I put together this list of wedding photography tools and services to show what I use everyday in my wedding photography business to stay as efficient and productive as possible.
As the founder of Shotkit, I have the advantage of being able to try out many different tools and services.
Whilst I test pretty much all of them, I only publish reviews on a handful of those that I like the best, and often end up implementing in my own business.
My Favourite Wedding Photography Tools
The tools and services listed below are ones that I use every day in the running of my wedding photography business.
Some of them I pay for, some of them are free, and some of them generate a small affiliate income if you decide to use them following my recommendations.
Whether these wedding photography tools are affiliated, free, or paid, I’d still be using them everyday as I believe they’re the best at what they do.
Leave a comment if you’re a happy user of any of these tools and services too, or if you’d like to recommend anything other than what I’ve written about here.
Business Management | Studio Ninja
I started off like many other people using a combination of Excel and Google Calendar to manage my wedding photography business.
When my business started growing, I realised I needed something more efficient, and switched to Tave.
I don’t really have anything bad to say about Tave, and used it happily for 2 years. Then I came across a smaller, local client management software for photographers called Studio Ninja.
I immediately fell for its simple interface and reduced feature set (compared to most of the other CMS out there), which meant I could concentrate on only the things that really mattered to running my business.
Studio Ninja support is also second to none, with the co-founder Chris really listening to users, and implementing frequent feature upgrades that address the most common user concerns.
If you’re looking for a photography business management tool that’s simple and actually quite fun to use, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Client Gallery/Print Sales | ShootProof
Moving forward to 2018, I want to deliver 100% of my weddings via online gallery/download. I’ve done the whole ‘fancy USB/packaging’ thing, but writing personalised notes and finding the time to post everything really slows down my delivery workflow.
ShootProof is for me the perfect solution – well designed galleries and simple client downloads. It also happens to be the best way to sell prints to my clients too, adding a completely hand-off (passive) income stream to my business – read more about how to earn money in photography via print sales.
Outsourced Photo Editing | ShootDotEdit
If I didn’t have kids, I’d probably still be editing my own weddings. However, there comes a time when you realise that spending time with family is worth so much more than spending time in front of Lightroom.
Outsourcing the editing of your photos is a huge step for a creative, but once you’ve taken it, there’s no turning back.
Being able to cull my images, upload them to ShootDotEdit, then get them back within 5 days completely edited is amazing. All I need to do is one more pass over them for minor adjustments or heavier Photoshop editing (rare in my case), then it’s on to the delivery stage of my workflow.
Whether or not ShootDotEdit is the best photo editing service out there is debatable, since the quality depends largely on the employees and their skills at retouching. However, for me at least, it’s the best solution for my wedding photography post production workflow. Make sure you use the ShootDotEdit discount below.
Album Design | Smart Albums 2
Let’s be honest here – no one really enjoys designing albums. It’s a massive time drain, and the whole back-forth of the client feedback process absolutely sucks.
I use SmartAlbums 2 to retain a level of sanity when designing and proofing albums. I let my clients choose 100% of the photos (I tried the ‘design it myself and upsell’ route but it wasted too much time), then it’s just a case of drag and drop. Check out my full Smart Albums 2 review to see how I do it.
Designing a full album of 30+ spreads takes less than 20 minutes, and is actually pretty fun too. Then the proofing/feedback process is all handled online within the Smart Albums 2 portal, which also works really well.
Slide Show Software | Smart Slides
Another product from the crew at Pixellu is SmartSlides. I don’t provide slide shows to all my clients, but when I do the occasional one, I use SmartSlides.
I used to use Lightroom’s built in slide show creator, but that was pretty crappy.
SmartSlides is by far the easiest and quickest way to create a great looking slide show, and they even provide an ever-expanding catalogue of copyright-free background music to go with your slide shows.
Another good alternative is Renderforest’s free online video maker.
Here’s a review of Smart Slides.
Business Generation | Facebook Ads Course
However, this Facebook Ads Course by Andrew Hellmich has moved the needle more than anything else I have paid for in the past.
It’s hard to explain all the benefits of this Facebook Ads Course for Photographers without giving the game away, but just take a look at the testimonials to see just how powerful it can be to create more business for your wedding or portrait photography business.
Website | WordPress
I’ve used WordPress for all my websites and love it. I know there are several other popular all-in-one website builders out there that are popular amongst creatives, but imo WordPress trumps them all.
I’ve written a guide on how to start a photography blog using WordPress which you can follow to learn more.
Website Theme | FloThemes
Your wedding photography website is like the shop front to your business, so you better spend some time and money on getting it looking good.
I held off using FloThemes (and many of the other all-in-one WordPress themes) for quite some time, simply because they were so ubiquitous. Instead I chose to mess around with a number of free and premium WordPress themes for photographers.
Then I realised, everyone was using them because they’re great. Simple as that! So I hopped on board with their Crowd 2 theme, and after a week or so of fiddling around and migrating my old content, I’ve got 90% of the way to what I want it to look like.
Check out my review of FloThemes for a deeper dive into what makes it so good.
Pricing List | FloHub
I used to send any wedding photography leads to a page on my website which showed my wedding collection pricing. Then when I realised how bad it looked on mobile, I started to send them a PDF.
Then when I couldn’t be bothered editing the PDF for each client who wanted something different, I started to search for another solution.
FloHub is the best looking solution I could find – it makes your price list interactive, and appear way more professional than anything else out there.
I’ll be honest – I find the user interface pretty bad (for me the owner), and building my FloHub price list was a hugely frustrating and overly time consuming experience, but now I have it done, it functions well and looks great.
Website Hosting | SiteGround
For complete transparency, I don’t use SiteGround any more as my website host for my wedding photography site or Shotkit. I used to, but now I’ve moved on to a custom hosting solution provided by Chris at Webster Park Digital.
For FloThemes websites, the vast majority of photographers I’ve spoken to recommend using SiteGround as the host. Even FloThemes recommend using them, so that should be reason enough to give them a go.
When I used SiteGround as a host, I was very impressed by their high level of service, the speed of my images loading, and the ease of use of their backend. The only reason I switched to Webster Park Digital was because of the high-traffic of Shotkit, and my needs for a more personalised set up.
Chris wrote a whole guide to the best website hosting for photographers that you might want to check out.
Incidentally, if you just want the cheapest website hosting, I’d recommend Bluehost which always seems to be offering huge discounts on their hosting packages.
Image Compression | JPEGMini
Being able to reduce the size of all the JPEGs I deliver to my clients and use on my websites without altering how they look is game changing.
I’m now able to use less storage space (both locally on my Macbook Pro and online), have my sites run faster (due to lighter images), speed up my workflow in general, and even save money.
I particularly love the way that the app can be minimised to float dormant above other windows until you need to drag images onto it for processing. (Read my JPEGMini review.)
Seriously, spend the money for JPEG Mini Pro and never give another thought to your finished images.
Site Speed | WP Retina 2x
This is a WordPress plugin not many people know about. It allows you to upload retina-ready (big-ass!) images to your site, but then only show a smaller (lighter) version of the image to those users who are viewing your site with non-retina screens.
As creatives we assume the whole world is viewing our sites in glorious high res on expensive 5k iMacs. However, this is probably only true 5% of the time.
By using WP Retina 2x, I can make sure everyone has as fast user experience as possible when visiting my wedding photography website. Money well spent.
General Productivity | Keyboard Maestro
Text replacers like Keyboard Maestro save so much time. On a basic level, they allow you to type short ‘strings’ (a series of characters) which ‘expand’ into longer phrases, saving you the time of typing everything.
You can also set this up using the General > Keyboard > Text shortcuts settings on your Mac or iPhone.
However, if you really want to streamline your workflow, investing in something like Keyboard Maestro is a good idea. You can then set up ‘macros’ and other nerdy things that happen when something else happens.
For example, I have a short cut key set up that when pressed, all my USB devices are ejected at the same time, or another one that when pressed opens up a certain Excel sheet and positions the cursor in a certain spot ready for me to type.
I feel like I’ve only really scraped the surface of what’s possible with this tool, but it’s already saved me hours.
Harddrive Management | CleanMyMac
This Mac app isn’t really essential to wedding photographers per se, but I do think it’s essential to anyone who uses a Mac… which I guess means the vast majority of wedding photographers!
CleanMyMac sits dormant in your Mac menu bar monitoring various hard drive related things until you need it. After launch the app, you can perform a scan of the hard drive, which reveals a load of random crap that’s taking up space unnecessarily.
It’s not uncommon for CleanMyMac to find over 10g of unnecessarily files from your Mac – it’s up to you whether you want them removed, but in my case, I’ve always deleted everything it finds. For those of you like me using 100% solid state drives in your Macs, this is a massive cost (and speed) saving.
Long story short, CleanMyMac gave me another few years use out of an ageing Macbook Pro, saving me thousands of bucks in upgrades. It’s one of those unglamorous tools that really pays for itself many times over.
Online Storage | Dropbox
Dropbox doesn’t really need any explanation – it’s everyone’s favourite cloud backup solution. I spent years on the free Dropbox plan just deleting things as I went, but have finally ponied up for the paid plan so I can back up my whole life and not have to think about it again.
As upload speeds here in Australia are so crap, I only back up things under 1gig, such as smaller versions (JPEG Mini’d) of all my wedding JPEGs for clients.
When I’m shooting a destination wedding in a country with good Internet speeds, I’ll backup an entire RAW folder of images to Dropbox too, just as another fail safe until I return home.
Photobooth | Gifyyy
I decided to include this here even though it’s more of a physical product, because quite simply, it helps me make more money in my wedding photography business.
The Gifyyy is an animated photo booth – simple to set up and operate, and lots of fun for wedding guests. It also includes very powerful marketing functionality that allows you to connect with guests after an event, creating more business for your brand.
Inspiration | PhotoBizX
As photographers, we get inspired from everywhere, everyone and everything. However, the one podcast I always listen to when I have some time in the car (usually on the way to shoot a wedding), is PhotoBizXposed.
Andrew Hellmich leaves no stone unturned as he finds out everything that makes a photography business successful, whether that’s wedding, portrait, boudoir, commercial or any other genre of pro photography. He actually interviewed me here, back when I knew way less about running a wedding photography business than I do now!
The free version of the podcast is great, but to get all the meaty tidbits that can really help with your photography business, I recommend shelling out for the premium version.
Schedule Management | Calendly
If you’re tired of the back-and-forth that comes with trying to schedule phone calls, meetings, or even shoots with your photography clients, I highly recommend Calendly.
Being able to limit the number of choices for clients to get in touch with me to only business hours each day by offering a selection of time slots is a great help in managing my work:personal lives.
I’ve only needed to use the free an for the 3 years I’ve been using Calendly, but would happily pay for this service if they took away the free option – it really is that useful.
So that’s pretty much it. Aside from all the camera gear I use to actually shoot the wedding (which you can check out here), all the tools and services listed above help me generate enough income to work a few days a year and enjoy as much time as possible with my family… and managing Shotkit too of course!
Leave a comment with any tools I’ve missed that are helping you do what you do as a professional wedding photographer.