You’ve probably played the old game of “what would you take with you on a deserted island,” right? My version is a little nerdier, and I’m going to call it “my tech stack on a deserted island.” Basically, tech stack for a brand photographer.
In the business version of this game, I want to share what softwares I can’t live without! My tech stack is certainly not the most advanced, but I have some resources that I’d take to a deserted island in a heartbeat. Oh, and in this version of the game, we’re not limiting ourselves to just one, so read on for all the juicy details:
(Please note: None of these companies are paying me to mention them, this is just my list of what tech/programs help me run my business.)
I’ve tried many CRMs (customer relationship managers) and I landed on Honeybook because it’s pretty user friendly all around. My clients also rarely have any feedback on it, the client-facing side of it operates smoothly as well. It isn’t perfect, there are a few features I wish would run smoother or be included, but all in all, it’s my go-to. I listed it first because without a CRM, I literally would be left with the option of logging all of my client info manually. It’s essential to begin here for everything I do.
We all know the feeling of sending 17 emails back and forth to coordinate schedules for a meeting. It’s even worse if the meeting is with more than two people! So for those of you who love to be efficient and organized (and crystal clear about what time the meeting starts), I can highly recommend Calendly. You can also create different types of “meetings” and “events” that clients can schedule with you from sales/discovery calls to in-person meetings or photo sessions.
3. Showit and WordPress
I use Showit for my website, and they use WordPress to power their customer’s blogging platforms. Again, it’s a personal choice who you want to use for your website builder, but Showit has been my choice for years because of how customizable it is. It’s drag and drop, no coding needed, and you can literally place design elements in any inch/pixel of the page you desire. I’ve not seen as much flexibility in any other platform, so this is an easy choice for me.
4. AWS (Amazon Web Services)
AWS is free and is my favorite option for hosting documents like PDFs, downloads, client onboarding materials, and more. For almost anything I need to send via email I use AWS because I don’t want to host documents in a space like Google Drive or Dropbox that prompts recipients to log in or create an account. It’s always a bummer to send an attachment or file, and then the recipient has to reply to you because they’re having trouble accessing it. Most people click away and move on! I want to make it the easiest possible for them to get the information from me, so for me that looks like hosting most documents on the AWS server. This way I’m confident I’m not wasting anyone’s time – especially my clients and my email list subscribers.
With many free or inexpensive options out there for emailing your list, it’s hard to know what to choose. I’ve tried several services, but none have been as easy, customizable/branded, and as user friendly as Flodesk. They’re it for me!
6. Photo Mechanic
This culling (photo sorting) software is what I pull all of my images into first, before I edit. I feel like it’s an essential tool in the tech stack for a brand photographer. Photo Mechanic helps me save literal hours of culling, so that I can quickly remove duplicate images, images with eyes closed, etc. Then after that I import all the “keepers” into my next program on the list.
7. Adobe Lightroom
Lightroom is my GO-TO, my ride or die. It’s where I do 99.9% of my editing, which in my definition is exposure correction, temperature adjustments, cropping/straightening, and skin softening. Sometimes even some spot correction. From there, I’m able to export the final photo and video files, and upload to the next piece of my tech stack below.
Delivering client images (and now videos) is so easy with Pixieset! Just a few weeks ago, they added video capabilities, which makes that platform even more valuable to me.
Yes, I said it. I have the Adobe Creative Suite softwares too, but for social media posts, email graphics, and a bunch of other things, Canva just makes it so darn simple.
I use Planoly to plan out my Instagram posts and Reels. They added the ability to do Reels recently, and are always trying to keep up with changes on Instagram. I don’t auto-post anything because I simply like to have control over when posts go live, but I do love it for planning and scheduling.
Love using Pinterest, but hate going on weekly/daily to post pins to keep up with engagement? Me too, so I started using Tailwind a few years ago to schedule pins. Now I’m even lucky enough to be working with a VA who helps me schedule and create Pins, and she uses my Tailwind to keep up with pinning.
LastPass is a password manager that allows me to share access with my VAs! It’s awesome, it doesn’t actually allow my VAs to see the passwords, but still allows them to securely log in to my accounts to complete tasks.
I use ClickUp for backend and internal project management, as well as coordinating tasks with my VAs. It’s a really valuable tool to communicate where each project is at! My VAs can also leave notes, reassign tasks to me when they’re completed on their end, and more.
14. The Daily Page
This isn’t technically a software, but if you’ve been around a minute or follow me on Instagram, you know this. You know I’m a huge fan of Dani and her planner, The Daily Page! I use it almost every single day to keep organized, and blend both my personal and professional goals. It’s the ultimate paper planner, and I can’t say enough good things about it. Definitely check it out for yourself if you’ve struggled to find the perfect planner for you.