Programs and Apps that I couldn’t live without

August 29, 2019

I’ve been wanting to do this post for awhile, but I finally have some time today to go through everything. I wanted to make a list of everything I use that’s helpful outside of Lightroom and Photoshop. My workflow is pretty streamlined now, and I know it’s so helpful for other photographers to see what works and what doesn’t!

I’ll be rating each program on a 1-10 basis, and these are all programs I use almost daily or weekly.

Alien Skin Exposure 10/10

I was introduced to Exposure in 2015 by a friend. I had been missing something from my work and discovered this was it! I have been using Exposure to add my finishers to my work since then, except for 2017 when I tried to streamline my workflow and lost myself (completely different story), but I’m back on it and I am still as obsessed with it as ever.

It’s extremely easy to use. My only issues with it are
1. It’s hard to install presets now
2. It can be slow af when it’s exporting.

But that’s literally it, and neither of those things are enough for me to not use it.

Buy it here.

Photomechanic 10/10

I resisted using photomechanic for YEARS. Literal years. I could kick myself. I’m a fast culler in Lightroom anyways but when photomechanic sent me a code to use their products, I decided to give it a go again.

I can cull a 4,000 image wedding in photo mechanic in an hour. AN HOUR.

I can cull a 600 image session in 10 minutes. It’s amazing and saves me SO MUCH TIME. I will never not use it for a wedding unless I’m forced. I don’t even import raws into Lightroom anymore without culling them first.

Buy it here.

Flothemes 10/10

Flothemes is one of the programs I’ve been using basically since the beginning. With most themes or coding there can always be hiccups but their team is always quick to respond and fix any issues I have, which is VERY important when I rely on my websites for income.

I’ve been building in wordpress since I was 13, but it’s hard to code and build your own platform. I needed something easy and responsive and Flothemes has made my website life so much easier.

Buy a theme here.

Narrative 6/10

I’ve been using Narrative to blog for around a year now, and while it’s amazing when it actually works there are still a lot of hiccups with the program. They are still a newer company so I’ve been patient in waiting for the issues to be fixed.

I don’t personally use the “SEO” options that come with the program. I don’t want to publish through the app just in case it ends up going away eventually.

I use it more to build the layouts for my blog post. The best feature about the program is that I can export each layout as a jpeg and upload it myself. If you want to buy the program it’s pretty cheap, just know until they get the bugs worked out you may have some issues.

You can buy it here.

Pic-Time 9/10

I started using Pic-Time as my gallery hosting last year when I was told they’d be offering gif support eventually. Depending on the session or wedding I do shoot a lot of gifs so it was definitely a HUGE factor in signing up. It took them a bit of time to implement that feature, but the great thing about Pic-Time is that they ACTUALLY LISTEN to what we want added as features.

My only issue with the program is that it can be difficult for clients to log into their galleries if they’re on private mode, but I’m certain that will be fixed asap.

It’s a wonderful platform that has the potential to grow and become the best (even though I already think it is) in the industry.

You can get TWO free months if you sign up for a paid plan with this link. Buy it here.

ShootQ 7/10

As far as CRM programs go, there are probably better. I’ve tested out a few others and low key hated them compared to ShootQ. I’ve been using ShootQ since the beginning. At the time it was basically the ONLY CRM on the market that I knew of so it was the obvious choice.

It’s not the prettiest interface. It can be VERY confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty great. I have all of my emails automated. I only have to set up clients in the system which takes all of 10 minutes to do.

It is a little bit more expensive some of the other options, but at this point, I think it’s worth it.

Buy it here.

Dropbox 10/10

I use dropbox mostly for business purposes, but it’s also a great way to share things with friends as well. It’s SO EASY to use as well and is basically a folder system installed on your computer that uploads all the content to the cloud.

I mainly use it to share products with other photographers for them to test, and to throw gifs/mp4s in it so I can grab those from my phone for instagram.

It’s also extremely handy when I want an extra back up system for my raws. If I’m traveling a lot and have decent internet I’ll just throw my raws into a dropbox folder as well and let it upload to feel a bit better. I also host my LR catalogs on dropbox.

Buy it here.

Jpeg Mini 10/10

This is an amazing program. It will save you so much space on your website and on your hard drives. It’s a very simple and easy program to use as well. You literally just open it and drag the folder full of jpegs into it.

It compresses images without deteriorating the image. You cant even really tell a difference in them. I upload the high res photos into Pic-Time, and then run the full set of images through jpeg mini to store on my external hard drive. I also run my blog images through it before uploading to my website.

Buy it here.

Smart Slides 8/10

Smart slides would 100% be a 10/10 rating if they had better music options. That is really the only downside to using them. I’ve started doing next day/week previews for my weddings and I do it through using a slide show.

I throw 100 or so images into a slideshow telling the story of the day and host the slideshow on my website. Then I send it out to my clients and tell them to share with their friends and family which drives traffic to my website and impresses my clients and their loved ones with the quickness of having this done.

Buy it here.

Evernote 10/10

The first of the apps that I use to run my business. I make all of my lists in evernote now. I have a separate list for what needs to be blogged, what needs to be edited, etc etc and they all have a checkbox so I can mark them off as I go.

It will also sync between platforms if you have it downloaded on multiple devices.

I haven’t dived into the full potential of evernote but it’s definitely helpful for me to get my thoughts in order and my to do list done.

Buy it here.

Dark Sky 8/10

This is by far one of the best weather apps I’ve ever used. It’s accurate 90% of the time, down to the minute. It even tells you how heavy the rain is supposed to be.

There’s not a lot to say other than that it’s worth the cost of the app.

Check it out here.

The Unfold App 8/10

This is what I use for most of my instagram story layouts. It’s such an easy app to use, and the layouts are pretty beautiful. I do wish that they had more fonts available and that you could drag and drop to change the layouts, but for an app, it’s pretty great.

It allows me to make professional and pretty layouts anytime I have a sale or want to show off work.

Check it out here.

Wordswag 9/10

I use wordswag with the Unfold app because I don’t like the fonts as much in Unfold. It can be a pain to have to use multiple apps for instagram stories but I do love using the combination of both of them together.

The only bad thing about wordswag is that sometimes the text boxes mess up and won’t move, but it’s rare.

Wordswag has the good fonts. Unfold has the good layouts

Check it out here.