tools of the trade

You might not want to read today's post if you aren't even a little bit of a geek, or have a personality that is not Type A. We'll be getting into some serious organizational nerdiness here. If you're into that, stay along for the ride!

A while back, I told you about what's in my bag, but that's only part of the picture. While I definitely couldn't run my business without camera equipment and other hardware, there are many other tools of the trade that keep things running smoothly from behind the scenes. Today I'd like to pull back the curtain a bit and tell you about a few tools that I've found to be immensely helpful. Many of these programs have apps as well, so if you are running a biz off your phone, you might want to check those versions out as well.

Showit



I'm going to start with Showit because it has been the most transformative tool for me so far this year. It has a great interface, which my friend/designer Jordan used to develop my new website. After he created the design, it was easy for me to go in and make any changes to the text, or to upload new pictures as my portfolio is updated. I pay for this site once a year, and the cost is very reasonable and a necessary investment.

Evernote



After learning about Evernote from a former colleague, I immediately took to it. I love the simple interface and the intuitive way it helps you organize thoughts and ideas. This is where I keep the editorial calendar for my blog (pictured above) and countless other snippets of information. Evernote also has a handy web clipper tool that you can install in your toolbar and save articles right to your evernote account for later reading. You can can even categorize and tag each note as you clip it. I have a lot of ideas and thoughts swirling around, and I have to keep them organized somehow. This tool has proven to be a really effective way for me to keep my creativity neatly organized so I don't lose track of anything. Also, if you're very goal-oriented, it helps you keep on top of what you set out to do.

Google Drive



What's great about Evernote, and other programs like Google Drive, is that they help you have a mobile workspace. This year involves a lot of travel for me, and I switch between computers often. I used to kick myself for leaving files on the wrong computer, and it was affecting my ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with clients and friends alike. With the exception of my images, I try to store most of my commonly accessed documents in cloud-based places, so I can access them from anywhere. Of course, sensitive or confidential documents are still kept locally. Oh, and in case you're wondering, Jaimie is my awesome accountant.

Dropbox




Dropbox is a great way to share files. I use it to send images (by saving them to a folder, then sharing the folder with the recipient) and I also use it to be able to quickly access my files and templates from anywhere. I also use it in conjunction with signnow to be able to sign and send documents right from my iPad.

Blogstomp



I kind of feel like an idiot for waiting so long to get Blogstomp. Up until two months ago, I manually formatted everything for my blog using Photoshop. With this program, I simply drag all the photos for a post into it, pair up the ones I want to go together, and "stomp" them. It takes a bit of initial setup to set up the "stomping" templates to match your specifications, but once that's done, you're good to go. This is a huge time-saver for me.

Bloglovin'



As I'm sure many of you know, Google Reader will be shutting down as of July 1st this year. Like many others, I migrated to Bloglovin' after this announcement was made. It doesn't appear to allow the same nifty keyboard shortcuts that Google Reader did, but other than that it's pretty much perfect. I really like how easily you can organize your blogs into themed groups. I read a lot of blogs every day for fun, and for inspiration.

Pinterest



Last but not least is Pinterest. I've been a faithful pinner for years, and this fun website has been helpful to my business in myriad ways. Not only is it a great source of inspiration, it's also a wonderful tool for visual communication. I use it to send ideas to clients, and I love it when they send me their own boards before their portrait session or wedding. It's an instant way to get a grasp of someone's aesthetic, and it shapes they way I approach my work with them, allowing me to understand what they find beautiful and important.

If you haven't drifted off to sleep by now, I hope you found this useful!

I'd love to know: what are your favourite tools of the trade? Is there anything I'm missing?