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Best CRM for Photographers [Top 5 Tools 2019]

by Paul Mikhaylenko
Best CRM for Photographers [Top 5 Tools 2019]

Looking for the perfect CRM for photographers for your business? In this article, we’ll cover the best CRMs in 2019 (also called photography studio management software). We’ll evaluate them on several different criteria to help you decide which tool fits your needs best.

Here’s what this article covers:

(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)

Top 5 Photography Studio Management Software (including features, pros, cons and pricing)

Review of Key Features In Each Tool

    1. Lead Management
    2. Payment Integration
    3. Project Workflows
    4. Communication
    5. Contract Signing
    6. Scheduling Dates/Times
    7. Questionnaires
    8. Automations

The Top 5 CRM For Photographers In 2019

1. Bloom

Bloom is an excellent CRM for photographers that’s great at handling the needs of both solopreneurs and larger businesses. Used by experts in the field such as RedBull Photography and Joel Grimes, Bloom is a one-stop solution for all your studio management needs. 

  • The only CRM with marketing focused features.
  • A redefinition of an all-in-one that includes a website and image delivery.
  • Offers a live-chat feature that can be easily installed on your website.
  • Starts at $9/month with a free 14-day trial.

2. Honeybook

Honeybook is another popular CRM for photographers. The slogan of this photography management software is “Book Fast. Get Paid Faster.” Honeybook’s goals are to streamline your workflow and boost your sales.

  • Strong community.
  • Good financial management features.
  • Simple pricing at $34/month.

3. StudioNinja

The Studio Ninja business management software is famous because of how user-friendly it is. StudioNinja can help you save time, increase efficiency and get things done quickly.

  • Good invoicing and payment management.
  • Works for many different industries.
  • Priced at $17.95/month.

4. Dubsado

Dubsado is a great CRM software for photographers aimed at small business owners. Even though it’s designed for photographers it also works across many different industries.

  • Powerful form and questionnaire builder.
  • Good workflow management.
  • Great customer support.
  • Priced at $35/month.

5. Tave

Táve helps keep your business organized so you can spend more time doing what you love.

  • Customizable platform that can handle WordPress data and operations easily.
  • Advanced accounting and tax reporting capabilities.
  • Extreme customization capabilities.
  • Starts at $21.99/month.

Review Of Key Features – Photography Studio Management Software

Let’s take a closer look by comparing the key functions.

1. Lead Management

Lead nurturing is a core part of any marketing campaigns run by all small businesses. You could have the best team members alongside you, but without a lead management system, you won’t be able to attract and retain any leads. Unfortunately, if you are a creative business owner, it’s hard to find an industry-focused CRM for photographers to send emails, capture leads and follow-up on calls. 

The Bloom Solution

The Bloom photography management software gives you a state-of-the-art lead management solution to help you across all stages of the sales funnel. Bloom offers a unique task management/workflow feature built into each lead. This allows you to create tasks for yourself in regards to each lead, instantly add it to your calendar, and reference what has been done with each opportunity.

Other Solutions

We did not find any striking difference between how the other CRMs differentiated in regards to leads. While all the solutions had dedicated page, Honeybook combined leads with active projects into one workflow. This complicates lead tracking and can be confusing when there are a large number of leads mixed with active projects. 

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2. Payment Integrations

A complicated payment system can be a big turn-off for any potential client in the photography industry. Why should they use your services if they’re going to have a tough time closing the deal and making payments? Your photo studio management software needs to have multiple integrations for your payments to make invoicing a piece of cake.

Bloom Solution

The Bloom photo studio management software has powerful automated invoicing and payment features to simplify your payments. You can process credit card payments using Bloom itself (powered by Braintree) or integrate it with Square or Stripe. With support for over 135 currencies, you’ll have no problem handling an online payment in Bloom!

Other Solutions

The other CRM systems also had integrated online payment options with invoicing features. However, no platform particularly stood out here. Tave offered the broadest range of online payment options for purchases but was only fully integrated with Square. 

Honeybook had the least amount of integration and didn’t allow you to fully integrate with any platform. All you could do was add your bank information to have your online payment processed through Stripe. 

The big downside to this is that you can’t see your invoice payments come through in Stripe. Also, this made it impossible to do any additional bookkeeping and issue any refunds.

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3. Project Workflows

Managing project workflows are an integral part of the photography industry. You need to have your workflow under control or you’ll constantly be under stress. You’ll be missing deadlines, forgetting tasks and delaying clients.

The Bloom photo studio management software is the only solution offering a category-based workflow. This layout allows you to organize your projects under different workflows. In this whiteboard-based model, you’ll have all of your projects listed on the left and your tasks on the top.

The beauty is that you can create as many workflows as you need. To rearrange your projects or tasks, simply drag and drop them between different workflows. This gives you a quick overview of your small business and makes it easy to make changes on-the-fly.

Bloom workflow page.

When reviewing the other CRM systems, we found two different workflow patterns:

A) Project-based workflow 

The project-based workflow allows you to take a set of tasks and apply them to any project. In this setup, the workflow lives under the project as a set of resolvable actions. While flexible, the biggest downside is that there is no overview of all your projects and what needs to be done next. 

To see your next tasks, you have to click through each project individually. This is the model used in Tave and Dubsado. 

Tave workflow tasks inside a project.

B) Swim-lane workflow 

The swim-lane workflow is unique to Honeybook. It gives photographers a good visual for each stage of your flow and where each project falls into. Unfortunately, this workflow quickly breaks down if you have projects that don’t follow this same exact workflow.

For example, if you shoot commercial and non-commercial work, you’ll have very different workflow stages which makes this process unusable. We recommend this model only if you’re shooting in one specific photography industry.

Honeybook swim-lane layout.

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4. Communication

When it comes to communicating with your clients, the quality of your customer service interactions is key. You need to communicate quickly and effectively with your clients if you want to succeed.

Bloom’s unique communication feature is based on a chat-based model. It gives you a centralized conversation tracking hub for each client that includes automated messages, emails, and online live chat. 

It is also the only CRM tool that features two-way message inclusion without any necessary integrations. This allows you to stay organized and communicate effectively without any third-party apps in the way.

Bloom Messenger interface.

All the other CRM programs allow you to send emails, albeit with different setups. Most platforms chose to organize their messages directly under projects. While this is convenient for sending your first email, it quickly becomes confusing because:

  • Automated emails aren’t tracked.
  • Most platforms don’t show your client’s replies inside the portal.
  • If a contact becomes a new lead or project, you don’t have a history of your prior conversations.

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5. Contract Signing

Ever since digital signatures were recognized by US law, they’ve become an inseparable part of most operations. Most small businesses can’t rely on pen and paper contracts anymore. 

They’re impractical, time-consuming and big a turn-off. 

Why would a client wait days for a physical contract when they can just get it done online in seconds? Your CRM programs need to support digital signatures if you want to keep your clients happy and boost your business. 

Bloom is the only CRM featuring auto-countersignatures. This feature allows you to create a signature and choose where you want to have it applied. 

This way you’re not wasting time signing back and forth before each side has a legally binding document. Not only does this make your business more efficient, but it also fosters a great customer service experience for your clients. 

How to create a countersignature in Bloom.

You can also upload existing PDF contract templates to Bloom. This eliminates the need for manually typing out your clauses into separate contracts. To add an extra layer of security to the e-signature process Bloom records your client’s IP address.

Most of the other CRM tools offer you some level of digital contract signing. However, none of them are as comprehensive as Bloom. While most of them were easy to use, Tave was by far the most complicated and confusing to use.

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6. Scheduling Dates/Times

Administrative tasks like scheduling are a core part of working with clients. An efficient way to schedule appointments is critical for a professional client-provider relationship. Relying on email threads for your photography business scheduling is far from ideal. The back-and-forth between availability and schedule changes can be a tedious and time-consuming.

Bloom solves the photography business problem by putting the scheduling in the client’s hands. Simply send a link to your client where they can see your availability and book a slot by themselves. This completely removes the need for administrative tasks like a follow-up email or call.

Bloom scheduling tool.

Bloom also allows you to embed this scheduling feature in your sign-up form to build an instant online booking experience. Your clients can now select a creative package, sign a contract, and select a date/time, in one seamless flow.

Dubsado also allows your clients to schedule appointments and activities themselves. However, unlike Bloom, this feature is only attached to an invoice – in other words, you can’t simply send a form to select a date. None of the CRMs even came close to the kind of scheduling capabilities Bloom has to offer.

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7. Questionnaires

Questionnaire forms are an excellent way to improve your efficiency and maintain a professional brand. A good questionnaire can help a client describe exactly what they need and speed up the fulfillment process. It reduces the need for unnecessary follow-ups and can help you get the job done quickly.

Bloom’s questionnaires are completely customizable and present the client with one question at a time. This makes it easier for them to answer questions as they’re not presented with an endless list of boxes to check off.

The other CRM programs also had a standard set of options like text boxes, multiple-choice, and dropdown lists. The only business software outliers were Dubsado and Tave, which included the greatest variety of different question types. While Dubsado’s forms came with customizable CSS and HTML tags, Tave took it a step further and with Gravity Forms plugin for additional customization.

Dubsado form builder.
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9. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can make your life significantly easier. Instead of manually following-up on everything, your automation tool can automatically send emails for you.  

Marketing automation isn’t just useful for client acquisition. You can also use it to streamline your operations. Automate email follow-ups and reminders to keep your client updated of everything happening. Not only does marketing automation reduce your workload, but it can also ensure that tasks don’t fall through the cracks. As you’re not manually doing any of these tasks, losing track of them isn’t an issue anymore.

With Bloom, you can easily set up automations and know exactly how they will be activated. You can also see them in your conversation threads when the emails are sent out. To automate a task, select your email templates, select when you’d like for it to be sent out, and what conditions should apply. That’s it.

Bloom automation setup.

As Bloom’s automations are handled independently of any workflow, a studio owner has total control over them. You can view all your automations at once and tweak them to grow your business effectively. 

The other business software solutions only feature automation for specific workflows. Once you apply a workflow to a project, the automations will be set for that specific schedule and workflow. While this can be helpful, deciphering which automation is active for each workflow and project can be hard. 

Tave however, opts for a different approach. Like Bloom, Tave automations function independently of workflows which makes it easier to edit them.

Tave automation setup.

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How Bloom Stands Apart

While every management solution has its unique set of strengths and weaknesses, Bloom is uniquely built as a marketing CRM with many unique features. It is entirely dedicated to helping you grow your business. Here are some additional unique features Bloom has to offer:

1. An integrated website builder

Bloom has an integrated website builder for your photography studio that is currently in Beta. While the full version is scheduled for the fall of 2019, you can already use it to create and customize a beautiful photo studio website in minutes! 

All the Bloom web templates have clear calls-to-action (CTA’s) strategically placed on every page. Also, if you use Bloom to deliver images to clients, you can easily drag and drop your favorite image files to your photo studio online gallery.

2. Live chat messenger

Everyone knows that a good website strategy includes a powerful lead magnet. Your lead magnet will capture your visitor email address for future follow-ups. To help with this, Bloom studio management software lets you add a live chat to your website. This allows your visitors to engage with you in real-time by submitting their name and email.

Bloom website chat.

To ensure that business owners are always available for replies, the chat feature is integrated with Bloom mobile and web apps. 

Want to know how helpful this is? Statistically, if you chat with a website visitor, they are 83% more likely to book you.

3. Image delivery

Another unique Bloom feature is that you can deliver image digitals through online galleries with a unique client link. All your client has to do is click on the link you sent them, and they can access this gallery through our cloud-based software. A studio owner can easily upload image files to their online galleries, set a cover and set viewing preferences to customize their experience, like the website builder, this feature is in Beta and is available to all our users.

4. Instant online booking

Bloom strives to make the lead generation and client booking process as seamless and frictionless as possible. The form builder lets you create a customizable experience where your clients can schedule a package, sign a contract and even pay for it —all in one single and seamless flow. 

What used to take users days of back-and-forth communication can now be done in seconds. Lead-generation features like this allow a studio owner to customize and scale their small business by focusing on acquiring more customers instead of wasting time on administrative tasks like creating invoices.

INSTANT BOOKING FORM DEMO

Conclusion

Which of these customer relationship management tools is best suited to you? 

While all these CRM tools are great options, Bloom stands out on many levels. It offers you powerful tools to take your small business to the next level. If you think we’ve left a photography studio tool out, leave a comment or visit one of our social media pages to let us know. In the meantime, why not sign up for a free trial of Bloom and experience it for yourself?

Compare Features
Lead Management
Payment Integrations
Project Workflows
Communication
Reporting/Bookkeeping
Contract Signing
Scheduling Dates/Times
Calendar
Questionnaires
Automations
Instant Booking
Live Chat Messenger
Website Builder
Image Delivery
Full Package Price
BLOOM
TAVE
DUBSADO
HONEYBOOK
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17 HATS
STUDIO NINJA
SPROUT STUDIO
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