I constantly get asked what software I use and recommend in my career as a landscape photographer, so I thought I would start a new series featuring some of my favorite apps. Many of these also have mobile versions, which is a big plus for me as I spend lots of time out in the field. One area that I am particularly focused on is organization. I am always trying to find ways to become more efficient and productive, and keeping detailed notes about my work has been extremely helpful over the years. Technology has provided many ways to manage this digitally, and after trying many different methods to store this info for easy retrieval, I have found Evernote to be the near perfect solution for me. Evernote is an application that allows me to create notes with a multitude of information – text, photos, pdf’s, web clippings (more info below), audio, links, and more.
I create notes for many areas of my professional and personal life, and use it as my paperless filing cabinet. And because every note can be tagged (the equivalent of keywords) and searched, it is easy to find what I’m looking for in the future. Because of the many hats I wear as a photographer, teacher, print maker, and entrepenuer, I find Evernote invaluable as an information manager.
Best of all, Evernote keeps all of my information in sync across my multiple computers and mobile devices including my iPhone and iPad. I am never far away from my notes when I need them, and it is easy to create new notes regardless of whether I am in my studio, or on a mountain top with my iPhone.
Below are some of the ways I use Evernote to keep me organized during my workday.
In my conservation work for Scenic Hudson I usually get several emails (which I forward directly into Evernote) that include logistical information, maps in PDF format, reference images, contact tel numbers and emails – basically whatever I need to capture the photographs for the given assignment. I create all of this at home on my laptop, then I can access it on my iPhone when I’m out in the field – this is a killer feature for me. I can also add scouting notes in the field such as my own reference images, best times to return, direction of light at sunrise/sunset, etc.
Desktop and iPhone app
-Idea Generator for Blog Posts
I create notes for any ideas I have that can become a blog post, then add additional info that will help make the article as useful and helpful as possible. This might be quotes, wikipedia links, images, etc – basically an idea folder. The web clipper for Safari (and most other browsers) makes adding any inspiration I find on a website to my notes really easy.
-Shared Notebooks for Students/Subscribers
Using Evernote’s shared notebook feature, I can share any notebook publicly via the web. I have a shared notebook called “Beyond the Lens Resource Library” where I place all kinds of notes and information I think can be useful to other photographers. This includes book reviews, links to favorite websites, fine art paper reviews, Lightroom tips and tricks. This notebook is only available to students and newsletter subscribers – if you’d like access, subscribe to the workshop newsletter here.
-Printer/Paper Settings and Creative Notes
As a fine art printer, I keep track of printer and paper settings I use for my prints, as well notes about frames, mat sizes, and what papers worked best for a particular photograph. I refer to this constantly, and it helps keep my prints consistent and predictable – always critical when you sell your prints at art shows and galleries.
-Inventory and Printing Supplies
I have a notebook for inventory, and keep track of supplies, vendors, and item numbers for easy re-orders. I’m always researching new ways to show and promote my work, so any ideas I have or find on the internet get stored here as well.
I have a notebook for each workshop I teach, and I keep track of what I’ll be teaching, the locations we’ll be visiting, options for bad weather, meal and lodging options, and any other info I think can make the workshop as successful and enjoyable as possible for my students. All of the research I do for new locations goes into this notebook as well – crucial for ensuring a successful workshop.
When I’m out in the field and finally away from my desk, I’ll often make audio notes about the location, any special circumstances, and most importantly, how I feel about the scene. This helps later on when I’m processing the RAW files in my studio so that I can remember what it actually felt like – always critical in a successful landscape photograph. An additional benefit is that Evernote geotags each note based on your location, so I can also pinpoint on a map where I made an image.
I hope this illustrates the power in Evernote, and ways you can use it in your own business. I’m sure there are other ways to achieve similar results, but this is this one that works best for me right now. I have no affiliation with Evernote other than being a happy user.
This also gives you an idea of the business and organizational aspects that are part of being a full-time landscape photographer and instructor. Feel free to comment with any questions or suggestions, and if you’d like more behind the scenes info.