Managing aspects like invoices, contracts, revenue declarations, schedules, expenses, and maintaining an online shop can be overwhelming for photographers and creative professionals. The challenge is finding the right software that fits one's specific needs. When I first started earning from photography, I couldn't find software that was both fitting and user-friendly. This led me to develop my own solution. While online solutions with monthly fees offer some features, they always lack something, and the next pricing tier is often too expensive. My encounter with a related article on fotografr.de and the subsequent response to my comment about my software development prompted me to write this blog post detailing PentaPaper's features.
Many photographers use Apple products, while others prefer Windows. However, storing data on a single computer can be limiting. What if you need to access orders or show an invoice PDF while visiting a client? This led me to develop PentaPaper using PHP and MySQL, making it accessible on any web space. This approach ensures platform independence and remote data access. The security of the data is a primary concern. Another idea I'm exploring is adapting the software for a mini-computer like the Raspberry Pi, which could securely host data at home while still being accessible remotely. A WebApp is also in development.
Key Features of PentaPaper
The goal is to pack many features into the software while keeping it simple and user-friendly. Here's a list of planned key features:
- Client Management (overview, search, categorization)
- Order Management (orders, invoices, overdue invoices, credits, vouchers, offers)
- A small Online Shop (public and access-code based)
- Payment options including bank transfer, cash, PayPal
- Selling digital products like video trainings with immediate email delivery upon successful payment
- Access codes for specific customers (e.g., school photography, with PDF lists or email delivery of codes for individual children)
- Comprehensive Statistics (revenue/profit per category/time, charts, etc.)
- Tax-related features (VAT declarations, Tax-ID for international transactions)
- Calendar with appointment overview, email reminders, Google Calendar/iCal integration
- Interface to a print shop/software for direct photo printing
- Update and backup system for the software
- Customizable templates for invoices, offers, emails, vouchers, etc.
- WebApp for immediate recording of expenses/income
- Plugin/Module integration, e.g., a workshop management plugin
- Creation of model releases and custom contracts
- Intelligent search for clients, orders, invoices
- Potential future integration with Lightroom for photos
- Email sending for offers, invoices, payment receipts through personal email (avoiding spam filters)
Pricing and Scope
The exact price range is still undecided, likely to be higher than annually released management software. However, the price will include lifetime updates and personal support from me. I also plan to create instructional screencasts to simplify the software's introduction. Additional modules will be available for purchase.
By the end of 2014, I aim to offer software that is easy to use, feature-rich, and tailored to photographers and creatives. Users should spend less time on accounting and more on their business. The WebApp will assist in immediate booking of expenses/income. Given my studies in business informatics and support from knowledgeable friends in commercial fields, the software will be perfectly tailored for photographers and related fields, with modules for specific areas like web design and workshops.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide screenshots yet, as I'm still developing the beta version. However, an alpha version has been in use for a few months, giving a rough idea of the final product. Below are some early screenshots:
What do you think about this idea? Would such software be useful to you? Based on the feedback I received on fotografr.de, it seems this software could significantly ease many people's lives. I'm committed to soon offering a beta version for testing!