My Go-To Tools & Software
Hello fellow photographers! I've noticed a lot of people wanting to know the tools and software programs I use in my process! For this blog, I wanted to reveal tools I use almost every day. For photogs that have been doing this for a long time, you might already know everything I'm about to say 😂🤭. For newbies or people wanting to expand their process, this is perfect for you!
A really good app for editing photos is VSCO. I use it to edit phone pics for my personal Instagram. Not gonna lie, I even used VSCO to edit a wedding I second shot when I was too lazy and on the run (I never gave the images to anyone, though). Although I would not recommend it for editing anything you're giving to a client, it's great for keeping your Instagram "look" consistent and learning the basics of editing. Also, it's free on the app store.
The go-to for all professional photographers and anyone wanting to edit really well is Adobe Lightroom. There are many versions of LR with different prices. I have an older version (CS6) because it was a one-time payment of $60. When I decide I want to upgrade, I'll switch to the Creative Cloud version, which is $10 a month for Lightroom and Photoshop (& even cheaper for students). This way, your app is always updated at its best version.
Lightroom is absolutely essential for any kind of DSLR photographer. It's the best way to edit a ton of photos at the same time. Importing is easy, you can create a contact sheets, export, add watermarks, and print. If you know about Lightroom, you've probably heard about "presets." A preset is a type of photo filter in Adobe Lightroom. It is slightly different from a filter, though, because instead of being something you place over your photographs, it actually modifies the very components of your image (exposure, colors, etc.). It is a very powerful tool that will save you tons of time post-processing and will help make all of your editing cohesive. Many photographers owe their unique style to the presets they use. You can purchase 19 of my presets that I use every day to edit my images under the "Presets" tab above.
I also offer Lightroom training for $50 for 30 mins, where I teach you everything you want to know about Lightroom (& Bridge) and making your post-processing experience easier. You will get to ask questions that pertain to your photography and get a customized training. Contact me if you're interested.
If you're a beginner wanting to edit camera photos but aren't ready for the world of Lightroom, I recommend starting off with Adobe Bridge. It is a great software that I used for the first few years of my photography journey. What I love about it is the organization. Personally, I HATE iPhoto and Finder (on Mac) because the organization is ugly and terrible. Bridge is nice because you can easily organize all of your photos. Rate them (so you can easily view the best ones vs seeing all of them) and even dip your toes into editing. It's simpler than Lightroom but has more editing capabilities than phone apps.
Although Lightroom is usually all I need for editing, Adobe Photoshop is sometimes very necessary to do some deeper edits or really create something unique. It's quite a complicated and often intimidating software if you don't know how to use it. However, it's a complex tool that can truly create magic as well. Start with Youtube tutorials to learn the basics and almost anything else you want to know. It comes with your Creative Cloud subscription.
Even though I'm in love with LR, culling and sorting through images is quite slow and adds hours to my editing time. Photo Mechanic is another software I recently got that I use to cull all my photos. It's super fast to view my session's photos, pick the ones I like and the ones I don't, then I will drag and drop the ones I want to edit into LR. Saves me so much time! They have a 30 day trial period, so give it a go!
Canva is AMAZING. It's a website that I use all the time, for professional and personal uses. It's free, although you can purchase cool images and designs too. I recently used it to create a PDF of information that I send to clients detailing my rates, what I offer, and how they will receive my photos. If design is not your forté, then it'll be especially useful for you. I also created my business cards, Instagram highlights, resumé, fliers, infographics, invoices, invites, and brochures with Canva.
MailChimp is a free website you can use to create mass emails to send to subscribers or clients. I created a few templates I use to send my clients their final photo galleries. It's amazing!
This is what I use to easily deliver my clients their finished photos. Rather than using dropboxes and emails that lower the resolution of the images and are sometimes confusing, WeTransfer sends the files in full res directly to a client's email. Then, all they have to do is click their link to download a .zip file of all the images to their computer. Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Why SmugMug is better than other website hosts
There are tons of website hosts out there. Wix is good for beginners who want something for free, but it's certainly not ideal for photographers. Wordpress is okay, and Squarespace is beautiful, but still has some drawbacks. Here's why I love using SmugMug:
The "Buy" button. While some photographers print their own photos or make trips to a store to get prints etc. to their clients, most would agree that they spend too much time dealing with prints rather than actually TAKING photographs. SmugMug does this all for me. Clients go into their galleries, choose the photos they want, click "buy," and SmugMug takes care of getting them their prints, canvases, and photo gifts. In turn, I get the profits. Any issues, SmugMug will solve. Sweet deal! Their quality is great too, btw.
Galleries. I love being able to easily upload all my client's photos to one place, where they can have the link that lasts forever, and I still have my entire portfolio in one place. It's more convenient than having to create blogs every time I want to release a gallery.
Customization. I love SmugMug's templates, but I also don't want my site to be off a template. Luckily, customization is easy and so doable!
If you're interested in getting a SmugMug subscription for your site, use my link here to get 20% off your subscription.
Camera Connect by Canon
If you're like me, you hate allowing other people to take photos of you. That's why whenever I need to be in a shot (like my own family photos or pics with my bf), I use this app on my phone! If you shoot a Canon with Wifi capabilities, this app connects directly to your camera. It's super great because using a remote or setting a timer on your camera and jumping into the shot is BEYOND annoying. This way, I set up my tripod, angle my camera the way I want it, get in the shot, and I see everything the camera sees on my phone! What's great too is you can click a face, and it will autofocus to it. That was my biggest issue trying to run into the shot, so the problem no longer exists! Click away on your phone and you'll get incredible shots without even touching your camera.
It's basically a professional selfie stick ;)
Lastly, Get Involved!
Getting connected with other photographers, models, videographers, and brands has been super beneficial to my business. I highly recommend joining local photographer Facebook groups and applying to the Hub.
I hope this was helpful for some of you newbie photogs!
Do you use these programs? What do you love about them?
Any you think I should know about?
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