SOME THINGS I CURRENTLY LOVE

I don't know about you, but I love hearing about what media, technology, and gear other creatives are using [or avoiding], not to mention any trade secrets they want to share. So here are my five favorite photography tools (currently). 

Photography tools - Anna Hudson Photography

SOCIAL MEDIA

Instagram. And not just regular ole Instagram, but Instagram for businesses. Like every other person on the planet, I was not excited to hear about Instagram's move to using an algorithm in users' feeds. Fast forward a few months, like every other [business owner] person on the planet, I was leery of Instagram's roll out of business accounts and assumed the worst: You switch to a business account, Instagram pushes your posts into a black hole where no one will see them, and IG starts charging you for posts because you are a business. I get it. I was there. I thought all the thoughts. Maybe that will happen someday, but for now, I am loving the benefits of switching to a business account. 

There is now a contact button with options for how to contact me (directions, call, or email). Because I have my Facebook business page linked to IG and am registered as a photographer on Facebook, IG automatically lists me as a photographer, and I don't waste precious characters telling people that. IG also lists my location, so that too, doesn't take up any characters in my bio. And last, but certainly not least, insights. Insights are basically Google analytics for your IG feed. And they are so interesting! I now can see my demographics, when my followers are using IG, and which posts are doing well or not so well. Lots of applause for this change, Instagram.

What are your thoughts this change for businesses? How have you changed what you do based on insights? 

APPS N ZERTS

Snug. It's also an app (don't judge me); it mirrors your Instagram feed and then allows you to add one to infinity photos and move them around to see what your Instagram would look like if you posted that photo. It's amazing, and it's only 99 cents. I will admit, it occasionally has its bug issues, but overall, it's the easiest app I've found that does what it does. I use it every day to see how my feed will change by adding certain photos, tones, content; and if I don't like what I'm seeing, I'm able to go back into Lightroom and edit a different image and try that out. 

I'm a new-to-full-time photographer, so I still post manually and don't have an exact schedule. What are apps you use that help you see what your feed will look like and also allow you to schedule posts? Has scheduling posts changed your social media workflow?

PRESETS

Many of you know the app, VSCOcam, which is a part of VSCO (Visual Supply Company), most known for its photography presets emulating film, e.g. Kodak Gold 100, Fuji 400, etc. When I first got into photography, I began buying the VSCO presets (I currently own packs 1, 4, 5, 6, + 7). I used various presets from various packs with varying levels of success; I honestly just couldn't find ones that fit my style from shoot to shoot. And then this year I was introduced to presets created by Tribe Archipelago. Talk about a game changer. I purchased the LXC pack, four color presets and two black and white. These have changed everything I do and everything I know about editing, and I finally feel like I can go into Lightroom, apply a preset, and get to work making the edits my own. Thank you, Loren + Chris! Personal favorites? LXC 03 and LXC 06. 

What presets do you use? Have you created your own? 

FACEBOOK GROUPS

I thought Facebook groups had died after college and it was no longer necessary to belong to "People who cross the street to step on leaves because they like the crunchy sound." (Or something like that. It was a real group.) But then last year I moved to Denver and was connected to a Facebook group of lady photographers in Colorado. They are bomb-@#$ girl bosses who share tips, answer questions, help with location scouting, give referrals, and encourage each other in our field. It's been one of the best things for me, knowing no one in Colorado and having no idea how I would start, let alone grow, a business here. 

There are a bunch of other photography groups I'm in on Facebook that inspire me, challenge me, answer questions, and help me grow. Without a doubt, I would not be in the spot I am today without the help from the people in these groups! If you're feeling a little bit lost, start your Facebook search for groups in your field. 

Has social media helped you connect with people in your trade? 

BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

Ben Sasso, amazing photographer and educator, recommends piping in music for shoots and gives tips on how to do that. His posts about his gear and how music can change, soften, or liven up a shoot led me to buy a bluetooth speaker I could bring with me to shoots. And also use in the shower, because music all the time. I bought this one because it's water resistant, can suction in the shower (and my car, I learned), has buttons on it so I can make changes without my phone, and it has a tiny carabiner I can hook to belt buckles or D-rings in the field.

Upsides: It was cheap, it's functional, meets my needs, and it's super portable. Downsides: I don't think the battery lasts very long, a few hours max, so I have to be very on top of charging it. The carabiner connection with the speaker should be a little bigger; the carabiner fits awkwardly, and it has to be upside down to be used (the carabiner, not the speaker). The instructions suck. I also hate reading instructions, so when I first bought it, I played around with it, convinced I could figure it out. Nope. Wrong. You need the instructions, and they are not great, but good news for you, here's what they should say: Hold down the power button for 50 million seconds until a creepy Siri says, "Power on." Overall, I'm pleased with my purchase!

Have you tried using music during a shoot? How did it change the mood?

Those are a few of the tools I'm using today; which tools do you love using in your creative field?