The best software, rental houses, and gear recommendations
Photo Business Software
Of course, you need Photoshop to be a photographer, but what else do you need to run your photography business? These are the best resources I use in my own business and highly recommend. - Lincoln
ActiveCampaign CRM, Mailing List, and More!
This one tool does so much for me. As a Client Relationship Manager (CRM) I track all shoots from the initial lead, to estimate, to pre-production, to delivery, and to getting paid. And because all the client information is there, it's easy to send out email campaigns, open conversations, and track conversions. I use it daily.
BlinkBid Photo Industry Standard Estimates & Invoices
Early on in my career, I use to handwrite all my estimates in Microsoft Word. It was awful and I had math errors with my line items more times than I can count. When I found BlinkBid, I fell in love with it. It's easy to use, your bids look Pro, and it has rights and usage language built right in. This is the ONLY software I know of that is dedicated to photographers and videographers estimating needs.
You got to know your numbers. And to do that, you need good bookkeeping software. I've been a QuickBooks user since 2004 and it's been invaluable to keep track of Profit & Loss, Cash Flow, and Accounts Payable. Plus it ties right into your bank for easy import of transactions.
Call Sheets are notoriously difficult to create and keep organized. A lot of information about your shoot has to be packed into a very small piece of paper. Any small change can cost hours of fixing and tweaking. SetHero solves this problem by making Call Sheets intuitive, useful, and super readable. Our clients love the Call Sheets we make from SetHero because it lets them know what's expected and if we're staying on schedule.
At some point or another, you'll need to rent some photo gear for a shoot. If you don't have a good local option, check out these businesses. I've used them all and highly recommend them. - Lincoln
There are a couple of online rental houses, but Lensrentals is my favorite. Their customer service is amazing and friendly. They actually called me once because I forgot to add extra batteries and wanted to see if I wanted to add them. It's like a $5 upsell, but it would have been a major problem to not have extra batteries.
They also have a great program where you can buy anything you rent and take off your rental fees. If you're in the market for used gear, this is a great way to go.
Based in Atlanta, GA, Capture Integration is THE place to rent medium format digital gear. If your shoot demands 100mp digital backs, you need a trusted rental house that has all the gear you need and backups.
I especially like their ALPA Max system for shooting architecture.
This is relatively new, but a super cool idea. The platform allows you to rent gear from photographers and even post your own gear to rent out. It's a great way to generate extra income when you're not busy on a shoot.
Seems to be most useful in large market areas like New York, LA, Chicago, Miami, etc.