Tax time is over—here are 3 ways to make it better starting now

Tax time is frustrating and scary for lots of people, especially if you’re self-employed or have a side-hustle—but it doesn’t have to be. We spoke to our friends over at about how to prepare for tax season throughout the year so it goes smoothly.

Here are the three main scenarios and how to avoid them next year: owing money on tax day, you extended your return, and feeling frustrated.

Problem #1: You owed at tax time
Solution: Pay quarterly estimates

If you owed money, that may be ok. Theoretically, you got a low-interest loan from the government. The problem is if you didn’t set aside the cash to cover the payment when you filed your return or extension.

Here’s how to avoid owing, or at least avoid being surprised: pay your quarterly estimates. These are due in April, June, September and January for each quarter for both federal and state income tax. The amount you pay should be roughly based on last year to avoid late payment penalties or interest. If your income is dramatically higher or lower than the previous year, you may want to engage a tax accountant to help calculate how much to pay or expect to pay. You can tell how much you made based on your quarterly Profit & Loss report in Táve. Compare this to the prior quarter or the same quarter in the prior year. If it’s drastically different, you may want to run it by your CPA.

If your income and situation is the same from the prior year, you can use the vouchers provided in your previous year’s filing. Be sure to pay both the state and federal income tax. You may also be subject to city income tax if you live in NYC, for example.

The other issue with owing money at tax time is penalties. It’s important to remember that the income tax system in the US is a pay-as-you-go system. This means you should pay in as you earn each quarter. Not filing on time can also add penalties. Make sure you file on time or extend by the original due date in order to avoid late filing payments.

Problem #2: You didn’t file on time
Solution: Get organized

Did you extend your return? Generally, that’s no problem. If you have multiple K-1s or have a complicated tax return, it’s nice to get additional time to file the return. That said, if you extended because you waited until the last minute or didn’t have your files organized, then now is the time to start getting things organized for next year.

Are you staying up on your bookkeeping? Do you have a bookkeeping system? Google docs can easily get out of hand and disorganized. Consider software tools like Táve. Keeping track of income and expenses in Táve not only helps you keep on top of bookkeeping, it helps you know the financial health of your business at any time enabling you to make informed financial business decisions.

Deciding whether to hire a bookkeeper as well is another decision. Either way, do what you need to in order to stay on top of your revenues and expenses in case you need to apply for a loan, rent an office (or apartment if it’s your only source of income), or file your taxes.

Make sure you save all your bank and credit card statements too. Setting up Filethis or Hubdoc are good options. Otherwise, diligently downloading and saving in Google drive or Dropbox are ideal solutions. Táve helps with that paper trail by allowing you to upload receipts when you record your expenses.

Luke Frye, CPA and Anne Chan, EA

Problem #3: You’re confused and stressed
Solution: Consult a professional

Being self employed, you’re probably the type of person who is quite self-reliant. When does it make sense to hire outside help? It depends on your level of comfort, but generally, you should find a CPA or tax professional when you feel frustrated or overwhelmed.

A good pro will be able to talk you through your situation and empower you to make decisions. It’s not always necessary to engage someone to file your taxes or do your books, but if you’re consistently behind or feel like you’re paying too much, it might be time to find someone you can relate to.

Just like a doctor, finding an accountant with good bedside manner is important. You should feel comfortable discussing your situation to enable you and your tax advisor to make intelligent financial plans and achieve your goals.

To review, if you owed money, filed late, or felt overwhelmed by tax time, you now have 3 ways to combat those issues. Make sure you’re paying your quarterly estimates to the IRS and your state if they have an income tax. Set up and stay on track with a system to keep your books and records organized. Find a trusted advisor, preferably a referral, who can talk you through your situation. It’s best to work with someone who has experience in your industry.

Timber Tax is a web-based tax service for freelancers with expertise working with photographers. Timber knows the ins and outs of sales tax, state tax, and federal income tax so you can stay behind the camera and in business. Book a call today for a free consultation with a CPA. Mention Táve to get 10% off your tax filing for next year.

8 Email Templates Every Wedding Photographer Needs

Why should I use email templates in my business?

As you continue to grow your business and book new clients, you also receive an increase in your workload and tasks that must be completed. One of the tasks that takes much of your time is email communication. We partnered with wedding photo editing company ShootDotEdit to bring you 49 Email Templates to save you time and speed up your workflow. Below, they share the top 8 email templates you need for your wedding photography business.

Often times, much of your communication with clients happens through email. Because so many of the emails you send are the same (or similar) between clients, email templates are a perfect solution to help you speed up the process and make only minimal changes each and every time. Our free email templates are available to make that area of your wedding workflow simple. Here is a list of the 8 most important to implement into your business first.

1. New Inquiry Automated Response

Since a client can reach out to you by email at any time, it can be helpful to have an automated response that lets them know you will be in contact. This template can include your regular business hours and turnaround time for when you will respond to the initial inquiry.

Táve allows you to build an easy automation to automatically send this template out to new leads. Check out Táve’s installable template that you can add to your account to get it up and running.

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

2. Detailed Inquiry Response

After the automated response to new inquiries, you can use a template that gives your potential clients a bit more information about you. With the detailed inquiry template ready, all you would need to do is include the dates you’d be available.

3. Meeting Confirmation

When sitting down with a client, there is a specific location where you desire the meeting to take place. Client meetings can range from pre-booking to post-booking or anything necessary to help educate your clients. Using an email template which is simple is key at this point of the process, as you want your client to find the location and not be confused by too many directions.

4. Contract Details

Once your client has decided to book you for their wedding day, a contract finalizes your agreement and the process. Since dealing with the money aspect of booking can be a bit awkward, creating an email which informs your clients you are excited to work with them helps you ease into the rest of the details.

5. Post-Booking Package

After your client has booked you and signed the contract, the next priority is to inform them of what you can offer to them in regard to products. The post-booking package email lets your clients know all of the awesome things you can do with their wedding photos. If you offer more than one package, split this into three separate emails. You can use the same template, just update the additional offers you include in each package.

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

6. Vendor Referral

As a wedding photographer, you likely have vendors you work with on a regular occasion, or ones you love to work with in your area. An email to your clients about vendor referrals can share more about the vendors you work with and how they can help your client with their wedding day. This template will share with clients that you have recommendations for them, so they know you are there to assist them through every step of the way.

7. Wedding Questionnaire

One of the top ways to ensure you prepare for the wedding day, a wedding questionnaire is a simple way to communicate with them. This template can let your clients know that you would love for them to fill it out, and that you would like to schedule a phone call to discuss it. You can also use this email to send a friendly reminder to them about any remaining balances due before the wedding day.

8. Image Release

When the wedding day is over and you have your images back from a wedding photo editing service, they are ready for your clients. Sometimes, it can be nice to just send them a short email, especially since you have been emailing them so often. Include a link to their photos from your image gallery within the email so they can simply click on it and view your beautiful work.

Email templates which are already created to send to clients can help you decrease your workflow time tremendously. Take advantage of the other 41 templates we offer in our Email Templates for Wedding Photographers , made in conjunction with ShootDotEdit!

ShootDotEdit is the first choice color correction and post production solution for the pro wedding photographer, and everything they shoot. They provide turnaround time as fast as 48 hours. ShootDotEdit customers now receive Extra, a complimentary gallery hosting and storage service designed to sell more prints for you with zero commissions.

Behind the Scenes: Infrastructure Upgrade

A little backstory

We have been using Amazon Web Services Platform since we moved from our own servers back in 2011.  It has come a long way since then including adding Virtual Private Cloud, a number of new instance types, Aurora, CodeDeploy, and a plethora of other services (most of which we do not have a use for right now).  Prior to November 2016, the public marketing site (what sits on root domain) and the application (manager and client access) were all in the same code base sitting on top of ElasticBeanstalk in EC2-classic, along with Memcached on ElastiCache and MySQL on top of RDS.  ElasticBeanstalk handled our provisioning and deployment and overall it served us well.

November 2016 Updates

One of the reasons we have been holding off on doing any more upgrades to our existing infrastructure was because we really wanted to move it into Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud to be able to take advantage of its better networking security, the latest instance types which were only available to VPC and Aurora (also only available to VPC setups).  We also wanted to break apart the public website from the application codebase for a while and when we redid the marketing site on top of WordPress, we finally had enough reasoning to go ahead and make the split.  In doing so, some infrastructure changes had to happen.  Since the new WordPress-based site would need its own set of servers that are completely segregated from the application on the root domain (where the application also sits), we had to introduce a layer 7 proxy to be able to parse the incoming URL and route to the appropriate server pool.  For example anything in /app goes to the application pool whereas anything on / or /blog goes to the public site pool.  AWS has a service that can do this called Application Load Balancer (aka ALB, ELBv2), but there are some huge caveats.  The biggest one is you can’t route anything to outside the VPC that the ALB sits in and since the application pool was still in Ec2-classic, we had to create this proxy server pool.

So back in November, in an effort to take the first step of moving us into a VPC and off of EC2-classic, we created the proxy server pool along with the public site pool and its database all with in VPC on top of CloudFormation. We didn’t need any downtime for this since we just updated the DNS entry to point to the new proxy pool inside the VPC and the proxies routed to the existing application pool when necessary.

April 2017 Upgrades

In doing the updates back in November, we soon became concerned with the size of the CloudFormation template file for what represents such a small portion of our overall infrastructure.  We have a public site pool, application pool, schedule tasks server, and a worker pool (runs tasks behind the scenes like automations, calendar feed fetching and generation, etc.).  In addition to that, we wanted to break out the worker pool into 3 separate pools: 1 for email sending, 1 for the calendar feed generation and fetching and the last pool for everything else.  This template file was already becoming unwieldy and all it had was the core VPC networking, the proxy pool and the public site pool.  We wanted to rethink this before adding the application pools (app servers, workers, and scheduled tasks server).  So we started looking at provisioning tools out there like Ansible, Chef, Puppet, etc to see if they could provide what we were looking for — a structured way of composing templates in a hierarchical manner.  We ended up just sticking with CloudFormation for a couple reasons (which I won’t go into here), but this time we decided to write a quick node script that pre-parses the templates and uploads them to s3 along with replacing the stack references with those uploaded destinations.  So we went from 1 monolithic template file to 7 template files:

  • The VPC core networking which references the stacks below
  • Bastion server layer
  • Proxy layer
  • Public site layer
  • Application Layer (1 for app itself and 1 for the background worker task queue servers)
  • Generic Instance Pool template that the others reference

This took it from 1 stack to 14 stacks which break down like so:

  • Parent stack that has the core VPC networking and references the other stacks.
  • Bastion stack that sets up networking for the bastion server and its child stack for the instance pool.
  • Proxy stack that sets up networking for the proxy servers and its child stack for the load balancer and instance pool.
  • Public site stack that sets up networking for the marketing site and its child stack for the load balancer and instance pool.
  • Application stack which sets up networking for the application web servers along with load balancer, worker servers and the worker queue servers.

Since we created everything (except for Database and Cache servers) in CloudFormation, we didn’t need ElasticBeanstalk anymore. This allowed us to combine our 7 layers (which each had their own way of deploying), into a common and consistent deployment process on CodeDeploy.  Finally, now everything will be in a VPC.

We had been holding off on doing any more reserved purchases until we were ready to move everything inside the VPC.  This is why we were just band-aiding things as they would come up.  We knew our database was becoming overloaded at times, so we figured we would just upgrade everything at once (mostly because we hate taking downtime).

Database Upgrade

The core of our data storage sits on MySQL RDS using their Multi-AZ setup.  We want to take advantage of a number of advantages that Aurora has to offer, so we are migrating to that.  Along with this, we are increasing the instance size by about 8 fold.  This should provide much quicker reads and writes and give a better experience overall.  Aurora’s replication is also MUCH faster than MySQL’s so adding additional read slaves as necessary becomes trivial.

Application Webserver Upgrade

We are taking advantage of the newer c4 instance types that are available now which are slightly faster than what we have in production currently.  On top of that we doubled the size of the app webserver pool.  So not only are there faster servers there, there are about twice as many. We generally don’t use automatic autoscaling since to “get it right” requires lots of tedious testing that we honestly don’t have time for.  So we scale horizontally manually when we see page load times increasing — everything is already in place for this.

Worker Pool Upgrade

Some of the slow downs for some of the background tasks were due to some workers taking over the CPU resources of the instance and therefore reducing the amount of CPU resources for other (and sometimes more critical) workers like sending email.   We decided it would be best to distribute these workers into separate pools so that they won’t affect the more critical background tasks.   Instead of one common pool of workers, we are going to start with 3 separate pools: email,  calendar generators and remote calendar fetchers and the rest of the workers.  With this change, we are also doubling the total number of instances in the worker pool.  More importantly here was that we implemented the ability to break out individual workers into their own pools which allows us to move other more CPU or memory intensive workers to their own pool so they don’t affect other workers.

Standby Site Upgrade

Standby was moved into a VPC as well in the us-west-2 region.  We increased the database instance size there and doubled the capacity of the app server pool.

Public Site Upgrade

Since we like things being similar in our infrastructure, we also went ahead and migrated the WordPress database that the public site uses to Aurora.  Along with this change, we are doubling the capacity of that pool as well.  We also moved over the blog from the support site to the public site infrastructure.  The old is now hosted on Intercom’s Help Center.


With all these changes we are finally fully within a VPC and page loads and general app usage should feel quicker.  Of course, if you have any questions about our infrastructure or why we chose one thing over another, feel free to message us in app and we’ll be happy to share!

Infrastructure Upgrade and Maintenance Window *** COMPLETED ***

Over the past few months, the Táve community has grown at a steady clip. New businesses and new users are discovering how Táve can drastically save them time and make them more money. With that growth, we’ve noticed that the current infrastructure (underlying structure of our systems) hasn’t quite kept up. Page loads haven’t been as snappy as we want them to be.

We’ve spent a month or so working on building a new infrastructure that we hope will drastically increase the speed of the app. In order to transition to the new infrastructure, we will be scheduling a brief maintenance window where the app will not be available.

We always want to provide the best experience for our users and use the latest technologies available which is why the new infrastructure utilizes some of the latest services from Amazon Cloud Platform.

When is this happening?

So we are going to take a quick maintenance window downtime for about an hour (although we are expecting it to be much less than this) on:

UTC/GMT: Sunday, April 9th at 4:15am – 5:15am

Eastern Daylight Time: Sunday, April 9th at 12:15am – 1:15am

Pacific Daylight Time: Saturday, April 8th at 9:15pm – 10:15pm

Australian Eastern Time: Sunday, April 9th at 2:15pm – 3:15pm

The maintenance window has been rescheduled to the following time:

UTC/GMT: Tuesday, April 11th at 10:15am – 11:15am

Eastern Daylight Time: Tuesday, April 11th at 6:15am – 7:15am

Pacific Daylight Time: Tuesday, April 11th at 3:15am – 4:15am

Australian Eastern Time: Tuesday, April 11th at 8:15pm – 9:15pm

This maintenance event was completed successfully. Thank you for your patience!

What is affected?

The Táve Studio Manager application and client access will be affected during this brief maintenance period.

Want to know more?

For the tech-savvy users, you can read more here about all the changes that we’re making.


4 Tips for Getting Organized This Year

Managing a business is no easy feat and can quickly become overwhelming. One key to being successful is to ensure you have organizational tools in place to help you keep your priorities on track. To assist you with this, we reached out to ShootDotEdit, who helps professional photographers streamline their wedding photography business by taking post production off their plate.

When you decided to go into business, what was it about a photography career that enticed you? For many, it’s because they love shooting and creating memorable images for clients. But did you know that only about 12% of your time is actually spent on shooting? The remaining 88% of your time is spent on marketing, accounting, sales, networking, and more. And even though you started your business to fulfill your passion of photography, you actually signed up to be a business person for most of the time!

For you to focus on the things you love to do in your business, you must maintain organization and free yourself from the tasks that hold you back. Below, we have 4 tips to share that will help you get organized in your business this year.

1. Create a System for Email Communication

Since up to 30% of your work week is dedicated to organizing and sending emails in your inbox, it’s imperative you create a system for email communication. When your communication techniques are organized, it becomes easier for you to reach out to potential clients and business partners. Each morning, filter through your inbox, and prioritize and delegate the emails you have to others on your team.

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Another way to create a system for your email communication is to use templated emails, like these 49 customizable templates for wedding photographers, created in conjunction with Táve! When you use email templates, you no longer have to write out messages every time you need to communicate with a client or vendor (which will save you hours each year).

2. Write, Upload, and Schedule in Advance

Both social media and your blog are platforms you must stay active on to connect with current and future clients. To maintain consistency, you must post on social media and your blog regularly. Rather than writing blog posts, Tweets, and Facebook posts right before you want to post them, create time in your schedule to write them for the month.

From there, schedule each in advance using programs such as WordPress or Hootsuite. When you schedule in advance, you will not need to worry about remembering to actively post each day at the right time. Your stress will lower, and you can plan out exactly what you want to share on each social platform in advance.

3. Outsource Non-Profit Generating Tasks

While it may seem easier to do everything on your own since you know your business best, it’s challenging to achieve your goals while doing so. It can be challenging to let go of areas of your business, but to stay organized and grow, you must outsource tasks that do not generate additional profit for your business. These are tasks like color correction, billing and accounting, and album and website design.

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

For example, ShootDotEdit helps you with your wedding photo editing needs, Táve assists you with managing and organizing your business, and Fotoskribe implements advanced SEO techniques on your images and blog. When you trust others with tasks in your business that do not increase your profit, you can spend that time on other areas that require your immediate attention.

4. Maintain an Organized Calendar

Although it’s a simple tool, a calendar will be your best friend to help you maintain organization in your business. Having a visual of all your shoots and clients will be a lifesaver when you are trying to figure out when you can squeeze in some time for coffee to nurture a vendor relationship. Use a calendar that is easily accessible and syncs to your phone and computer, so you always have the most updated schedule. The last thing you want to do is double-book yourself for a wedding!

Tip: You can also use a content calendar to stay organized with your upcoming blog posts, social media, and email campaigns. The calendar will give you clear insight into what you have scheduled, so you consistently share your images and resources.

By keeping your business organized, you will be able to focus on areas of your business that you want to optimize and grow. For additional ways to organize and grow your business, download our Guide, How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business!

New Feature | Contact Relationships

​You can now link contacts so that they are related and become even more connected!

Linking contacts lets you have quick access to any related contacts when using any of the people dropdowns throughout the system.

You can create the relationship from the job worksheet or directly on a contact’s Address Book profile.

Once connected, any related contact will appear in the contact dropdown used in quotes, email, event attendees and more.

Event Attendees

If you’ve already added one parent as the main contact for a job, but you know their family will be attending the same event, you can quickly add them as attendees since they are connected via relationships.

Employee/Employer Relationship

One great use for contact relationships is creating employer/employee connections.

The example below uses Stanford University as the employer. Once Stanford is added to a job, I have quick access to email any of Stanford’s employees. Below is the people picker used when composing an email.

Address Book Column

If you’d like to quickly see related contacts in your Address Book, simply add the ‘Related Contacts’ column to your list and save your changes.

Relationship Types

You can create new relationship types in Settings › Relationship Types. Each type has a gender neutral, masculine and feminine form. If you select a masculine or feminine form when setting a contact’s relationship, it also sets their gender.

As always, reach out to us at Support if you have any questions!

Template Gallery | Easier than ever to get started!

Introducing a whole new way to get set up in Táve.

Access the all new template gallery from the Help Menu!

templategalleryIndustry Specific Setups

Táve originally started as a tool for photographers. But as the product evolved, it became clear that it worked great as a business solution for many different industries. The question became how to set up an account for these other industries. Well, now we’re making it easier than ever with our template gallery. You can browse the template gallery and install industry basics, questionnaires, quotes, contracts, automations and more. These templates are a great starting point to help you learn Táve or add stuff to your account if you’re an existing user.

How It Works

It’s pretty simple. Just browse any of the pre-made content in the gallery. When you find something you want to install, click on it. You’ll get a list of all of the pieces that will be installed. Just click install. Magic ensues. If there is an item on your account (questionnaire, quote, contract, etc.) with the EXACT same name, we’ll just use that and mark the item as ‘Used Existing’. This prevents any of your current setups from being overwritten. You won’t however get the full install. So for example, if you have a contract named ‘Wedding Contract’ and you install a template with a quote of the same name, we’ll use the existing one. You won’t get the new contract. If you’re sure you want the template contract, then simply edit your original item to change the name or delete it then reinstall.


The template gallery does NOT remove any existing setup on your account, even the original defaults that came with your free trial. The template gallery does NOT have any effect on client data, jobs, etc., existing or otherwise.

To see what you’ve already installed and which user on your account installed it. Simply go to the history menu on the top right of the template gallery.


More To Come

We believe that this will be an extremely powerful tool to help new and existing users get the most out of their Táve account. We will be adding more content as we go, so if you’re looking for something in particular or you think of something that could be really helpful to someone else, let us know and we’ll build it for the template gallery. Just send us a message from the Help menu with your ideas.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale 2016


Valid November 25-28 only, enjoy up to 60% off Táve by prepaying for your subscription during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale.

Once again, we’re upping the discount you’ll receive when prepaying for an annual license on your Táve account. This weekend only, prepay for your account to get even more savings off.

To take advantage of the sale, simply to go Settings › Manage Subscription.


Some of our favorite industry partners are having sales too!

Check ’em out!

Get SmartAlbums® album design software and get $100 off. Hurry, offer expires Nov 28.

Use this link and then enter the promo code 100SALE.


Beautiful galleries, invoices, digital contracts, integrated lab fulfillment, mobile apps, and more — all without any commission fees. Focus on what matters most, and let ShootProof take care of the rest! New customers save 40% on yearly plans, and current subscribers get 40% off upgrades through Monday.

Use this link to get these great deals.


Holiday Email Templates from ShootDotEdit and Táve

With your schedule chock full of weddings, thinking about the holidays (let alone, holiday portrait sessions) may be the last thing on your mind (holiday season is months away, right?). Between constant shoots and fulfilling client orders, adding another project to your plate might not be on your agenda.

What if we told you we have a solution for a way that you can plan and organize holiday portrait sessions, without doing much at all… a way to streamline this entire planning process and all you had to do was press “send” on the emails…

Holiday Session Email Templates for the Wedding Photographer

Do you remember our 49 Email Templates we shared with you? Now, we have the perfect set of templates dedicated to holiday sessions that take the guesswork out of the entire process!  Our templates, created in conjunction with ShootDotEdit and France Photographers, help:

  • Make client communication a breeze with a streamlined process
  • Announce, book, and deliver holiday sessions with minimal effort
  • Provide additional income for your business during the off-season

Download the Holiday Email Templates to get started today!

These go hand-in-hand with Táve’s Quick Responses. Just go to Settings › Quick Responses and copy over these new templates to use right away!


Not yet a Táve user? Want to check out Táve to see how it can change your business? Use the following coupon code at the time of registering for your new trial just for ShootDotEdit users to get 20% off your month-to-month subscription for the first year*: SHOOTDOTEDIT20

*New users only

Square Payment Processing

We’re really excited to announce a new option for processing payments through Táve Client Access.

You can now integrate directly with Square’s new payment gateway. Much like Stripe or Braintree, Square’s integration allows your clients to pay by credit card and have the transaction process and get recorded automatically. In order to integrate, you’ll need a Square account.

Check out this video for easy setup instructions: