We’ve all been there – 3 a.m., sitting in front of the computer, dreary eyed and eating junk food. Maybe even reaching for a cup of coffee to keep our eyes open just a little bit longer. This time used to only come around once a year – the ‘busy season’ as some still choose to call it. But let’s face it, this so-called ‘busy season’ now lasts pretty much all year long, with maybe a week or two with slight reprieve. When do we get our break? When do photographers really get caught up on all of the work? The never ending editing, emailing, phone calls, bookkeeping, paper filing, marketing – the list goes on and on.
In early 2014, I was struggling to keep everything in my business straight, and was losing my desire to shoot because I was so drained from trying to keep all the other parts of the business together. My work was suffering because I was spending so much time focusing on the business side of things – which cannot be ignored – and my creativity was dwindling away. After talking with so many other photographers in my exact situation, with the same struggles and frustrations, I decided to create Iris Works – an all-inclusive studio management software program for photographers.
As photographers, we need to shift our focus to best business practices to really move forward. Once we get the business down right, we will have the time and energy to focus on developing our photography skills.
We’ve highlighted a few best practices within our industry, and how you can apply them to your studio today with the help of Iris Works.
- Standardization. Plain and simple.
We see this all over in the industry now – welcome packets, newborn session guidelines, tips on what to wear. Our favorite artists are now divulging the inside scoop on what they give to their clients. One of the best time-savers you can do is to create standard email templates for your clients. Now don’t get us wrong, personal touch is still important when working with clients. But when it comes time to remind your clients what to expect for their newborn session, or how many different outfits you recommend for their senior shoot – make these standardized emails. You’ll save yourself so much time by not having to re-write the same messages over and over again, or searching for an old one and copying/pasting into a new message. After you’ve created your messages, Iris Works can automate this process for you – just set the schedule and we send out these messages for you.
- Keep your clients happy with better organization.
Happy Client = Happy Photographer. We’ve all had at least one client who walked away not 100 percent satisfied with their experience. And most of the time it’s because we take too long to deliver the final product (flash back to last week’s 3 a.m. editing session!). So how do we deliver the final product any faster than we already do? Organization. Without setting due dates, reminders and notifications for ourselves – how in the world can we be expected to keep it all straight? We have more than just a handful of tasks for each session, all of which rely on the previous task in order to move to the next item on the checklist. Setting timelines and due dates for our workflows keeps us on target, and expectations of our clients will be met. Iris Works lets you set up multiple workflows for different session types – with the ability to automate those awesome standardized messages you created, and set due dates for other tasks. Hello organization – hello happy clients – hello more income!
- Run a small business.
Sounds like common sense, right? As I’m sure you’ve noticed, photographers often give up or – gasp – fail because they don’t know how to actually run a business. It is HARD work. Not only are we trying to please our clients, stay on task with our workflows, and keep our creative juices flowing, but we have to learn how to run a business: bookkeeping, taxes, filing paperwork, marketing, etc. Business management is tough, but in order to keep up with the competition, we have to ‘do it all.’ We quickly become experts in all sorts of business arenas we never knew before. Instead of trying to use multiple different programs to run your studio, try using just one or two. Iris Works can handle 90 percent of all your business needs, with the other 10 percent just around the corner (that means stay tuned for Iris Works 2.0!).
Iris Works is a comprehensive studio management software designed just for you and me – photographers who are doing it all, and struggling to stay afloat. Our goal is simple – make your life easier by combining multiple functions (typically the ones handled by multiple programs) into one integrated system that’s simple and functional.
We offer client and workflow management, automated messaging, location management, client image galleries and more. Check out our full list of features on our website .
Article written by – Meredith Gradle, CEO – Iris Works