A list of 6 mobile apps I've found useful in helping me manage my adventure sports photography business.

1. Evernote

It's possible you can use Evernote to manage your whole life (See Lifehacker.com) but I like to keep things simple and I use it mainly as a text editor when mobile.

Some of the things I find Evernote really useful for are;

  • Drafting photo shoot or feature ideas to submit to photo editors and art directors
  • Writing blog posts and articles
  • Capturing ideas for future business opportunities, e.g. potential photo projects or interesting photography locations
  • Recording items when I'm on the move, e.g. expense receipts
  • As a means of reminding myself of educational or inspirational content I've found on the web or on my travels (Evernote enables you to save a web page, text clipping or photo and save it as a note)

Probably the most useful function for me In Evernote is the simple checklist (I admit I'd find it hard to manage my life without lists). I keep lists for a variety of different things, including equipment lists for my photography gear, lists for my outdoor gear, lists of items I’ve taken on jobs I’ve worked on in the past (e.g. the Patagonian Expedition Race), lists of gear I’ve used in events I’ve competed in that I’ll likely do again (e.g. Strathpuffer, Cairngorms Loop) and lists for more general things such as goals I want to achieve over the next 3 months.

Overall, I love Evernote's ease of use. When I access the app on all my devices (I use it on my laptop, phone and desktop), all my content has been quickly and seamlessly updated with any changes I’ve made. And it’s free.

2. Things

Things is another app I'd find it hard to operate my business without. It’s not cheap (in fact it’s really expensive for a To Do app) but I’ve tried many others and I find it well worth the cost.

The simple idea behind Things is a task manager that enables you to sort tasks into 'Today', 'Next' and 'Scheduled for later'. I use the app not only as a means to record and complete my things to do but also as a supplement for my diary, entering meeting dates and reminders. Tasks only go in the Today column when I will 100% do them that day. Once things to do are in 'Today', they have to get done, regardless. I’ve found that using Things has made me much more organised in general and definitely more efficient at completing tasks.

3. Sunseeker

No-one really cares exactly where the sun is in relation to the sky perhaps as much as an outdoor photographer. Sunseeker is a really usable app for photographers that lets you plug in the location you're shooting and find out not only what time dawn and dusk is but also where the sun will be in the sky at a given time of day. You can also choose a future date and get advance information for the day of your shoot. For location scouting and shoot preparation, Sunseeker is indispensable.

4. Top Model Release

Top Model Release was a brilliant app that enabled me to create and share model releases on the go. I liked how I could customise the release wording to suit my requirements. (To help speed things up on a shoot, I always take the time to share my release wording with  athletes / models in advance of a shoot, including it in a production sheet containing all the information about the shoot. Once on location, I can simply complete their personal details, take their photo and email us both a copy of the release).

Unfortunately, the Top Model Release app broke when IOS8 came out. There's no word on a fix (despite many customer complaints) so I'm currently back to my original approach and seeking a similarly customisable replacement.

5. NoCrop

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know I use the popular social media tool as a means of engaging with clients and sharing new work. Of all the social media communication tools, I like Instagram the best but a negative for me is its default square image format. I prefer to upload images in their original ratio so I looked for an app that would enable me to do that. NoCrop is a free tool - supplied with adverts though they're not too invasive - that lets me easily upload images to my Instagram account in their original ratio.

6. Dropbox

No list of apps would be appropriate, it seems, without a reference to Dropbox, the file hosting and sharing service. For informal sharing and file backups, I use a free account which I can use for up to 2Gb (more if I introduce folk). For clients, I set up a Dropbox Pro account, and store all the documentation relating to the shoot plus the low-resolution proofs and the final high-resolution images in a password-protected folder. 

Dropbox is an excellent app that, like Evernote and Things (and many other apps) seamlessly syncs your content and lets you access it across different devices. 

Overall, apps have made a huge improvement to my business workflow so I'd be interested to know what you use. Head over to my Facebook page to start the conversation or visit back later and I'll share some more in the future.