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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 19 Jan 2010 (Tuesday) 12:47
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Management Software

 
C-Shuler
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Jan 19, 2010 12:47 |  #1

If you were to design your own studio management software, what are some key things you would want it to do? Here are some of the obvious things in my mind:

1) Basic client information (address, phone, email, newsletter option, etc.)

2) Client's children and their ages

3) Client sessions and their orders

4) Referrals (how a customer found the studio and who they eventually refer)

5) Costs of goods sold and product pricing

6) Income and expense reports as well as various other reports to track what types of sessions / products sell best, etc.

While things are a little slow, I have decided to finish creating my own management software. I know there are some great programs already out there, and I had been using one for a while. However, I'm just not 100% happy with it.


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rojethee
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Jan 19, 2010 13:02 |  #2

Sounds cool. Keep me updated. You could always make some money selling it if its any good.


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jhcanon
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Jan 19, 2010 13:34 |  #3

Sounds like a good idea as the only programs of this type on the market tend to be very expensive. The only problem is that if you want to eventually sell it you will have to provide a user guide support and will probably get pestered with questions. If you do it would be good to make it flexible for international phone numbers, zip codes and currencies.

Good luck and keep us updated.


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C-Shuler
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Jan 19, 2010 14:06 |  #4

I certainly understand about the user guide and support, I've done this before. Before deciding to be a full time photographer, I was a full time programmer. If there was an interest in a web-based program (which is my specialty) from my fellow photographers, I would be more than happy to offer this at a very low cost. As for international use, the biggest problem I've had in the past was not phone numbers or currency, but language and date formats :)


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Karl ­ Johnston
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Jan 19, 2010 14:42 |  #5
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Sounds like you need simply accounting :); that's what I use and it does about 3/4 of what you described there.


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C-Shuler
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Jan 19, 2010 16:30 |  #6

I had used some software that was geared toward photographers, however, I felt even though it was specialized for photographers, it was lacking in a few areas. The basic data collection is really the same for all the programs, it is the reporting that makes a program strong. If you can't run good reports to tell you where you stand, your data is just sitting there, useless.


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Karl ­ Johnston
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Jan 19, 2010 18:21 |  #7
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I think fotoquote might have something like this but I failed to research it
www.fotoquote.com (external link)


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stagi
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Jan 20, 2010 16:59 |  #8

what weren't you happy with the solutions you tried?


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C-Shuler
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Jan 20, 2010 17:40 |  #9

Well, the data entry part was not as user friendly as it could have been. And there were so many options when managing sessions and orders that if you didn't select all the right ones, they wouldn't show up in reports. Something as simple as reporting average sales per session would be wrong. Guess I dont need all the bells and whistles of that program and just looking to create something that could keep me in touch with the heart of my business.


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OdiN1701
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Jan 20, 2010 17:53 |  #10
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Making a program like this would interest me. A web-based application I would also be interested in tinkering with.


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GW2
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Jan 21, 2010 15:24 |  #11

ACT? You can customize it to do almost anything. You could start from scratch and create your own Access database with some VB functionality, but why? Lots of hours and your aren't going to sell it. Software business is a nightmare of bug fixes and upgrades.

ACT is cheap and customizable in a matter of hours from the standpoint of zero knowledge.




  
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Baadil
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Jan 22, 2010 05:04 |  #12

C-Shuler wrote in post #9426856 (external link)
... As for international use, the biggest problem I've had in the past was not phone numbers or currency, but language and date formats :)

Best way to handle dates is to use International date format everywhere: yyyy/mm/dd. I have found this to work everywhere and no one gets confused.


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sb4photos.com
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Jan 22, 2010 06:15 |  #13

So what is the main software on mac if possible are you guys using for client info and invoices and calender sync??




  
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tom_fewster
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Jan 22, 2010 09:16 |  #14

I've been working on a Mac solution for this, mainly due to the existing solutions being so expensive.

The main things I decided it required were:

- Client Details

  • Name Address
  • Address
  • Linked Contacts
  • Mailing list
  • View of all photo shoots involving client

- Enquiry details
  • Name
  • Preferred contact method (phone/email/post)
  • Follow Up date
  • How they found us
  • Referrer

- Booked photo shoots
  • Dates & times (& Schedule)
  • Location
  • Shot List
  • Tasks
  • History of key points (quote sent, contact sent, payment received etc.)

- Quotes
  • Quotes for various different (customisable) packages
  • Ability to print a personalised quote/invoice
  • Payments received

- Address book sync
  • Since mine is for a Mac it syncs with an address book group (easy sync with other devices)

- Calendar Sync
  • Shoot dates
  • Task deadlines
  • Enquiry Follow up dates etc.
  • Since mine is for a Mac it syncs with an iCal calendar group (easy sync with other devices)


I think my main concern was I didn’t want to replicate existing software but integrate with it. It doesn't seem worth me writing an new address book when there are good ones already out there, same with the calendar, I don’t want to implement all the calendar functionality when there is a pretty good one already available. Users aren’t going to want to maintain their data in two locations, so if possible give them the option to stay in sync.

I found as I started to write the code, my requirements grew exponentially, and it is getting more and more complex.

Those have been my ideas whilst writing the software anyway.

I'm hoping to release a beta version in about a month.



  
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Karl ­ Johnston
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Jan 22, 2010 09:57 |  #15
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Link us when you do ^


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