Wedding Photography: 3 Business Tools To Accelerate Your Success | Michael Maurer | Skillshare

Wedding Photography: 3 Business Tools To Accelerate Your Success

Michael Maurer, Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photography: 3 Business Tools To Accelerate Your Success

Michael Maurer, Wedding Photographer

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6 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Growing vs Maintaining Your Business

    • 3. Automating The Client Experience

    • 4. Automating Your Bookkeeping

    • 5. My $106 Bulletproof Backup Strategy

    • 6. Outro

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About This Class

Hey everyone!

I’m here to talk about how I’ve streamlined my one-person business so that I can accomplish more by working less. My goal is for this lesson is to inspire and empower you to free up your time by streamlining what you do for your photography business on a regular basis.

I‘m going to talk about the studio management software that I use to streamline and automate all of my workflows. I'm going share the email templates I use to reply to inquiries in under minute while keeping excellent customer service at the core of what I do.


I‘m going to talk about the book-keeping software I use to auto-categorise the majority of my transactions, stay on top of my finances and file my taxes in 20 minutes.

I‘m also going to cover my money-conscious data and backup workflow, and talk about how two hard drives and a $6 monthly subscription are all you need to not lose any files when a hard-drive fails. 

What I’m going to cover in this lesson might seem time-consuming to set up at first, but it will reward you in hours of saved time down the line. Whether you‘re a wedding photographer or any kind of photographer, and whether you’re just starting out or already established, there’s never been a better time to automate your business.


Let‘s jump into it!

Want to see what gear I use? Check out my Kit page here.


Intro & Outro Song - 
Wiljan & Xandra - Woodlands


Meet Your Teacher

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Michael Maurer

Wedding Photographer


My name's Michael and I'm a candid, documentary-style wedding photographer based in London. 

I LOVE what I do, and I'm so lucky to be able to do it for a living. I have photographed over 100 weddings and am an approved supplier at two beautiful London venues, Syon Park and Hampton Court Palace. I'm here to share everything I know!

I consider myself to be warm, approachable and easy-going on one hand, and organised, discreet and professional on the other. In my spare time, I love making pizzas, drinking coffees and playing video games. 

Thanks for dropping by! 

See full profile

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1. Intro: having on Mining's Michael, full time wedding photographer based in London, a privilege of photographing of 100 ways in some beautiful locations across the world. I'm here to talk about how extreme mind my one person business to do more by working less. I'm going to cover all the tools, systems and programs that I used to automate almost everything I have to do on a day to day basis. My go from you in this lesson is that you get to free up time, are streamlining things you have to do on a regular basis. I'm going to talk about the studio management's off that I used to handle my work and habits. Cut the time it takes me proprietor couples by about 18%. I'm going to cover everything all the way from the choir coming in to when I deliver the photos and have automated a lot of those emails while still keeping future customer service at the center of what I do. I'm also gonna talk about the bookkeeping software used to also categorise most of my transactions, which in turn helps me file my taxes about 20 minutes each year and lastly also going to cover my money crunches back up work and how Even though I had two hard drives, one SD bay in the same week, I still managed not to lose any date. So what I'm gonna cover in this lesson my team, time consuming At first, I promise that. Reward you? How is it safe time down. Whether you're waiting for any kind of and whether you're just starting out, we will really establish. There's never been a better time to automate your business. Let's John, Peter. 2. Growing vs Maintaining Your Business: If you already own a successful photography business or if you're on your way to setting one up, you might have realized that the time spent taking photos maybe only makes up about 40% of the time. You actually spend with your business the rest of your time, especially things like e mails, bookkeeping, social media, getting back to couples and other day to day tasks, which are quite repetitive in nature. On all of this work falls into the maintaining part of your business. And that's the thing with time, time you spend maintaining your business. This time you can't spend growing your business. When I started, I was away. Photographer. I didn't really give him a four. Turning of this and as a consequence, has been a lot of time maintaining my business. I remember I used to matters with my enquiries on Excel spreadsheets and I constantly going back and forth between that. Just making sure I didn't double booked myself also didn't have a questionnaire Templar. And because I delivered all my pictures on a USB, I spent a lot of money and time extra trips to the post office. In the end, none of these actually helped me grow my business. It just helped me make sure I wouldn't make the stakes on a day today basis. So the first piece of software we're gonna talk about today and arguably the one that has returned either most in terms of time and money is studio management software. Let's jump into. 3. Automating The Client Experience: in this lesson. I'm gonna talk you through how you studio danger our studio management software to run my business efficiently and save time and money. I'm gonna cover everything from when a couple inquires away until I live pictures and I automated and set up a variety of templates for e mails throughout that process. When I first started, I was all over the place. I had everything on an Excel spreadsheet on it was organizational nightmare. To be honest, I'm quite surprised that I never double booked myself. And then I always send up to the right place on the right day. So once I started taking things a little bit more seriously, a friend recommended I do some research on studio management software. Now there's times of these out, and they all got their pros and cons. In the end, I love sitting with you doninger because it was the one that helped me the most with what I needed it to do for my business. I want to make it clear that I'm not sponsored by Studio Ninja I have been on. This is just a video of what my experience has been using their software And I also wanted to say that even though these videos can be a bounce studio job, it doesn't mean they can't apply these principles toe other studio management software. So let's jump into how I actually used studio injured. I'm gonna take you through the process, beginning with an inquiry. So the powerful that my website is from studio job. It's embedded on my contact page on whenever I get an inquiry through their studio Ninja Ultimate automatically creates elite on what that means is that you just put a hold on my Google calendar for that dates. Now the great thing about studio injuries because it is seat to my calendar. If I'm already booked on that day, it will automatically tell me on if I've already had another inquiry for that date. Will also tell me that immediately. So I've set up studio injured toe automatically assigned work to each new lead that comes in. I know this sounds really confusing. I'm gonna put up screenshots all throughout, so you get a better feel for what I'm talking about. A worker was basically a series of steps that I assigned to each way than I do, which helped me stay on track and it goes all the way from making sure I'm replying to emails to send the invoice and contract sending a questionnaire, adding to look into my condo what happened in there, a way to always showing up the wedding on delivering the pictures within a set amount of time. So while do next is replied to the lead, and this is really easy to do from within studio uninjured because I have an email templates set up and the email temper just talked a little bit more about my approach says that are available in their day. I'd love to photograph their way on just sense into my pricing page on pricing F. Since I only have a starting price on my website, I'm gonna shovel that e mails that I talk about this video as a PdF in the class, so they should go there, have a look through him. Please feel free to use. Um, adapted to you think is best in new on just making your own. Now this template, they take me about 15 minutes to set up in the beginning. But now I can reply. To inquire is almost incipient. I think it takes me about three minute to just go into Studio Ninja, customize my email a little bit and sent out a response. Onda. And another thing on that note is that it's really important that even though you might be sending out a temper, you want to thank you personal with their message. What are they excited? What are they talking about? Just include two or three sentences and your initial a pie about how that's such a great idea, how cool that is. Or maybe that it's a venue you're going to shoot that. I think it's really important to have a little bit of a personal touch, even though you might be sending a very similarly so moving on. The next step in my work for would be to set up a meeting. Now, in each email response I send to an inquiry. My call to action is always to set up a meeting on. Once I've set that up, we've agreed on a time I'll go into studio injure on ill at an event in that lead for the meeting, and that will then automatically seem to my Google calendar now something I've automated here is to send out a reminder in your two couples 24 hours before the meeting. I've never had someone not so to meeting, but I have some friends where they just know had a couple show up on a lot of times. It's just that they've completely forgotten. So having these quick reminder now a day before the meeting is a really good idea that gets so tired automatically, I'll make sure to include it in the pdf with the Now. If the couple were to not reply to my initial inquiry response, then I have Studio Ninja set up to remind me seven days after their initial inquiry this send a follow up email and that we really simple just along the lines of no time consuming . Everything is just wondered whether you have a chance to retool, said You let me know if you have any questions. So moving on for the purpose of this video, let's assume they decided to book, which is awesome. So now it's time to send over an invoice, a contract on a question, and so I get a little bit more information and reading or contact details, so I used the same contracting question and attempt for each couple that birds. And then the invoice changes depending on how many out of State book The great thing was, Studio Ninja is that again? Once upset of all these templates and they agreed Teoh Burke, it only takes me about five minutes to just go through, selecting the different options and sending it out to them. So let's assume they put, which is forcing. Now it's time to send over the contract, the questionnaire and the US So I used to say, Contract question active that all of my bookings and the invoice changes depending on how many. But for now, we have set this one up within Studio Nature. It just takes me around five minutes for each couple to send them all of this information. I have another template email, which I used to send out the contract, and that just says really size to be working with them. You can click here to access your client portal, and that's just where all of their sort of documents are on. Its got their contact questionnaire there in wars, and it's just a good reference point for them to go and have a look if they questions. So yeah, that's it. They're booked in ways in the Canada studio Ninja automatically takes it from being a lead to being a job, assumes the contract signed and then simply go take that deposit has been paid on. It sort of gets put on the back until two months before the way. So I always love to meet with my couples again about two months before the way. It's a great opportunity for me to get an even better idea of what they're really excited for. On it just helps me build a little bit more of that. Report confidence with them after a separate skill check house and how I approach these meetings. So be sure to check out if you're interested. So what I've done with Studio Inject to make this as easy as possible is that I have a reminder set up two months before the way, which tells me it's time to get in touch with a couple now. I never want to make this email, but I actually like to, even though it is a 10 manually sent out the email because it just makes me pause and take stock off the way and just think, Where am I at? Is there any information that are missing? Is there anything really important that you cover with this couple when I meet? So So once I've sent out this email and it's respect forward. It just says Waisted wedding. I'm so excited. The greatest Egil are pre wedding catch up. Can you do any day this week? Or this is not a lot of stuff in my life before the actual wedding you sets too World Day before the way on. It's just a little reminder for me to send the Bryant text message or any now, just confirming what time I'm gonna get there and just saying Excited again. This is purely personal preference, but sometimes certain locations might change in a few weeks leading up to the wedding after I met with the couple. So it's just a good chance for me to hear one last time. I'm gonna go to the right place, right? So after the way, once I edited photos, I have another template for sending out the link to the gallery and another Templar to ask for a review. Student is brilliant. It has taken me so much time. So much fo so funny, so much mental nightmare when it comes to being organized insane talk business. Like I said before, you can accomplish this with pretty much any studio management software. You're quite ingenious. You could probably also make some of these emails within Genao set up a few of the templates I haven't done that. I do recommend just to your management software, because it's the one thing that has just really changed how I approach my business on a day today basis. 4. Automating Your Bookkeeping: So in this lesson, I'm gonna talk about how used creepers self employed, to stay on top of my keeping and how that helps me far my taxes in about 20 minutes each year. Just a little side note. I'm based in the UK so that's my experience. Finding my taxes with a general seat, which is you filed in Texas. Two in the UK But again, just like previously only Studio Ninja. It's more about the principle of finding a piece of software in your country that will let you automate your bookkeeping in this way. So I use QuickBooks self employed and to say that it is simplified. My business will be a massive on the statement. So think of QuickBooks as a central hub for all of your transactions. As always, your accounts are links to QuickBooks. Every time you spend money or every time you get paid, that transaction will automatically appear in QuickBooks. Once it's there, you can then characterize it as a personal spending transaction or as a business transaction. If you categorize it as a business transaction, you could go in deeper, and you can say whether it's a travel expense cost of goods for resale expense. Office surprise expense. Really fun you're getting. And so now, at the end of the year, when it's time to do your taxes, you simply exports a profit and loss statement for that period, and QuickBooks will tell you exactly how it's made and exactly how much money you spend in each one of those business subsections. The best part about this is really important is that you can also categorise your transactions. This is brilliant because as photographers, we have a lot of recurring expenses, which are, quite frankly, to the same people. Chances are each month you pay, and Jolie created Cap in a job raising crowd and Adobe Creative Cloud subscription on You can tell QuickBooks to also categorize that as a business office expense. Each time it shows up in the program, you can get so creative less of the following example. So I have to have to take a train, the last Jew or any other kind of public transport ticket to meetings with couples now in the UK that's considered a travel expense of your self employed, which means that I can deduct that from my taxes of the year having said I just sometimes take the train for pure fine. I'm going somewhere with my girlfriend for the weekend, or I'm gonna meet some friends. But house QuickBooks though, if I'm gonna also characterized this when I'm doing it for fun and when I'm doing business , The really good thing is that within these rules, you can be really specific on you can tell. QuickBooks, Teoh auto categorize you as a travel expense only when it comes from a certain account. So what I do in this case is I use my credit card each time I have to travel for work. And I used my personal debit card from my bank each time. Travel for fun. And I have a rule in QuickBooks, which says each time a transaction comes in with the name travel for London, which is the name of our public system, or at least how it probably transport system, or at least how it appears on your bank statement for each time the transaction comes in with that name. All my credit card I want QuickBooks toe also categorizes travel expense. That way, I don't have to worry about getting my transactions made. Stop I know at the end of the day and at the end of the year when I go to export my profit and loss statement, all the travel expenses from public transport will purely be from when I had a meeting. Now this might sound we complex. I promise it isn't the most time consuming thing with books is importing. You're already existing transactions for that particular tax here and going through the categorize. But even then, that only took me about 2 to 3 hours when really I, for one, would take the whole day. So, yeah, once you've got it up and running, it's agreed. And the best thing is that for any transactions which you don't have rules set up for, they're Apple is really intuitive on. It just saves your few minutes at the end of each week to go through any sort of miscellaneous or new norm recurring transactions on character. Like I mentioned before the end of the year, I'll just tell QuickBooks to create a profit and loss statements, which includes my income from my business expenses. And the best thing about doing this is the UK Once it's signed to do your taxes the subheadings on the tax website for HMRC when you put in all your figures on the exact same ones that QuickBooks users. So really, it's just a matter of copying numbers, and that's it. You don't your taxes. So yeah, that's why I use QuickBooks. It's a phenomenal piece of software, and I would say after Studio Ninja, easily the world that has simplified and streamlined to my business the most. 5. My $106 Bulletproof Backup Strategy: in this. Listen, I'm gonna cover my data on photo backup strategy on the work for that I follow to minimize any losses for when hard drive fails. This is arguably the least automated part of my business, but still set it up in a way to saving as much time as possible If something were to go, I can't stress this enough, but you will have a hard drive fair one day. It's not a matter of it. It's a matter of when On the steps I'm gonna lay out in this video are ones you should take to make sure that when that does happen, you're in a position. Where did you get back up and running as quickly as possible. So I'm a little bit weird in that I kind of enjoy searching out hard drives and doing research, buying the best ones. But how I see it on Norman the minority is that if I'm going to spend money on I mice will make its parts possible. So yeah, the backup strategy I'm gonna cover in this video is 3 to 1. Method consists of having three copies of your data, two of which are physical but different locations on one of them in the cloud digital. Before I jump into any specifics, I think it's important for me to say that an effective backup solution doesn't have to be expensive. You don't get the latest SS these you don't need a raid journey. The Nats really only two things you need to have a really bulletproof back up solution. The 1st 1 off to heart drops any hard price as long as you have to. That takes care of first step two copies of your data physically in separate locations. Now the good thing here is that hard drives have come down in price so much that last time I checked the numbers, you could get a one terabyte hard drive for about $50 slash £45. Now, in addition to the hard drives, the other thing you need is an online backup solution. When I use is called back. So you might be thinking alive. Dropped balls house. I've got we transfer. That's great. But at the end of the day, one of those services work in that they're constantly sinking files from the cloud to your computer. So if you delete something on your computer. It's autumn. It's people from there and as well. And that was quite restrictive in how much you can sit, which takes me to back places. Best feature. It's unlimited storage, so $6 a month you can sink Absolutely everything. Now something will happen to the original copies of those files. Like your hard drive stopped working on the same day. But let's assume that's happened. You can then go on to the back res website and download a copy of your files or half them. Man your hard drive with all of your files. I have to do this once on, but I can tell you how. Are you sure it was to know that even though I had my heart Dr Sale, how she had 200 a week, I still knew all of my files were safe back. So, yeah, at the moment, we're looking at $100 upfront for 200 eyes and seek fullest a month for back place on. Do you could argue that your pictures are the most valuable thing to your business, lets you have a business in the first place. Quite frankly, I think a small brush to make sure those files are safe for So I say that that is the strategy that I used to back up all my files for the 1st 3 years of being away. I have everything on two drives in two separate locations. One final copy on back. I will say this The tedious thing with getting back place set up is that initial upload where it takes everything your own and uploads it. It does take quite some time. It did a few weeks. Did anyone How much data you have But again, is how I mentioned beginning of these cars. The set up Michael only time consuming, but the amount of time on headaches that you say that line. So once I started taking where is more seriously on I got more work. I invested in a rent a grow grow five c in the way of rate works is that it's the enclosure off various hard drives which appear is one drive in your computer. Basically, what happens is that they're smart enough to when you place files on them. The fast get splits amongst drives in the enclosure. So I am one of those drives fails, you should be taking out. Put in a new one and your school's new. I'm not gonna go into too many specifics because it's already serving your videos out there talking about this. But I just like with convention what it is that currently using my backup solution rates have a lot of advantages. But one downside is that even though our raids like my driver, my files are technically in two places at once. I still only consider it one place, because if something were to happen to that closure, say, corrupt, then that memory or the drives inside. So because of that I have a separate external hard drive where I just copy everything that's onto that driving. That's the location. So your data workflow starts the second you stop taking pictures in a way, so I shoot with two Sodi a seven threes on. I have all my files automatically go to both calls, so as soon as I'm done right away, second bite everyone. I put away my here I leave one of those is carts inside the camera and I take another one and put it in a zip it pocket. I have over my trousers. At this point, I only have two copies off. The pictures are, too that when one of the camera and the one in my pocket on I'm not exaggerating when I say that I treat these two of the cars as these things were a newborn child, I'm going straight home off 20. I went, Go drinking way. I won't stop food. My number one priority has been a little time as possible with these pictures being just those two cars. Think of it like this. You can ensure your gear, but you can't control memories. So once they get home at night after waiting, copy all those files from the SD cards onto my desktop with an SD card. As soon as that copy onto my stop, I'll copy them onto my dro copy. They're all into my second hard drive, which is what I mentioned previously. The access that drove back up and then before I go to bed, I always make sure that those pictures are uploaded by back place on that the pre use our rendering in light room so that I could just stop anything. The next day I get Thesis is the great thing about places that once post pictures are on their service, my computer could literally implode on, and everything's still that. So it's It's a really good piece of minds to know that only a few hours after the way, I already have a copy off those files online. So I know the key point of the skill check last is automating. I know this sounds like a lot of manual work. I know it's east or clicking, copying and pasting. I just wanted to point you in the direction of a really good piece of software, which you can use the alternate all of this back and forth. I don't personally use it because I he I don't know. I don't trust myself to use it right. I feel like I'm gonna do something with it, But it's called a carbon copy cloner on. You can just set it up in a way where two separate external our prize across a myriad or where one folder is backed up to another hard drive a certain time on a certain day. So you could totally set this up in a way that once a week, once a day in my room catalog, your exported files or your raw files also. So yeah, that is my backup work again. I had a week where I literally had the SSE in my one of my will. My grove owes backup drive on Danesi car. Just fail just like that. And to make matters worse, it was the week where I was building my new PC and I was reforesting my grobo on. But what happened was I lost all my files, but because it back place, I was able to order one of the hard drives with my information. Just get back up and running in a matter of days. So, yeah, that's it for the data work. 6. Outro : So that's it. I hope you enjoyed my fast on how automated certain parts of my business to accomplish more by working less. If you enjoy this course, I really appreciate it. If you give me some feedback, if there's anything you think I could do better, was any particular topic of wedding it'll feed or just It's already you'd like. Please let me know. I got a lot of free time on my hands more than happy to keep creates content to send. You're for the little assignment. I want you to spend the next day or so thinking about three areas of your business which could optimize from being what effect it might take A little bit of time to set up. I promise that, house the time you say that the line will be more so. Yeah, that's it. Thank you so much for watching my skills. Have a great day. See you