Resources

The Production Freelancer's Toolkit

Our creative resource center has all the freelancer tools we love and use everyday in our video production and photography business.

These resources are the sum of our efforts from the last 5 years to streamline and improve our workflows. Most of these tools are tried and tested, so we know they work great and we love using them every day.

We built this page for all freelance creatives to help them get started on their journey. This is NOT a complete list of all the production tools available online today, but only freelancer tools that we recommend either because we use them ourselves or at least tried them.

Affiliate disclaimer

This page contains affiliate links. By making a purchase using these links, we are paid a percentage. This is one way we grease our wheels and keep the lights on. Please exercise your own judgement before making any purchase.

We hope you’ll find a place to start, to kickstart your business. This page represents the result of 5 years of research, trial & error, we wish we found online back when we started. We hope you’ll find this page useful, if so please leave us a comment at the end of this page.

Navigation

To make navigating this page easier, use the table of content above to jump through our tools by category.

You’ll find everything from video/photo stock websites to CRMs and project managers, animation and video editing softwares, all the way to invoicing and accounting, all geared towards creative professionals. More than 80 hours of preparations have been invested in researching and writing up this page, so make sure you bookmark this page in your browser or favorite bookmarking site for easy access in the future.

This page will be dynamically updated to provide you with the best tools as we find and use them. To stay updated please join our newsletter below (we won’t spam you or sell your email to anyone).

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Production Freelancer Tools

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freelancer tools & apps

Our Favorite apps for producers and cinematographers

Artemis Director’s Viewfinder

The “My Friends Think I’m a Hollywood Director” app.

Artemis ($29.99) is an award winning viewfinder for smartphones. Used by filmmakers and students worldwide it allows them to preview their shots mimicking a collection of film cameras and lenses. Create custom framelines, add virtual stand-ins, and integrate with Helios Pro to get that perfect shot.

  • Record video and add custom title cards
  • Pre-visualise color grading ideas using Looks
  • Add virtual 3D models

Frame.io

The only app that beats Amazon in delivery speed.

Frame.io is the tool you’ve missed your entire career and wished you had back in 2002. Want the fastest way to deliver your timelines right from FCPX or Premiere and have your client’s comments appear on your timeline live? Frame.io is for you. Available as plugin or web app.

  • Super fast uploads
  • Live comments and annotations from clients, free
  • Multiple sharing options

Halide Camera

Your DSLR will be jealous of this.

Halide takes your iphonography to the next level with a gorgeous simple and intuitive interface that takes advantage of the latest iPhones technologies such as AR depth, fast Portrait mode and Apple Watch integration. Create Siri Shortcuts, see Focus Peaking and full manual mode allows you to bring out the Pro in your Amateur photos.

  • Haptic Grid
  • Darkroom Integration
  • RAW Capture

Movieslate 8

Physical clapperboards are so 90s.

Movieslate is a fantastic digital slate, clapperboard, shot log and notepad all in one. Don’t go to a shoot without one, or your editor will hate you. Tap to clap, rate your clips and take notes. Export timecodes at the end to many usable formats for editing. PRO features WiFi Sync to cameras and recorders. Get the iPad version.

  • Customize your clapperboard
  • Color and Focus charts
  • High End Production features in PRO

Our Favorite apps for photographers

Enlight

A kitchen blender for your photos.

Enlight is the last photo editor you’ll ever need. Convert your photos into artistic masterpieces by overlaying and blending photos using many blending modes. A beautiful variety of filters, editing tools, photo correction, texts and decals, makes this gem a no-brainer. You can save photo sessions to continue later, save presets, edit up to 50MP resolutions and more.

  • Animate editing sessions
  • Create memes
  • Reshape specific objects in the photo

Prisma

Your morning breakfast will never look the same.

Want Salvador Dali to work for you? Prisma will transform your photos into gorgeous paintings. 300 plus filters and more are added daily, which you can further finetune to your liking. It has a bustling creative community to share your creations with. Has a monthly and annual premium subscription. How would your coffee look like if Van Gogh painted it? Try Prisma.

  • Hundreds of filters
  • Community driven
  • Photo enhancement modes

Mextures

Make your photos Instagrammable with one click.

Mextures is the ultimate app for adding textures, grain, light streaks and overlays to your photos. Choose from over 150 different textures from grunge and film scans to artifacts and gradients. Every layer adds infinite possibilities with creative control over the layer’s attributes. You can even import “formulas” from other users, edit and share.

  • Emulate popular film stocks
  • Unlimited layers
  • Non-destructive workflow

Fragment

For Geometry nerds who miss school.

Fragment can transform your images into original prismatic art. What is prismatic art you say? It basically fragments your photo into geometric shapes, patterns and prism-like glass pieces. You can manipulate almost anything using blending modes and basic transform tools. Tap Shuffle and it’ll change your colors, desaturate, blend and blur your composition creating something completely unique.

  • Super fast interface
  • Shuffle mode
  • Refragment if you don't like the result

Our Favorite apps for video editors

Adobe Premiere Rush

Edit your film on your way to your client.

This newly launched companion to the industry leading editing platform Adobe Premiere Pro allows you to shoot, edit and share to social media all from one app. Start your edit on your phone and finish on your laptop later on. Drag and drop shots, animate titles and graphics, color correct and edit audio. If you have a Creative Cloud subscription, the PRO version is free.

  • Pro audio editing using Adobe Sensei AI
  • Choose from graphic templates
  • Connects with your social media channels

Cameras and formats

The “I Wish I Had This When I Started” app.

Cameras and formats is the editor’s and filmmaker’s digital assistant. Calculate your store space needs, how many batteries you need, transfer time and editing platform compatibility all in one app. No more guessing, edit suite surprises and running out of battery when the bride walks down the aisle. Search and compare over a hundred different cameras and formats.

  • Dynamic range, sensor size, & native ISO info
  • Lens mounts, resolutions, and frame rates
  • Figures out footage transfer times

LumaFusion

Put an entire edit suite in your pocket.

LumaFusion is a beautiful, powerful multi-track video editor used by journalists, filmmakers and editors worldwide. This amazing professional editor brings creative power to your fingertips with editing and trimming tools, transitions, video effects and audio tools. Built-in LUTs, effects keyframing, up to 240 fps video files, project management and media library’s StoryBlocks are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • StoryBlocks offers thousands of stock footage to use
  • supports shot notes and tags
  • Edit & Export 360 videos

Quik – GoPro Video Editor

Hey Siri.. Make a video of my last trip.

For a more toned down option, Quik by the GoPro guys allows you to add photos and videos to your edit, with titles and music. Want to quickly edit to the beat? Let Quik do its magic with a click of a button. Quik analyzes your videos to select great moments. It detects faces and colors to frame each photo perfectly. Choose from 26 themes, each with transitions and graphics designed for any occasion.

  • Sync cuts to music beats automatically
  • Choose from more than 100 free songs
  • QuickStories and FlashBacks 24H creates video memories for you

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Our Favorite apps for graphics designers

Pixelmator

It’s like Photoshop and Illustrator had a baby.

Pixelmator is a full featured, layer based image editor that emulates a mobile Photoshop. Touch up and enhance photos, sketch and paint, to create advanced compositions. Syncs with its Mac app Pro version. Start from a template and use its advanced photo editing and painting tools to create perfect graphic designs. This app is jam packed with features so for a full list please visit the app store page using the link on the left. 

  • Repair, Clone and Distort tools
  • More than 100 artist-designed brushes
  • Paint with Apple Pencil on iPad Pro

Affinity Designer

The “Look Mom No Keyboard” app.

Affinity Designer is one of the best vector graphic design softwares available for the iPad. It has everything you would expect from your professional graphic design software to create logos, web elements, icons or UI designs. Optimized for iPads, this app complements its desktop versions for designers who work on the go. Blazing-fast performance using Metal-accelerated technologies with full iCloud integration.

  • Live pixel and retina view of vector artwork
  • CMYK, LAB, RGB and Grayscale color models
  • Raster tools for texturing, masking and finishing artwork

Adobe Capture CC

The “I Didn’t Know My Phone Can Do This” app.

Imagine you had the power to convert the world around you into digital tools you can use in your designs. Well now you can. Adobe Capture is the app we dreamt of having when we were fresh grads. Turn your images into vector shapes, pick out colors themes, make patterns from anything, create 3D materials from textures, and transform images into brushes. 

  • Point your phone at a drawing or photo and transform it into crisp lines
  • Aim at the scene that has the colors you want, and capture it
  • Take a photo to generate realistic materials for use in 3D design

MocaBanner

The banner creator for procrastinators.

Elevate your social media game with this social banner creator. We use this app religiously to create stunning banners for our posts. What we love about it is that we can pick one of the hundreds of templates and simply tweak them with a few taps. From blog banners to business graphics, quotes and posters, the choices are endless.

  • Over 100+ free stylish fonts
  • Promote your brand by overlaying your logo
  • 2k Resolution high quality exports

Our Favorite apps for Photo & Video Businesses

Monday.com

Can be used any day of the week.

If you’re the visual type and love to oversee your projects on a beautiful timeline, then Monday.com is for you. Color coded project statuses, team collaborations, tasks, processes, and workflows all in one place. Plan ahead visually, and never miss a deadline. It’s like Excel on steroids with Live sheets, gantts & maps. 

  • Draggable timeline
  • Team collaboration
  • Realtime Notifications

Trello

The only thing this app won’t organize is your closet.

From managing a 400 episode epic to organizing that trip you promised your wife 2 years ago, Trello is your digital butler for getting things done. Say goodbye to yellow sticky notes and cumbersome cork boards. Have a different board for every part of your life and never miss a beat with checklists, due dates, photo/video attachments, team collaborations and so much more for free.

  • Card based Kanban boards
  • Color coded statuses
  • Calendar PowerUp

Flow Tasks

Don’t Let The Title Fool You.

This app is much more than just a task manager. Flow Tasks is a companion to the desktop version offering one of the most beautiful and easy to use gantt chart, kanban and scheduler available. We tried so many project managers but nothing beats Flow’s simplicity, functionality and above all, price.

  • Gorgeous gantt charts
  • Customizable Kanban boards
  • Easy on the eye project overview page

Harvest

The “How Much Time Did You Spend Doodling” app.

If you’re still billed by the hour, and we strongly urge you not to, this app is for you. It’s the timesheet to end all timesheets. Time is money they say, and this app is a must have in every freelancer’s toolbox. You can even invoice your clients directly from the app, log expenses and receive reminders to submit time.

  • Timesheet reports
  • Stay in sync with teammates timers
  • Professional invoice templates

Our Favorite weather app

Dark Sky

The only app you’ll want to check more than Facebook.

Dark Sky Weather keeps us in the loop about hyperlocal weather information. Super helpful when we’re out shooting and want to know when the rain will stop or start down to the minute. The main page shows you at a glance current temperature, precipitation over the next hour via a cool liquid animation graph, map and wind direction, next 24 hours and next 8 days forecast, without the need to drill down or click anything. It’s super accurate and it’s the only weather app we have on our phones.

  • Liquid animations
  • Super accurate hyperlocal weather
  • Time Machine lets you revisit historical weather

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Freelancer tools & gears

What's In Our Camera Bag

USA Gear DSLR Camera Backpack

This weather resistant backpack has room for everything: 8 pockets for all your equipment, the S17 is large enough to hold all your gear yet lightweight and portable. Padded laptop compartment, shoulder straps, and back for comfort. You can use the side pockets to hold your water bottle, tripod, speakers or anything you need. The interior space is fully customizable and has a side access zipper to get to your camera quick.

Panasonic Lumix GH4

Where do i start with this camera. First off, this mirrorless camera can record unlimited 4k video, yup no longer 20 min limits on video files. If that’s not revolutionary enough for you, for this price point you’ll get 49 AF areas, foldable LED touch screen, a wide variety of cheap micro 4/3 lenses and slow motion, timelapse modes. We love to shoot wedding videos with this camera because it is lightweight, shoots superb slo-mos and its battery can last an entire wedding day!

Nikon D750 FX

Nothing beats low light situations better than full frame cameras and the D750 comes at an affordable price point for what you get. While the GH4 outperforms almost every high-end FX camera in the video department, the D750 is our go-to camera for wedding photography, portraits and all kinds of indoor events. With built-in WiFi, 7fps, 51 point AF areas, tilting LCD for low/high angle shots, and up to 12,800 ISO this camera has more functionality than you’ll ever need.

Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight

This flash has been with us for years and it’s a monster performer for all kinds of indoor events. Perfect for bouncing light, iTTL shooting and wireless flash setups. You can control your light distribution by adjusting a slider on the back for general illumination, center weighted for portraits and Even for groups. It can cover lenses as wide as 24mm or as long as 120mm. 

Gary Fong Collapsible Light Sphere

Compatible with almost any flash, we use this flash diffuser for all our indoor events. It collapses into 1 1/2″ for easy portability and provides perfect harsh light diffusion. You can use it with or without the top dome, depending on whether or not you have a white wall nearby. The quality of light it casts is at the same time powerful without ugly shadows. Mount it on a V-bracket for a more interesting angle.

Godox TT350

Add a couple of these low cost yet great TTL/fully manual flashes around the room for a wireless flash setup and you’re up for some fantastic party shots. On-camera it covers anywhere between 24 and 105mm lenses, and 3 sync modes. As slaves their transmission allows up to an impressive 30m range. It comes with 12 dynamic colors and correction filters for dramatic and theatrical effects.

USA GEAR Camera Strap

Your shoulder, neck, chest and back will thank you for this. The metal screw in plate offers a stable, secure connection to your camera. With the underarm holster it provides an even weight displacement for extra comfort during long shoots. It has a couple of handy small accessories pockets to store SD cards, pens and batteries.

Continuous Lighting Kit by LimoStudio, LMS103

For this price point this kit is a steal. It gives you three 45W bulbs and sockets, 2 x 33in umbrella reflectors, and 2 x 86in + 1 x 28in light stands, and 2 carry bags. If you’re starting off in an actual studio or a humble studio garage, this lighting kit produces high quality lighting for both photo and video applications. A great beginners set for those YouTube videos.

Neewer 24 inches Handheld Stabilizer

This stabilizer will become your best friend during wedding receptions or even real estate video walkthroughs. Made out of aluminum alloy it offers a lightweight solution for handheld video operations for more stable shots. It has an extendable arm to reduce needed weights, a quick hot shoe plate, and a foam handle compatible with vest rigs. 

LimoStudio Camera Bracket Mount

To complete your photo/video mini-rig, add your flash, LCD monitor, or microphone to this bracket for more flexibility. It has two cold shoes, one on top and one on the side for more creative possibilities. Its padded hand grip offers a comfortable hold. The bottom thread can be attached to a shoulder strap for more weight distribution.

VILTROX L132T Ultra Thin LED Flat Panel

There’s a variety of LED lights available in the market but one we like to use is this dimmable video light. You can change the color temperature, and intensity easily with a switch. You can use either AC power or a battery. Parameters LCD screen on the back. Its width offers great light distribution and its thin size means less weight to carry. Can be mounted on light stands or on-camera.

Insta360 ONE X All-in-One Bundle

This monster gadget deserves a review on its own, but to give you the gits, it’s the christmas gift you never had. This is a head spinning 5.7k 360 camera compatible with Google Street View, with a revolutionary new FlowState stabilization, up to 240 FPS. So much high tech is packed into this small camera including Drift Shot mode, TimeShift slow-mo and Hyperlapse, and Bullet Time mode. This kit also gives you the Invisible Selfie Stick and the Bullet Time handle for the most epic shots. Edit your 360 video with the Premiere Pro plugin via Wifi or cable transfer.

Gear Shopping & Rental Websites

K&F Concept

K&F Concept specializes in design, research, manufacturing, and marketing of photographic accessories. Headquartered in China K&F Concept guarantees quality equipment at an affordable price. You’ll find everything you need from tripods, lens adapters, camera bags, flash accessories, microphones and other accessories. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III at Samy's Camera

Samy’s Camera

Samy’s has been around since 1976. Based in LA it services both professional and amateur clients. Their website is loaded with photo and video equipment and accessories from the world’s most renowned brands. They also have a used gear section, digital cinema rentals, and a photo school.

KEH Camera

KEH gear is priced up to 40% below retail prices. They offer 180 days warranty on their gear, 40 years of industry experience and a 10pt grading system so you know exactly what you’re buying. They’ll also buy your old equipment. From digital and film cameras, lenses, videos and accessories you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for.

Square Lensrentals Logo

Lensrentals

We use Lensrentals regularly to rent out those pieces of equipment we need every now and then, and they have a great selection of photo and video cameras, lenses, light and audio, and all their accessories. We never had a problem with any order, the equipment we get are in mint condition (they sell their inventory every two years). Make sure to get their HD Shipping plan for $100/yr for free shipping, totally worth it.

Photo Editing Freelancer Tools

Luminar 3

This photo editing app could have been our Lightroom replacement if it wasn’t slow dealing with RAW files. Besides that Luminar packs a punch when it comes to enhancing your shots and applying effects. It’s much cheaper than other solutions and for the price you get a decent amount of free presets and a ton of filters. It’s exclusive features are sky enhancers and auto image enhancing tools powered by proprietary AI. You gotta see it to believe it.

300x250

On1 Photo Raw 2019

Another big player in the photo editing arena is ON1 Photo RAW 2019. It’s Photoshop and Lightroom mashed into one, and you pay once and own it, no monthly fees. That’s another reason we love using it. It even helps you migrate your Lightroom settings. This thing is jam packed with awesomeness but just to mention a few: AI quick masking, HDR Workflow, Focus Stacking, Panorama Stitching, and gallery wraps.

Adobe Lightroom CC

Adobe’s flagship photo editing and digital asset management DAM software Lightroom has been a Thor’s Hammer for professional photographers worldwide. It excels with dealing with extremely large RAW files at lightning speed. If you don’t mind the monthly subscription (which also gets you Photoshop CC), you’re gonna love its classic design, proofing tools, logical layout, web/print pages, and its compatibility with professional grade presets available internet-wide.

Táve Business Management

Solopreneurs, small business managers, freelancers rejoice. Tave is the end of your headaches and the beginning of your new thriving business. Honestly we tried every single studio management on the planet and we swear by Tave. Nothing beats its features, at this price point. From questionnaires that automatically updates fields, and powerful workflows, to advanced quotes and automations you will love how customizable this beast is. You can modify every aspect of this platform to perfectly suit your business model no matter how complicated. Client portal with branding banners? done. Workflows that trigger when it’s the bride’s anniversary? done. Automatic Emails with tokens that fire when a Lead sleeps for 3 weeks? done! By the way when you subscribe to Tave using our link you’ll get a 60 day trial instead of 30, and we’ll get a free month. Win-win.

Studio Binder

Táve is great for general business management, accounting and automations. But when you have a TV series you want to oversee or call sheets that auto-update with relevant shot list and vendor info, you’d want to complement your system with Studio Binder. This beautifully simple yet super powerful production manager is both affordable and visually appealing. If you’re the visual type you’ll love this. From Call Sheet builders, Shot lists, Shooting schedules, to Production calendars, Film crew management and Client approvals you get everything you need to successfully manage any film production.

Todoist

One of the best Todo app and Task Manager out there. Todoist is a nifty little app that you’ll want to visit many times a day to quickly jot down an idea or to plan your entire week, and get some Karma points for completing tasks, which feels good. Color code your projects, add the Chrome plugin, download the iPhone app and you’ll never forget to buy your girlfriend’s gift ever again. Did we mention it’s free?

Unroll.me

If you’re like us, struggling to get to Inbox zero, you’ll want this awesome tool. Developed by Rakuten, Unroll.me will sift through your mail, combine all the emails you don’t want to read into one email, while allowing the rest to go directly to your inbox. It’s free to use, compatible with Gmail, and works like a charm. See an email you wanna keep in your inbox? You can manage every single sender’s email destination from the web or phone app. You can also Unsubscribe from annoying newsletters directly as well. 

Slack

Slack is where work happens. Get notifications from thousands of apps directly on your feed, subscribe to your team’s feeds and get notified when they complete work. Collaborate with clients on approvals, get feedback all in one place. This is a manager’s dream come true. You can even post photos and videos to comment on, get weather pings from weather bots and news updates from popular sites. The possibilities are endless and once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Omnifocus

Omnifocus is your task manager on steroids. For some Todoist is enough, for others who want more functionality and features, you’ll want Omnifocus. Like Todoist it also has quick entry shortcuts, forecast and calendar integration, but it also has a Review mode to remind you to go over a project after a time has passed, Siri Capture and Shortcuts, location based alerts, Perspectives, Customizable sidebar and Focus modes to help you laser focus on getting things done. It also looks stunning.

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Wave

Unless you have staff on payroll, Wave is free to use. It’s one of the best accounting softwares out there and you’ll love its small business oriented UI and features. It’s an invoicing, quoting and accounting software bundled into one. If your studio management app doesn’t have invoicing or quoting features this is the app you need. You can create recurring invoices, send professional quotes and get paid online, track your business expenses automatically into categories and so much more.

Mint

Mint by Intuit is your financial guru and best friend, when it’s tax time you’ll love what Mint can do for you. If you use Tave and have it take care of invoicing and quoting and just need an accounting solution, Mint is your best bet. Besides being able to automatically categorize your expenses, you can check your credit score, set budgets and get alerts when you’ve gone overboard, create goals, and get recommendations on the best accounts and credit cards depending on your spending habits.

Presets, Graphics & Web Templates

Motion Array

For a very affordable monthly subscription, Motion Array allows you access to thousands of motion graphics templates, video stock footage, stock music tracks, Premiere Pro plugins, and sound effects, and even Davinci Resolve templates. You can also use their online review system to quickly get feedback on your projects frame by frame. Build your own portfolio website, 10GB storage, and unlimited downloads for just $29/mo. 

MotionVFX

MotionVFX is your go-to place for Apple Motion, FCPX, Premiere Pro and After Effects templates. Their selection is much more specialized than other marketplaces. MotionVFX is the perfect site to find specific film grades, visual effects, complex transitions and has the largest collection of awesome titles templates. They also have a Free section to download LUTs and Luma transitions and try demos.

Envato Marketplace

Envato is a huge marketplace for all your digital assets. It hosts the world’s largest collection of community built templates and mockups. Their ecosystem offers creatives every tool they need to publish quality videos. Envato Market sells a growing number of everything from wordpress templates and plugins to video, audio, graphics and photo stock. Our website is built upon a template which was purchased on this market. PlaceIt offers a massive collection of mockups, logos and video designs to create stunning video ads. Do you have $33/mo lying around? Signup for Envato Elements and get access to more than 960,000 items from fonts and logos to video, audio and motion graphics stock, and download and unlimited number of items. No Davinci Resolve templates here.

Adobe Stock

While not the world’s largest stock market (ha!) you might find what you’re looking for, especially if you have a Creative Cloud account. Free for subscribers, it offers video editors and graphic designers a large collection of stock images, videos, motion graphics and 3D templates.

123Ref

When it comes to stock photos you have Getty Images, then you have 123ref. You can either choose to pay per download or subscribe to a monthly or annual plan. But these guys have almost an unlimited supply of the world’s best photos, vectors, videos and audio stock. If you’re working at an agency and have a specific image in mind, you’ll find it much cheaper to buy it on 123ref than shooting it.

RenderForest

RenderForest is an online video, animation, logo and website maker. With their great online video maker, you can drag and drop scenes and pick from royalty free video and image stock library to create that perfect promo. Upload your logo and watch it transform into a kickass animated opener. Create kinetic text animations, video explainers, music visualizations, promos and ads, all from your browser. You can also design a logo from scratch or using one of their professional templates. Need a website done? Drag and drop your way to online greatness with their website creator using one of their many templates.

Shakr

If you want to promote your brand or product using video by creating ads that perfectly fit any platform or device, try Shakr. We designed many video promotional campaigns on Shakr and we love how easy and intuitive their creator tool is. Choose from a large collection of themed templates and within minutes you’ll have a powerful high quality video ready to share.

MCPActions

Created by photographers for photographers, MCPActions help reduce the time spent editing so you can have more time creating. They specialize in Photoshop Actions, Elements Actions and Lightroom Presets and cover a wide range of genres from architectural and fashion to newborn and night photography.

Toolfarm

Toolfarm was unknown to us until we needed professional plugins to add to our post production suite. These guys have the world’s most professional motion graphics, editing and visual effects plugins. They offer 400 plugins for After Effects alone! Shop by vendor, software or genre. You’ll find the world’s most respected names in the effects industry like Boris FX, AutoDesk, Noise Industries, Red Giant, Sapphire and more, compatible with tools like Maya, Adobe, Avide, Cinema 4D and Davinci Resolve.

 

Lead Generators

Now that you’ve spent all this money building your business, where do you go to get clients to pay for all that? No matter how technology evolves, there’s nothing more powerful, or detrimental, than word of mouth. This double edged sword can either propel you to new heights or crumble you down faster than a toddler left alone. Here’s a few sites we’ve been fiddling with, with varying levels of success.

Genero

Genero is a global video production platform that connects worldwide brands with directors and producers worldwide. You won’t find the hollywood blockbusters for $100 here. You’ll spend most of your time writing video treatments and hoping the universe will notice you. 

Thumbtack

Thumbtack has been around for a while and has come a long way from the early days of the pay per lead system which many hated. Today you’ll pay only when someone contacts you. The quality of these leads won’t be as high and the budgets are sometime laughable but you might have a string of luck if you persist.

Bark.com

Bark.com is a newcomer in the arena of connecting leads to freelancers. But here you won’t submit proposals but instead you choose the jobs that look interesting and pay to contact them. This model allows only up to 5 people per project which increases your chances of getting hired, and produces more quality leads.

Upwork

Upwork, previously Elance, connects a giant pool of freelancers to potential customers. You don’t pay to contact or send a proposal, instead you pay a percentage of the project’s budget. Fair enough, there’s something for everyone and if this sounds better for you, give it a try. You’ll spend time writing proposals in the hopes that yours will stand out amongst the 50 plus submitted proposals. Here you’ll find anything from the $10 projects to the thousands, but also gets harder to be noticed the higher the budget. However, if you meet a certain criteria you’ll become a rising talent, which opens the way to becoming a Top Performer, which increases your chances of getting hired tremendously.

File Transfer

WeTransfer

Upload and send up to 2GB of files free to single or multiple recipients at blazing speed (depending on your connection). For $12/mo you get 20GBs of files, 100GB storage, password protected downloads, and options to personalize your client facing download page. WeTransfer is your perfect companion to send and receive files from your clients. They also have an app that enables you to send large files from your mobile device.

MediaFire

File sharing and storage for the budget minded. Get 10GB free, and 50GB of free storage space. That’s not a typo. The Pro version of MediaFire for just $5/mo supercharges you with 1TB of storage, no ads, automatic uploads from any websites, and bulk downloads. Not bad. If you want the top package, $50/mo gets you 100TB of space and 100+ users, plus branding options.

Dropbox

The giant in file sharing services is undoubtedly Dropbox. Their free plan limits you to 2GB storage, while Plus $9.99/mo gets you 1TB and Professional $19.99/mo, 2TB. Dropbox syncs seamlessly across all your devices as well as your desktop, with a synced Dropbox folder right in your Finder. Team plans offer additional entreprise features but if you’re a freelancer you’ll be ok with just the Plus or Pro plans. The greatest thing about Dropbox is its integration with third party apps like MS Office.

Galleries

Pixieset

If you want an uncomplicated way to deliver, proof and sell your photos to your clients, Pixieset is the most beautiful one we tried. We actually used it for many years. What we love about it is the easy learning curve, gallery styles and options, email customizations. It won’t overwhelm you with options but offers you just enough tools to get the job done, beautifully. What we didn’t like is the relative cost per GB storage, their lack of integrations, and once guests signin the only thing you can do is download their emails. As of this date you can’t email guests.

Lightfolio

We recently switched to Lightfolio from Pixieset for several reasons. Mainly their better cost per GB, their visitor insights, their larger collection of cover and gallery styles, and color schemes. It’ll even show you a map where your visitors came from. They have great gallery style customizations with Live preview, as well online print ordering. Still there is no way to email guests or download the list of sign-ins. 

Zenfolio

Zenfolio was one of the contenders and we’re still considering it for the future. We love the unlimited photos feature, and even if we didn’t need it, the option to expand the gallery directory into a full fledged website with multiple customizable pages. Zenfolio is one of the few that has built-in marketing tools that allows you not only to email your guests but also offer them and your clients coupons and certificates. You can even integrate a blog within your gallery. What we didn’t like is the fact that custom watermarks, marketing tools and the ability to sell digital downloads only come at a higher plan of $20/mo. If you just want a simple gallery solution with unlimited storage the $5/mo is enough.

Smugmug

Like Zenfolio, Smugmug allows you to upload and deliver photos as well as videos. It also allow you to create a full website with your photos as the centerpiece. You can sync your entire library from Lightroom which is pretty awesome. The better templates, your own domain and branding customization features all come with the second higher plan. The major down point for Smugmug is that lab fulfillment, custom pricing only comes with the third higher plan. They also take 15% of whatever you make. Coupons, custom packages and client favorites only comes with the highest plan.

Online Review

Frame.io

Ever since we started using Frame.io to deliver our videos for client review we wondered how we ever managed to do this before. Frame.io is a delightful solution that puts an end to endless emailing back and forth. First of all their upload speeds is blazing fast! You gotta try it to believe it. You can even send audio, stills and PDFs for client review. Their iPhone app was so meticulously designed they won an Apple design award for it. Adding clients to projets is easy and free. What’s not to like: Instant frame by frame client comments appear on your timeline, threaded replies, annotations and drawing tools, version stacking and comparison, branded presentations, and above all their built-in Premiere Pro and FCPX plugins which allows easy and fast timeline sharing. Your client will get an instant notification when the upload completes. We only wished their mobile app had more of the web app features like knowing how large a file is taking up space.

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Web Hosting

TMD Hosting

The beat selling feature to us for any web hosting company is their customer service, and TMD Hosting excel at it. They have the most responsive and helpful CS agents we’ve ever used. The second selling point to us was that TMD Hosting is a non-EIG company, which means more personal customer support and better server uptime. For the record EIG is a publicly traded company that controls a huge portion of the web hosting industry and owns most of the famous hosting brands like HostGator, BlueHost and iPage +70 more. TMD Hosting pricing is attractive, offers shared, cloud, dedicated hosting solutions, has SSD, CloudFlare, cPanel, Softaculous and data centers around the world. 

Social Calendar

Loomly

Loomly is both a beautiful social media calendar, and your BFF. For just $12/mo you get to connect 10 social accounts. What we really enjoyed was the Post Ideas features, while it won’t suggest templates or full posts, it gives you ideas based on popular hashtags and celebrations of the day. Their post optimizations are awesome showing you the best time to post per channel and other criterias. Other features include: Schedule automated posts, collaborate with your team, audience targeting, post sponsoring, analytics and so much more.

Email Marketing

Mailchimp

Since the day we started, Mailchimp has been at the core of our email marketing strategy. We love how we can import from Google Contacts or just the labels we want. You can create emails, landing pages, signup forms, postcards and remarketing ads with just a free account for up to 2000 subscribers. Send automated welcome series, abandoned carts, birthdays, and product recommendations. You can start from professionally designed templates or buy specific ones from marketplaces.

Books

Video & Film Production Books

If you want to learn how to create videos people will want to watch, your first bet is award winning Steve Stockman’s How To Shoot Video That Doesn’t SuckThe Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video has been chosen by over 700 colleges to teach basic film and video techniques. The Digital Filmmaking Handbook comprehensively outlines the technical and creative challenges of digital filmmaking for amateurs and professionals alike. And if you want a road map to the business and logistics of on-the-job film & television production, get Film Production Management 101.

Photography Books

If you’re tired of expensive, classroom oriented Photography courses, try Stunning Digital Photography a self-paced photography class with over 14 hours of online training videos and the #1 photography book with over 250,000 readers. Or try the Digital Photography Complete Course, packed with stunning imagery and advice to master your photography and editing skills in 20 weeks. If you’re interested in Photography history, Photography: The Definitive Visual History celebrates the most iconic photos of the past 200 years. Bryan Peterson in his book Understanding Exposure explains the fundamentals of light, aperture, and shutter speed and how they interact with one another, with an emphasis on finding the right exposure in all situations. When photographing people, even with a great composition, perfect light, and the right camera settings, if your subject’s pose is off, your shot is ruined. That’s why The Photographer’s Guide to Posing is  great resource.

Video Editing Books

Colorists refine the mood, create style, add polish to scenes, and breathe life into visuals. The Color Correction Handbook has become the standard guide to color correction. If you’re into Documentary Editing, this book is written by a Sundance award-winning documentary editor and contains examples from over 100 films, this book presents a step-by-step guide for how to turn seemingly disparate footage into structured scenes, and how to craft a backbone for a documentary of any length. Color Correction with DaVinci Resolve 15, Hollywood’s most popular color correction software is used to grade more feature films, television shows and commercials than any other solution. Learn to edit video in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 and get the most out of your workflow. Take a project from beginning to end and learn to organize media, add audio, create transitions, produce titles, and add effects. Complete with 18 project based lessons.

Online Courses & Resources

Digital Photography School

DPS has all the tools you need to take your photography to the next level. They have books, courses, tutorials, presets, tips and resources for beginners and intermediates, that want to create stunning pictures. Their collection includes courses on Landscape Photography, books and courses for beginners, Lightroom presets, Wedding photography, Flash and post processing for Portraits, B&W, kids, travel and posing books, Night Photography and much more.

Creative Live

Creative Live has the most comprehensive and complete online courses available online, prepared by grammy winners, best sellers and world renowned photographers. You can watch free classes 24/7 in the On Air Now section, or drill down their handpicked 700+ master creator courses. You’ll find courses for photo/video, money and life, art and design, crafts, music and audio.

Udemy

Udemy is the world’s largest provider of online courses, 100,000+ courses are taught about every topic that comes to your head. It’s the Amazon of online learning so make sure you head there and browse from the infinite number of categories from business, development and IT to design, marketing and health. Self taught learning has never been so easy and accessible. 

Legal Zoom

While not necessarily an education topic perhaps it fits well here since you’re educating yourself about legal matters. And when it comes to the creative side of things, you want to arm yourself with the best legal advice to protect yourself and your business if things fall through. And for this purpose, Legal Zoom offers a platform to connect with attorneys live, find information about Intellectual Property and get Business Formation done for you. They’ll do all the legal side of things so you can focus on being creative.

The Law Tog

And once you’re all setup you want to head out to TheLawTog and get your photography contracts, model releases and print releases. They also offer online courses to teach photographers to be successful, profitable and legally-protected. Check out their Copyright Infringement Kit here

Production Freelancer Tools - Conclusion

That was a heck of a mega post! If you made it this far, we want to thank you for your time in reading through our freelancer tools page. We put a ton of effort, countless hours and a buttload of reading and research into compiling this guide and we sincerely hope you found at least one tool that will make your life this much easier.

If any of these made you smile today, please leave a comment below and let us know what made you choose it and how you’re going to use it in your business.

By all means if you find something out there that you feel should be included in this resource page, let us know in the comments.

From all of us here at The Memory Mill Productions, we wish you continued success in your freelancing business. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our social sites, bookmark this page to come back to it in the future, and subscribe to our newsletter below to get a special gift from us.

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