MY FAVORITE BUSINESS TOOLS
This is the second part in a series of my favorite business (and personal) tools. Today I’m chatting about the best iPhone apps for photographers.
// iPhone apps
// Tangible products (packaging)
// Camera Gear
PART TWO: MAKING YOUR BUSINESS MOBILE
I travel a lot for weddings and in our personal life, so it is integral that I can run MorningWild Photography from the road. As smart phones have become more intelligent over the years, this is becoming easier and easier to do without a laptop. Here are a few of my favorite apps:
Social Media (Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest)
I think it goes without saying that these are three of the most used applications on my phone. It’s easy to share my work and connect with my couples, wedding vendors, friends, family through these apps. I personally don’t use Twitter or Snapchat very much, as I’d rather devote more energy into 1-3 platforms and do them well. I’ve started using Tailwind to help schedule posts and save some time on social media.
Hands down my favorite iPhone photo editing app.
Weather Apps (Dark Sky, AccuWeather)
It’s a prerequisite to also be a meteorologist as a wedding photographer. I kid, sort of… Whether I’m trying to make a decision about postponing/changing a session, adjusting timeline on the wedding day, helping the bride make decisions about her ceremony location because of impending rain, these apps are the most accurate I can find. Dark Sky was created purely for data about precipitation, and I’ve found it to be pretty spot on minute-to-minute (not as accurate hours out). I prefer AccuWeather to the Weather Channel app, as it seems to be more precise. The app also has a two hour rain window (pictured as a circle around the temperate at the top) that is incredibly spot on. I’ve used this in a pinch on a scattered storm day when we were darting between periods of rain.
While I miss the days of Google Reader (anyone else?!), I’ve become extremely fond of Feedly. It is an easy way to stay on top of blogs and other content that update regularly. I love that the app has an abbreviated view option, in case you want to look through headlines quickly. I use this feature when I’m behind in my subscriptions so that I can quickly weed out the articles that I want to read.
SunriseSunset/The Photographer’s Ephemeris
When I’m drafting timelines for my couples, I depend on these two apps. SunriseSunset is perfect for figuring out–you guessed it–the sunrise and sunset times for any location in the world for any date. TPE is even more specific. You can see where the sun will be rising and setting from GPS data. So, if you have a location in mind but the overlook only faces one way, and you are not sure where the sun will be setting in November, this is the perfect resource to figure it out.
I know that iCal and Google Calendar are the more popular scheduling apps, but I much prefer Refills. I like being able to look at a month or week view and see exactly when I have shoots, appointments, meetings, etc. You can also make lists in the app, which I’ve found extremely helpful for grocery shopping, gift ideas, books I want to read, etc. I also like the feature of being able to add a recurring event (birthdays, tax due date reminders) and add notes to any event/task.
I think everyone has and knows of this app, but I wanted to point out one handy tip. When traveling out of the country or on back roads in the mountains, you can still access map data. On our Europe road trip, I would load the map + directions on wifi and still navigate (just don’t refresh!).
I heard about this app years ago, but I just integrated into my workflow recently thanks to the suggestion from Julia. For years I was tracking mileage manually and missing out on many shorter business drives. I cannot believe how easy this app is. Simply swipe after each trip, whether personal or business.
Even though we travel Delta 90% of the time, I still like to compare flight prices on Kayak to make sure I’m not missing out on super cheap flight. I use it the most for rental cars, as Kayak seems to have one of the most competitive rates.
I wrote a much longer post about travel tips, but I do want to give a shout out to Delta here. We’ve become loyal to Delta over the years after flying many, many different budget airlines. Of the lower-end range (American, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier), Delta has been the best to us. Their planes are new with updated technology. Their rewards program is excellent. They are wonderful to medallion members (I’ve been upgraded to first class more times than I can count…even at silver medallion status). Of course, they are not perfect. But, I’ve found them to be better than most. And, their app is incredible! If you’re delayed, the app is usually more accurate than the desk attendant! It also shares when the plane left the outgoing airport, where your bags are, schedule changes, etc.
We stay in airbnbs nine times out of 10 when traveling, especially for personal trips (even more so internationally). We really enjoy how we can settle into a place like home on the road. We’ve had a handful of not-so-great experiences, but most of those we knew what we were getting into (the places didn’t have many reviews and we were booking last minute). If you go this route, make sure the host has been around for a while. Make sure the place has plenty of positive reviews (at least 10+), and read the reviews. Sometimes visitors will note problem areas or particulars in the comments that are worth knowing before committing to a place. Also, make sure you are signing up for the space you expect (room vs. entire house), and it has all of the amenities you need.
If you are a freelance photojournalist, or if you want to get into this field, this is the app for you. It was developed by a colleague of mine years ago, and it has become quite a success. It’s a platform for editors to scout cities/states when they have an assignment and review local photographers. I owe Blink for my connections to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and more.
A favorite way to pass the time on long drives (and editing) by storing playlists, music, radio stations, etc. Audiobooks are also a favorite, but I purchase them through the iBooks app. I prefer to buy instead of rent through Audible because Brendan usually will listen to the book more than once.
I use Skype and FaceTime quite a bit for consults and for connecting with family when out of the country.
Since I try to pack light, these two apps help me continue quiet time on the road without needing to lug around several books. I really enjoy the She Reads Truth app. The devotions are inexpensive and lovely.
Since we started eating “clean,” we’ve also worked to remove toxins from our body products, makeup, cleaning products, etc. These two apps are fabulous for checking labels in the store. You can scan barcodes, and the apps will tell you how “clean” or “dirty” the products are. I personally think the EWG site is more thorough than the app, but I still use it when I’m out of the house and looking for a new product.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this app! I started meditating last year, and it has helped reduce stress and increase peace in my life. I highly, highly recommend this app.
We’ve had to limit some expenses this year with a new baby in tow, and a gym/yoga studio membership didn’t make the cut. Asana Rebel is a great way to keep up with a regular yoga routine without having to go to the gym. I’m still on the hunt for a more rigorous practice via an app (I would say the workouts are beginner/intermediate), but it is still worth mentioning.
GF Scanner + Find Me GF
After my Celiac diagnosis last year, these apps have become a lifeline for me. If you have celiac or a gluten sensitivity, these are worth every penny. The GF scanner scans the barcode of food products and can tell you if there is gluten in it or not (based on the label). I found this especially helpful early in my diagnosis because gluten is hidden and disguised in many, many foods. Find Me GF is like Yelp, but it lists the GF attributes of restaurants (i.e. dedicated kitchen space, dedicate fryer, gluten free facility, etc.). Users also leave reviews, which has made me feel more safe when choosing a restaurant that is not 100% GF.
Since we eat mostly at home now, it has become expensive. We’ve been eating more meat (+organic vegetables + fruits) to make up for the lack of grains, and gluten-free items are at least $1-2 more than convention items. My friend, Elizabeth, introduced me to this company, and it has been so worth it. A lot of their GF and organic items are listed for a few dollars cheaper than Whole Foods or Amazon or Trader Joe’s. We also purchase some of our body care and home cleaning products through here, as we’ve also found them to be less expensive on Thrive. Not to mention, when we travel to Muskegon to visit our families, there are less organic options and grocery stores, so this has been a gift to help supplement us when we travel for long periods of time.
A must if you travel out of the country often. You can download certain languages to be available off-line too. I do this when I know I’ll be in a country for a bit so I don’t have to max out space on my phone.
This app is great if your travel plans change last minute, or you need a hotel on the drop of a hat. HT lists crazy deals for really nice hotels that are only available if you book last minute. I once booked an airbnb for the wrong date and needed a place within the hour. HT hooked me up with a normally expensive hotel at an incredibly affordable rate (50% off the regular rate!).
Next week, I’ll be chatting about my favorite companies for tangible products (packaging, printing, albums, etc.).