Why You Don’t Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

Why You Don't Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

If you’re anything like me, you spend half your time fighting for new business and the other half fighting your urge to spend the money you make from new business on gear. So, for a bit of fun, today I thought I’d share my own personal, self-directed pep talk whenever I feel the urge to splurge.

I see you sitting there. One window open to Fstoppers. Learning about the latest and greatest gear. A second window permanently parked on B&H. Maybe a third open to Amazon.

You must have spent half the morning so far pouring over options. You’ve looked at all the mirrorless cameras. You’ve read every review and memorized the specs. You’ve even spent more time than you’d care to admit reading the gearheads duke it out in the comment sections over everything from the importance of sensor size to whether or not having two card slots magically designates you a professional photographer.

You’ve imagined yourself walking onto set with all these new toys. Naturally, everything from the $2,500 lens to the round, metal dongle whose name you can’t recall but were told was an absolute necessity by your favorite vlogger is in your bag. And of course, you imagine you’ll use every single item in your new artillery, forgetting for a moment that you’ve been getting along just fine without any of it to this point.

As a matter of fact, if you were to take a moment to really think about it, you’d realize that anything deemed cutting edge technology can’t, by definition, be a necessity. Since photography has been around for well over a century, with amazing imagery being created long before you were born, it stands to reason that as much as you want that new LED panel, it would be hard to argue that you objectively need it.

Was Richard Avedon any less of a photographer because he didn’t shoot mirrorless? Did Alfred Hitchcock suck as a director simply because he didn’t have dual-pixel autofocus at his disposal? Of course not.

You don’t become a professional photographer by being able to buy the best equipment. You’re not being hired for your ability to use your credit card. You’re being hired for your ability to create art that no one else can create. You’re being hired for your unique voice. You’re being hired for your experience and because you’ve put in the hard work over the years to now make it all look so easy.

So, maybe all those hours you spent on Google this morning trying to get the definitive answer to whether full frame or APS-C is a superior format wasn’t the best use of your time. Maybe it would have been more useful to have spent the morning cold-calling clients for whom you can put your old equipment to use. Maybe instead of surfing the web, you should have been updating your own website. Maybe instead of having a Twitter duel over the merits of someone else’s work, you should be out creating work of your own.

Being a professional photographer is not about the tools you bring to set inside your designer case. It’s about the creativity and work ethic you have no matter what tool you hold in your hand.

So, next time you find yourself strolling down the digital shopping aisles in search of value, turn your attention instead to building the value of your own product. Instead of looking for a new camera, ask yourself if there’s a way to get more out of the one you already have. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you really need that upgraded lens, ask yourself if there’s a new way you can look at a familiar subject. And next time you subconsciously, maybe not so subconsciously, begin to think that you could really go to “the next level” if only you had better equipment, remind yourself that you can’t buy creativity. You can’t buy experience. You can only work for it.


5 Reasons Budgeting Apps Don’t Work For Most People


Can we all agree that one of the secrets to achieving financial independence is figuring out a way to spend less than you make? OK, good. Then why aren’t more of us better at it? Credit card debt levels are the highest they’ve ever been. Clearly, finding a way to budget is a bit of a holy grail for many people.

The thing is, there is no perfect way to track or control spending. The way people make spending decisions varies as much as the number of ways to order at Starbucks so as a financial coach, I’m always on the look-out for new ways to make it simple and painless. In other words, I’m in search of the My Fitness Pal for money.

However, I’m not so sure an app is what’s going to move the needle. In fact, using a screen to make financial decisions may actually promote bad behavior. How many times has a notification popped up that lead to you filling a digital cart? Here’s why I think we need to stop trying to find the perfect app and instead master the pen and paper or spreadsheet way of tracking money:

1. It’s too easy to ignore. If I had a dollar for every person that confessed that they tried Mint, but eventually the text alerts and notifications started driving them crazy, I could afford a personal chef. Yes, money apps can help you set alerts to notify you when you’re coming close to overspending, but they can easily get lost in the myriad of more fun notifications that already flood your screen. Just nagging isn’t enough to actually keep money in your account.

2. You still have to actually maintain it. No software is perfect. So even if you are able to effectively link your apps to all of your accounts for an accurate look at where you are, you still need to log in regularly to make sure it is categorizing correctly.

If you’re trying to track spending on dining out and booze, you have to go in and make sure it doesn’t think your liquor store is a grocery store (that happened), and what happens when you buy wine while grocery shopping or if your restaurant lunch is actually reimbursed by work? You have to manually fix that stuff, and if you don’t do it regularly, it will become too much. You might as well use that time maintaining a spreadsheet.

3. My Fitness Pal doesn’t actually stop the chips from going in my mouth. You can have your phone tell you six ways ‘til Sunday that you’ve blown your calorie allotment for the day before you even get to dinner, but unless I’m in the first four days or so of tracking, I’m probably still going to eat before I go to bed. Financial apps work the same way. They give you the data, but only you can take that next step of keeping the money in your account.

4. My brain is changing and I don’t like it. I do think I’m addicted to my iPhone. My compulsion to check email when I’m already feeling overwhelmed with tasks is constant, even when I don’t actually want to be working.

I’ve also noticed that it’s become totally socially acceptable to be texting, Facebooking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, etc. while hanging out with friends. I hate that! Adding financial management to my phone just exacerbates the problem. So I’m putting the phone down and I think you should too.

5. We notice what we pay attention to. When I purchased my Mini Cooper, “Sheldon”, I was excited about the white racing stripes that I thought made him unique. Then I started to notice how many other electric blue Mini Coopers had white racing stripes.

Was there a sudden surge in the popularity of this style? No. I just started noticing it.

The same thing goes for your money. I started tracking my net worth on a monthly basis a couple of years ago. Nothing complicated – I just list all my accounts and about the same time each month, I add a new column with their current balances.

I love watching the amount grow in my 401(k) while seeing the value decrease on my car loan. And I LOVE putting a big fat zero down in the student loan line these days! This is a great way for me to make sure I’m checking in on my money at least monthly and it is fun to watch my net worth slowly but steadily increase. Try it and see if it doesn’t also get you starting to track other things like how much you spent the previous month on carry-out dinners.

There is one thing I think you can use your phone to help with and that’s checking your bank account daily. Every morning when you’re doing that first check to see what you missed on social media, add in a quick check of your bank account to see if anything funky posted overnight. This can save you from expensive overdrafts and help you catch fraud much sooner.


Acer Swift 7 and Spin 7 Seem Useful for Mobile Business — If You Don’t Mind the Price

The Small Acer Laptops, Swift 7 and Spin 7, Seem Useful for Mobile Business -- If You Don’t Mind the Price

When Apple launched the MacBook Air, it introduced a new level of portability in computing with a very slim form factor and functionality that got everyone’s attention. Although it has taken a while, Acer (TPE:2353) has one upped Apple with the announcement of its new laptop and a two-in-one, called the Swift 7 and Spin 7 respectively, at the IFA 2016 in Berlin.

The need for small and powerful portable computing is extremely important for business users, because remote work, collaboration and hosted services are all key for the way today’s workforce access digital technology. And the two computers by Acer are not only slim, but they also feature the latest Intel processors so you should be able to tackle even the most demanding applications without too much trouble.

A Look at the New Small Acer Laptops

The Swift 7

Small Acer Laptops: The Swift 7

The Swift 7 is 0.39-inches or 9.98mm thick (or thin), making it the first laptop thinner than a centimeter, and according to the company, the world’s thinnest laptop. At only 2.48 pounds it is also light, but Acer has added powerful components that business users now demand with their portable computing.

This laptop is a Windows 10 machine with a 13.3-inch Full HD IPS display that is powered by the latest Intel 7th-generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. The system doesn’t have a fan, so it is a passively cooled design with an aluminum uni-body chassis.

Small Acer Laptops: The Swift 7

The Swift 7 has two USB-C 3.1 ports and a headphone jack with a battery that Acer says will give you nine hours of power by leveraging the new Intel chipset.

The wireless connectivity delivers 3X faster wireless speeds using a 2×2 802.11ac with MU-MIMO technology.

A feature that might seem odd is the very large touchpad. The company says it will give you more space to navigate with so you can scroll and click with improved accuracy.

Small Acer Laptops: The Swift 7 Has a Wide Precision Touchpad

The Swift 7 is going to be available first in China sometime in September, followed by the US and Europe in October for $999.99.

The Convertible Spin 7

Small Acer Laptops: The Convertible Spin 7

The Spin 7 is a two-in-one that is also slim, coming in at 0.43 inches (10.98mm) thin and weighing 2.6 pounds. It also runs on Windows 10 along with Continuum, an application that can detect the device that is being used and adjust accordingly to optimize the functionality. What this means for the business user is, when you switch from laptop to tablet, Continuum will modify the system so you can be more efficient.

The processor for the Spin 7 is more powerful, taking advantage of the Intel Core i7, but the RAM, storage and ports are the same as the Swift 7. As for the battery, you get one hour less at eight hours, which is still respectable considering the size of the display.

The biggest difference from the Swift is the 14-inch full HD IPS touchscreen that flips all the way back. This flexibility lets you use the Spin 7 in four different modes: laptop, stand, tent and tablet.

Small Acer Laptops: The Convertible Spin 7

The price for the Spin is higher, starting at $1,199 and with the same availability date in the US.


The Swift 7 and Spin 7 are not the cheapest portable computers, but the market is proving business users are willing to pay for powerful devices that are highly portable and functional. Apple, Microsoft,  Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi have similar products at very different price points. So if you are in the market for one of these computers, take your time and find out what your needs are, because you have many options.

Images: Acer


45 Percent of Online Entrepreneurs Don’t Know What SEO Means? (Infographic)

According to a new study from Weebly, the state of online entrepreneurs is on shaky ground. Check out this infographic to see how overwhelmed they feel.

The importance of search engine optimization (SEO) to boost online business cannot be stressed enough. But according to one source, a large percentage of small businesses still don’t know what SEO even means.

According to a new study by Weebly, a DIY website building company, about 45 percent of small businesses aren’t sure what SEO means. Almost all (98 percent) of them, however, think getting found on Google is important.

Small Businesses Are Making Email Marketing Mistakes

What’s also alarming is the common email marketing mistakes businesses seem to be making in large numbers.

For example, 87 percent of businesses understand personal accounts are less professional. Despite this, 79 percent still send emails from their own personal accounts.

Small Businesses Are Worried

Not surprisingly, small businesses are worried.

The report has found changes in the economy are the biggest source of that worry. It’s followed by concerns over growing their business and keeping up with technology.

What’s more, 33 percent of small businesses participating in the study think finding 10 new customers is harder than solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded.

For the study, Weebly commissioned Wakefield Research to conduct an online survey of 500 online entrepreneurs who started their business within the past two years.

San Francisco-based Weebly was founded in 2007. See more data pulled from the study in the infographic below.

According to a new study from Weebly, the state of online entrepreneurs is on shaky ground. Check out this infographic to see how overwhelmed they feel.

Images: Weebly