Think Beyond the Big Box...

Camera Hacks Tested and True

Each day there is a new “life hack” video on social media. People are loving this idea of cheap and easy ways to get the same result. I have seen a great deal of “hacks” regarding photography. I myself have done photography for many years and was curious about the legitimacy of these tips. Of course, I had to put them to the test.

I have a Canon t5i Rebel camera. This week, I put each of these hacks to the test both on manual mode and automatic mode.

I’ll show you what my camera looked like with the “gear” and the results from the shot.

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Hack #1: Get a sandwich bag and cut the bottom off. Wrap the bag around your lens with a rubber band or hair tie and shoot on either manual or automatic mode. It will create a haze glow around your subject.

I was actually very surprised at how much I liked this tip. Sure, you had to readjust the bag several times around the frame of your subject. I liked it with and without the flash on manual and the automatic mode. I give this one a thumbs up!

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Hack #2: Finish up your can of chips and cut the bottom off. The shiny interior creates a perfect place to bounce light. It will create perfect studio look, even if you’re just in your living room.

I doubted this one the most out of all of them. However, I was pleasantly surprised again and how much of a difference it made. The light was targeted directly around my face giving the spot light effect. My next attempt is going to be in a darker room.

Note: When I think of studio shot, I think of indoors. I don’t know what kind of effect this might have outside at night. Try it yourselves and let us know what you think!

original                            result

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Hack #3: Grab a pair of old tights and gently stretch them across your lens. Wrap it with a rubber band to keep it in place. The tights will help soften the light in your shot. Tip! Use different colors of tights to get some fun images!

Don’t count me in for using this one again. The tights made it very hard to focus on the subject on either manual or automatic mode. It just looked like you had something covering your lens as a mistake. It may possibly be better with something significantly thinner like panty hose. The tights did not do well.

original                           result

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Hack #4: Sometimes the flash on a camera can be annoying to the subject’s eyes or showing up in the wrong place in the image. To fix that, take a business card and cut two little slits on the bottom short side. Netsle that onto your hot shoe or the flash popper while its up. Now that light will be redirected upwards!

Honestly, I am not 100% sure how I feel about this. With a few more tests, I might find a good opportunity to use it. I wanted to demonstrate this trick on inanimate objects to show you where the reflections and light ended up. It certainly did its job redirecting the light. However, I think with how much it redirected, you might as well just not use the flash.

original                            result

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Hack #5: If you are playing around and are looking for something fun. Try adding some self-made vignettes to your image. Take black card stock paper and create a lens cover. Cut a shape out of the center of you newly made lens cover. Hold it up and snap away!

This was kind of a fun variation on framing and adding that vignette. In many of the examples, they recommended you tape your newly created lens cover to the body of your camera. Personally, I liked being able to move it back and forth to better my image. The only thing I didn’t love about this trick is how much black is in the image. I think I would cut a bigger shape next time.

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Overall, I was very impressed with these tricks and hacks! These are great ideas to add a little something extra to your images. Try them out and let us know how they worked for you!

 

Computer Mouse Tricks You Need to Know

 

If you don’t already know these tricks, this is going to be a major time saver for you! I found one by accident and realized, “Hey! There must be more out there!” I have compiled a list of some that will help you significantly. These tricks are applicable in web browsers as well as many programs like Microsoft Word.

Using the left button of your mouse:

  • Double click on a word and it highlights the whole word
  • Triple click and it highlights the whole paragraph
  • Put your curser over where you want to start, click, and let go. Now, move your cursor to the end of where you want to select, hold SHIFT and click! It highlighted everything in between!
  • If you want to copy a whole paragraph, highlight it and hold CTRL and drag it to where you want it to go!
  • Same concept, if you highlight and hold SHIFT

Using the Wheel of your mouse:

  • You can use this for scrolling AND clicking! The wheel is a button that you can use when browsing the internet. If you click the wheel on a web link, it will open up a new tab automatically with that link rather than using the tab you’re already in!
  • Hold down CTRL and scroll the wheel at the same time, and you can zoon in and out.
  • Instead of scrolling a up or down a million pages, click the wheel, slightly move your mouse, and viola! You are zipping to the top or bottom of the past faster than you know!
  • Middle click on a tab in your browser to instantly close it.

I hope you learned at least one new trick today. Go ahead and test them all out! It has helped me during my work day to effectively navigate my browsers and documents.

Five Things Every Office Work Space Needs

Everyone has that one item that makes their work day more productive. It may be your favorite pen, a ball of rubber bands, or maybe even a jar of candy!

There are countless items that can improve your productivity. Here are the top five that other people say that can’t work without:

 

5.  Snacks

Everyone has that one hour in the day that their body wants to take a nap. When your at work, that is not a possibility. You got things to do and people to help! But your eyes are still getting heavy. You need a little bit of a pick me up! Chewing gum can help keep your brain chugging along. Chocolate can give you a sweet burst of energy to carry you through. Whatever your preference, get a couple packages of them and store them in your desk drawer for when it is really needed!

http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=candy

 

4. Cleaning Wipes

For some people, your workspace is your home away from home. Areas such as your keyboard, phone, and monitors can collect a lot of dust and particles. Just like keeping your house clean, you often need to do a routine clean up of your desk.  It’s a good chance to take a breath, clear your head and your workspace.

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/CLO/30112/1021069987

 

3. Framed Photos

Again, this is your space! You should take care of it so you feel at home. Bring in a few photos of your family or your puppy to give you a smile throughout the day.

Plus, here at Porter’s we believe the bigger the better. If you want a poster sized photo of your puppy, we got you covered!

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/DAX/2863U2X/1010067079

 

2. Stress Relief Items

Sometimes the best ideas come when you are thinking hard and keeping your hands busy with a stress ball or a fidget spinner.

Check out the ones we have here at Porter’s Office Supply!

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/POP/BLUECOW/217627169

http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=fidget

 

1. Calendar/To Do List

The key to productivity is to be productive of course! There is a lot to remember and events can sneak up on you! It is important to have something to keep track of dates whether it is pocket sized or desktop size.

http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=calendar

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/AAG/7003505/11957845

 

Don’t let your workspace be a place you don’t want to be. Add some flare, personality, and flexibility to it! These items will help you be more productive and feel better about your work day.

 

photo credit: Julie Bonner

5 Home Office Color Schemes That Will Make You Want to Redecorate

Black and White

A black and white office is perfect if want a classy and more modern look. The monochrome color scheme is an especially good choice for those of you that don’t have the best eye for interior design-because if everything is black and white everything will match (every time!)

 

All White

There’s just something about an all white color scheme that makes the room feel bigger and more open. You definitely don’t want to feel claustrophobic or crowded in your own work space. If you ever do-switch to white for a brighter and cleaner feel!

Rose Gold

Lack of color isn’t for everyone. If you’re feeling too bland, try adding in a pop of rose gold! Rose gold is the color of 2017. If you feel like your cubicle is getting a little boring, a few rose gold accessories is a great way to change up your space.

Red

We all know different colors can affect our mood and the way we feel. Well, I think everyone should feel empowered at work! That’s why red-the power color-is a great option during your next office makeover.

Green

Now, I’m not talking about green walls or green notepads. I’m talking about PLANTS! Plants clean the air, reduce stress, and the space just overall fresher and brighter. If you don’t have any plants, I recommend starting off with a snake plant, a little cactus, or a succulent. They don’t need much water, don’t take up too much space and they look super good in a boring corner!


Shop our office accessories here and don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest!

Back to School

A great school year starts now! Make a smooth transition with our back-to-school supplies and must haves for the classroom or the home. From teacher to student we have you covered.

 

DESK: This desk gives the students the ability to stand and move. Patented Swinging Pendulum Footrest Bar (fidget bar) allows students to redirect excess energy and engage in continuous motion that may help support ergonomic comfort and cardiovascular health while potentially increasing calorie burn, productivity and focus. Phenolic resin open shelf and steel book box provide easily accessible storage area for school supplies and personal items.
STOOL: Adjustable-Height Student Stool gives students the option of swinging their legs for continuous movement, which may facilitate better breathing and lumbar support with slouch-free, “open-angled” posturing.
NOTEBOOK: One-subject, college-ruled notebook features movable, pocket tabbed dividers to efficiently organize your work. Durable plastic covers and pockets reliably protect your notes from being damaged.
PENCIL: Wood-case No. 2 pencils feature a rounded, hexagonal shape for easy writing. Latex-free eraser is smudge-resistant for clean erasing.
FILLER PAPER: Standard filler paper is three-hole punched to fit any standard three-ring binder or folder. Each sheet features a red margin line and faint blue ruling.
DESK CADDY: Simple. Smart. Sturdy. This environmentally responsible, recycled plastic organizer keeps your writing tools and other essentials handy for use.
STAPLERS: Stapler offers ergonomic stand-up design that takes up less desk space than conventional desktop staplers

Safety at Work

Every construction site or other working environment that could be dangerous or hazardous needs to be handled safety. In order to provide employees safe and healthy work environment, there are criteria that need to be met. If you have questions about how to handle certain environments at work please refer to www.whistleblowers.gov or (https://www.osha.gov/workers/index.html) Workers’ Rights on the OSHA website. You can also reach out to OSHA directly by calling 1-800-321-6742.

We have all the equipment necessary for a safe day in the work place.

Safety Helmets– In order to prevent concussion from falling objects, hard hats are necessary to keep you safe at work. These also prevent against low hanging wires that could pass an electrical current through the body.

Safety Masks– To prevent inhalation of toxic substances, dirt and debris, or other vapor, use a mask. There are many particles in the air that over years can build up in the lungs causing illness and disease. This is something that could really save your life! Don’t let the heat discourage you from wearing your mask!

Safety Vests– Want to be seen? Get safety a vest! If you are working on a jobsite at night you may even consider getting reflectors on your vest to be seen by passing vehicles.

Safety Glasses– This should be a top priority! Eyes are very sensitive, so sensitive that you can feel a 3 cm hair moving around. Safety glasses can protect your eyes from hazardous liquids and flying objects. Never forget how important your eyesight is! On a jobsite it could be gone in seconds.

Safety Gloves– There are many different types of gloves on the market and each job requires you to research and find the gloves right for the activity. You wouldn’t see gardening gloves in an ER or latex gloves in an auto shop. Be smart and research which gloves would be right for your project.

Ear Protection– With time human’s hearing goes bad, so why quicken that process? There are many different types of protection so choose the one that is most comfortable for you.

Safety Signs– Always be aware of your surroundings! Have an escape plan and know what obstacles you are surrounded by daily in your working environment.

 

Staying Hydrated

Water Pouring into Bottle ca. 2001

Summer is coming and coming fast! College students are filling the parks, families are starting to play outside, and people are starting to go on long walks with their pets. Don’t forget to hydrate as the temperature rises.

As humans, we are made up of 60-70% water. Fluid balance is important when staying outside for long periods of time. We need just the right amount of water and electrolytes, but consuming too much water can cause intoxication.

According to the CDC, water helps keep body temperature regulated, lubricates your joints, protects sensitive tissues such as your spinal cord, and gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. We also need more liquids in warmer climates, when running a fever, or excreting more fluid than normal from our bodies (“Drinking”).

Do not be afraid that bottled water, sports drinks, or soda contain bacteria. These drinks are protected under the 1974 Drinking Water Act when the FDA became responsible for ensuring the standards of the EPA are met. Tap water and bottled water must meet certain criteria the FDA (for bottled water) and EPA (for tap water) have set. They are then sampled, analyzed, and approved (Commissioner).

Some tips to remain hydrated are:

-always keep a water bottle with you

-try to drink a glass of water with every meal

-choose foods that have a higher water volume, such as, fruits or vegetables

-when playing sports or doing activities outside make it a competition to see who can drink more water

-put lemon/lime in your water if you do not like the taste

-try to avoid soda which can cause dehydration

 

Works Cited:

Commissioner, Office Of the. “Consumer Updates – Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping It Safe.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Office of the Commissioner, 28 June 2010. Web. 14 June 2017.

“Drinking Water.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 05 Oct. 2016. Web. 14 June 2017.

Power Accessibility and Workplace Safety

Power Accessibility and Workplace Safety

Whether we realize it or not, we’ve all seen buildings with poor planning when it comes to power outlets. Think of an airport, an educational facility, or even your own office. If you have devices that need to be plugged in, you are restricted to the area within a few feet of a wall outlet. People end up “camped out” on the floor by the wall (sometimes in terribly inconvenient locations) so they can plug in a laptop or phone. Have you ever walked out of a classroom and almost tumbled over someone sitting on the floor with a laptop and their legs stretched out? Then you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Or how about this scenario: your business is relocating and turning a large office into a conference room. You want power in your conference table but there are no outlets in the floor, only in the wall. The quick and easy solution would be an extension cord and a rubber cord cover to bring power from the wall to the center of the room. While this solution is indeed easy and fast, is it the safest? Exposed cords on the floor (or even ones with a rubber cover) can pose a tripping hazard to those using the space, and can also get in the way of chairs if they are being rolled throughout the room.

How can both issues be put right? By providing power access in the center of a room, not just in the walls. Steelcase has provided a solution that is not only affordable and safe, it can be used in existing buildings without the need to core drill or trench into concrete subfloors! Steelcase Thread is a power solution that integrates easily into any space by routing power through a 3/16” high track that is installed beneath the carpet. The track has ‘ramps’ on either side, providing a safe solution that does not cause a tripping hazard. With Thread, floor monuments and freestanding power hubs can be installed almost anywhere in a room, allowing users to plug in from a centrally located seating area or work table without having cords running to the wall. Conference rooms also benefit from having power directly below where the table needs to plug in – no cords laying on the floor!

No matter the setting, Thread can help you make the most of your office’s real estate. With a simple installation process, low profile, and affordable price, Thread is a solution that is changing the way people think about power distribution. Ask the Porter’s Office Products Furniture team to learn more about how Thread can be integrated into your space!

Images provided by Steelcase. Visit https://www.steelcase.com/products/computer-support/thread/ for more information.

Safety in the Workplace

We all know the warning signs we see when in a car. The stop signs, crossing signs, and stop lights all keep us safe on the road. At home, we are all in charge of making our houses safe in the best ways we can for ourselves and our families. In the work environment, in can be hard to adjust to the new area and understand what is needed to remain safe. There are many tips we have for you to do your best to keep yourself and others safe while at work.

Be Aware

The most important thing to remember when trying to remain safe in the office is to be aware of your surroundings. Always concentrate on where you are going instead of texting or listening to loud music while walking. There may be a wet floor sign or something harmful on the ground that you could miss if you are not concentrating on where you are stepping. It’s very important to have your ears open too, just in case you don’t see those harms but someone else is there to warn you.

Company Policies

When you first are hired, talk with your boss about safety regulations. Ask about what the policy is on robberies, lockdowns, fires, and any other emergency you can think of. Memorize the lockdown drill and where the best emergency exits are located. If your boss assigns you an emergency role, be responsible for learning it. Your role could be pushing an alarm button or putting out a small fire in your designated area with a fire extinguisher. Whatever it is, make sure you practice it in your mind over and over until you have it down so that you can have a clear mind during an emergency.

Fire Safe Area

It is very important to try to keep your own area safe. One of the ways to do that is to make sure it is fire safe. Make sure your desk isn’t always cluttered, because then it becomes harder to contain if a little fire begins. You should make it a priority to protect important items and documents by using fire safe file cabinets or safes. Also, make sure that file cabinets, carrying cases, and other large objects are not obstructing your path to the fire exits. Every day, take a small break and walk your path to the nearest fire exits. Make sure that nobody has put anything in the way that could prevent you or others from getting out of the building.

Individual Safety

Now that the obvious physical safety concerns have been met, let’s talk a little more about mental, emotional, and internal health. An everyday office job can have horrible effects on a person’s well-being. Stress overloads often occur, depression can settle in, heart disease, back pain, and other horrible problems can easily become a reality to any worker. The mental and emotional problems from work can be reversed simply by decluttering and reorganizing your mind. Many people hold in more stress than is needed. Little things like to-do lists to get your thoughts on paper, listening to music, using a fidget pen or spinner, cleaning your desk at the end of the day, and taking short breaks can do a lot to improve your productivity and emotions. As for the back pain, what type of chair you have and how you sit in it can affect you greatly. If you can, try to find the best chair for you, and maybe even get a back support or footrest if you need. Make sure that you do your best to have good posture and often stand up, even if just for a minute every hour. The more short, walking breaks you take throughout the day, the less likely you are to gain weight and increase your risk for heart disease.

Sitting Well at Work

No two people sit the same. Which means nobody should be subject to sitting in an office chair that is suited for someone else. In fact, sitting in the wrong chair can have a long-term negative effect on your body. So how can you tell if your chair offers you the proper support?

Maintaining correct posture requires that your feet be flat on the floor with your knees and hips both bent at a 90-degree angle. Your lower back should be supported by your chair and your shoulders should be relaxed. The ideal position for your keyboard is having your elbows bent to about 90-degrees and your forearms and wrists level or slightly tiled downward to avoid strain on the wrists. Additionally, your computer monitor should be at or slightly below your eye level so your neck is not straining to look up at the screen.

So, what role does your desk chair play in helping you with proper posture? Ideally, you should be able to adjust the height to allow your feet to be flat on the floor. Chairs with a seat depth adjustment give you the opportunity to move your seat pan back so the back of your knees do not rest right against the seat pan, which can cause poor circulation to the legs. An adjustable lumbar will allow you to properly support your lower back. Finally, many chairs come with a seat tilt/tension lock or adjustment, so you can change how much resistance you feel when you lean back in your chair. The best chair for you will have all the adjustments necessary to provide comfort over a long period of time through proper support of your body.

But it’s not just your chair that can help how you sit! Other items like a keyboard tray and monitor arms will help you adjust your keyboard and computer monitor to be at the correct ergonomic height to not cause strain on your shoulders and neck. Having equipment that truly supports the way you work can benefit you both physically and mentally throughout your work day. When you sit well, you can work well!

Have questions about chairs and what kind is best for you? Contact the Porter’s Furniture Team and we can help you find the perfect fit!