Business tools

Gear I use: Mobile apps for a photography business

It’s not just photographers who can take advantage of mobile apps. Here, Rachael Campbell prepares to set up her Suunto 9 Baro GPS watch for a day’s trail running (You can pair the watch with Suunto’s mobile app and keep track of your outdoor activities)

It’s not just photographers who can take advantage of mobile apps. Here, Rachael Campbell prepares to set up her Suunto 9 Baro GPS watch for a day’s trail running (You can pair the watch with Suunto’s mobile app and keep track of your outdoor activities)

A list of 5 mobile apps I’ve found useful in helping me manage my outdoor photography business.

1. Evernote

It’s possible you can use Evernote to manage your whole life (See Lifehacker.com) but I like to keep things simple and I use it mainly as a text editor when mobile.

Some of the things I find Evernote really useful for are;

  • Drafting photo shoot or feature ideas to submit to photo editors and art directors

  • Writing blog posts and articles

  • Capturing ideas for future business opportunities, e.g. potential photo projects or interesting photography locations

  • Recording items when I’m on the move, e.g. expense receipts

  • As a means of reminding myself of educational or inspirational content I’ve found on the web or on my travels (Evernote enables you to save a web page, text clipping or photo and save it as a note)

Probably the most useful function for me In Evernote is the simple checklist (I admit I’d find it hard to manage my life without lists). I keep lists for a variety of different things, including equipment lists for my photography gear, lists for my outdoor gear, lists of items I’ve taken on jobs I’ve worked on in the past (e.g. the Patagonian Expedition Race), lists of gear I’ve used in events I’ve competed in that I’ll likely do again (e.g. Cairngorms Loop, Strathpuffer) and lists for more general things such as goals I want to achieve over the next 3 months.

Overall, I love Evernote’s ease of use. When I access the app on all my devices (I use it on my laptop, phone and desktop), all my content has been quickly and seamlessly updated with any changes I’ve made. And it’s free.

2. Things

Things is another app I’d find it hard to operate my business without. It’s not cheap (in fact it’s really expensive for a To Do app) but I’ve tried many others and I find it well worth the cost.

The simple idea behind Things is a task manager that enables you to sort tasks into ‘Today’, 'Next’ and 'Scheduled for later’. I use the app not only as a means to record and complete my things to do but also as a supplement for my diary, entering meeting dates and reminders. Tasks only go in the Today column when I will 100% do them that day. Once things to do are in 'Today’, they have to get done, regardless. I’ve found that using Things has made me much more organised in general and definitely more efficient at completing tasks.

3. Sunseeker

I’m sure there’s an answer but does anyone care more about where exactly the sun is in relation to the sky perhaps more so than an outdoor photographer? Sunseeker is a really usable app that lets you plug in the location you’re shooting and find out not only what time dawn and dusk is but also where the sun will be in the sky at a given time of day. You can also choose a future date and get advance information for the day of your shoot. For location scouting and shoot preparation, Sunseeker is indispensable. (Combine it with Fatmap for the total online location scouting experience).

4. Easy Release

Easy Release is a brilliant app that enables me to create and share model releases on the go. It allows me to customise the release wording to suit my requirements. (To help speed things up on a shoot, I always take the time to share my release wording with athletes or models in advance of a shoot, including it in a production sheet containing all the information about the shoot. Once on location, I can simply complete their personal details, take their photo and email us both a copy of the release).

5. Dropbox

No list of apps would be appropriate, it seems, without a reference to Dropbox, the file hosting and sharing service. For informal sharing and file backups, I use a paid account which I can use for up to ITB of d. For clients, I set up a Dropbox Pro account, and store all the documentation relating to the shoot plus the low-resolution proofs and the final high-resolution images in a password-protected folder.

Dropbox is an excellent app that, like Evernote and Things (and many other apps) seamlessly syncs your content and lets you access it across different devices.

Overall, apps make a huge improvement to my business workflow. I’d be interested to know what you use.