How to spice up the same old photography locations

How to spice up the same old photography locations: Getting creative in your local area

I think something that has become incredibly clear over the past year is that being able to travel, even a short distance, is such a luxury. With this current lockdown, I have not even left the island I live on due to the stay-at-home restrictions. With that, comes shooting in the same locations a lot. For me, that means areas like the beaches and other coastal walks. Anyone shooting in the same location will know that you do not just want to get the same photographs each time. We want to improve upon those photographs and find new ways to take them. I have learnt a lot about this recently, and now it is time to share what I have found with you so you can get more creative with the photography locations you frequent.

How to spice up the same old photography locations

Tip 1: Same subject, different picture

It is easy to think that same place will always give the same pictures, but this is not always the case. Just because I have one photo of the pier on the seafront does not mean the next time I come down I cannot get a different photo of the pier.

There are many things to consider when taking a shot of a subject. You need to think about the lighting, the composition, how close or far you are from the subject. The weather, in general, you also must consider if outside, along with other variables you cannot account for such as how many people are wandering around in the shot.

It is remarkably simple to take greatly different shots of the same subject simply by changing your perspective. Get down low for your next shot. Maybe only include part of the subject or include another subject to the scene as well such as a model. You might also try completely different styles of photography such as black & white or other effects you can achieve whilst editing it afterwards.

Some subjects, such as the pier, are large enough that it is clearer how one might get a variety of good shots of the same subject. But even with considerably smaller subjects, this is possible. Particularly if your subject is mobile and you can position it differently and in different places.

Here is a challenge for you: next time you are doing photography at a familiar location, pick a subject – whether a building, tree, or anything else – and exclusively shoot that subject. Try to be as creative as you can with the variety of different shots you take and get to know your subject intimately.

Here are some shots I took of South Parade Pier near me:

Tip 2: Document your session

Recently I picked up a GoPro and a chest strap. You might be familiar with Point of View (POV) photography videos on YouTube. They are incredibly popular and with good reason: you can learn a lot by watching someone else shoot.

Even if you do not want to share publicly what you record, reviewing what you have done whilst out on a shoot can be enlightening and, along with reviewing the pictures you took, can help you become a better photographer.

I know that since I picked up my little GoPro, I am a lot more excited to get out and shoot, even if it is the same location as I have done before. I believe that when dealing with situations like we are currently in, and only have the same areas available to us to shoot, that motivating yourself is half the battle. Introducing new elements to your photography like an action camera can get you enthused again.

And hey, you never know. Maybe if you start uploading your POV videos to YouTube you might end up being world-famous one day? It is surprisingly easy to edit POV videos so if you are looking to perhaps dip your toe into the YouTube content creator world, it is the perfect place to start as a photographer.

If you are working with models or clients, be sure to check they are happy to be filmed if you want to record your session with them. Most people would be fine with it. It will also make for even better content if you do upload it (with permission)!

Here is a recent 1 minute long POV video I put together for my Instagram page, enjoy!

Tip 3: Introduce new elements to the photo

Along similar lines to the first tip, this involves casting the subject with another subject or in a different fashion. An easy way to demonstrate what I mean would be to take a LED compact light which can produce various colours and shine it onto the subject. Assuming that the natural lighting also comes together for you, it is possible to get some remarkable effects even if the picture of the subject would otherwise be identical without the lights.

We do not all want to go shooting at night to get these colour effects, however. You can find many other ways to add new elements to what would otherwise be the same photograph. If in autumn, consider gathering some leaves which have fallen and place them around the subject. Perhaps you could get the subject wet to add to the final image?

This tip is all about setting the scene for your shot. It is possible to make otherwise unremarkable subjects look interesting with a little human intervention.

Depending on where you want to shoot, you might have to get really creative with the options and resources available to you. Just be sure that anything you do has no lasting or negative effect on your subject or the surrounding area! A tree on fire might look cool but just don’t.

How to spice up the same old photography locations

It is entirely possible to build your entire photography portfolio based off one area, or even one subject. Indeed, people do! I hope you can take something away from these tips and allow me to leave you with one more: you will be able to get different pictures by looking at the subjects and area differently. Open your mind to all the possibilities and never be afraid to experiment!

If you have any advice you want to share about spicing up the same old locations and keeping your photography motivation going then please share them in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Wrapping up 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021 Goals & Ambitions

Wrapping up 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021: Goals & Ambitions

I want to be enthused about the fact that 2020 is ending, but I know the reality is that 2021 is not suddenly going to be easier. The virus will not disappear overnight, and those we have lost will not be returned to us. For the average person, there is not much we can do about this. We must stay resilient and move on with our lives as best as we can in 2021. As such, it is time to wrap up 2020 and look onward to 2021 and what my goals and ambitions are for the new year.

Wrapping up 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021 Goals & Ambitions

Things that went well in 2020

Let us start with a few positives and look at what went well for me in 2020 in terms of my goals and resolutions. I set these at the start of the year, and you can find more information about them in this post and how you can be successful with your goals in any year!

2020 was a big year in my photography. Not only did I upgrade my camera and get some other new gear, but I decided to try and take it a step further and selling my first prints and making moves to become ‘professional’. Whilst I am still a way off this point, hence the inverted commas, I am confident I will be able to do more with my photography in 2021. My only 2020 photography goal was to do monthly trips with my friend (@homemadebycoco) to take photos. Due to the coronavirus, we did not do this every single month, but we did it most months and given the circumstances I am happy to say this was completed. You can find lots of photos I took during these trips on my Instagram page!

One of my goals was to walk to work every day (unless the weather was atrocious) which was probably my easiest goal of the year as I spent most of the year working from home! I probably worked from home for half of the year, and in September I returned to the office for every other week. I wanted to do an event for a charity of some description for 2020 as well. An easy option for this was to do an exercise challenge, and I ended up doing a 500k Steps in 50 Days Challenge. The lack of exercise I was doing during the lockdown and the months following it prompted this decision and the whole thing went very well. I crushed this challenge and raised money for the British Heart Foundation at the same time! Read more about this challenge here.

I wanted to read or listen to 12 books over the year which is a goal I easily completed. Audiobooks have changed the game and I read/listened to so many more books than I ever used to. I think the final number was around 15 books for 2020, although I must admit I did not record every book I read. Compared to Michael from a couple of years ago, 15 books is a crazy achievement!

I am pleased that I managed to complete all my financial goals for 2020 as well, albeit because not only were they simple but thanks to not being able to go out as much I saved a lot more money than I was expecting to! All of the staying in also meant I managed to meet around half of my Warhammer hobby goals!

Wrapping up 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021 Goals & Ambitions

The less successful parts of 2020 and how they will change my 2021 goals

There were a few goals for 2020 which did not happen for me. Whether due to a lack of motivation or an inability due to factors beyond my control (Coronavirus) some goals were not met. I will not dwell too much on these, although there is always a lesson to be learned.

Perhaps my most disappointing flopped goal of 2020 was wanting to write and post 24 blog posts over the year. I only managed to get 10 posts out – 11 including this one – so fell quite short of what I had intended. I will not beat myself up too much on this. It has happened, even if it was not what I wanted. I was hoping to get a lot of posts out this year but with everything going on I rarely felt like writing something for public consumption. For 2021, I am going to switch it up a little bit and instead of focusing on the number of posts, I am going to aim for a certain number of views. I have set the target of reaching 500 views a month for two consecutive months on my website. This might not be conventional, but because I will be directing potential photography clients to this website as well, I think this might work better to motivate me to maintain the website.

Another goal which was not met was going on holiday with my friends. This did not happen because of the Coronavirus. This was annoying but unpreventable, it just was not safe to do any serious travelling this year. As the year has gone on, my wanderlust has grown and grown. I can not wait to be able to travel next year, and I am considering some solo travel – depending on how brave I am feeling.

There are two goals that I set for myself in 2020 which are tasks I wanted to complete at least twice weekly. These were meditating and practising French. I did a fair amount of both, but not regularly enough or frequently enough to meet these goals. I think I have made good strides in both areas. Perhaps my inability to complete goals which require a set number of actions within a certain timeframe, continuously for a year, should be a learning point for me in future goal setting.

I had a few hobby goals around Warhammer I was unable to complete as well. Partly due to the scale of the tasks (there were a lot of models to build and paint), partly due to motivational issues, and partly due to the fact I kept buying new models! These goals I will take forward into 2021, with them now being more realistic to complete.

My fitness suffered a lot in 2020. I started to get back on track with things like the step challenge, and then frequenting the gym and doing exercise more regularly (which you can read about here), but generally, I did not have a great 2020 health and fitness-wise. I probably moved further from my weight goal than closer to it. In 2021, I will look again at this goal with new vigour and I will be finding new ways to keep motivated.

Wrapping up 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021 Goals & Ambitions

My 2021 goals – scaling my expectations

2021 will be an interesting year. I would imagine most of the year will still be consumed with issues surrounding the Coronavirus, and then the world might look a bit different after it has eventually been controlled. I want to and need to be more realistic with what I can accomplish this year.

I am taking a slightly different approach by keeping my initial goals for 2021 quite limited. As time goes on, and things become clearer and other goals are met, I will revise and add to these goals as required. I am planning to review things quarterly.

We have already mentioned that I am still wanting to get control of my weight as a goal for 2021, I still have loads of Warhammer hobby stuff to do, and I have a new goal of views for my website.

Over the past year, I have realised that I need to start saving some serious money to get a deposit for a house/flat. A big goal for 2021 is, therefore, to save a third of my take-home pay each month towards this deposit. Whilst one year of saving is unlikely to be enough to get a house, I am excited about the future in this area.

I have already mentioned in my last post about my intention to completed RED January, raising money for charity. I have put this down as a goal for 2021 to ensure its completion, and I can imagine that there will be more similar events to test and build my fitness whilst raising money for a good cause.

The rest of my goals all have to do with photography and my hopes at building a small empire business from it. Namely, my goals for 2021 in this area are to get my first paid work as a photographer, to make 20 (more) sales of my online prints on my store, and to reach 1500 Instagram followers. Follow count might not be the end all be all, but it is nice and should help me get the message out a bit more this coming year. Hopefully, this will be the year I do great things with my photography, so you can expect more posts about it throughout the year.

Wrapping up 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021 Goals & Ambitions

I hope you enjoyed reading up on my goals for 2020 and 2021. It was a shorter post than it could have been, but with the year as it has been, I think it is almost better to just move swiftly on with higher hopes for 2021!

How did your goals go in 2020 and what are your 2021 goals and plans? Let me know in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

This year has not been good for the fitness side of my life. At least, not yet it hasn’t. The Coronavirus caused gyms to shut and bad habits to be formed whilst working from home – if you were lucky enough to be able to. For many people, this has meant that waistlines have expanded as exercise levels plummet. I am certainly one of those people. In the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to get a greater handle on my fitness now that the gyms have reopened. This will be a short post about what I’m up to and what I hope to achieve with my fitness and weight loss journey.

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

2020 So Far

My fitness has seen a steady decline since the start of the year. Even before lockdown began, I was well on the way to being the heaviest I have ever been. Lockdown made the issues worse by cutting off access to the racket sports I had started to play again with friends. As time went on, and I was moved to working from home, my exercise levels became non-existent.

It is not like I did not try at all. I made a weekly plan, doing yoga on some days and others a workout with my kettlebell. This did not last, however, as I think I lacked the commitment at the time to continue with the practice. I would never turn away from doing physical things and even started to do the Couch to 5k running plan. This went very well and I was making good progress. Unfortunately, a family tragedy paused my taking part in the running and it never resumed.

This has led to 2020 being a very bad year for my fitness. That is, so far at least. I now want to take back control and assume responsibility for my fitness journey, and hopefully, drop a few stones at the same time!

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

What’s Going On Now?

A couple of months ago I started a new challenge, the 500k Steps in 50 Days Challenge. You can find out more about it here and how I did but generally speaking I crushed it! I ended up well over my step target and I was thrilled with that. Over the 50 days, I also lost 7lbs as I decided to get back into healthy eating at the same time.

When I say get into healthy eating, what I mean is simply stop snacking so much. Where before I would consume a lot of food outside of my three meals a day, I stopped snacking almost completely. Being more reasonable about the amount of food I ate didn’t mean I ever felt like I was depriving myself though. It was almost liberating.

Thanks to all of the steps and the reduction in calorie intake, my weight dropped. At the end of my challenge, I knew I wanted to keep it up. I’ve stuck with the lower calories and started attending the gym again thanks to them reopening.

Because I had to return to the office, the gym time slots do not work very well for me. Especially as there is no facility to change or get showered at the gym I go to currently. Going after work would mean waiting around for almost an hour, and having to carry my stuff with me whilst I workout.

I still make a point of going at least once a week though, normally at the weekend. During the week, I am currently doing a session at home with my kettlebell. I found it a challenge to get back into weight lifting after so many months of doing none, but now I am getting back into the swing of it. That is a kettlebell pun, by the way.

The gym is also very quiet at the moment. For the most part, because of the layout over many floors, I rarely see another person aside from the receptionist. It helps me go first thing in the morning too! This certainly makes me more comfortable as I get used to it again.

Thanks to being back at work, I am also getting a lot of steps in naturally, just by walking to and from work. We are very busy at work at the moment, which means I’m not getting a lot of steps in whilst at work as I’m glued to the emails or phone. Despite this, I am often hitting my daily 12k step target.

Update: I wrote this before Lockdown 2.0 was a thing. Now it is a thing, so the gym is a no go for the time being. However, still doing workouts at home, but not as many as I would like to. Hopefully will bounce back to it properly once the gym reopens.

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Looking Forward

Whilst things are quiet and I cannot be embarrassed by messing up, I am hoping to increase the weights I can lift at the gym. Hopefully, I will then also branch out into other exercises and workouts. Although I am looking to keep it simple to make sure I stick to any schedule for the duration. This is not my first attempt at maintaining a program by any means and they normally fail because I expect too much – whether that be time spent exercising or too much variation.

I am going to look into doing RED January at the start of 2021. This is an event where you do something active every single day of the month. I think this will be both a good challenge and a decent way to build my fitness further. I’m hoping to mix in a variety of activities: long walks, weightlifting, running, and anything else that the Coronavirus might allow!

Once I set up my page, I will be raising money so I will share links to this. Money raised for RED January goes towards an excellent mental health charity, Sport in Mind.

Given how mentally taxing 2020 has been and (I am sure) 2021 will be, I am pleased to be supporting a mental health charity. Charities, like Sport in Mind, can be a lifeline to those struggling with not just Coronavirus fall out but any number of issues.

I will be doing another fitness-based blog post at the end of January to talk about how things went.

Aside from this, I am looking forward to making 2021 the most physically active of my life! All I need to do is be consistent, so it should not be too hard… right!?

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Thank you for reading this update on my fitness journey and I hope it has given you something to think about for your journey! I know many of my friends are looking to get in shape, lose weight, and become fitter in the New Year and I will be right there with them cheering them on as they cheer me on!

What are your thoughts about your current fitness condition and journey? Let me know your next steps in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
My Photography Journey

My Photography Journey: From Amateur to Hopeful Professional

It has been a long time since I first picked up a camera and it has been quite the journey. From point and shoots to DSLRs and now mirrorless cameras, my passion for photography began in earnest in my university undergraduate days, although I did not realise it at the time. Now I am taking my first steps as a professional photographer and earning money from what once was a hobby. Here is my photography journey so far, from amateur to hopeful professional.

My Photography Journey

The Early Days

Some of the earliest memories of taking photos I have are during a school trip to Portchester Castle with what I believe was a disposable camera. I still have the photo album in the attic which has the pictures in it. I must have been around 9 years old at the time. The pictures might not to a gallery standard, but they are important to me. Digital cameras were only just becoming a thing back then, and I remember growing up as the technology continuously improved.

Move forward a decade to when I started at university and I now had a point and shoot compact digital camera I was incredibly pleased with. I took thousands of pictures during my university days and they were mostly of my drunk friends. Even now, the photo albums remain visible on my Facebook page.

At the time, I do not think I was considering doing anything with my photography. It was not until a year after I finished university and I used some of my first paychecks to buy a DSLR camera. It was a Nikon D3100. An entry-level camera, even for the time, but I am happy I did not spend any more money. My knowledge of photography was, at best, limited and a fancy camera would have been wasted on me.

I did love this camera, however. I used it quite often but primarily at special events, such as festivals and family gatherings. At Christmas in particular, I would be running around the family party to get pictures of people. Eventually, I got a tripod and group shoots became more of a thing. I also fondly remember going to the local Christmas Festival and walking around with my camera to take pictures of all the wondrous things going on.

Unlike now, however, I would not go out to “casually” take photos. And despite having a book giving me the low down on my DSLR and all its capabilities, I would not use the camera enough to retain more than a general understanding of what it could do. I almost lamented this fact, as I did with a lot of things at the time. I felt like I did not progress a lot in this period with my hobbies, or, indeed, my life.

My use of the D3100 camera reached a peak during a 2015 visit to Amsterdam. Some of the pictures I took of the city and my friends are ones that I love and ended up being used in later years on cavasses as gifts to family and friends at Christmas. That Christmas I also got my first subscription to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

My Photography Journey

By late 2016 my passion for photography was rapidly growing, however, I found my current DSLR to be too big and bulky to carry around with me on a day to day basis. I was often seeing things whilst I was out that I wanted to photograph but the effort of having to carry a large DSLR with me put me off taking it. I decided to upgrade my camera to something more compact but still powerful, and this started my ongoing love affair with Olympus.

The EM10 Days

My Olympus OM-D EM10 Mark III was a fantastic little camera. Not only was it better in every way than my previous D3100, but it was much easier to carry with me and stylish too! I even had a couple of lenses for it which was a first for me. This was the point I decided I wanted to go professional, although I did not know how to accomplish this. What I did realise was before I could go professional, I would have to learn more about photography and my camera.

The first true test of the EM10 came the Summer of 2017 when I went to the French Riviera. Aside from being a glorious location which I thoroughly enjoyed (and had wanted to visit since university), there were many photo opportunities. The lightweight nature of the camera really helped. I could not imagine carrying my older camera around in that heat all day. I got some excellent pictures on this trip and it cemented my love of the EM10.

My Photography Journey

I started to use my camera a lot more at this point. Being able to carry it about much easier – it could comfortably fit into any bag I was carrying – allowed me to increase the amount of time I was getting to shoot. I enjoyed taking the camera with me to many places including country parks, events, and on other international holidays such as Lisbon.

Despite the growth in my usage of my camera and the increase in my skills, I still felt not ready to push forward with anything “professional”. I continued to gift the occasional print or canvas, but my life was mostly occupied in other areas meaning that looking to develop my photography into a money-maker was not a priority.

When it came time to plan my goals for 2020, I know I wanted to make a concerted effort to push my photography further. I committed to going on at least on a monthly trip with my friend with the purpose of capturing great photos. It was going well for the first couple of months, but unfortunately, the year took a bit of a turn when the Coronavirus took hold and lockdown began.

For the first few weeks of lockdown, I am not sure I even touched my camera. But by May I had decided to take it with me on my walks to continue with my goal. As the lockdown eased, I and my friend resumed our photography trips.

My Photography Journey

The Start of the EM1 Days and Going Professional

I put off trying to sell my prints for a long time because I was worried about what people might think of them. Despite praise from others, I had my doubts. I knew I had to take the leap, however, and made the decision to start selling my prints. That being said, I could immediately start selling them. One thing I was sure of, I knew I needed a plan.

I did my research and after a few weeks had a decent plan of action moving forward. I had investigated how I wanted to sell the prints, what platforms to use, if I would need to register as self-employed, and all manner of things that come with the creation of a small business.

One thing I knew I wanted to do was upgrade my camera to a professional level one. I was not sure about this at first, as it was a considerable financial outlay. But, I surmised, even if I were unsuccessful at selling prints and what followed, I would still enjoy the act of photography and that meant I should get the camera.

I decided to stick with a brand I knew and opted for the Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark II camera. Whilst the Mark III is out and (technically at least) a better camera body, Olympus had a special offer on to get a free lens if you brought the Mark II. I could not pass up a free £1099 lens, especially considering the benefits of a second lens for my hopeful photography career.

Aside from a few hiccups in the camera when I first got it – which you can read about in my Instagram Story Highlights – I have to say I am really enjoying the EM1. I am looking forward to getting out with it a lot more and getting some amazing shots.

With a new camera in tow, it was time to launch my new print shop alongside my revamped website. To much thunderous support (from my sister who was incredibly happy for me) my print shop opened on Saturday 7th November 2020.

This year has not been good in so many ways, but I am hoping this can mark a changing point in the year.

I will not stop at just a print shop, of course. I also want to expand into other areas of photography, doing work professionally in some capacity. Going forward, I want to experiment with my portrait photography. I also want to expand my reach on social media which is going well at the moment.

My Photography Journey

I did want to talk about how to know you are ready to go professional in this post, but I think it has already reached a decent length. This is something I will be talking about when to know you are ready to go professional, and what my next steps in photography journey will be, in my next photography blog post. I am hoping to do monthly posts on photography, so watch this space!

In the meantime, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this insight into my photography life thus far. Leave a like if you did, and please comment below if you have any thoughts or want to share your own journey in photography!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing

The Einstein Window

The Einstein Window: The Key to Time Management

A huge part of time management is knowing what to work on and when. Your productivity can be seriously hampered if you do not properly organise your time. When you are going to work on what task. Having a clearer picture of this is key whether it is to maximise your hobby potential, or to ensure you meet that crucial deadline at work. Think about the issues you might face at work or when otherwise trying to organise your time. What challenges do you face? I can tell you that there is a period of the day when you will get your best work done and that is the Einstein Window.

What is the Einstein Window?

The Einstein Window is the time each and every day when you have a mental peak. Work might feel almost fun as you manage to complete tasks with each and push onwards to the next one. It is the time of day you feel capable and productive as your power through your work and those problems you face seem more like fun puzzles waiting for you to solve them.

If you are not sure of what I am talking about, try to think back to your last day at work. Think about how productive you were throughout the day. You are not at the same level for the whole day. Consider when you were the most productive and how that felt.

The mental peak of the Einstein Window normally lasts two to four hours. It can happen at widely different times for different people and can vary based on your lifestyle and diet too. Luckily, where we spend so much time at work it is likely to fall whilst we are there, enabling us to capitalise on its positive effects.

For me, it starts around the middle of the morning. I feel incredibly motivated and I can get through tasks with ease. I think for most people it would probably be during the first few hours of your work when you are better rested and not worn down by any monotonous tasks. Take a few minutes to identify when your Einstein Window is.

The Einstein Window

Protecting Your Einstein Window

Once you know when your Einstein Window happens, you need to learn to protect it. This is the period of the day you have the capacity to get the most done and you do not want it to be hijacked by outside forces. You want to be able to effectively use your entire window.

The process of protecting your Einstein Window begins with occasionally saying no. You need to prevent interruptions from happening to your work by anyone at any time during your window. I’m sure you can probably think of a few times someone has asked you to do something whilst you have been deep into other work. Moving on to help that person with their problem makes you lose focus and time for your own tasks. Some of you might even be able to think of an occasion when you have had person after person requesting your help, eating up all of the time you had to work on a particular task yourself.

When you agree to help your colleague, that is when the interruption happens. If you can, I would recommend politely telling your colleague that you are unable to help at the moment but will come back to them later. Make a note to go back to them at a more convenient time for yourself, and then continue with the task at hand.

It is important not to come across as unhelpful. That is not the vibe you are going for! So be sure to follow up with your colleague when you can and not to forget about them. They will appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to assist them, as long as you do!

If you work in an office you will not be surprised when I tell you that they seem to be designed to maximise interruptions! Working in clusters seems to promote talking over computers and desks at each other. This can make it difficult to get your work done and make the most of your Einstein Window. You need to be able to focus without getting distracted by colleagues, and the best way to do this is to leave the office. Or, at least, your normal office space.

Maybe there is a breakout room, or unused meeting room, that you can make use of. Maybe you have the option to work at home. If you have a particularly important task to get down during your window, I would recommend trying to remove yourself from any situations that might distract you too much.

Collaboration and creativity are valuable to teams and businesses, which is why offices exist in the way they do. It is important to know when to make use of those resources and when to back away to get important work done. This is especially true during your Einstein Window.

The Einstein Window

Distractions we create

Take a moment to think about all of the distractions that you might create yourself. Primarily, I am talking about your mobile phone. Here we have a device which is constantly connected and going off all of the time.

I am sure that some of us are very good with our phones and do not keep them on our immediate person whilst at work. In some cases, however, you might need to keep it on you so you can be reached on it. This is particularly true for the self-employed and freelancers, who rely on their phone to generate work!

Even if you do need to have your phone on your person and not silenced, it is worth thinking about what distractions you are willing to allow during your Einstein Window. I would certainly recommend either removing or temporarily blocking access to social media apps, and other apps you might waste your time on. Not only will this significantly cut down on the number of notifications you receive, but you also will not be able to waste any time scrolling through your feeds. Most modern phones have a function built in that you can use to restrict access. I promise you the world will not end if you switch off from your phone for a couple of hours.

Mobile phones are not the only distraction that we make for ourselves though. Self-sabotage might also come in other ways, such as booking meetings too close together. You need to allow yourself either a decent amount of time between meetings to effectively complete tasks, or book them almost back-to-back as not to waste time between them.

Whatever you do, try your best to remove any distractions during your Einstein Window to reap the best results.

Now you have identified your Einstein Window, it is time to go out there and make use of it. Try organising yourself so you have tasks to do during your next window and see how you do. I’m confident you will be very pleased with the results, particularly if you are normally prone to distractions or moving from task to task without resolving them.

Have you heard about the Einstein Window before, or does it sound familiar? What time do you have your window and what do you do to make the most of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
When does a hobby become something more?

When does a hobby become something more? A look at trying to become a professional photographer

There are some lucky people out there. Lucky people who have a day job which is something they truly enjoy and fulfils them. For the rest of us, that is but a dream. I think most of us have had thoughts about turning a hobby into a stream of income. Perhaps even had lofty goals of this income replacing our day jobs. To be able to do something that we wake up excited to do every day would be bliss. But at what point does a hobby become something more? Here is a look at my thoughts about this and trying to become a professional photographer.

I believe that almost any hobby can be turned into something to make money. Whether it can be enough to support you solely can vary greatly depending on the hobby – and how good you are at it. There are ways to make money with almost any hobby or activity. On a very basic level, you can talk or write about the hobby and generate money from advertisements on a blog or service like YouTube. You can also get sponsorship for posts or videos this way, or use affiliate links for a small kickback. Starting a revenue stream this way is very popular at the moment!

Doing the hobby itself to create income is another option. If you are a great painter of miniature models you could consider doing commission work or entering competitions with prizes. If you enjoy dress making it might be worthwhile selling some of the dresses you make. Graphic designers can create bespoke logos and other graphics for people. For almost any hobby I can think of it would be possible to monetize it somehow. If you have a hobby you make money from, why not share it below in the comments section?

For the past few months, I have had the desire to take my photography further. I want to be able to make money from what I enjoy doing, and perhaps at some point in the future even have it replace my job.

There is a lot I still have to learn, however.

I have been putting together a list of things I will need to move forward with my plan. At the top of the list, as I would imagine would be at the top of any similar list, is doing more of the hobby. Taking more pictures. I can have all of the fancy websites, invoicing systems, and contract templates I like. Without the ability to take good photographs they will be useless. Without a stunning portfolio and the ability to draw potential clients in, I don’t have a business.

But that is not a problem. That is because this is a hobby first, and taking pictures is what I enjoy.

When does a hobby become something more?

Developing your hobby

Recently I have been trying new ideas and having a go at different types of photography. Specifically, I have been focusing on city photography over the past few months and I have been quite happy with the results. I have also been looking at black and white photography. You can see some of these photographs as the accompanying images to this post.

I want to move on to trying out portrait photography next. I’ve had a little success with this in the past, and want to experiment and learn more about this form of photography. I have already begun asking friends to strike a pose for me, and hopefully will have some lovely results soon!

Developing your hobby is key to making an income from it, and this process should never stop. There are always new things to learn and new techniques to experiment with. Even if you decide not to adopt these ways of working going forward, the experience they give can be invaluable to you and your audience.

Chances are that you will consume some content from other people who are making money from the same hobby as you want to. Whether that be a blog like this one or a YouTube channel, you will get the opportunity to learn from their experiences. Whatever that post or video talks about, you might go on to try and thus giving you another – perhaps unique – perspective on it. Share that perspective with the world!

Not only will sharing what you learn to help other aspiring hobbyists (whether they seek to make a profit or not), but will show to the world that you are serious about refining your craft. This can have huge benefits, not least of which is attracting potential clients!

When does a hobby become something more?

Consistency and Set Backs

It is cliché and often repeated, but, indeed, you can only develop your craft, build a brand and a following, and start to create an income from your hobby with consistency. Consistency is the key to success and often one of the hardest parts of, well, basically anything.

Being consistent means that people know what to expect from you. They will enjoy seeing your regular posts, and they will know what service to expect from you when making a purchase. Only focusing on trying to turn your hobby into a moneymaker for a few days each month will never work.

This is a huge reason why some people will not succeed in their plans. They will suffer burnout from trying to do too much at once, or they will get distracted by something else. If this happens to you, the important thing is to remember that setbacks happen. You just need to make sure you get back to it as soon as you can. You certainly should not feel that all is lost just because it has been a few weeks since you last updated your Instagram account, or made a sale, or made any hobby progress. Do not forget to make use of hobby projects to keep you engaged in the process. They still work even when you are trying to make money!

I have certainly struggled with consistency with just about all of my hobbies over my life. And even now, knowing that I want to move forward with my photography, I sometimes struggle to find the motivation to remain consistent. It is natural, however, to sometimes falter and I know I have what it takes to make the dream a reality.

When does a hobby become something more?

Make a Plan

If I can give you one tip, it is to make a plan. With a plan and vision, you’ll be able to clearly set down the path to turning your hobby into something more, something you can make some money from. The focus you gain from a good list is enough to keep you consistent and prevent distractions and burnouts!

A key reason to make a plan is to ensure you do not forget to do anything at the start of your enterprise. If you will be making money, there are all sorts of legal things to consider. Even when creating a website, there is much to be done. Missing any part of these could cause problems further down the line.

A good plan will be created over time, as you research more about your hobby and how you could make money from it. I have been looking in to become a professional photographer for a few weeks now. I have a list which is continuing to grow as I work on some things and discover other areas which need attention.

I would certainly advise, however, that you should not procrastinate by doing nonstop research! You must, as some point, start the business! And start to make money from your hobby.

Even once you have gotten underway, you can still implement to-do lists. They could be incredibly useful in some situations. For photographers, for example, you might have a list of shots you should take for each session. Maybe a list of things to do before or after taking the photos. These don’t need to be one-time activities but things you do every time. This list will continue to grow as you learn more and more about your hobby and refine your craft. And as you do, your potential to earn will increase.

When does a hobby become something more?

Turning your hobby into something more where you can generate a little bit (or a lot) of money from it is certainly something I would advise everyone to try at some point in their life. You don’t necessarily need to invest huge amounts of time into it, just so long as you do consistently work on it. A little each week is all you need to get started.

Over time, by sticking with it, you will find it easier to devote more time to the hobby and the business side of it as your reach grows and sales increase.

You will also be able to learn so much from the experience. Whether that be about running a small business, new ways to experience your hobby, or meeting new people. There are so many opportunities that open themselves up to you when you invest some time in something you love.

Even if you aren’t concerned about making money from the hobby, there is still a lot of growth to be had by pushing the boundaries of your hobby and exporting it to other people in some way and fashion.

There is a lot to gain by working on your hobby to turn it into a small business, regardless of whether that means leaving your current job or not. Particularly in these uncertain economic times, having another stream of income is not a bad thing.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any experience of turning your hobby into a small or large business, successful or not. Don’t forget to like and share this post with your friends too, to ignite the spark of hobby growth in them too!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing