VideoProc Review – Best 4K Video Editor for GoPro DJI iPhone Large Videos

If you have done 4K / large sized video editing, you know the importance of good software and fast computers. If you don’t have a solid configuration on your computer, you would have faced many hiccups while editing videos. 4k video editing is getting common these days as many smartphones also are capable of capturing videos in such high quality. Shooting in 4k means the file size would be bigger and there would be highly-compressed formats. Therefore, with a normal computer, it is getting harder by the day to edit videos with the software that are available in the market. The computer will hang or crash when you put heavy files shot in 4K. There is free software available in the market, but they cannot handle 4K videos.

VideoProc is specially built keeping in mind such hassles. VideoProc wants to make 4K video editing easy for everyone. The program can handle 4k and even 8k videos which are produced from cameras like GoPro, Sony, Panasonic, Canon, iPhone, DJI (check the best DJI video editor), etc. VideoProc is designed to do full editing functions like cut, compress, trim, rotate, etc. Formats such as 4K 60fps, HD 240/120 fps, UHD HEVC/H.265/H.264 videos can be handled by it.

VideoProc gives you fast speeds for editing without hanging or crashing. This will help you to keep your computer and data in good condition. Advanced functionalities for video editing like de-shake, denoise, lens distortion correction, A/V sync, GOP, etc. can also be managed by VideoProc. VideoProc can stabilize shaky videos footage taken from a different camera. It can also correct fisheye lens distortion from videos taken action cams like GoPro, DJI, etc. Some smaller tasks like making a video into GIF, adding watermarks, taking an image from a video has become part of the video editing process. The video can be converted into MKV with no encoding, and an M3U8 playlist for HTTP file streaming can be created with one or many ‘.ts’ files.

A unique feature of the app is that it can make use of GPU acceleration to its full extent, which is also known as level-3 hardware acceleration. This means that it is 47x real-time faster. Due to this unique technology, the transcoding and processing of videos get even faster. The process optimized file size and quality of the output. Video encoding and decoding is an integral and important part of video editing; this can be made faster with GPU acceleration technology. The GPU acceleration technology can be found lacking in many of the video editing software found in the market. Check to see if you can speed up the video editing with VideoProc GPU hardware acceleration>>

Great use of VideoProc can be made for conversion of videos, audios, and DVD. The software has 370 input codes and more than 420 output formats which can handle sophisticated transcoding. Video compression is impeccable with VideoProc. It can compress the video size by 90% by only affecting the pixel-level quality.

VideoProc has an in-built media downloader engine through which you can download videos from more than 1000 sites. These videos can then be converted into various formats like MP4, MP4 iPhone, and more. You can use professional software to record live news, sports, games, etc. Downloading videos one by one through a playlist can be a hassle, but with VideoProc you can download it in batches.

Apart from downloading videos from the internet, VideoProc can record a ton of things. It can be presentations, webinars, skype call, streaming videos, podcasts, games, etc. This can be used to have better communication with the people you work and share with. The recording can be done in full-screen or in any area of the screen you want by cropping. And while the recording is on-going, you can put text, images, voiceover, etc., on the video.

Creating a Portfolio Website That Shines

For most college students, the real battle begins once they graduate. Most of them soon realize that finding a job isn’t that easy. This is why it’s important to build a portfolio website. Not only can your portfolio help you showcase your knowledge and your best work, but it can also help people reach you.

A good website built on Pixpa gives you the option to market yourself, network, and do some personal branding. All of these are essential things which will help you stand out from the rest and land more jobs. No matter if you’re a fresh graduate or not, you need to have a website of your own. 

This is no longer a matter of preference. Here is how to build a personal portfolio website without banging your head against the wall. 

Make a selection of the best examples of your work

Every creative professional has a lot of different projects behind them, and not all of them are good. This is why it’s important to go through the work you’ve done, and pick out only the best pieces to display to potential customers. 

If you still don’t have enough work that you’re proud of, postpone building your portfolio website and wait until you have enough examples to show. Here are some of the most important things you should keep in mind when choosing the best examples:

Variety

Of course, everyone has a single area in which they excel, and this is completely natural. However, just because a certain type of work suits you doesn’t mean that you should include only examples of that kind of work. If you do this, it will seem as if you are focused on only one type of work and that you don’t know how to do anything else. 

Additionally, it will look as if you lack creativity and are stuck in your comfort zone. Furthermore, not all projects require the same design style, and for these reasons, the best thing is to have variety in your portfolio. 

“For the best results try several different vantage points and distances of the same subject” ~ Bruce Lovelace

High-Resolution

The image resolution is very important, even if your whole portfolio is online. Potential clients often demand a physical version, or they might ask you to print some of the work for them. Additionally, images will be more visually appealing when they are large, as clients will be able to see all the tiniest details in your work. 

It’s also important to remember that your portfolio website can be used to actively promote yourself as a professional. One of the best ways to do this is by sharing content on social media and images can give you the best results.

You are allowed to include unpaid work

If you don’t have a lot of experience, and you still haven’t worked with many clients, your options might be limited. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t include projects you’ve done for free while you build a portfolio website, the practice work you’ve done for online contests. 

It doesn’t have to be work that you were actually paid for. The purpose of your portfolio is to showcase your strengths and show how deep your skillset is – it doesn’t matter to new potential clients whether you were paid or not. 

Make the examples flow well

Building a portfolio website takes a bit of design work. Take the whole thing seriously and ensure that it looks neat and logical. You can’t just put in random work together and throw them up on a website. Pay attention to the designs themselves, their color, and their dimensions. 

Consistency is the key. For example, you can change the style of designs by page, and this is how your visitors will get a better idea about your work. You can also add flow to your portfolio in terms of quality. Put your best work first and then let it gradually decrease in quality. 

Most people will just look at a couple of the first examples, so they’ll get a great first impression. 

Check out the competition and templates

If you haven’t done this before, it’s generally a good idea to take a look at what others are doing to create a portfolio website. Of course, try to find website portfolios of successful professionals that many people have heard of. This is how you can get a better idea of what your site should look like. 

On top of that, make sure that you try out different website templates and see which one works best for you. When doing this, consider your designs, your style, logo, and colors. Bear in mind that your site needs to look good as a whole and provide visual consistency. By doing all these will learn how to build a portfolio website.

Research and examples

No matter how you decide to build a portfolio website, you will have a lot of theme and template options to choose from. Even website builders offer variety, and you can take your time when customizing your portfolio. Additionally, make sure to search for some of the best portfolios to see the latest trends and practices and get some inspiration. 

Bear in mind that your portfolio site can also be your business site, which is why it’s generally a good idea to read some resources on that topic as well. When you consider both aspects of your site, you will be able to create a strong online presence through which you can find new jobs. 

Mix and match

After you’ve chosen the most important pieces in your portfolio and all the elements you need to include, you have to match them perfectly. 

You need to ensure that your site is cohesive if you want to form a brand that will leave an amazing first impression. The portfolio can’t look like it features the work of several different people – it needs to be consistent throughout. 

Once you’ve chosen all the key pieces, mix them together – combine them with different colors, change positions, and create a family of visuals that will represent your personal brand. Test out horizontal and vertical options, different logo positions, and so on. 

Don’t rush things

Many professionals are anxious to get out in the online world and start working with clients. However, because of this, they often like to speed things up, which is how they end up making a lot of mistakes along the way. The end result – their website portfolio looks awful and doesn’t help them get any clients. 

You need to avoid rushing things and take your time to learn the best way to build a portfolio website presence that looks creative and professional. Apart from working on the visual side of your website, make sure to check your writing for grammar mistakes, write a great web copy, and make your site easy to navigate. 

Website and marketing

Your website is not just your portfolio – it’s your online store, office, and art studio. Through it, you can market yourself and create a personal brand. You can’t just build a portfolio website and expect things to start happening on their own. 

Remember, there are many others out there doing the same thing, so you need to spread the word about your work to start making waves. 

Luckily, website marketing is something that everyone can learn how to do – it just requires a bit of time and effort. What’s even better is that you can do this on your own, without paying someone to do it for you. After a while, it will just become a regular everyday routine. 

Buy your own domain name

Buying your own domain name is the first step to branding & marketing in the digital world. Buying a custom domain name adds to your identity as a professional photographer and creative artist. It gives an impression that you are passionate towards your e-business, which goes a long way in building the required trust, authority & credibility. Godaddy & NameCheap are the two most popular destinations to start with your domain registration campaign.

Making the whole process easy with Pixpa

As we mentioned earlier, there are various website builders you can use to create a portfolio website. Why pay so much money for a developer to build your site when you can get the same results while instantly building your site? 

You have access to specialized website builders that fit a variety of needs. 

Pixpa can help you on how to create a personal portfolio website in no time. It offers various customizations, galleries, themes, and all of this for a small investment. What’s even better is that everyone can use it. You don’t need any experience with building sites – everything is simple, intuitive, and fun. 

Keep it fresh & updated

We understand that in the backdrop of your busy routine with loads of assignments in the queue, it’s easy to forget about your portfolio website. But it’s important that you keep it updated. If you don’t find time on weekdays, at least spare a few hours on the weekends to update your portfolio with your best recent works. This will apprise your clients of the progress you’re making, and will further help you in gaining more traffic & attention!

Include a blog section

You must be living under a rock if you still do not acknowledge the power of blogging in branding and traffic acquisition in this digital world. Most of the photographers and creative designers ignore this part and end up creating an online portfolio that’s nothing more than a bunch of photoshoots dancing within a slideshow slider. That’s a terrible idea, indeed. While it’s essential to showcase your best work to your clients, it also pays to educate them with your knowledge and experience in the domain. Blogging also opens up your channel to content marketing, which helps you gain potential clients in the long run.

Optimize your portfolio website for Search Engines

Many brilliant pieces of work going un-noticed because people simply can’t find them online. Given the domination of online search market by Google & the billions of search queries executed on the search giant every day, today you can’t expect much attention & business if you can’t get Google to love your website.

Most of the reputed website builders offer inbuilt SEO functions in their templates, where you have the convenience to easily add title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, and alt-tags to your images for better search visibility.

Bonus tip – Make use of web-cache technology to enable faster loading of images and decreasing your overall website load time for better user experience.

Getting people to your site through social media. 

One of the best ways you can market your portfolio website is through social media. Simply create social media profiles and add a link to your site, as well as the content that can be found on your site. 

Additionally, make sure to share your work, blogs, and services on social media. You need to be consistent in doing this, so make sure that you keep people engaged each day. 

This opens up opportunities for inquiries, comments, discussions, and ultimately, more people visiting your site. Social media can give you the necessary exposure you need and help you establish your brand. 

A lot of creative professionals were able to build their names just through social media by focusing on visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. 

Conclusion

Building a portfolio website isn’t as difficult as it used to be, but it still requires diligence and effort. Once you’ve finished establishing your online presence, make sure that you update your site regularly, and add new projects to keep things fresh. 

Author Bio

Anja Skrba is a Content Creation Manager for FirstSiteGuidean educational website which provides tutorials and guides that help people create, grow and maintain their online presence. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

How Blogging Can Make You A Successful Photographer

Among elements paramount for a photographer, is a blogging platform.Without one, the photographer’s portfolio site is perhaps a tad bit incomplete.

Photographers might not always choose to communicate with their photographs. A blog gives that perfect platform for the photographer to express, inform and keep his audiences updated and engrossed. As such,  the blog should be unique and specific, with relevant, capturing content, a blog name that appeals and relates to the character of the photographer or his photographs.

Starting and maintaining a blog can definitely be rewarding, and not just in the financial sense. To be successful you need a large audience so here’s what you can do:

1. Find Your Niche

Focus your blog on a unique aspect of photography or camera and make sure your subject is one that you’re both passionate about and feel you could write aplenty on. Remember, there are already established websites competing for the same readers and those that are repetitive, run out of vogue soon. Among the recommendations, measure your interest:

  • How many books you own on the topic
  • If there’s already an audience for your topic, and
  • Whether you can come up with different post ideas
  • Once you’ve decided on your blog’s theme, stick to it
  • Consistency is the key to getting the audience you’ve already attracted!!

 2. Keep Writing Good Quality Content

A great content makes posts popular and more likely to be shared. No matter how long or short a post is, format it so readers can quickly scan the content by using:

  • subheads
  • bulleted or numbered lists
  • blockquotes or captions
  • line breaks
  • bold fonts
  • images
  • and other formatting to break up large blocks of text
  • If you can build a habit of writing every day, awesome.
  • Publish when you have quality content
  • There’s no perfect blogging schedule for everyone, focus on what you enjoy writing about and carve out time to work.  So don’t get disheartened if you don’t see quick results.

3. Write Catchy, Head-Turning Headlines

Headline writing is one of the biggest drivers of a post’s popularity and success. Attention-grabbing headlines can make or break your post.

  • Be useful to the reader
  • Provide him with the sense of urgency
  • Convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow unique and
  • Do it in an ultra specific way

 4. Join in on the Blogging Community

Now that you have a blog, you’re part of the blogging community, and reciprocation plays a large part of that. A few things you can do to connect with other bloggers:

  • Link generously
  • Leave comments and trackbacks on fellow blog post
  • Update your blogroll
  • Try to turn random readers into loyal ones as well
  • Invite others to guest post or even ask readers to contribute to your blog
  • See if you can guest post or contribute to other, larger bloggers
  • Even getting a mention or link back to your post from a popular site can drive a lot of traffic and get your blog noticed, your content read, and more readers.

 5. Learn From Your Existing Audience

Perhaps the most important thing to do is know your audience and make sure your content continues to interest them.

Also, social media can be a really powerful tool for getting more readers so share your links on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  

6. Make Your Blog Google-Friendly

You may have heard the term SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, before. It basically means writing your blog in a way that makes it more likely to show up in search results, and while it seems like an annoying buzzword, it can be a big help. (Google does an algorithm change that affects search engine rankings).

  • Use unique, accurate, and brief page titles
  • Use the “description” meta tag
  • Make sure your site is easy to navigate
  • Use words for your URLs and avoid very long URLs
  • Write good anchor (link) text.
  • Use headings to mark important sections
  • Add an “alt” description to images

7. Write Like Yourself

While you’re crafting your posts, don’t be afraid to let your personality show through so you can really connect to your readers. You may share your personal experience or opinions about photography to connect to your readers, which may be your prospective clients.

There’s an endless amount to learn about making your blog more successful, but hopefully, the basics above will get you started (ProBlogger, About.com Blogging, CopyBlogger, DailyBlog Tips). So build your blog well with better information for better response. After all, in the end, it’s the audience that matters.

Things I Would Say To 21 Year Old Me As A New Designer

Stacey Mendez is a Product Designer based in London. She has just founded ‘MDZ’ which focuses on creating and selling exciting, beautiful ‘things’ people want to have. With a keen sense of ‘style’, she challenges the status quo collaborating with start-ups, entrepreneurs, & small businesses to turn their ideas into ‘designed’ products.

Here are Stacey’s top 5 tips for designers starting out:

  1. Don’t worry too much about what type of designer you want to be when you are young. Just do what you love and enjoy doing and your path will come to you.
  2. Practice what you are good at. Find your strengths and focus on them.
  3. Listen and learn from people around you. Surround yourself with people better than you and learn from them.
  4. You got to network. Networking is key because you don’t know where your journey is going to take you.
  5. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just keep getting better than you were yesterday.

Stacey graduated with first-class honors in (BA) Honors Product Design from Middlesex University and since then has worked in both Europe and Asia within industry-leading design studios focusing on Brand, Lifestyle and Strategy based projects. Starting her career with international experiences, she embraced cultural diversity and developed new ways of thinking. With a considered approach, what makes Stacey different is her stylistic graphical flair, her dislike for in-humane objects & independent mindset all encompassed in an undeniable love for story-telling.

Check out www.mdzdesign.com – her new portfolio website powered by Pixpa.

5+ Best Tools a Photographer Should Have in 2019

As technology blurs the lines between mobile photography and mainstream professional photography, the tools that photographers need have evolved as well. That means new tools for today’s various blends of digital photography. We’re covering 5 of the best tools that a photographer must absolutely have in 2019, and we’re keeping in mind different areas where tools might be required, such as data transfer tools, photo editing utilities, recovery software, and even some very cool accessories.

If you’re a purebreed professional who hasn’t transitioned to the amazing world of mobile photography yet, don’t worry. Some of these tools are absolute essentials even for photographers who prefer DSLR photography. Without any more delay, let’s get moving.

Storage Device

Photo enthusiasts typically look for two types of external storage devices: one for their backups, and one for the road. The portable one needs to be light enough, yet sturdy enough to withstand the average photographers scuffs and scrapes. One of the best in this category is the Western Digital WD My Passport 2TB hard drive. It is very reasonably priced, compliant with the USB 3.0 standard but retains backward compatibility, transfer rate of 1Mbps, and only weighs 231 grams. It’s got a high user review score for its reliability and usability, and it comes with its own software that does automatic backups.

Price: Around $80

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux – needs to be reformatted for Mac.

Lighting Panels

For photography that involves controlled lighting, a definite must-have is an LED panel. The best we’ve seen is the Canvas Bendable Panel, which is made of fabric and can be configured to your specific lighting needs. It’s highly flexible, and offers a dual-color adjustable option for different light temperatures. Once you set it up, you won’t have to worry about operating it because there’s an app for it. Just set it up on your iOS or Android device, and you’re good to go. No fussing around with settings or adjustments after you get the lighting “just right” for that perfect shot.

Price: Around $430

Uses: Indoor photography in a light-controlled environment

Mobile Photo Editor

A robust photo editor for mobile devices, such as Snapseed, is a vital part of your photography toolbox. Snapseed comes highly recommended for its ability to edit images shot in the RAW format. How good it looks depends on your device, screen size, resolution, and other factors, but Snapseed has performed admirably on both iOS and Android smartphones. Possibly the best part about the app is that it is free, courtesy its developer – none other than Google. You might not be able to do intricate editing, which will require a much larger monitor, but this is probably the best tool for on-the-go touch-ups that you can do while travelling or commuting.

Price: Free 

Platform: Android and iOS

Photo Recovery Software:

Since most of your photos are eventually backed up to a hard drive, it’s definitely worth investing in a photo recovery software like TunesBro DiskGeeker. It comes in Windows and Mac flavors, and can rapidly scan and recover media and other files from an impressive range of storage mediums. No matter whether it’s a system crash, virus attack, physical damage, or complete hardware failure, DiskGeeker will seek out and make all your lost files available to you in their original form. This is a must-have utility if you own a large photo archive on hard drives, but it will retrieve nearly all kinds of other data as well.

Price: Free Trial / $39.95

Platforms: Windows and macOS (Mac OS X)

Cloud-hosted Storage and Editing

Adobe Lightroom is possibly one of the best ideas Adobe had for providing a cloud-friendly photo storage and editing environment for photography enthusiasts. The key feature is the convenience of the cross-platform experience. Since the data itself is stored on the cloud, all you need is a device-side app to handle the editing part, and what you have is a very robust solution and best online storage for travel photographers, news photographers, and any professional who is on the road a lot. Organizing your photos is simple: just add tags to your images, and you can group them anyway you want to create custom albums. You get about 1TB of free storage, after which they offer tiered plans as part of the Creative Cloud offering.

Price: 20GB Photography Plan starts at $9.99, with choice of Photoshop or an upgrade to 1TB of storage.

Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS (Mac OS X)

Post-Production – PixelPhant

PixelPhant is possibly one of the best product photo editing service provider that speeds-up your post-production. The company makes the photos look perfect from pixel to pixel. Product images play an important role in an online buying decision. They don’t just describe product functions, looks but encourage buyers to buy it, if presented in a good manner. Here comes the requirement of post-production service. Background removal, clipping path, skin retouching, drop shadow, invisible mannequin image editing are some of the popular services offered at the economical prices. Try their services to get your 3 product images edited free.

Price – Starting from $0.80

The tools listed above are considered essential by most professional photographers, but you may have specific needs. For example, if you’re working on time-sensitive projects, a cloud-based solution might be crucial; if you have important archives, a photo recovery tool could be a lifesaver; and, if you do mostly indoor shots, lighting is a key consideration. Nevertheless, we hope that our wide selection of the best tools for photographers appeals to you.

8 Great Reasons To Use Lightroom

If you’re not convinced – which you should be – that Lightroom is a powerful and efficient editing tool, here are eight good reasons to hopefully persuade you! We think you’ll come away thinking that it’s not just a powerful software, it’s the best one on the market for photographers, whether they’re beginners or experts.

1. Lightroom is a powerful photo editing program explicitly created with the needs of photographers in mind. Other well-known editing programs were not designed for photographers. For example, Photoshop, terrific as it is, was created for web developers, graphic designers, digital artists, and other creatives. Photographers have been able to benefit from what it offers, but they were not the primary intended users when the software was designed. That means that for all its worth, it’s not necessarily the best software for photographers.
On the other hand, Lightroom was designed with photographers as the primary users. Everything it offers, every module and tool, was added with photographers’ needs in mind. Once you know how to use it (it doesn’t take long, although there’s a bit of learning curve), you’ll find it fairly intuitive to use.

2. You can shoot in RAW file format (which you should always do) because you will make most of your edits in RAW. There aren’t the extra steps you’d have to take to edit RAW images in Photoshop. Editing your image files in RAW in Lightroom allows you to fix everything you need – the more you edit in RAW, the better. You save time compared to wanting to edit in Photoshop. To edit these, you’d have first to edit the RAW images in Lightroom, then move them to Photoshop to make final edits. Starting and staying in Lightroom saves valuable steps and time.

3. Unlike other editing software, Lightroom is chock-block full of extra features to save you time by simplifying your workflow. This includes being able to organize your images to find them easily later on. You can back them up and print them, share on social media, or use in photo books or slideshows straight from Lightroom.

4. Because it was created with photographers and their work in mind, it easy to organize images, so you don’t waste time later looking for them. It offers one of the best systems for organizing and managing your photos all in one place.

5. Lightroom never edits the original image, so your originals are protected, making this software pretty non-destructive to your photos. Why? Because when you import an image in Lightroom, it stores your image safely on your hard drive. You’ll be making changes to a virtual copy of the original. This leaves the original safe and untouched. If you need the original, you’ll know just where to find it.

6. Lightroom also keeps a full history of your edits or actions on an image. This means you can access any of the previously stored actions, even after you close the program and return to it! This is another terrific feature not available in Photoshop, which resets your history when you close the program.

7. Lightroom is faster and more efficient to use. Unlike other programs, it allows you to work across multiple images efficiently and quickly using a battery of tools. Better yet? You can use presets to make edits or enhancements across various photos! It’s a huge time saver.

8. Presets are one of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s most powerful features. A Lightroom Preset is a configuration of settings, designed to achieve a particular look or style of your photo. With just one click, your photo can be altered to have a totally different look or to obtain the tones you desired. The beauty of Lightroom Presets is the consistency, time-management, and simplicity they bring to your editing sessions.

If you want to work across various images doing the majority of your edits and enhancements efficiently and quickly with loads of tools available, Lightroom is for you. If you only want to edit one photo, and time isn’t a consideration, you can use different software. However, most photographers are all about saving time in their workflow – that’s why Lightroom is their best option.

New-Year Resolutions Photographers and Creative Pros Must Make For 2019

Life is tough for us creative pros. If you are pursuing creative arts (photography, art, design, fashion, film-making et-al) as your profession, there are always conflicting choices to be made, such as:

To take up a job or chart your own path;

To only do the work you love doing or to take up projects that come to you;

To look at your work as a creative or as an entrepreneur;

To revel in the freedom of freelancing or to take on the responsibilities of a team and business.

Striking balance between these many-a-times contradictory demands that come with being a creative professional is a tough task. Most of us choose one or the other to make our life simpler and in moments of reflection, rue over letting go of the other aspirations.

There are a few things though, that can help you strike the elusive balance, get the work you want to do and grow your business.

Here are the 5 resolutions for photographers, artists and designers must make for 2019:

Resolution #1: I will embrace the online:

The world has shifted online. The web is no longer the place where you go to check your email, order supplies or read what other people are writing. The web is the place where YOU will build your brand and grow your business. The web is the place where you need to create and not just consume. The web is the place where others will find you more often than not and you have to accelerate that discovery by shaping your online persona and presence.

Resolution #2: I will reach out and tell my story

We are connected with everyone in the world online through 6 degrees of separation. You need to leverage this inter-connected world and create your tribe and enable your to-be followers (read “clients”) to find you.

Engage in creative communities, share your work, ask for feedback, listen and participate. For photographers, InstagramFlickr, and 500px are big. For designers, Behance and Dribbble are definitely the places to be and if you are interested in blogging, get on to Tumblr or Medium. Pick the one that fits in with your persona and start participating.

Resolution #3 : I will work on my portfolio website and make it better.

On the web, your identity is the content you create. This includes your interactions online, in forums and social media, your social media profiles, the blogs you write, the reviews you get and most importantly, your website. For a creative pro, your portfolio website is your ambassador to the whole, wide world. Make sure that it presents your best work in the best way possible. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Make it awesome. Make it count.

Pixpa makes it easy for photographers, artists, and designers to create and manage their beautiful, responsive portfolio website.

Resolution # 4: I will keep my existing clients happy.

There are times when in chasing new clients and prospects, we forget the ones we already have, Studies how its 5 times easier to get repeat business or references from existing clients then generate work from new clients. Plus with existing clients, you know the devil. You know their working style, you have handled them before and hopefully, have build trust and understanding. Make sure to selectively archive and not engage with clients who gave you a hard time for no mistake of yours. At the same time, be honest in accepting your mistakes when you are reaching out to existing clients.

A monthly newsletter of your new work and an occasional email inquiring about any new work/references helps keep you in the mind and sight of old clients.  Using an email newsletter app can make this task easier. We love MailerLite for its simplicity and ease-of-use. Mailchimp offers a free plan for up to 2000 subscribers / 12000 emails in a month.

Using tools and apps to make your work-flows smoother and faster also helps you win brownie-points with clients. For example, Pixpa’s online client proofing platform helps to share, proof and deliver your work online to your clients, hence cutting downtime and making the whole process smoother and easier for your clients.

Resolution #5 : I will keep an eye on the bottom line

Last but not the least, keep an eye on your work’s financial bottom line. Make sure that you are always profitable and your cash-flows are not clogging up.

Charge the right price for your work. Make sure that you are factoring in all hidden and ancillary costs when you are pricing your work. Here’s a handy guide to pricing for photographers.

Submit your invoices on time and follow-up on payments assiduously. Using an online invoice generation app can help you keep on top of this process. Wave Apps is a free, simple invoicing app for small businesses and works well for creative pros.

Make sure that you are always in compliance with the legal rules and requirements that pertain to your work.


I believe as creative pros, it’s our responsibility to combine our creative skills and talent with business acumen and strategy. While business talk can be boring and feel like a chore, its an important component of pursuing our aspirations, gaining a wider audience and getting paid right for our work.

I hope that these 5 resolutions for photographers, artists, and designers for 2019 will help you focus on building your brand and driving both creative and professional growth in the year ahead.

I’d love to hear your feedback on these resolutions. Share with me your thoughts and any other resolutions that you have in your list for 2019 that could help everyone out.

The best online tools to run your small business

As the owner of a small business, you find yourself juggling with many responsibilities every day. Without the right tools, it can get overwhelming. Over the years, I have zeroed down on a bunch of tools that can help small business owners (especially the ones who have an online business) stay on top of their work. I have tried to keep this list small and smart, with several tools exiting and new ones entering every year. This list is meant to help you get on with the job of managing your day-to-day job of growing your business rather than wasting time on finding the right tools to manage the laundry list. So let’s get on with it.

Customers’ Management

Intercom – Customer Success and Support

Intercom has transformed the way we engage with our customers. From on-boarding trial users, re-engaging inactive users, and supporting active users – Intercom has become the backbone of our customer communications, support, and CRM processes. We shifted to Intercom just a couple of months back from Zendesk which we used for over 3 years and the impact has been felt big-time. With Intercom’s emphasis on conversations rather than tickets, the way we support our customers has underwent a complete transformation. With in-app visibility, customer-metrics and an almost-chat-like experience, our average support response and resolution time is down to 10 minutes! Intercom also enables us to run targeted campaigns based on several customer metrics. Its the absolute-must-have tool for any SAAS product and I sometimes wonder how we were living without it.

Zendesk – Customer Support

The trusted old-friend Zendesk still continues to play a role albeit a supporting one in our customer communications. We now use Zendesk primarily for billing related communications as billing issues many-a-times take a much longer time to resolve and email as a medium works fine for this use-case.

Sendy with AmazonSES – Bulk Emailing

As our subscriber base grew, so did the cost per email campaign. It was becoming way too expensive for us to communicate with our customers and subscribers with most hosted email platforms being way more expensive than they should be. I searched around for a self-hosted platform that would enable us to send out email campaigns without worrying about cost or deliverability, and that is when I found Sendy.  Sendy is a self hosted email newsletter application that lets you send trackable emails via Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). This has made it possible for us to send authenticated emails to tens-of-thousand of our subscribers at an insanely low price (Amazon SES rocks!) without sacrificing deliverability.

Skype – VOIP

I use Skype to connect with our customers around the world and it continues to be my tried and tested app for voice calls. Skypeout also makes it easier for me to have country based phone numbers that our customers can call into and have the calls forwarded to my mobile.
RELATED: How to Use Skype for First Timers | Easy Comprehensive Guide

Wild Apricot – Member Management

If your business entails managing memberships, then Wild Apricot provides you with all the tools to do that in one place. You can manage all your members, take online payments, create events and take registrations and do much more easily with this tool.

Billing and Accounts

Chargify – Recurring Subscriptions

One of the most critical functions in running a SAAS product is managing recurring billing. Its not easy to get customers to continue to pay you month-after-month. We started with the idea of writing our own code for managing the billing but soon (thankfully!) realised the futility of it. We chose Chargify and it has served us reasonably well over the last 3 years, but the platform hasn’t really grown in features or finesse and I am looking at making a shift now. ChargeBee looks very promising and we are in the very initial stages of playing with it. It is cumbersome to migrate customers to a new platform, so choose your billing platform very carefully.

Authorize.net – Payment Gateway

We use Authorize.net as our payment gateway connected with Chargify. Does its job well but is a little complex to manage and needs a separate merchant account. I am looking at shifting to Stripe because of its full-stack service, simplicity and transparent pricing. Credit card data portability is much better with Stripe and that’s important to me.

Quickbooks Online – Accounting

I use Quickbooks Online for accounting and while its never fun, its pretty easy to get the job done with it. Syncs with our bank accounts, is cloud-based and hence I can manage our accounts from anywhere.  

Marketing

BuzzSumo – Influencer Marketing

BuzzSumo has been our tool of choice for finding influencers, identifying content that works well and researching for our SEO campaigns. If influencer marketing is your focus, I would recommend having BuzzSumo in your arsenal. It saves us a ton of time and lets us take informed decisions pretty quickly.

Ahrefs – SEO

Content marketing and SEO are our main sources of organic traffic and Ahrefs lets us track backlinks, keywords, brand mentions and know what our competitors are doing. Its a pretty nifty tool that combines several functions into one – the paid versions are a tad expensive but you can get going (to some extent) with the free version as well.
Also, checkout some alternatives to Afrefs.

Google Analytics – Web Analytics

We need to keep a constant tab on our website traffic and track sources, campaigns, page views, bounce rates and funnels. Google Analytics is pretty powerful when it comes to tracking and analysing traffic. I have tried some of the paid products to track traffic but have still not found any other compelling product to make a shift. 

 

Productivity

Workhoppers – Freelancers

When things get very busy around the office and I need an extra hand, Workhoppers is a cost-effective and fast solution to find local quality professionals for freelance, contract, gig or part-time help. The fact that I get matched with the right professionals and can proactively search profiles makes hiring super easy and flexible.

Google Docs and Drive – Collaboration

I don’t remember the last time I used Microsoft Word / Excel. Google Docs has been the default document and spreadsheets processor for me for ages now and all my documents are stored in Google Drive. The fact that I can access and work on them from anywhere and share them easily from my mobile devices make it a no-brainer for me.

Gmail – Email

I have tried Apple Mail, Thunderbird and Outlook earlier, but the web interface of Gmail has been my default choice for several years now. With a few add-ons like Streak (for email tracking and scheduling), Gmail’s native interface more than suffices for my needs. 

Slack – Team Communications

We use Slack for team communications. Slack lets us form small groups and keep conversing on any idea or task.  Its a simple and effective platform to keep the team on the same page and keep the communication flows open and active.

Asana – Tasks

Our product road map is recorded and evolves everyday in Asana’s simple task-based interface. Asana lets me create projects, assign tasks, set timelines and sequence tasks visually. Its the one tool that keeps our team and the product road map on track.

Evernote – Archives

I dump everything in Evernote. Notes, favourite links, images, references, quick task lists and much more. Its searchable and syncs across devices and makes my life easier.  

Alfred – Productivity App for Macs

Alfred is my favourite productive app for my Macbook. It helps me be more efficient everyday with search, hotkeys, keywords, text expansion, calculator (I need one) and more.

Content

Pen and Paper – Ideation

There are times when I just need to doodle and visualise things using a pen and paper. It feels organic and more real and lets me play freely with design ideas. I use notebooks and sketchbooks from LetterNote and always carry one with me.
You can also go for a budget tablet, PARBLO is a professional brand specializing in digital painting tools such as pen displays and drawing tablets.

Recordit – Animated GIFs

Its always easier to explain concepts and workflows with moving GIFs and Recordit is a dead, simple tool for making just that. Its simple, bare interface and no-nonsense, limited functionality makes it my choice for creating GIFs quickly whenever I need to explain something quickly to customers. Saves a tonne of writing and screenshots.

Skitch – Annotated Screenshots

Well, you do have to take screenshots and annotate them many a times and Skitch works well with several simple annotation features and a timed-snapshot feature as well. Plus it lets me crop and resize images quickly. The only limitation is that it only lets you capture what’s on the screen. I use Awesome Screenshot (Chrome extension) to capture full web pages whenever needed.

Unsplash – CCO Images

Unsplash is an awesome repository of CC0 high-resolution images that are free to use for any purpose. The collection on Unsplash just feels more real and organic than stock photo websites. I use Unsplash whenever I am putting together a new theme for Pixpa. Many times I opt for premium quality images and my choice is Shutterstock for that, if you want to know what Shutterstock is – click here.

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