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5 of My Best Tips for Getting Through Airport Security Fast

At one point or another, we may have experienced getting stuck at the airport security due to reasons we can’t seem to understand. At times, it is hard to comprehend why airport officials have to stop us just because we bring liquids, and other personal items.

As a traveler, I have gone through all types of delays and getting stuck at different airports. However, wherever you may be, and where you are headed to, airport rules are basically the same. Therefore, I would like to list out 5 of my best tips for getting through airport security fast:

Tip #1 – Dress comfortably

Airport security dictates the need to remove shoes, belts, and other metallic accessories when passing through X-ray machines. Thus, if you want to get through fast, make sure to dress accordingly.

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Why I Left My Corporate Job to Travel

To some, the decision I made to quit my corporate job in order to travel is simply unbelievable. After all, at a young age, I have already achieved things that some of my older colleagues are still trying to obtain. I am at the peak of my career, and, I must say, I am successful. Because of this, many of my friends seemed surprised when I decided to submit my resignation, and finally do the thing I want the most – travel.

Travel is not just my escape – it’s my happiness.

Granted, the complexities of work are undeniable. Existing in the corporate world means a lot of sacrifices. I always had to brush shoulders with people I barely know. I barely manage having a time for my own. At the end of the day, I occasionally feel headaches and stress after spending long hours at work.

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Types of Photography

Types of Photography

In general terms, photography is the art of taking photographs. There are several sub-genres of photography that has its own set of guidelines and unique perspective on the art. General photography equipment can be used for the most common types of photography. This kind of equipment is easily accessible to many people. It is wise to explore the different facets of photography if you are considering becoming a photographer.

The most popular type of photography is portrait photography.  The photographer who is taking the portrait is responsible for capturing not only an image of a person, but also capture the personality and spirit of the subject. Portrait photography is done in a studio with controlled lighting setups, but this can take place anywhere people are.

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Photography for Beginners

Photography for Beginners

Whether you are seeking a career in photography or just a hobby, basic photography courses can teach you more about taking photos. The courses focus on the basics, but sometimes they teach more about how to use your camera. You may even earn a certificate for some programs in photography.

Many photographers find their own aesthetic standards on their own when starting out, but a photography class can teach the different elements of a photograph and how to examine it. Once you  have learned the basics of what a photograph is composed of, you then gain the ability to judge photography using your own  preference against those proposed by standard classical photography.

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Photos Can Make Anything Sexy

Photos Can Make Anything Sexy

When a guy from a UK accountancy firm that works mainly on an outsourced basis contacted me recently I have to say I was intrigued. I was intrigued because the person I spoke to wasn’t at all like the stereotypical accountant I have in my head. He was friendly, we laughed together and he really seemed to understand what people look for when they take on an accountant.

I looked on his website to see his profile photo. His image backed up the voice I’d come across on the phone. A friendly face with a broad smile that reached right up to his happy eyes made even me want to do business with this guy.

On the phone, he explained to me that there’s a whole new pensions regime that’s driven by the UK government, getting employers to help make sure employees make some provision for their old age. It’s called Pensions Automatic Enrolment. Peter, the partner from the firm that I spoke to explained that his business provides payroll services to a whole host of UK small and medium sized businesses already they are extending their services to provide support for employers who were already, or were going to get caught by the Pensions Automatic Enrolment staging dates. The firm provides a service that frees employers of their burden to sort out pensions for their qualifying employees, and he wanted the whole image to be friendly and even sexy if we could achieve it.

That’s where I came into the equation.

He wants photos that make Pensions Automatic Enrolment and payroll look sexy. This is what I call a real challenge, but as any regular reader of this blog knows; I like a challenge. When I got down to thinking about the project, I started to look at people differently from before. I found myself starting to think about what providing for a pension really meant, both from an employer’s point of view and from an employee’s point of view.

From the employer’s point of view, it was clear to see that Peter was proposing less hassle, guaranteed compliance and a price that wouldn’t break the bank. From the employee’s point of view, I guess they needed to be confident that they were doing the right thing and making the right decisions. These decisions would help people have choices in their retirement that they mightn’t otherwise have. It would be wrong to portray Porches and exotic foreign travel in this campaign because the contributions involved aren’t huge, but a healthy, happy retiree who is able to spend time with their family and friends without having to worry about every penny they spend seemed like a good starting point. From the employer’s point of view, knowing that their teams could get on with what they know and do best is what he’s looking for. Sexy, now that was a different matter, or was it?

When I started to look around, there are hoards of sexy men and women of retirement age and the financial security they feel shows in their eyes. The same is true for employees. An employee that isn’t being stretched in every direction, being asked to do stuff they know nothing about and that is happy in their skin is sexy. So therein lay my answer.

Happy people = sexy people. Solution found!

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My Trip to Cleveland and My New Appreciation of Running!

My Trip to Cleveland and My New Appreciation of Running!

Last month I was hired to shoot a local 5k Run in Cleveland Ohio. It wasn’t as much a hire but a favor to an old friend of mine who runs a charity that benefits substance abuse. Its fairy dear to me as ive seen people in my own life struggle with substance abuse and the repercussions it not only has on them but the people who care and love them the most. Needless to say the gig was pro bono, but since I have some relatives in northeastern Ohio I decided this would be a good reason to take a trip.

This is the not the first race event I shot but it was the first one I have done without pay. My expectations were not very high as the Midwest, especially Ohio, has not been very entertaining in regards to events or sightseeing. Like anything in life, you tend to be surprised when you’re not expecting much. Since my last visit to Cleveland years ago the city has really come a long way – from its vibrant night life to the exceptionally quaint restaurants and eateries. I found myself exploring different regions of the city…areas like Lakewood, Tremont, Ohio City, and the Detroit shore way. I even took in a great show at the tower city amphitheater.

Being that the event was held in August, I assumed the weather would be fairly warm so I mostly packed shorts and t-shirts. Of course when I arrived it was a gloomy 65 degrees and raining so I had to make a stop at a nice outdoor mall in Westlake Ohio called Crocker Park. I picked up a couple pairs of jeans and some long sleeves assuming the weather would be fair for the rest of my trip, but true to form in ohio, it cleared up and stayed in the 80′s for most of the week.

Eventually the Race came and it was pretty cool. It was short 5k race that started in the flats of downtown Cleveland (which are currently being renovated) and it ended in the Cleveland Indians Baseball field – Progressive Field. The Runners actually finished the race on the field which made for some really good shots for me. I hunkered down in the outfield next to a specialty running company Motion Shoe Lab – who test out running gait cycles and let you know which shoe works best for your scenario, and since I had a few moments till the runners arrived I hopped on their machine and gave it a go. Turns out I have Flat Feet and need a stability shoe to help me with discomfort. Since the race motivated me to start my running regime again I decided to head back to Crocker Park later that day and pick up a new pair of recommended Kicks!

I digress, the race end up finishing around 10:30 am on Sunday and the day was overcast – I came away with some really great shots of the event and the city. It’s really great when you set your expectations low to only be blown away but what life sometimes has to offer!

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How to Photograph Baptism Gowns

Baptism or christening is one of the many important occasions in a person’s life. This is an event that most proud parents are looking forward to because this is the time that their precious little one will be blessed and will be baptized in their religion. Baptism ceremonies are highly popular in different communities. This is in fact a tradition that will continue to grow from generation to generation.

Baptism is not complete if you will not allow your precious little one to wear the most stunning and
adorable christening gown.

If you have the desire to cherish her christening, choose a timeless gown that will let your little girl glow like an angel. Choosing the right baptism gowns will let everybody marvel on how beautiful and lovely your daughter looks during the big event.

Christening gowns are usually used during baptism ceremonies within religious communities. The gowns serve as welcome dress and provide new enthusiasm and rigor during the entire duration of the ceremony. The baptism gowns also symbolize a new chapter that delivers uplifted spirits and feeling to the families in welcoming a newborn child. These gowns are worn by lovely little girls inside the church as the officiating priests, together with the family, facilitate a welcome ritual or ceremony incorporating the trends and spirit of baptism ritual.

For parents, buying christening gowns are highly essential because it is a means of sanctifying the blessing of the Lord during their special event. These gowns are priceless and can certainly make the event more meaningful. These are available in different styles and sizes and there are even adult sizes available for late bloomers. There are available christening gowns for all beliefs and faiths. In some religion, christening gown is a must to save the child from being drowned into sorrows and sin in the future. The water is used to heal, refresh and renew.

Allowing your lovely little girl to wear the beautiful gown during the special day is not enough. As parents, it would definitely make them feel great to document the event and the best way to start is to photograph the baptism gown.

This is an ideal way of preserving the memories of the event. There are many ways on how to photograph baptism gowns. In order to come up with the best photographs, you need to take pictures highlighting the exquisite and luxurious designs of the gown.

You can also photograph the gown while still not being worn by your little girl and take pictures again when already worn to see an exciting before and after effect. Gowns are usually made of premium quality laces and fabric. These are one of the features that are worth taking pictures with. No matter what the type of christening or baptism gown it is, from simple to elegant and sophisticated one, it would be best to picture your little girl wearing these adorable dresses. Photographs mirror the captivating beauty of the christening occasion.

Taking photograph of these gowns is also one way of creating documentations that can be cherished in the coming years.

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Popularity of drones and photography

So I recently looked into aerial photography and I was impressed with basically the drones and product options that were available on the market today.

The wonderful kind of the helicopter family, drones are gaining popularity due to their fun factor and the ease of flight that they provide. These are stabilized aerial birds unlike the helicopters and are much easier to handle due to the four arms propellers, making them the best option to use and train with as a beginner. Drones are ideal to use whether you are a kid, an adult or a professional. Being such an exceptional machine, drones provides entertainment which can be used to create amazing above the ground photos and videos.

If you are a hobbyist who likes to fly radio control cars or boats, these rc quadcopter will be your newest addiction, and may eventually develop your interest in the professional aspects they cover. Such as photography! You know?

Being aerial rotors, first person view quadcopters drones have been developed with flight control and stability which helps in the aerial photography and videography. First person view or FPV quadcopter system come in different types, some having a camera inbuilt whereas some enabling external devices to be attached. With the simplicity they provide to all the people who try to fly them, they have been advanced to a further stage to enhance their performance by enabling the first person vision. This vision lets you watch a live video on your smart device and lets you know in which direction you are flying.

The inclusion of a camera in the equipment has greatly impacted its professional use. Without the camera, you were not able to know where you are flying and there are more chances of crashes. The in-built camera or the option to attach an external one allows you to know the path and see if you need to change the direction. Also, the camera’s field of view can be changed and you can do all these things while your drone is in the air.

There is also inclusion of features which enable you to take photos at a predetermined set level of interval and know the speed of your drone, along with the altitude and distance from your location. There is also an inclusion of compass which lets you know the direction and find your way back home. These enhanced features help you recover data even if you crash your drone in flight.

First person view drone deliver enhanced performance, and therefore they are built with efficient processors and strong batteries. Due to the integrated battery settings, the vision that the drone provides is now much more improved and streamlined. Also, the strong power backup provides greater flight timing and thus, you can capture more views in single flight.

With the advanced features as well as the advanced makeup of the drone, the all in one ready to fly package will provide you with amazing results. You can have a beautiful footage covering the aerial view above a hilltop for a time period as long as 25 minutes. Isn’t it just great? Tell me that’s not awesome!

If you want to succeed in the art of coordinating your sight with the mind, first person view drones are the right choice!

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I Think I’m About To Take The Next Step – Video Production!

I Think I’m About To Take The Next Step – Video Production!

There is nothing better than waking up when I want, where I want and knowing that on this very day I am going to be doing what I want.

It is this thought that got me thinking about travel in the first place. I just needed to find a way to fund this "ideal" life of mine. I went through a number of different jobs first. Here's a couple of them!

I worked in a Deli when I was a kid. I'd deliver fresh meats to the local retirees at the nursing home nearby that couldn't come down to the shop. The oldies would tip me a dime and tell me not to spend it all at once.

I then started to get involved with computers and websites, but never made any money that way (at least not yet!). 

I delivered papers in my neighbourhood too, which was funny because I was delivering also delivering the deli produce. For this reason I got to be pretty well known in the neighbourhood.

My weirdest job was in a call centre for a large pharmaceutical that focussed on over the counter skin care and skin allergy medications. These included tinea cruris, jock itch, athletes foot and other skin ailments. I got to know all about the different types of infection and inflammation. It was weird and I didn't necessarily like going home thinking about someone else's jock itch!

All the while through these different jobs I was taking photos, and I'll be honest, taking some pretty good ones!

Well, guess what. I think I'm about to take another step in my career and I couldn't be more excited! 

For my career up until now I have only been shooting still images, which I love to do.

More and more I am reading about filmmaking and video production though.

Video Production may be in my future

More of my clients are asking me to film things for them and I have actually lost photography gigs because I said I couldn't do video as well. It is going to mean me learning all about filmmaking, shooting video, editing video, post production, using video effects like lens flares, light leaks and (free would be nice!) plugins! I will have to decide on which video editing platform I go with, whether it is Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere (they seem to be the two biggest!). I have heard that FCPX has a lot more free video effects but whichever way, I am sure I have a huge learning curve. 

I'm not scared of this learning curve though. It is stuff like this that excites me and gets me amped to wake up in the morning and get going! 

This means that in the coming months you may be seeing moving pictures from me as well as still. 

First however, I have to buy all of the gear. I'm happy because my Nikon already shoots video, and the lenses will work across video or still, but I have to also get tripods (fluid head), more memory, upgraded specs for my computer and a full editing package (plus textbooks or courses on how to use it!)

Video editing suite - I may have to get something like it!

Bring it on I say! Stay tuned for the first video sometime in the next few months.

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5 tricks to step up your photography game

With the advancement of technology, photography has become more and more popular among the crowds. Entry level digital cameras are better and cheaper than ever. Even the cellphone cameras can take photos with acceptable quality. Add to this the numerous social websites which make sharing photos as easy as pressing a button for the users. All and all, it is safe to say that a considerable percentage of people consider themselves experienced in photography!

These changes produce opportunities as well as challenges for professional and semi-professional photographers (by professional photographer I mean the people who make their living by taking photos). The question is: how can pro photobugs separate themselves from the crowd and have decisive advantage over others? In this post I try to list the five main points which I think can address this question.

1. Practice your basics:
It seems trivial, but I see many photos by people from the industry which lack the basic requirements of an acceptable photo. As a photographer you need to know at least the basics about lighting and composition. How can you master them? By practice.
Many times we get so comfortable in our usual routine which we do not want to move even slightly away from our comfort zone. We do not want to practice anything new. To challenge myself, I sometimes spend days capturing photos in genres which would not have any monetary pay back for me. It helps me review the basics and have a better understanding.

2. Know your equipment:
The bare minimum is knowing your camera’s capabilities regarding what you are trying to do. For example, if you shoot in low lights on a regular basis, you need to know the maximum ISO in which you can capture a photo that can would be acceptable after the post process.

3. Know what you have at your dispense:
This has two parts. First: know your surroundings. If you shoot portraits or weddings, go scouting in your local from time to time. Find the good locations in parks, exquisite back alleys, interesting buildings, or rooftops which you can acquire access to.
The second part is about the digital world. Do you know about the software packages which can perform what you want? Can any of them take your work to a new level or simplify the process? Do you know where to find free fonts? Do you know what fonts you have on your computer?

4. Do one more creative thing:
The work of a photographer does not end with the click of a shutter, it starts there! Try making creative byproducts using your photos. I personally enjoy making quote-images of the quotes which I like and share them online. I usually use Arial font to create a neutral feel. You would be surprised how far some of them can go. Do not forget to put your logo on the photo as well!

5. Act like a pro:
It is very important not only to have the skills of a pro photographer, but to be perceived as one. This includes having standards for your work when dealing with customers and their demands. The customer should be informed about the whole process beforehand and what to expect. You need to set the boundaries and expectations.
Networking is another aspect of “acting like a pro”. Make contacts with other photographers as well as potential customers. You never know whom you might need to help you, or who would bring your next projects.

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Want A Travel Tip? Unlock Your iPhone Online

Hey guys!

I keep getting asked about travel tips because I go from place to place so often. What I want to do today is share one important one with you today – iPhone unlocking.

Let me lay it down for you first. Through my work I get to go to some amazing places all over the world. I mean, one day I could be snapping pictures of some monks in Cambodia then the next week I am on a plane to Africa for some safari shots. The problem was that I could never use my iPhone abroad. Well, that is until I bought an iPhone unlock courtesy of an online unlocking service. Obviously I could use it OK at home however as soon as I went to get some pictures for a client it was useless unless I could connect to the Wi-Fi in my hotel.

That is why I want to show you the reasons I got my iPhone unlocked and why you should as well.

I Can Use It Anywhere

This is the main reason that I love my unlocked iPhone.

All I need to do these days is pick up a local SIM card at the airport in whatever country I am in and I can then use my iPhone on that network. For example two weeks ago I hopped on a flight to get some images for a long term client in Mexico and as soon as my plane landed I simply picked up a cheap SIM card in the airport and I was right onto the local network. Usually I couldn’t even use my iPhone in this instance and it would actually be cheaper for me to buy a cheap cell phone and use that instead of paying my network provider to let me use the device abroad.

I Can Tether

This is another major bonus of an unlocked iPhone.

I often take my laptop with me for several reasons. Firstly so I can pass the long hours sitting on planes or in the hotel and secondly so I can touch up the images that I take. With an unlocked iPhone I have virtually no restrictions on tethering data from the device to my laptop so no matter when I am in the world as long as I have a network connection I can get internet access. OK, it might be a little slow at times however it is still better than nothing at all!

My Number One Travel Tip

When people ask me about my travel tips they usually expect me to offer advice such as bringing mosquito spray or going to see a certain location however having an unlocked Apple iPhone is my number one suggestion.

Aside from simply being able to use the device when abroad it allows you internet access regardless of where you are which can be invaluable for booking hotels, using maps or simply passing the time. If you are going abroad then I suggest that you unlock your iPhone because it has really enhanced my travelling experiences.

I’ll update again soon.

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Stock Photography for Realtors Using a New Tech Toy

Stock Photography for Realtors Using a New Tech Toy

Capturing images of fancy high end homes has always been something that I enjoy. So much work and effort goes into the design of many of these homes. From the beautifully designed exteriors to the well appointed and sumptuously decorated interiors a well designed and built home offers a lot for a photographer to work with.

A realtor friend of mine recently asked me to take some photos of a home which he is planning to list in the next couple of weeks. He warned me that there would be some very challenging aspects to this particular shoot. Of course I jumped all over it at the first mention of a challenge. Taking your standard interior and exterior pictures can sometimes get to be a bit monotonous.

One thing in particular that he mentioned was that we needed to get several aerial shots of the property because of the unique grounds and layout that surround the house. In addition, many of the details that he wanted photographed would be inside the house, but in rooms that were up to 40 feet tall.

This gave me pause as both of these would require the use of expensive equipment, and possibly even renting an aircraft for the day.

But when I started doing research into aerial photography in the area, I found a very interesting option that I had never before seen. There was a local contractor in the area around the house that performed aerial photography using a drone instead of an airplane or helicopter. His rates were less than a third of what it would cost to hire a pilot and aircraft for the day. And his online portfolio looked pretty impressive.

I decided to reach out to him to see about helping me photograph this property for my realtor friend. He said he had done dozens of jobs like that before and would be happy to work with me.

A couple weeks later I was on a plane. I was pretty excited as I made my way to this house that is tucked away in the mountains near Aspen, Colorado. The property was absolutely breathtaking. And I could see right away why the realtor was asking for aerial shots. Trying to show this property any other way would be a complete disservice to it’s design and the setting.

The pilot of the drone or quadcopter as he called it, gave me a quick run down of the capabilities it had in getting both still and HD video footage. Given the quality of the shots we needed, we opted to remove his HD camera and mount my Nikon using a universal bracket that he had with him. The video feed from the on-board first person view camera still enabled him to see firsthand what the camera would be shooting.

Once everything was set up, we sent it up into the air to get some test shots. Once we got the lighting and contrast calibrated, we were able to get some pretty amazing shots of the entire property. I was impressed with how stable this drone was while hovering almost 500 feet above the property.

We were able to get some incredible exterior shots. We then moved indoors. This was going to be extremely challenging. There were several details on the ceiling and trim that the realtor wanted up close shots of. Amazingly we were able to maneuver quickly into place, and get the shot we needed.

Overall I was truly impressed with the ease with which we were able to capture all of the necessary shots. This particular pilot was very impressive with his control and manipulation of the quadcopter. I will most definitely be looking into these further for upcoming shoots. If you want to read up on these gadgets yourself, check out the Drone Depot. They’ve got tons of information on different models and accessories.

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Kickstarter Project Product Photography

I recently landed a job photographing some watches for a company that was launching a project on Kickstarter.com. Apparently they had seen some stock photography of watches of mine and contacted my email through my profile on that website. Awesome! I hadn’t even thought of ever getting a lead from that site, so I was pleasantly surprised. Let me tell you the process I went through to photograph the watches. Oh, and when they ended up getting funded on Kickstarter they gave me a free sample of their product.

Client Goals

When the client emailed she said her main goal was to get her project funded. She wanted photos of the watch in action but also still shots that looked professional. That was where I came in – the professional. I had no experience with watches but I had experience photographing sunglasses so I could rely on that experience for this shoot.

I proposed a final product of 3 images: a close-up of the watch face, an angled shot of the watch and band and a side view shot showing the thickness of the watch face. These 3 images could provide up with the professional feel she needed for her project thumbnail and cover image.

The gist of her Kickstarter page was to walk through what the watch was capable of and show how it is boxed and how it uploads its data to a computer. This review of a heart rate monitor is essentially how she wanted to layout the Kickstarter sales page. She was going to take care of the action shots but wanted some professional images for the cover photos.

Setting Up the Shots

When photographing sunglasses in the past I was able to accomplish the close-up professional photos with only 1 light. Check out this post as it outlines pretty clearly the method I used. I already had the stands and light I needed so I just set up and started taking shots to get the best angles and distance.

The watch the company was trying to get funded was actually a heart rate monitor. The selling point was that it didn’t look like a heart rate monitor. It looked a regular dress watch that you could wear to work but then also use while training. There’s a plethora of ways to heart rate train and it has huge benefits. The downside is that people need to own multiple watches and often the HRM looks too sporty to wear outside of working out.

My first few shots weren’t really working out so I had to take some white paper and place it below the watch to ensure the light was properly reflected. A few more hours and a couple hundred more shots and I felt confident that I could choose the 3 that were best and photoshop them into exactly what my client was paying me for.

Final Images

A few days after I was hired for this gig I was able to send off 9 images – 3 different options of each style I mentioned above to the client. She settled on her top 3 and I then photoshopped her logo onto them and then organized them into a perfect thumbnail and that was that job done! Another excellent example of my brilliant lifestyle if I don’t say so myself.

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