybook combo have really automated these processes for each of my clients and myself.
So if you’re interested in testing out pictime you can get a 30 day free trial to set it up, and then if you use my code: SJUTCS, when you upgrade to the paid plan then we both get one month free!
Once again my pictime affiliate code is: SJUTCS
So next let’s talk about showit, my website host. Aka how you are reading this post and have seen my site! Showit is extremely easy to customize and their customer support is so helpful! I absolutely love my website as is, and I have plans to change a few things up in 2023 that I can already imagine doing because it is so user friendly. My favorite feature of Showit is actually their mobile preview feature, which helps me keep my mobile site efficient and that makes google happy too!
My showit referral link will give you one free month and I will get a free month as well!
Elizabeth McCravy’s Em Shop Website Templates
So the secret to my website is that I didn’t design it hardly at all. I purchased a template from my all time favorite designer Elizabeth McCravy. So I started by listening to Elizabeth’s podcast, which you should totally try out too if you’re into podcasts. She is totally the inspiration behind my own podcast too. Here is that link- https://elizabethmccravy.com/podcast/
Then after following her podcast for a few years I realized that a new website could really benefit my business. So in June of 2020 I purchased her Olivia template and customized and had my new site up and running within 10 days!
Now I like sharing how I run my business and answering questions openly, but a website is a private thing. I’ve had other photographers try to copy my website before and that was hurtful. So you can believe that I wouldn’t be recommending these website templates to you if I didn’t know that you could go on and purchase the exact same website as myself and we would end up with two completely different sites/client experiences online. So know that I highly recommend these templates and if that weren’t enough, Elizabeth created a course that literally walks you through step by step on how to use showit and how to customize the template, set up your blog, and get your site up and running. She covers every single step in the process so you can go through and re-watch sections as you need to!
Here is my affiliate link for her amazing website templates-
Go check them all out whether you’re a photographer, vendor in the wedding industry, a coach or just any sort of business owner. These templates are full of personality and so so easy to customize.
Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop
I don’t have an affiliate code for adobe but just incase you were curious I edit my images in adobe Lightroom, and occasionally take photos over into photoshop if there is a more intense edit needed like removing a powerline or fixing a stray hair ect.
I also don’t have an affiliate code for Fundy, but this is what I use to format my blog post images in collages and formatting them for web sizing and Pinterest. I also mainly use this for my album designs. They work with all of my favorite printing companies. I originally purchased Fundy in 2018, and then purchased an upgrade in 2020. I bet in a few years another upgrade will be nice but for now I love any program or software that is not a subscription! So if you’re looking for an album design software that is a one time purchase then Fundy might be a great answer for you!
I design in Fundy then export and order directly through the lab because I do custom cover choices for my clients. There is an option to order directly through the software too.
This is the reason I am still alive and have ever caught up on editing in my life. Okay so that was dramatic, but if you’re a wedding vendor you can probably image, relate or completely understand how 2021 was the most insane year for weddings because we had countless reschedules on top of new bookings to keep our businesses alive. Culling (sorting/selecting the images you keep and what you don’t) has always been a weak point of mine. I struggle to stay focused enough while looking through thousands of images and flipping back and forth to make the decision. I used to cull in Lightroom itself and each image would take about 3-5 seconds to load fully for me to compare. That doesn’t seem like much until you realize that you’re looking through 5k images from a wedding day, so those 3 loading seconds per image turns into 250 minutes or just about 4 extra hours! I didn’t know anything better for years, but I heard about narrative select from another photographer on IG so I tried it.
It loads all of your images, then uses AI software to give you a rating for both focus and eye opening/eye contact of your subjects. So when you’re sorting through your images first of all there is NO load time. Zero You can click back and forth and it’s instantly ready. Then you can look at the icons quickly and see that the subject is in good focus or not (its a 1-10 rating system) and another icon represents their eye openness (aka blinking, eyes closed, partially open ect).
I timed myself back in March and I culled through a 3.5k image wedding in 45 minutes. Now my biggest culling hurdle is myself and keeping myself focused, not the load time of my computer or trying to figure out which is in better focus!
Here is my affiliate code for narrative select-
So this is my newest addition to my editing routine. I now use the Loupedeck+ keyboard during editing. It is basically like a DJ turntable and each of the editing tools I use inside of adobe Lightroom and photoshop are available all the time. I don’t need to click over to the panel to open a brush or choose a radial filter, I just press my button programed on the Loupedeck and go. Or one of my favorite parts is the spinning functions like adjusting the temperature and tint of my images with a scroll, or adjusting the crop angle by simply turning a dial. Here is my amazon link for the Loupedeck, I do receive commissions for purchases through this link-
Whew we are getting close to the end of this list. I use tailwind for the Pinterest sheduling for my business. I pin blog post images to Pinterest throughout the year and I only spend a couple hours setting it all up. This is my way of boosting my google seo too. Tailwind has recently updated and now you can schedule to instagram and Facebook too! I don’t currently take advantage of that but it’s a great idea!
Here is my link for tailwind- you will get $15 when you sign up and I will to! So thanks in advance!
I used canva originally to create all of my client guides. The paid version allows you to save your brand colors and fonts. I now use honeybook for this so I will probably swap back to the unpaid version later this year. I do still use canva to create my podcast graphics and announcements. They have so so many available styles and templates!
Here is my canva referral link
Quickbooks Self Employed
I’ve been using quickbooks self employed to keep myself out of tax fraud since starting my business full time in 2018. Mostly kidding about the tax fraud stuff. I also pay an accountant to file my business and personal taxes, so quickbooks self employed serves as my milage tracker and my book keeping software. I have this linked to my accounts, including HoneyBook, and I use this to pay my estimated federal taxes too. Then at the end of the year I clean up my expenses (aka make sure they are categorized correctly) and send it all over to my accountant who does the rest! (Okay it’s not exactly that simple but it is WAY better than me trying to go back through my credit card and bank statements for the whole year and try to remember what is what!
My quickbooks SelfEmployed link is here
So there you have it. These are all the applications, tools, services and software I use to run my full time wedding photography business. There are some great benefits for both of us if you use the codes/links I provided in this post too!
Thank you so much for reading. Let me know if you have any questions too!