I often get questions about the tools I use to run my photography and workshop business.
So often we simply use a tool either because it’s been recommended, or it’s promoted really well, or everyone else is using it. But does it gel with the way your mind works? Does it let you see a path to the desired outcome? Or does it obscure your progress with confusing options that only make your work more difficult and less enjoyable?
I think this is the case with a lot of technology out there, and I’ve tried my fair share over many years, and been frustrated more than I care to remember.
But I’ve become better at choosing hardware and software that lets me work the way I want to work. And I’m very strict about using tools that make me want to use them for their elegance and usability, not their feature set or multitude of options.
I’ve shared my tools before, but this updated list has the ones I depend on day after day to get work done and keep the business operating smoothly and productively.
- iMac 5K Retina (P3 Display) – my main computer for editing, printing, and all other photography related tasks. The P3 display is critical since it effectively makes the iMac a wide-gamut monitor, with a color space similar to Adobe98.
- OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID (8TB) – my main external RAID(4-bay) where I store all of my RAW files. It’s fast and reliable, and keeps my data separate from my computer’s internal drive where I only store applications and other non-essential files. I also store my Lightroom catalogs on this drive. It also makes backing up my critical data easy since once I back up this drive, I know I haven’t missed anything.
- Synology NAS (16TB) – my main backup RAID(4 bay), where I backup and archive all working drives (the OWC RAID mentioned above, video drives, etc). I also use it to backup my laptop, as well as all iPhones and iPads in the house (especially photos and videos). Because it’s connected to my network, it can be access anywhere in the house or over the internet remotely.
- Como Duetto – I take audio seriously since good music is certainly one of my passions, and this wood grained 2 speaker system sounds amazing, plus it connects to internet radio stations and Spotify. It’s a bit expensive, but I got mine while it was on Kickstarter and it’s been great to listen to while I edit images or write articles.
- Blue Yeti Microphone – great mic that I use for tutorials, webinars, and video.
- Baron Fig Confidant Notebook – while I love my digital tools, I’ve come to rely more and more on a notebook and pen to keep track of ideas, thoughts, notes, tasks, and anything else I want to physically record.
- Adobe Lightroom – image management, developing, and printing in one unified interface – my photo assistant.
- Apple Final Cut Pro X – great video editing software I’ve use for every video project.
- Trello – boards, lists, and cards – a great visual interface that lets me keep track of ideas, projects, tasks, workshops, and much more. Plus it’s collaborative and available on every device. Here’s my Canson paper board.
- Evernote– a digital filing cabinet, Evernote keeps me organized and is also great for research, reference, saving items from the web, and so much more.
- Alfred – essentially puts your Mac on steroids.
- Ulysses – a fantastic app for Mac and iPhone/iPad where I do all of my writing.
- 1Password – still struggling with lost or forgotten passwords? 1Password is the answer, available for Mac and iPhone/iPad.
- Screenflow – easy recording and editing of my screen for tutorials videos.
- Snagit – another screen capture utility I use for capturing parts of my screen as images I can share.
- Mindnode – I use mind-maps for generating ideas visually. I use this for writing articles, teaching workshops. creating presentations, and any other project where I need to organize many ideas.
- ConvertKit– I’ve used many email marketing services in the past, but ConvertKit is easily my favorite and worth the cost. An email list is the most valuable resource for any online business.
- Dropbox– the standard cloud storage app that makes sharing documents, images, and other files so easy.
- Cloudways– my web hosting service where I host my WordPress sites.
If you have questions or comments about any of these tools, or you’d like to read more about a specific one, please let me know below. I’m always happy to help whether you’re running a business or simply looking to improve your workflow. Thanks for reading!