Looking for the perfect CRM for photographers? In this article, we’ll cover the best CRMs in 2020 (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
The Top 5 CRM For Photographers In 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.