My Favorite Business Services for Photographers

I thought it would be fun and helpful to start a new series about some behind the scenes of how my business runs since I get a lot of questions about this. I thought a great first post would be to talk about my favorite business services for photographers and why I love them.

I’ve been around for over 16 years and have worked with many services & tried many tools and tech to help my business run like a well-oiled machine. From film labs to CRMs and Email Service Providers, I will tell you a bit about who I use and why I love them. I hope this will be helpful to you even if you’re just starting your photography business. [*Please note that the links in this email are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase after clicking on my link. I use all the services I am recommending in this email!]

17hats is a fantastic CRM tool for photographers

Have you heard of 17hats? 17hats is a CRM (Client Relationship Management) tool I use to organize and automate my business, and I swear by it. Their feature-packed platform saves me time and money and lets me focus on what I do best – take photos! I have set up automated workflows to keep track of every single client touchpoint, from initial contact when a client first fills out my Contact Me form, to sending a hand-written thank you note after they have received their order. I really love 17hats for booking my mini-sessions with the online scheduling and payment tool. The previous CRM I used would not accept payments, but 17hats has made the whole process automated and seamless once I set it up. And the best thing is I can duplicate a booking schedule and re-use it for the next quarter or year!

If you are looking to streamline your booking and client experience processes all in one place, 17hats will also help you get started. They have many tools available to help you and have great customer service. If you sign up through my link below, you get half off 17hats for ONE year!

17hats: Get 50% off 17hats for 1 year!

Flodesk is my favorite Email Service Provider for photographers

Flodesk is my Email Service Provider (ESP). They create beautiful eye-catching emails through customizable blocks that can include images, graphics, buttons, and more. You can create an email or newsletter opt-in and save them as templates or favorites. You can create automated email workflows for new subscribers, like a Welcome Sequence, or sell products and services through Sales Sequences. I have found that the emails are indeed beautiful and easy to create, save, or change. I’ve also found the Workflows are incredibly easy to create.

I love that I can easily look at my stats for each email or opt-in to see open rates, click through rates, and more, to determine what is working and what’s not. Last, I love using Flodesk because, unlike other ESPs, my monthly subscription does not change based on the number of email subscribers I have. If you sign up for Flodesk through my link here, you get half off your first year!

Flodesk: 50% off your first year!

I have been with Pic-Time since nearly the beginning, and I have to tell you they just keep adding features, improvements, and much much more all the time. I use Pic-Time to deliver my client galleries, deliver slideshows, feature specific print products, offer print sales, automate sales and seasonal marketing campaigns, back-up my files, and much, much more. Not only does the client viewing experience look beautiful, it’s minimalist interface really makes your images the star of the show while providing easy, intuitive navigation for your clients.

Pic-Time features for photographers

On the back end, I also find it easy and intuitive for gallery and slideshow creation, storefront & pricing set-up, sales and automation creation, and more. They have also added a blogging feature, video and social media feature, have intuitive SEO capabilities baked into each gallery once set-up, and just added AI. This is one example of a company that cares and listens to their community, and continually creates and improves tools. I highly recommend you try them out with the code below!

Pic-time: You receive one month FREE if you sign up for a paid plan!

Richard Photo Lab is my go-to lab for film development & scanning for photographers

I’m guessing if you’re here you’ve stumbled upon my work or my blog through Instagram, podcast interviews, or Google. Everything you see on this site has been developed, scanned, and edited through Richard Photo Lab (RPL). I have worked with them since I switched back to film 10+ years ago and we truly have a great partnership. They are my business partner in the sense that I know and trust that I can send my film to them and get gorgeous scans back that are already edited to my color preferences. I set up a Color Profile with them years ago where they helped me figure out how I wanted my images to look: from brightness, contrast, warmth, skin tones, to which scanner would work best for my tastes (Frontier or Noritsu).

Richard Photo Lab cares about you and your business

Besides nailing my film scans, they worked with me on my business in general by helping me figure out session pricing with added film and lab costs, time, CPS (cost per sale), CODB (cost of doing business), and more. They truly care! And last, if I ever have questions or need help, they are only a phone call or email away and are always ready to assist! If you haven’t used them before I highly suggest you give them a try with the code below:

Richard Photo Lab: 15% off your first film dev/processing order!

Siteground is the best Website Hosting Provider for photographers on WordPress

Another favorite business service for photographers is Siteground. I have tried many different wordpress themes, providers, and hosting companies, and have been blown away with the level of service I get with Siteground. While they are not cheap, it is apparent why they are worth the money. Websites, domain services, hosting, migration, and security all scare me. I’m a photographer, not a techy wordpress person. But as solopreneurs, we all understand that we have to wear many hats. But of course I don’t want my website to get hacked (which it has), or break (which it slowly is right now due to Flothemes), so I feel so good knowing that Siteground is protecting my website through all their hosting features.

Siteground communication & customer service

I get weekly security emails telling me if anything is wrong, what I need to take a look at or update and why (in layman’s terms too – thank you!). I also get emails about what the Siteground team has been up to with continual improvements. And once again, their customer service is top-notch. I can ask them the most stupid question via Chat and they always respond with a helpful answer right away.

Siteground reputation

You may have seen my earlier post about Flothemes discontinuing service to their 40K customers (!!) so I have to migrate my entire wordpress website to a new company. I chose Stylecloud which uses Kadence themes, and the only other hosting company Stylecloud recommends is…….you guessed it….. Siteground! So if you’re looking for a new wordpress hosting company or are creating a new website from scratch, use the link below to get an amazing discount (for 1-year)!

Siteground: the best hosting out there! 83% off hosting and 80% off email marketing.

I like Later for social media scheduling for photographers

As photographers, we are innately good at creating content. We make photos all the time! And chances are, we have so many we love and want to share that it becomes overwhelming to keep track of them. And not just keeping track of the actual photos, but whether we shared them yet, what platform we shared them on and how many times, and whether it was effective. Later.com has been instrumental in helping me keep track of all of this! I have used them since 2018 and I wouldn’t think of changing at this point.

Later in workflows

Later is an integral part of my workflow as a newborn and family photographer. Once I’ve edited a photo session in Lightroom, I export the high-resolution files and then import them into a new Pic-Time gallery. While those are importing, I go back to LR and export my very favorites from the session as low-res shareable files. I upload those to Later. I can tag the photos too so I can easily find them later.

Later for batch scheduling

In Later, I batch schedule out my posts two weeks at a time on average. My Later site is linked up to several social profiles: IG, Facebook, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and Pinterest. (I can also schedule to Tik Tok and You Tube if I want but I feel those are more video-centric, so don’t schedule through Later at this time.) When I schedule, I typically choose a single image, or carousel (multi-image post), enter my copy, then schedule it based on the best times for my audiences for each of the social profiles. I love the auto-post feature as well so I don’t have to worry about posting if I’m out of the office or unavailable that day. With the auto-post feature, I can also tag the post on IG by location, tag other people or companies and add more hashtags if needed!

Later for image storage

Last, I love that once I post, Later doesn’t delete that image. I can re-use it down the road if i’d like and I have a lot of favorite images that I post more than once! So if you’re looking for a social media scheduler, I encourage you to try Later out with the link below:

Later: and you can get 10 free posts if you try them out!

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about my favorite business services for photographers and how these companies can help you! I intend to write a more in-depth post about each of them if I get a lot of questions, and I will also update this with my take on my new website theme Stylecloud once it’s done.

Please reach out at any time if you have questions!

Kim

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Hi, I'm Kim Hildebrand!

Photographer & Online Business Educator

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