While us photographers are scouting locations, on the road or photographing, sometimes, we love to communicate. However, texting while driving is not safe and typically illegal. And continually calling or texting while photographing or setting up would be inconvenient. 

A great alternative that addresses these issues is Zello Push-to-Talk (PTT) mobile app

What does it do?

Zello allows you to talk in real-time to individuals or groups anywhere in the world instantly. Best of all, it goes very easy on data.

You can create your own groups; mine is configured for a photography group.

How do you use it?

Zello operates similarly to a walkie-talkie. Simply tap on a contact or channel, press the big giant PTT button and start talking. Release the button when you’re done.

Can you use this legally while driving?

One of the great features is the toggle on and off mode. This converts the button to a push-to-talk function instead. But for truly hand-free operation, you may use this app with one a compatible push-to-talk headset or accessories.

Bonuses over using a walkie-talkie

Zello is completely free, and requires no extra hardware (although you can use it with a headset if you wish). The range is unlimited, and you can also setup permanent channels for frequent team or individual communication.

Basically, wherever you can get a signal or Wi-Fi, you can use Zello. And again, it uses surprisingly little data.


Zello allows you to replay messages and alerts on your device. You may use the History button to replay anything you wish. Zello also allows you to send alerts to individuals or groups.

You may also include text messages. The people on the other end will receive a notification until they either respond or clear the alert.

Display your message or work status

Busy at the moment? Simply switch your status from “available” to “busy.” Or if you wish to focus on one individual or group, mark that and all other messages will be recorded. 

Sure, the Zello doesn’t receive signals from outer space. But it does allow you to connect with anyone else who has the app on the planet in real time.


So far, I’ve found it very easy to use. I’ve used this out in the field a couple of times. The sound quality has been extremely clear. I prefer to use the button in the toggle function so that I can operate it without having to hold the button.

Zello is available on almost all iOS, Android and Windows PC devices.