I know there are a lot of people out there that are starting their wedding photography business and need to know what programs to trust and invest in in order to have a successful business.
Hello! I am Miranda Suess, and I’ve been in business since 2018!
Since going through the pandemic, I lost my full-benefit full-time desk job. I have only my photography business to rely on for income. Despite the endless fear of not making it financially throughout 2020-2021, I made over six figures in 2021, so I know I can share information on what it takes to have a successful photography business. One of the programs mentioned below is not considered a program but something you’ll need to have a successful wedding photography business.
Disclaimer: There are many factors to be successful, but these are some tools that helped me reach a six-figure business, and I would like to share the success with you:)
Wedding photographers don’t have to rely on photoshop to create marketing and advertising material. There’s an easy “graphic design for dummies” program for a low cost of just $10/mo or $120/year. When you sign up for Picmonkey’s subscription plan, they provide video tutorials on using Picmonkey features and offer many pre-made templates that you can customize based on your brand fonts, colors, logos, and imagery! I designed my Pinterest pins, Instagram posts, and Youtube covers on PicMonkey. Picmonkey makes it easy to create graphics, logos, marketing material, PDFs, and gifs.
I highly encourage you to invest in a music subscription service like Spotify so that you can create personalized playlists for engagement photoshoots. While at a photo shoot, you can play the couple’s first dance song or music they love. It makes photoshoots feel a bit more personable, and it’s an extra surprise and delight when you bring a Bluetooth speaker during the session. Aside from the photoshoot experience having music – is also considered it was giving you a dose of education via podcasts.
Don’t be cheap and get the free version – buy it ad-free for only $9.99/mo or $119.88/yr.
No ifs, ands, or buts! YOU MUST HAVE AN EDITING program to edit your photos—one of the most significant investments MUST-HAVES for a wedding photography business. I trust Adobe’s Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Acrobat, and more for my photo editing, video editing, and software needs.
The cost for me to bundle many Adobe programs is $52.99/mo or $635.88/yr.
more successful as a wedding photography business owner. I can now stay organized with my client communication via a project portal for each client storing emails, proposals, contracts, invoices, shared documents, and more. I easily track all inquiries, follow up with those who haven’t responded, see clients who have read and unread emails, collect payments, and send out proposals and contracts. The best part – is I can automate and customize EVERYTHING so I can be on-brand and not have to THINK! There are plenty of CRM programs for you to check out, but I found Honeybook simple and easiest to learn.
You can try Honeybook NOW for one month – please use my code: http://share.honeybook.com/miranda97863
Honeybook costs me $480/yr or $40/mo.
Since the beginning of my time as a professional wedding photographer, I have had Shootproof to share photos, send contracts, collect emails, set up discount codes, and sell prints to my clients. To this day, I still trust and use Shootproof to send my client galleries in both digital format and physical photographs. When I added Honeybook (CRM), I stopped using Shootproof’s contract feature but still made use of all the other features it offers. Shootproof has a super unique element that will make your clients CRY TEARS! You can add a $5/mo for your galleries to play royalty-free music automatically as they view their photos. Having the music playing activates senses that make clients feel even more emotion. It’s a nice trick to make your clients love their photos and memories! I have had clients text me telling me they are in tears, and the partial reason is because of the music playing in the background as they reminisce on their wedding day memories!
Shootproof costs me about $31/mo or $372/year.
If you are starting your professional wedding photography business, you must have a website. You cannot just have an Instagram or Pinterest and expect to be a successful 6-figure business at a sustainable rate while social media platform algorithms are constantly changing! You own your website, while social media is not something you own or can rely on. Get a website. NOW. I trust Showit to develop my design and use WordPress to blog for SEO purposes and get found on Google. I love Showit as I can be super creative with my branding (fonts, logo, colors, imagery) while using their templates. After you create your website, be sure to link your google website domain to it so it can go live and you can easily get found on google! Do your research on Google SEO on Youtube or hire a pro so you can be successful as a wedding photographer by getting found via google search. On top of Showit and having a website domain – don’t skip out on having a professional email address. Instead of @gmail.com or @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com … own your email by switching to YOURNAME@YOURBUSINESS.COM
The cost for a Showit website is $288/yr, while most domains are about $12/yr and an email is about $78/yr
Use my code for a discount on your Showit website and a FREE trial now! https://account.showit.co/r/14wjw7mr
Once you have a gmail that you own and communicate with your clients on, make sure to be organized with your Google calendar and set up FREE Google meet (virtual meetings) with your clients. Never miss an appointment and download the apps on your phone; that way you can get reminders of upcoming appointments! I would not be as organized with my life without a calendar. I also like FREE, and google meets virtual meetings have become the new coffee/happy hour dates.
FREE social media, imagery-focused platforms where potential clients can search for wedding photography services simply by searching for geotags (wedding venues you tagged in your posts) and using local hashtags like #nycweddingphotographer . Pinterest is one of the MAIN platforms brides use to build their inspiration for their wedding days, and they can find YOUR work there. IT’S FREE. Get ready to set up your instagram and Pinterest accounts NOW and learn their unique features or hire someone who does know (Upwork), so you don’t have to add another thing to your plate. Don’t worry about Twitter or Snapchat – leave it for the celebrities and politicians to make their opinions there 😉
collect potential leads by setting up a freebie offer on a webpage or advertisement OR you can send monthly newsletters and offers to current clients. I do both. I love sending my current clients updates on photography services, Youtube content I just create, new blog posts, and all the tips and tricks on planning and preparing for their wedding! Flodesk is the ultimate way to stay on brand and create custom emails with photos, links, and more without looking cheesy or spammy!
I pay Flodesk $228/yr or $19/mo
Use my code for a special discount: https://flodesk.com/c/N3NHQ5
Hiscox isn’t a subscription or an app or anything like that, but you need it to succeed as a wedding photographer. Hiscox is a provider for a certificate of insurance that wedding venues require vendors to provide before working on their property. COI is an insurance for you in case someone does get hurt on the job, like tripping over your tripod (God forbid that never happens)
I pay Hiscox $503 a year.
Last but not least, this program, Grammarly, helps me write blogs, email communication, and more. I am a better visual artist than I am a creative writer. Often I think about how I need to retake a high school English class- but instead, installing the Grammarly app on my desktop saves me from most of my writing mistakes and corrects what I type. I installed Grammarly on my google chrome app tab, so it’s easy to copy and paste the rough draft into the Grammarly app toolbar. From there, it corrects my mistakes so that I can copy and paste back to where I am trying to share my message without any errors.
I pay Grammarly $144/yr.
Want to know what is cray cray?! All of the programs above that I mentioned only cost a wedding photography business less than $3,100 a year! That’s about $260/mo to run a successful wedding photography business.
Want to learn more about how to be a successful wedding photographer? Subscribe to my Youtube channel NOW and stay tuned for photography education updates! 🙂
BEST OF LUCK TO YOU AND YOUR SUCCESS!!