Hopefully I’m not the only photographer in the world that tends to get quite excited when I discover a new app, or software that could definitely be used in my career. Yes I’m a bit geeky, but you know what – geeky is the new cool. Anyway, throughout my four years as a professional I’ve come across some really great Apps that you could use for your photography, even if you’re not a pro. What makes this more interesting, is that these Apps are not commonly talked about, so chances are they are probably new to you.
So, let’s get to it:
Quick Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with, paid by, or asked to list any of these apps/programs. I am not rewarded in any way from any of the software creators. This is purely a list of apps that I have found useful, besides the all too famous ones like Photoshop and Lightroom.
1) Instagram (Mac and PC – $0.00)
To get this app to work you need to download and install both parts:
Have you ever wanted to share some of your photographic work on Instagram? Well, with this little app, it all becomes possible. Besides the occasional bugs here and there, it does its job just like it would on a phone – and makes sharing your work a real pleasure.
- Posting images from my computer. It’s easy, accurate, and can be a huge plus to your workflow as a photographer.
- How simple it is to set up and get running
- You can comment, like, post, and update your profile – just like you would on your phone.
Love not so much:
- Occasional bugs where it doesn’t load correctly.
- I use a 27” screen, and it works there perfectly. However, when I’m using the 15” display on my MacBook, I cannot resize the window to show the bottom part (the most important part of the window). I’m sure there’s a solution for that somewhere. It does bug me sometimes, but a simple closing and reopening of the app normally fixes it.
Conclusion: Definitely worth testing as I’m sure they will release updates to fix the issues so, it’s worth having it and following along.
2) Blogo ($29.99 Mac Only in the App Store)
If you’re not familiar with WordPress as a place to build and hold your website, I’d definitely recommend you go and check it out. It’s such a great platform to host a website (although, there is a bit of a learning curve). But, you are already familiar with WP, then Blogo is for you, especially if you love to write articles on your blog.
Blogo presents you with a stylishly clean writing panel, with the ability to add images where you like, as well as easily add Alt-tags, descriptions, links, and other SEO necessities you would normally do directly in WordPress. The best part is, you can write away online and offline, travelling or at home. A simple Publish button will send your post directly to your website and voila, it’s done. Now, the cherry on the cake = it is INCREDIBLY easy to set up. It takes less than one minute to get up and running, plus, their support is second to none.
- The clean, stylish writing panel.
- The features and its offline ability
- Adding images and SEO tweaks to your images has never been easier
- Previewing your post on your website (from within Blogo) without actually publishing it
- Top notch support
- Very fair pricing
Love not so much:
I personally had some issues with WPML (A multilingual plugin for wordpress that allows me to have a German and English website). But, they were right on top of it and are keeping me updated weekly (via personal emails) to let me know how it’s going.
3) JPEG Mini (Free Trial, $19.99, Mac and Windows)
While we’re on the topic of websites, if you take pride in your website and use it as a highly-valuable business tool, chances are you’ve come across the dilemma of choosing between high-quality, sharp images OR website load speed. Putting it in the simplest form, the higher quality the image, the bigger the file size. The bigger the file size, the longer the page takes to load. So, catch 22? Not with JPEGmini.
JPEGmini does an incredible job of reducing the size of your JPEGS, yet retaining a very acceptable image quality. The best thing is, it’s an application so you can optimize your images on your desktop, offline, and get them ready to be uploaded. I use this program religiously for our website.
This original image was 359kb (fairly big for an image online). After JPEGmini = 144kb!!! Notice a difference in quality? Here’s what it did with the full sized file:
- Their lossless compressions and the speed at which it works
- Bulk optimizing. Drag as many images you want into the window and it’ll get right to work, showing you how much you’re saving
- Fair pricing (especially if you’re going to use it a lot)
- Options included to either overwrite the original file or make a copy of it.
- Lightweight program that works offline
- So easy to use
- Mac and PC compatible
- Free Trial
- Lightroom Plugin
Love not so much:
I can’t find anything wrong with it.
Conclusion: 100% worth it if you’re into blogging, and want to optimize images for your website, while keeping a fine ratio between size and quality. Do yourself a favor and at least try it, it’s quite incredible.
4) Pixieset (free options as well as paid subscriptions for more features and storage space)
There is a familiar battle between Pixieset versus PASS as there is the Nikon versus Canon debate. Both are great in their own ways, and both do the same thing. However, I personally use Pixieset. I have not really tried PASS, so please do not think I’m being negative towards it. I just found Pixieset to do exactly what I need, when I need it, perfectly every time. Why would I look for something else?
So, what is Pixieset? It’s a stunning, clean, and professional way to create client galleries and send them out. It is so good, that 100% of my clients love it (no lie)! You upload the high-resolution files (pro version only) to the online gallery, design it with a few clicks and some information, and voila, it’s done. It’s responsive, easy to use for anyone (even grandma), and allows your clients to download the high-resolution files (pro version only) or smaller web sized images whenever they want.
- The responsiveness: Works amazing on computers as it does on mobile devices.
- Allows downloads a range of file sizes (from Web, to high resolution, to Full resolution).
- Let’s face it, the world has shifted to Digital mediums. This is the perfect solution to delivering your work to your clients.
- Has a Lightroom plugin to automatically upload a set to Pixieset.
- Frequent updates and features being added.
- Password protected galleries to make them private.
- Clients can favorite images and send that list to you, as the photographer, very easily. Perfect for when clients choose images for albums, or to make adjustments on files.
- The above favorite list can be easily added into your Lightroom catalog to show only those files. Saves you having to manually go and choose the files.
- Amazing support! These people love their customers.
Love not so much:
You can’t really edit offline, but that’s okay, it’s not to serious. That’s it.
5) Automator (Built into OS X)
Ever stumbled upon this awesome little robot guy? Well, believe it or not – he’s actually very useful. Remember how I mentioned I always resize my images before compressing them with JPEGmini? Well, Automator is my go-to tool to resize (if I don’t want to do it in LR or PS). Why? Because it’s simple. That’s why. It does its job and it does it fast, and well.
How does it work?
Setting up Automations may seem a bit daunting at first, but it’s really simple once you get the hang of it. Here is the step by step guide:
- Open Automator on your Mac (I use spotlight, so CMD+Space and type in Automator)
- You’re presented with a drop down window giving you a list of documents you can create. For this purpose (resizing), create an Application
- Now, you need to add something to this Application. Above the list of all the options you can choose, there’s a search box. Type in SCALE. The last choice, Scale Images, is the one you want.
- Drag it over to the right into the open space.
- You will be asked if you want to add another function to the application about creating copies of the original file. Add it if you like, or don’t, it’s up to you. I don’t, I normally copy my High Res from their HD place, put them in a folder on the desktop and resize/rewrite over them. Simple. Just make sure you have them all in full resolution saved somewhere else!
- Under the Scale Images options on the right, you can choose between: To Size (pixels) or To Percentage (%). Choose Size, then simply type in how big you want your images to be (on the longest edge). I’ve created eight different sizes and saved them all on my desktop. This way, if I need a 750px image, I have the automation there already. If I need 2048px for Facebook, it’s there.
- Choose your size and finally click on File > Export > Give it a Name > Choose Location > and BAM! There you go.
- To use it, simply drag your image files onto the actual icon of the Automator and away it goes. Resizing all the images you dragged (it supports bulk drag too, awesome huh?).
6) Smart Albums 2 (free to try, $299.00, Mac and PC compatible)
Before you run away after seeing the above price tag, just hear me out. If you’re into designing albums for your clients, be it Wedding Albums that you sell, or session albums, Smart Albums fixes that all-to-common problem of using really bad, boring, slow and unappealing design software that 99% of the printing companies offer. I mean, some of them are appalling.
Smart Albums links up to some of the most popular printing companies around the world and lets you design your album the way you want, according to the sizes, spreads, and specifications of your chosen printing company. It does this in a beautiful, fast, and very easy to understand way. Yes, it’s expensive, but if it’s a business that you are running, you’ll make it back after one sale. Totally worth it, given the amount of time you save and how much more efficient the whole thing becomes. Of course, it’s free to try so give it a go before you decide if it’s really for you or not.
They have over 30+ printing agencies that are compatible with Smart Albums, on an international level. They work in the USA, Europe, Africa and Asia. They’re constantly adding new agencies to their list, so the chances are high that your favorite printers will be listed.
- The simplicity of the program and how easy it is to use.
- The humungous list of agencies that they can work with.
- The support. Great help from their team.
- Mobile support.
Love not so much:
The price is pretty heavy. But, the good thing is that it’s a one-off payment. No need to pay yearly (unless you want their cloud storage).
7) AstroPad (Mac and iOS only: Free, or $20 for Pro Features)
Own an iPad? Want a graphics tablet to edit your photos with, like a Wacom? Want a free solution that works surprisingly well? Then, AstroPad is for you. After downloading the App both on your Mac and your iPad, you can pretty much control your entire computer from your iPad. Using touch gestures and special movements, you can set this app up to work for you, not against you. If you happen to have a stylus for the iPad, then you’re even closer to having a free graphics tablet. Definitely worth trying, as it’s free, and you may even improve your post-processing, especially if you need delicate movements with the brush tool.
- The idea of using an iPad as a graphics tablet.
- That you can see your image on the iPad and paint/adjust/edit directly on it.
- That it’s free.
- That you can control more than just Photoshop.
- Use it wirelessly (Wi-Fi) or plugged in (when you don’t have Wi-Fi).
Love not so much:
It can have a little delay in terms of what you do on the iPad and what comes out on the computer – only slightly, but enough to notice.
8) Sunseeker ($9.99 iOS only)
Sunseeker is an app for the iPhone or iPad that augments reality into its software to track the sun. It’s surprisingly accurate, and is a perfect tool for photographers who rely on the sun for their shoots. It’s a great way to plan where the sun will be in the sky at a certain point in time. Can you imagine how easy it would be when location scouting?
Simply point the phone up to the sky and follow the trail until you find where the sun will be. You can move a slider to change the position of the sun at a certain hour of a certain day. What’s great is that it uses your camera and projects its overlay on top of what you’re seeing. So, if there’s a building in front of you, you’ll see at what point the sun will just start to hide behind it; giving you valuable planning information as to when is the best time to do something.
- That it uses the camera to project the sun’s future and past placement.
- That it’s simple, easy to use, and fits in your pocket (iPhone only).
- A great planning tool that you should have with you. Even if you don’t use it too often, it does come in handy from time to time.
Love not so much:
The sliders to change the time of day, and the position of the sun are quite small, and to pin point an exact day can be quite frustrating as you almost always overshoot it.
9) Tave (Free to try, $24 – $49 per month subscription)
Running a photography business can be quite chaotic if you don’t have a decent system or workflow. Keeping track of your clients, their anniversaries and important dates, logging your expenses and income, tracking weather, and planning the shoots can all add up to the mess. Tave solves that and 99+ things more. I was hooked on it the moment I set everything up.
- A complete business management tool that sits safely online, and can be accessed by more than one person (if you choose).
- Amazing reports and financial tracking.
- Huge customizations.
- Great support. Offers live Chat right in your dashboard.
- You can create questionnaires to send to your clients that will automatically record their answers, and place them in their respective job areas.
- Verified by accountants.
- Works internationally.
- Works on mobile devices.
- Tons of features!
Love not so much:
- It does require a fair amount of time investment to set it up. But once you do, it’s groovy.
- It doesn’t work offline.
- A little bit of a learning curve, but they have really great support, and are more than willing to help you along the way.
Those are the nine apps that I personally recommend and use. I hope that I’ve introduced you to some great things that you can use for your own photography. Again, I gain no benefit from listing these apps besides the satisfaction of actually sharing some information with you.
What are your favorite apps for photography that aren’t talked about too often? I’m not talking about Editing Apps, as they’re everywhere, but any apps that you know of that are worth checking out? Let me know in the comments below.