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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
I never grow tired of talking about tools to reclaim time in your business. In today’s episode I am discuss the BIG Three for my photography business: website + CRM + gallery software. Maybe hearing why I chose them and specifically how I use them in my own photography business will inspire you to update your tools and optimize their use!
The Business-First Creatives Podcast is brought to you by CRM and Dubsado expert Colie James. Join Colie each week as she discuss how to build a business that brings you joy and a paycheck! From business advice with fellow entrepreneurs to sharing automation tips and tricks, Colie and her guests are sharing industry trends and resources, along with a little bit of sarcasm.
Here are the highlights
[01:24] Tool #1 – Showit
[02:45] What template I bought for my first Showit website
[03:40] What is different about Showit?
[04:37] Showit blog is WordPress!
[05:33] Tool #2 – Dubsado
[06:16] Automations are not the reason I chose Dubsado
[06:48] How I use Dubsado in my photography business
[08:19] Tool #3 – PicTime
[08:47] What does Pic-Time have that Pixieset and Shootproof don’t?
[11:18] The Simple Sales App is Bae
[12:23] Bonus Tool – Aftershoot
Showit (click to get one free month when you subscribe)
Dubsado (Use coliejames for 30% off your first payment)
PicTime (Use colie for 15% off your subscription)
Here are the highlights…
[1:24] 1st Tool: Showit
[5:33] 2nd Tool: Dubsado
[8:19] 3rd Tool: PicTime
[12:23] Bonus Tool: Aftershoot
Review the Transcript:
Hey guys. Welcome back to the Business-First Creatives podcast. So I’m going to admit this episode is totally off the cuff. I just got outta the shower. If you’re watching this on YouTube, my hair is still dripping wet and I am recording this episode out of guilt. I’m recording it out of guilt because if you listen to the last episode, which was episode 18, and it was four tools that I used to book and manage my VIP days, I felt bad that I was leaving the photographers out, when photographers are still a very big part of my listening audience.
So photographers, this one is for you because if you have come across me in Facebook groups or if you are on my email list, you know that I am passionate about all kinds of. But by default, because I have the CRM Blueprint course for implementing Dubsado in your photography business, and I have my Dubsado VIP day offers, Dubsado often gets top billing when I care about other software as just as much as I care about it. So today’s episode, I am going to touch on three tools that I could not run my photography business without. And then I’m gonna give you like one more as a bonus. Okay, are you guys ready? And I promise I’m not gonna start with Dubsado.
So first up on my list of three tools that I can’t live without in my photography business is Showit. So I do wanna say I’ve had a Showit website for I think a little over two years now. And although I knew what Showit was before, I just adamantly refused to change. So I know you guys hear me talking a.
On this podcast about people who adamantly refused to change their CRMs. Guys, that was me when it came to my website platform. I was a pro photo user for I think the first, what is that? Seven years of my business. And I just absolutely refused to change, even though. I was coming on things that I wanted to do on my website that I couldn’t do on a daily basis, and I knew that I could do them on Showit.
I was just super stubborn and refused to switch. But how I ended up being a Showit User was I was at the photo cookout and Showit was one of these sponsors, and although it took me another eight months, Yes, eight months guys to finally test Showit out fully. Like that was when I really started to think, okay, maybe I should really give, Showit a, you know, a chance.
And so I started their free trial, which at that point it was 14 days. I’m not sure if it’s longer now, but I did my 14 day trial. I grabbed. A very, um, cost effective, which I’m still using today for my photography website. But, um, Rosalyn Carr, who runs Bird Design, she had a template shop where I had purchased templates for my photography website, you know, for like greeting cards and stuff like that.
I had purchased those from her for years. And when she started to design Showit websites, I was like, oh, there was this one that I really liked. And then she had one of her like 80% off sales, and I was like, okay, I’m gonna grab it even if I don’t actually use. So I grabbed it and I started my 14 day trial on Showit, and I said, I’m gonna see what I can get done at the end of these 14 days to see what kind of website I would have.
And you know, I came across a few things that I thought were really weird, but overall, like I was convinced that Showit was a much better platform for me. And so at the end of that 14 days, I bought my first year of Showit. So what makes Showit different than most of the other website platforms? So first of all, you are not limited to grids like rows, and that was one of the downfalls that I saw in Pro Photo for years was that everything that you did had to be contained within rows.
I do not know if it’s different now. I have not been a ProPhoto user for, you know, like I said, almost three years. So they may have made some improvements, but back then I was just really frustrated that all of my design choices were dictated by the fact that everything was done in rows on a form. Now I will say they had amazing grids though, like I was with Pro Photo for so long because of all the things that you could do with the grids and as a photographer, you know, being able to show people grids of like newborn sessions on a specific newborn page and just portfolio style galleries.
Was really important to me. But then as I wanted to expand the design of my website, I went to Showit. I will say one of the other reasons that I finally decided to make the jump to Showit is because Showit’s blog is now based on WordPress and they talk to each other. I had a student way back and I think it was 2015, um, Kelly, if you’re listening, I’m talking about you.
Um, she had a Showit website and while I loved the way that her website looked, I absolutely refused to change because back then you needed a separate blog. Like your blog had one url and your Showit website had another one. And I was like, SEO wise, that just doesn’t make a lot of sense. So anyways, I am now a proud Showit User.
I actually use, Showit for both sides of my business. I have coliejamesphotography.com for my photography business, and then I now have a brand new site coliejames.com, which handles all of like my dub sodo setups, the course, and then some of the mentoring that I still. So software number two is not gonna be a surprise to anyone, and that’s Dubsado.
Dubsado is the client relationship manager of my choice, but as a photographer, I wanna tell you why I choose Dubsado any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It is for the design capabilities. Do you guys see a trend? Like I chose, Showit, because I got fed up with not being able to design my website like I wanted it to be, and I ultimately switched to Dubsado from Tave, because I wanted to be able to give my clients a very on brand experience so that they could see photos and videos on my website and during the booking process in my crm. Now it happens to have some pretty stellar automations as well, but the automations are not really why I chose Dubsado, because as some of you may have heard me say in other places, I actually think that going to Dubsado from Tave was a downgrade for the automations.
They just don’t have as much flexibility and customization as you can do in Tave, but what they offer in design is so much better than any other CRM that a photographer could choose. That is ultimately why I chose Dubsado. Now, I’ve talked about all of the different things that Dubsado does for me, but since I’m now focused on talking to the photographers, I’m gonna specifically tell you what Dubsado does for me in my photography business.
So first of all, I have a contact form that is created in Dubsado and it is embedded on my Showit website. So, in other words, my amazing Showit. And Google guys, cuz Google SEO is very, I. That brings potential clients to my website. They look, they like what I have to offer, and then they end up on the contact page and they fill out my contact form immediately.
All of their information is brought into Dubasdo, and a brand new projects get started. And then I have all of the things that I do in order to nurture and book that potential client. Which is asking them if they would like to have a call with me, letting them know what offers I have. I have, you know, a very pretty proposal, which I’ve talked about in many places, but it lays out all of my offers in a very easy to digest manner.
And then off of that proposal, you can decide what kind of photography session you want. You can sign the contract that goes along with it, and then you can pay me either my session fee or a retainer, if you’re buying a bigger package like a yearbook or a Day in the Life. Now after those photography clients book, they get a booking confirmation email, before their session I send them a very lengthy questionnaire to fill out, and then after the session, I send them a few more nurturing emails before I finally deliver their gallery in the third tool that I couldn’t run my photography business without. And that is, And really I feel like I’m recording this particular podcast episode for PicTime.
Because as much as I talk about automations in Dubsado, I feel the exact same way about PicTime. I just don’t have the opportunity to say it as often as I would like to.
So I get asked all the time, well, Colie I mean, I’m using Pixieset or Shootproof or Cloud Spot, why should I consider changing to PicTime. Now PicTime is gorgeous, but PicTime has some things that those other gallery softwares do not. Number one, they now have an integrated slideshow, um, feature inside of their product. So you no longer have to create a slideshow
inside of PremierPro, which is what I did for a while, or in an outside program, like Smart Slides. You can now upload your gallery and make a slide show all within one piece of software, which is amazing. I originally thought when PicTime integrated slideshows, I was like, oh, but I’m happy making my slides shows in Premier Pro.
It’s fine. I’ll just do it. It only takes me like 10, 15 minutes. It’s fine. What I didn’t realize was how much time I was going to save on the uploads, which you guys know I am all about reclaiming as much time as you possibly can in your business. So I’m having to upload the images to PicTime to deliver them to my client anyways.
If I make the slideshow in there, I don’t have to take the time to import all of the images into Premier Pro, to actually import the song that I wanna, to time the music, to time the slides, and then to export and upload the slideshow into Vimeo. That’s a lot of steps that I now don’t have to do, because I am making my client slideshow inside of PicTime.
Now, if you’re like, Well, cool, why are you making slideshow, when you make client films? Good point guys. Um, in case you don’t know, I use a photography pricing system called Simple Sales. It is from This Can’t Be That Hard, I will link it in the show notes. But one of the big pillars of This Can’t Be That Hard is that when you are, you charge a session fee upfront, and when you are selling a collection to your client after the session when you’re delivering the gallery, you don’t actually give them a gallery of images. You show them a slideshow instead. Now, there are a lot of reasons that you do this. The emotional factor is probably the biggest, but like I love looking at slideshows, therefore, I know almost everyone that hires me does as well.
So even if you have hired me for photos and video, I’m always delivering your photos first. So you are looking at your photos on a slideshow, even if you’re going to initially or eventually get a video film of your family. So the second part, since I’ve already mentioned Simple Sales to you, is PicTime has a marketing app, which completely automates the Simple Sales process.
So in other words, when I make that slideshow and I send it to my client, I no longer have to wait for them to make a collection purchase and then allow them to have a certain number of downloads or a certain amount of money to spend in their store. All of that is automated with the PicTime app. It is like the equivalent of what Dubsado does during your booking process, PicTime does it during your delivery process. I cannot emphasize enough that while I love Dubsado, from here to the moon and back, I love PicTime equally as much when it comes to managing and booking and delivering galleries to my clients. So those are the three tools that I could not live without.
But I do wanna mention one as a bonus, and I’m specifically mentioning this because you guys know, I like to save you as much time as possible. The fourth piece. The fourth piece of software that I use in my photography business that I literally couldn’t live without is AfterShoot. So AfterShoot is an AI culling program.
Now I know what you’re thinking, but Colie, you know, does the AI do as good a job as you guys? You, you have no idea how big my galleries are. I am forever an overshooter. I cannot help it, and a majority of the time, I’m waiting for like that moment with my client. Now, if their kids are doing something, like, let’s say, cuz this is something that I did recently, let’s say that they’re making biscoti in their kitchen.
Like the whole process took like 35 minutes to like, you know, put all the ingredients together, end up mixing the dough, rolling it out, putting it in the pan to put in the oven. That was like 30 minutes. If I only took as many photos as I needed, like I could just snap a few and then sit and wait and then snap a few more.
But I don’t do that because my client’s expressions, and like the positioning of their body and the moment, that is constantly changing. And so I have a lot of photos that I do not deliver to my clients because they’re virtually the same. But if I only took one or two, you know, 1, 2, 3 images and I didn’t continue to shoot through those moments, sometimes I wouldn’t get the amazing, like when the , when my little client blew and the flour went everywhere. Like, that was an amazing moment. And if I wasn’t sitting there waiting with my camera like ready for that to happen, I might not have captured it, but AfterShoot saves me hours of calling. Even if I am sending the gallery to my editor, which lets be honest, when you send your galleries off to an editor to be edited, you are paying for every single image that they put their eyes on.
So if you only use AfterShoot to do like an initial. To get rid of any images that are blurry, any images that don’t have optimal light, and you let AfterShoot, choose the ones that has the best expressions, and then you send your gallery to your editor and they make a final decision with their own eyeballs as to which image will get delivered to the client.
You are saving yourself time and money by not sending so many images to your. So again, I just wanna say I felt a little guilty because I did those four tools in the last episode for VIP days, and so I just wanted to show you the tools that I use each and every day in my photography business. If you are interested in learning more about Showit, Dubsado, PicTime or AfterShoot, I have links in my show notes.
And that’s it for this time, guys. Thanks.