Reviews

5 Reasons to Switch to HoneyBook

 

Want a one-stop-shop for organizing your business? 

In the immortal words of Amy Poehler, "Yes please!" 

It's easy to find reasons to put off switching to a new organizational system. We've also been guilty of sometimes thinking too short-sightedly when it comes to business processes, and having an "If it's not broken, don't fix it" mentality to things other than the actual photography part of our business. But friends, let me tell you, we love HoneyBook for managing our business, and are so happy we made the leap! We even updated this post because HoneyBook has introduced new features that make it an even more amazing tool for small business owners! 

What is HoneyBook? 

While HoneyBook is used by lots of different types of vendors, our review will be largely written from the perspective of a Wedding & Portrait Photographer. HoneyBook streamlines and automates your client's experience from inquiry to final invoice. The HoneyBook system keeps your clients moving through the workflow with automated reminders and notifications. Your pipeline helps you visualize where you are with your clients and what you need to work on next, all in one place. Email clients directly from HoneyBook (both the app and the internet browser version). Create and manage invoices, service brochures, and proposals , with the ability for clients to seamlessly select services, sign agreements, and make payments online. You can even send your clients customized timelines for their projects to help keep everyone on track!  

Here are 5 reasons to make the switch! 

1. Use the Pipeline View to Manage Workflow

The ability to view all of your projects (weddings, portraits, etc.) in one place and easily determine what needs to happen next, depending on what stage the project is in is invaluable in keeping up with your workflow and staying on top of deadlines. 

 

2. Create an Integrated Contact Form To Send Website Inquiries Directly to Your HoneyBook Workflow

This right here is a game changer! Customize your perfect contact form through HoneyBook and embed the code onto your website's contact page, and just like that, every inquiry that comes through your website is automatically in your HoneyBook workflow! 

 

3. Create and Send Brochures, Proposals, and Questionnaires

HoneyBook makes it super easy to send brochures of the services you offer, where your clients can select the service they're interested in. You can then send them a proposal (agreement/contract - pictured above) with the info they need to review and sign your agreement electronically, and they can make payment online immediately! I can tell you for us, this has made booking and getting paid a considerably less cumbersome process, and has created a lot less work for our clients too! No more finding checkbooks or locating stamps to send in paper agreements. What this also means is that not only are all your messages, from the initial inquiry to the last thank you, all in one place for each project, but so are the files you send them, including their signed proposal and any event questionnaires you've sent them! It truly is a one-stop-shop to keep track of all activity associated with each client. 

You can even create the following types of templates, each fully customizable, to help you better streamline your client communications so you're providing consistent and complete information every time! 

  • Email Communications
  • Services and Packages 
  • Brochures 
  • Agreements 
  • Questionnaires 

 

4. Online Invoicing and Payment Made Easy

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I'll admit it. Before HoneyBook, I was terrible at invoicing. I mean, I had the payment info in the contract, and I'd email people or follow-up, etc., but I did not have a good process in place for tracking amounts due, due dates, and following up with clients. Which made every interaction about it kind of awkward, and no one wants that. Now I can easily create an invoice and send it, track due dates, and HoneyBook will automatically send out payment reminders on past due balances (making it less awkward and weird than emailing myself)! Clients can even add a gratuity right through HoneyBook if you have that feature enabled. It's great! Once payment is made, the money is automatically deposited into our business account and available within 2-3 business days. If a client prefers to pay via check, you can manually mark the invoice paid. Easy as pie! Mmm... Pie... 

 

5. Create Project-Specific Tasks & Workflows (in Beta) 

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Who here couldn't use a friendly reminder to keep us on track from time to time (or literally all of the time)? With HoneyBook, you can implement automated, project-specific workflows (still in Beta) to help make your life easier, and your client's experience even better! You can also create tasks, either as a part of a workflow or standalone, that make sure you never miss following up with a client, sending an invoice, or anything again! Here's a brief overview of these two features:

Tasks

  • Create and manage project-specific tasks to keep yourself on track (and receive reminders when you have overdue tasks)
  • Tasks appear both in the Task Management area (all tasks) or within each project (project-specific tasks) and can be arranged by what's due next so you always have easy access to what your next steps are

Workflows (Beta)

  • Create workflows based on different types of projects, for instance, a Wedding workflow and a Portrait workflow 
  • In workflows, you can automate, on a pre-determined schedule in relation with the project date, things like creating a task, sending a questionnaire, or sending an email (and you can turn on approval if you don't want emails to send without your review)
  • Important Note: This feature is currently in Beta, but if you sign up for HoneyBook, I highly encourage you to sign up to be a Beta tester so you get the first access to all sorts of neat features and can provide feedback! 

These automation features are an amazing way to stay on top of your workflow easily, so that you can spend your time focusing on better serving your clients!

 

BONUS REASON! 

Just for our readers, get 20% off of your first year with HoneyBook (or your first month if you choose a monthly subscription) when you use the link below! 

Dutcher Photography HoneyBook Discount! 

Enjoy friends, and here's to streamlining processes, perfecting your workflows, and getting your life back! 

--Sam 

 

Equipment Review: Canon 24-70 mm 2.8 Lens

 

Equipment Introductions with Rob

Today I'm introducing the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L.  We call it a Walk Around Lens; Walk Around Lenses being our favorite lenses for multiple conditions.  At a little over two pounds, the 24-70 is not our lightest lens, but its versatility makes it worth the haul for weddings.  It syncs well with our Speedlite 600EX-RT flashes (look for a future review), but as a f/2.8 it does well in lower light situations as well, and also has some macro capabilities when at full zoom.

Great For The Following:  

  • Wedding Photography
  • Portraits
  • Family Formals or Large Group Photography
  • Macro Photography (if you can't yet invest in a Macro lens) 

Would Not Recommend For:

  • Street Photography (too bulky) 
  • Sharp Wide Angle Shots
  • Super Low Light 

Outside of the convenience and quality afforded by this zoom lens, it's worth noting that the focus is sharpest when zoomed all the way in.

I took this picture of a dried flower on my Field Notes, zoomed all the way out to 24mm:

 
 

 

However, as shown in the picture below, the sharpness does not lend itself to cropping during editing:

 
 

Keeping all other things the same, I zoomed to 70mm:

 
 

The refinement gained really pays off in editing:

 
 

There's no definition to those hairs at 28mm.  Are tiny hairs on a dried flower often important during a wedding?  No, not really, but you can only edit what you record.  If the subject of photograph is the details, you are better off if you keep in mind to shoot at 70mm with this lens.  Rarely when moving within crowds am I looking for that level of detail; the ability to pull back to 28mm allows me to capture more of the spirit of things without being obtrusive.  The ability to slide back and forth between these strengths is what makes this such a fantastic lens for weddings.

Stay tuned for more equipment reviews from me in the coming weeks, and check out the album below, all taken with the 24-70. 

--Rob 

 

What's In Our Camera Bag?

 
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A Look At The Photography Equipment We couldn't do Without 

If you're like me, you probably love looking at what equipment other photographers use! I find it endlessly fascinating (although admittedly, I'm a photography nerd). So, since I totally dig it when other photographers share what equipment they're using, I wanted to do the same! I also wanted to let everyone know that we're super excited to start doing camera gear reviews in the near future! This post right here will be the first step, laying it all out on the table, and then we'll do a deeper dive into some of our equipment, the pros and cons, and what you can expect when using it! 

Camera Bodies

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
    • This is a badass camera body, and it's the one I use day to day. Both the 5D Mark IV and the 7D Mark II have excellent low light performance, and redundant memory card slots, so are great for the photographer on the go! 
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
    • If you don't need a full frame sensor, the 7D Mark II is the way to go! It's a workhorse camera with excellent low light performance and so is perfect for wedding photography! 

    Lenses

    • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L Lens
      • This is such a versatile lens, particularly for wedding photographers, and my go-to for formal portraits in particular, or tight spaces where you need a little more wiggle room on focal length 
    • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Lens for Canon
      • I have barely taken this lens off my camera since I got it! It's sharp, fast and accurate auto-focus, and has the dreamiest bokeh imaginable (seriously gorgeous) and the focal length also makes this a very versatile lens as well
    • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens for Canon
      • Okay, this is also an amazing lens, and I just love both of my Sigma lenses so much it's not even funny - this and the 35mm are my go-to when I'm shooting on the 5D 
    • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L Lens
      • We call this lens The Beast, and with good reason! It's not for the faint of heart, or weak of arm! It's a heavy but magnificent lens that's sharp, great for getting that close up feel I love during moments where perhaps we can't get that close (wedding ceremonies anyone?) Be prepared to have sore arms the next day! 
    • Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
      • While this is a lovely macro lens, I actually love it for all sorts of things, but especially portraits! This is also my go-to ring shot lens *heart eyes* Word to the wise though, it's only for crop sensor cameras! 
    • Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Lens
      • This is a great portrait lens as well, though the auto-focus is a little slower than I would like. It's a great prime lens to use during wedding ceremonies! 
    • Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX Lens for Canon
      • Admittedly, I don't show wide angle very often, as I tend to like to get up close and personal, but this lens is really fun to play with, and in particular, I love it for wide outdoor shots. The auto-focus is very slow though, just an FYI

    Lighting

    • Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
      • I cannot say enough wonderful things about this flash. We have 4 of them, and coupled with a wireless transmitter, they create the easiest and quickest to use wireless lighting setup for off-camera flash imaginable! 
    • Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter
      • See above - this coupled with the Canon 600 Speedlite flash is a miracle-worker in tough lighting conditions and super easy and quick to setup and carry! 
    • Two 32" Convertible Umbrellas with Stands
      • While not every occasion calls for umbrellas, the ones that do really do, so I keep this kit (that goes with our 600 Speedlite flashes and Wireless Transmitter) at the ready at all times, just in case. No need to plug anything in, and can be set up in under 5 minutes

    Accessories

    • Watson AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries (about a million of them) and Charger
      • You can never have too many rechargeable batteries, and unlike when we first starting shooting, rechargeable batteries have come a long way and are now a very viable option for powering all manner of gadgets, such as those handy speedlite flashes mentioned above. The charger even has a car plug-in option, for charging on the go
    • SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO Memory Card
      • You can also never have too many memory cards, and these are our favorites 
    • Peak Design Camera Bag and Straps
      • I just ADORE this brand! It's stylish, unisex, and sturdy. <3 

    Photo Editing Software

    • Adobe Lightroom 
      • Lightroom for LIFE! I've been hooked ever since the Beta came out back in 2006, and although I've shopped around, nothing beats it for intuitive workflow

    In Closing... 

    I am so excited to share our camera bag info with you, and if there is anything in particular you'd like to see a review on, leave us a comment and let us know!