Buying back my time with my business’s tools | Free & Paid Apps

This year one of my biggest goals is to automate & outsource as much as possible. Doing this allows me to find more balance in my life & spend time with my family. It also allows me to concentrate on activities that bring in money and push the needle forward. My whole goal in my business is to give value to my clients & make as much money as possible, all while working as little as possible. I definitely don’t want to work for work’s sake!

Reading “The 4 hour work week”

I recently finished reading “The 4 hour work week” and Tim Ferris says to “Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated”. This book was mind blowing for me, I think I was prime to listen and absorb this book just having come off of a business retreat where I really dove in head first with what I actually have time for in my life & business. 

Paying to get my time back

I’m ready to pay to get my time back & seek the expertise of others in order to not have to take the time to learn something or do something on my own (especially something that I’m not good at or don’t enjoy). Here are the list of things that I use in my business to get my time back so that I can spend more time in the places that require me–the deep work and being with my family.

Photographer working at her desk

Some of these are free and some are subscriptions that I’ve chosen to purchase to make my life easier!

Photography workflow

Pixieset: Image delivery platform. Allows my clients to proof & download images, as well as order prints & fine art products directly from my chosen print lab. Paid, $192/year.

Adobe Creative Suite: Includes the full creative suite, most used apps include: Lightroom, Photoshop, & Premiere Pro. I use a combination of these three Adobe apps to edit images and video. Paid, $55/month. 

Imagen AI: Editing software. Paid, $7/month (+per image cost)

Aftershoot: Image culling. Looks at my full gallery of images from a session and culls it down to the best of the best, taking out all the images that are blurry, too similar, or even ones where subjects have their eyes closed. Paid, $9.99/month

Smart Shooter: Camera tethering software that I use when working with products in the studio. It allows me to see exactly what is coming out of the camera. Free.

Business Admin

Dubsado: My client relations management software. I handle all my inquiries, invoicing, contracts, & client workflows through Dubsado. Worth every penny & ensures that each of my clients has a uniform experience. Paid, $400/year

Quickbooks: pulls in all my income and expenses to build my Profit and Loss statement for my CPA. Paid, $15/month

Clickup: My project management system. This software keeps track of many of my behind the scenes tasks, especially surrounding my content creation process. I’ve chosen to pay for the lowest package to allow me to build the system that I want, I could have gone with the free version for a long time. Paid, $5/month

Google Suite: Another staple of my business, Google Suite is mainly used for my emailing platform, but I also use my Google Calendar & Google Drive on a daily basis. Paid, $6/month

Boomerang: As an add-on to my Gmail, Boomerang is a free app that allows me to schedule emails, put my in-box on pause, & suggest meeting times within my email. Love this for creating great boundaries with clients. Free. Google Add-on. 

Dropbox: Dropbox is where I archive my client images. I sometimes use it for delivering files, but it’s not as pretty as Pixieset. I have Dropbox synced to my hard drive for easy access to my files. Paid, $119.88/year for 2TB of storage

Zoom: For the last couple years I was paying for Zoom, but have recently chosen to move over to their free version because I’m not using it as much as I used to. If there is a meeting that I know will be longer than the free 40 mins, I’ll opt to move the meeting over to Google Meet which is already included in my Google Suite subscription. Free. 

Content Creation

Canva: Canva is used in my business to create a lot of the graphics and marketing materials. I have all my brand elements pre-loaded, making it easy to make everything look consistent. Canva Pro Paid, $119.40/year

Planoly: With 30 free uploads a month, I use Planoly for my social media scheduling. This app allows me to batch create my social media posts and schedule it so that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to post on a daily basis. I love that I can see what my grid will look like & the notifications that it sends me when it’s time to post. Free.

Paid Professionals

I truly believe in paying someone to work for me that is way better at something than I am. I not only get to tap into their expertise, but I’m outsourcing a job that, 1. I Don’t enjoy, or 2. Would take me way longer than necessary. Here are a few professionals that I work with on a regular basis.

Virtual Assistant

Design: Jacki Gil Designs

Copywriting: Inspire to Engage


Clear: This year I went on over 15 trips for both work and pleasure. Being able to jump to the front of the line with Clear saved me so much time and anxiety while at the airport. It was so worth it. Paid, $189/year

Other blogs on my favorite software & apps:

meet Gari-Ann

Gari-Ann Kia is an accomplished Branding and Product Photographer with a passion for helping creatives and professionals elevate their brand by showcasing their product, promoting their services, or simply enhancing their brand image. Gari-Ann's expertise in branding and product photography will help you stand out from the crowd. With years of experience in the field, Gari-Ann has honed her skills and developed a unique approach to visual storytelling that resonates with her clients and their target audience to help them stand out from the crowd.

Gari-Ann currently lives in the Washington DC area with her husband and two children. She enjoys traveling with her family, some of their favorite destinations have been Santorini, Wanaka, Paris, & Aix en Provence. In her free time, Gari-Ann enjoys giving back to her community by supporting fellow military spouses & their families and mentoring other small business owners.