This guest blog post is by Robert Norman, a wedding photographer based in Trumbull Connecticut. He has 21+ years experience as a professional photographer and has photographed models, actors, President Obama, celebrities and, a zillion weddings. He does a fair amount of travel photography in an effort to keep his sanity. He has photographed events throughout Connecticut, New England, New York as well as Ireland, London and Italy.
I recently returned from Inspire Boston – a really cool 3 day conference in Concord, Massachusetts filled with learning and networking.
It also filled my pockets with a ton of business cards.
I’ve been researching a way for quite some time now to digitize all of my collected business cards. For years I kept them in an ever-expanding card binder; handy but not practical to reference on the fly. Last year I looked into Evernote, one of my favorite apps ever, which you should definitely have on your phone or use at home online!) But while I could scan cards, get them in there and access anywhere – there was no database per se where all the info would go into. It was just a bunch of scanned cards. (not to mention that their free service limits your monthly uploads, which I blew through by mistakenly scanning the cards at WAY too high a resolution! OOPS!! I have since upgraded to the $50 a year plan, which substantially increases your monthly storage space.)
Then I looked into Shoeboxed, but found their system of paying and mailing in cards so they could scan them kinda clunky and didn’t allow me to easily add a card or to. They also kept calling me which while potentially helpful, I felt quickly became too much a sales call for an upgrade or something of that nature.
I also kept seeing the NeatDesk scanner advertised, and almost hit the ‘buy now’ button on Amazon on many a late night shopping frenzy. But after reading the reviews, a lot of folks seemed unhappy with the NeatWorks software for the database. The unit is also $200-$400 which was expensive enough to give me pause.
So I think that I MAY have finally found the solution with CardMunch, an iPhone app that lets you photograph business cards and then adds it to both it’s own database as well as your contacts, automatically! They CLAIM that ‘real people’ (as opposed to Fake People) are on the other end checking that all the info is correct, which may be true but hard to believe as the app is free (maybe they hire prisoners?)
Still, it’s easy to use and actually pretty darn accurate. Only a few cards did not read properly – generally where something is REALLY small, or the contrast between the ink and paper are low. Also since you use 4 brackets to ‘frame’ your card before it automatically shoots it, certain oddly shaped or proportioned cards would not read (including my own card!). CardMunch is unhappy if the object doesn’t neatly fit in the specified area. If the card does a partial read, the contact comes up as ‘unknown contact’, which you can then go in and manually correct. Since the ‘real people’ are overseeing this sometimes it can take a couple of hours for the contact to be added to your phone. It also is suggested you use it only with an iPhone 4 as the camera focuses at the distance needed which the previous iPhones will not.
StillI gotta say – for a FREE app, CardMunch works pretty great, and I’ve even venture to say that I’d pay for it (did I say that out loud?)
Tell us, what do you use to corral your business cards? How do you keep track of all your contacts?