7 Best Studio Ninja Alternatives for Photographers in 2022

studio ninja alternatives
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You can’t have everything… Or can you?

Working as a photographer, even though is a dream job of many, also comes with struggles. From the inconsistent income to working 24/7, you may find yourself in need of assistance. Especially once you start growing your client base and get lost in little details and tasks.

So to solve these issues you may have looked for an ideal software to help you out and stumbled upon Studio Ninja. But something didn’t feel quite right. It may be because Studio Ninja is a CRM that’s easy to outgrow or because it lacks some essential features.

Whichever reason you have, that’s not the end of the world, because there are lots of other business management tools to help you out if Studio Ninja wasn’t your thing.

We’ve tested all of them and will do our best to help you find the best solution for you!

7 Best Studio Ninja Alternatives to Consider in 2022

Without further ado, here are the seven best (in our opinion) Studio Ninja alternatives to consider if you’re a photographer looking for a CRM!

  • Sprout Studio: for robust photography and client management features with a steep learning curve
  • Tave: for well-thought-out automatic workflows
  • ShootProof: for useful photography features and basic client management with a shallow learning curve
  • 17Hats: for client management with a rich variety of templates
  • Zendo: for improving customer satisfaction, productization features, and client management with a shallow learning curve
  • Dubsado: for project and document management combined with reporting and a steep learning curve
  • HoneyBook: for great project management from lead to client with a shallow learning curve

If you need robust photography-specific features choose: Sprout Studio

Sprout Studio is one of the Studio Ninja alternatives we find essential to name. Advertised as a tool created by photographers for photographers, Sprout Studio comes with a handful of extremely useful features for all photographers aiming to manage their entire business with one CRM on deck!

Best for: those longing for a professional look

This tool is perfect for all photographers out there who are missing that professional look when reaching out to their clients. Whenever you create anything that will be visible to your clients, it will be enhanced by the Sprout Studio’s designs and many professional templates.

If you also want to combine robust reporting, lead generation, invoices, price lists, selling prints, as well as some useful marketing tools with neat-looking, customizable galleries and design proofs, Sprout Studio will be your best bet!

Pricing: Complicated

Sprout Studio has four-tier pricing with differences spread on many levels, including the number of users to use the platform, the amount of storage you get, the features available in each plan, and more.

However, the most popular option, as marked by Sprout Studio themselves, is the Pro plan, which costs us $49 per month.

Free Trial: 21 days

Sprout Studio offers a 21-day free trial to all potential customers, without the need to provide credit card details.

Best Features: Galleries and Design Proofs

Galleries

Sprout Studio’s Galleries feature comes to rescue all the brave souls using email to send photos to their clients.

With this feature, you basically upload your edited photos into Sprout Studio and create a customized gallery to share with your clients. There are different designs available, all looking extremely professional!

Your clients can even purchase the photos they like right within your gallery if you take your time to create a Pricing List within the CRM.

Design Proofs

If you’re a photographer, you definitely know the pain of spending hours selecting the best photos from your last shoot and editing them to be their absolute best.

Once you have your photos prepared, you send them to the client in an email, hoping it won’t get lost in their inbox. They then look through the photos and send back their comments. Next, you have to look for which picture they were referring to and adjust it.

Sprout Studio’s Design Proofs, besides just looking professional, also get rid of a lot of the unnecessary back and forth with your clients. You can simply share a gallery of selected photos and your clients will be able to view them and leave their comments and notes right there! They can even pin their comments to appear in specific places on the photos, to make the adjustment process even easier.

studio ninja alternatives

Cons: Steep Learning Curve

The main downfall of Sprout Studio is its steep learning curve. Because the tool offers many different features, which are all robust, the ease of use is not quite there. You have to spend some time learning this CRM to be able to use it to its full potential.

The steep learning curve is even often mentioned by Sprout Studio’s creator – Bryan Capirocci himself.

To learn more about Sprout Studio and the way its robust features actually operate, check our recent Sprout Studio comparison article!

G2 Rating: 4.6

⭐5-STAR RATING#️⃣NUMBER OF REVIEWS PLACED
4.6/56

If you want well-designed automatic workflows choose: Tave

Tave is yet another robust Studio Ninja alternative with numerous features and a steep learning curve. But, thanks to the many features in-house, you’re sure to find the ones you may be in desperate need of.

Best for: those who need good automation

Tave is perfect for photographers who above all value good automation and workflow features. Since the tool has been designed to serve those working in a photography business, the automatic workflows come with pre-designed scenarios geared towards people mastering this specific craft.

Tave is also for those who are willing to take their time to learn how to operate the new software and who don’t mind an outdated looking UX.

Pricing: Simple and Affordable

Tave’s Solo plan with 2 users, one brand, and all the features available costs $21.99 per month. Further two plans offer the same features, but differ in terms of the number of brands and users.

Free Trial: 30 Days

There’s a 30-day easily accessible free trial for anyone wanting to test out Tave’s features. Again, no credit card details are required.

Best Feature: Workflows and Automation

Tave is a tool packed with different features. Having tested how this online business management software works, one of its features particularly stood out – and that was Tave’s workflows and automation.

Workflows and Automation

So if you expect top-notch automation features geared towards different kinds of photographers with well-thought-out scenarios and appropriate tasks perfect for each one, Tave is the way to go.

This feature is extremely helpful for newbie photographers who don’t have their business processes established yet or for those who simply want to speed things up and automate their workflow.

You’ll find different scenarios for various kinds of photographers, whether that’s wedding, portrait, or event focused. You can also customize the premade task lists. This feature is quite useful for those who really wish to save more time and simplify their work processes!

studio ninja alternatives

Cons: Outdated UX and Steep Learning Curve

Two main downfalls of Tave that stuck out when analyzing this project management software were its steep learning curve and its outdated-looking designs.

And while most of us can get past the outdated-looking designs, a steep learning curve is something to keep in mind if you want Tave to be your business management software.

If you want to learn more about Tave, the complications we’ve come across when testing this business management software, and see how it compares with Honeybook, click here.

G2 Rating: 4.9

⭐5-STAR RATING#️⃣NUMBER OF REVIEWS PLACED
4.9/519

If you want a professional look and unique photography features choose: ShootProof

ShootProof is a tool that will pleasantly surprise you with its many useful and intuitive features perfect for those working within the photography industry! This CRM combines galleries, portfolios, invoices, contracts, sales reports, selling prints and photos, and more.

Best for: photographers wanting to easily create their portfolio and share galleries with their clients

ShootProof is pretty similar to Sprout Studio in terms of the available photography-specific features, but is much more intuitive in use. Other features of ShootProof (not photography ones) aren’t as robust and modern-looking as those of Sprout Studio, but the ease of use and additional photography-centric features definitely make it stand out.

So if you’re looking for some easy-to-create galleries and portfolios that you can combine with invoices, simple reporting, and selling your prints and photos, ShootProof is the tool for you!

Pricing: Storage Based

ShootProof offers four plans for its users, with one entirely free option! The plans differ in terms of the storage you get.

The free plan allows you to upload 100 photos and the most popular option – the third-tier plan – offers a 25,000 photo storage and costs $30 when billed monthly.

Free Trial: 14 Days

ShootProof offers a free 14-day trial that doesn’t require providing credit card details.

Best Features: Portfolios and Mobile Galleries

There are quite a few features that amazed us when trying out ShootProof. The Galleries, collaboration with print labs, and purchasing possibilities for clients were pretty similar to those of Sprout Studio’s. With the only difference that Sprout Studio offers more tweaks and better designs throughout all its features.

However, we’ve come across a few features in ShootProof that weren’t available in Sprout Studio. Namely, the possibility to create your own portfolio and a mobile app gallery to share with your clients.

Portfolios

With ShootProof, you can easily create your own portfolio showcasing your recent work, an About Me page, a Contact page, and adjust its colors and look to your specific needs and wants.

The whole experience is intuitive and pretty seamless. The new portfolio created sits at a domain named with your photography studio name and ends with .shootproof.com. BUT if you have your own website, you can add the new portfolio there to avoid having the shootproof branding visible in the URL.

studio ninja alternatives
Mobile App Galleries for Clients

Another great feature that we didn’t find in any other CRM yet is the Mobile App Gallery feature. You basically create a gallery that can be downloaded by your clients onto their mobile phones or tablets and viewed in the form of an app.

Again, setting this up took minutes and was extremely intuitive! Your clients can then easily view and access their photos.

studio ninja alternatives

Cons: Templates and Old UX

Issues with templates

There were a few issues when browsing ShootProof’s templates that we’ve unfortunately come across. The first one was that to browse the available email templates or use any to send to clients, we have to first manually go through each one and add it to our account, one by one.

Another issue came up when we decided to look through ShootProof’s contract templates and it turned out that you have to purchase them additionally from ShootProof’s marketplace. There was only one free contract template, others cost $99, $239, and bundles cost even up to $439! Pretty expensive since some CRMs offer such templates for free.

Outdated-looking UX

To some it may seem like a minor issue, but we have to note that ShootProof’s design and UX is pretty outdated-looking, as is common in tools like this.

Fortunately, the backward-looking designs don’t affect the intuitiveness of this tool!

G2 Rating: 4.9

⭐5-STAR RATING#️⃣NUMBER OF REVIEWS PLACED
4.9/591

If you want a rich template choice choose: 17Hats

17Hats is a Client Management Software that isn’t tailored solely to photographers, but aims to target more brands. So don’t expect photography-specific features, like in Sprout Studio or ShootProof, but you may find little nods to photographers in templates or document packages.

Best for: those opting for task and project management

17Hats is best for photographers who’d rather have task management, project management, and client management features instead of photography specific ones.

Pricing: Three Levels

Choosing 17Hats we’re offered a three level pricing, with the most popular option costing $30 per month or $25 per month when paid annually.

Free Trial: Up to Three Projects

17Hats free trial is not time limited, but simply restricted up to completing three projects. Moreover, starting the free trial does not require giving our credit card details.

Best Features: Templates, Task & Project Management

Templates

17Hats’s best feature is definitely its wide variety of templates. Whether that’s email, contract, questionnaires, or whole bundles of documents – 17Hats offers quite a few options to choose from.

Most of the templates in 17Hats are free to use, but there’s also a marketplace for those wanting to purchase additional templates.

studio ninja alternatives
Task & Project Management

Two more worth noting features in 17Hats are task management and project management. Both are simple enough, but prove to be quite efficient.

You can easily manage your tasks by creating task lists – basically making to-do lists that then show up as due and upcoming. So you have your lists on the left and specific tasks to do on the right.

Projects on the other hand are neatly organized in a block or list view, whichever you find most suitable. You can also filter all projects by archived, lead, client, active, or simply by an alphabetical or date order.

Clicking on any project reveals any necessary details about it, including any important documents, bookings, tasks, emails, and the client portal options!

studio ninja alternatives

Cons: Outdated UX and Steep Learning Curve

17Hats has its cons, especially for those photographers wishing to have features enabling them to share their photo galleries with clients, let them purchase prints and photos directly from the CRM, and get feedback on their latest shoot – you won’t find such features in this particular software.

But, if you’re just after the business management features 17Hats offers, then the only downfalls you may notice is an outdated looking UX and a few complications when working out how each feature works.

G2 Rating: 4.4

⭐5-STAR RATING#️⃣NUMBER OF REVIEWS PLACED
4.4/568

If you want to improve customer satisfaction choose: Zendo

Keeping customer satisfaction at the top level is one of the things photographers have to deal with on top of all other responsibilities. And what better way to keep customer satisfaction at the top other than responding to their messages as quickly as possible!

Research shows that quick responses are the way to go when dealing with clients. But it may be difficult to do that when having your hands full of admin tasks, paperwork, photos to edit, shoots to attend, and all other stuff you have to do.

If that’s an issue you’re having, Zendo may be the CRM you need.

Best for: photographers wishing to improve customer satisfaction and save time

Zendo is best suited for photographers whose primary focus is to keep their customer satisfaction at the top with quick responses. It is a chat-based CRM that gathers all the requests your clients post into an organized space with a list, kanban, and table view. No need for a third eye with this many options on deck!

The chat makes it possible to not only contact your clients, but also send estimations, send status updates, enable your clients to pay through it, and more.

Pricing: Basic Free Option

Zendo pricing could not be better. The Starter plan is completely free and allows you to register two operating agents of your workspace.

If you like it, you can go ahead and choose the second option that lets you add up to 100 agents for just $19 per each agent!

Free Trial: 14 Days

Zendo’s free trial lasts for 14 days and only requires you to provide your email address. You may be wondering why you should need a free trial when there’s a free plan to use, but Zendo’s free trial gives you access to additional features that aren’t available in the free plan.

Best Features: Built-In Payments, Estimations, and Status Updates

Zendo features that will be best suitable for photographers dealing with lots of requests from their customers are the built-in payments, estimations, and requests’ status updates.

In-Chat Payments and Estimations

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to drop email entirely and get rid of the so-annoying long threads with your clients? Zendo creators found managing clients through email maddening so they decided to build a tool that eliminates those issues and eases the lives of freelancers and business owners alike.

Instead of dealing with dozens of emails, you simply manage your clients with Zendo using its amazing chatbox.

Built-in payments and estimations make it possible to send project estimations to your clients and receive payments, all within the same communication channel!

studio ninja alternatives
Requests’ Status Updates

If you want your customers to know at which stage their request is at, then you’ll love Zendo’s status updates!

You can use the set of pre-made statuses or create your own and use them for specific request types later on.

studio ninja alternatives

You can also trigger some of the statuses to appear automatically, so you won’t have to waste time manually switching the statuses and you’ll be able to eliminate any potential errors!

Cons: a Work in Progress

Zendo is the easiest to grasp CRM out of all the Studio Ninja alternatives we’ve discussed; however, its simplicity may come at a price. And the price is that some of the features you may find essential, are still in the works.

And so Zendo offers the possibility to easily productize your services, get in touch with your clients, offer them an easy way to reach out through a simple chatbox, organize any incoming requests, update your clients with statuses, and check your clients’ history.

But features like recurring payments, analytics, reporting, and a Zapier integration are yet to come.

G2 Rating: 4.8

⭐5-STAR RATING#️⃣NUMBER OF REVIEWS PLACED
4.8/53

If you want smooth workflows and form creator choose: Dubsado

Dubsado is yet another project management tool, operating on the market since 2016. It aims to help freelancers and businesses alike to manage their clients and ongoing projects in an easy way.

In fact, one of the first things we see once we log in to Dubsado is the Projects tab, right under the Dashboard.

Now, Dubsado isn’t necessarily geared towards photographers, but one of its co-founders – Becca Berg – worked as a photographer herself before creating Dubsado. So we can expect the creators to actually understand the struggles of photographers and do their best to tend to their pain points.

Best for: photographers who wish to find a CRM for project, task, and document management

Dubsado is a CRM focusing on project, task, and document management, with some additional useful tools, such as scheduling for your clients to easily book sessions with you, a Calendar integration, a Time Tracker feature to evaluate your work time when billing per hour, and more.

If Dubsado is something you’ve been thinking about, but aren’t yet sure, we have compared it with a few other CRMs on the market. You can check these articles to learn more: 17Hats vs Dubsado, Plutio vs Dubsado, and Dubsado vs HoneyBook vs Zendo.

Pricing: 2 Simple Plans

Dubsado created two plans – Starter and Premier. The Premier plan comes with additional features that Starter users don’t get, including scheduling, automated workflows, public proposals, Zapier integration, and a bookkeeping integration. Starter option will cost you $20 per month, while the Premier – $40 per month.

Free Trial: Up to 3 Clients

Dubsado is one of those CRMs that doesn’t limit the potential users who wish to test out its features. You can use Dubsado fully, for free, up to registering 3 clients!

Best Features: Drag&Drop Creator and Workflows

Drag&Drop Form Template Creator

Dubsado gives us only a few sample templates to choose from. But, in our opinion, it’s much better to choose the drag&drop form template creator to easily create your own resources for future use!

It’s pretty simple and reminds us a bit of a simplified Elementor page builder.

studio ninja alternatives
Workflows

Creating workflows in Dubsado was one of the best automation experiences we’ve had when testing out different CRMs.

There are two sample workflows for inspiration. But if you want to create your workflow from scratch, you can find this feature in both the Templates section and Projects.

Simply add actions and set any triggers you find necessary. Your workflows will be saved and available for use throughout Dubsado later on, simplifying your business processes and saving you some much needed time!

studio ninja alternatives

Cons: Steep Learning Curve

Dubsado is one of those platforms whose features are quite robust and do require putting in time and effort to get to know them. Therefore, one of Dubsado’s cons is definitely its steep learning curve, especially if you’re looking for a quick and simple solution to improve the way you operate your business.

G2 Rating: 4.4

⭐5-STAR RATING#️⃣NUMBER OF REVIEWS PLACED
4.4/555

If you want a shallow learning curve choose: HoneyBook

HoneyBook is a CRM we’ve tested and compared with a handful of other similar tools, including Sprout Studio, Studio Ninja, Tave, Bonsai, and Dubsado. We’ve enjoyed writing a comparison article each time HoneyBook was involved, because of many reasons, but what stood out the most was always the simplicity of use when it came to this particular CRM.

Using HoneyBook is just as sweet as its name, the shallow learning curve combined with its useful features, easily keeps HoneyBook as one of the top players in the industry.

Best for: those looking for project management with a shallow learning curve

HoneyBook is a great tool helping you manage projects, manage leads, send out invoices, create automatic workflows, and more.

Unfortunately, you won’t find any photography-specific features if that’s what you’re after. But if you’re just looking for project and document management, then HoneyBook should definitely be considered.

This CRM is therefore perfect for all photographers looking for a simple and easy to use Customer Relationship Management software to help them with automating their processes and managing their essential business documentation.

Pricing: 2 Simple Options

HoneyBook definitely believes that simplicity wins and created their pricing based on two plans. You can either pay on a monthly basis, which will cost you $39 each month or pay on an annual basis, which is an expense of $390 per year.

HoneyBook also continues to keep its fantastic deal of using the software for $1 per month for the next 6 months!

studio ninja alternatives

Free Trial: 7 Days

HoneyBook gives its potential clients the possibility to test out their software for 7 days. No credit card details are necessary to start the free trial at HoneyBook.

Best Features: Intuitive Dashboard and Professional Bookings

The Best Dashboard Ever

Not exactly a feature per se, but we just have to mention HoneyBook’s dashboard, because it’s one of the best assets of this particular CRM.

HoneyBook created its dashboard to fight unnecessary complexity. When it comes to CRMs overall, we all know the tools that are just simply too much to handle. Especially at the very beginning of our learning journey.

So, what you’ll see in HoneyBook is a simple and well-thought-out dashboard that divides itself into five most important blocks for anyone using their software. You’ll start with Projects on the left, and then Calendar, Templates, Resources, and Bookkeeping on the right.

studio ninja alternatives

Once you take it all in, you can test out all the HoneyBook’s possibilities by reaching the top menu where all other tools and essential features are hidden.

Such a layout plays an important part in HoneyBook’s shallow learning curve, which let’s be honest, we all need.

Online Booking

HoneyBook comes with a lot of features, similar to those available in other CRMs we’ve listed as Studio Ninja alternatives. And they all work well. Whether that’s invoices, reports, project management (with the incredible project pipeline!), or workflow automation.

But one feature we want to accentuate is HoneyBook’s scheduling. This feature makes it possible for your clients to easily book your time online choosing from slots you’ll mark as free. The booking page looks quite neat and once any of your clients books a session, you’ll see it in your Calendar.

studio ninja alternatives

Cons: Limited to US and Canada-Based Users

Even though HoneyBook is a great CRM, nothing is perfect. This Client Management Software has its cons.

The biggest downfall of HoneyBook is the fact that it’s only available for US and Canada-based users. This limitation is caused by the fact that HoneyBook does not integrate with any third-party payment processor and their payment processing works for now only within the US and Canada.

G2 Rating: 4.5

⭐5-STAR RATING#️⃣NUMBER OF REVIEWS PLACED
4.5/580

Studio Ninja Alternatives: Which One Is the Best?

Choosing a photography-geared business software is not a piece of pie with this many options on the market. But you can finess this process by simply analyzing your needs and looking for a CRM that meets them.

So to answer the question posed at the beginning of this article, can you have everything? Well, when it comes to CRMs, it’s not really possible to find one that satisfies all the needs, gives us all the tools, and is easy to learn at the same time.

Some may dream of having inventory management, others would wish for employee management when having a growing business, financial management, supply chain management, you name it. There’s so much to choose from!

So, we’ve decided to ease your lives and prepared a little help to make choosing any of the mentioned Studio Ninja alternatives easier.

Check out the graph below to help you make your decision and choose the CRM that’s right for you.

studio ninja alternatives

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Aleksandra Dworak
Aleksandra Dworak
Lifts weights at the gym and of off reader's shoulders to help them skip the daunting research part and get valuable information instead.

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