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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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                                Published on September 25, 2020

                                10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                                10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                                When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

                                VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

                                How to Choose a VPN

                                • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
                                • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
                                • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
                                • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
                                • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

                                Why You Should Trust Us

                                Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

                                Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

                                1. NordVPN

                                The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

                                Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

                                NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

                                In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

                                NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

                                Buy this VPN.

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                                2. ExpressVPN

                                ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

                                Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

                                Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                3. Surf Shark

                                With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

                                Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

                                The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

                                Buy this VPN.

                                4. CyberGhost

                                Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

                                The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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                                What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                5. IPVanish

                                IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

                                IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                6. Private Internet Access

                                Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

                                One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

                                In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

                                These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

                                Buy this VPN.

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                                7. Hotspot Shield

                                Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

                                Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

                                Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                8. TunnelBear

                                As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

                                The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

                                Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                9. Norton

                                Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

                                As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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                                Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                10. StrongVPN

                                The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

                                StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

                                As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                Bottom Line

                                Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

                                With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

                                We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

                                Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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