Tools for Success with Sal Cincotta
There is no escaping it: We live in a digital world but we operate in some old-school ways. From photography to our tax returns, we must all learn to operate efficiently and effectively in this new world.
Here are some of the tools I use to run my business smoothly and make maximum use of my time. This isn’t just about saving time. It’s about giving your customers a unique experience.
N-Vu // In-Person Sales and Online Galleries
Photographers sell in person or online or both. In our studio, we do both, so we need more than just a gallery. So many tools in the market are half-baked. They are trying to capitalize on new buzzwords like IPS, but they don’t understand them or they don’t provide complete solutions.
If you do IPS, I guarantee you are using three to five tools to complete your sale, post it online, track orders and sell to your clients. It is pure insanity, a complete waste of money. How many tools are you paying for? Wouldn’t it be nice if you had just one? N-Vu IPS is the closest thing to perfect there is on the market, and it will continue to dominate as the industry leader.
Here are some of my favorite features.
Upload your images once. Make slideshows and galleries. Conduct in-person sales.
Show your clients exactly what images will look like on their walls with this incredibly easy tool.
N-Vu offers you unlimited galleries, unlike their competitors. This allows you to relaunch all your client galleries around the holidays, for example, when you can make more money.
IPS software is built right into the tool. Its feature list is long, and includes everything from slideshows to culling to ordering and order tracking.
To lean more, visit www.n-vu.com.
17hats // Customer Relationship Management
You have clients who pay you, right? You have invoices and contracts, right? If you work for free, stop reading, I am not talking to you.
If you want to give your clients a big-business feel with downhome personalization, 17hats is the tool to use. We have been using this tool for over five years. The company is responsive and the product is robust. 17hats helps us manage the chaos. If you are a small business owner, you understand chaos. We live it every day. A tool that can help me stay organized and ensure my clients are not getting lost in the shuffle ensures a smooth ride.
Here are some of my favorite features.
Automation tools ensure every client a consistent experience. Imagine automating custom emails or getting reminders sent to you to perform certain tasks, like scheduling a phone call with the bride to review her timeline of her wedding day for any last-minute changes. Imagine a reminder to send your clients a thank-you gift after the shoot.
Stop chasing clients down for money. Talk about amateur hour. The invoicing system gives you a hands-off experience. Set automatic reminders that go out when invoices are late. Without money, we can’t run our business. The tool makes it simple.
This is a great new feature that I already love. Clients would constantly email us asking how much they owe, can they make payments, etc. It was taking us time in email and tons of round-trip emails and phone calls to walk them through it. Now with client portals, they can self-service with their own dashboard containing all the details of their account.
To learn more, visit www.17hats.com.
Photo Mechanic 5
For culling images, Lightroom is just not the right tool for the job. It is bloated and slow. If you want to waste hours waiting for your images to render so you can see clearly if eyes are closed, use Lightroom. It’s like watching paint dry.
Photo Mechanic is the fastest selection tool I have used. There is not much else to say. The tool is self-explanatory. You click on a folder with your images and they are immediately available and fully visible. Buy this tool. The time you save rending images will pay for it 10 times over.
To learn more, visit www.camerabits.com.
NeoFinder // Hard Drive Media Management
Have you ever had a client call you four years later looking for an image? If you haven’t, you will. And if you are not organized, you will spend hours if not days plugging in hard drives trying to find it.
NeoFinder was built to save you time. It is a cataloging tool like no other. When your hard drive is full, you catalog the drive using the tool by clicking a few buttons. That’s it. Now unplug your hard drive, turn off the power and store it someplace safe.
Now, when the client comes back to you, all you have to do is open the tool, type in the client name and, within seconds, it will tell you what hard drive it’s on.
You expect it to be more complicated than this, but it is that simple. This tool has singlehandedly saved me hours of my life looking for client images for their albums or holiday orders.
To learn more, visit http://www.cdfinder.de/index.html.
Adobe Capture // Asset Creation
Imagine using your mobile camera to capture new patterns, vectors, fonts and color palettes. And then imagine it seamlessly making its way back to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. If this tool sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.
I use this tool constantly to capture the world around me and integrate it with my Adobe Cloud apps to ensure my creative team and my personal computer are all in sync with the new concepts I see in the world around me.
To learn more, visit https://www.adobe.com/products/capture.html.