Running a photography business has a lot of moving parts, which can quickly take up a lot of time if you’re not organized or don’t have solid systems in place.
Sprout Studio is an all-in-one photography studio management software suite that helps alleviate the stress of running the “business” so you can get back to focusing on what’s important—giving your clients the best experience.
Rather than paying for multiple software tools that don’t work together, you can handle your entire business with a single source of truth. From collecting leads to booking sessions to selling prints, Sprout Studio does it all.
Sprout Studio was born out of an idea by Bryan Caporicci, a professional photographer, to help organize his own photography business.
This idea evolved into the software suite that is helping thousands of photographers get organized, thrill clients, and make more money. What’s not to love?
Sprout Studio proudly displays on their homepage that their users make 2X the money than average photographers and spend 28 hours less per month on their businesses.
Even if those numbers happen to be exaggerated, the software still deserves your attention and consideration if you own a studio or want to get started.
In this Sprout Studio review, I’ll be outlining what the tool has to offer and determining whether it’s one of the best photography studio software options on the market.
Oh, I almost forgot! I’ve got a special link for my readers to save 20% on Sprout Studio, so stick around until the end for that. (Or skip down there if you want the TL;DR verdict and Sprout Studio discount…I won’t be offended.)
At the heart of Sprout Studio, is its ability to manage every aspect of the business side of your operation, so that’s where we’ll begin this review.
Taking great photographs is only one half of running a successful photography business. The other half requires just as much focus and attention.
What I like about studio management software like Sprout Studio is the simplification of more complex processes presented in the form of a clean user interface.
It was built by photographers that understand what needs to be included and the layout of the software is intuitive for anyone to catch on quickly.
Going through each of these studio management features individually would probably make this Sprout Studio review into 10K words, so I’ll briefly give my thoughts in a more general sense for a few of my favorite features & benefits of the business side of things:
- Sync your calendar so you never miss a shoot or deadline
- Give your client access to their own portal to manage their booking, proof albums, order products, and more
- Create price lists with flexibility to adjust even the smallest aspects of your products
- The built-in pricing assistant is super helpful to make sure you aren’t over or underpricing yourself
- Track expenses and mileage for your financial records
- Manage and process payments, contracts, and invoices
- Popular payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, and Square
- Global contracts can be sent to clients for digital signatures and there are even internal contracts for things like second shooters
- Create coupons and product credits for your customers
- Send quotes, booking proposals, and questionnaires to leads and clients
- I love the streamlined, linear flow of the booking proposals
- Create templates for things like email, contracts, payment schedules, questionnaires, etc.
- These templates can be put in custom groups for quick access
- Organize photo shoots with clients and set reminder/confirmation emails
In the V3 version of their tool, the product team overhauled the UI/UX of the Sprout Studio application and I must say, it is super clean and intuitive.
Since you’ll basically be living in Sprout Studio on a daily basis, it is helpful that things are laid out well and executions are snappy. It’s also a nice touch to be able to set a theme for a bit of personality and comfort.
The team did a lot of work improving the navigation and site hierarchy, ensuring that things are easy to find and access from anywhere within the software.
I can’t stand apps that don’t place importance on navigation and flow, so I’m glad I didn’t have to ding Sprout Studio on this for the review.
The next feature we’ll discuss in this Sprout Studio review is branding. Sprout Studio gives you basic control of the look and feel of your business through color and logo selection.
The accent color you select to represent your brand is uniform across the site and your communications. This keeps things consistent and helps cultivate emotions associated with you and your photography.
You’re able to create 2 brands with most of their plans, which is helpful if you run your business with a partner photographer or split it by type of photography.
If you are a studio with multiple photographers and brands, you’ll want to opt for the Studio tier, which allows for unlimited users and brands.
In order to get clients, you first need leads. Collecting leads is a challenge for all business types, so you need all the help you can get.
Sprout Studio enables you to generate forms for leads to fill out that can even be customized with CSS.
Of course you can also add leads manually into Sprout Studio.
Once a lead is in the system, you’ll be able to see a timeline of their activity and view all of the data you’ve collected about them. This is standard across CRMs, but not something many photographers may place importance on.
The more information you have about a lead, the better. With more information, you can segment them for more targeted marketing.
While getting a name and email address is a good start, it’s also helpful to learn more about who they are and what they may be interested in from you.
You have to find a balance of the number of things you can ask in a form—too many and they won’t fill it out; too few and you are in the dark.
Since I’m a massive fan of business automation, I was thrilled that Sprout Studio has both a Zapier integration and in-house workflows.
While Sprout Studio might handle a lot of the tasks your existing software tools perform, you might not want to completely jump ship. As an all-in-one solution, it’s likely there will be elements of Sprout Studio that make sense to use another tool for.
That’s where Zapier comes in to help save time by making software tools work together.
For example, rather than moving all of your email marketing to Sprout Studio, you could explore a Zapier automation to at least save you time by automatically adding new leads to your email tool’s subscriber list.
Some of the most popular workflows for Sprout Studio in Zapier allow you to:
- Add or update MailChimp subscribers
- Create new leads from Squarespace form submissions
- Send Handwrytten cards for new bookings
- Create new shoots for new Calendly invitees
- and many, many more!
The in-house workflows are useful for automating tasks within Sprout Studio’s ecosystem. Their workflows follow the “if this, then that” framework, so you can trigger things to happen automatically—giving your clients the impression you’re always working!
While it might take some time to learn how to use the workflows and set them up, that initial investment will pay off massively. No one wants to work 40 hours per week, and with smart automations and processes, no one needs to.
Email is still one of the most effective forms of marketing, and any photographer not taking advantage of growing their list is missing out on a lot of potential income.
In a 2022 report, 77% of marketers had seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.
Sprout Studio includes several great email marketing features, so you don’t have to pay for another tool that charges you more as your list grows.
Sprout Studio’s email marketing features include:
- Automated emails
- Drip campaigns
- Single bulk emails
- Inline forms
- Performance metrics/statistics
It’s also worth reminding you that Sprout Studio has several ways to capture emails from leads to start sending them your emails.
One of my favorite ways to collect emails in Sprout Studio is via an email-gated gallery.
Let’s say you shoot an event with a lot of attendees and have permission to sell the photographs after.
You can share a link to the email-gated gallery with all of the attendees. Gallery visitors must enter their email address to access the photos, so even if they don’t buy anything from you, you’ll be able to market to them whenever you want.
The email-gated gallery feature is only available in the Pro and Studio tiers, but if you frequently have galleries viewed by lots of potential customers, it's a no-brainer.
The Sprout Studio Assistant
One cool feature of the software related to email is the Assistant. The Assistant helps keep your clients in the loop via reminders and notifications about things like dates, galleries, design proofs, invoices, and more.
There are over 30 Sprout Assistant emails you can enable/disable, edit, and configure. This can be done globally or on a per-email basis, which is extremely useful for unique clients.
Little things like having to constantly send emails to update your clients cuts into your headspace and free time. Let the Assistant handle the busy work, while you focus on creativity and growing your business!
If you’re using something like Tave, the Assistant feature alone might be all you need to read to make the switch to Sprout Studio.
Let’s face it. Every client expects deliverables and the easier that part of the job is on you and them, the better.
With Sprout Studio’s gallery system, you can quickly and easily create galleries for clients to view, select, download, and order prints of their favorite photos from your shoot together.
Pro and Studio tier members also have access to create virtual IPS galleries for their clients.
IPS galleries let clients preview how the prints will look in a specific setting or room. They can even upload images of their own walls or spaces to help order the right size and images to match.
It’s worth noting that the number of galleries you can have is tied to your tier. You can have 10 with the Lite tier, 20 with the Basic, and unlimited with the Pro and Studio tiers.
Given that you probably have and/or want more than 20 clients, I’d opt for a higher tier to avoid having to constantly determine which galleries to keep live.
However, you might choose to only give gallery access to clients for a short period of time to keep your gallery count and tier lower.
There are very few things less daunting than learning a new software tool, especially when it will soon be responsible for your income and livelihood.
As a Sprout Studio user, you’ll want to take full advantage of Sprout School.
This is a course that helps you get set up with the tool and guides you through its various benefits.
While taking a course may not seem like the most appealing task, it does mean that you’ll learn how to get the most out of Sprout Studio. This is important if you want to stay organized, be more productive, and make more money from your clients. Who doesn’t want all three of those things?!
Sprout School is hosted with Podia—a trusted tool for websites, courses, digital products, and communities. At the time of writing, there are 54 lessons in the Sprout School course and two other courses available: a tour and a checklist.
The courses are instructed by Sprout Studio’s founder Bryan Capporicci. It’s helpful to get training directly from Bryan since he knows all there is to know.
Sprout Studio does have a Facebook community filled with over 7K photographers and Sprout Studio users. While specific requests are better handled via the support team’s email address, the Facebook community is still a great place to get help and feedback from others.
One of the major benefits of Sprout Studio is the ability to migrate your data from another software.
If you’ve owned your studio for a while, chances are you’ve been using another CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Instead of losing that valuable information, you can migrate it to Sprout Studio in one of two ways.
Sprout Studio offers a Concierge service that will handle the entire migration process for you. They have options for this service depending on what needs migrating: clients, leads, shoots, bookings, orders, invoices, payments, contracts, questionnaire responses, or settings.
This Concierge Program does come at a cost. The price you pay ultimately depends on the number of contacts, leads, shoots, and templates in your existing account.
To use the Concierge Program, you’ll need to fill out a form so the team understands the scope of the project. Once they are done migrating, they’ll send you a report of everything they did.
DIY Migration Tool
If you’d rather save money instead of time, Sprout Studio has a do-it-yourself Migration Tool.
The tool can be accessed from your account Settings. You’ll have to provide additional details about leads, so it can take you quite a while.
If you have a lot of existing contacts, you’ll want to import your contacts via a CSV file. Sprout Studio even allows you to import custom fields into a contact, which is great.
How about previously booked shoots? The time it takes to add your previously booked shoots into Sprout Studio depends on how you want to track the packages.
The quicker method is to use one-off packages for your clients. This takes about 2.5 minutes, but you won’t have analytics since it’s a one-off.
The longer method involves creating a package of the products and services that can be used regularly and tracked in analytics across multiple shoots. This takes about an additional 2.5 minutes of work per package.
Sprout Studio offers several ways to get in contact with support requests—email, phone number, and a chat button in your account.
The support team is available weekdays from 9AM to 7PM Eastern and 9AM to 5PM Eastern on Saturdays.
Having support available on Saturdays is a great benefit since there are plenty of photographers working over the weekend.
There are four pricing tiers for Sprout Studio that can be paid on a monthly or annual basis:
The pricing plan that’s right for you really comes down to how many features you’ll need for your business.
While it might seem right to cut costs by going for a lower tier, make sure you review their entire comparison chart to see what you’re missing out on.
I can’t link directly to the full chart since it’s a pop-up on their pricing page, but you can visit this page and click “See All Features” at the bottom of any tier for it.
The Pro tier is their most popular and I think it provides a lot of good value over the lower two tiers since you get features like virtual IPS galleries, design proofs, full reporting, more customization, expense/mileage tracking, and email opt-ins for galleries.
The only reason you’d need to upgrade further to the Studio tier is if you need the extra 100GB of storage and need unlimited team users/brands for your business.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have shiny object syndrome when it comes to software and tools. That’s typically because I can’t quite find an all-in-one solution that keeps me happy, so I go exploring for the next big thing.
That isn’t the case here.
Who is Sprout Studio for?
If you’re a photographer looking for a dependable, feature-rich, all-in-one solution to manage your business, I highly recommend Sprout Studio.
It does a lot of things and does them well. For photographers that have a full calendar, spend a lot of time communicating with clients, and never remember which app to open for what, Sprout Studio is a godsend.
If you already have a CRM and are on the fence whether to leave them for Sprout Studio, you'll be excited to know that Sprout Studio will even buy out your existing prepaid subscription if you sign up and make the switch. Gestures like this are why I can safely recommend them.
Who is Sprout Studio not for?
Firstly, this isn’t for you if you’re expecting a website builder. While there are features that can replace elements of a website, this isn’t an option if you want a custom root domain that hosts a portfolio, shop, SEO-optimized blog, etc.
For that, I’d check out one of my favorite website builders aimed at photographers—Pixpa.
I also wouldn’t recommend this if you don’t think you’ll be utilizing the complete suite of features wisely. Other software options are out there to explore that might be cheaper and more dedicated to your specific use case.
With that said…you can spend days browsing calendars, email providers, CRMs, storefronts, and reporting tools on the market. If you need most or all of the above and want a passionate team of people that understand you as a photographer, Sprout Studio is the way to go.
Since it’s built by photographers for photographers, it’s great to see how they’ve evolved over the years to make sure their customers are happy.
If you read older Sprout Studio reviews, there were some definite weaknesses and areas for improvement. Many of those weaknesses have now been strengthened, and new features have been added. This is a very good sign the team behind Sprout Studio cares about their product.
While I feel like I did a thorough job going through this Sprout Studio review and discussing my favorite parts, there’s plenty of more information on their site to pour over. Deciding on a software tool as important as this one deserves due diligence, so head over to their website to continue your research. They even have a 21-day free trial period for you to give things a spin.
Sprout Studio Discount / Sprout Studio Coupon
If you like what you’ve read in this Sprout Studio review, and are ready to pull the trigger on purchasing it, you can click the button below for 20% savings on your first month or an annual plan.