We humans tend to make the worst decisions when stressed or overwhelmed. Our lives are so busy with constant deadlines and crammed schedules. The pace itself can create stress and burnout over time, but even worse it can clutter your focus and dis-connect your senses.
Some old sayings state that “life happens when you are busy making other plans” and that we should “stop and smell the roses”.
I’m sure you´ve heard it before – but the thing is, we tend to forget it when life gets busy.
Don’t get me wrong, slowing down is not about moving through life at a snail’s pace. Slow living calls for you to bring intention + attentionto the tempo of your life and your mental state.
It’s about slowing down to make things right – for you and your loved ones!
It’s about finding a “sweet spot” for living; a personally optimal rhythm for life that serves YOU the best. So you can be challenged without being overwhelmed and you can feel recharged without being passive.
When life get’s hectic, you begin to miss out on the nuanced textures of life – the delicious taste of a good cup of coffee, the subtle changes in a flower, the quiet beauty of a Sunday morning, or the feeling of a warm bath. Time and mental space is critical for this absorption and for stimulating your senses + it improves your creativity!
The truth is that to re-connect with yourself and find more peace and calm in life, you don´t have to make BIG changes. Think baby steps. Just breathing deeply and becoming present in the moment is enough to activate calmness and positive change.
Pay attention to the small stuff. When you take little moments during your day to notice these “small” everyday things, you will automatically reduce your fast pace and live more mindfully.
When you slow down and become present you make better decisions, because you´re able to focus on what matters most.
Growing up, I was a creative, sensitive, free spirit trapped in a super organized, controlled environment full of rules. Now, don´t get me wrong, my childhood was good, and my parents loved me.
But being put in such a strict, disciplined zone made me feel like I was the black sheep of the family. I was always the problem, the trouble maker, the rebellion, the rule-breaker.
It turned me into a person who hated discipline, and at the same time, I had to show extreme self-discipline to get attention and love from my parents. It was hard work, to be honest, and my mind was always on overwork.
I firmly believe I was born to do creative work. From a very young age, I constantly had a ton of ideas and creative projects lined up in my head. And when I wasn’t in school I would spend all my time creating, drawing, painting, designing, writing, photographing, dancing and the list goes on.
My parents did not believe it was possible to make a living as an artist or creative entrepreneur, so I had no support when it came to my artistic abilities. They believed in hard work and high education – and they also believed that you should be happy for whatever job you could get.
I knew in my heart that I wanted more for myself. I wanted a fabulous life and a career I would be madly in love with – nothing less. For me, it was all or nothing.
As a young adult, my life turned into a battle field between my creative self and my inner perfectionist. Instead of setting myself free of my childhood, I started to think, live and do as my parents taught me. It totally killed my creativity, and I ended up being super depressed.
Later in my twenties, while I was studying psychology, human behavior and coaching I began to see the world differently. And I discovered two things that changed my life:
1. To be happy I had to let go of the desire to please everybody and stop following other people’s vision of the perfect life. I was born to honor my heart’s desire and follow my dreams.
2. Discipline, planning, and rules are not enemies to fight, they are resources. By using these resources to my advantage, I became more creative, happy and satisfied. I was able to blend my creative soul with the resources of discipline and create my dream life super fast.
Since then I´ve used self-discipline, healthy routines, and planning to design my dream life, build a 6-figure business and live a happy life with my family.
You see, here´s the thing: success comes with a price called self-discipline – especially for creative solo-entrepreneurs and reality is that many creatives hate the idea of self-discipline, routines, and planning.
Nevertheless, embracing positive, healthy lifestyle habits can help you achieve incredible success with your business.
So if you have BIG ambitions (as many creatives do because they dare to dream big), then here’s some SUPER POWERFUL habits to include in your daily routine:
#1: Wake Up Early
I know it’s tempting to stay in bed for as long as possible, but getting up just one hour earlier gives you 7 hours more a week and 28 hours more a month to work on your creative business. Imagine what you can do with those extra hours.
Let your competition sleep while you build your empire at high speed. Most people work more efficiently and focused in the morning, so you will be able to double your productivity.
#2: Eat For Optimal Mind Performance
What you put into your body first thing in the morning will impact your whole day. Feed your brain and your body only the best. I recommend drinking lemon water, or green juice and take some supplements. Personally, I´m a super fan of Omega 3, for optimum brain function and a positive mood. And just to be clear – there´s no need to live a strict diet or be fanatic.
Go for the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, well prepared food and 20% well..not so healthy. I love wine, gourmet food, and lazy days in bed with Netflix eating chocolate, and for me allowing myself to do this from time to time, are important aspects of living a quality life.
But, I also know that the brain and body needs POWER FOOD to help you be the happiest and the most successful I can be. It´s about finding the balance and eating for optimal mind performance.
#3. Do Your Most Important Task First
Before you go to bed at night plan what 1-3 things you will prioritize the next day. Then when you start working in the morning go straight to that list.
Follow through because this is truly the key to building a successful business. Make sure your most important tasks are related to your goals. For optimal focus shut down social media + phone while you work.
#4. Take a Break Every 90 Minutes
Psychologists have discovered that people can only focus on tasks for about 90 minutes at a time. This explains why we’re prone to falling into the social media vortex after working for awhile.
Instead of attempting to push through, go for a walk, stretch your body, jump on a trampoline, eat a healthy snack, drink water, meditate or dance to some funky music. You will come back with a fresh mind and a happy body.
#5. Study Something Every Day
Close the gap between where you are and where you want to be by learning something new every day. Choose topics related to your creative field and type of niche.
Take courses, read blogs, and books. Look for ways to incorporate learning into your daily routines. For example, I like to listen to podcasts when I walk my dogs, it´s the perfect way for me to grow my knowledge while getting some fresh air.
#6. Move Your Body
Many tests have shown that the most innovative, creative ideas come to you while exercising – especially with endurance training. When you move your body, your creative mind will automatically follow. All the endorphins that release during exercise will help you stay focused, happy and get great ideas.
#7. Look at Your Goals Daily
This is super important. People who look at their goals daily are 70% more likely to reach them. Looking at your goals daily will ensure a sharp focus and keep you on the right track. Where attention goes, energy flows.
#8. Organize and Systemize
Find ways to organize and simplify your life. Make it easy for yourself to get the right things done. Find systems that can run by themselves so you can focus on more important things.
Prepare in advance, delegate what you can delegate and say no to all things that´s not inspiring to you or increase your income.
#9. Make Celebration Your Fuel
If you don´t take the time to celebrate and live a fabulous life, you will lose motivation and momentum. Celebration is the fuel you need to keep going.
Find ways to turn your life into a party. Laugh, go out, eat gourmet, drink champagne, travel, go to a spa, a hotel, give yourself a present, buy flowers and so on. SPOIL yourself! You deserve it.
#10. Be Your Own Best Friend
Be mindful about how you talk to yourself. This is crucial. If you´re always criticizing yourself, you´ll never ever be able to create the successful life you desire.
So no matter how you feel about yourself, make sure to TALK nicely and kindly with your inner voice. Think of yourself as your own coach.
How would a coach talk to you? Find that supportive voice within yourself. It changes everything!
There are so many different lenses on the market. Each one of them serves a specific purpose, depending on what you are photographing. If you are not careful, you can quickly end up spending a bunch of money on lenses.
So what are the best choices for food and still life photography? I think it´s very personal what you prefer and it also depends on the style you´re going for. The answer to this question might be different depending on who you ask, but today I´ll share my favorite four lenses.
I´ve been a full time lifestyle photographer for more than 7 years and my recommendations are based on hours and hours working in the studio shooting everything from food, flowers, still, and interior.
Lens nr. 1: Canon 50mm Prime
In reality, the truth is, that you can manage with one lens for food and still life photography. That lens is the 50mm. I recommend it to all my students.
It´s perfect for beginners who need a little help creating those beautiful images but also perfect for the advanced photographer who needs a workhorse of a lens. So if you´re only going to invest in one lens this is the your best choice.
The 50mm lenses come in different price levels and qualities. The best choice is the 50mm f/1.4. It cost about $300 which is cheap for a good quality lens, and you can use it for food, flowers, interior, travel, kids, portraits, newborn and landscape.
Another great thing about this lens is that it´s small and lightweight and, therefore, perfect for traveling.
The 50mm f/1.4 has a big brother, the 50mm f/1.2. It´s a lot more expensive, but you will not see much difference in the image quality + it´s very heavy. The 50mm f/1.4 also has a little sister; the 50mm f/1.8 which is a lower quality but great if you are on a budget. It’s perfect for teenagers, bloggers and beginners who want just the basic equipment – but still wants to be able to capture creative + bright images.
Below you see the 50mm family from Canon, but all camera brands make at least one 50mm.
You can´t zoom with the 50mm because it´s a prime lens and it has no zoom function. You have to zoom with your feet, but you will get super sharp images with a clear focus and a delicious soft background.
Photo Example: here´s a photo shot with the 50mm f/1.4. As you can see there´s a sharp focus on the main subject and the rest of the image is beautifully out of focus. This is what this lens do so well and why I love it.
Lens nr. 2: Canon 40mm f/2.8 Prime
The 40mm is another favorite of mine. This lens is even smaller (and cheaper) than the 50mm. I love to use it for flatlays (photos taken from above), because it can fit a lot more into the frame than the 50mm.
Therefore if I want I can fit almost the entire table top into my frame. It gives me a lot of freedom and and plenty of workspace for creativity. It´s also SUPER sharp and has a fast focus.
I also like to bring it with me for shooting in small places like a cafe or a shop, because I can truly capture the atmosphere of the whole room – and because the 40mm is so incredible small I can easily stick it onto my camera and throw it into my lady bag 🙂
Lens nr. 3: Canon 100mm f/2.8 Prime Macro
Another affordable prime lens, giving you amazing quality and endless of creative possibilities. This lens is PERFECT for capturing food and flowers up close. The lens make small things look big and therefore it´s great for shooting small details like flowers heads, berries, leaves, and jewelry – just to name a few.
Even though it´s a macro lens, it´s also incredible to use for other types of photography, like portraits, fashion and weddings. If you use it for portraits it will blur and soften all of the background making your subject stand out. So if you decide to get it for food or still life give it a go and try it for other styles as well.
Only problem is; it´s really, really heavy, so a tripod comes in handy to avoid any handshake.