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15 Awesome Hacks To Make You A Photography Expert

15 Awesome Hacks To Make You A Photography Expert

Learning to take pictures that look professional and uploading them to Facebook or sending them as Christmas cards to your family is a skill worth mastering. Forget about spending your money on expensive cameras and lenses. Instead, learn to take great photos with tricks that the pros use. Once you’ve mastered the art, you can start saving for the fantastic digital cameras that your heart desires. Follow the advice from this article and go from being an amateur photographer to a real professional.

1. Identify The Focus

Identifies the focus

    Before shooting, decide on the focus of the photograph. What is the picture? Is it a picture of your girlfriend? Is it a photograph of the pyramids of Egypt? It has to be easy for someone to see a picture and know what the picture is focusing on. Do not make the mistake of trying to capture too many elements.

    Although the center is named, the focus does not have to be the object that is in the center of the photo or be the object that occupies most of the image.

    2. Fill The Frame

    Fill the frame

      The best way to tell a story in a picture is to occupy the frame with “something” so it becomes the center of attention. It is a common mistake to want to stuff too many things in a single picture. In the end, what we get is a photo with no focus or no story. When in doubt about whether or not something should come out in the picture, just take it out.

      3. Lean On The Lines

      Lean on lines

        The bay lines are an essential element in the picture. The lines give us shapes and contours. With the lines, we draw the viewer’s eyes from one part of the picture to another. The horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines are compositional elements that provides meaning to images. This directs the viewer’s gaze to the point of convergence.

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        4. Work Flows

        Works flow

          Flow is the way in which the viewer moves from one part of the picture to another. One way of defining the flow of a picture is by using lines. They can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, diverging, or converging. The viewer should be able to loop through the items from one place to another.

          The flow creates the illusion of movement (or no movement if desired). Diagonal lines are generally considered “dynamic”, whereas vertical and horizontal lines are considered more “static”.

          5. Play With The Direction

          Plays with the direction

            The snowboarder is similar to the flow direction. It also creates the false impression of movement. When there is something in the picture that appears to be in motion, keep the background objects in the image consistent.

            This figure conveys movement because we can see the static image a second later on the other side of the picture. Similarly, a person about to cross a street while his arms and feet do not move can still portray a sense of movement.

            It is important that the moving elements seem to enter the picture, leaving more space in the direction of motion. Otherwise the route is cut off and it would look like we were late in taking the photo.

            6. Follow The Gaze

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            Follow the trail look

              As seen in the previous rule, the person or animal that looks towards a certain direction should be located on the side away from its gaze, so that the free space in the direction of where its looking is drawn out.

              This rule is very useful in portrait photography. Apply it to create better compositions.

              7. Repeated Elements

              Repeated elements

                The bright white roses have a repetitive element, giving a sense of relationship to the different parts of the image. For example, a flock of birds may be moving in the air, defining interesting shapes in the sky and adding information on the direction of photography. Sometimes you can provide psychological factors, such as the sense of togetherness and companionship.

                8. Colors Always Say Something

                Colors always say something

                  The sunrise has two types of colors, warm and cold. Red, orange, and yellow are part of the warm palette. Blue, green, and violet are on the side of the cooler colors. There are many psychological elements linked to colors. For example, consider the blue calm colors, while the reds are more temperamental. Colors play a decisive role in the composition.

                  9. Groups Of Three

                  Interest groups three

                    Three boys jumping for a wedding photo looks unique and wholesome, but why three? A single element can convey loneliness or isolation, while two elements can make an image well balanced but static, and four may be too many elements to distribute. For some reason you cannot explain to people why we like the number 3. Ultimately, photography usually works in the sum of three elements as the center of interest.

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                    10. Rule Of Thirds

                    Rule of thirds

                      For the rule of thirds, imagine you divide a picture into grids of equal size 3×3, four grid intersections within the box. The 4 points of intersections indicate the photographer what areas are the most appropriate to place the objects you want to be the center of interest. In case there are two points of interest, you would try to place the subjects on opposite sides.

                      11. Catch The Horizon

                      Horizon

                        Derived from the rule of thirds, this basic rule tells us where we should place the horizon in a photograph. Placing the horizon in one of the strong horizontal lines, either in the bottom or the top, is usually the most effective, but never in the center of the image where we usually put it instinctively.

                        12. The Negative Space

                        The negative space

                          Large empty negative space, usually in black or white, are usually on the sides of an image. The remoteness of the central element of the image, filling out the rest of the photo of an empty space, allows us to transmit additional information of loneliness, isolation, or calm to the image. Although it is not a resource that we will often use, it is worth knowing.

                          13. Working Three Dimensions. Foreground And Background

                          Working three dimensions. Foreground and background

                            The front and back of a photo are both important aspects. The important thing about the foreground and the background is that there is too much detail that distracts the viewer’s eyes. The best tool we have for the difference between the front and back of our photos is the depth of field. Thanks to the aperture we use when taking pictures, the background won’t stand out as much.

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                            14. Framing Nature

                            Framing Nature

                              The building’s framing elements can help put a framework to focus the picture. Some of these elements are very clear, completely covering the photo, such as doors, windows, or bridges. Others act as a way to orient our view. This is the case of traffic signals or tree branches. Anything that “encloses” the focus will allow us to frame the photo, drawing attention to the desired item.

                              15. Curves In S

                              Curves in S

                                The curves in the letter “S” are very powerful visual elements that gives an interesting element to photos. It is associated with sensuality. It also transmits motion and helps define the different levels in an image.

                                A highly priced camera is not the deciding factor for being a professional photographer. The most important factor is to learn and practice. If you maintain these hacks or tips in your daily practice, after some time you could become an amazing photographer as well. For some lazy learners like me, you can take advantage of your apps on your mobile devices, such as PowerCam, which can offer numerous effects to preview before you capture an image.

                                Featured photo credit: Levitation Photography/sinuskumar via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                                11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                                11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                                Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

                                Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

                                Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

                                In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

                                1. ScheduleOnce

                                  ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                                  ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                                  ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                                  Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                                  Available on Web

                                  2. Calendly

                                    Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                                    You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                                    Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                                    3. Assistant.to

                                      For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                                      From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                                      While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                                      Available on Web

                                      4. Acuityscheduling

                                        Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                                        It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                                        Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                        5. Pick

                                          Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                                          At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                                          Available on Web

                                          6. X.ai

                                            For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                                            This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                                            Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                                            Available on Web

                                            7. YouCanBook.me

                                              is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                                              They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                                              Available on Web

                                              8. Doodle

                                                Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                                                It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                                                You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                                                While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                                                Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                                9. WhenAvailable

                                                  WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                                  Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                                  Available on Web

                                                  10. Rally

                                                    Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                                    Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                                    Available on Web

                                                    11. NeedtoMeet

                                                      Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                                      NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                                      While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                                      Available on Web

                                                      Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                                      In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                                      To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                                      Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                                      A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                                      Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                                      If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                                      Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                                      With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                                      The Bottom Line

                                                      Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                                      Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                                      Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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