Fstoppers Reviews the CRM Platform Bloom IO

Fstoppers Reviews the CRM Platform Bloom IO

If you've been running your photography business for any amount of time, you have quickly discovered that being successful requires you to spend an inordinate amount of time doing things that have nothing to do with a camera. Things you probably loathe. Suddenly, you find yourself needing to acquire skills in accounting, web development, project management, copywriting, contract writing, and countless other fields. A newcomer has entered the CRM space: Bloom IO, and they are on a mission to alleviate many of these burdens, allowing you to focus on what you truly enjoy.

What Is a CRM Platform and Why Do You Need One?

If there is an item on your desk resembling this, I can guarantee that you are not optimizing your time and that you are living with unnecessary mental clutter. If you find yourself continually revisiting mental notes on past due payments, emails that need composing, new client questionnaires that need to be sent out, or any other pending client touchpoints, you are in major need of a change in your business. Bloom IO has simplified, streamlined, modernized, and branded the process to take you from lead to glowing client review effortlessly. 

This is a screen of the projects page where you can enter the project information, then quickly and effortlessly check off each touchpoint as you move through your photoshoot. 

This CRM platform, which comes with an adjoining app, also allows you to automate processes down to one click. "Send contract." "Send invoice." These automations will not only save hours, weeks, and ultimately months of your life, but their speed and simplicity will allow you to better enjoy the everyday life of being a photographer.

I know this because I have been using the software for a full month now. What used to be an annoying two or more hours in the morning of "running the business" before heading into the studio has boiled down to a rewarding 30- to 45-minute session in Bloom before getting where I really want to be: anywhere except for my office desk. 

Features I Loved


During your one-time setup, you will link all your accepted payment methods to your platform. Once this is done, you will have the ability to accept payments with Stripe, Square, Zelle, Venmo, Cash app, ACH, and bank transfers. Many other CRM platforms only accept Stripe or Square, but Bloosm IO gives you even more options.

Another incredible feature is that you can set up the platform to auto-charge the remaining balance of a payment on a certain date. For example, when signing a new contract, you may require a 50% deposit. In your contract, you can add a clause that indicates the client will automatically be charged the balance of their payment upon image delivery. When setting up the invoice, you can assign the date for the balance due, and Bloom will automatically charge the client the remaining 50%. No more chasing clients for payments. The platform even allows for a tip option. 

In addition to scheduling your balance payments and adding a tip option, Bloom IO gives you the ability to add contracts to invoices. This greatly simplifies the experience for clients and consolidates all pertinent information in one place for both parties.

A final brilliant feature of the payment portion is its "instant booking." Amazon revolutionized its sales overnight with its one-click check patent released in 1999. Studies had shown that shopping carts have a 70% abandonment rate, a statistic that was remedied with a new quicker checkout. Bloom IO integrated this concept into their platform allowing clients to easily add a package to their cart and checkout instantly. 

In the weeks after creating your account, you will receive regular email prompts about features you can set up on your platform. This is the one I received where I learned about instant checkout. 

Project Management

For those with a substantial client base, project management becomes a significant aspect of your business. Keeping track of which client needs to turn in what form, mail products, fill out their checklist, make their proofing selections, or approve their album designs is enough to keep an artist's creative mind cluttered. After using the platform for a month, I can say I love the interface of the Projects tab. This is a screenshot of my current project tab.

On this part of the platform, I can instantly check what step of the process each client is in and manage the next step efficiently. From just one quick glance. If I open this window and see that, for example, client X has not completed their contract and deposit which I had sent a few days back, I can quickly open that project and with the click of one button, I can send a reminder instead of typing an email. This project tab allows me a quick and easy way to review how each of my contracts is progressing and follow up efficiently on any automated emails or prompts which I have set up. 

The Money It Saved Me

It seems that every tool we use to run our business these days has now migrated to monthly subscription models. Adobe CC takes a brutal $52.99 a month. Perhaps you have a signature platform like Sign Now for contracts, then another such as Pixieset for photo delivery. If you're as bad as I am, maybe even Dropbox, Canva, Tether Tools, Picsart, Imagen, We Transfer Professional, and countless other monthly fees related to your website. The idea of including another platform to the list of companies cutting into my bottom line was utterly unappealing to me. However, after using the platform for a month, I discovered that it eliminated my need for my Pixieset, Dropbox, and Sign Now. I was able to cancel my subscription to all of these and save time and money by using Bloom IO, which only costs $29 a month and saves me time by having all my business tools in one place. 

The Email Prompts

Learning any new system is daunting and time-consuming. On occasion, we avoid making a business improvement because, even though we understand their long-term advantages, the initial investment required can feel overwhelming. Especially so for creatives. We just want to take pictures. After signing up for the platform, I received emails every few days,:"Did you know that you can ...?" and these emails provided an embed tutorial with a clickable link to take you to the exact spot on your site to complete the action. Getting these emails every few days helped me work on my setup little by little. They were clear, quick, easy steps I could follow, and feel successful at this new project which I had taken on. 

Website and Live Chat Feature

Although I haven't made use of this function, Bloom offers a website portfolio for those who don’t have one or would like something different than their current website. The website feature includes a live-chat widget that you can easily add to your website and message with clients in real time.

One-Question-at-a-Time Forms

If you use questionnaires for client onboarding, one feature that's particularly unique to Bloom is its one-question-at-a-time format. You can create your form as a template, and when the questionnaire is sent to your client, they receive it as a modern, clean, conversational, one-question-at-a-time experience instead of a long, daunting form to complete. 

This is the interface my client receives when I send over my new client questionnaire. 

What I Would Improve

Customer Service 

Although it was refreshing to get a response from a human and not a canned reply, it was clear that inquiries via the chat widget were juggled by a staff member who seemed to have a lot on their plate. One inquiry I sent received the reply: "Sorry for the delay, our team is small and I got distracted answering other questions. I recommend... Does this make sense?"

Sometimes, I didn't quite understand his recommendation, but I didn't want to ask a follow-up question and add more to his seemingly (too) full plate.

Customization Options for Contract

What I loved about my previous platform for contracts is that I could have my set template containing the terms and conditions for all contracts, but fill in two customizable boxes for each specific contract. On my contracts, I pull up my form but I have boxes that say: "Your package includes" and "Your products are due no later than." Every time I send out a contract, I simply insert which package they have, and also what date their products are due in the mail. Following a correspondence with customer service, it became evident that despite the presence of some customizable options, the bottom line was that the desired modification was not feasible. I think that incorporating this change would be a remarkable enhancement for the platform.

Multi-User Account

Currently, Bloom does not have multi-user accounts. This would be a great addition to serve businesses that are in need of more than one user profile for the company. 


There are many digital tools that photographers use to manage their business. Bloom is a newcomer on the block, but it stands out in many ways. With a dynamic user interface that's actually fun to look at and use. It delivers a modern, easy, and efficient platform for your client to book you and to work their way through your onboarding process. Unlike all other tools, Bloom is designed for visual learners. It was created with us right-brainers in mind. Blooms guide us step-by-step through the setup phase with email prompts and mini tutorials. It's been praised by industry leaders such as Joel Grimes, Peter Hurley, Chris Do and more.

If you want to learn more about Bloom IO, I recommend starting with their introduction video here. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. 

Michelle VanTine's picture

Michelle creates scroll-stopping images for amazing brands and amazing people. She works with businesses, public figures, sports & products. Titled “Top Sports Photographers in Miami” in 2019 (#5) and 2020 (#4), she was the only female on the list both years. Follow the fun on IG @michellevantinephotography @sportsphotographermiami

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Great timing! I actually just signed up for a trial. I'm uncertain if its simplicity is a nice feature or if it's too basic over the long term.

I'm happy to hear this. I started with the free trial but it was limited. Every time there was something I wanted to do, I found the upgrade version was prompted. For me, it was a worthwile investment, that as I mentioned, ended up being actually a money saver. What are some of the features you are looking for?

I recently started using Bloom.io earlier this year after lots of research. Unlike other CRMs, like Sprout and Studio Ninja, I felt Bloom stood out as a better fit for commercial photographers. It offers a sleek and comprehensive solution for client management.

It's interesting that you, Michelle, also noticed the lack of customer service. I was impressed with the image galleries and selection process, and I enthusiastically recommended them to a new client with a tight delivery deadline. Unfortunately, the gallery portal went down on the delivery day (these things happen), but what disappointed me was the brief one-sentence response I received regarding my concerns and questions about the portal's status. Disappointingly, I never received a follow-up email after I replied to them.

Considering that I've already subscribed to the premium plan, I'll give Bloom the benefit of the doubt and see how the rest of the year goes before deciding whether to continue with them. Hopefully, they will address these issues as part of their growth process, invest more in customer service, and consider implementing customer upgrade suggestions.

**Adding more customised branding and typography options for the portal, for instance, would significantly enhance the ability to match clients' branding preferences.

Interesting. One thing I have noticed (if you join the Bloom community portion) is that the leadership of the company seems fiercely committed to improvement based on community feedback. It is a regular happening that the manager of the page will write "You asked for... and we made it happen. You can now...". I imagine this will carry over to the customer service feedback. It's a GREAT platform and Iike you, I'm really finding tremendous value in it.

Quote: "Adobe CC takes a brutal $52.99 a month" End Quote. - "brutal $52.99 a month"..... I don't want to criticize your financial circumstances so please don't take my comment as being critical... a $53 a month subscription for the Adobe Cloud is the exact opposite of "brutal" - I consider the Cloud an absolute bargain given what you receive - If you're struggling with a $53 monthly payment you might want to review your business financials and see where you're going wrong - There are serious foundational problems with a business that struggles paying this small of a bill - If you're not sure where the problem lies you might want to speak with an accountant who is experienced with photography businesses, and have him/her take a look at your financials.

The writer herself brings it up in the "The Money It Saved Me" paragraph - That is what prompted my reply - I agree it really seems to be out of place - However, I have to hand it to the photographer herself... she's produced some very good work!

You know, you're right Billy Walker. Adobe brings so much value to my business. I work in Adobe software for hours and hours weekly. They help me take my images from well-photographed to polished commercial pieces. I was trying to make the point that so many software take out from my monthly income- but you're right- of all of them, Adobe is surely the most valuable. And not to worry, I have an accountant and make a *very good living :) Thanks for the feedback

Thank you for the detailed review! Giving some serious thought to bloom.io

You're welcome! I hope you give it a try. It truly has been an immensely valuable resource for me. This isn't a sponsored post- it's an honest review and it's been a terrific experience for me

I recently took the leap into automation and the CRM world with Bloom.io being my first CRM I've integrated into my business and so far I think it has amazing potential. I agree with many of the comments that Bloom has been very receptive to my feedback about improving the platform, but I do feel it is very much a startup still.
I have experienced multiple instances with clients being unable to access their invoices, or be able to "pay invoice" via the email template sent out, which is obviously not ideal from a customer experience perspective and sometimes leaves me feeling embarrassed that I have to make excuses for a "brand new customer payment process" that I've rolled out to clients.
Bottom line, it has amazing potential, and really is geared to help elevate and scale your freelance business, but since it still is a start up it comes with its bumps in the road. Big and small.