The secret to running a successful business is organization. Developing an effective workflow that is both simple to understand, and manages your time properly is key when running a studio. Introducing fotoClient, an easy to use workflow and task managing website developed for photographers. It’s new, it's simple, and already, I can’t run my business without it.
fotoClient is a new look on task management. So often before, I've used various checklist systems like Evernote, Todoist, and the millions of others. They’re great for keeping me on schedule, but they only work as well as I do. If it doesn't go on the list, it’s forgotten, and hopefully I’m able to catch it before a client is calling me asking me where their photos are.
fotoClient is different. fotoClient blends the necessity of needing a calendar, with a task list, ensuring that what you do is on time, and you’re on a precise schedule you’d need to run a photography business.
How it Works
Unfortunately, running a photography business is a lot of repetition. As much as I’d love to say each day is different, and that the photographers life is as glamorous as I sometimes try to make it sound on social media - it’s not. My schedule is largely the same for each client, and my workflow doesn't change from day to day. And however mundane that may feel, that is where fotoClient excels.
fotoClient is broken down into different workflows, that you’re able to customize and grow to your needs. Each workflow is filled with tasks, and deadlines for each of them. So let’s say Rachel calls you, needing family photos on Thursday, you’re able to set up a Family Photos workflow, add various tasks with deadlines like retouching schedules, and insure you’re reminded of the work that needs to be done for the day. Once it's all set up, each family session will auto import those tasks, and keep you organized and on a tight schedule. So it’s like adding many calendar entries of your usual tasks to ensure you’re on schedule, with the use of one simple action. So now your culling, editing and photo delivery deadlines are all starkly on your calendar, and convincing you to stay off of Netflix, cause you've got work to do.
However whether you choose to follow the directions are ultimately up to you. fotoClient does make it easy though - syncing with your email and allowing you to fully customize how it works.
I live in a surprisingly active acting scene, and as a result, I've built a headshot business in my city of Albuquerque. While each client is different, my workflow for them is largely the same. I remind them of the session 48 hours beforehand, I shoot the session and have a proof gallery up for them within 2 hours of the session, and then upon their selections I have the photos delivered in a gallery within 10 days. From there, I'll sometimes blog about the session, deliver the final images to their agent, and prep the files for printing, with their agency badge and name plastered on the front of them. While this is a task list I do multiple times a week, it's not hard to forget a step in the busy schedule. So now I'm able to set up a workflow on fotoClient --
So think of it as applications like Trello or Google Calendar, but on steroids. By filling your schedule with all the tasks you need to do for the day, you're insuring that everything gets done.
And the calendar app works very well too. By auto adding your tasks into the calendar, you can wake up every morning with a list of things that need to get done before all else. Each different workflow comes with it's own color coding, so it further organizes your life in an easy to manage system. However, while I do find my calendar to be nicely organized to put my Capricorn mind at ease, I do wish there was the ability to view it in a larger format and by week. The task list attempts to counteract that, by nesting itself on the right side of the screen, reminding you of the work that needs to be done.
Aside from replacing your task system and calendar, fotoClient is also hoping to replace where you're checking your email from, making it a huge hub for everything you'd need to effectively run your business. To me, this feels a little unnecessary. I have my business email address run through my Gmail account, and it works pretty flawless. However, the email side of the website is pretty easy to neglect, so nothing is forcing you to use the system as a standard. By syncing with Google, fotoClient enables you to use it's services where you want, without messing up your workflow in the process.
Along side the email system, is your leads page. This is where you're able to input any leads you may have gotten for potential jobs, to monitor and measure your success rates. Perhaps the handiest feature of this is the ability to have names on file to check in on. Too often I send out price sheets to clients and never follow up with them a few days later. On the off chance that I do follow up, they more often than not book a session with me. This helps keep my business growing, in a place that is often neglected - and the stats and graphs generated just encourage it further.
Naturally, all these awesome features come at a cost. First, fotoClient is currently in invite only beta (Look below to see how to bypass that). So while new features are constantly being added, you do occasionally run into some slow down and little glitches here and there. However, the development team is very proactive, and have even implemented some features I've sent them within 24 hours of the suggestion. The other downside is, when released to the public, fotoClient doesn't look to be free for everyone. While they'll have a free service (That seems to fit within the needs of most photographers), they'll also have two paid versions of the system, with extra features and priority support.
What I Liked-
Seamlessly Syncs With my Already Existing Systems for Management
Blends Calendar Apps with Task Management Apps
Fairly Easy To Use
Exceptional Customer Support
What Could Use Improvement -
No Mobile Support (Yet)
Paid Service For All The Features
I am convinced that if you're a working photographer who needs to keep organized and on task, that fotoClient is for you. Not only has it changed my workflow techniques considerably, but has actually convinced me to detach myself from Google Drive, a system that I've grown all to accustomed to. fotoClient allows you to sync everything easily, and keep you on task to help run a successful business. If you'd like to give FotoClient a try, sign up for their beta on their website.
Despite fotoClient being in beta, and not yet available for public release - we have worked out a deal exclusively for Fstoppers readers. I have spoke with the creators of this system, and have agreed to give top priority beta exclusively to Fstoppers readers. So go to their website, sign up, and use the code "FSTOPPERS" to get front of the line access. Just be sure to submit any bugs you may find in the beta release, as the faster this gets to the public, the better.
This actually looks pretty great - can't wait to try it out. Thanks Zach!
It really is. When a friend mentioned it to me, I was a bit of a skeptic myself. I'm pretty stubborn by nature, so I thought I had a good system for organization already in place. Well, this program blows my old system away.
Currently using this myself as they sent me an invite, I cant say enough how awesome this really is! Best thing is, they take all feedback onboard and everyday it just gets better!
as long as it will let you export your calendars to other cal systems, it'll be good. But to have "no app", and no ability to check my calendar on my phone, it's no dice for me.
The Calendar can easily transfer to Google Calendar for you.
Any word on if it will transfer to iCal or Outlook that you have heard of?
I'm not sure, but it's worth trying out and emailing the developers. I use Google Calendar, and when I started using it, I couldn't get it to sync. I emailed them and they had implemented Google Calendar for me 6 hours later.
These guys work fast.
Really a good idea, but i never see an app with so many bugs. It's impossibile to save a contact or create an event, you can send an email, but i will not see if the persona answer (I had to turn back to gmail for read it). I try to import the calendar in gmail, but it give me an error.. There is something that work in this app??
I've experienced none of these problems. Aside from that, it is in beta, so you're going to experience some bugs.
Probably they was making some update, i try now and it work!
Im giving this a serious go. ShootQ is too expensive and trello not flexible enough.
I got my invite the other day and I LOVE it so far! I can't wait to really dig in and make it work for me :)
Is there anyway to add automatic tasks so i don't have to repeatedly add them to my events?
Yes, in your settings you're able to completely build your tasks list for each workflow
I have my workflows all done. How do i add them to it?
Lots of KUDOS to be had for these ambitious folks. Lots of great work being done.
They followed me on Twitter and I sent them a message asking for an invite.. got one within an hour ( and it was a very late hour at that.. and on a weekend!)
I'm digging what they are doing and the integration with calendar is great...
I'm feeling though that this is missing the ability to track estimates and invoices.. and truly this is whats lacking.
Perhaps even an integration with Google Docs?
Maybe they can set up templates for both in Docs.. and tie it all in...
Am I the only one who thinks this would make this a much more viable tool to run ones business?
Sound off.... Id love to hear.
ALSO.. while I'm here and the topic of EMAIL in business came up.. I feel I must add.. TWO amazing tools for email
1) Boomerang for Gmail http://www.boomeranggmail.com/
2) Signals for Email http://www.getsignals.com/?utm_source=signals&utm_campaign=viral&...
Boomerang allows you to schedule emails. I can compose an email on a Friday night at 1 am if I choose.. and set it to send out at Monday morning at 9am. Without my computer even having to be turned on! It will also allow me to have an email I receive be marked as unread and returned to me at a date I specify... a latter date when Id like to deal with or be reminded of it. Truly powerful tool!
Signals for Email allows me to track if someone opens my mail... shows me each time they open it... AND from what type of device.. AND what links they clicked in the email! Its amazing. You get 200 notifications a month FREE... and if you pay 10$ a month you get unlimited notifications. If you give a referral link to someone and they use it.. you get a month of unlimited notifications!
Excellent service! They also have a great mobile app!
Hope it helps!