5 Useful Tools For Busy Photographers

These are my Top 5 Most Useful Tools which help me to work more efficiently, professionally, and with less stress, and less time wasted overall. There are certain things that just “work” really well with my day-to-day workflow, and which make my job a whole lot more enjoyable. I have used dozens more apps, but these are the one’s I can vouch for, have used extensively, and can whole-heartedly recommend.

Disclaimer: Some of these might work for me, but not for you, we’re all different. Keeping this in mind, I have listed alternatives for some of these apps, and you can check those out as well. In my opinion, this list is best suited for solopreneurs or freelancers like myself, rather than teams. There are a host of different tools that are awesome for teams or workforce scenarios which I plan on sharing with you at a later stage - that’s a whole post on its own.

None of these links are affiliate links (except for #5) nor am I sponsored by any of these developers, companies, or brands. Scroll down to read through my Top 5 for 2019 - I know them well, and I will be using these extensively again this year!


1. Adobe Lightroom CC

Photo editing on the go.

Basically a smaller, lighter, less complicated version of the Adobe Lightroom Classic you probably already know and use on your PC or Mac. Great for editing on the go straight off of your smartphone or tablet. It’s a lot more powerful than you think. Great for editing RAW files straight from camera, and then uploading to social media. I’ve used this method when out and about on assignment with no laptop or PC for miles! Well designed app, and a pleasure to use. Free trial available. US$9,99/month thereafter.

Alternatives - read this post by Have Camera. Will Travel.


2. Canva

Marketing stock creation

I have tested and used Canva extensively over the last 2 years or so for myself and my clients. Great for creating professional looking business cards, email signatures, brochures, email headers, social banners & posts, etc, etc. Drag-and-drop online editing couldn’t be easier. Give it a go. Free version should be all you need.

Alternative - PicMonkey


3. PhotoTime

Golden Hour Calculator

I love this app. Why? It’s simple, intuitive, fast, easy to use, and only has the info you need, and no more. Plus, it’s always been accurate, and the customer support (if ever you need it) has been amazing. Nail your golden hour timing (and blue hour timing) from anywhere in the world, sunrise or sunset, each and every time with confidence. I’ve tried dozens of others, and they are all full adverts, glitches, complicated to use, or the info is inaccurate. Some hardcore landscape photographers might feel they need something more powerful, but if you’re shooting lifestyle and portraiture… trust me, just use PhotoTime.

Free for Android devices on Google Play.


4. Cal. App

Organise Your Daily Tasks + Reminders

Just like PhotoTime, it’s easy to use and nicely put together. I think of it as my mobile personal assistant, but not as annoying as you might think. It works with my Google Calendar flawlessly, and I like that I can set alarm reminders at intervals before the task/meeting, and the look and feel of the app is customisable as well. A nice touch.

I used Any.do before (basically a task/to-do list organiser) but found it had a lot more going on than what I needed. I’m a pen to paper kind of guy when it comes to my to-do lists. But when the same developers came out with Cal. I gave it a try and loved it. If a need to set a reminder (whatever it is) like “Call so-and-so” or “remember to pay that bill” I can add it to Cal quickly and easily, and it can be set [easily and quickly] to remind me ahead of time.

For example, I will be notified at 5min before 08:00 that I need to make a certain phone call, or I’ll get a reminder 25min before my run, that I need to get my work done, my act together, or running clothes and shoes on before it’s time to head out. All the reminder times . intervals are fully customisable in the app.

Free version - for Android devices on Google Play, and for iPhone users in the iStore.


5. Booking.com

Find and Book Accommodation

Not so much an app, but more an online platform (although their app is god too) Booking.com has been a life-saver for me in several countries. From South Africa, to Namibia, Swaziland, Brazil, and Chile - it’s been great. You get notified of deals, specials, etc, and even rescheduling or changing your booking is a breeze, and customer service fantastic.

You might be familiar with Airnb - this is similar, but not. I couldn’t find Airbnb in places where I could find a host of Booking.com options, and quite frankly I find there is less back and forth, so that also saves me time.

You also get sent free online travel guides to places you haven’t been to before if you’ve booked to stay in that location for a few days. And these short but informative guides have useful info, reviews, and suggestions. While in Brazil I found these guides a huge help and in my opinion way better than any Lonely Planet or TripAdvisor guide - so that has been a nice bonus.

Deal Alert - Get 10% off your next stay with Booking.com


6. Paletton (bonus!)

Get Your Colours Right

I thought I would throw in a 6th online tool for those of you who have stuck around this far down this blog post! It’s Paletton, an online colour palette chooser. Great for paring colours and shades of colours for your logos, PDF’s, websites, clothing, branding, marketing stock etc, etc. Match complimenting colours, contrasting colours, or fine-tune colour hues. It’s all possible (and quite fun) with Paletton. I use this tool in conjunction with Canva, Photoshop, Squarespace, and anywhere where an RGB/Hex colour code can be used.

Free online - Paletton.com


And that’s a wrap! I hope you found some of this info useful. Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions or tools you have used, or if you know if any better alternatives to the one’s above. Who knows, there might be something even better out there!

Happy shooting,