The Best Photo Website for Scouts & Photographers

As a Location Scout you need to be able to post aaaaaaaalllllll those photographed (or archived) locations in a very quick amount of time onto a website of some sort at the end of your day. Typically this is a private website that is only shared with your client, producers, department, etc…

There are many photo-sharing sites out there that simply don’t fit the needs (or the professional look) required by scouts. Except for SmugMug, whose recent revamp in the last year or so has really hit the mark for scouts and photographers alike. It offers many different customizable templates, which make it easier than ever to get your website to stand out above the rest.

And to top it off, Adobe Lightroom has the ability to publish photos to SmugMug without you even leaving the software. No FTP software required; saving you time, RAM, and coffee. But I always check and make sure it all looks right in a browser, before sending off the link to the powers that be.

Here is the landing page on my website:

And if you’re interested, here is a referral link for SmugMug.

Mileage Log app by @Contrast

I’ve used a few mileage tracking apps on my iPhone but my favorite at the moment is Mileage Log by Contrast. It doesn’t have a GPS feature, but I don’t like using GPS for mileage since I almost always have a navigation app on that’s hogging my cellular data.

You can either input your odometer start and finish readings (which, as a Scout, is what I do at the beginning and end of my day), or starting and ending addresses. You can track multiple cars and also track if it’s mileage for business, medical, or charity. And you can customize the amounts as well as add new categories.

Without further a due (is that how you write that phrase?):

Mileage Log

Business Mileage Rate Increase in 2015

Working as a Location Scout in and around Los Angeles, California, I sometimes drive 500 miles in one week. And there are plenty of other scouts out there who drive a whole lot more.

So if you live in the US, and you drive your car for work (commuting to and from the same office everyday doesn’t count, sorry), then you are entitled to a reimbursement for the mileage your car takes. That rate is adjusted year-to-year and I suggest you talk to a professional accountant about how to deduct it from your taxes, if your company isn’t paying you for them. The new 2015 rate has gone up to $0.575/mile.

More info on this Forbes article here.

Stay tuned as I’ll let you know which is my current favorite mileage tracking app.

New Year, New W9 Form

How’s THAT for a fun time, huh? LET’S PARTY!

As a Location Manager you deal with A LOT of paperwork in a very quick timeframe. And every agreement needs to have a W9 filled out, or your Accounting Department will not be happy.

With 2015 here there’s a new W9 Form that actually came out in December of 2014.

Go ahead and download it for free here and update your files moving forward. Your Accounting peeps will be all like “YEAYUUUUHHH!!!!”

Another AMAZING reason to get GoodReader: Unzipping

I just discovered this while sitting here at Starbucks in South Pasadena (one of the zillion I turn into my mobile office). One of my vendors sent me their invoice and W9 as a ZIP file. I think I uttered a “urgh” since I’m working off my iPhone 6 Plus for the 20min I have before heading back out to the neighborhood to prep.

I tapped the file inside Mailbox (my favorite email iOS app of the moment), and tried the “Open In…” button. One of the first choices it gave me was GoodReader. I tapped it, and as it opened in the app, VOILÀ: GoodReader offered to UnZip the file.

Because GoodReader can handle folders, the file was Unzipped into a folder containing the documents I needed.

I swear I don’t get money from GoodReader for writing these posts. I’m just a tech-fanatic who wants to share with you yet ANOTHER way to make your office mobile.


A Lightroom at the end of the tunnel

Wow, what-a-LAME-title!

In the business of Location Scouting one deals with hundreds of images a day. I average around 500 pictures per day, of physically scouted locations (not file pulls). That number might not seem like a lot, but when you’re dealing with strict deadlines in the post-Information Age of “we want pics yesterday, Snapchat-style”, suddenly juggling all those pics, from capture to upload, within a 12-hour period becomes intense.

Enter Adobe’s Lightroom (or its full name, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom). Here is a program that has a VERY steep learning curve, but in the end will save a Scout LOADS of time. This software, which has a nearly identical interface between Mac & PC, is all about making it easy to organize, rename, retouch, and export hundreds of images at a time. And for those inclined, it even includes a Map feature to add or adjust GPS coordinates saved in a photo’s metadata (the secret sauce code behind that beautiful picture you took).

If you have never tried Lightroom, or even if you are a steady user I highly recommend checking out the FREE tutorials on Adobe Lightroom’s YouTube Channel here.

Adobe offers Lightroom as a a single app subscription or as part of a bundle with Photoshop.