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Hi there! My name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I’m the founder and CEO of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, and I’m also a dance education researcher and business consultant at DanceEdStartup.com. And I’m the host of The Happy Dance Podcast where we talk about all things related to dance, education, and cultivating a life of happiness. So, let’s dance!
Hi there, my name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I am the host of The Happy Dance Podcast. You are now listening to Episode 5, so thank you very much for tuning in for this episode. Now today, we will be talking about my favorite photo-editing apps.
So this is the second part of a three-part series where I’m telling you about some of my favorite small business tools to use when marketing your small dance education organization or business.
Last week, I told you about my favorite social media platforms, and then today, in part two, I’ll be telling you about my favorite photo-editing apps. Then next week, in next week’s podcast, I will be telling you about my favorite video-editing apps.
Okay, but first I want to tell you why I’m doing a happy dance this week.
So, this past Sunday, June 30th, I successfully directed my very first spring showcase, so my very first spring performance in a theater for my dance business. So that is why I’m doing a happy dance. I definitely have several big takeaways for myself, and I think that I will share them over time or maybe sometime in the future, I’ll do an epic blog post or an epic podcast or maybe I’ll break it up and do a little mini-series about my experience with my first theater performance, my first recital in theater, and my first time directing, it.
But for now I would like to share that I think my biggest takeaway is that in the future I would like to have more systems in place so that I am able to take the time to just enjoy the experience more. I think that I didn’t have enough systems in place for me to kind of sit back and really just take it all in. So that’s something that I would like to do in the future, and I think that’s my biggest takeaway as of now.
Of course our students were awesome. And when you consider that we had, for this specific performance, we literally had one dress rehearsal, and we had a two-year-olds and three-year-olds, and we only had 10 dancers total, we only had a tech team of two people total, we only had two teachers to assist with performing with our students, and that includes our two and three-year-olds, we only had one official back stage parent. So when you consider all of those things, I think our performance, our recital kicked butt.
But of course, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m type A. I’m a perfectionist.
So from that business owner, visionary standpoint, there were just, again, lots of things that I would do differently in the future so that it would flow more smoothly for all of the people who were involved in running the show. But as the days continue to go by, I’m definitely allowing myself to just really let the feeling of accomplishment and enjoyment and that feeling of satisfaction sort of seep in, but it definitely was not an instant feeling.
I think another take away briefly is that I don’t think I gave enough thought, I suppose, to how different it is to teach dance classes and to have smaller in-studio performances . . . . or I’ve actually had several performances at schools and for little kind of open house type of nights or that sort of thing, but just doing everything in a theater, it’s different.
And I think that having trained at the pre-professional level and seen the level of preparation that should go into a theater production, or just having formerly been a student at a very large dance studio, I think that I have very high standards and I think that I probably did not go into this, into the experience, really realizing that we just didn’t have enough hands on deck. But again, it was really awesome, and I’m so grateful. Many parents have sent me photos, and I have a couple of video clips, so I think that from the audience perspective we put on a really good show, especially when you consider the tiny, tiny skeleton staff that we had. So that’s the feeling that I’m allowing myself to rest in, but of course, upwards and onward for the future.
Okay, so let’s jump in and start talking about my favorite photo editing apps.
And so just so you are aware, I do use my iPhone to do most of my photo and video editing, which is something I thought I would never do.
So I’m not using a bunch of fancy equipment here. I will say though that the one semi-fancy piece of equipment that I used for my business photos occasionally is my Canon Power Shot SX530 HS. So I think it cost like $150 or a couple hundred bucks. It was given to me as a gift a few years ago, and so I do use that when I want really good, quality photos. However, I have an iPhone X, and sometimes I think portrait mode does just fine for what I want.
I think that I really try to, or I’d say one of the best tools for me personally, when it comes to taking photos for my business is just the lighting. Lighting, for me, can make a huge difference on how the photos turn out. And I’ll be honest: There are several times when I look at my photos and I’m like, “Wow, look at what you did!” But it’s usually because I got really awesome lighting. And so I think that can definitely make or break your photos. Or if you don’t necessarily have a great camera on your cell phone or if you don’t have a camera that was over 100 bucks, just really focus on the lighting. That would be a tip of mine. I think, again, the lighting can make your average, everyday photos look super professional.
Okay, so the first photo editing app that I use–surprise, surprise–is Instagram. When I’m being really lazy, I go on Instagram to edit my photos and I just add a filter or I’ll play around with some of the other editing features that it has. So, I do manage several accounts for my personal brand and for my dance businesses, but I do have one Instagram account where I do not follow anyone and I do not have any followers, and I use that account strictly for editing photos. So, I believe I have a couple, probably a few thousand photos posted on that account now, and they’re all just photos that I’ve edited there.
Okay so the next app that I use on my phone is called PicMonkey. And I want to say I only recently started using PicMonkey on my phone. I’ve been using PicMonkey for years and it actually is to have another name, but I cannot think of what it was called formerly. However, I’ve added the app to my phone and I use it . . . I think I’ve honestly used it maybe twice . . . at most, at the absolute most I’ve used the PicMonkey app on my phone three times. But I use it on my laptop or my Chromebook regularly. So I use it to make little marketing ads that I post on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook. I will use it to create Facebook cover photos. I’ve used it to create little graphics that I will have on my website.
And so, to give you the best idea of what PicMonkey is, it’s essentially my Canva. I know when people are talking about affordable or free ways to edit photos or to make banners, or to make a infographics and all of that stuff, people us usually will mention Canva. For me, anything that Canva can do, PicMonkey can do. And I prefer PicMonkey.
I’ve tried out Canva before, but I think I tried it rather recently and at this point, again, I’ve been using PicMonkey for years, and Canva just didn’t do it for me. So I would highly, highly recommend PicMonkey.
Moving on, another app that I used to edit photos or to create graphics, actually is called WordSwag. So I’ve been using that for several months now, maybe a year. And I use WordSwag primarily at this point just to create, I guess you would call it, memes. So little text, square text photos that I post on Instagram and I’m using the words from my blog when I do that. I have made I think four or five graphics with WordSwag for my Instastories. But basically, they give you access to the . . . I guess it’s like open source or common property. I’m not using the right words, but you know what I mean. Like the common photos that we have access to.
Anyway, they give you access to those photos to use those photos behind text and that sort of thing. So I’ve done that a couple of times. I actually don’t personally like using stock photos. So if you ever see that I am using stock photos in any of my marketing, know that I’m doing it hesitantly, or because I’m in a hurry and I don’t have time to scroll on my phone through the dozens of thousands–yes, dozens of thousands–photos that I have on my phone. So sometimes I’ll just grab a stock photo from a website or from one of these apps, from one of these open source applications or whatnot, or websites. But it’s not my favorite thing to do. But if you’re just starting out, of course, stock photos can be very useful and especially when you’re not having to create a new, register on a new website or something, you can just have the app on your phone and access those photos and slap on some text, and you have a really cute little flyer or little marketing content piece that you can put on all of your social media sites.
Okay, so the app that I use to add my logo to photos, it’s called Watermark Pro. So I have Watermark Pro Lite. And so I have different versions of my logo saved to my Google Drive, and then a few versions also on my phone, and so I’ve just a polite logo to that app, the different versions of that logo to that app, and I will just slap on my logo to photos whenever I want to. So I think that works really well. I have not had my problems with it, and it’s really easy. So that’s always great.
Okay, moving on, let’s see. I have the Repost App for Instagram. I recently got Google Photos because, when other people take photos for me, they like to send me Google Photo folders even though I love Google Drive, I love Google Sheets, I love Google slides, I love my Google Chromebook, I’m not a fan of Google photos and I have this constant fear that I’m gonna do something weird with Google Photos and mess up and share personal photos when I don’t intend to.
However, I did recently install the Google Photos app on my phone and that way when people send me photos in a Google Photo folder, I’m able to download them to my phone.
Okay, another photo editing app that I was using more a while ago is called Phonto, so that’s p-h-o-n-t-o. And I think that’s a really simple tool that you can also use to just add text onto a picture. You can crop your pictures or make them taller, put them in different shapes, and it also comes with a couple of those animated little different cut-outs and shapes like that. So, simple stars and smiley faces and hearts and that sort of thing.
So I was using that previously to edit photos in a very basic way, but I haven’t been using it so much. I have been using WordSwag more lately.
Let’s see, I’m looking through the apps that I have, but I want to make sure that I stick to photo editing apps and that I don’t talk about video editing apps right now. I have the Instagram Layout app on my phone, but I don’t really use that very often. I have the Boomerang app, I don’t use that often. I do have Genius Scan on my phone. I don’t really use that for a business marketing. I use that when I wanna take a picture of something and then have it converted to a PDF very quickly, and then email to someone. So I do love Genius Scan for that. Again, you just take a picture it creates a PDF for you, and you can email it to yourself or to other people, straight from the app.
I have the Pinterest app on my phone. I also don’t use that very often. Let’s see, I have PicPlayPost on my phone. I was using that the most, I want to say, about five years ago, I was using it actually a lot. I was considering starting to use it again recently because it’s, it’s actually a pretty cute app. It creates cut little photos that you can share on Instagram. And so if you have not used or seen PicPlayPost posts, I guess, before, basically it’s like I think they are always in a square. I’m not 100% sure on that, I haven’t used it in a long time. But basically the main photo is in the shape of a square, but this square is divided up into two, three, or four different parts, and those parts can be in squares or rectangles, depending on where you want to center your dividing lines.
And usually, you’ll have one video and then three photos or I guess you could have all videos and then they’ll play kind of consecutively, I believe. And so, it’s acute app. And I remember I really liked when I was using it, but I apparently just found something else and stopped using it. But I might start using it again. I actually don’t see many people using it today and I’m not sure why because I think it’s cute. So maybe I will go back to using it.
Okay, let’s see, I have the app for my Canon camera. I don’t think I mentioned this earlier. One thing I really love about my Canon Power Shot is that it takes nice photos, it takes art photos really easily, but then I can also, using the app that I have on my phone that goes along with my camera, I can very easily transfer the photo straight to my phone, because the camera uses Wi-Fi. And so I think that’s probably my favorite feature of my camera.
I know it’s not the most expensive came that I can ever have, but whenever I get a new tool or start using a new app or something, I always want something that kind of fits my brain or that works with my way of living my life. And I’m actually, even though I’m studying innovation and I’m an advocate of innovative things, I’m fairly stuck in my ways with certain aspects of my life.
For example, I still go to the post office nine times out of 10, to mail a letter. So there are certain things that I just like being old school about. Anyway, I just really like that I’m able to transfer photos directly from my Canon camera right on to my iPhone, and then I can just throw all the photos and videos into whatever editing apps that I want to, right on my cell phone. So I’m glad that camera kind of fits my life.
Okay, I have iMovie on my… Oops, that would be video editing. Let’s not talk about iMovie. I have the PicCollage app, on my phone. I feel like I download that recently actually, a couple of weeks ago, if not last week. I think when I was actually thinking about this podcast, I was going to try to start playing with a couple of different apps to see if I would start using them before the podcast.
And so I will tell you that didn’t happen. I still have the app, the PicCollage app, on my phone and it looks like it’s fairly similar to PicPlayPost. However, if I remember correctly, I did make one graphic for this for an Instastory, and it has the PicCollage app, has really cute stickers and a themed frames, and that sort of thing. And so I did make a mental note to start using it more. I just haven’t yet. And I also downloaded, I think this was last week as well, it’s called Flyer Maker, it looks like. And I met to create some flyers with that probably to promote the recital, but I never actually got around to making the flyer so I don’t have much to say about that.
The final app that I found several weeks ago that I really like, and it costs 5 dollars a month, and so I did stop paying for that because I actually pay 5 to 7 a month for lots of things and so I just try to be aware of my subscriptions. I think I had gone two weeks without using it, and so I cancelled my subscription. But what I’m talking about is the Artwork.fm app. I actually really love it and I’ve been thinking about getting it again.
Basically what you can do with it is, you can just grab a photo and then record some audio, you can record your voice, and then you can upload that piece. So it will be the photo with your voice talking over the photo and you can post that wherever you want. And so I was using that a little bit for Instastories, and the reason I love that is because. I mentioned in last week’s podcast, I’m definitely someone who . . . I believe in the value of video. I love video, I love watching into stories and Facebook live, and that sort of thing, but I don’t like making videos. Half the time that is because I’m sitting around in my pajamas and don’t have make-up on and maybe I haven’t showered and I just don’t feel like making a video and being like, “Hey guys, check out my blog.”
So that’s why I really loved the Artwork.fm app, because you just need a quick photo and then your voice and you can still share with your audience and promote your products and services. But again, I haven’t used it. I think I used it twice maybe, and I stopped using it and so I discontinued my subscription. But I think it’s really cool and I would actually highly recommend it.
Okay, so I think I have gone through all of the photo editing apps that I use. I’ll go through them again and hopefully I won’t accidentally mention any video-editing apps.
So here we go, for photo-editing apps that I use: Instagram, PicMonkey, WordSwag, Watermark Pro, Phonto, Layout for Instagram, Boomerang for Instagram, Genius Scan, PicPlayPost, PicCollage, Flyer Maker, and Artwork.fm.
Okay, so those are all of the photo-editing apps that I want to share about today. So thank you so much for listening to this podcast and… Oh yeah, before we head out, let me leave you with some tips for how you can keep doing a happy dance in your life.
I will say I think I mentioned it earlier in this podcast. I can’t actually remember because I made a mistake or there was a glitch and so I started recording but only 38 seconds got saved, so I had to start this whole podcast over.
But either in this version or in the previous version, I mentioned how what’s really important to me about photos is finding the correct light or the best light. And so, I will say that to you. I’ll say go out and look for the best light, whether it’s to get those selfies, or just to take really awesome, great photos for your business or whether it’s just going out and enjoying the lovely summer sunshine. Go out and find the best light for yourself.
Thank you guys for listening and… Oh, also if you like this podcast, please go ahead over to Apple Podcasts and give me a rating and a review, and I would appreciate it very much.
Okay, so I will catch you next week when we will be talking about or I will be telling you about my favorite video-editing apps, and I am very much a thing for that. I will see you next time, have a great rest of your week. Bye.