Outside my Camera Bag

Inspired by Amanda Mustard’s list of helpful tools, I compiled my list of things that make my life easier as a freelance photojournalist.

I found referral links for some items that you can use to get discounts and send rewards to me.

200 SIM Card tray eject pins – If Marie Kondo asked me what brings me the most happiness this year, it would be this box. When I get to a border, I often need to switch sim cards, and I always lose these SIM eject pins. So now I have spread these pins everywhere around my luggage and keychain, and I will always be able to find one.

TransferWise (referral link) – I get paid and pay in many currencies. With TransferWise, I don’t have fees when clients transfer to my account. I also get a reasonable rate and easily convert money between USD, GBP, EUR, and more obscure currencies. 

Things – An app for Mac and iPhone that allows me to quickly record ToDos, brainstorm larger projects, and plan out my day before everything goes pearshaped. It’s designed to be part of the Getting Things Done ecosystem and appears to be working for me.

Visible – The cheapest data in the US. It costs $25 a month for unlimited internet that can be tethered for transmitting photos on the road. When traveling abroad a lot, I used Google Fi but they have been canceling international travelers. Often it is cheaper to buy a local SIM for long-term data. And there are other eSIM data providers that you can use for those times you are stuck in the airport or cell stores haven’t opened yet.

Novo Bank – A small business-focused bank helps keep the paperwork simple. Novo has a built-in invoice system, debit card, and easy ways for clients to pay. And it’s free. I tried Lillie bank before, but they don’t have a web interface; using just their phone app can be painful.

Hiveage – We all need a system for creating and tracking invoices. Mine used to be a Google Docs template and a spreadsheet; it worked. But I find that once Hiveage is set up, it takes a lot less time, and with their iPhone app, I can quickly send an invoice while in a cab. But, unfortunately, they raised their rates recently.

Capture One – I have lived in Photoshop since version 5, but I just canceled my Adobe membership and switched to Capture One because the retouching looks more subtle when I use it. I can’t explain why but I prefer the colors and how it hides the halos produced by dodging and burning.

Wacom Intuos – Toning photos becomes physically painful, especially dodging and burning on a trackpad.  A Wacom makes it slightly less painful and has become an extension of my hand after a few weeks of fiddling.  Get the BlueTooth version so you can lean back.

Backblaze (referral link)- I finally have an offsite backup system for my 15TB archive for $50 a year.  It took a year to upload everything, but now it is easy to keep it all up to date.  Get the year extension, so you don’t have to plug-in hard drives every month or turn off backups while traveling away from your archive.

Linode (referral link)- I’ve hosted websites on DreamHost for a long time but switched to Linode with OpenLiteSpeed installed and WordPress as my CMS. It took a significant amount of time to set up and tweak, but my website is faster.