Business Trends
Software For The Business Side Of Photography; Can One Program Do It All? Page 2

Denise Sewell (www.visualpursuit.com): "We started with Full Spectrum and have over 30,000 images in the database. We noticed that when we entered keywords, the data file became much larger and seemed slower. We have just upgraded our program, so that may not be the case anymore. Our files are labeled using numbers and letters combined (for example, A1-100). A1 stands for tree frogs and we can put 9999 images under that one label so it can go up to A1-9999. This allows us to have specific categories and not worry about running out of space.

"Also, by keeping it to less than seven digits, we can easily print bar codes. We print a detailed label that goes on the front of a 35mm slide using Slide PRO labels from Image Innovations, Inc. I don't know what people are doing for their digital files. I'm copying file information from Full Spectrum directly into Photoshop and the information is consistent with the Full Spectrum database. We use hanging file folders for storage and there is a clear identifying label at the top of each file section. For example: Bobcats. In the file there are slides in numerical order carefully stored in plastic divided sheets. The info is readily available on the slide label, so no need to refer to the database for keywords."

But can one program really do it all? A lot depends on how much you have already invested in software for such functions as calendars, accounting, and image management. Fiora comments, "Now, I think I've come to accept that any one program can only do so much; at least, do it well. For instance, Full Spectrum has a bookkeeping component, a calendar, and an image management capability. I still choose to use other software packages for these tasks despite the compelling rationale to keep it all in one program. I will in fairness have a good look at Full Spectrum for these roles but expect it to be lacking the flexibility and control of metadata. I will also consider using its image management component in parallel with another program to help track licensing and stock submission details, these being an extension of the invoicing and submission capabilities that I already utilize the program for."

Concludes Dan Gair (www.blinddogphoto.com): "For years, Full Spectrum and Photoshop were the only programs I used to run my studio. In recent years my staff and I have begun augmenting Full Spectrum with other niche photography and business programs such as fotoQuote, QuickBooks, Photo Mechanic, and Image Info Toolkit II for their more specialized accounting, keywording, and stock pricing attributes. We've also switched to Palm Scheduling for its PDA compatibility and Word for increased compatibility with non-Full Spectrum users. Still, all things considered, Full Spectrum is an incredibly deep, intuitive program that can easily meet all the needs of a thriving photography business. From billing, booking, scheduling, contact management, and accounting, to full stock image management, word processing, labeling, equipment depreciations, you name it; Full Spectrum is feature rich and represents a true integrated studio management solution."

For more information about Full Spectrum software, visit www.robinroadsoftware.com.

A Business Software Shopping List
To help explore the software issues, here is a "shopping list" complied from talking with Robin Gaines and the other photographers interviewed for this column. We are looking for software that will handle these functions:

· Appointment scheduling with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly at a glance views
· Photo equipment inventory database
· Suppliers and vendors database
· Supplies and props inventory database
· Automatic data backup
· Stock photography management (image management)
· Client records with sales history and response tracking (contact management)
· Mail list merge with a word processor and prints labels and letters
· Write and track delivery memos when portfolios go out
· Getting out estimates and revisions promptly to clients
· Interactive calendar (with reminders) and e-mail address book
· Project management by job and organized by due date
· Photography delivery memos
· Industry standard photography estimate and invoice forms
· Accounts receivables and payables management
· Cost analysis for jobs that tracks costs, supplies, and rep's commissions
· Sales reports sorted by any field selected
· Profit and loss reporting function

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