The Top 10 Online Payment & Billing Solutions for Photographers: Get Billing Streamlined to Manage Your Money Better and Get Paid in a Snap

Sean Lund-Brown

In the creative world, the devil is truly in the details—the details and logistics that come with running a business. You’ve got an eye for a great shot, but you might not have the same prowess for crunching numbers... and you still need to get paid. After all, you can’t pay the bills with “exposure” or portfolio credit. You’re running a real business and you should be getting paid real money—really efficiently.

So, what’s the solution? Fortunately, there are literally dozens of them! Today’s selection of payment and billing solutions is bigger than ever before, including a host of dedicated options for photographers and creative services along with general invoicing and billing tools, and everything in between. Just get to know your options, get a glimpse of the best features, and then get started on integrating your favorite to streamline your payments once and for all. 

And, when you want to streamline even further, contact the dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, who can help with outbound calls, reminders and customer service, and things like 24/7 live chat to be the face of your brand while you’re busy capturing all of those special moments. 

1. Wave Accounting for Photographers

Wave Accounting offers a dedicated solution for photographers and other creatives in its suite of tools, making invoicing and getting paid easier than ever before. Wave offers free professional invoices and several features that are available on a pay-as-you-go basis so that you’re never spending money on tools you don’t use. For photographers, those pennies add up fast and are often better spent on new gear or other expenses. 

Wave also offers monthly payroll solutions, tax tools, and other billing and payment services, including a pay-per-use payment gateway with impressively low processing fees. You'll enjoy recurring invoicing and automated reminders to ensure that you get paid promptly and properly, and the open API makes sure your existing tech stack doesn’t suffer from your new addition. 

  • Free option? Some free features are included
  • Price: Plans start at $20 per month
  • Free professional invoices with branding
  • Customized dashboard and scalable platform
  • Recurring billing
  • Payroll solutions available

2. Invoicely

Although you might want to spend a little bit when you see some of the features available, Invoicely is one of the few platforms that have a free professional invoicing solution for small businesses and solopreneurs that need something different. There are apps for iOS and Android so that you can take your billing on the go, along with dedicated tools to automate workflows, track payroll and expenses, and organize your billing in one place with ease. 

With Invoicely, you will be able to integrate your existing tech stack and you’ll even be able to customize the dashboard with your own user-friendly labels. You can take advantage of mobile invoicing and recurring payments to make sure that you never miss a single one again. Plus, even if you upgrade beyond the free features, it’s still one of the most affordable solutions on the market. 

  • Free option? Yes
  • Price: Starts at $10 per month
  • Free professional invoicing
  • Recurring billing and payments
  • Automated reminders
  • Custom labels and dashboard creation
  • Detailed reporting
  • Mobile apps and invoicing capabilities

3. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is one of the most popular billing and invoicing platforms available for those who want a simple, streamlined solution. The accounting platform makes it easy to set up recurring payments, collect client data, and even set and request retainers and deposits for sessions that you book. With fee-based payment processing, you don’t pay unless you use it, and the integrated mobile apps make sure your billing is with you everywhere. 

FreshBooks uses double-entry accounting to keep things organized and make billing a breeze. You can integrate with your existing technology and tools, and there’s even a mileage tracking feature in the iOS app so that you can keep a log for your expense reporting. There’s not a free version but the plans are more than affordable and there’s a solution for photography businesses of all sizes. 

  • Free option? No
  • Price: Starts at $15 per month
  • Retainer feature
  • IOS mileage tracking
  • Fee-based payment processor
  • Time tracking tools
  • Hundreds of integrations

4. HoneyBook for Photographers

Although this platform is a total CRM, it includes a robust billing and invoicing solution as part of the suite of tools that you get. It comes with a free trial, too, so you can get a feel for what you’re getting before you commit. HoneyBook for Photographers is designed exclusively for busy creatives and provides a branded experience for clients, a client-facing portal for bookings and payments, and more.

The platform also includes real-time notifications, automatic workflows, and branded brochures for easy follow-up and lead generations. You can even generate retainer fees, add invoices to contracts, and choose between fixed payment schedules and recurring payments. Automated reminders and easy online payments ensure that you’re always paid on time. 

  • Free option? No, but there is a free trial
  • Price: Starts at $9 per month, Unlimited plan is $39 per month for larger businesses 
  • Online payment processing 
  • Custom branded invoicing
  • Retainers and quotes
  • Client-facing payment and booking portal
  • Streamlined operation with a total CRM solution

5. Intuit QuickBooks

Intuit QuickBooks is one of the best solutions for business accounting that you’ll find available today. There are plans for businesses of all sizes, with expense tracking, invoicing and payment processing, detailed reporting, tax tools, and more. You will also find tools that can help streamline bill paying, track employee time and client time, and more. 

With Intuit QuickBooks, you will be able to handle all kinds of billing and payment needs from a platform that’s scalable and easy to integrate with your existing tech stack. There are plenty of tools to automate payments and reminders, set up recurring billing, and more. You can even customize invoices and make sure clients have multiple payment options. Mobile tools are also offered. 

  • Free option? No
  • Price: Starts at $15 per month
  • Income and expense tracking
  • Payment processing services
  • Detailed, robust reporting
  • Easy invoice creation 
  • Templates available
  • Mobile tools

6. Xero

Xero is an integrated billing and payment platform that is designed to simplify and streamline getting paid for all types of small businesses. This app includes project tracking tools so that you can keep your shoots and clients organized and interactive quotes ensure that your clients know what they’re paying for and how they’re being charged. 

You can also sync your bank accounts to this app and integrate it with your existing tech stack, giving you total control over your photography business and letting automation lead the way. With Xero, you can track and claim expenses and even manage everything on the go, thanks to dedicated apps for iOS and Android. The real-time dashboard makes sure that you’re always aware of the state of things, too. 

  • Free option? No, but there is a trial available
  • Price: Starts at $11 per month
  • Interactive quotes
  • Reconciliation tools
  • Electronic bank account syncing
  • Project/client tracking tools
  • Expense tracking and reporting

7. Sprout Studio

Sprout Studio offers a full studio management tool for photographers that was built by fellow photographers. It includes a comprehensive suite of tools, including billing and invoicing tools, to help you grow your business and get paid on time. Sprout Studio includes an invoice management system and integrates with all of the apps that you’re already using. 

With Sprout Studio, you can manage contracts, events, and clients, create proposals and estimates, and more. You can also scale it to the size of your business needs, making it as good an option for new photographers and solo businesses as it does for more established and larger photography organizations and brands. 

  • Free option? No, but there is a trial
  • Price: $21 per month to start
  • Client and event management
  • Proposal features
  • Billing and invoicing on mobile
  • Integrates with plenty of apps and tools
  • Easy payment acceptance options
  • Improved accounting overall 

8. MoonInvoice

MoonInvoice is a cool tool for photographers who want something easy to use that they can take on the go. The invoice receipt maker app for iPhone and Android allows freelancers and small businesses to customize invoices and get paid faster, automate workflows and improve efficiencies, and more. The simple app offers an impressive list of features and it includes time tracking, too.

The MoonInvoice platform handles automated notifications and can even set up recurring billing. It also offers detailed reporting and analytics to give you in-depth insights into how your bills are getting paid. Plus, you can customize tons of professional invoice templates, and even import, export, and print invoices on the fly. 

  • Free option? No, but there is a trial
  • Price: Starts at $8.33 per month
  • Time tracking tools
  • Invoice customization
  • Exporting and importing capabilities
  • Workflow automation
  • Free invoice templates available

9. Square 

Image result for Square Payment Sign

Square is one of the most popular payment tools on the market today. Freelancers and small businesses of all kinds are using Square Invoicing, Square Payments, and Square Appointments to handle their billing, payment, and scheduling needs. The app makes it easy to choose the tools you need and only pay for those. you can send invoices in seconds, track them in real-time, and offer one-click payments that can even be accepted from mobile. 

The Square invoicing tool helps you get more time back and Square reports that more than 75% of invoices generated with the platform get paid within a single day—that's an impressively short period of time. You can save payment information, set up automatic billing, and even manage your cash flow with ease.  

  • Free option? Yes, you can send unlimited invoices and estimates free of charge
  • Price: Per transaction rate based on payment type for payment processing
  • No monthly fees, ever
  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Recurring payments
  • Helpful examples and tools
  • Invoice templates
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

10. Invoice2Go

For busy photographers on the go, Invoice2Go is designed to deliver everything that you need. This platform is designed to work on mobile seamlessly, both with a mobile-friendly cloud deployment and with dedicated iOS and Android apps. You can even send mobile invoices and add a “pay now” button to get paid instantly. When you make it easy, customers can’t make an argument about paying on time. 

Invoice2Go is also one of the most affordable options on the list. If you can afford a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop every day, you can more than afford to invest in this platform. It even comes with lead generation tools, time tracking and billable hours, and detailed reports to keep you posted on how your billing is doing. 

  • Free option? No
  • Price: Starts at $3 per month
  • Invoice templates
  • Detailed reporting
  • Customized dashboard
  • Real-time insights
  • Recurring payments
  • Online payment processing
  • Lead generation support

Take mission critical services off your agenda with Smith.ai

When you are looking to automate, streamline, and find a better way to handle billing, the solutions on this list will certainly fit the bill. Of course, when you’re busy out there with photoshoots, you may still have administrative tasks and other logistics that need to be handled. That's where the dedicated support of our virtual receptionists can come in handy—ask us how we can help keep your business running so that you can focus on running your photography business.

You may find what you need with any of the solutions listed above. They all have their pros and cons, and there are plenty of free options for those on a budget or who are just starting out. Plus, when you combine them with the solutions and assistance offered by our virtual receptionists, you are creating a winning solution for streamlining, automating, and giving your brand the boost it needs. 

Contact us to schedule a Live Chat consultation and find out how our virtual receptionists can help cover your bases while you’re booking your next cover shoot, with inbound and outbound calling, messaging services, and even lead intake and collection calls, if that’s what your business demands. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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