This is sort of an interesting topic I’ve had a few requests for. I’m keeping it short and sweet, while sharing an itemized list of the tech and software I use on a daily basis (everything from calendars to camera equipment). As a designer and blogger, I’m all about making things more efficient and productive. I don’t claim to be the most tech savvy person on the planet, but I stick to a routine and the following really works well for me. Click through to read all about the things that help make each project and post come to life.
I’m breaking it down by category below! First up… tech:
I’d say these are the most important tools I use on a daily basis…
- iPHONE // I spend A LOT of time on my phone, as does the rest of the world. It’s my biggest work tool- probably personal tool too. Oddly enough, I’m on maps more than any other app (I’m also habitually lost and have a terrible sense of direction, ha).
- iMAC PRO // I use my iMac 90% of the time. It’s perfect for large files, editing, and really good views of whatever I’m working on.
- MACBOOK AIR // I use my MacBook the other 10% of the time. I opted for a small 13″ so it’s convenient to carry in my bag or prop on my lap while lounging / multi-tasking.
- ACCESSORIES // I love anything wireless… I have this wireless keyboard and this mouse. I also use a Wacom tablet for photo editing- it makes things go much faster since you use it like a pen.
- GOOGLE CALENDAR // My google calendar is basically my life- I use it on my computers and the app on my phone. It’s my digital file of every appointment, meeting, task, etc. I also write things down in my physical planner. I know it’s repetitive, but I like to have both.
- TRELLO // Trello is where I brainstorm ideas and make quick to-do lists. I have lots of different cards for short term and long term goals… daily tasks, blog post ideas, renovation lists, etc.
- GMAIL // I try to keep up with my inbox and organize everything into folders- gmail is my favorite and integrates with everything else I have.
- GOOGLE HANGOUTS // This is great for video conferences, meeting clients face-to-face, and keeping in touch with work contacts on a more personal level. Emmett has a Google Pixel smartphone and I obviously have the iPhone, so when one of us is traveling, we use this instead of FaceTime to video chat.
I don’t know what I’d do without my software. I basically don’t close Photoshop- it stays open 24/7 and I pretty much live in that program.
- ADOBE CREATIVE CLOUD // My hands-down, favorite software! I’ve been using Adobe products for over 15 years (yikes- that shows my age, ha!)… it’s the best of the best. I primarily live in Photoshop and Illustrator these days.
- MICROSOFT EXCEL // I HATE numbers and data, but Emmett demands I use Excel. We keep track of our budget and projects. I’ll admit- it’s really handy, even though I’m not a numbers gal.
- STUDIO DESIGNER // This is what I use for my accounting software. It’s specifically for designers.
FILE STORAGE + TRANSFER
- DROPBOX // I’m always uploading, saving, and sharing files via Dropbox. It’s a very handy business tool and well worth the upgrade to the pro plan if you deal with large files and images.
- PORTABLE DRIVE // I have 4 or 5 of these and always have one connected to my computer, in my purse, etc. It’s kind of like my “mini brain” when I’m away from my big iMac.
Obviously I use professional gear and equipment when it comes to my camera and shooting… the reason for the long list below. I depend on this to make my living, so it makes sense to invest in quality equipment! I also took studio photography courses in college and know my way around my Nikon really well at this point in my career. I’d definitely suggest classes or workshops if you’re just starting out!
- NIKON D750 // This is my SLR camera… I’ve been shooting Nikon since college / art school. I’ve been using it for 3 years now and still love this body.
- 50mm LENS // This lens is perfect for shooting close up. It’s a macro lens and captures great detail with a nice, shallow depth of field- it’s very soft and flattering.
- 60mm LENS // This is a versatile lens… you can still get detailed macro shots, but it’s also perfect for medium shooting, like portraiture or interior vignettes. This one is an easy go-to.
- 24-120mm LENS // This upgraded telephoto lens is fantastic for both interior and outdoor shooting. Since it is a variable lens, you can zoom in and out as needed. It’s pretty wide for the size, so you can fit quite a bit into the frame. I use this one a lot when shooting my house.
- 14-24mm LENS // This is the ultimate wide-angle lens. I use this in tight spaces (like our old, tiny bathroom). It can capture an entire room with minimal distortion. Some wide angle lenses fisheye so badly and it looks totally unrealistic… not this one. The price tag certainly reflects that, but the images it produces is well worth it.
- CAMERA BAG // This camera bag is durable, protects my gear, and looks good. I get lots of compliments on it!
- CAMERA STRAP // I love a good leather camera strap.
- CANON G7X // I use this little guy for shooting my video content.
- LAPEL MIC //
- TRIPOD // I’ve been through a lot of tripods and this one is the best of the best. I wish I would’ve splurged for it right away and saved myself time and money in the long run.
- EXPODISC // This white balance filter works great to keep my imagery consistent in terms of color and temperature.
Hopefully this was helpful for those of you who wondered what I use to create. Let me know if you have any questions at all in the comments below! Obviously I’ve been doing this for a long while and it has taken me a lot of time to figure out what works, save up for my equipment, and learn what works best for my business.
Would you be interested in seeing how I put together a moodboard, rendering, or design plan in my software? Even if you don’t want to learn… it’s kind of a fun process to watch. If this wasn’t your jam- no worries! I have a regular interior / home related post all ready for tomorrow and the bathroom reveal is coming shortly after (YAY!).
AleMarch 4, 2019 at 3:21 am
Thanks for sharing! I think it is super interesting. I think I may need to switch to that tripod; mine seems to have become wiggly/loose.
Agree on the Creative Cloud…could not live without it. Have you had any experience with a good floorpan program that is easy to use?
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:17 pm
So happy it was helpful! I used to have some wiggly tripods and switching to a nice, sturdy, heavy-duty one has made a huge difference- especially shooting in tight spaces or low light situations. For floor planning, I’ve used lots of programs, but I always end up back in Illustrator (surprisingly). I think I just like doing things there from “scratch”. It’s definitely not the easiest way- but I can manipulate every little thing and measurement.
AleMarch 10, 2019 at 6:53 am
That is so interesting! Would love to see a post on how you do a floor plan in Illustrator!
PeggiMarch 4, 2019 at 4:22 am
Fascinating. I had never heard of Trello. I confess to being a crazy list maker, but I do it in random half-used notebooks. 😁 (Thank goodness I don’t run a business!) The physical act of writing feels more satisfying to me. I would love to see how you put together moldboards and such. That seems like a creative process that I would enjoy. Happy Monday!
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:18 pm
Yes!! I’m also a list maker on paper. I’ll basically list make on anything- the computer, post it notes, my phone, a notebook, etc. Haha! Trello is really cool though- you’ll have to give it a try (it’s free). Happy Monday!
amyMarch 4, 2019 at 5:42 am
Thank you for sharing! I love learning new things. I hope you will share how you work your Mood Boards. I am always trying to put one together for personal projects, so to learn from a professional would be awesome.
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:18 pm
I’ll add that to the calendar now :)
JasmineMarch 4, 2019 at 6:42 am
I love Trello! So good for home projects and just life in general. I would be interested to see how your create a rendering/design plan using your software!
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:19 pm
100% agree! Trello is just so easy and satisfying. I’ll work on making a moodboard video :)
KerriMarch 4, 2019 at 7:16 am
I have my hand up in the air over here for the mood board tutorial over here! I am currently using pic monkey and canva to make mood boards but always love to learn new things. Your mood boards are awesome and I always pin them to my pinterest account! I am also a fan of using both a digital calendar and a written one – Day Designer has my heart. Having things stored in my phone for on the go is great, but when it comes to scheduling my time and creating my lists, handwritten works best for my brain. Thanks for sharing this insight today! xo
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:20 pm
Haha, ok! Loud and clear :) moodboard post coming soon! I have never heard of pic monkey or canva. Thanks for pinning my boards and images- that means so much :) such a nice compliment! I’m going to look up Day Designer right now. Thanks for the tip!
KatieMarch 4, 2019 at 8:15 am
I loved this! Esp the camera part where you explained the lenses and what they do! So easy for me to make a decision now. I’d also love if you did a design post about renderings and how you get the inspo and the process of your ideas coming together! Thanks Sarah and have a great week!
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:21 pm
Yay!! Glad to hear it was helpful. If you like the camera post, check out this one (I got into even more detail): https://roomfortuesday.com/a-peek-into-my-camera-bag/
Anne LeeMarch 4, 2019 at 8:33 am
This is such a great post! Thank you for putting this together. I would love to see posts on mood boards, rendering, and design plans! Do you use AutoCAD or Revit for space planning? If so do you use programs such as parallels to run them on your Mac?
I always look forward to your posts, they are so well thought out and provide great information!
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:22 pm
Thanks Anne! I do not… I’m terrible at CAD (although Emmett is trying to learn it for fun). We use MicroVellum from time-to-time, but mostly I stick to my good ole sketchbook and Adobe programs.
MeganMarch 4, 2019 at 8:39 am
Yes, would love to see how you put together moodboards and renderings!
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:23 pm
You got it! I’ll work on that one :)
StormyMarch 4, 2019 at 10:32 am
This is great! and please do a moodboard/rendering post!
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:23 pm
Can do! xox
AshleyMarch 4, 2019 at 1:08 pm
Yes! Please do a mood board and design plan in your software. I am just starting out and I’d love to see how you work through these things!
SarahMarch 4, 2019 at 1:23 pm
I’ve added it to the calendar! :)
Ashley - The Gold HiveMarch 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm
We use 95% of the same tools! surprise surprise – basically the same person. Except you’re super productive and I LOVE numbers and data. :)
SarahMarch 6, 2019 at 2:38 pm
Haha!! You are WAY better at technology than this grandma. lol! xo
RoseMarch 4, 2019 at 8:58 pm
Great info! Do you use photoshop for your moodboards? What program do you use for space planning?
Love the blog! Great job!
SarahMarch 6, 2019 at 3:30 pm
Thanks Rose! I do use Photoshop for moodboards :) Mostly illustrator and old fashioned sketching for space planning these days.
DinaMarch 4, 2019 at 10:45 pm
Please show us how to put together a mood board! I want to learn the basics!
SarahMarch 6, 2019 at 3:32 pm
I can definitely share my process :)
Kerry -Manor+WoodsMarch 5, 2019 at 5:00 am
This is a great post and super helpful. I find it so interesting how many different software and digital documenting strategies there are out there. Probably just as many or more for designing mood boards and floor plans. I’d love to know what programs you find the mot helpful. I’m also interested in how you keep up the blog, Instagram and Facebook simultaneously….you do an amazing job. But it’s a balancing act! Looking forward to that post as well!
SarahMarch 6, 2019 at 3:37 pm
I’m happy it was helpful, Kerry! I really only use two programs… Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I like to keep it simple and stick to what I know, ha. Social media is definitely a balancing act- I still haven’t quite figured it out. I just stick to a routine and post when I can.
Lindsey BlatneyMarch 9, 2019 at 3:47 pm
I would LOVE to see how you put together a mood board!
Luz Perez BrownMarch 12, 2019 at 5:06 pm
I for one would LOVE to see how you edit photos using the Wacom Tablet! I hadn’t thought of that- but what a great idea!
ErinMay 11, 2020 at 12:41 pm
Hi! I’m a bit late to the game but I would love if you could show how you put together a moodboard, rendering, AND design plan. I’ve just discovered you and loving your content. Thank you!!!
SarahMay 12, 2020 at 8:15 am
Thanks so much Erin! I’ll add that to the blog post list :)