I recently got an email from Jeff Kear of My Wedding Workbook. He had a product he felt might be useful to photographers, so I asked him if he’d like to do an interview for the blog. He agreed, and here it is:

TJ: Could you give us a general idea of what My Wedding Workbook Professional Edition does?
Jeff: It’s essentially online software for wedding planners that gives them the tools they need to run their business, plan their events and collaborate with clients more efficiently. Wedding planners tend to be very creative people, so sometimes all the details of running a business can bog them down and get in the way of what they really enjoy. So we built My Wedding Workbook Pro to help them manage all those details. Included are tools for managing their calendars, tasks, contacts, vendors, leads, finances (including estimates, proposals, contracts, invoices and money in/out), events (including guest lists, budgets, calendars, venues, vendors, etc.) and clients.

TJ: It looks like My Wedding Workbook Professional Edition is tailored to meet the needs of a wedding planner. Do you feel that this is a good solution for wedding photographers as well?
Jeff: Actually, no, it isn’t an ideal way for wedding photographers to manage all their business detials (although you can use it to provide your clients with value-add tools … more about that later). However, we have just started working on a new online platform for photographers. It will be Web-based photo studio management software, it will provide photographers with lots of online tools, and it will be called Planning Pod for Photographers. We anticipate it will include all the necessary business management tools like a calendar (that works with all other popular electronic calendars), lead manager, contact manager, project manager, online galleries, finance manager, etc. And we are also looking at launching an event management software platform for corporate event planners.

TJ: Do you see your product as a replacement for existing studio management software that photographers may be currently using?
Jeff: Yes, we do see our program as an upgrade to any existing photo studio management software that a photographer may use. There’s always a reluctance for anyone to make a change from a system they are familiar with to a new system, so we are going to do to 2 things very differently from traditional software. First, we are going to build our system to be so easy to use that it will be practically intuitive to get up and running, thus requiring very little learning curve. Second, we are going to be adding lots of client collaboration tools that aren’t really possible with traditional software. For example, we are looking to provide users with a way they can create accounts for their clients to log in and interact with the photographer online.

TJ: I know that we often feel like we do a lot of the wedding planning – not just the photography. Have you been hearing from photographers who use My Wedding Workbook Pro that they’re ending up using the wedding planning part of the software?
Jeff: We actually have photographers, DJs, reception venues and even florists (as well as wedding consultants) using our software to some extent for planning wedding-related items, but they still mainly use our system as a value-add for their wedding clients. One nice benefit of My Wedding Workbook Pro is that these vendors can open up an account for their clients in which clients have access to tons of wedding planning tools for managing guest lists, budgets, vendors, tasks and much more, and it also includes a free personal wedding website with online RSVP. There are many photographers out there whose main source of revenue is shooting weddings, and so My Wedding Workbook Pro gives them the opportunity to provide their clients with all these great tools gratis.

TJ: With the accounting portion of My Wedding Workbook Pro, are photographers able to run credit cards in the software? Can payments be exported to Quickbooks, etc?
Jeff: This is something we are working on for both My Wedding Workbook Pro and for our photography studio management software. We are looking at some sort of online payment collection option as well as a plugin with Quickbooks.

Web-based storage is definitely a key point for us. Are only certain pieces of info stored online or is it all stored on your servers? Is the information available with a web app “in the field”?
For all our online software platforms, everything is stored on our secure servers. This is a big selling point of using online software (often called software-as-service), in that nothing is stored locally on your computer so everything is stored remotely and backed up. This way, if your hard drive crashes or your computer gets smashed or ruined, all your business and client information is safely stored on our servers. As for an app, we are looking at creating a mobile browser application so users can access calendars and contacts.

TJ: There are quite a few software solutions for wedding photographers on the market already. What would you say makes your product unique?
Jeff: There are many offline photographer software products, but very few online photography programs, and of those online solutions, we have yet to see someone put everything together. Our solution will, first and foremost, be easy to use and a snap to setup so that photographers don’t have to adapt to the system … it will adapt to them. Second, our photo studio management software will include enhanced project/job management tools for any kind of photographer (including the ability to add multiple users and create accounts for vendors and subcontractors). Commercial photographers often run their business a bit different than wedding photographers, and our system will be flexible enough for both to use easily. Third, we are looking to provide an expanded area for clients so you can collaborate with them online more easily.

TJ: Thanks again for your time, Jeff! Anything that you want to say in closing?
Jeff: There is one thing … we are currently building our photography management software and would love to get feedback from other photographers as to what features would be most useful to them. So if you’re interested in providing any input and getting an early look at our product, we encourage you to visit our site and shoot us an email with your wishes and desires. Thanks for this opportunity, TJ.

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4 Responses to “My Wedding Workbook Interview”

  1. Sayumi Kamei says:

    Sounds like a very professional and thoroughly thought out software for planning wedding and other social events, where photographers are needed. Thanks for this interview dialog, quite informative.

  2. Lyka Ricks says:

    This is Great for event planners and photographers as well. The system as mentioned is flexible and user friendly, this makes the craft more enhanced and its finest.