Wow-wee where did January go!? Aside from all the crazy world stuff that has been happening, it was a pretty intense month for me. I had been working on long and hard  creating planners and printables for my newly revamped Etsy Shop and I didn’t even make a big hoo-rah about it like I did when I first launched my Etsy Shop last year in 2019. I’ve found keeping quiet has allowed me to follow through my projects and to be honest I have no idea how to do all the marketing stuff. The marketing side of things is always the hardest for us creatives and I’m in no position (yet) to hire an assistant to do all of my marketing for me. For now, it’s a one woman power house!

Aside from creating, I’ve also had to deal with a lot of gnarly inner stuff that bubbled it’s way to the surface. Mainly stuff from my past I forgot even existed, but the thing is, things that weren’t dealt with properly will crop up when it’s usually the right time and turns, out there is always going to be something that needs working on. Now that January is done and dusted! I was wondering what will my next blog post going to be? The idea presented itself when I was asked what app I had used to create my IG stories and I can’t believe I haven’t even talked about the tech I use, especially when I love, love tech!

Computers

13inch MacBook Air was an upgrade from the many years old 15inch MacBook Pro which was a beast of a thing! What I love about the MacBook Air is how light it is and portable it is due to being thin and a couple of inches smaller. The Retina display and almost edge to edge screen is delightful to look at. AND I carry it in my handbag everyday during the week allowing me to whip it out to work on my projects during the very quiet periods throughout the day – hey, at least I am being productive!

After 17 years of always only working on a laptop I finally invested in a desktop computer – a iMac 27inch with 5K Retina display. I got the very basic model as I didn’t need to have all the bells and whistles. Having a 1TB storage and the ginormous screen is a huge upgrade from being hunched over a laptop (hey, remember I did this for 17 years) and  I didn’t want to be two years down the track and regret not have gotten the bigger monitor. It runs blazingly fast, running huge software allowing me to switch in between without suffering any sort of lag (yes, okay I do get the occasional dreaded freeze). I love it and I am practically glued to it after work and on the weekends because I always have something to work on.

I pair my desktop with an Intuos Wacom Pro (Small) drawing tablet. I started using Wacom about seven years ago, back then I had the ‘entry’ level Wacom Bamboo tablet and it completely changed the way I edited my photos. It was a game changer! I came across it while researching and reading up about how other photographers were making photomanipulation and how the edited them. It was nice to discover that tablets weren’t just for graphic artists who drew. Like with many of my stuff I eventually get to a point in requiring to update and so I finally invested in a ‘higher’ level tablet and absolutely enjoy using it. If you suffer getting a sore wrist using a mouse all the time, I have found that using a tablet actually takes away a lot of the pain and so I tend to switch back and forth – depending on what I am editing.

Mobile Devices

iPhone 11 Pro Max 64 GB I love my phone. It’s something I upgrade practically yearly (the perks of working in telecommunication I get staff discounts), I’ve tried Samsung for a while, but went back to iPhone because its what I know and I’m a biased Apple user. If I don’t have my camera with me I whip out my phone to take a snap. It’s the 4K video recoding is what makes this model worth while, I did a lot of video clips while in China (BEFORE the Caronavirus) and I was blown away at the the play back. Footage taken while walking looked like I had filmed holding a tripod. It is stunning. I also did plan on doing more vlogging, but I’m still working on videoing myself.

iPad Pro 11inch & Apple Pencil I’ve always had an iPad at the time it seemed more like a gloried oversized iPhone, minus making phone calls on it. Although I once did see a woman talking into her iPad and was holding it like you would a phone, it was the most bizarre thing I saw and couldn’t help chuckle when I saw it. But what makes the iPad Pro is the Apple Pencil. I had the first generation pencil and so when Apple Pencil 2 came out, it blew my mind when they finally figured out a new way to have the pencil latch on to the iPad!

My iPad is a mirror of my iPhone, only difference is I have other apps on there that can’t be used on an iPhone such as Affinity Designer and Procreate. My digital planners and PDFs are all housed on my iPad and hello Airdrop! Still amazes me the things I can Airdrop between devices and to others who are an Apple user. If I don’t feel like taking my laptop, I take my iPad as it still allows me to do any projects on the go. That’s the beauty with having one eco system and apps that synch across multiple devices I can switch to any seamlessly.

Cameras

I love both film and digital photos and so over the years I have collected quite a few and SOLD a few film cameras. I keep the ones of more value to me. For a long time I was a huge Canon user. Until I go too tired lugging around a huge camera and wanted to find something small and compact. I know it’s not about the gear you have when it comes to taking photos, but I also love having the latest gear (this use to be a huge problem for a while, luckily I’ve dealt with that issue with a few mindset shift work) and after lots of research and reading up on various cameras I settled on my first Fujifilm camera a Fujifilm x100s a.k.a. Poor Mans Leica. I fell in love with it right away, it was so light and compact I was able to carry it in my jacket pocket because I didn’t have to worry about changing lens. It came with a 23mm fixed lens and being the second edition the auto focus when I needed it was quick and snappy. I never turned back and after a few years I waited and upgraded to the 100F, but something was missing.

I started to miss not being to change lenses and…yup after only year with the beauty, I traded it in and up to a Fujifilm XT3! It’s still a pretty compact camera, but it packs a punch! It is a tad heavier, but that is because it does house two SD slot cards, slightly bigger battery and depending on what lens I put on is the only time you will really notice weight.

I currently only have three lenses, I’m slowly building it. Currently I have a Fujinon 34mm f/2 WR (Weather Resistant), Fuji ‘Pancake’ 27mm which is my go to when I want to take the camera out and about and my favourite when when I’m working on photos at in the home studio is my Fuji 16mm f/1.4 lens this is my biggest lens due to the amount of glass packed in there. Plus, it makes me feel more “pro” when I’m creating styled photos.

Remember though: it’s not about the gear, but the person behind the camera!

Editing Software

I have been using Photoshop since the days it didn’t require you to be on subscription and before Lightroom came onto the scene. Both have been my two main photo editing software over the years, but I got a little outraged when they introduced the Creative Cloud subscription and decided to leave.

Hello Affinity Designer and Capture One Pro. I use Affinity Designer to create planners and printables that I now sell on my revamped Etsy Shop. Capture One Pro for editing photos. They are both great if you’re looking for alternatives and wanting to move away from subscription based products. Although, it took quite a while to use them both, but that’s the beauty about learning new things it’s exciting and I do love keeping my mind active with challenges.

However…I’ve quietly gone back to using Photoshop & Lightroom again – I am not ashamed to admit when I am wrong and there were a lot of things I was starting to miss from my usual workflow and I found a way to save money – do a yearly subscription rather than doing it monthly.
Plus, Adobe is a huge, huge beast and the majority of the world uses Adobe, I would be silly to miss out on any future freelance work that requires me to use them.

My Top 6 Apps (in no particular order)

VSCO In the risk of sounding like a ‘hipster’ I was using VSCO back when it was a desktop programme and before it blew up on social media. I had already brought a lot of their filter packs before it became a subscription. I love the plethora of filters available to me and allows you to simulate your favourite 35mm film looks such as Kodak, Fujifilm and Agfa. I try to stick to a few filters to have a cohesive look on what I post on my social media, BUT I also love trying out new ones! I ended up going getting a subscription (yeah I know, it sounds like I have a lot of subscriptions) because…you can now add filters over your video clips! Game changer.

Evernote Has become my go to when it comes to writing my blog posts. Recently I’ve added drafting up my Etsy Shop listings as the app allows you to categorise everything into ‘Notebooks’. I enjoy how it syncs across all of my devices. If I’m feeling particularly inspired to write, but I’m on the train and rather whipping out my laptop I grab my phone and type as much as I humanly can with one finger. Once home I’ll continue on my computer.

Unfold Story Templates Since the majority of views on Instagram has shifted from your newsfeed to Stories I wanted to up level my stories! You’re able to buy template packs individually for a couple of bucks each or you can…go subscription. No, I don’t have a subscription, I just buy the templates I want and recently I discovered you can also add video! Take your Instagram Stories to a whole new level by posting multiple videos or a combination of a still photo and a video. It’s been addicting!

Pinterest I’ve been a ‘pinner’ for quite some time now and have seen it grow and grow to the point they finally made an app for your mobile devices. I use it for inspiration and gather ideas whenever I’m feeling particularly stuck. However, the Pinterest rabbit hole is real and there have been times where I’ve spent hours and hours pinning images to my very long list of ‘Boards’. You’re able to have a Personal account or a Business one. I’ve recently switched over to Business to help grow my visibility and couple it up with Tailwind means I can schedule my Pins I create to market my Etsy Shop items.

Goodnotes This is where I house all my digital planners and PDFs. It’s a note taking app that allows me to write in my planners with my Apple Pencil like I would with a pen and paper. The handy thing is, I can view my planners on my iPhone so I don’t miss out anything I have scheduled/planned.

ProcreateThis is where I go to ‘play’. Here I can paint, draw, practice calligraphy and lettering and generally just muck around. I’m amazed how powerful this app is and the amount of things you can do. I love playing back the time-lapse video of what I’ve created and seeing the progress of the fun messy art.

So there you have it, things I use and love. I hope it was helpful in some way, but again it’s entirely up to you to also do your own research and finding the things you feel will suit your needs.

If you have any questions on any of the things mentioned feel free to drop me a note below, I’m always happy to explain/teach others how to use stuff they haven’t tried yet or are thinking of getting.

Hope you all had a wonderful first month? Otherwise may your new year begin whenever you want.

See you again soon!

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