The Top 10 CRMs for Photographers: Seeing the Bigger Picture

Elizabeth Lockwood

Running a successful business takes a lot of time and effort. For photographers, that also means taking time away from doing what you do best to focus on the minutiae of business operations. Thankfully, digital tools can help streamline and simplify things. One of the most important tools for photographers is a CRM, or customer relationship management platform.

Why a CRM?

Why bother with a CRM? There are plenty of other business software options out there that seem to speak to the time/work issue, so what makes a CRM the right tool for you? Really, it all comes down to the focus here. CRMs focus on, well, customer relationships. And what do photographers need to thrive? A steady stream of leads that convert to customers and then stick around. Whether you focus on portraiture, wedding photography, boudoir photography, or something else, your business cannot thrive without customers.

CRMs vs. studio management software

You will quickly find that there are both CRMs and studio management suites on offer. While they do share some similarities, they are not quite the same. A CRM tends to focus solely on things that help you build stronger relationships with clients and convert more leads, while a studio management suite provides tools to help manage all aspects of your studio, from calendaring to sales and marketing to process automation and more. 

Which is right for you?

There’s no one size fits all solution here. What works for one photographer will be the wrong choice for another. We’ve created a list of the top 10 CRMs for photographers featuring some of the top-rated options on the market, including a couple of studio management suites in addition to standard CRMs. Explore the list below and learn more about what’s possible with the right technological tools.

Don’t neglect the human touch

CRMs are great – they’re all about simplification, streamlining, and automation. They make things simple for you and your clients, from online appointment booking to mass emailing special deals. However, they can be impersonal. At Smith.ai, we realize just how critical it is that you stand out from the competition. Our 24/7 Live Answering Services ensure that’s possible. From appointment setting to reminders, answering basic questions to blocking spam and sales calls, we help you focus on the bigger picture. 

1. ShootQ

We’ll start the discussion with ShootQ – a purpose-built studio management suite that combines powerful CRM functionality with other tools to help you manage and grow your business. According to the website, ShootQ helps its customers save an average of 15 hours per week – that’s a lot of recovered time that you can spend taking photos and serving your clients.

There’s a lot to love with this platform. You get access to customizable contracts, email templates, custom workflow creation, flexible invoicing tools, lead tracking capabilities, and a lot more. You also get access to both an Android and iOS mobile app. Some of the top features to know with ShootQ include the following:

  • Free option? Yes
  • Price: $24 per month for up to three users
  • Proposal builder
  • Email templates
  • Workflow automation
  • Custom branding
  • Contract manager
  • Email tracking and archiving
  • In-depth client reporting

2. Studio Ninja

Another studio management suite, Studio Ninja was created by a photographer for photographers. It delivers critical functionality that your studio needs for growth and success, without unnecessary features that just bog you down or add to your costs. 

With Studio Ninja, you can say goodbye to forgetting about client follow-up and hello to better communication, while also enjoying better lead conversion and being able to stay on top of all your work-related tasks. You also get mobile access through the iOS or Android app. Some of the more compelling features on offer with this platform include the following:

  • Free option? No, but there is a 30-day free trial.
  • Price: $19.20 per month for 1 company/unlimited users
  • Billing and invoicing capabilities
  • Financial management tools
  • Project management tools
  • Lead to sale conversion
  • Lead management and tracking
  • Automated emails
  • Task manager

3. Agile CRM

If you’re looking for an all-in-one CRM solution, consider Agile. As the name implies, it is built with flexibility and agility in mind and can work for any size photography studio. It provides the means to unify your sales, marketing, and service activities, while integrating with the technology you already use, such as RingCentral, Google Apps, and more.

With Agile CRM, you get a full contact management tool, as well as deal tracking capabilities. However, this platform goes deeper than some others out there and provides project management capabilities, as well as the opportunity to add a little gamification to your sales efforts. Some of the features of. Note here include the following:

  • Free option? Yes
  • Price: $8.99 per month
  • Custom data fields
  • Lead scoring
  • 2-way email integration
  • Deal/milestone tracking
  • Contact level analytics
  • Marketing automation
  • Web-to-lead conversion

4. Bloom

Bloom is a CRM designed to fit the needs of creatives, from photographers to videographers, tattoo artists, and more. An all-in-one CRM (but not a studio management suite), Bloom offers help in capturing leads and sending invoices, as well as scheduling events, automating emails, and signing contracts.

From task tracking and management to payment organization to integration with tools like Google, Stripe, and Square, Bloom brings a lot to the table. It’s also available through an iOS app (no Android app yet at the time of this writing, but the company promises it’s under development, so Android users won’t be left out in the cold). Features of note with this CRM include the following:

  • Free option? No, but there is a 2-month free trial.
  • Price: $9 per month
  • Project management tools
  • Mobile app (iOS currently, but Android is coming)
  • Payment integration
  • Email communication
  • Contract signing
  • Full client portal
  • Dynamic forms
  • Lead capture tools

5. 17hats

Every photographer can relate to the need to wear multiple hats. You’re not just a photographer and business owner, but you also handle marketing, billing, contracts, and just about everything else. 17hats is designed to help you take off at least a few of those hats, so you can focus on what you do best – taking amazing photos.

17hats helps you organize and systemize your business with invoicing, contact management, in-depth reporting, and more. It also brings lead management and onboarding help to the table, as well as automation for your fulfillment process, and it integrates with platforms ranging from Stripe and Square to Chase and ShootProof. Some of the features you’ll want to know about with this tool include the following:

  • Free option? No, but there’s a 7-day free trial.
  • Price: $45 per month
  • Full contact management
  • Project management tools
  • Centralized dashboard for at-a-glance information
  • Custom lead forms
  • Automatic lead responses
  • Customizable questionnaires
  • E-signable contacts

6. HoneyBook

Looking for a CRM that works for your photography business but doesn’t bog you down with unnecessary features or functions you’ll never use? Consider HoneyBook in that instance. Lightweight and flexible, this CRM helps you manage projects, send invoices, and stay profitable, all while building strong relationships with your clients.

From project tracking to branded client-facing templates, mobile apps (both iOS and Android) to robust contract management, HoneyBook delivers critical features and capabilities. This platform also integrates with the technology you’re already using, such as Gmail and Google Calendar, QuickBooks, and more. Some of the features of note with this CRM include the following:

  • Free option? No, but there is a 7-day free trial.
  • Price: $9 per month
  • Customizable, web-accessible/signable contracts
  • Online invoices
  • Single client communication view for end-to-end visibility 
  • Payment and booking capabilities
  • Automated follow-ups
  • Customized, automated workflows

7. ShootZilla

ShootZilla is a full studio management suite that combines CRM functionality with plenty of other features. Unlike some of the other options on our list, this one was built from the ground up specifically for photography businesses, and it’s designed to speak to your business’s unique needs and challenges.

From the business overview function and calendaring to email templates, website contact forms, task management solutions, and at-a-glance contact cards, ShootZilla helps you streamline, automate, engage your audience, convert more leads, and build a stronger business. Some of the features of note here include:

  • Free option? No
  • Price: $24 per month
  • Customizable email templates
  • Automated email sending
  • Customizable website forms
  • Task manager
  • Preset marketing workflows

8. Pixifi

A full CRM designed for photographers, Pixifi delivers lots of capabilities and promises to “streamline your business in ways you’ve only ever dreamed of.” From its online booking and appointment system to e-signable digital contracts, a visual lead pipeline and workflow tool, event timelines, and more, this is certainly a contender for your money.

Everything within Pixifi is accessible from a central dashboard, putting power right at your virtual fingertips. The software also integrates with your other technology, including MailChimp, Square, Stripe, Constant Contact, ShootProof, SmugMug, and more. Some of the features you’ll want to know about with this CRM include the following:

  • Free option? No, but there is a free trial.
  • Price: $29.99 per month per staff member
  • Let your clients book the services they want online
  • Syncs with Google Calendar
  • Digital contracts 
  • Digital invoices
  • Cost tracking

9. Tavé

Designed and developed by ShootProof, Tavé is a flexible yet powerful CRM for photographers. If you have been looking for a way to automate your workflows, connect with your existing customers in new ways, and drive more leads into the sales funnel, this could be it. Tavé claims to help “photographers organize, optimize, and ultimately automate complete workflows. Cut out busy work and save hours previously spent on repetitive, manual tasks.”

There’s a lot of value offered within this CRM. For instance, the custom contact forms make it simpler to collect information from leads, while digital contracts offer security. You can quote online, track down information in lead and job reports, and even create custom questionnaires to help segment your audience. Some of the features you will want to know about with this CRM include the following:

  • Free option? No, but there is a free trial.
  • Price: $21.99 per month for 2 users
  • Automated questionnaires
  • Customized emails
  • Digital contracts (e-signable)
  • Online consultation booking
  • Customizable landing pages and contact forms
  • In-depth reporting to surface information on leads and customers

10. Dubsado

“More business, less busywork,” promises Dubsado, a CRM designed for fast-growing small businesses that require agility fused with today’s best technology. From forms and templates to automation, you’ll find no lack of valuable features or must-have functionality here.

Dubsado does a lot of things right, and it does so without bogging you down. The CRM is lightweight and flexible, cloud-based so you can access it from anywhere, and it puts everything you need within a single place. Create custom forms, send invoices, automate workflows, send automated emails, organize customer communication, and even handle your finances with ease. Some of the features you’ll love with Dubsado include the following:

  • Free option? No, but there is a free trial.
  • Price: $35 per month
  • Lead capture forms
  • Customizable questionnaires
  • Customizable proposals
  • Automated workflows
  • Central location/ease of access
  • Custom invoice templates
  • Baked-in onboarding for new clients

We bring success into focus

The right CRM will help ensure success for your photography business, no matter its size or specialty. From full-blown studio management tools to streamlined CRMs that deliver scalable capabilities, there is something out there for you. However, don’t forget that the true measure of success for any photographer is client satisfaction. And, while technological tools can help, customer satisfaction primarily revolves around human interaction.

That’s where Smith.ai’s 24/7 live receptionist services come in. We help ensure that you never miss another phone call, text message, or other client communication. While you’re busy focusing on taking photos that capture moments of life, we will focus on capturing leads and ensuring that your clients always reach a human being no matter when they communicate. If you’re ready to take the next step, learn more about Smith.ai Live Chat features and integrations, or schedule a free Live Chat consultation to discuss your needs and goals. You can also reach us directly at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.

Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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