Architecture / Aside / Design / Food / Interiors / Photography / STUDIO e*

Box of Tricks

As I downloaded yet another useful photography tool onto my iPhone, I stopped to think about all the amazing resources I use on a daily basis.  All the websites, apps and portals that help me create, file, share and learn.

It’s honestly mind boggling to contemplate the sheer number of inspirational, credible and FREE online resources we have at our fingertips.  You can quite literally teach yourself new skills, techniques – even an entire craft – through online learning.  I follow a number of hugely successful self-taught photographers who have used online forums, e-books and how-to posts and videos to master their craft.  And because the times are changing so rapidly, online education is often the most up to date and interactive.

Aside from the obvious – Google, Gmail and Amazon and the like – here are a few of my favourite and FREE internet resources.  Many of them will be familiar, but hopefully there will be a few newbies for you to discover.

1. CreativeLIVE

In 2010, online education catapulted into the stratosphere when CreativeLIVE was born.  CreativeLIVE is an online space where the world’s top creatives are connected – LIVE – with a global audience of aspiring creative professionals.  Yip, this is FREE education people!  And from some of the best global educators and creatives on the planet.  CreativeLIVE educators include the likes of Michael Port, Sue Bryce, Jasmine Star, Lindsay Adler and Pam Slim, covering topics like photography, business, software, design, video, film and lifestyle.  The quality of education is unmatched.  Plus, if you miss the live sessions or rebroadcasts, you can buy their (very competitively priced) workshops for any-time learning.

2. TED Talks

When I feel like a bolt of inspiration, I head over to the Ted Talks website which hosts short lectures by many of the world’s great thinkers and creatives.  My favourite talks include Sheryl Sandberg on why we have too few women leaders, Simon Sinek on inspiring great action and of course Steve Jobs on how to live before you die.

3. Dropbox

You’ve honestly been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of – or aren’t making use of – this fabulous tool.  Dropbox makes my work life so much easier.  It’s a free tool that enables the sharing of really large files.  They magically pop right onto your recipient’s computer making image transfer an absolute breeze.   Simple. Genius.

4. Spotify

I alluded to this platform in a recent post.  Free music!  If you upgrade to premium, you lose the ads plus get all your music on all your devices.  If I’m not listening to a workshop on CreativeLIVE, I’m listening to my Spotify music.

5. VSCO Cam & VSCO Grid

VSCO Cam is a sleek, contemporary (almost free) mobile phone editing app that is as far away from nasty retro Instagram-style filters and vignetting as you can get.  I edit my shots in VSCO Cam and then upload them straight to Instagram.  VSCO Grid is a very niche little product.  VSCO grids are free online photo galleries where you can upload all your favourite VSCO-edited images.  I love its simplicity plus all the other gorgeous VSCO grids made by other like-minded photographers!

6. Issuu

A publishing tool that turns boring pdfs into magazine style documents.  As a magazine and image-lover, this is a very useful digital, storytelling tool.

7. Instagram 

I wrote about this in a previous post.  The addiction deepens . . .

8. Lynda Teach yourself!

I haven’t explored this resource as much as I need to but suffice to say that you can teach yourself some pretty complicated software in a matter of days.  Brilliant.

9. Evernote

My husband swears by this.  As a prolific e-note taker, I really need to move over to this app which connects, collates and cross-pollinates all your data.  I have thousands of PDFs, notes, websites, recipes etc sitting in various spots on my iPhone, iPad, laptop and in my physical notebooks.  It takes a bit of time, but once I have those uploaded to Evernote, I’ll be the most organised I’ve ever been.

10. The Design Files

The most visited and celebrated Australian-centric design blog.  And for good reason.  Beautifully curated and edited with some great photography.

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