As a photographer running your own business, you have to wear a lot of hats. You have to be a marketer, receptionist, accountant, personal assistant, researcher, retoucher, photographer, and a lot of other things too. It can be tough to keep up with it all, especially if you are not experienced or skilled in one of these areas.
That’s where this list of free resources comes in. You can use it to give yourself a great chance of getting things done quicker and better, and appearing more professional. Stop wasting time on struggling in areas where you do not have experience, and use these resources instead. They will help you to build a much more successful and productive business!
Productivity is a big issue when you are working by yourself. Even with a partner, it can be hard to fit enough hours into the day. Use these tools to save time on everyday tasks that should not be taking so long.
- Unroll Me – Clean up your inbox and unsubscribe from email lists you don’t read.
- Summerana- Photoshop Actions for Photographers Freebie – A free mini action collection from us, helping you to speed up your workflow when editing in Photoshop.
- Rainy Mood – Can’t concentrate on your work? Rainy Mood offers gentle background noise to keep you focused.
- Dropbox – Store files, share them with others, and use them on the go.
- Google Docs – Similar to DropBox and with editing capabilities for everyone invited to the document.
- Trello – If you need help organizing your ideas, Trello will help. Make boards of your text or images, organize them into sections, and invite others to collaborate on them – fantastic for planning blog post ideas.
- WorkFlowy – Plan, organize, make to-do lists, brainstorm, take notes, collaborate on group projects, and more.
Let’s make your social media tasks a bit quicker! This section contains links that will make your social media posts easier and quicker, and will prevent you from losing hours browsing the latest posts if you don’t have time to.
- Google URL shortener – Make links shorter on the go for easier sharing.
- Mention – Find out whether your brand has been mentioned anywhere on the web. Great for tracking social media.
- Buffer – Schedule posts and tweets in advance. Also allows you to schedule Pins.
- Hootsuite – Also a scheduling service, includes Instagram nudges.
- Facebook Cover-Photo Compliance Tool – Check whether your Facebook cover photo complies with the terms of service. Only public fan pages without restrictions can be checked.
- IFTTT – This could revolutionize the way you use the internet. If This Then That allows you to set up rules across your social media and other channels: for example, if I post on Instagram, add the image to my Buffer account for Twitter and Facebook. Or, if I add a new blog post, share it immediately across my social media. The possibilities are infinite.
- Tweetdeck – Split your Twitter account into “streams” of what matters to you. Especially useful in Twitter chats.
- Tailwind – Schedule Pinterest posts, check the engagement each has had, optimize your posting times, and bulk upload.
- Tagboard – Pick a certain hashtag and see media across all channels related to it. Great for creating moodboards or tracking your own branded hashtag.
- SumAll – Get analytics across ALL of your social media accounts in one place, with automated reports sent to your inbox daily or weekly.
Whether designing your website, or the latest post for Instagram, this section will help you get things done in a professional way.
- Pablo – Basic image editor from Buffer for inclusion of graphics and text.
- Canva – More advanced design with templates and sizes pre-prepared for different media, plus stock images and graphics.
- Pixlr – Online editor, somewhat similar to Photoshop in design and function. Allows you to quickly edit images on the go if you do not have your laptop with you.
- Matcherator – A service which allows you to upload any piece of text in an image that you love, and then identifies the font.
- What WordPress Theme Is – Easily find out what WordPress theme is being used on any site, so you can try it out for yourself. It will even let you know about plugins.
- Correctica – Your copy needs to send the right message across too! Correctica checks your whole website for free, and flags up any grammar issues you may have missed.
- Thesaurus – If you never know what to write, get stuck in to Thesaurus. It will supply a list of synonyms for any word you put in.
- Infogram – Need to create an info graphic? Here you will find easy templates you can simply input your data to in order to come up with a professional looking end result.
- Recite – Turn a quote into an image. Find something relevant and interesting to your customers, or even share a customer review.
- MakeaGif.com – Gifs are very popular ways of sharing information, and you can make your own with this site. Upload a video, pictures, or record through your webcam.
- Quora – Come up with great headlines (and blog post ideas) just by searching for a term.
- Portent Title Maker – Another headline creation tool.
- Unsplash – High resolution, royalty free stock photos for anyone who doesn’t quite have the perfect image in their gallery.
- Blog Spoon Graphics – Free graphic resources and Photoshop actions. Tends to be more aimed towards graphic designers than photographers, but some may prove useful.
Serving your customers is all about making sure that they have the best possible experience with your brand. These tools will help you to see things their way, as well as optimizing the way that you interact with them. Don’t forget to check out the social media section too, as many of your customers will hang out there.
- Place It – Create screenshots of your products or website in realistic environments so that clients can understand the value of your products better.
- Pick A Winner – Held a giveaway? Did you ask people to like or comment on a post? If that’s the case, then use this tool from WooBox to easily pick your winner.
- Peek User Testing – Get a five minute video of a real person using your site. You will see and hear their reactions, which will help you to create a user-friendly interface.
- Mobile Friendly Test – Google have created a tool to allow you to check whether your site is mobile friendly. This is very important for the modern web viewer, who is on their phone more often than not.
- MailChimp – Send emails to your list. Don’t have a list of subscribers? Use MailChimp’s free sign up forms to get them in.
- SumoMe – This tool allows you to direct people to your mailing list or social media pages easily. Install on your website and tweak it to your needs.
- Acuity Scheduling – Invite your customers to book in to meet with you or schedule a shoot, for free.
- SetMore – Another scheduling service, allowing you to set up multiple photographers or services if you wish.
Here’s a few more tools that will really aid your productivity, which don’t quite fit into any category.
- Namechck – If you haven’t selected your business name yet, use this tool. You can check the availability of your name across domain extensions and social media easily.
- Wave – Free and easy accounting, invoicing, and other financial services.
- Buffer Blog – Free articles on marketing in just about every sense. Often pushing the boundaries to experiment with new ways of getting higher engagement, they will share the results here. Lots of tips and tools for you to get stuck into.
- CreativeLive – Free live webinars on many subjects, including photography and marketing.
- Open Site Explorer – This tool from Moz is the web standard for checking how good your domain authority (strength of your domain in Google) and back-links are. Numbers aren’t the be all and end all, but a higher number on your own domain means a site that is stronger in search results.
- StyleGawker – Share images of fashion from your shoots to get more page views. They also have sites focused on food, crafts, home décor, and weddings.
Being able to take care of half of your work quickly and easily – and for free – is an amazing feeling. While many of these resources might offer an advanced tool for free, you can get along very easily just using the basic versions. Do you have any favorite free tools that you like to use? Let us know in the comments – this list will continue to grow as we find more great resources to add to it!