Michael 84

Blogging Tips

Blogger Camera Advice – Which Lens To Buy After 18-55mm Kit Lens?

Tuesday, 28th July, 2015

Blogger Photography Tips For Lenses

You’ve made the leap to a DSLR camera from a compact, you’ve had a lot of fun taking great photos with the kit lens you got with the camera, but where do you go from here?

What lens should you buy? If these are the questions you’re asking yourself, hopefully I can give you some advice from my experiences 🙂

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Canon EF-S 24mm F2.8 Lens

Wednesday, 24th June, 2015


I got another new lens for my camera 🙂

This is now the 5th lens in my little collection; I have the 18-55mm kit lens which I got with my Canon 600D camera, as well as getting a 250mm lens for longer shots. I then added the F1.8 50mm “nifty fifty” lens, and shortly after a Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 lens which I got for going to Reykjavik and has become my go to lens for most of the photos I take on here and in general. I love how wide the shots are, but for portraits it’s better to have something a bit more of a natural lens length, and so I went for this 24mm lens.

EF-S – Crop Sensor Cameras Only

One thing you may know about DSLR cameras is than most of them have cropped sensors; When I say most I’m talking about the vast majority of entry and mid level of cameras. What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, you don’t ‘get’ the length of lens which it states, that is the 35mm full frame equivalent. It’s cropped x1.6, which means that this 24mm lens is actually 38.4mm, which is almost the standard 35mm, so virtually the same perspective as the human eye.

You’ll know that if you have a 50mm lens then that will act as 80mm on a cropped sensor, and it’s really no good for portraits or getting a lot in a shot; I’ve used it to take a pic of my car for example and I had to stand so far back to get it all in the frame it was crazy. It is a really good lens for products, particularly getting close ups, and it lets a huge amount of light in since it’s 1.8F.

This 24mm lens is a Canon EF-S which is built for crop sensor cameras; It won’t even fit on a full frame camera. It’s a reasonably fast lens at F2.8 so it should be good both outside and indoors, and can focus down to 16cm too. It’s so tiny and light and really slims down the Canon 600D; I read another review which said it makes it more discrete, but let’s face facts it’s on a fairly large camera, a DSLR.

I look forward to seeing what this lens can do, and I will hopefully be using it for portrait shots soon. p.s. the pic in this shot was taken with the 50mm lens 😛

Lifestyle Blogging Tips – Blogger Or WordPress? The Comparisons

Tuesday, 23rd September, 2014

Blogger vs WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

Something which is asked a lot for new bloggers who are either looking to start a blog or thinking of switching their platform is: What is better, Blogger or WordPress? Here I’ll talk about Blogger and both versions of WordPress, which is the self hosted option (.org) as well as the WordPress platform (.com).

Over the past few weeks I’ve looked at why Blogger is better than WordPress, and I also wrote about why WordPress is better than Blogger. Here I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each platform.

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Blogging Tips – The Benefits Of WordPress Over Blogger

Tuesday, 16th September, 2014

Wordpress advantages over Blogger

Last time out we looked at why Blogger is better than WordPress. We concluded that WordPress was an amazing platform, but it’s not for everyone, especially those just starting out or don’t have the confidence or budget which a WordPress blog may require. However I love WordPress, it’s an amazing, powerful piece of blogging software I have used on and off for 10 years, including using it on my blog right here for around 4 years.

What is WordPress?

WordPress has gone from a solid piece of blogging software to an all singing, all dancing CMS (Content Management System). Blogging is still at it’s core, but now with so many developers and a huge community, there’s endless possibilities, from running a shop to forum and even your very own social network using the BuddyPress extension. Here I’ll be talking about the self hosted WordPress software, and not the WordPress.com platform similar to Blogger. WordPress software differs from 3rd party platforms because you have to install the software on your own server, which means buying some web hosting.

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Why Blogger Is Better Than A Self Hosted WordPress

Tuesday, 26th August, 2014

Reasons why Blogger Is Better Than WordPress

I LOVE WordPress, it’s the software this blog runs on, and it’s something I have used for over 10 years. I love everything about it; Free open source, a large, cool and helpful community and it’s just amazing software! If you asked me what the best software for running a blog or CMS (content management system), it would be an easy answer, WordPress! 😀

So if I think all of this why am I going to tell you why I think Blogger could be better? Easy – Although WordPress is amazing, it is not for everyone.

I have read a lot on other fashion and lifestyle blogs that are giving tips and advice and talking about how great WordPress is, and how it’s the only way. They are right about one thing, it is great, but it is not the only way. Some people are on Blogger and are thinking of changing to WordPress, and some want to start out and don’t know where to begin. First I would say read my blog on How To Start A Fashion Or Lifestyle Blog, and then consider Blogger as well as the other options.

People who have been on self-hosted options such as WordPress are trying to convince people that if they make the switch they’re blog will instantly become better and they’ll get millions of visitors. I must tell you it does not work that way.

Why would you choose Blogger over a self hosted WordPress?

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How To Start A Fashion Or Lifestyle Blog

Tuesday, 19th August, 2014


Blogging Tips On Starting A Fashion And Lifestyle Blog

Blogger Level – Beginner

So you’ve been reading some blogs on the internet, now you’re hooked. You love these blogs you read, and you’re thinking “I could do that”. You are right, you can, and here I will let you know how easy it is to start a blog; Whether your passion is fashion, lifestyle or anything in-between.

You can read my full story on my About Michael page, but I started this blog because I wanted to do something online which included all my favourite things, which is what Michael 84 is. It’s a blog about fashion and men’s lifestyle, which includes everything from my nights out to product reviews on things I’ve bought, or the latest news which has caught my eye.

There was not many guys blogging in this style or niche, so I thought it would be a good idea. I decided to start writing, creating, taking photos and coming up with ideas, and then this lifestyle blog was born.

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Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II

Tuesday, 12th August, 2014

canon 50mm 1.8 lens

I finally got myself a new lens, the infamous cheap “Nifty Ffity“. I read good reviews on this, and it’s a “must have” if you believe what you read. It has some good features such as 1.8f aperture which lets in a whole load of light which is great, coming from a 3.5f aperture on my lens kit. However the biggest problem is a one I feared about the lens, the 50mm is a bit of a problem. My camera is a 600D which is a cropped sensor, most entry level or mid level cameras are like this, which means that you don’t really get 50mm, it’s 1.6x (I believe) larger, so the focal range is about 80mm. This is not so brilliant for indoor shooting such as a portrait for an Outfit Of The Day for example. It’s also not too good for photographing clothing, you can’t fit the whole item in, for example with T-shirts or jeans.

This is however a good lens for outdoors, or if you plan on shooting things on tables, taking photos of something smaller or if you want to focus on a large part of something. It’s definitely a lens bloggers should have, and at only around £80 it’s probably going to be the cheapest lens you can buy.

I have never owned any super expensive, premium lenses, so I cannot compare those to this in terms of quality. Lots of people complain about the build quality, but I think this is fairly decent and solid. Yeah, it’s quite plastic, it’s really lightweight (not necessarily a bad thing) and if you read the reviews you’ll find most people saying the USM 50mm lens which is slightly faster at 1.4f is much better; It probably is, but it’s also more than 3x the price! If you’re the casual or amateur photographer and don’t want to spend a fortune it’s definitely worth the money for starting out, and if you decide you want something more premium then you can go from there, and take all the experience you’ve got with this lens.

Since it has such a large aperture it allows you have a large amount of bokeh, aka background blur. Here are a couple of sample shots I have taken, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

Canon EF 50mm 1.8F II Sample Shots

Flowers Sample Shot

Just some flowers 😀

Feel that bokeh! :D

Super Duper bokeh :mrgreen:

Best Budget Laptop For Blogging – Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite?

Thursday, 31st October, 2013


I have read many posts on people talking about what laptop you should be using for blogging, and I have to say, I get really annoyed with the hipster types basically saying “You need a MacBook Pro/Air”. This is so snobbish, and completely untrue. First of all, Macbooks are great, but they are no the be all and end all of computing. Furthermore, they are not even the most powerful, or the most bang for your buck, but that’s another story for another day 😉 It annoys me because it makes people think they need to spend £1000+ and use a computer with an Apple on the back or they have bought something rubbish. In many cases, it could be considered overkill depending on what you’re going to be doing.

Memory is not Hard Drive Space

This is a real pet hate of mine. Yes, I am a computer geek :mrgreen: It really bothers me when people talk about Hard Drive space, and think it has a performance difference to their computer. In general, it does not. Memory, or more accurately, RAM, does make a difference in performance.

Consider what you’re using your machine for

If you are doing general blogging, editing a couple of images, browsing the Internet, emails, word processing and so on then you don’t need a high end machine. It reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons when Homer wants a computer for the Internet and the salesman replies “You’ll need a top of the range one for that” :mrgreen: If you are doing large amounts of photo editing, video editing and production of that nature then the more power the better.

I have been looking at the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite, and think for a laptop which costs under £500, it’s pretty good! It’s more of an ultrabook than a laptop, which is a word used for the ultra thin, compact and sleek laptops.

What do you get?

First of all you get a stylish looking machine. 13.3″ screen, thin and light, it’s a pretty stylish looking machine. Let’s look at the spec:

  • Weight – 1.6KGs
  • Quad Core 1.4ghz
  • 4GB RAM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB 3.0, Card Reader
  • 128GB SSD Drive
  • Windows 8

The CPU is not the best, but something this machine has which most others in this price range don’t is the Hard Drive. 128GB is not huge by today’s standard, but it’s an SSD. That stands for Solid State Drive, these are usually found in higher end machines, and are lightning fast in comparison to older, hard drives, which need time to spin up. The immediate advantage of this is faster loading programs, but perhaps more importantly fast boot times, you should be able to start this laptop up in only 8 seconds.

If you’re looking for a cheaper ultrabook or you’re on a budget, this has to be a serious contender. Sure there are more powerful options such as a Sony Vaio PRO or MacBook Pro, but it’s less than half the price.

If you love this and want a touchscreen you can get that version for only £80 more. This model is currently on Amazon for £477, and you can have it in either a black or white finish.


Blogging Tips – Advertising: How To Spot A “Fake” Advertiser

Wednesday, 23rd January, 2013


When you start to generate traffic to your blog and get visitors and a following, you will almost certainly get contacted by marketers, stores and PR people who want to advertise on your blog. At this point you may be thinking great, lots of money will be rolling in, but you have to ask yourself, at what cost?

First you have to understand who is contacting you. There are a few different types of people who will contact you. The 3 main types are: The brand/company directly, an external PR company, and an SEO guy/company (usually external, sometimes internal).

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Fashion Blogging Tips – How To Get Started

Sunday, 15th July, 2012


So you want to blog? Well, getting a blog started and online is a very easy process. There are many services out there which you can use to start a blog, some free, others are not.

Why Blog?

Having a blog can be great fun, and you can have your own space on the Internet which you can use to do pretty much anything with. There are thousands of fashion blogs out there, with new ones being started every day.

What do you need?

To start all you need is an idea. You have to decide what you want to blog about, and make sure that you are focused and are able to write about the subject you pick. Even if you write about fashion, this can be drilled down into a specific area of fashion; High end, vintage, personal, magazine style and more. You have to choose the direction you want to take your blog in, and think about what people would want to read about.

Content is very important. Whether it is images, text or both, you have to have good content which is fresh, and is what people will want to read. It is important you maintain a steady flow of content, to keep your readers interested and coming back. It is not a good idea to post 10 items in one day and then nothing for months. Spread it out, if you only want to write once or twice a week make sure you still to that so your readers know what to expect from your blog.

So you have your idea, and you have content ready to go, how do you get it online and on the Internet? The two methods I will talk about are the free option and paid option.

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