I love technology and innovation, and thanks to it, the amazing things we can do in photography. But, like many photographers, I confess to excessive grumbling about the amount of time spent in front of the computer and away from the camera. I am always looking for something that shifts the balance from computer time to camera time. I found IFTTT.com a few years ago and by using it, many of my online “chores” are now automated. It’s a tool that saves time at the computer and helps keep me organized, all for the low, low cost of free (my favorite price!).
If you are new to IFTTT, this article will get you started, covering how it works and some of my favorite ways to use it. You may even save enough time to go out and do a little photography for a change!
What is IFTTT?
IF This, Then That (IFTTT), is a one stop online automation shop. IFTTT’s purpose is to “automate the sharing of information, notifications or processes which are useful in everyday online life.” They offer an online collection of small programs that enable you to connect internet based services, and/or web enabled devices, to each other. For example, if I post a picture on Facebook, IFTTT sees this, grabs a copy, and posts it to my Twitter account. The beauty of IFTTT is the first trigger can set off a chain reaction of events. Not only is the Facebook post shared to Twitter, it can simultaneously be posted to dozens of other sites, logged to spreadsheets, emailed to friends, or even set as the wallpaper on your phone.
Why use it?
It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it saves time. IFTTT allows me to connect all my internet activities together, so I can keep my social media sites up to date, manage my ever-growing digital photography library, update my portfolios with my latest work, and keep my calendar in sync between business and family. This way I don’t miss out on the most important stuff; being a dad, husband, and photographer!
IFTTT, The Basics
There are just two fundamental parts to IFTTT you need to know; Services and Applets.
Services – Any internet connected site, app, or device supported by the IFTTT library. There are hundreds of these on IFTTT, with more being added daily. IFTTT categorizes these by type, like Appliances, Cloud Storage, Social Networks, etc. When you create your IFTTT account, you add the services you want connected. This gives IFTTT access to watch these services for changes, and take automatic actions on your behalf in the form of applets.
Applets – (formerly known as “recipes”) These are little programs that connect two or more services together. Applets are made of two parts, a trigger (If This…) and an action (… Then That!). Each of these can have ingredients based on information or features from the service you are connecting. When the conditions for the trigger occur, IFTTT executes the action. Brilliantly simple!
5 Applets That Are Favorites for Photographers
Once you have created your IFTTT account, and connected your services, it’s time to start creating applets. I use about a dozen different applets to manage my online life, from posting photos to keeping track of my truck’s business mileage. Here are a few examples that are perfect for photographers to get started using IFTTT.
- Promote your business by sharing Instagram photos with Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, & Facebook Pages – Spend less time posting and more time shooting!
- Get an email if there will be rain in your area tomorrow – A must for upcoming photo shoots or workshops, so there are no surprises.
- Automatically share your Instagram posts on 500px – Keep your online portfolio up to date with your latest shots.
- New photo on your flickr will create a new photo post in your blog – Keeps your website new and fresh in the eyes of the search engines.
- Log notes in a Google Drive spreadsheet – Capture your photography ideas and inspirations all in one place by dictating to your phone.
Whether you are new to IFTTT or have been using it for a while, these applets will help you streamline your online presence, organize your business, and help get you back behind your camera instead of in front of your computer.
More “IFTTT for Photographers” Articles
Can’t get enough IFTTT? Check out the whole series of articles I have put together!
- IFTTT for Photographers – Part 1: Save Time and Get Organized An introduction to using IFTTT.com to automate you online photography tasks
- IFTTT for Photographers – Part 2: Stay on Top of Your Photography Business Learn how to automate business chores to free up time for your photography
- IFTTT for Photographers – Part 3: Managing Your Social Media Spend less time online by automating your cross-posting, tweeting, syncing, and other trendy social media photography posts