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The Tools and Resources You Need to Succeed at Every Level with Your Photography
Welcome to my resource page, a curated list of crucial tools, services and companies that I use on a daily basis to run an efficient and profitable photography business. There’s no question that being a professional photographer is a tough job these days, and juggling the many necessary tasks can be a challenge. This list reveals my go-to resources that help me stay on top of everything from photo editing to marketing my brand and selling my images. I hope you find it useful.
Before we get started with this, an important disclosure.
What Would You Like to Do?
Get Your Gear
I live in Canada but I almost always shop with B&H Photo for my camera gear. International shipping is a breeze and I can pay all the taxes and duties upfront so there are no surprises – you can even pay with PayPal!
I use them for pretty much everything else: office supplies, home supplies, computer accessories and hard drives. Free shipping with an Amazon Prime account is a great way to do it and their deals are frequent and cheap.
If B&H is out of stock, Adorama is also a great option for your cameras, lenses and photography accessories. They have excellent service and return policies, offer international shipping and the option to pre-pay taxes for many countries.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to buy the gear that you need for a specific photographic project. Lensrentals.com is the answer! Test expensive equipment before you buy it, or rent that dream 600mm lens for your once-in-a-lifetime African safari.
Think Tank Photo’s sister company who make bags for the outdoor and adventure photography market. If you spend most of your photographic time outside, you have to check these out. Spend more than $50 and get a free gift when you click through this link.
The best overall selection of camera bags on the market. Their roller bags are the rollers by which all other rollers are judged. Spend more than $50 and get a free gift when you click through this link.
Quick release camera straps and bags. I use their straps on every camera I own, and many other items as well such as binoculars and accessory bags. Spend more than $65 and get a free gift when you click through this link.
Best Photo Editing Software
By design, RAW files require editing before they are ready. These are the tools that get me the results I need.
Luminar from Skylum Software (formerly Macphun) is currently my favourite photo editing software. Combining the RAW processing and editing features of Lightroom (+more) with the layer and masking features of Photoshop. Save 10% by using my special coupon on this page.
Incredibly powerful and fun to use HDR tool from Skylum Software (formerly Macphun) and Trey Ratcliff. I wasn’t a fan of HDR until this program came along! Save 10% by using my special coupon on this page.
The power of Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC in the Creative Cloud Photography Bundle is hard to beat. I also love having Lightroom Mobile at my fingertips as a portable portfolio.
Improve Your Photography
Professional photographer, Dan Carr, founded Shutter Muse. Dan maintains a personal blog on his own website that includes a popular series of posts called Behind the Shot. This collection of posts analyzes the “how” and the “why” of his recent images, breaking down the techniques, compositions and technical details about the gear that was used.
I started Shutter Muse as a place to develop an archive of in-depth photography tutorials which spans a range of subjects and skill levels. Unlike many sites, I don’t strive to post 5 new posts a week on there just for the sake of it, instead I take my time and develop lengthy, detailed tutorials that can really benefit the reader.
I have a growing series of eBooks for sale on Shutter Muse, and big plans to expand this part of my business over the coming months and years. eBooks are a great way to learn about photography because they can be easily carried on a mobile device for in-the-field reference, and beautifully display high resolution imagery.
Build a Great Portfolio Website
Every photographer should have a website, it’s the business card for the modern age. Millions of people have stopped by my portfolio website and it’s constantly featured on other sites as an example for others to look towards. These are my top recommendations to get you started.
WordPress is my personal favourite platform for building websites and whilst the software is free, you need to host the site somewhere. Bluehost is reliable, affordable hosting and they have one-click WordPress install so you’re up and running in 5 minutes. Get a free domain name and save 30% on hosting with the button below.
A Simple drag and drop portfolio builder that you can use to showcase work, deliver to clients and sell prints. I have a SmugMug site that I use as a print sales portal and for that usage I believe it’s the easiest option out there. Use my link to start your 14-day trial and if you decide to proceed after that, they’ll give you a 20% discount.
If you have an extensive image collection that you want to sell for stock, or just create a huge browsable archive, Photoshelter would be my pick. Like SmugMug, you can also create beautiful portfolio sites with it, but in my opinion, this platform really shines when used for archive image sales. Try the 30-day trial!
If you use WordPress, these are the four plugins that no photographer should be without – I use them extensively on all my sites.
By far the most powerful gallery plugin for WordPress. Sell prints, create passworded client galleries, display your Instagram feed and even automatically sync photo collections from Lightroom to your website!
Building your email newsletter list is a crucial step towards a more successful photography business with more clients and more followers. I use OptinMonster on all my sites and it has been a game changer.
Add the best social sharing buttons to your posts and images, as well as displaying social follower buttons in widgets and on pages. If you have any trouble, Elegant Theme’s support is second to none. Save 20% with this link.
Every website needs a solid way to create forms and WP Forms is the best one yet. Drag and drop form building allows you to create whatever you can imagine from contact pages to questionnaires and credit card payment forms.
A faster website will rank higher in search engine results (read more in my book about SEO for Photographers), and also keep visitors on your portfolio site for longer. WP Rocket is a caching plugin that speeds up your site in just a couple of clicks. I use it on all my sites!
Graph Paper Press are a WordPress theme design company that have built their entire business on specializing in photography websites. They have every kind of portfolio you can imagine, as well as plugins that help you sell prints, license stock photos and create password protected client galleries. Save 25% on anything you purchase with them by simply clicking the button below and using the coupon code “ShutterMuse“.
Keep Your Photos Safe
All hard drives will fail at some point because they are mechanical devices, even solid state drives. If you don’t have a bulletproof backup system in place, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose everything. Take a second to imagine how you would feel if you suddenly lost every single photo you’ve ever taken…
Unlimited, automatic cloud backup. Backblaze runs quietly in the background on your Mac or PC to sync the contents of all your hard drives to the cloud.
Automate the cloning of drives, folder or files at specific times and dates, or after specific actions have been taken. It’s an integral part of my backup routine.
My pick for large RAID-style systems and NAS drives. If you have a large photo collection and want to have redundant storage that offers remote access, look no further. I use the 5D3 and the 5N2.
G-Technology’s range of portable hard drives are my go-to travel solution. The Evolution series drives are the perfect photographer’s companion.
Get Your Photo Business On Track
The simplest, fastest and most cost-effective way to get an amazing logo and watermark for your photography. Read about my experience with them here.
In-depth photography pricing calculator to help price everything from social media usage, to billboard campaigns. Use code SM0414 to get a 10% discount.
An efficient business is a profitable business. Photo Mechanic is the fastest way to ingest your images, sort them, keyword them and complete their metadata.
An email newsletter is one of the most important marketing tools for a photographer. I use Mailchimp to send thousands of emails every month. Free for up to 2000 subscribers!
Dropbox is pretty much the standard for file sharing. They give you a generous amount of space for free, and I can guarantee you’ll need it at some point to get files to a client.
I don’t know where I’d be without this app. Trello is an amazing organizational tool that allows you to easily segment your projects and collaborate with additional team members.
I think of Zapier as the cogs within my business machine. It’s a service that lets you connect all your services together in order to automate almost any task. It saves me hours of work a week.
Similar in many ways to Zapier, but concentrating more on social network automation, IFTTT is entirely free to use. Great for automating social posts about your latest blog content.
Automate the sharing of your social media content so that it arrives in the feeds of your followers at just the right time to reach maximum engagement.
Check out my in-depth gear guide to discover detailed information about the equipment that I use for my photographic adventures.