Tools of the Trade
Our favorite software, products & educational resources
Tools of the Trade
I am often asked what software, products, and non-Academy educational resources I recommend, so here it is! My favorite tools of the trade….
This is the studio management software that I use to manage leads and client booking processes. Use the code hairofthedog to save 20% off your first month or year!
While I am a huge fan of in-person sales for my photography sessions, I love to use Cloudspot for delivering my purchased high-resolution digital files to my clients and on the rare occasion I need an online gallery.
If you sell albums, you need Pixellu’s smart albums program. I’ve never used software so intuitive and easy – allowing me to design an album in 10-minutes! They also have slideshow software to create beautiful slideshows for your clients quickly and easily with a selection of royalty-free music.
If you are a student of mine, you know that having an email list for your business is a non-negotiable. Flodesk is the easiest and most customizable email broadcast system that I have ever used – and the emails that it creates are simply stunning! Save 50% with the link above.
There are now lots of different sales software options for helping you make more money in your photography. Proselect was one of the first and is still my favorite with powerful software allowing you to sort images, show the images on your clients walls, create orders and so much more.
When selling wall art its so important to get your clients excited about what their art might look like! While I use Proselect for my sales sessions, I absolutely LOVE using Ariana’s Modern Farmhouse collection for creating marketing photos for my website and client education materials. These are Photoshop files with so many layers and options that allow you to customize them to your heart’s content and just drop in your photos.
I literally would lose my mind without Sanebox! If your inbox is overrun with junk email and newsletters and you’ve tried unroll.me and you just. can’t. keep. up….you need to try Sanebox. It’s smart technology that you can train and it filters out the fluff to keep your inbox lean and mean. Use this special code to receive $25 off your subscription!
I literally couldn’t live without this program. From tracking the production of my clients’ orders, to when my bills are due, to when Zoey is due for her next Bravecto – this program is responsible for keeping my life on track. See how I use it here. If you use this link, you get two free months of the premium service.
Another piece of software that I love almost as much as my children. Seriously, if I could be in a relationship with Trello, I probably would. I use this to brain dump and track SO MANY THINGS. From a travel board where I track all of my frequent flier numbers and upcoming reservations and tickets, to mapping out the entire Hair of the Dog Academy or a yearly Nicole Begley Photography marketing plan. Trello is incredible – and free!
This is a magical little program that can save any and all text and assign a little shortcut to it – then you just type your little word and BOOM – like magic it expands! I use this for short little things like remembering specific URL pages (hello a URL directly to the HOD Facebook group and NOT just into the general FB time suck). I also use this for all of my regular client communication. Inquiry? Type ;inquiry and it’s there. Ready to request a review? Type ;review and it’s there! You can still customize before you send and this saves SO MUCH TIME!!!
Lightroom and Photoshop are two of the most commonly used photo editing tools in the industry for a reason, they are powerful. Shameless plug, if you want to learn how use them better – check out Post-Processing for Pet Photographers course in the Academy! (Link to academy sales page) If you are signing up for these programs from Adobe they have a photographers collection which is about $10/month – a value that really can’t be beat!
Topaz Labs as a variety of great products but the one that I use regularly is Topaz Adjust. It’s a great way to accentuate the details in your images and I show you how I use it inside the Academy and the Behind the Lens – An Urban Adventure.
RECOMMENDED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Imagine your favorite brunch buffet. You know the one, not just with an omelette station but with the Bloody Mary bar and ALL of the waffle toppings. Now imagine that buffet was all geared towards pet photography. That is what you’ll find inside the Hair of the Dog Academy.
Are you ready to join Charlotte Reeves, a master of natural light shooting, on a series of 10 REAL shoots? You’ll watch over her should as the shoots a full-length outdoor session, explaining each step of the process and giving you a unique insight as to how she deals with challenges to create gorgeous images, every time!
Before you can really start creating impactful pet photography images you need to know how to really see the light. In this foundation course, Charlotte Reeves helps you establish a solid base that will support the rest of your pet photography learning for years to come.
Looking for resources to navigate the world of commercial animal photography? Jamie Piper, of Cowbelly Media, has been a commercial animal photographer for over a decade and she is sharing her knowledge to help you navigate the often uncharted waters of negotiating and booking commercial jobs. I recommend the Big Commercial Photography Bundle, which includes everything that you need to get started working with commercial clients – but if you just need a few items there are lots of individual items available as well.
Headed by Rachel Brenke, TheLawTog is the only dedicated resource for photographers. With practicing lawyers, business consultants, CPA, financial planners (and more!) you’ll get information with first-hand experience to help your photography business. This button will take you to the pet resources, but there are plenty of other business resources too!
Andrew hosts a fabulous podcast with Photobiz Xposed, but did you know that he continues many of the conversations to a much deeper level for his members? He is regularly interviewing the industries best and brightest and loves to dive into marketing strategy. Use this link to get a 30-day trial for only $1.
Join Caitlin McColl and Kirstie McConnell on The Pet Photographer’s Club podcast, where they delve deep into the world of professional pet photography with fortnightly interviews and expert guests to help grow your business.
NICOLE’S FAVORITE THINGS
Oh Amazon, how could we live without you? I’m sharing a few of my favorite photography related things, as well as my ever growing list of favorite business books! Check out the Hair of the Dog storefront here.
What do you do when you love to travel and you have a reactive dog that would not do well in a boarding situation or even at a friend’s house who has their own dog? Hire a doggie vacay at Rover! I love that I can customize to people with a house, and a fenced yard, no dogs and only watch one dog at a time. Seriously a lifesaver and Zoey loves it. Use this link and you get $20 off your first booking!
It’s no secret I love to travel, and what’s better than traveling for FREE? The Chase Ink Preferred is my most favorite card as it has 3x bonuses on categories that I use a lot in my business, travel, shipping, and online advertising. Even if you don’t use those categories a ton, the 80,000 point sign-up bonus should make the $95 fee worth it – since 80,000 points is a minimum of $1,200 worth of travel.
The American Express Business Blue – with no annual fee and 2x membership rewards points on the first $50,000 you spend in a year this is an incredible card…especially since the membership rewards points are transferable to airlines and hotels, or you can book through Amex travel.
If you are in the credit card game for a while, you start to accumulate some cards and this software is a GREAT way to keep track of what cards you have, when their annual fee is due, what the benefits of each card are, and when you are eligible to apply for a new card….and it’s FREE!
GRAB THAT PASSPORT
Travel? Dog Photography? Inspiration? Yes, please.
Led by internationally recognized pet photographers Kaylee Greer, Charlotte Reeves, and Nicole Begley, the Barka retreats are truly out-of-this-world experiences. We combine learning and inspiration by photographing dogs in some of the most spectacular places on the planet.