Powerful tools and resources for photographers

Instead of spending time researching and figuring it out on your own, we’re sharing the platforms and tools that we use to manage and grow our business.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Important disclosure: We’re proud affiliates for some of the resources on this page. This page contains affiliate links meaning we earn a commission if you use those links. Any commission we earn comes at no additional cost to you. We only recommend brands we use and trust.

Person on a laptop.

Recommended photography gear

Want to know what’s in our bag? We try to keep our camera equipment simple. The following is the gear that we use and recommend.

Cameras:

Lenses:

Memory cards:

Bags:

Lighting:

Computers and storage:

Software for design and photography

Adobe Creative Cloud (opens in a new tab). Adobe Creative Cloud comes with the tools you need to edit photos, create videos, create logos, ebooks, and PDFs. If you only want Lightroom and Photoshop, the Photography Plan is a cheaper option.

Canva (opens in a new tab). Canva is great for graphic design and PDFs. Although you can do a lot with the free version, Canva Pro will open many features, such as the ability to create a brand kit and resize images to any format.

Photo Mechanic (opens in a new tab). Camera Bits created an efficient to go through your images from a photoshoot and select the ones you’d like to keep. In Photo Mechanic, you can organize your images and import the ones you want to edit to Lightroom.

Pixieset (opens in a new tab). Digital delivery is the most popular method for your clients to receive and download their photos. Pixieset offers an impressive and free client gallery. After 1,000 photos or 3 GB, you’ll need to upgrade.

WeTransfer (opens in a new tab). A file transfer app that allows you to transfer up to 2 GB for free.

Build your website

Squarespace (opens in a new tab). Squarespace is the best website builder for photographers. It’s easy to use, design, and maintain. Squarespace offers many beautiful templates to help you create a professional website.

BigScoots (opens in new tab). BigScoots is our go-to hosting platform. You can purchase your domain through them as well. They offer exceptional customer service and are quick to respond. BigScoots will set up your WordPress site, which is the best website platform.

Genesis (opens in a new tab). It’s the standard for a WordPress framework because it runs efficiently and keeps your security a priority. We use Genesis with a StudioPress child theme.

StudioPress (opens in a new tab). StudioPress makes amazing themes for different types of websites. View the different themes to see which one resonates with you the most. You can set up a nice homepage, gallery, blog, about, and contact page.

TinyJPG (opens in a new tab). When you upload images to your website, you need to compress them and reduce the file size. TinyJPG compresses your images while maintaining the quality.

WP Rocket (opens in a new tab). If your website has a slow load time, people will immediately leave. Google has said that page speed is a signal used to rank pages. WP Rocket allows you to speed up your website and enhance its performance.

Titan Anti-spam & Security (opens in a new tab). CreativeMotion created this free plugin as a defense to stop spammers from leaving comments on your site.

Iubenda (opens in a new tab). Generate privacy and cookie policies to stay compliant with online regulations.

LegalZoom (opens in a new tab). Creating legal documents and forming a business is effortless with LegalZoom.

Cookiebot (opens in a new tab). Ensure your website is compliant with privacy laws by using Cookiebot.

HoneyBook (opens in a new tab). For client management, HoneyBook is a great choice. You can send contracts, invoices and get paid.

Everlance (opens in a new tab) or MileIQ (opens in a new tab). When you’re meeting with clients and driving to photoshoots, track your business mileage for tax purposes.

Expensify (opens in a new tab). Great receipt and expense management software.

Customer support

Google Workspace (opens in a new tab). Once you start your business and get a domain, you need to have a professional email.

A separate email for business will make you look more professional, and it’ll build trust with your potential clients.

Drift (opens in a new tab). Live chat makes it simple to respond to your potential customers and website visitors quickly. Drift looks great and is user-friendly.

Google Forms (opens in a new tab). Find out what your potential clients are looking for and gather customer feedback.

Market your photography business

Convertkit (opens in a new tab). Email marketing is an important part of your photography business. Grow your email list with Convertkit because it’s user-friendly and allows you to segment your subscribers.

MailerLite (opens in a new tab). MailerLite is straightforward and affordable. It has a powerful automation system, and your first 1,000 subscribers are free.

Google Meet, Skype, or Zoom: Meet with potential clients through a live video call if you can’t meet in person. Showing your face will help build trust.

SEMrush (opens in a new tab) or Ahrefs (opens in a new tab). When you’re developing content for your blog, you need to do keyword research.

This will help you show up in the search results when someone searches for a specific term or phrase. SEMrush and Ahrefs are beneficial tools for online marketing.

Productivity and time management

Trello (opens in a new tab). Great tool for communications and project management.

Harvest (opens in a new tab). Harvest is a web-based time tracking and reporting tool. You can track the amount of time that you spend working to stay accountable or charge clients.

Google Drive (opens in a new tab). It’s a cloud storage service that allows you to file documents and collaborate with others.

HubSpot (opens in a new tab). CRM for your photography business. They have free and paid services.

Social media

Planoly (opens in a new tab). A tool to help you plan, schedule, and post images to Instagram. With the free version, you can upload 30 images a month, which means you’ll always be a month ahead.

Tailwind (opens in a new tab). Pinterest is vital for you as a photographer. Tailwind allows you to schedule posts to Pinterest and Instagram. You’re also able to use it as an analytics and marketing tool.

Book recommendations

Start with Why: Simon Sinek shares the importance of understanding the reason behind what you do. He refers to it as your why. Too often, you get caught up in the how and what, which results in forgetting about your why.

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Elle Luna explains how to decide between what you should do and what you must do. You’ll learn how to differentiate your career and your calling.

The Total Money Makeover: Dave Ramsey has spent more than 20 years teaching and helping people get rid of debt, secure an emergency fund, and build wealth. The Total Money Makeover shares a proven 7-step plan that’ll help you do the same.

Daring Greatly: Brené Brown encourages you to embrace vulnerability and imperfection. You’ll learn how to be courageous and put yourself out there.

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Dale Carnegie shares the keys to connecting and building relationships. You’ll learn how to improve your people skills, which is essential in the business of photography.

Grit: Angela Duckworth is a physiologist who teaches that the secret to success and achievement isn’t talent but grit. You’ll learn how to find your passion and persevere through adversity.

Good to Great: Over 5 years, Jim Collins and his team analyzed 28 companies. You’ll read about the differences between great companies and the rest.

The Power of Habit: Charles Duhigg explains how your daily habits change your life. You’ll learn how to break bad habits and start good ones.

Ca$hvertising: Drew Eric Whitman teaches you timeless tips to influence people and increase your sales. It’s a must-read as a photographer because you need to understand how to sell and market yourself.

Influence: Robert Cialdini shares how people think and act. He has researched the field of influence and persuasion for 35 years. Becoming skilled in the ability to influence others is important for you to book photoshoots.

Purple Cow: As you know, photography is a saturated market. However, you can still succeed. Seth Godin teaches you how to stand out in a saturated market and build an exciting business.

The Happiness Advantage: Learning how to excel with increasing workloads and stress is vital. Shawn Achor explains that happiness fuels success, and it doesn’t work the other way around.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

Connect