As an owner of a Louisville headshot and portrait photography business I know first hand that the actual time for creating and retouching images only takes about 20% of the time. The other 80% goes into nurturing client relationships and the management of consulting, emailing, file handling and marketing etc. Sounds chaotic doesn’t it? Actually it can be, and for a time at the start of my career it was very much so. I was constantly creating and modifying price lists, quotes, invoices and agreements. If it was something I was sending to a client digitally, it’s a safe bet it was through a long and daunting manual process. This not only presented a challenge for organizing but it also became very time consuming to the point where my schedule was overloaded. So I began searching out for solutions, from hiring an assistant or intern to various types of software. After some research I discovered 17 Hats, and let me tell you, I wish I had discovered this a lot sooner! After looking over their site and consulting with several peers whom used it theirselves, I jumped on board… I have not looked back since!
One of the 1st things that caught my attention was the robust amount features with an ease of use! As a photographer who specializes in a two different niches, I need to have the varying quotes on hand, ready to be delivered in as a timely manner as possible. What I send to a headshot client is not going to be the same information that I send to someone looking for a portraiture experience. Having a few of these on hand, along with emails that are easily tailored to each of my clients needs has literally saved me hours of work. All of this is easily only matter of a few clicks and keystrokes. At the first whim of an inquiry, I can reply and build a quote from my account based off the client's needs. This allows not only for more time on my end, but the client also isn’t left waiting for long durations of time.
Sample of the quote builder.
A time saving feature of the quote builder is the ability to save your "Products and Services" for future invoicing use. For example, if a client only wants an in and out headshot session to update their LinkedIn profile, I know they don't need the full personal branding session I offer, so I draft an invoice and in the "Invoice Items" section I can start to typing "Headshot" and a dropdown menu appears with all the options associated with that particular keyword. Or for another example, a bride to be decides she wants to add another 2 hours to her wedding and pay for it upfront today. I simply draft an invoice and under "Invoice Items" I type in "Additional Hour" and all my additional hourly rates will drop down in the menu and I select the wedding rate along with how many hours. I then write a quick email thanking her and within a few minutes she has the invoice, payable online via SquarePay (they have other online payment options as well).
"Products & Services" inventory.
Another valuable feature 17 Hats offers is the ability to customize multiple lead inquiry forms. This is one of my favorite features as it ties everything together for me and seamlessly implements the client's information into the management system. I personally have 3 lead inquiry forms, a general one, and two for each of the niches I specialize in, headshots and weddings. Again, every client has different needs, and the questions I ask a bride to be is not going to be the same questions I ask an actor or business professional. Through these custom forms, I am able to collect pertinent information so that I am able to better serve my clients. Information such as where the wedding ceremony will be? Will the reception be at the same venue? How were you referred? This lets me know how my marketing is doing and if a previous client has referred me in which I have a referral system with rewards.
Examples of "Lead Capture" forms.
One final perk of the lead capture form, can we say calendar integration??? Yep! I have a field for the session or wedding date and when they enter one, it automatically enters it into my Google calendar with it's own color coded appointment! Super bonus points for time saving on this one!!! Check out the video below.
Automatic calendar implementation.
These are just a few the features I've found beneficial as a photographer, mind you I am just a small business owner in one particular industry. There is a plethora of other features out there that I've not explored or had the need to use yet but a few of them are -
To learn more click the 17 Hats icon
A few months ago my friend John posted an older video of him plucking the strings in the wake of the passing of his friend. It was a side of him I had not seen before, a side not many of us had seen before... I wanted to capture that in the most intimate and raw fashion possible. No planning, no strobes, no structure... I simply asked him to come by the studio and play while I captured the energy. He came and bore his vulnerable side, I was sincerely moved by the emotions evoked that morning... together we embodied the old soul of a true artist's portrait.
"It's about intimacy. Would you make love with shoes on? No.
Executive Producer - Ken Daniels
Producers - Nathan Thomas Milliner and John Wells
Story - Ken Daniels, Nathan Thomas Milliner and John Wells
Director and Screen Writer - Nathan Thomas Milliner
Cinematographer - David P Bonnell
2nd Unit Cinematographer and 1st Assistant Camera - Jimmy Sanders
2nd Assistant Camera - Kristine Renee Farley
Sound - Brad Reinhart
Score - Joe Stockton
Special FX - Nick Taylor
Creature FX - George Crenshaw
Production Photographer - Gary Barragan
Behind the Scenes Photographer - Bill Spangler
Wrangler of Ticks - Barbie Clark
Stunt Coordinator - Chad Zigmund
Costume Designers - Barbie Clark and Gary Collins
Props - Don West and John Sandor
Speeder Bikes and Props - Derby City Pit Crew
Autumn Barefoot – Make-up
Melissa Majors - Hair
Stunts - Chad Zigmund and Logan Abell
Shaman of Luck - Pocket Storm Trooper
Kanan Jarrus - John Wells
Mara Jade - Krystabelle Dawn
Lots Tane - Jonathan Garlinghouse
Cpt. Quarrie - Darrin Dickerson
Sgt. Saxon - Don West
Pvt. Pizzo - Chad Zigmund
Pvt. Ramos - Clark Spalding
The Ronk - George Crenshaw
Clipar Leader - Gary Collins
Clipar Extra - Phil B. Fox
On Location at the Moon Clipar to document these TK's
Star Wars Hand of the Empire Official Trailer
Behind the Empire Lines
A few outakes under the Emporer's Nose
Special Thanks to Louisville's Iris Pro Imaging for donating canvas prints to the family of Phil Parks at the film premier.
And there was just no way I going to leave set without throwing on a TK bucket! Because Empire Combat Photog. :-)
May the Force be with you...
Canon and Profoto Technical Info
Camera - Canon 5D Mark IV with 50mm f/1.2L.
Key Light - Profoto B1x (StarKiller) with 2 x 3 OCF Softbox and Grid.
Primary Fill - Profoto D1 Air 500 w/ White Umbrella XL (diffused), extra diffusion with Lastolite 6 x 6 Skylight.
Secondary Fill (Camera Right) - Profoto B2 w/ 1 x 3 OCF Strip Box.
Hand Painted Backdrops and Floor Drop - Oliphant Studio.
I give my utmost thanks to Ken, Nathan and John for bringing me on board.
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A personal journal about any given day in my photography career where I will write about anything from portraits and headshots to sharing my educational experiences. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, it's my pleasure to share my stories with you!