5 mistakes photographers make when choosing or switching their CRM

Sprout Studio is an all-in-one app to help you run your photography business and includes a CRM, studio management system, galleries & more!

You’re looking for a CRM for your photography business. Or maybe you’re thinking of switching from the studio management app you use now because you feel limited and stuck.

💡 Quick question: Why are you here? What brought you to this article? Why are you looking for a CRM and business management system as a photographer? Hold onto that idea throughout this article …

Choosing the right CRM is a big decision – you’ll use this software every day and it directly impacts the experience you give your clients. You want to make sure you make the right decision, and with so many options and so many CRMs for photographers – how do you choose?

The 5 mistakes that many photographers make when choosing (or switching to) a CRM are:

  1. Photographers don’t think about “why” they need a CRM in the first place.
  2. Photographers don’t think about how the CRM can and will grow with them.
  3. Photographers don’t think about things from their client’s perspective.
  4. Photographers think about aesthetics only.
  5. Photographers don’t think about what else their CRM can do for them.

In this article, you’ll learn why these are important and how to avoid them.

But first, what is a CRM?

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. As a photographer, your CRM goes beyond just customer management, though – it supports your sales efforts, impacts your entire client experience, gives you actionable insights and can help you run a photography business that is a well-oiled machine instead of one where you feel like you can’t keep all the pieces together.

A great photography-specific CRM will help you manage and organize your clients and your entire business workflow – everything other than shooting and editing!

5 mistakes photographers make when choosing a CRM

Mistake #1 – You don’t think about “why” you need a CRM in the first place

Many photographers jump into a CRM without knowing why. They see it mentioned in a Facebook Group or a speaker at a workshop talks about how much they love their CRM, so the photographer thinks – “why not?” and starts looking.

You should understand what problems you are trying to solve in your business and why a CRM will be a great tool for you. That way, when you’re comparing the CRMs for photographers, you can make an informed decision based on what you know you’re looking for.

Read our article about the 6 features you should look for in a CRM to learn more about what features you must look for in a CRM. But fair warning – even those 6 features may not be enough. First, be sure to answer:

  1. What do you hope to accomplish by implementing a CRM in your photography business?
  2. What CRM features are non-negotiable based on those business outcomes?

Mistake #2 – You don’t think about how the CRM can and will grow with you

A common oversight is not considering how your CRM can grow with you as your business grows – because that’s the goal, right? The right CRM should be a great fit for you now, wherever you are in your business, but it should also have the option to scale up with you as your business and clients increase over the years.

With Sprout Studio, we have 4 plans and pricing options that support you through your journey as a photographer, all the way from starting out to scaling with a team.

Mistake #3 – You don’t think about things from your client’s perspective

Donald Miller popularized the idea that “you are not the hero; your clients are,” and it’s true. Your clients should live at the centre of your business and influence every decision you make.

Many photographers view their CRM exclusively as a tool to help them in their photography business. While that’s important, it also has a massive impact on the experience you give your clients, so make sure you’re looking at how things function, flow, and look from your client’s perspective.

“I’ve never gotten so many compliments from clients about my booking process till I switched to Sprout. Y’all keep us looking the best we can be!” – Ashlyn Hughes (@seaandsheaphotoco)

Mistake #4 – You think about the aesthetics only

You’re a photographer, so yes, aesthetics are important, of course! While a visually appealing interface is nice, functionality should not be compromised for looks. A CRM should be intuitive and efficient, not just stylish.

Don’t be fooled by a CRM with flashy colours and pretty aesthetics. Dig in and make sure it can do the things you want to do. Remember the question from earlier – “What do you hope to accomplish by implementing a CRM in your photography business?” as that should guide your decisions, not just “How pretty is this CRM?”

Of course, a CRM that checks off both aesthetics and functionality – that’s a winner!

“I get so many compliments because it matches everything that I do! The interface alone is a love affair.” – Ashley Rae (@ashleyraephotography)

Mistake #5 – You don’t think about what else your CRM can do for you

Many photographers Google things like “CRM for photographers” or “Which CRM should I use in my photography business?” While those are good things to look for, many photographers often overlook what else a CRM can do.

Perhaps the better question is, “Is a CRM enough?”

Does the CRM offer integrations with other tools, or better yet, does it have those tools built-in? What is the support like if you have questions? Can it help you with image delivery, marketing, and other business functions, or is it purely client management? These are all things to consider when looking to invest in a CRM.

Read our article about the 6 features you should look for in a CRM to learn more about what features you must look for in a CRM.

Is a CRM enough for your photography business?

We believe that a CRM is just the beginning. It’s the foundation of your business system and one piece of a thorough ecosystem of tools you need to run your photography business effectively.

I remember when I had the idea for Sprout Studio 10 years ago. I was using a CRM, but I also had other needs – sending email marketing campaigns, delivering digital files, offering digital downloads, selling prints, proofing album designs, scheduling meetings and sessions, etc.

I used a CRM for the CRM features and then had a Frankenstein system with a bunch of other apps and pieces of software to round out all my needs.

It seemed more complicated than it should. I remember thinking, “Is there an app that does all these things I need for my photography business in one place?”

The answer was no. It didn’t exist. So, I set out to create it!

Now, Sprout Studio is – truly – the only all-in-one system for photographers. You can run your entire business in one place with Sprout Studio. The CRM is just the beginning. You also get:

  • Invoicing – Simplify and automate how your clients pay you.
  • Contracts – Easily sign legal contracts with your clients with ease.
  • Bookings – Book your clients while you sleep and even allow them to self-book sessions!
  • Scheduling – Schedule meetings and sessions without the back-and-forth.
  • Questionnaires – Ask your clients questions, get feedback, be better prepared
  • Galleries – Beautifully show, share and sell your photos with clients.
  • Email marketing – Design stunning emails and effortlessly create email campaigns.
  • Album proofing – Get feedback and collaborate with clients on album designs.
  • AI – The power of AI built into Sprout – write emails, create questionnaires and more!
  • Reports and analytics – Learn more about your business health and analyze your growth.

“I have tried them all, even looked at Dubsado after having Sprout for years and nope, nothing even compares to the capabilities of Sprout. Between the scheduler, contracts, automatic emails, email campaigns, galleries, literally everything you can ever imagine in one place.” – Rebecca McCallum (@rkm_photography_)

Since you get all these apps in one place, you can automate your clients’ journey, spend less time manually putting things together, be more organized, and give your clients a more consistent experience.

If you’re interested in checking out Sprout Studio as the CRM (and more) for your photography business, you can watch a free demo here and learn more here. There’s also a free 14-day trial that you can start to see if Sprout will be a good fit for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have some questions?

Still have questions about Sprout Studio? We’ve got you! Let’s dig in …

Sprout Studio is different because you get all the apps you need in one place. You get a CRM, invoicing, contracts, bookings, scheduling, questionnaires, galleries, email marketing, album proofing, AI tools, reports and so much more in one single, seamless platform specifically designed for photographers!

You can watch a short demo video of Sprout Studio here. Each feature page on our site also has live demos of various features in Sprout Studio. The best way for you to preview what Sprout Studio looks like is to sign up for a free trial and see it in action for yourself!

It’s not really a fair comparison (for the others) to compare us, because other CRMs are like a camera without a lens and accessory ecosystem. The camera itself may be great, but you’re forced to hunt for off-brand lenses, flashes and accessories that don’t fit and work the same as they would if they were on-brand.

The competitors do 1 thing – a CRM – for example. Or they do online galleries. Or they do email marketing. And many of them do that 1 thing really well! Sprout does those things too – a CRM, galleries and email marketing. And feature-for-feature, we’re all more-or-less comparable. The real difference is that with Sprout, you get all the tools you need in one place, so it’s better for you, your clients and your wallet! Everything works nicely together.

At Sprout Studio, you get industry-leading support from real people who show up every day to help you succeed as a photographer. They’re happy to answer your questions via email, right in your account or via phone.

There are several pricing plans and options for your Sprout Studio subscription, starting as low as $19/month USD. You can learn more on our pricing page.

Setting up Sprout Studio is straightforward. We’ve designed the platform with ease of use in mind. You first walk through Startup Wizard, which guides you through the initial setup process step by step. Additionally, you can download templates and preset workflows that make customization quick and simple, allowing you to get your CRM up and running in no time.

No, you don’t have to start from scratch with Sprout Studio. We provide 100s of customizable templates for emails, contracts, questionnaires, and more, which you can easily adapt to fit your brand and workflow. These templates are designed to save you time and effort, making it easier to maintain consistency and professionalism across all client interactions.

Migrating your existing clients to Sprout Studio is a smooth process. We offer tools that allow you to quickly enter client data directly into Sprout Studio from your existing CRM. You can also hire us to do it for you, and our concierge team will seamlessly migrate your clients for you.

Sprout AI: Questionnaires

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Effortlessly design tailored client questionnaires with Sprout AI, the world’s first AI questionnaire builder for photographers. Say goodbye to the hours spent drafting and revising what to say – transform your client interactions now!


Stop wasting your time writing emails.

Elevate your communication game with Sprout AI. Craft compelling emails in your unique brand voice, effortlessly and efficiently! With a click of a button, you can spend more time doing what you love – photography.


The Photographer's 2024 Industry Report.

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