STUDIO NINJA REVIEW 2022
A little Studio Ninja review of one of my favourite software for wedding photographers to manage clients, automate workflows and generally assist your worklife.
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From integrated contact forms that link directly from your website to the software, lead management to see exactly where your marketing is going right, to fast and booking for clients with the ability to add quotes, contracts and payments all integrated to make it as fluid as possible to get those dates filled. This is the first article I have made for wedding photographers and I can see no better way to start than something that has made my work/life balance an essential part of my workflow. This is my Studio Ninja review.
For any wedding photographers out there you know the one thing that can be devasting is to accidentally double book a date, the idea of having to tell one unlucky couple can be traumatising for you and them. Before Studio Ninja this once happened to me and even though I was using google in multiple ways to try and prevent this, it still occurred. Now with Studio Ninja software, I have a piece of mind that this won't happen again. But the ability to get warnings of multiple enquiries for the same date only scratches the surface of what this incredible software can do for your business.
Studio Software for Wedding Photographers
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SPEEDING UP YOUR WORKFLOW WITH AUTOMATION
So this might sound scary to a lot of photographers, giving the power to software to automate your workflow can seem like you are separating the personal touch between you and your clients. But for me, it has been essential to creating a quicker way to manage a lot of clients per year.
So what kind of automation can it do? Well, I started simple, creating a contact form in Studio Ninja which can then be embedded in your contact page on your website. So as soon as potential clients fill it out then a lead enquiry is created within the software with all the relevant information already inputted so you don't have to do any of this. From their names, date of the wedding, location, to where they found you online or elsewhere; super simple to create and this has been a game-changer for me. This can all link to your google calendar so you know who has enquired for certain dates, adding another level of security.
So once you have a booking this is where the magic comes into play, as soon as your client has signed the contract & paid the deposit it's time for automated email templates replies for confirmation of booking or a receipt for the deposit. Studio Ninja links directly with google mail so each email sent looks like it is sent directly from you, now at first I was a bit sceptical of this but for emails that you send multiple times per year such as receipts for payments then it just saves your time and energy. I'm always going to keep that personal communication with clients before and after their weddings but it does not necessarily mean every email has to be unique.
I've set up an automated reply 2 months before the couple's wedding date which gives the client a pre-wedding questionnaire to fill out (also done through Studio Ninja), a link to book a time/date to chat (using another excellent bit of software called Calendly) and finally a reminder about the upcoming payment they will need to make. This is the same email I send to everyone but because of the ability to add variables to the email, your clients will see their names and the date of the wedding; it's super simple, an example would be to add the variable %job_date% which will then display the date of their wedding.
So you have that all-important lead, but learning where all those enquiries are coming from can be invaluable for future marketing. You will learn where all your hard work is going right or wrong, Putting loads of money into Google ads and not getting the leads? after a while you'll have the data in Studio Ninja to tell you exactly what's working and what you should be using your energy to improve or ditch completely. I simply create a dropdown menu in my client form so the client can let me know where they found me while it's fresh in their mind. Data like this is invaluable! After a year of leads, you'll have a much clearer idea of where all your enquiries are coming from, your conversion rates for each type of lead and finally where to focus all your energy for your marketing for the next year.
simple workflows to help manage each job
Studio Ninja allows a method of creating workflows for each job. These can be split up into different sections. These simple workflows can help with the overall management of each job and let you know which stage the workflow is at and remind you of what you need to do for each job.
So you have finished the wedding and now you can go through the workflow for each stage of delivery, ticking off each section until the whole job is edited. And finally automated emails a couple of months after delivery checking everything is ok to selling albums.
So once your quote has been accepted, the contract is signed and the invoice is paid you can send out an automated reply for a confirmation of booking. The rest of the workflow can be reminders to the client about filling out a questionnaire a couple of months before the wedding to remind you to book a chat with them.
All the initial communication with clients until the job is accepted. This can include anything you want from just reminders to sending out a client a brochure after they have contacted to just a simple reminder you of each step that needs to happen.
So you've chatted to your client and they would love to book. The next steps can determine how much money you might make from each client. For weddings, I have three packages and a few add on extras for clients to choose from. This is when Studio Ninja comes into life. After creating multiple packages and products from within the software you can share these with your clients on a custom webpage so they can select and create a bespoke package. This method has increased my turnover each year by allowing couples with a bigger budget to get a higher package or simply add an album from the start. For someone who hates 'selling,' this has been such a better method that gives the options to clients rather than pushing something they don't necessarily need. The client is happy and so am I.
Once your client has confirmed their quote, they'll be able to sign your contract which is all created from within the software. Finally, it's time for payment. I personally just use bank transfers to reduce fees for myself and my clients. But Studio Ninja does link to payment companies Stripe & Paypal to allow card payments for your clients. This will things easier for them but just be conscious of the fees of 1.4% +20p for Stripe and Paypal, this is a lot higher at a standard rate of 2.9%. Which can mount up for large payments.
One of the cool features of Studio Ninja is the ability to link directly to accounting software such as Xero & QuickBooks. So when you receive a payment from a client it can auto-sync to send out receipts for payments. One less thing for you to worry about. Unfortunately for me, I use QuickBooks Self-Employed which is not compatible with this feature yet... Fingers are crossed it is implemented at some point as I would love to use this feature!
Another cool integration is the ability to link gallery software such as Pic-Time & ShootProof to connect client galleries to Studio Ninja jobs. So any print orders that come from either of these will show up on your invoice and payment sections so you can see how much money you have been making.
So pricing can seem expensive to some at the start but trust me it is 100% worth it in the long run. Pricing is divided into two Pro & Master subscriptions. Pro is for 1 Company, 3 contact forms and unlimited everything else. Whereas Master allows 3 companies and unlimited everything else, so if you split your photography business into separate companies for example one for weddings and one for portraits then this would be perfect for your needs. For me, personal Pro is perfect for my needs and I've never had an issue with only being allowed 3 contact forms.
But for those wanted some discounts then firstly paying yearly will save you around £36 for the pro and £52 for the Master subscription. Secondly using the following code AJMJ1R59827N9Q during checkout will get you 20% off your subscription until however long you are with Studio Ninja! Winning.
STUDIO NINJA REVIEW
Before using Studio Ninja I didn't think I needed studio management software but after 2 years of use, I don't think I could ever go back to another method. It really does save me so much time and I can feel comfort in knowing that double bookings won't happen again. From easy automation to giving clients simple ways to book, it is now essential to my overall workflow from leading to delivering weddings to clients.
Ease of Use - 4/5
Features - 5/5
Design - 4/5
Support - 5/5
Price - 4/5