Photography – getting started

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As I mentioned earlier in the week I’ve invested in a new digital camera and I’m starting to get back into photography more seriously after a few years off. Thanks for your tips – particularly for some classes around Melbourne to try out!

I’m in my “experimental phase” with the camera and learning to stretch my abilities and discover what the camera is capable of. It’s so much fun to walk around your city with a new camera – you start noticing little things you would have walked past without a second thought and almost everything becomes an opportunity for a photo. Our dogs may be a little sick of being turned into models this last week too!

I’m posting my favourite photos and experiments up on Flickr (JB_AU88). I would love your thoughts and ideas for fun  photo opportunities or challenges I can take up.

-JB

What are your photography tips?

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This week I invested in a new camera (the Olympus OM-D EM-1) to challenge and test my photography skills. As a media maker I think it’s important to stretch yourself and develop your skills in a wide range of ways and for me photography is one of my next steps. Strong, high resolution photography drives so much design nowadays that I’ve committed myself to learning more.

What have you done to build your photography skills? What are your photography tips? I’d love to hear what you’ve done to build your skills.

-JB

The tool you need for editing on the go

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If you find yourself out and about, but need to do some quick image editing (particularly for social media) Photoshop Express on iOS is a great little tool for the basics.

I use it mostly to crop and prepare photos or screenshots I’ve taken on my phone, but for a free app it’s got a surprisingly high level of functionality. It’s got a clean and simple design and gets most of your basic image editing done with ease.

My favourite trick is when I find a great quote too long for a tweet I’ll screenshot it, open it up in Photoshop Express, crop and tweet out the image instead – very useful when a killer quote is just a little too long for Twitter.

Check it out Photoshop Express on the App Store.

-JB

What apps help you out on the go? Would love to hear your favourites.

Taking steps to better health

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Earlier in the year Kevin and I decided to make more of a conscious effort to improve our health and wellbeing. We had both let things slip with our fitness stalling and our weight slowly creeping higher and higher. Since then we’ve had a lot of success with the Michelle Bridges 12WBT program – both losing over 25+ kilos and feeling much healthier and happier since the start of the year, but I want to talk about some of the steps we took to get started.

One afternoon Kevin came home with two Fitbit Flex devices (activity trackers/pedometers that sync data to your smartphone) and gave us one of our first starting points to better health. The Fitbit Flex automatically sets you a challenge of reaching 10,000 steps per day. This is a uniquely motivating challenge – when you hit the 10,000 steps for the day the tracker vibrates on your wrist and tells your smartphone to let you know you’ve reached your goal. Within a week we found ourselves doing laps of the lounge room before bed – driven by the fact we hadn’t yet reached our 10,000 steps for the day. The smartphone app is also a really great way to keep track your activity and your progress over time.

Using the Fitbit device was a really great way to get started increasing our activity before we started taking on a more intense program like the 12WBT. I found the 10,000 steps a really simple, but motivating challenge and an simple way to ease into a more comprehensive health and fitness program.

I would love to hear what devices/apps/tools you’ve used to get started on your health and fitness goals. Let me know @JB_AU on Twitter or in the comments below.

-JB

 

Great tool for making easy social media and graphic designs

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I’m not a graphic designer. I’m usually one of the first to ask designer friends to “make something look pretty” or “make my document not-ugly”, but recently I got access to an early beta of Canva – a web based image and graphic editor.

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Canva gives you a suite of basic designs to work from for a number of popular social networks and basic design types. It’s ridiculously easy to use and you can even undertake some tutorials to teach you a little bit about basic design. Considering I don’t have access to any high end design software the fact that I can access Canva from anywhere with internet access has been extremely useful.

It’s a really quick and easy way to make basic social media images and graphic designs. It doesn’t completely replace asking my designer friends to make my design work “un-ugly”, but now at least I don’t need to bug them so often.

Canva is a really useful tool for those of us clueless about graphic design. It’s free (though some elements are paid) and it’s well worth having a play with.

-JB

The ultimate life saving tool in Gmail

Ever had that embarrassing moment when you’ve proof read and checked a really important email 20 trillion times only to click send and spot a typo the second after you click send?

Thankfully Gmail Labs has just the feature to save you from embarrassment.

In Gmail  click onto your Mail settings:

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Navigate to “Labs” where you’ll find all of Gmail’s cool experimental features:

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Scroll down until you find “Undo send”:

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Click “Enable” and make sure to click “save changes” at the end of the page.

Now when you send an email in Gmail you’ll see this after you click send:

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You now have an “Undo” button for your sent emails. Basically Gmail will now wait for a few seconds before actually sending your email – giving you the opportunity to undo and quickly fix that typo or attach that document you forgot to send.

Absolute lifesaver – thank you Google!

-JB