4 Ways To Take Your Photography Skills To The Next Level

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If you love taking photos, you’ll know how it feels to have serious photo envy. Taking to Instagram, you can easily feel like a total amateur when presented with the most beautiful, perfectly lit, like-able photographs. You might think that these people, the ones who post the photos that make you go, ‘How! How do they do that?’ are all professional photographers. It seems as if they’re trained in the art of getting that right shot at exactly the right time. You’d be surprised, however, how many of these photography geniuses are self-taught.

Taking your photography skills to the next level doesn’t necessarily require an expensive online course or hours and hours of classes. No, you can actually learn from home, using your own free time to take your photos from zero to hero! Whether you have a passion for travel, wildlife photography, landscapes, sports or portraits, here are four great tips to make your photography shine without spending thousands on professional classes.

1. Turning YouTube Into Your Photography Guru

YouTube is useful for just about everything, right? Whether it’s how to get the cap off a jar that just won’t budge; how to train your dog to do a backflip; you name it, YouTube has it. Using YouTube for photography is an amazing, free tool. There are so many photographers who make free videos, with tips, tricks and equipment reviews. Learning new photography techniques is challenging, but with your own photography gurus guiding you, you’ll find yourself taking photographs you never thought you could!

There are tutorials for all kinds of photography, too. If you are an analogue person and love taking photos using an old film camera, there’s so much information online that you’ll love. Using your free online resources helps you up your photography game without spending a single penny.

2. The Right Equipment

Smartphones are super high quality nowadays, it’s true. There are many professional photographers who have taken to using their phones to complete their work. In theory, all you need is your phone, and you’re on your way to creating brilliant photographs.

However, to build a diverse set of skills which can cover a range of styles and situations, some equipment is needed. For wildlife photography, for example, you may need a tripod to position your device on, in order to watch movements and behaviours of wildlife for a long period of time, from the same viewpoint. Similarly, if you are interested in shooting landscapes, it might be time to invest in a drone. Drones, which can be bought in stores, or online at sites like www.drdrone.ca, are devices which can be sent into the air via remote control, and film from above. When you watch a nature documentary which follows the hunting path of a pack of wolves or see a sprawling cityscape shot from above, it’s likely these shots were created using drones.

Drones are an incredible addition to your stock of photography equipment. Plus, they’re so much fun to use. Learning to fly a drone and help it aid your photography by reaching angles and heights you couldn’t otherwise reach is super satisfying.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

Even with expert teaching from online tutorials and super cool, high-tech equipment, the only way to become an amazing photographer is to never stop practising. Like any special skill, it never just ‘comes to you’. You’ve got to work hard and earn the skills that so many photographers seem to make look easy.

Practising doesn’t just mean taking photographs of everything you see. Your practice must be intentional. Setting yourself goals to achieve each month, for example, ‘This month, I will go on four nature walks and take photographs of the wildlife I see.’ This sets a time frame and an achievable goal to work in your skills wherever you can.

4. Don’t Be Fooled

Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea, and photography is no exception to this. Your photography journey is your own, and you will work at your own pace, within your own means. The photography you see on Instagram might be beautiful, but it’s often not what it seems. Most of the time, seemingly perfect shots have been edited for hours on end using online software. Although a shot might look candid and casual, it’s likely that an influencer, who makes money from posting on Instagram, has edited the photo a lot – or has paid someone else to do it.

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How To Find Out If Going Back To School Is Right For You

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For many people, going back to school is always a passing thought or something wedged in the back of the mind. Sometimes you realize the job you are in is terrible, it does not make you enough money or it no longer interests you.

Going back to school seems like a good option to build upon the skills you already have, allowing you the chance to make more money. Maybe you have enough money, but you are not doing what you are passionate about. Either way, if you are debating on whether or not you should go back to school, here are some things to think about before you take the leap.

What Are Your Motivators For Going Back To School?

Be very careful about your motivation for going back to school. If you hate your job and you are simply just looking for a way out, going back to school may not be the best option because it can get really expensive and you have to commit a lot of time.

Going back to school is a good option if you want to switch fields, you need college to advance your skills or your employer will pay for all your higher education. Other than that, you may be setting yourself up for more misery.

What Do You Want To Study?

There are tons of options to choose from, but this is where intimately knowing what you want and who you are will make this part easy. Do you want to study physical therapy, creative writing or computer science? It also helps to know where you should go to study. Do some research on some programs and weigh your options. Keep tabs on the program’s graduation rate, how likely those graduates get jobs and the kinds of jobs they have. Getting the full picture can better help you decide not only what you want to study, but where.

Do You Want A Certificate Or A Degree

Certificates allow you to learn more about a subject you may already know about or know nothing at all without putting up so much money toward a degree program. You could also opt for professional or trade certifications that allow you to perform a niche job. These are typically for jobs in technical, medical and education fields. Degree programs allow you to train for a specific job or may give you a broader education in an area.

Online Or In-Class

Going back to school may not be as seamless as it was when you were an undergraduate. You are an adult now and you have all types of things pulling at your attention. Because of this, it is important to pick the best program that fits into your lifestyle. For doctor of physical therapy degrees, for example, there are many flexible options. Some programs allow you the option to do classes partially online and in-person. Determine what your needs are and find the right program for you.

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Things To Do After A House Fire

If there is anything scarier than a house fire, we’d like to know what it is. Whether you are awake or asleep, a fire in the home is terrifying. It can wipe out your memories and your sense of stability within moments, and it’s not easy to recover from. A house fire can hit you hard in the wallet, but it hits you in the heart more than anything else. You’re losing everything from the walls and roof to the belongings that you have spent years building up – it’s a big loss.

With the right steps taken after the fact, you can make sure that you recover your losses and heal properly from the damage. Asking people in your life for a helping hand isn’t weak, nor is it something you should avoid. You need to be able to get back on your feet after a house fire devastates your family and your life, and to be able to do that you need the following steps to get back to normal.

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      1. Having the right insurance is so important, so if you were smart enough to have life and home insurance, you are going to need to contact your home insurance company as soon as possible after the fire. You shouldn’t touch the site of the fire until after you’ve had some help to assess it, whether that’s your insurance company or a public adjuster who can help you with your case. Take pictures and videos and take the steps necessary to prevent anything additional happening to the property.

      2. The fire department has to clear the area and let you know that it’s safe before you can set foot anywhere near it. You need to know that you’re not about to bring the whole house down when you step foot in your house. Waiting won’t mean that you are waiting years, either; give them a call before you call the insurance companies!

      3. Assessing the damage may take some time but you need to know what the cost of this will be to repair. You need to know what you lost in this fire so that you can assess how much you need to spend to get your home back to what it was before the fire happened. You need to make a list of all the repairs that will be needed to rebuild the home properly. The last thing that you want to do is not know what the process is and find that you are out of pocket and out of time to rebuild!

      4. Find a place to stay for you and your family once you know what resources your insurance company will pay out to you. If you know that they will put you up in a hotel, take advantage of this. Everything you spend, keep the receipts so that you can claim with them afterward.

      5. Look after yourself as best you can. A fire is a traumatic event, and you and your family will need time to heal and take care of yourselves. You need to get some counselling and medical care, and you need to get back to routines as best you can as fast as you are able to. Consistency is key!
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4 Reasons You Could Be Feeling Stressed

Do you constantly find that you feel stressed and overwhelmed? It’s important not to underestimate the impact that stress can have on your life. Stress can impact your mental and physical health in both the short and long term. That’s why you need to find ways to cope with it effectively. However, to do this, you need to understand the cause of your stress. So, let’s explore the potential issues that could be at play here.

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No Outlet

It’s possible that you are feeling stress because you have no way to work off the tension. This will usually be the case if you don’t have an outlet in your life. One of the best outlets that you might want to explore is exercise. A solid workout can definitely help you tackle the tension that you might be feeling. You can leave it on the road running or you can even work out in the comfort of your office. It’s entirely up to you but it’s important that you don’t let the tension that you are feeling continue to build up over time.

Trouble In The Office

Of course, it could be the case that your stress is due to an issue in the workplace. Perhaps the environment that you work in isn’t providing the emotional support that you need. This will be due to the failure of your employer to deliver a healthy office environment. If that’s the case, then you might want to think about switching jobs or even switching careers. Remember, we spend more than a third of our waking lives in the office or at work. As such, it’s important to find a position that makes you happy and that you love or enjoy. It’s never too late to move towards a change in your career.

Deep-Rooted Problems

You might find that you can’t quite pinpoint the cause of your stress. If that’s the case then it’s possible that the issue is more deep-rooted than you might want to admit. That’s why you may want to explore therapeutic solutions. With a telehealth solution, you can get the support you need in the comfort of your home and ensure that you don’t have to worry about needing to take extra time in your day to see a therapist. Instead, this can easily be fitted around your personal schedule.

People

Alternatively, it could be that the stress is being caused or at least made worse by the people who have a strong presence in your life. In your social group, you might have people who provide the support you need and others who drain you. It’s important that you are not surrounding yourself with people who are constantly depending on you to provide support. This is going to mean that you feel overwhelmed. You may even have toxic people in your life who take and take giving nothing back. It may be worth reevaluating who they are and assessing whether they provide a positive connection to you.

We hope this helps you understand some of the key reasons you could be feeling a high level of stress in your life.

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Life Hacks That Will Save You Money

Everybody wants to save more money. Whether you’re saving up for a vacation or want to build up your savings for retirement, saving money is important to everyone. It can seem difficult to save money if you feel like you’ll have to go without things. With these life hacks, you can save money without feeling like you’re going without.

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      1. Speak to a financial advisor. They can help you to look over your finances and help you spot areas where you could better manage your money. Whether you’re overpaying on your mortgage or have debts to handle, they can assist you with sensible solutions to make you better able to save.

      2. Clear your browser history. Shopping online can very tempting when you’re trying to save money. After browsing online, clear your cache and browser history. Online companies use cookies to follow your progress around the internet and will show you the products you’ve looked at in adverts, tempting you to go back and buy.

      3. Turn down the brightness on the screens of your TV and computer. This is not only better for your eye health, but it can also save you a lot of money. Lowering the brightness from the default can really reduce the amount of energy you use, which is much cheaper. The default brightness is meant to make the screens look their best in a store under fluorescent lighting. You don’t need it this bright in the lounge.

      4. Carry large bills. Many people find that paying in cash instead of using cards makes you less likely to overspend. This is because you can see what you’re spending. If you carry large bills, you won’t want to break it, which can save you from making impulse purchases that you don’t actually particularly want.

      5. Build your credit. Whether your credit is good, bad, or middling, you can still do more to build it up. Credit is used to determine your rate on loans and is also used by utility and insurance companies to decide on your monthly premium. A good score could save you a lot of money on the bills.

      6. Make big purchases at the end of the month. Sales representatives, whether they’re selling cars or washing machines, will have a monthly quota to meet. If you need to make a large purchase, try and wait until the end of the month. If the salesperson has had a bad month, they may be open to giving you a generous discount in order to secure a sale and meet their targets.

      7. Paint your roof white. Painting the roof sounds strange but could potentially be a big saving. Roofs are usually a dark shade, but dark colors absorb more heat. In the summer, this means you’ll have to crank up the air conditioning to keep the house cool. With a white roof, this doesn’t happen.

      8. Brew your own coffee. Takeaway coffee can be a pricey treat, especially if you buy it most days. Instead, treat yourself to some quality coffee that you can brew at home. Even with a more expensive brand, it’ll be cheaper than coffee shop drinks. If you do buy takeout coffee, take your own reusable mug. Many shops now offer a discount if you don’t need a disposable cup.
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How To Enjoy A Happy Retirement

Have you ever wondered what your life will look like after retiring? Do the thoughts worry or excite you? Your answer may be dependent on how prepared you are for retirement. Retirement is not something to push back until we start growing old.

Some people end up with either little or no retirement plans at all. In fact, experts have suggested a retirement crisis where most Americans will not be able to live a ‘solid life’ after retiring. So, how do you ensure that you do fall within the retirement crisis group? Hopefully, the following tips will help.

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Save Early
The first thing you need to start doing is to start saving early and often. Look for retirement savings account options, sign up, and start saving as soon as possible. There is no right time to start saving. In fact, some experts have advised that children are taught the habit of saving at a very young age so they can grow up with it. The earlier you begin to save, the greater the value of your savings will be when you finally retire.

Balance Investments
Don’t get it wrong; investments are not the same as savings. Savings take a number of forms such as treasury bills, certificates of, savings accounts, etc. These are usually very safe as well as liquid. As a result, they are always available to us whenever we need them.
Investments, on the other hand, come in the form of assets that are expected to yield returns in the long-term on a yearly basis. Investments come in different forms that include purchasing of stocks, real estate, trading in gold, art collection, etc.

Because retirement funds are for future use, many people choose to use them to acquire investments. Experienced investors opt for diversity in terms of the number of assets to avoid certain losses. Thus balancing investments allows for the selection of certain securities that will ensure that a loss in one investment is canceled by a gain in another.

Maximize Tax Advantage
Currently, there are enough opportunities for diligent Americans to lower their tax liabilities through credits and retirement plans. This is all thanks to the federal tax code. There are even savers’ tax credits available for people who 401 k or IRA contributions. Indeed, there have been several considerations about the possibilities of one person having multiple 401k accounts.

Control Spending
Unnecessary spending is gradually becoming a part of most Americans, as countless companies and advertising agencies encourage consumers to spend on things they do not need. This situation is not helped by the availability of easy credit that is behind the habit of instant gratification. Thus, anyone who is seriously interested in enjoying retirement should seriously consider cutting back on unnecessary spending. That is, do not spend money on things you do not really need.

Stay Healthy
It is better to enjoy your retirement in good health. Age-related health issues are one of the main reasons why most people do not enjoy their retirement. You do not need to wait until it’s too late to start living healthy. Start now. Exercise often, eat healthy, get enough rest, and drink loads of water. Your future depends on it.

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