Your passion for photography spurred a successful freelance venture.
But now that you’re eyeing the title of “small business owner,” the latest version of Lightroom, and top-of-the-line Nikon gear are no longer your only concerns.
Snapping photos, editing, and sending out invoices are only the beginning. To fulfill your new role, you’ll now find yourself wearing several not-so-stylish hats.
Public relations manager.
ShootQ is a studio management software program designed to tackle the behind-the-scenes tasks of photographers.
With your finances, reputation, and future bookings on the line, your choice in studio management software is more crucial than ever.
How does ShootQ stack up against other programs?
What Is ShootQ?
ShootQ is a studio management tool designed to help photographers juggle their growing businesses. Its all-in-one web dashboard puts automation and client tracking at the forefront, filling the shoes of a personal assistant.
With ShootQ, you can book sessions, craft customizable proposals, monitor unpaid invoices, and manage your sales funnel in real-time.
The pros at ShootQ claim it recovers 15 hours a week in wasted time.
But before we debunk anything, let’s demystify this CRM.
ShootQ streamlines everything and anything business-related.
These are its features earning the most digital nods:
Create and Send Contracts
The handy auto-populating feature allows you to customize, review, and send mistake-free contracts to your client’s inbox in mere minutes.
Book Clients Online
If you have $10 more to spare, the booking module add-on can be a revenue igniter. Simply blast out a scheduling link to your Facebook, Indeed, or email followers. Interested muses can then choose a time slot that works best for them, filling your calendar without returning a single call!
Classic CRM Capabilities
Converting a warm lead into a booked session requires a delicate, strategic touch. With ShootQ’s lead-tracking and workflow features, you can nudge leads through the sales funnel. Schedule automated emails, plan your upcoming editing sessions, and reassign administrative tasks to assistants.
Modern problems call for modern solutions. ShootQ integrates with these popular digital apps:
- WordPress for share lead capture forms on
- PayPal for sending invoices
- QuickBooks for tracking revenue and expenditures
- Twitter for spreading the word about upcoming mini-sessions
This CRM software isn’t so much an “instead of” as it is an “in addition to.” Don’t forfeit your preferred apps if you choose to use ShootQ.
An Insightful Dashboard
Staying organized and “in the loop” can catapult your revenue (and client satisfaction) to new extremes. ShootQ’s detailed dashboard will greet you with new leads, stalling invoices, upcoming events, and the past month’s revenue.
ShootQ Pricing and Packages
After your complimentary six-job test drive, you’ll crash headlong into ShootQ’s paywall.
You’ll have a choice of three paid plans:
- For studios that recently opened their doors within the last 12 months
- 3 users, 1 brand
- For firmly-planted studios boasting two marketable brands
- 6 users, 2 brands
- For photography studios where the sky’s the limit
- Unlimited everything
The Pros of ShootQ
ShootQ has a knack for coaxing shutterbugs away from their old studio software. And these four program bonuses might just explain why:
CRMs Save Time and Money
Like other CRM’s, ShootQ has one-click email campaigns, hands-off bookings, and questionnaire templates. A good CRM lets you cancel those plans to hire a virtual assistant, and dedicate the extra 15 hours/week to booking more 1:1 sessions.
If you’re charging $50/hour, a CRM like ShootQ can maximize your earning potential by more than $750/week.
The 30-day free trial (up to six jobs) gives you a taste of the platform.
Freelance photographers live a nomadic lifestyle. You spend more time on the road and on set than you do at your desk.
ShootQ is 100% compatible with your iOS and Android devices.
They also offer automatic data syncing.
24/7 Client and Invoice Tracking
Bombarding leads with emails and attempting to jam them through the funnel hardly lassos them in. ShootQ is your 24/7 virtual assistant, even when you’re off the clock.
New leads can book mini sessions at their leisure when they stumble upon your landing page. ShootQ lures teetering clients through the proposal and contract phases. And when an invoice is still outstanding, it won’t slip through the cracks.
The Cons of ShootQ
If ShootQ sounded too good to be true, your instincts weren’t too far off.
These four details—that are easy to gloss over—might leave you second-guessing your decision:
Free Version Is Only “Free” for So Long
Who doesn’t like free?
ShootQ’s free trial gives you a brief glimpse into the platform’s inner-workings. But capping the trial at just six jobs means you might only get to use it for a week before you have to upgrade.
Every studio management system has bugs until the techies wring out all the kinks.
And ShootQ is certainly no exception. Some critical ShootQ reviews detail bugs like duplicate invoicing, inescapable system freeze-ups, and a low-quality mobile app.
These added annoyances might just cancel out its convenience.
Pricey $24/Month Minimum (Plus Add-Ons)
Even the most affordable ShootQ package won’t eat too far into your budget. But you’ll have to tack on the $10 booking module to make the platform worth the investment, then invest in extra users and multiple brands as you expand your photography business.
Why spend more?
What’s the Big Deal?
Once you get over the “oohs” and “aahs” of your first ShootQ run-through, you’ll begin to realize that it’s no trailblazer. In reality, it’s your run-of-the-mill business management software, with the only noticeable difference being the shutterbug focus.
ShootQ vs. Táve
Táve puts a more user-friendly spin on ShootQ’s finest management features. Of the platform’s most-talked-about details, these are the ones most worth mentioning:
When you get schedule-happy and can’t resist the urge to book clients, Táve will alert you to potentially embarrassing overbookings.
Táve tracks which email recipients are still reading your emails, cluing you in to which leads are ready to pounce.
Firing off your next email marketing campaign doesn’t have to be a formal office event. Fine-tune the details at 6 a.m., and schedule release for lunchtime tomorrow.
Custom Client Portals
Spam filters, lost mail, and conflicting schedules all delay document signings and booked sessions. Táve’s client portals keep forms in one location for 24/7 access.
Táve packages start at just $21.99/month for two users and one brand, saving you about $3/month compared to ShootQ’s start-up package.
The Verdict: Which Is Better?
Compared to ShootQ, Táve’s beefier feature line-up and lower price tag certainly bolster a better reputation. Though learning the ropes takes a bit longer, Táve outshines ShootQ’s value if you manage a small-scale photography studio.
ShootQ vs. Pixifi
Pixifi is an online appointment scheduling app highlighting hassle-free management for all business owners. Its most attention-grabbing features are:
There’s nothing worse than realizing that you’re short-staffed on a day-long shoot. Pixifi’s staff scheduling feature will guarantee you always have an assistant on hand.
Google, Mailchimp, and Square can turn a struggling photography studio into a well-oiled machine. With Pixifi, you can integrate your favorite digital apps to build an all-in-one virtual office.
Weather and Expense Tracking
Thanks to Pixifi’s dashboard weather feature, you’ll always be “in the know” about upcoming drizzles and blizzards. As you get the news, you can reschedule outdoor shoots for sunnier afternoons as soon.
Pixifi’s most restricted package starts at $29.99/month for one user and one brand, a nearly $6 hike from ShootQ. The luxury “Elite” package boasting unlimited features comes with a hefty $139.99 monthly price tag—nearly twice that of ShootQ.
The Verdict: Which Is Better?
Pixifi is lightyears beyond ShootQ, at least in the integration and data arenas. But given the setup time and unexplainable monthly fees, it might evade a rookie photographer’s budget.
More ShootQ Alternatives
Between its glitchy software, rapidly ticking free trial, and ridiculous price tag, a ShootQ subscription might leave you scavenging for other options.
Look no further!
These three ShootQ alternatives might just fill in the remaining gaps in ways you never thought imaginable:
Bloom is among the most widely trusted CRMs in the photography community.
At less than half the price of most studio management tools (and with strikingly less setup trouble), Bloom’s features include nearly all of the features of ShootQ and Tave plus:
- An online portfolio to advertise your best work
- Lead capture forms to share on Facebook, landing pages, and more
- Unrivaled Zapier, Google, Stripe, and QuickBooks integrations
- Unlimited free invoicing (with a subscription)
- In-app chat features and client notes to stay organized
Not only that, you can say goodbye to handwritten contracts, confusing legal jargon, and a declining Wite-Out supply with Bloom’s contract template feature. Learn more about the easy four step process here.
Starting at just $9/month, Bloom lays the foundation for what an affordable CRM should be. And the $49/month full-time package offers unlimited access.
Try Bloom FREE for 14 days!
HoneyBook lends a crisp, clutter-free twist to the average client management platform. With efficiency front and center, HoneyBook’s end-to-end design picks up where ShootQ seemingly leaves off:
- Accepting in-app credit card payments
- Offering meeting type customization (in-person, video, call)
- Branding templates and scheduling tools for continuity
- Gmail, Zapier, and QuickBooks integrations
- Automatic lead nurturing to keep future clients on the hook
- Real-time updates to track your clients’ latest steps
Starting at $34/month, you can gain unlimited access to all of HoneyBook’s features.
Read our full HoneyBook Review for more info on features and alternatives.
StudioCloud is an award-winning studio manager, helping over 100,000 businesses stay in touch and book future sessions. Though its physical design appears outdated and awfully geometric, its most worthwhile features include:
- Custom payment plans and billing cycles
- Easy-to-decipher bookkeeping data to keep profits front and center
- SMS and email reminders for upcoming sessions
- iPad eSignatures for contracts on the go
- Timecard tracking to pay assistants their dues
For as little as $10 a month, you can download the official StudioCloud app, create one user profile, and send unlimited invoices.
ShootQ is an excellent studio management tool for beginning freelance photographers looking to build a business. But nothing in ShootQ’s toolkit is cutting-edge or mind-blowing at $24 a month.
While there is no right or wrong management system, there are some key features worth chasing using ShootQ, Pixifi, or Tave:
- Invoicing and finance tracking
- Scheduling tools
- Sales funnel automation
- App integrations
- … and more!
Even better, Bloom, HoneyBook, and StudioCloud shine where ShootQ seemingly falls flat.
Wherever you’re at in your business journey, be sure to pick a tool that will grow with your business and serve you at every stage of your budget.
Here are a few more articles for photographers: