Note from Adam: This post is pretty nerdy and photographer-centric. You can view more wedding photos here
I’ve been using Zach and Jody’s new photography studio management software ShootFlow for over a year now and have decided to write a basic ShootFlow review. In the past year, it has helped me keep my wedding clients organized and cared for, as well as handles many of my email communication as well as contracts. in 2017 alone I had 35 weddings, and in 2018 I have 40 scheduled, so it’s been very helpful.
For some perspective, before using ShootFlow, I didn’t have any dedicated software importing and tracking leads, booking and communicating with clients and setting up my calendar. I basically used a combination of canned email responses, my calendar, and Dropbox to keep everything organized. I was fine with my system but with it, I wasn’t able to grow like I have been with ShootFlow.
I’m not going to walk through every facet of ShootFlow, and I’ve only vaguely checked out other software like Pixifi, Tave, 17Hats and Dubsado. Overall, I like it and will continue to use it for the next year.
Things I Love
The first thing I love about ShootFlow is the lead form that automatically emails me and puts the clients’ information into my leads section. Some may say it asks too much of a prospective client up front, but for me, it’s been great for information gathering and booking. The client emails me, I email and call that day. Simple and awesome. It also helps me know what budget the couples working with and other information like their wedding venue, how excited they are to work with me, where they found me, and their spouse’s name.
You could set all of this up in a regular form on your site, but this information after you book the couple is kept with their client information so it’s fun to look back at and eventually you could track the info like venues, budget, and where people found you (see Wishlist for tracking!).
MyFlow + ClientFlow
ShootFlow uses the “flow” terminology often in the software, but essentially your communication and action steps with your clients are separated into ClientFlow for each client, and then MyFlow is the daily tasks for you to get done when you log in to ShootFlow.
What I love about this is ShootFlow’s elastic timeline. What that means is that ShootFlow has a list of tasks both large and small from initiating booking an engagement session to sending your wedding day questionnaire and will automatically stretch or shrink that list based on the time between booking the lead and when their wedding day is.
Essentially, for weddings further away, the tasks are spread out, while for weddings closer to today, the tasks are more frequent. Granted, there are some consistent tasks that are essentially the same time every wedding. Sending out your wedding day questionnaire at 3 months from the wedding date, a reminder to text your clients an encouraging note, the reminder of final payment, and a reminder to print out your shot list and timeline are all examples of consistent tasks.
This helps me stay organized and keep the same timing feel with my clients which I like.
This one is fun! ShootFlow will take the information in the wedding questionnaire and create a wedding day timeline that essentially covers the basic times, people and information for the photographer. It’s not as detailed as a wedding planner’s timeline (it doesn’t need to be) but it’s a great resource to use with the couple as well as send to second photographers as well. It also contains things like the couples hashtag (if they have one), wedding party and parents names, as well as crucial phone numbers right there at your fingertips. Pro Tip: I print this timeline as a PDF and text it to myself!
Saved Email Responses
I don’t use the exact same email for every client because I want to be personal, but I do use the bulk of most emails to most clients. ShootFlow allows me to save those for each task so I’m saving time and making sure I don’t forget anything during that process. For example, I send out an email preparing my couples for their engagement session, and I just have most of that information saved in ShootFlow’s email assigned to that task.
Now that I’ve bought into ShootFlow, I’m willing to let it handle so much more. Most of the items below I’ve actually submitted as tickets to the ShootFlow team for review, but essentially these are the things I wish ShootFlow had:
Unique Client Workflows
ShootFlow is great for clients that meet the following criteria are wedding couples who’ve booked an engagement session, with photographers who do in-person sales after their sessions. This is great for many photographers but even for me while I mostly do weddings I do have clients that book just an engagement/portrait session, corporate events, and other commercial projects.
Also, when it comes to the timeline generation (one of the things I mentioned) it doesn’t put into account the package the couple may have picked. It’s great for all-day coverage photographers (which 2 out of 3 of my packages offer) but when it comes to the 8-hour weddings ShootFlow should account for that (maybe a checkbox?).
Having unique contracts, proposals, and ClientFlows, or the ability to make our own would really help with this. As I mentioned before, I want ShootFlow to have even more information.
Saved Second Shooters
Would be great if you could generate a task after you’ve printed the timeline to auto-send it to a second shooter from a list of folks you’ve worked with before or a new second shooter. Again, getting things inside of ShootFlow would be a top priority.
Finance Tracking and Accepting Payments
ShootFlow creates a great contract for weddings (you can customize it with your own) but once the client signs, you have to go look at the contract to see how the client wants to pay and then take further action. ShootFlow doesn’t complete the booking loop or give that option, unfortunately. So for checks, those come in the mail, and for electronic payments, I have to use different apps to connect with my clients.
Lead Tracking (referral, venue, excitement, how many per month, % of booking) + Data
As mentioned above in the Lead Form section, it would be great to be able to use all of the data from our Leads to learn about our business. The “booking seasons” are becoming less and less important, and it’d be great to know when you get the most leads and where they come from so you can leverage other tools like your mailing list, advertisements, and pricing against this.
I’d also love if ShootFlow could tell you how often you’ve shot at a venue, worked with certain vendors and maybe even rate them. This way when a couple needs a recommendation, I’ll have factual data about the vendors I suggest and be able to serve my clients better.
The last thing on the wishlist, is a mobile solution. ShootFlow is a website and works great on computers, but on tablets and smartphones, it doesn’t handle sending and generating the canned email responses well. If you need to customize something in the email, it’s really difficult to manage. Especially when it comes to the lead section, which I feel is super crucial to my business. I love working from my phone and being quick to respond to my clients, so having things be a little better looking on my phone would be great! I don’t need an app per se, just a more solid web solution on mobile screens.
Again, I’ve used ShootFlow over the past year and really love it for the primary portion of my work. I don’t have plans on leaving yet, but if a year from now nothing on this wishlist is updated, then that decision may leave me in a tough spot. As my business grows, I may hire assistants or associates and I’d love for them to be somehow implemented into this as well.
Since writing this review on ShootFlow, I have migrated everything to Táve. I’ve researched Dubsado, 17Hats, Honeybook, ShootQ, Studio Ninja, Pixifi (really, I’ve tried and looked at many) and I’ve realized that there is no better option than Táve. All of the things on my wishlist for ShootFlow are already built into Táve. There are so many more features and useful tricks I can use in this new software, plus it will allow me to expand my studio.
If you want to try out Táve, you can do so at this link and you’ll get an extra month to try it for free!