10 Must Have Tools for Photographers

Establishing a workflow sucks.

It's a fact. There's so much trial and error and paying for things you may never use simply so you can maybe stumble upon something that really works.

Here's the great thing.

My first couple years as a legal, established business? I threw so much money at different programs and apps and tools that I've got my workflow down pat & if I'm in a crunch... I can deliver a wedding in under a week and a portrait session in less than 24 hours. Seriously. I wrote a blog post about it! 

Here's 10 tools that help me the most as a wedding & boudoir photographer.


 

  1. Photo Mechanic (1 license $150)- Ever wish it didn't take 575, 600 minutes for your RAW files to load in Lightroom so that you could cull quickly and move on with your life?  Photo Mechanic is your perfect alternative for this. It displays your files as high res jpeg files so that you can quickly sort through, see if something's out of focus and THEN move them to Lightroom. It's an extra step but it's one that saves you HOURS in the long run. Here's a couple of video tutorials I've looked at to help out: 1/2/

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!


2. Adobe Lightroom Classic CC/Adobe Photoshop CC - Lightroom is what I use to do all of my "simple edits". I use different presets depending on the situation but my favorites are: Mastin Labs, Tribe Red Leaf, & SMAL presets. Once I'm done with my overall color edits, I move them into Photoshop for any skin smoothing, heavy duty object removal, etc.

Does it offer a free trial? No.


3. Blogstomp ($49 single user, $89 studio pack)- The most tedious part of blogging for me was always getting everything the proper width, making appealing collages, & being able to do this quickly. Blogstomp does ALL of that for me. In the screenshot below you'll see that the images you put in load on the left, you choose which ones you want and they appear in the center. On the right you'll see all of the possible combinations and collage types. You can shuffle the photos, move them manually, or press "enter" and you're done! Easy right? They also offer Album and Proofing solutions, but I cannot speak to how useful those are personally.

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!


4. JPegMini Pro ($99)- JPegMini Pro is a relatively new investment for me. You drag and drop your files into the software and it reduces your image size without compromising any of the quality. Perfect for making your images load faster online, taking up less space on your hard drive, and sending smaller files to your clients. I threw some random photos in here just to show you what the screen looks like. You'll see up top the lifetime amount of space I've saved, it'll show you what photos were skipped if they were already too small, and then you'll see how much space it saved you during your current session. 100% worth the money when you're a high volume photographer, especially.

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!

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5. Dubsado ($25/month or $250/year) - Oh how I love Dubsado. Let me count the ways. Dubsado is a client management tool that has saved my life. Before I forget, use this link: https://www.dubsado.com/?c=heytay or my code 'heytay' for 20% off! Dubsado allows you to keep all of your payments, contracts, etc. in one place. You can use paypal, stripe or square to collect payments as well. 

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!
(You can use create 3 "jobs" for free)


6. Mile IQ ($5.99/month or $60/year OR 40 free drives/month)- Mile IQ is a great time saver. No need to keep a list in your car of where you're going and how many miles you went to get there. Mile IQ is an app for your phone that automatically tracks your drives. At the end you categorize what's for business and what's for pleasure. It then makes it easy for you to hand over to a CPA for mileage deduction! 

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!

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7. Pixieset (3GB/month for free with upgrading options) - Pixieset is how I deliver my galleries to clients. In my experience it is the cleanest with the most features and it gives clients the ability to order their own prints for friends and family right to their door! Click here to see a full gallery and feel free to explore its features!

Want an extra 250 MB? Click here!

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!


8. Smart Albums ($299 one-time fee) - Hate designing albums? I've got a cure for that too! Smart Albums is an investment (I bought this and most items on Black Friday for a steal), but it's so simple. You load all of your photos and place them in the book. You can choose from a million different album companies and sizes. Afterward, you can choose your layout & upload from there. It also comes with the ability for web proofing where your client can provide feedback and view their album online. This feature is $13/month or you can purchase per album.

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!
14-day trial available at link

 Write here…

Write here…


9. Squarespace ($18/annually or $26/monthly for business) - After a lot of hemming and hawing I have settled on Squarespace for my website. It allows me to do the customization I need, the pricing is mid-level for a yearly price, the SEO integration is pretty great, and there's some great designers these days that solely design on Squarespace's platform due to the ease.

Below is a screenshot of my boudoir brand, Hey Boudie

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!


10. Quickbooks - Since obviously showing all my tax information is unwise, below is the pricing structure for Quickbooks. The greatest thing is that Quickbooks has integration with Dubsado! Anything you make gets sent there for itemizing and if you hand this to your CPA with any other receipts end of year, you can consider it handled.

Does it offer a free trial? Yes!

 Alternatives:  Wave ,  Xero

Alternatives: Wave, Xero