How to Take Better Portrait Photographs

We all want to look good on a photo, especially if it is a portrait. But have you noticed how you look better in some angles and with certain lighting, while in others you look like you are sick or you have a bigger face? The good news is that those pretty portraits are not accidents but there are tried and tested ways to take better photos.

Pick a short telephoto lens. Selecting the right equipment for a portrait will help you a lot. The best lens for a portrait shot is a telephoto lens because it compresses the perspective. You can pick lenses between 85 to 150 mm lens.

Set the ISO setting low. Adjust the ISO setting to not more than 400 as this will help reduce the noise in the background. But this works only if your subject is not moving. If the lighting is poor, however, you can use a higher ISO setting or open the aperture. If you are still unsure, try taking different shots with different settings for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture until you find the best combination that works.

There is no single rule for aperture. In some guides, you might see recommended aperture settings for portraits, but remember that the subject and background are unique. The general rule would be to use a wide aperture if you need to shoot a portrait of just one subject. If the aperture is too wide, the photo will end up highlighting parts of the subject’s face. If you need a portrait for more than one person, the starting point can be at f/8 then adjust accordingly.

Shutter speed is unique for every subject. Adjusting the shutter speed is based on what you want to capture from your subject. If they are still, you can use 1/15th or lower. But if the subject is moving a lot or you are trying to get a portrait of more than one person, use 1/125th or higher. Do not forget to check the ISO setting if you still get blurry images.

Always shoot on manual mode. If you have a tripod, use it so you can shoot in manual mode. This will give you better control on the settings of the camera especially if you need to take several shots of the subject. An alternative would be to shoot in aperture priority mode. This also works great in portraits especially if you are shooting with a background that have a lot of movement or objects.

Match white balance settings to the natural lighting. You will want the portrait to show the subject’s natural skin tone as much as possible. The best way to do this is to utilize the natural light in the setting. Complement it with the proper white balance setting that is closest to the natural lighting. Do not use the auto white balance, but select from the presets.

Different Ways You Can Boost Your Mental Focus

Some people have the ability to focus every time they need to. But there are also many others who simply have difficulty keeping their attention as well. If you’re one of those persons, don’t worry too much! There are a lot of ways you can improve your mental focus again.

Keep training yourself to improve your focus

Firstly, you have to recognize that building mental focus cannot be done in one day. You have to train and disciple yourself to improve your ability to focus. You may find that one day you can stay concentrated on your tasks but on the next day you easily get distracted. This is why it is important to dedicate time to improve your focusing skills.

Assess and eliminate distractions

It’s already obvious that having a lot of distractions can affect our focus. But sometimes there are things that are distracting but we don’t even notice them. That’s why it is important to assess yourself first. Take your time to think about everything that might be a distraction to you.

These can be common distractions like social media or a noisy co-worker, or maybe a more subtle and unnoticeable distraction, like a boyfriend who keeps texting. If you do identify the things that distract, try to come up with ways in which you can avoid them.

Practice being mindful

Mindfulness is a practice that has become more and more popular over the years, and for good reason. Practicing mindfulness has many benefits and one of those is that it helps you stay on a task for longer periods.

You become less distracted and your thoughts will almost always stay organized once you start being mindful. There are a lot of ways you can do this as well. You can walk around a park somewhere in Singapore or maybe just meditate at your home!

Focus on one task at a time

If you want to improve your mental focus, it would be in your best interest to focus on one task at a time. Multitasking or juggling between two or more tasks will only harm your focus and significantly cut your overall productivity. Usually, the overload of information will only exhaust your brain, so you’ll end up getting tired without even getting things done yet. That’s why it is important to give your full attention to one task first.

Take short breaks

Lastly, it is important to know that you also need to take breaks. If you can’t focus on the task no matter what you do, it’s just your brain telling you it’s exhausted. That means you’ll really have to take a break. It can be as simple as walking around for 5 minutes or maybe even taking a short nap! Just remember to take short breaks from time to time to let your brain rest and replenish even just for a while.

Hygiene Routine Tips for Your Family

They say that good grooming and hygiene begins at home. And that is true! If your children practice good habits at a young age, it becomes second nature to them as adults. Personal hygiene is not just about looking and smelling good, it is about protecting yourself and the people around you from diseases.

Here is how you can develop a hygiene routine for the entire family.

Eating

If your child is old enough to hold items with their hands, start teaching them how to clean up after a meal like washing their hands, brushing their teeth, and putting away their plates. Make sure that the meals are given consistently on schedule so that they develop good eating habits, too. You can even ask them to assist in simple tasks in the kitchen.

Bathing

We are not here to argue whether a people should bathe everyday or not. Children are active, so yes, they need to bathe daily to keep germs away. For kids who are scared of taking showers, you can encourage warm baths, or you can let them bring bathtub toys to keep them distracted. You could also have them get used to bathing right before bedtime to make it part of their routine.

Washing Hands

Your kids should know when to wash their hands even when you are not around to remind them. Practice washing hands before handling food or eating, after sneezing or coughing or blowing their nose, after petting animals, after using the toilet, after touching any body fluid like urine or vomit, and if their hands look dirty from playing. You should also remind them to not touch their face if they have not washed their hands.

Brushing

Dental hygiene is a big deal because some adults who did not develop a good routine as children end up with bad teeth and smelly breath. Teach your kids to include brushing as part of their bedtime routine. They only need to brush twice a day, but most importantly before going to bed. Help them pick a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character and a toothpaste with a flavor of their choosing so they do not get scared of brushing.

Clothes and Shoes

Your kids should learn how to change their clothes when they get sweaty or dirty. Remind them to change after playing or after getting home from school. Reward them if they place soiled clothes correctly in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor. Other items like shoes should also be placed neatly on designated areas.

After School

Give your kids time to relax after school, not rush them into doing homework. After all, you would also want some time off after work yourself, right? After putting their things and clothes away, remind them to wash their hands before they can have a snack. You can also talk to them about their day while having dinner or letting them help in the kitchen.

How to Sort Your Dirty Laundry Correctly in Three Simple Steps

Laundry day can be the day that people dread the most, simply because the chore takes too much time. However, there are ways to get it done faster aside form just dumping everything into one pile.

The first step to having an easier time doing your laundry is by sorting them correctly in advance before you wash them, which is a great way to keep fabric dye on clothes from bleeding into lighter fabrics.

Pre-sorting your laundry before cleaning them can also be really helpful in that it lets you get your laundry done faster, especially when you regularly go to a laundromat to get your clothes cleaned in a hurry.

Reading the label

Keep in mind that while most clothes can be thrown in the laundry as one load and come out nice and clean, other types of clothes can be made of fabrics that can warp, shrink, or stretch. This is why it’s important to read the care label tags on your clothes first, especially if you don’t know how to clean them.

These care label tags on your clothes will let you know how they are best cleaned, whether they can be tossed along with the rest of your laundry load or if they need to be dry-cleaned by a professional.

Sort by color and fabric

Once the hand-wash-only clothes have been separated in their own piles, you can start sorting the rest by color and fabric: lights and darks in different piles to prevent color bleeding, then followed by fabric type. When sorting by fabric type, be sure to separate the towels and sheets, from the blouses, slacks and any underwear or lingerie. Doing this allows you to use the correct water temperature for each color and fabric group, as well as keeping drying cycles a lot simpler.

Wash soiled items first

While not all stains can ruin the fabric, some can set in earlier and be more difficult to remove, which is why they need to be cleaned or pre-treated as soon as possible. It’s also important to differentiate different stains and wash them depending on priority.

You will especially need to pay attention to oil-based stains, like motor or cooking oil, while dirt stains can wait later since they are less likely to affect the fabric. If there is only one item that needs this, this can be hand-washed or pre-treated in advance.

One last important thing you need to remember is that you shouldn’t wait until your laundry is a huge mountain of dirty clothes before sorting them. Even something as simple as having separate laundry hampers for different types of clothes can be a great start.

Five Tips for Handling Any Kind of Pressure Better

Pressure is a part of everyday life in Singapore, but while having some pressure in yours is healthy for providing motivation to be more productive, too much can be overbearing and difficult to handle.

But the good news is that it’s all about making the pressure work for you, and it involves finding just the right amount of it to help you get through difficult days ahead. Here’s how you can change the way you handle any kind of stress and pressure for the better:

1. Start planning for crunch time

Take a few minutes to identify what counts as “crunch time”, which usually consists of a huge amount of work that needs to be done in a short period. If you can outsource your work to an assistant or a colleague, consider doing so in advance.

2. Break down tasks

The easiest way to get stuck in a rut is to be intimidated by a complex task or project, and if you find yourself facing several complex ones at a time, you want to avoid being intimidated by them by finding out which ones need to be done first. Once you’ve ordered them by priority, break them down into smaller steps that are more manageable and can give you an incremental sense of accomplishment the more steps you finish.

3. Separate internal and external pressure

While you can’t change the conditions and situations where things need to be done quickly, you can change your response in order to adapt and handle them better. Instead of stressing out over them, try to assure yourself that your current tasks are indeed a high priority, and your actions are making a huge difference.

4. Stop procrastinating

Procrastination is a bad habit that leads to so much stress and so many unfinished tasks, and it usually means that you failed to prioritize and act as needed. However, this habit can be broken since it is usually made as a response to a challenge you don’t think you can take.

To break this habit, first ask yourself the exact reason why you’re resisting, and see if you can stop doing so and simply act on the task. When you find yourself procrastinating, simply repeat the process again. Actively forcing yourself to work also results in you making more effort and being more productive.

5. Adopt a more mindful outlook

Being more mindful allows you to stay calm under increasing pressure, which in turn allows you to become more adaptable and focused. In fact, you only really need to take aside ten minutes a day to meditate and clear your head to be able to tackle any incoming challenges more efficiently.

Simple Tips to Remember to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

No matter where you work or what you do in Singapore, you’ll almost always negotiate with other people. Whether it’s for business or for some other benefit, people are always negotiating. Given that, if you want to increase your own opportunities, it might be a good idea to sharpen your negotiation skills. Here are some things to remember so you can do just that.

Recognize the importance of preparedness

When it comes to negotiation, you could say you’ll have to be prepared both technically and mentally. Simply put, being prepared technically means you know what you want to achieve by the end of the discussions. If the goal of your negotiations is to increase your client’s budget for the project, then be prepared with a comprehensive plan. That way, you can lay it down to the client with ease. Being mentally prepared is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s just as important.

Listen

Some say that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and that is we should listen first before speaking or reacting. There are many situations that can cause us to react strongly against a person. But it may do better to give them a chance and listen to what they have to say first.

In more formal or business situations, the value of listening becomes even more evident. If the other party is the one giving the information, you have the advantage of using that information to your benefit. That being said, by listening well, you won’t miss anything important.

Learn about body language

Doing the right gestures can provide for a more convincing and genuine speech. If you know how to utilize your body language, you can easily stand out and take the upper hand in negotiations. This somehow has a lot to do with a display of confidence associated with body language. Something as simple as not slouching, for example, can actually make you look more confident with yourself.

However, more than that, it is also important to study the body language of the other party. For instance, if you were planning to negotiate on increasing the budget for your project but your boss is displaying what you might assume as “negative” body language (e.g. furrowed eyebrows or crossed arms), then it might not be a good idea to do so just yet.

Know what you are able to bring to the table

One important factor in negotiation that can save you a lot of time and energy is knowing your value to the company. Firstly, knowing your real value can be humbling. You will be ready to make and accept mistakes. In addition, you will be able to express your concerns to others since you have a good understanding of your own knowledge and experience. Knowing what you are able to bring to the table can help you negotiate better plans or business projects within the range of your capabilities.

6 Ways You Can Become a Better Networker

Having good networking skills has become more and more important over the years. Whether you’re planning to start a business in Singapore or you work at a well-established company, you’ll need to network and get to know a lot of people to improve your career opportunities.

Practice with those you already know

If you don’t have a general idea of where to start, practice speaking to people you already know. This is a great way to get used to networking since you already have an established connection with the other person and you can easily strike up a conversation. It can be a friend whom you haven’t been talking to for a while or maybe a co-worker that you still don’t know very well.

Study and research

More than anything, it’s also very important to do your research. By knowing more about the people you’re trying to connect with, you can at least be confident that you know a thing or two about them. Most of the time, this can actually impress the other person and it can communicate that you’re really interested in getting in touch with them. 

Remember to keep in touch

Probably the most important thing to do in networking is to establish a long and genuine connection. Take time to get to know the person and allow them to get to know you better too. Keep in touch whenever possible! The more you do it, the more likely your interactions will be better in the future. Of course, you shouldn’t do this too much that you’ll already look like a creep.

Value your business card

Firstly, make your business card memorable. Though it’s a small and simple object, it will help you in almost any networking situation. On that note, don’t go handing out your business card to everybody in the room. There’s always that one person who does that. And many people see the act as impolite. What you should do, really, is to hand your card if the other asks for it or after your conversation.

Utilize whatever resources you can

Today, it’s become very easy to network because of the internet and social media. It only makes sense that you take advantage of it as much as you can. But remember that social media is something that should only supplement your face-to-face meetings and not completely replace them. It’s still better and easier to network with others if you interact with them personally.

Remember the value of exchange

Lastly, you should take note of the importance of having a healthy exchange. One of the easiest ways to start a connection is to share your stories and listen to theirs. You’ll have something to learn from them and they will have something to learn from you. This is almost always the reason why you can effectively make a connection with someone.

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