The Tech Report

Some of the most frequestly asked questions all answered in this Tech Report. From the cameras and lenses I use for my flat lays, editing apps and programs to get all the images you see on my feed.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II with EF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM II Zoom and EF 50mm F1.4 USM  This I have always nicknamed ‘My Baby’ as at the time it cost me a lot of money. This is the first DSLR I ever bought straight out of university and has been with me since. This has got me though countless photoshoots for clients for my design work and now is used for all content creation, blog posts and flat lays on my Instagram. Being such a bulky (and heavy) camera it is not the most practical, but sometimes even when I travel I have to commit to lugging it around if I want nice high quality images.

Olympus OMD M10 Mark III with 17mm lens I bought this camera purely for travel, having always been a Canon user this is my first Olympus and has yet to disappoint. Much like a DSLR but a very compact version with the ability to interchange the lenses depending on the type of photos or zoom you might need. I have used this occasionally for flat lays, the flip out screen is great to see what you are doing when you are shooting overhead. It’s a happy medium between a typical DSLR and a compact camera, although with the lens attached it is still a little bulky to fit into a handbag, but great for travel when you usually have your camera strapped to you at the hip. Also this has a great bluetooth feature so you can download your photos straight to your phone and edit immediately.

iPhone 8 Plus  The only thing I use this for is for social media content like Insta stories, occasionally I may take the odd ‘out and about’ shot or café/coffee shot, but I rarely would use this for my feed. Whilst the cameras have improved it's still not great in low light so I would never use this for client work. Usually it would require a lot of editing which then affects the overall quality of the image. However, still an amazing camera to have when out and about, its always on you so there isn’t an excuse to say you have missed an opportunity for an Insta pic.

Initially when I started my design business I worked off a lap top (a large 15inch bulky MacBook Pro) but this was never a good thing as I didn’t have proper desk to work from and found that my neck was what would suffer. But in saying that it lasted a good 10 years before the mouse and dvd drive stopped working! Years later I have the best of both worlds, a desktop and a laptop.

iMac - 27 inch Retina 4k display Never an easy purchase to make ($$$) but a well worth investment as it is the primary basis of my business, without it I don’t exist! I use it for everything, absolutely everything including graphic design (its got a little more grunt when it comes to working in Adobe), editing photography and admin. Being a desktop it stays in a separate office space which leaves my work life and home life different entities rather than being on a laptop and moving around the house trying to get work done (never going to happen). I find that I am most productive when I’m in front of a computer. The perks of having a huge screen, especially in design and photography, I can get things nice and big on screen or split into multiple windows. Also takes the strain off your eyes when you spend so much screen time you need to look after your eyes. The only issue I have had so far is the mouse that drives me absolutely crazy the amount of times it needs new batteries so I have invested in a Logitech mouse (which has 90% less click noise which is great, because how annoying is the constant click!) which I have yet to change the batteries in over a year, win!

13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID  A laptop is always a convenient way of working whilst travelling and on the go. With my design work it’s a great way to portably take concepts and designs on a screen to show clients. However, it is too small to actually edit and design from, but when necessary its very convenient and allows me to get things done on the go, easily hotspot to transfer files or emails immediately. I have to say being such an Apple geek, I was sold on the Touch Bar and Touch ID, anything gimmicky  I just have to give it a go. I didn’t think I would get much use out of it, but it does have this strange way of knowing exactly what button, type or action you need to do one step ahead of you. So my excuse for this would be its more efficient, so I like to tell myself! Although, because it is so portable I do find I am likely to procrastinate or try work from the couch or bed which is always a bad move.

The Tech Report - Design By Aikonik 1

SOFTWARE– Laptop and Desktop
Photoshop Probably my most used program. For editing my photography and Instagram images. Great for retouching (make the content aware tool your friend) and cleaning up imperfections. I am basically self taught from my university days, but there is nothing you can find now on a simple YouTube video if you get stuck.

 Mostly for my design print work for clients I create, documents, posters, advertisements, brochures,stationery. Also for moodboards and client briefs so that everything is presented professionally. When I design, a lot of the time clients will judge you on your design work down to your own brief layout or business card, so you want everything to look as pro as possible.

 Whether this be on my phone (when travelling) or on my computer this is my go to program for everything photo editing. Usually in order that it appears on the side bar I work down from exposure, contrast, clarity, shadows, whites, saturation, colour (where you can edit colour one at a time, which solves all those yellow and blues to create true whites – thank me later!), sharpness. It's nice and simple to use if you are just starting out. When you get a little more experience you can cut time and create your own presets so that in a click of a button your editing is done and allows you to create a seamless colour theme for your Insta feed.

 Always for design work, again when designing logos, dealing with typography or creating vectors.

 I would generally only use this on images that I have taken on my iPhone. A great app to achieve quick editing to brighten and add some contrast. A little fiddly when it comes to doing manual spot healing with your finger, but sometimes a few taps is all you need.

InShot An app that has taken off that allows you to play with building layers of video and images for your Instagram, video or stories. Also with some special effects that can change the look of your videos, takes a little extra time to edit, but well worth doing to engage your audience or simply to add more to each story so that your not bombarding your following with a million stories a day.

Unfold A new app I have recently come across which allows you to create all your Insta stories if you have multiple pages in a row. With already to go templates you can add images and videos to really spruce up your stories and create more interest.  

Let me know if there are any other questions I can answer. I think I got my most frequently asked. But please remember ultimately its not the equipment or the program/app that will create the perfect photo or in my case flat lay. At the end of the day the equipment/program is purely just a tool to use to capture and enhance the final outcome. Photography/design takes time and practice.

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