Hand holding a MacBook

Every Tool I Use As A Freelance Photographer

I often get asked what tools I use to get my job done.

Very few of them are physical objects, like my camera, laptop and iPhone. The others are mostly software.

I thought it would be a great idea to share my list of resources with you, and at the end of this post, I want you to add your favourite tools in the comments.

iPhone Apps

I’ve mentioned Snapseed and VSCO and Darkroom in previous blog posts.

Telegram – one of the best cross-platform instant messaging apps out there. Great for communicating with clients and collaborators and sending high-res files. There’s also a desktop client, regardless of what platform you use. Find Telegram for your device here.

Manual – a third-party iPhone camera, for when you want a little more control over your exposure.

Canon Camera Connect – for connecting to my camera to download photos while I’m shooting and also as a wireless remote.

TouchRetouch – for removing unwanted objects from photos.

Phonto – for adding text to photos.

SKRWT – a great app for correcting distortions and perspectives in photos.

Instashare – I use an old MacBook which doesn’t work that great with AirDrop. Instashare is a great way to send files back and forth between my MacBook and my iPhone.

1Password – keeps all my passwords safe across all my devices and in Chrome.

IF by IFTTT – Twitter no longer displays Instagram share links as images, so IFTTT is a nice way to get around that, while posting to other networks at the same time.

Pocket – a nifty little service that lets me save articles around the web to read when I get the chance.

Waze – helps me get to meetings on the fastest possible route.

SoundCloud – because I can only listen to my playlist so many times. I love listening to Headphone Activist while I work.

Skillshare – for those times you’re away from your computer and you just want to watch your favourite classes. If you have a paid membership, you can watch your classes offline.

Tweetbot – my favourite Twitter app with a clean UI and no ads. It also syncs seamlessly with the Mac client.

WordPress – helps me monitor my websites on the move.

Mailchimp – everything I need to keep an eye on my newsletter when I’m away from my computer.

Google Analytics – in-depth analytics of my websites.

Trello – helps keep me on top of my projects.

WeTransfer – a quick and easy way to send images up to 2GB for free to clients.

Mac Apps

Noizio – when I’m not listening to music, I listen to Noizio, a white noise generator with many options. Keeps me calm when I’m on a deadline.

Instashare – for older Macs that aren’t fully AirDrop compatible.

Tweetbot – the desktop version of my favourite Twitter app.

Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop – the only two apps you’ll need to edit photos on your computer.

Alfred – think of it as Spotlight search on steroids.

Google Chrome – I love this browser because of the functionality that extensions add to it.

Billings Pro – I’ve been using this app since I’ve started freelancing to send quotes and invoices to clients.

Google Chrome Extensions

1Password – I suck at remembering passwords. Luckily this extension remembers them for me.

Crystal – for those times we need to send cold emails. Crystal analyses public data to give insights into people’s personality if they have an online presence. Super useful.

Grammarly – I write a lot. Grammarly helps me write better, by checking my spelling and my grammar as I type.

MailTrack for Gmail – helps me track sent mail and see whether they’ve been read or not.

Page Analytics (by Google) – gives me on-page insights on my websites. Really handy tool I use daily.

Pocket – save web pages to read later at the click of the button. I love the tagging functionality, making it easier to find specific content.

Rapportive – shows LinkedIn profiles in Gmail. Great to see who exactly it is you’re emailing.

Online Services

WordPress – the only content management system (CMS) that I build websites on, including this one.

Mailchimp – an online email management service that allows you to send beautiful emails to 2,000 subscribers for free every month.

Google Drive – 15GB of storage in the cloud, along with cloud-based office software that enables you to share documents with anyone that has a Google account.

Hardware

Canon 6D – a light, well priced full-frame camera. I’ve had mine for about a year now and I love it.

Canon 50mm f1.4 USM – I think every photographer has a 50mm lens in their bag. I upgraded from the f1.8 and am amazed by the depth of field I get.

Canon 28mm f2.8 IS USM – this lens gets the most time on my camera. I love shooting wide, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Original 13″ MacBook Aluminium, late 2008 – this guy is still going strong. I’ve maxed out the RAM to 8GB, and I think an SSD and a new battery are all I need to keep my machine going for a couple more years.

iMac 21″ – a major performance and speed upgrade over my MacBook, but not so mobile.

iPhone 6 Plus – I got one of the first ones in South Africa and had to endure the remarks about its size and whether it’s bent yet. Today all those people own an iPhone 6S Plus.

Have I left anything out? What do you use?

Disclaimer: If you purchase any paid software using the links in this blog post, I get paid a small commission, which helps me maintain this website. I will always only write about products and services that I use and feel comfortable endorsing. 

  • Tim van Rooyen

    I never want to see you using the f-word again. Freelance.

    You are a professional photographer and content creator. This isn’t some side gig for you. This is what you do, full-time. Don’t undersell your value.

    Freelance is a dirty word, with negative and cheap connotations to moonlighting laaities.

    Ok?

    • Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Last time I use the only dirty word you don’t like. Promise.

  • Sibusiso E Mahlangu

    Jeez man what an insightful article, when I saw the link on Facebook I kept postponing to read it almost didn’t read and now you just solved 4 or 5 or my problems. Thanks man, definitely not missing the next one.

    • Thanks so much, dude. Glad you enjoyed it.