“I wanted to come up with a way that both my client and myself felt like we were together and able to talk about the image in front of us, even if we were miles apart,” the New York-based commercial photographer Joanna McClure remembers. With clients ranging from some of the most influential brands in beauty and fashion to the top names in publishing, she often works with large teams. Frustrated to find that there wasn’t an app designed specifically to suit the (often remote) workflow of today’s professional photographers, she decided to create one.
The result: Together Now, a sleek and user-friendly platform that allows for seamless communication between photographers and their collaborators.
“Before creating Together Now, I was used to sending images to clients who were off-set via text message or email, and the process always felt very removed and stagnant,” McClure tells us. “I think the pandemic made it even more clear that this app was something that needed to exist. During the pandemic, everyone turned to Zoom to collaborate on shoots, which works at a very basic level but is definitely not tailored to a creative workflow. I wanted something made for our industry.”
While there are other apps designed to foster remote collaboration across teams, Together Now is unique in that it’s tailored specifically to individual creatives, rather than larger corporations. Within the app, photographers can organize all of their pre-production materials, from mood boards to shot lists, kicking off the brainstorming process and swapping ideas with team members throughout every step of the process. After each shoot, photographers then can move straight into post-production without any hiccups. “Images flow from the production phase to the post-production phase, so you can easily add retouching notes to the image with the click of a button,” McClure explains. “Simple and easy.”
Together Now also sets itself apart from other apps on the market in that it prioritizes immediate and ongoing communication between team members. “The biggest shift in my workflow has to be the way that I can collaborate with clients in real-time,” the photographer says. “Because you can see exactly who is online from your project at that moment, you know when to expect feedback. The conversation becomes just that–a conversation–rather than a series of emails that you end up waiting on. You can clarify things easily, and you can hold people accountable for giving feedback in a timely way. It becomes fun rather than a drag to work with people who aren’t on set.”
Today, McClure’s glad to say she’s left text messages, emails, and makeshift Zoom setups in the past. Her clients are too. “Together Now is a sort of one-stop-shop for creative projects. For me, it has created a central home base for each project. Rather than searching through emails to find information, decks, call sheets, etc. for each shoot, I just refer to the app. Everything within all of my shoots has become very organized and easily found.”
Plus, she’s finding new ways to improve the app every day, based on feedback from fellow photographers. “Aside from the main features (organization, real-time collaboration, and retouching notes), I would say the in-app shot-list has to be one of my favorites,” McClure says. “I love that it creates a visual representation of what has been shot and what still needs to be shot. It creates a nice overview of how things are looking throughout a shoot and keeps everyone on track. It’s also very satisfying to see it when the shoot is over and all your images are laid out in one place nicely.” Additional features, such as final high-res file upload and delivery, will be rolled out when they’re available, based on user feedback.
With Together Now, your files are always private and secure. “One of the most thought-about features is the way that collaborators are added so that the security of the images is always maintained,” McClure says. “Only the person who created the project can add collaborators. This puts all control in the right hands of who can and cannot access images via the software. A lot of attention was paid to how to make the site secure, and this is just a small way that it does so.”
For the artist herself, one of the most gratifying aspects of creating and releasing the app has been seeing how other photographers make use of it. “I love hearing how people interact with it, because, oftentimes, it is different than how I would have thought,” she says. “Photographers tend to have a unique way of working, and each one that I talk to does things in a slightly different way, so putting those pieces together and coming up with something that is useful across the board has been challenging and rewarding at the same time.”
Today, what started as a side-hustle for McClure has become a long-term passion project–and a way of giving back to the creative community. The photo industry is evolving, and Together Now provides a modern solution to everyday production challenges. “Our world has changed drastically over the last year,” McClure admits. “People are going back to the office, but not in the same way we used to. Having a tool like Together Now creates a quality way for people in the industry to visually collaborate from anywhere. Lots of work went into creating an environment that allows collaboration in an intimate and personal way, and Together Now really does just that.”
You can join Together Now today and add collaborators for free. From there, the app has several plans available: a Free plan and affordable Artist ($10/month) and Teams ($20/month) plans. There are also Custom plans available. Together Now is offering a free Artist level subscription to five people for three months in return for feedback.