Dreaming Big Rocks! Think Like An Artist

Recommended Essential Cool Apps, Programs and Software

Most Popular, Powerful Apps, Programs, Software Online and Desktop

This is longer than most short lists which give you minimal info. Most people make YOU research or blindly buy or use to find out it’s not suited to your needs. Read this to save time and money due to my extensive details. More detailed info (pricing, compatibility, etc) on the bottom.

(Link for FREE Coloring Book Pages. DO NOT give out this link to this page or coloring book pages! Very bad karma if you do! This info and freebies designed ONLY for those who signed up for my email list. Cos what good are those without software to color your pages? Best, take my online workshop courses and really benefit! Thanks and keep dreaming big!)

Popular Online Graphics Social Media Software

Graphics and video apps online offer less options than desktop. Some programs require more hardware (processing power, storage, memory, etc) than available online. Some people use a variety of programs, some stick with just one. Do whatever works for you.

If you are on the road, use your phone or like simple, fast ways of creating social media and more, these are the most popular apps: Canva, (very popular and beloved, but not to my liking).

Do not use GetStencil unless you are fine with them DOUBLING the resolution and size of your files! I uploaded 200 kb file at 72 dpi. It downloaded at 400 kb and 150 dpi. SO NOT COOL!!!

Some praise Wave.video (many love but drove me nuts! If you use video, fine. But to make vids from images, forget it!). They include free photos, graphics, templates and tutorials.

Canva is the most popular app for small biz, marketing, bloggers, etc. Canva blog is an excellent blog to check out. I’m not 100% onboard all the time. Art and Design are fluid concepts. Sometimes I wonder the writer’s formal art education because some information is more about current trends versus classic, timeless art and design concepts.

That’s why I created the Visual Branding Design workshop. I’m a trained, educated, long time exhibiting fine artist, graphic artist and a famed photographer.

Many of these apps are great if you want to use freely available images, or upload from your phone or camera, and add text. I love turning images into fine art. I find it meditative, expansive, and fulfills my need to be creative. Not just productive. Speaking as an artist who doesn’t like marketing. I don’t expect others to agree.

Adobe Spark: create social media graphics and videos. Get more features when you sign up for Adobe Photography package (although more correctly called Photography and Graphics package. More info below).

Handbrake compresses video with superb quality. Handbrake should be part of any video creator’s toolbox if using QuickTime, iMovie, Camtasia, etc. Awesomely amazing!

Steal and Use My Professional Creative Imaging Workflow!

IF you want more serious, robust, flexible graphics software, nothing beats Photoshop and Lightroom, with Adobe Spark and more, from Adobe (for 30 cents a day!).

My go-to, can’t live without, won’t bother with any other graphics apps listed here. I only focus on desktop usage, which requires more processing power, storage and memory than online will ever offer. It’s the computing power which gives these programs their competitive and creative edge!

That is why I am sharing my secrets, real world projects and work flows on how those two programs can rock your world!

I show YOU how to Create Marketable, Branded Images using Photoshop and use Lightroom Productivity and Creative Tools.

It amazes me so few even heard of Lightroom! It changed my life! Even if I only created images using online or low end apps, I’d use Lightroom to find, sort, rename, resize and prep for online and print! Try it, you’ll love it!

Misc Productivity Software: Email Newsletter, Text, Spreadsheet, Presentation

Email Newsletter App: SendFox  is sometimes available for one low cost versus the usual, pricey monthly cost that other email newsletter services charge, especially as your list grows. It’s a bare-bones, simple app. Part of the Sumo family, so it doesn’t include a Popup email signup for sites.

You can easily integrate with Sumo for pop-ups and additional lead capture options. Both SendFox and Sumo gave me superb, patient, clear support setting up and explaining their product and services. Plus their vids were useful. Email services always made me cry until I found this solution.

MS Office and Apple Apps: Free and Better Alternatives

Google Docs online (which you can download! It automatically saves. Plus you can save files on Google Drive. All you need is a gmail account. Way cool!). Word Processing, Spreadsheets (Tables), and Presentation. MS Office was cool in the past. But now so effin’ cluttered with icons, ribbons, buttons, whatever. Why pay monthly for that hot mess when you can use nice, clean, free, easy apps? You might like Apple apps, which is fine. I’m not a fan.

Use the spreadsheet for budgeting. If you post a lot online and want to track it, create lists of images with file names, title,  and posting info (text and hashtags), plus where and when posted. Plus great for product lists if you sell anything.

I show that in my Wild World of Ecommerce workshop. Tables can be so helpful. No math. Just  organize info. #TimeSaver.

Scrivener is designed for writers, bloggers, screenwriters and others. Helps you get and keep so organized! Don’t let the many options overwhelm you.

I use to track my notes, class ideas, research and more. Use the binder and folders to store docs and articles. Keep it Simple. Unlike any note taking software! JUST LOOK AT THEIR SITE.

Cool little Mac apps (sorry, Windows users)

Search: HoodahSpot is awesome! Gotta check it out! (Sadly, Apple won’t let 3rd party software search Apple Mail using Catalina OS. Urgh.) Mac Spotlight sucks big time compared to HoodahSpot. I rely on it daily.

Search any term, media, file type and location. I am very organized, but juggle tons of projects. Saves time and energy. Brings up files I’ve forgotten or cannot readily find. #HoodahSpotRocks!

Backup: Carbon Copy Cloner is so easy compared to other programs (affordable too).

Upload from Mac to Instagram: Flume (don’t expect any tech support, but this simple little program works, so far.)

Screen Capture: Monosnap.

Cool Sites for Resources

AppSumo.com is very geeky, has some deals, but beware!!! Many of their ‘deals’ are limited, frustrating, and do not deliver as marketed! I purchased a lifetime email newsletter subscription using SendFox email for $49, rather than the $20-$30+ monthly other companies charge. It’s limited, but easy to use.

I bought Restream, which allows you to show live webinars on multiple sites at once. Sadly, not intuitive.

My fave purchase from AppSumo is AudioHero. I use a bit of their classical music. However, Anthem Entertainment and Getty Images Music and others, a totally a$$hole lying companies, dings my music clips sometimes. Then I have to file a report with YouTube, who clear me. AudioHero told me these big companies are always doing that. Some companies are nasty bullies who are impossible to contact.

I won’t list all the terrible, horrible, buggy, minimal tech support waste of time and money apps I bought from AppSumo. Fine for some, but if you are rather make things than wrestle with tech, tread carefully. Whatever you buy, try right away, so you can get a refund within the limited time frame.

Graphic Images (Low Cost Licensing) Limited Time Bundles at Great Savings

All offer a variety of ongoing graphic resources. Most images are PNG or JPG file formats which can be used anywhere: most software, apps, sites, social, video, print, etc.

Vector (eps, ai, svg) requires more limited apps like Illustrator. Stick with png and/or jpg and you’ll be fine.

If PSD, you need Photoshop. Tiff or Tif usually require Photoshop or a similar program.

When in doubt, Google the software or app you are using. See what file formats they accept or require.

Many sites offer graphic images, but these are my all-time faves. Google and start looking around to find what you need.

DesignCuts: FAB time limited bundles of typefaces and graphics.

CreativeMarket

Design Panoply

2 Lil Owls creates jpg textures. Plus presets specifically for Lightroom and/or Photoshop. Plus classes, tutorials and more.

Website, Blog and Ecommerce Platforms

Which online platforms to use is controversial! One size does not fit all! I hand-coded my first site in 1995 and never looked back. No recommendations, merely listing the most popular.

Squarespace is increasingly being used by small businesses, marketing pros, artists, healers, with ecommerce, membership and other options.

Wix has stepped up its capabilities as well.

WordPress has gotten increasingly more difficult and developer oriented. But if want to get started with a free blog that you don’t host, then it’s great!

Shopify is NOT easy and WooCommerce can be a nightmare (one woman’s opinion, although it’s hugely popular). That is why I teach and share useful, “better to know before you dive in” tips, tricks, screen shots, walk-throughs. None of this marketing hype you’ll find elsewhere.

I’ve used WordPress since 2006, plus both Shopify and WooCommerce (and ecommerce which preceded those).

Take Web Design Basics for Marketing and Wild World of Ecommerce workshops to know more. We are visual people.

We look at what works and why, no matter the platform. Do not believe the marketing hype!

Notes

Pricing: I am not stating pricing, because that changes over time. Some are one time price, with upgrade fees or charge monthly.

Some people complain some items require either software they don’t use or need a more current version. Some companies providing graphics bundles usually coddle their customers. “Oh, we are sorry. We will do better.” They don’t want to offend anyone. I say BS.

Businesses, whether a one person creative or large corporations, usually create for the latest apps.

If a product specifies for Photoshop, it’s not aimed for someone with Photoshop Elements or Photoshop from years ago. Plus sometimes it’s for a more current version of Photoshop than you own. Don’t complain. Just spend the $10/month for Adobe’s Photography plan. Get Photoshop, Lightroom, free stock photos, Behance and more.

Online graphics apps, like Canva, are like buying art and office supplies at dollar stores. They get the job done, if you want fast, simple, effective. Can look really great too! That’s enough for many.

Now imagine walking into an art store, with tons of paper, paints, brushes, pencils, pastels and more. Too many choices that overwhelm you. That’s Photoshop and Lightroom. It’s why I teach those programs.

I bring clarity where there’s confusion. Everything is easy when you know how to use it.


When you wanna step up from the online apps and create more unique images, sign up for my Dreaming Big Academy Workshops!

I’m called One of THE Top Rock Photographers by Adorama Camera, one of the oldest, and most respected stores, lab and online site for top pro photographers.

I walk you thought WHY people use this or that tool or color or crop a photo this or that way. So you learn ART and DESIGN, not just the mechanics. If you only want to learn HOW, go look on YouTube or elsewhere.

To have more confidence about problem solving while dealing with the wacky world of tech, check out Myths and Mindsets of Digital Tools and Tech.

Start now, cos you can’t move forward without starting.

(IF any questions, drop me a line. I’m glad to guide you, because there’s lots of Workshop options.)

All @ Dreaming Big Academy Workshops. aka Dreaming Big Rocks! Details and Links below.

Two fun, engaging, empowering online workshops:

Create Tarot or Oracle Cards Using Clip Art, Photos and Apps:  Learn how to create fun variations using your free Coloring Book pages, plus more! This is my most complete course! From color to textures, design to art history, to finding and using public domain art from museums and sites, plus creating a wide variety of images using a few tools.

What Camera? What Lens? What Dial?”: If you have or are interested in getting a DSLR camera, no matter make or model, THESE are THE questions people always ask.

Vital info about camera settings, lenses, lighting, composition and more. Still lives, indoor and out, food, objects and more. Gets you up and running by looking at images, not chart and techie terms. Watch and learn so you use the correct gear and settings for your desired outcome.

Digital cameras offer so many options with confusing, minimal information how to actually use those options. I share tips to make that process a lot more fun and easier! Less detailed about composition than Photography for Branded Storytelling Images.


Watch. Create. Shine.” Visual Branding Essentials Series and additional workshops. Take one, take all. Bundles offer best learning and growth value and financial options. I designed each as stand-alone but to work together. Your choice. I poured my heart and soul and deep, hard learned secrets into these very comprehensive workshops. I’ve never seen anything like it, not at colleges (where I taught and studied), training centers nor online.

0- Watch. Create. Shine.” Visual Branding Essentials Series Create compelling, engaging storytelling, branding visual images. Social media, web presence, ecommerce, mindset and more. Gain essential, creative and digital skills. Inspiring real world tips, tricks, tips and insights. Watch, Create. Shine!

1- Photography for Branded Storytelling Images Create engaging, storytelling, evocative images. Gain confidence with settings from Automatic to Manual to Magic. Learn sensible and fun ways of using available light, composition tips, and seeing beauty, ideas and unique content everywhere.

2- Lightroom Productivity and Creative Tools Lightroom can revolutionize how you organize, access, and be inspired using photos and clip art.  Edit, rename, resize, watermark, prep for print or online. Use presets or filters to turn your images from now to WOW! Could become your fave software.

3- Create Marketable, Branded Images using Photoshop Create branded visuals for work, art and life. Add textures, text, make collages, social media, products, fine art and more. Brushes, patterns, gradients, actions to save time. Color correct photos. THE art and graphics program made easy and fun.

4- Visual Branding Design Develop YOUR style, brand & marketing identity. Tips on design, color, type & other creative principles & guidelines. Develop confidence. Be more productive. Joyful. From trained, educated & experienced, acclaimed photographer, graphic/fine artist.

5- Web Design Basics for Marketing For non-techies, creatives and techies. Joyfully create sites to effectively attract and engage your target market. Overview of popular software, DIY or step-by-step hand-holding. Essential blog/site elements, design, color, content and more.

6- Myths and Mindset of Digital Tools and Tech Mindset, Myths, Tech and Money: Conquering common online obstacles. Design and Tech Tips for online success strategies. Demystifying myths about blogs, sites and online success.

7- Wild World of eCommerce Selling online pros and cons. Shopify, WooCommerce with WordPress, POD (Print on Demand), free, self-hosting, paid. Demo, creation and usage of Product CSVs to save time. Legal related to art, editorial, and commercial merch.


Additional Workshops

Coaching

I offer guidance, clarity and support, covering creative, technical, personal and professional issues. I’ve advised many for years, often told my input more valuable than school counselors and other pros. Choose 30, 60 or 90 minute sessions. Write me if any questions.

Business Survival Kit for Creatives

This overview covers press, biz, money and legal issues. THE questions I’m asked the most versus wild misleading info on too many sites. Knowledge and understanding this can determine your success and happiness. No matter your interest, business, even hobbies.

Take Photos. Get Famous.

I’m sharing closely guarded secrets which an elevate you way above everyone else! Learn how to get your camera into venues, with access to the VIPS, where the action is. Vital info about camera settings, lenses, lighting, composition and more. Insider tips to elevate your experience and images. Taking entertainment photos can be fun or hard, frustrating work. Make it fun after by using MY proven tips.

Bundled Take Photos. Get Famous. with Business Survival Kit for Creatives. Save money and benefit from both, which complement and complete each other.