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11 Gear-Free Photography Hacks

11 Gear-Free Photography Hacks

It doesn’t matter if you’re taking photos for a hobby or to jump start a career, we could all use a little help. Everyone has to start somewhere and most of the time, where we start is with a simple camera. If you don’t have gear, don’t worry. You can still create some great images with the personal camera you have at home. Here are some simple tricks that can help you forever freeze a moment in time.

1. Rule of thirds

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    This is probably going to be in the first lesson of your first photography class in the world and your easiest. The first step is to break your image down into three parts vertically and horizontally. With a well balanced shot, the points of interest should line up directly with the intersections of the grid. This method can be used with a variety of different scenes.

    2. Your background needs to be simple

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      The purpose of a simple background is to keep your viewer’s eye on the subject of your photo. If there isn’t a simple background available, there is another way. It is a little more technical, but you can accomplish it. You will need to understand aperture. Aperture is a hole or opening in the lens. It is measured by or in “f-stops” and if you can get the right measurement, it will affect your cameras focus. With the right measurement, the location will not matter because you can blur the background to keep it simple.

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      3. Natural Light

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        Light is an important factor when it comes to outdoor photography. It can create shadows, glares and excellent shots. It can also bring out the features like someone’s eyes, skin, and hair. For example, you can take a photo in the middle of the day of a landscape and the same photo at sunrise, and both will look different. Be aware of the light around you, it’s okay to be a “light snob”.

        4. Leading Lines

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          This method will basically walk your viewers though the different parts of the photo to main focus. You can start off by using a road or a paved trail. It will be fairly easy to take these shots since our world is filled with lines, roads, and trails.

          5. Natural Frames

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            Finding natural frames for your photos is a very easy process. This is basically, finding a tree, doorway, window, or cave to frame our main focus point.

            6. Take an eye level shot

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              Getting on eye level with the subject of your photo can create an excellent shot. It is a good way to make sure your shadow isn’t in the way.

              7. Timing

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                You can try to take some photos on sports mode. This gives you several shots of the same photo so that way you can chose the best one. I have personally used this in candid shots and captured a perfect moment of laughter between a couple. Most people however, use this setting when capturing animals in motion or as athletes take their winning shot.

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                8. Center the dominant eye

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                  This trick is to simply place the dominant eye in the center of the photograph, and snap a photo.

                  9. Symmetry

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                    Though this is a self-explanatory hack, it is an important one. Different subjects can cause different feelings for your viewers when you use symmetry. With architecture, it gives off a sense of structure and with landscape it creates a sense of calm.

                    10. Fill the Frame

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                      This is probably one of the most straightforward techniques to use in photography. Zooming in completely fills the frame and allows viewers to focus on the small details in your photo.

                      11. Diagonal

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                        This has the same goal as using leading lines, except there is a sense of action or movement. This method will still lead your eyes to the subject of your photo.

                        Featured photo credit: Flickr Account Hells7 via flickr.com

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                        Margielyn Musser

                        Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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                        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                        1. Work on the small tasks.

                        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                        2. Take a break from your work desk.

                        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                        3. Upgrade yourself

                        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                        4. Talk to a friend.

                        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                        7. Read a book (or blog).

                        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                        8. Have a quick nap.

                        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                        9. Remember why you are doing this.

                        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                        10. Find some competition.

                        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                        11. Go exercise.

                        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                        12. Take a good break.

                        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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