One business owner to another, I'm giving you the full rundown here on what are the top business tools I literally cannot live without!
Most of these tools I use on a daily basis and my branding photography business would be a crumbly mess without them. But these tools aren't just for photographers, trust me! So without further ado...
Planoly is by far the best instagram planner I’ve found to date! I’ve tried Later, Plann, Preview and more and none of them compared to the ease of use that Planoly offered. (There is some debate as to whether this is a OS-related issue, but regardless!)
Planoly allows you 30 images to drag and drop plan on both desktop and your phone app so you can see what your Instagram grid will look like ahead of time!
You can add captions and premade hashtags sets to your images and schedule them for any time and date you wish for auto-posting to instagram! They have also recently introduced scheduling Instagram Stories within the app, although I can’t personally say I have used that feature very extensively.
Price: Free plan for 30 photos OR unlimited images for $9/mo
2. Google Docs + Google Drive
I use Google Docs for everything from writing out Instagram captions to blogs, to planning+collaborating on branding sessions with clients and much much more!
Google Drive of course hosts all of my Google Docs, Sheets and backups of all of my most important content online.
Price: Google Docs is free, however if you would like to add more than 15GB of storage to your account, the cost of a Google One membership varies from $2.99/mo for 200GB to $49.99/mo for 10TB
Dubasdo is the newest tool to my entrepreneurial toolkit but it has been an absolutely invaluable one!
Data and meticulous record-keeping is hard for my very right-brained self and once I started getting more clients than I could properly keep track of in my head, it was time to find a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) service!
Dubsado does everything from schedule calls for me to send out contracts and manage my ongoing projects. You can automate workflows to send emails, reminders, and forms to your clients all by hitting just one button once it’s set up.
And I've had nothing but extremely positive feedback from all of my clients on their end of the experience thus far. They love how easy it is to sign and pay for everything all in one place! No more sending back un-fillable .pdfs for contracts or asking clients whether PayPal or Square is preferred.
Price: $35/mo or $350/year
Canva is the best and most simplest graphic-creation app sent from entrepreneur heaven.
It’s FREE (I tried the upgraded membership for free for one month and it was cool, but definitely not necessary even despite how much I use it for).
You can create IG stories, IG posts, Facebook banners, YouTube graphics, all out of gorgeous pre-made templates that save you time and therefore MONEY! You can access it from both the phone app and your desktop and you get a bunch of storage (I’m obviously a photo-holic and am only just nearing my free storage limit after two whole years of using the app).
A really cool feature Canva also has is that you can add in your Brand Colors to your account so that they are at your fingertips when altering templates for your own business use.
Price: Free OR $9.95/mo for unlimited storage, brand colors, fonts, graphics + resizing
5. Google Photos
Yes, you could say I'm a bit of a Google stan 😂
Ever since I switched to having a Google Pixel phone three years ago, Google Photos became my default Photo app on my phone and I have never enjoyed a Photo app more than I have than Google Photos.
And fear not! Google Photos can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices! And of course (which I think you’ve gathered by now that I love), it is also available on desktop.
Google Photos offers free, UNLIMITED high-quality photo storage within the app that can then be backed up online so you can remove the photos from your phone’s storage and save you sooo much space! (This was always the #1 phone I’ve had with past phones -not enough storage for photos!)
The app itself also has a very wide variety of photo editing tools compared to most consumer Photo apps so unless we’re talking presets and individual color manipulation, 99% of the time I can get away with doing simple photo edits within Google Photos.
Also Google Photos is automatically hooked up to that aforementioned Google Drive/gmail account we talked about earlier so it’s one less account and password you need to remember!
I’ve been using Pixieset since the inception of my business in 2017 as the place to deliver and host my client’s photography galleries. I loved it so much that when Pixieset announced that they were offering websites last year, I hopped on that as well!
I got a screamin’ Black Friday deal and combined the gallery hosting and website services for a great deal and I absolutely love having everything in one place.
Pixieset’s websites are very simple but clean and professional-looking. They are easy drag-and-drop templates but are not superbly customizable, fair warning! Great for starting out but not if you're looking to be able to alter the color of your text or exactly what your header menu looks like.
On the gallery-hosting side, I have continually been able to upload and deliver gorgeous and professional-looking photos to clients with ease. You have complete control over things like watermarking, creating different sets of photos within a gallery, whether or not clients can download or not, who has access and much much more.
Price: Free or Paid.
There are multiple “levels” depending on what you wish to use Pixieset for. At the lowest you can have a free account with I believe 100GB of free storage for client galleries and a website without a custom domain and the plans go up from there!
What's really cool is if you wish to combine services like gallery hosting and a website like I did, you save even more! I pay $336 a year for 1,000GB of storage for client galleries and a fully customizable website with custom domain.
7. Adobe Lightroom
I don’t know if it’s cheating to put two photo-editing apps on this list, but I’m a photographer so I’m doing it! Adobe Lightroom is a great application that’s definitely more-geared towards professionals or those who want more control over their photos so if you’re willing to learn, I’d recommend it to everyone!
With Adobe Lightroom you can do everything from copying your edits on one photo and pasting to another, to more advanced edits like lens corrections, individual color manipulation, tone curves, cloning and more.
Price: You can get the phone app for free, however for the full program on desktop you will need an Adobe CC (Creative Cloud) membership starting at $9.99/mo
Do you use any of these apps? Are you going to start now? I hope this list was insightful and if you have any specific or follow-up questions about any of the tools on this list I'd be so happy to chat! Just hit that little "email" icon right below here to reach out.