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.

Ideas for Designing a Small Kitchen for an Apartment

You do not need to own a mansion to have a fabulous kitchen of your own. With these ideas for small kitchen spaces, you will want to invite friends over regularly to show it off.

Kitchen tools as décor. You do not need to add unnecessary items to the kitchen to decorate it. Use the kitchen tools you already have. Maybe you have racks, plates, knife sets, etc. that will match the texture and color scheme of your counter and cabinets.

Green and alive. Adding houseplants is never a bad idea especially if you cannot change the color of the walls. For a small kitchen, it would be better to display your collection of herbs and vegetables in small pots. That way you have decoration and ingredients within easy reach. Place these near windows.

Floating shelves. Cabinets take up a lot of space. With floating shelves, you have storage and display at the same time. Show off your collection of kitchen tools instead of stuffing them in a drawer somewhere.

Mirrors. Installing mirrors in a kitchen might seem like a weird idea but did you know that mirrors can make a small space look bigger? It enhances the effect of light-colored walls and countertops.

Interesting floors. Add some personality to your kitchen by renovating the floors or adding a colorful rug. If the walls look plain, pick a pattern or color that pops out.

More light. A small space with good lighting will appear larger. Add more accent fixtures like mini chandeliers and pendants for a sophisticated look.

Repainted shelves. If you have the budget, have the shelves and drawers repainted so the kitchen does not look plain. Maybe you can match it with the color of your kitchen appliances or match the color of the ceiling.

Custom storage. Sometimes there are awkward corners in our home that we would rather hide like a corner or wall that looks small or disproportionate. You can have a custom-built cabinet or shelving installed so you can maximize what you already have.

Rosy walls. If you are not a fan of bright or dark colors, go for something that is light like rose paint or blush for your walls. You can also have matching countertops.

Monochrome. Black and white looks gorgeous even in a small kitchen. You will even have a lot of appliances and kitchen tools available to match the color scheme. To be effective, make sure that the white color is at the bottom (counters, floor, etc.) while the black color should be above the sink or on the upper kitchen cabinets.

Marble counters. Match the marble with black, white, and gold or bronze colored accents like light fixtures, bar stools, and cabinets to create a sophisticated kitchen.

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.

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