When running a photography business you will often have to take on jobs that you aren’t immediately familiar with. Yes, you may know exactly how to create sharp focus at night, but what about completing accounting tasks or managing your own client list?
Fortunately, there are myriad web apps available that can help you supercharge your photography business without you having to learn a host of new skills.
With the above in mind, in this post we have listed and reviewed (in no particular order) a collection of 13 web apps that professional photographers will find useful; whether you have recently started a business or already have an established brand. Enjoy!
Project management may not be the most exciting part of a business, but it is essential. Fortunately, Trello offers a simple and visual way to organize your projects, whether you are working alone or collaboratively.
Trello consists of boards that are filled with lists and cards that you or anyone in your team can edit. Its drag and drop functionality lets you move projects between lists so that you can show progress, or simply adapt the board to your own specifications.
As you would expect from a collaborative web app, all projects can be synced across multiple devices, so they are always up to date and can be worked on wherever you (and your team) are.
Trello comes with a huge range of features, such as calendars and voting. These can be a little overwhelming at first, but they are easily turned on and off as an when you need them to avoid any clutter or confusion.
If you have a habit of bookmarking endless pages that you never actually revisit, Evernote is perfect for you.
Evernote offers a centralized workspace for you to collect articles, notes and photos, as well as write lists or more extensive documents. Everything is stored in the cloud, so your information is automatically synced to multiple computers and devices.
One of Evernote’s stand-out features is its optical character recognition, which immediately indexes all files, making them easily searchable.
Evernote isn’t a collaborative tool, so you won’t be able to add team members to your account. But it is perfect for photographers who want to reliably capture and store any inspiring imagery that they find online.
Dropbox is a favorite in cloud storage due to its simplicity and reputation for being so reliable.
The web app allows you to upload and sync documents, photos and video into the cloud via computers, phones and tablets. Documents are immediately accessible from all devices and can be shared with multiple users or kept private, giving you complete control over what everyone sees.
Dropbox is hot on security too, offering 256-bit AES and two step verification, so that you know your work is always safe.
Dropbox works excellently for storing your own work so that it’s immediately accessible wherever you are, but it is also great if you want to share files in the same way, whether that be with team members or clients.
Google Drive is comparative to Dropbox, but where it excels is in its collaborative capabilities, which allow multiple users to work on single documents at one time. This saves the hassle sharing offline files or the disruption of not having access to the most recent documents.
Since its rebrand from Google Docs, Google Drive now comprises of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, making it comparable to Microsoft Office.
Google Drive also gives you at least 15GB of free storage which can be expanded upon (at cost). Keep in mind that you can also tap into the Google Apps platform, where the calendar, spreadsheets and docs apps are all included.
WordPress is arguably the easiest way to create and host a website or blog, even if you are a complete beginner.
It is essentially a content management system (CMS) that has been built with simplicity and user experience in mind. Thanks to its countless themes, widgets and plugins, you can make your experience as simple or advanced as you require, meaning it suits all experience levels.
WordPress is also optimized for SEO and comes with fantastic support. In fact, WordPress is used to run nearly a quarter of the web, so you can rest assured that it really is user friendly.
If you are planning on setting up a photography website, we wouldn’t recommend any other CMS than WordPress.
Sell Media offers everything that you need to start an independent online photography business.
You can use Sell Media to easily and reliably sell, license and protect all of your photography work. There is no need for a middleman, so you get to keep 100% of your sales. It also gives you the capability to accept online payments securely and view sales reports to track how well your business is performing.
Sell Media comes with some really useful features, such as a user-friendly drag-and-drop uploader that allows you to bulk upload files in minutes. You can also create and assign different licenses and prices for all of your products, so you have full control over what you sell.
Sell Media offers a variety of paid extensions too, so as your business and your experience grows, Sell Media can grow with you.
Once you have set up your website, consider using CloudFlare to offer your visitors the best possible experience.
CloudFlare routes your web traffic through their intelligent global network, optimizing the speed of your web pages for the best overall performance possible. If your photography website is image heavy, this is highly advisable to ensure that your load times are minimal.
CloudFlare also blocks threats to your websites and limits bots and crawlers from using up your bandwidth and server resources. This will increase your web performance as well as decrease spam and other attacks.
If you’re looking to take your website to the next level and keep website visitors engaged for as long as possible, CloudFlare is well worth checking out.
Once your website is up and running, you will want to consider ways to increase traffic and keep visitors coming back for more.
SumoMe offers a variety of web apps that allow you to do just that. You can increase email signups by 20% using their list builder and smart bar, or focus on brand marketing using their multiple social sharing apps and content analytics. This is all capped off with heat maps, which allow you to see which areas of your website are being engaged with the most.
SumoMe offers a lot of options, which are perfect for when you are getting a little more experienced with your website and want to take your business to the next level.
Buffer is a social sharing app that allows you to share content or communicate with your social network via multiple social accounts, all from one dashboard.
You can use Buffer to set up a posting schedule that automatically publishes status updates and/or tweets throughout the day, saving you lots of time.
Buffer can be used anywhere on almost any device thanks to its apps, extensions and addons. You can easily access Buffer from Google Chrome, FireFox and Safari, but you can also use Buffer from within other social networks, allowing you to add posts that you stumble across.
Buffer also offers engagement metrics so that you can tweak your posting based on time of day and topic. You can even see who is engaging with your posts on a regular basis, which is a great way to build up your potential client base.
Hipchat may at first sound like it was built for teenagers, but it’s actually a group chat built specifically for business. It also comes packed with useful features.
Hipchat allows you to keep in touch with your team and clients, wherever you are. It runs on Mac, Windows iOS, Android, Linux as well as a web app, so there really is no excuse to not keep in touch.
Hipchat comes with video calling and easy screen sharing, as well as drag-and-drop file sharing. Additionally it offers secure guest access to clients, vendors and third parties, so they will only see what you want them to see. All conversations and files are searchable, so that you can refer back to them at any time
Hipchat is great if you want a professional and multifunctional chat to speak to your team, or to keep in touch with your clients.
Mailchimp is one of the most user-friendly email marketing tools on the market today. The system focuses on simplicity and user experience, whilst maintaining some seriously powerful functionality.
On a basic level you can collate all of your email subscribers into a single database, in order to communicate with them easily and effectivly. But Mailchimp also offers the ability to send automated emails based on recipient behavior, flexible layout options for the less design savvy, in-depth reporting on how your email campaigns are performing, and much more.
When it comes to making the most of your email list, Mailchimp is a real powerhouse.
IFTTT allows you to connect multiple channels and apps to build recipes, where one action is triggered off the back of another.
That may sound a little complicated, but it’s surprisingly simple. An example of an IFTTT recipe would be “If I post an image to Instagram then add it to my Dropbox”, or “If I publish a blog post then tweet a link out via my Twitter account”. The options are almost endless and can be highly tailored to your needs.
A useful addition to IFTTT is their shared recipes, which is a community of featured, trending and collected recipes that can be browsed for inspiration and used in your own projects.
IFTTT is a great time saver that really streamlines your workflows and ensures you’re not missing out on viewing, saving or sharing any files or updates.
Zapier is perfect if you are looking for something a little more advanced than IFTTT. Similar to IFTTT, Zapier connects your web apps and channels to help you automate tasks using “zaps”, as opposed to “recipes”.
Where Zapier stands out is its connection with many more apps; almost twice as many as IFTTT in fact. Zapier includes more business and productivity focused apps, such as Basecamp, MS Exchange and Google Tasks as well as niche apps such as Campfire and Github.
Zapier doesn’t offer a community such as IFTTT’s shared recipes, however it will suggest “zaps” that it thinks are relevant to your activity.
Zapier is pricier than IFTTT, so potentially best for more advanced business users. If you’ve dabbled in IFTTT and feel that you’ve outgrown it, Zapier could be a winner.
Running your own photography business can pull you in many different directions, but we hope that these web apps will make your life a little easier and make some tasks seem more approachable.
Let us know in the comments if you use any of these web apps, or if there are any that we’ve missed that you just can’t live without!