How using the right tools can help you focus on what matters

It’s safe to assume that you didn’t choose to run a photography business because you want to spend lots of time doing admin, right?

With one simple change Loudoun County Newborn, Family, and Birthday Portrait Photographer Jess Lynn and her admin assistant Annie are now able to spend more time with their families, focus on other areas of their business, and save $100-200 a year.

We spoke to Annie, who manages the admin side of Jess Lynn Photography, to learn more.

“We primarily focus on a lot of mini-session blocks, getting families scheduled back to back to back on weekends. Keeping that organised can be quite difficult without the right software.”Annie, Jess Lynn Photography

Online scheduling 

Using an online scheduling tool, which allows clients to book their own date and time for a session, helps to cut down the admin. It’s something that Annie and Jess already had in place:

“We just don’t have the time for all the back and forth on when people are available. We would not be able to do the volume of business that we do if we didn’t have a scheduling tool.”

But since their online scheduling tool and their CRM for photographers were separate, keeping bookings up-to-date and in one place presented some challenges.

“If there were last minute changes in my scheduling tool, I would need to make sure that that was updated in my CRM. I was going back and forth, and losing a lot of time.”

It’s possible to use Light Blue’s integration with Zapier to link third-party scheduling tools like Acuity & Calendly, but it gets tricky when clients start rescheduling and cancelling sessions.

Bringing everything together 

So Annie made the choice to bring everything into one place, and took advantage of Light Blue’s built-in scheduling calendar feature.

“I was super excited, having the ability to have clients go directly into Light Blue records as they sign up, and then when they reschedule their own appointments, it just automatically updates in Light Blue, which is incredibly convenient for me”

As well as streamlining Annie’s admin, their client experience was also a priority. 

“We wouldn’t want anything that makes it too cumbersome for a client to book. We need to make it as easy and seamless as possible for people to commit so that we can hang onto as many clients as we can.”

Any concerns that Annie had about adopting the new process were quickly addressed when she set up a test session for herself. After that, she saw the greater potential of using Light Blue’s scheduling calendars by taking advantage of its powerful workflows:

“Knowing that we could customise the confirmation emails and customise the workflows so that they would get an automatic reminder five days out; all of that just makes it client retention so much easier.”

The payoff for making the switch

By bringing their online scheduling into Light Blue, they no longer needed to pay for the subscription to their third party scheduling system, which saved them $100-200 per year.

“I’m thrilled, honestly. What I was really hoping for was automatic updates when people make last minute changes and that’s happening.”

As well as the financial saving, the reduced admin load has saved loads of time. So what has the extra time enabled them to do?

“All the things! I have three kids and Jess has 5 so any extra time is gold around here.  Let’s just say it definitely allows more time for social media engagement and promotion.”

When plans change

A lot of Jess’s family sessions are outdoors, so when the weather’s bad plans need to change.

Being able to quickly add some more availability for the next weekend, then encouraging clients to reschedule their own appointment cuts down on a lot of work.

“That’s a time saver. That’s, that’s 30 seconds per email times 20 emails I don’t have to send, you know?”

It doesn’t stop at mini sessions

The benefits don’t stop at mini sessions, either. Something that many photographers don’t realise is that scheduling calendars can be used to get a date in the diary for an open enquiry, too.

Your client may have filled out a contact form on your website or perhaps even called or emailed. You’ve established they’re a good fit for your business and what you offer and they also want to go ahead! You can use scheduling calendars to confirm those enquiries too.

Discover the different ways that you can use scheduling calendars in your business.

Seeing the big picture 

Using Light Blue as their photography business CRM gives Abbie and Jess the big picture of their client relationships:

“Being able to have all of these client records with their associated family members, keeping track of all the different shoots they have, and organizing them by shoot types, shoot lengths, is extremely helpful.”

“Because we have all this client history, we know which clients we want to see again and prioritise based on their history.”

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