Dogs of MKE started on Instagram, so it should come as no surprise that I’m on my phone a lot for work! Beyond social media, though, I’ve found some great apps that help me stay organized, productive, and that allow me to plan for every aspect of @DogsOfMKE shoots.
For business owners like me, whose work takes them on the go much of the time, being able to keep things going via my phone is important. Here are my favorite apps for running my business.
Trello is at the top of this list because it’s my favorite app of all! When it comes to keeping track of tasks and deadlines, Trello is my lifeline. If you’re not familiar with Trello, it’s a free visual project management app that makes it easy to organize your business and personal lives.
With Trello, I’ve created boards that help me coordinate my photoshoots and my to-do lists. It’s a user-friendly app, and it has a ton of features that simplify many aspects of running my business. Trello lets me make checklists, schedule deadlines, assign labels to my tasks and projects, and even add attachments.
Trello is also nice for business owners who work with teams and want to communicate and share information easily. I’ve used it to provide my virtual assistant with project details, on occasion, and it’s been very helpful for that purpose.
If posting Instagram Stories is something you often do for your business, you need to know about Word Swag. Word Swag is a useful app for business owners who want to create attractive content. I love sharing behind-the-scenes snippets and the stories behind my photoshoots on Stories, and Word Swag helps me create ones that stand out with stylish fonts.
Using Word Swag, I can create unique Stories that I wouldn’t be able to make using Instagram alone. It also has nice features like premade backgrounds, a quotes generator, image effects, and stickers. Plus, it’s easy for me to post my Word Swag designs on Instagram!
A social media-heavy business calls for keeping an eye on my feed’s appearance and making sure my captions are on point. Later is one of my favorite apps for running my business because I can plan and schedule my social media posts with it, and it helps me streamline my process.
I post my dog photoshoot images in the order I take them, and for me, a perfectly-designed feed isn’t important. But, I do like to make sure the photos I post look nice alongside ones I’ve already shared. Later helps me do that. I know that a lot of people love Later’s auto-schedule feature, too, which is great! But, I like to have a bit more control when I post, so I don’t use the app for that.
When I share posts to my Instagram feed, I always choose a cover photo that I know will stop people in their scrolling-tracks. Then, I’ll use Later to make sure it flows with my other feed images.
While I’m not too particular about the image colors in my feed, I make sure each shot features something different. Whether dogs and their people are looking at the camera, hugging, kissing, etc., I like my feed to present variety and versatility. With Later, I also plan my captions to see how long they are and where I might want to make edits.
Canva is a really helpful tool I use when I want to make professional-looking graphics for my Instagram Stories. I’m a photographer, not a graphic designer, so I love that Canva has hundreds of templates that are easy to use!
Canva lets me create graphics that use my brand colors and fonts. I have Canva Premium, their paid option, where I’ve set up their Brand Kit feature to create a custom color palette and font choices for my business. That way, whenever I make something in the app on my desktop or phone, I can easily make sure it is branded.
I use Canva most often when I’m preparing a marketing promotion. I’ll use it to make branded graphics that I can include in my Instagram Stories, on Facebook, in my marketing emails, and on other channels.
Unscripted is an excellent resource for photography business owners because it helps you take stunning pictures outside! The app is technically for posing inspiration and prompting, so it’s ideal for new photographers or beginners who are just starting.
Because I photograph dogs (which comes with a posing strategy all on its own!), what I find most helpful about the Unscripted app is its lighting feature, the Sun Tracker. Once you input your city, Unscripted will tell you when sunrise, sunset, golden hour, and blue hour happen wherever you’re located. This makes it very easy for me to find the perfect timing when I’m scheduling shoots.
Unscripted has many other features that photographers who run their own businesses might enjoy, like Client Questionnaires, Photoshoot checklists, and a Camera Setting guide, among others.
When I want to take planning for lighting to the next level, Sun Seeker is the app I rely on to know exactly what I can expect at shoot locations. While Unscripted is great for general city lighting information, Sun Seeker gives me environmental and location-specific lighting information.
I input where and when my shoot is taking place, and Sun Seeker shows me where the sun will be at any time that day. The app lets me see what solar direction I can expect, and it even shows me where buildings and other surroundings are so that I can anticipate whether I will be dealing with shade or harsh lighting.
Sun Seeker is an extremely helpful business app because it helps me make the most informed plans that create the best-lit shoots for my clients and their dogs!
Weather apps are a dime a dozen, but Dark Sky is one of the most accurate ones out there, in my opinion. Unlike some apps that communicate “possible” precipitation or give generalized cautions and predictions, Dark Sky shows me expected rainfall by the hour so I can make informed plans.
The app provides detailed forecasts and is consistently much more accurate than the basic weather app on my phone. Dark Sky also has advanced maps that show local storm movement and custom notifications so I can stay in-the-know without constantly looking at my phone on shoot days.
Insider tip, here! One app that helps me on-site at shoots is BarkCam. When my trusty squeaky ball isn’t doing the trick to get a dog’s attention, I use BarkCam to get them to look at the camera. The app plays various noises that make a dogs’ ears perk up and look my way.
BarkCam is designed to help dog parents and non-photographers take great photos of their dogs. Playing sounds right out of your phone allows you to get shots of dogs looking right into your phone’s camera, which can otherwise be tough to get.
Because I need to use a professional camera for my business, I use the app’s test sounds and then take photos with my DSLR. It works really well!
Using the right apps can make life for small business owners easier, more streamlined, and easy to take on the go. Let me know if you try adding one of these apps to your toolkit and if they help you!
Now that you know how I plan and organize photoshoots, and make sure we have perfect lighting, let’s plan yours! Check out my different session options and contact me to schedule your Dogs of MKE shoot experience.