Improve Your Mobile Photography Using These Premium Lenses from Moment

Thanks to the always-improving cameras in today's smartphones, the days of requiring an expensive camera to produce quality results are long behind us. Sure, nothing can truly beat what a DSLR is capable of, but at least the majority of users have a good camera that is constantly with them.

The opportunity to 'get the shot' at a moment's notice is huge, but it doesn't have to stop there. As great as your phone's camera may seem, it tends to fall short in two categories of photography: wide-angle and macro

Recently I reviewed two lenses and a photo case from a company called Moment. Considering these are my first products of theirs, I have to say, I'm quite impressed.

As someone who has used less convenient mobile photography solutions, what Moment has created can be viewed as a godsend. The experience begins with the Photo Case, a case that is built to work specifically with a variety of smartphones. From the iPhone 7 to the Pixel XL, this case makes connecting and disconnecting a Moment lens seamless. It's all done within seconds.

During my review, I was fortunate enough to use two lenses from Moment  — one for wide-angle shots and another for achieving detailed macro shots. Each lens will cost you close to $100, so be prepared to spend a little. I can assure you, however, that the price is worth it.

Wide Lens

If wide-angle photography is your thing, then you're going to love this particular lens from Moment. Not only does it allow significantly more information to be captured within frame, but the lack of distortion around the edges in photos is very impressive.

A few test shots that I got myself can be seen below. Be sure to pay attention to the differences when jumping back and forth between before and after.

Macro Lens

Getting close to a subject and studying its details is something all photographers need to experience. Moment's macro lens creates some truly breathtaking results. Focusing on your subject can be a little challenging at times, but if you practice patience, then you'll be capturing detailed macro shots in no time.

Curious about how close this lens can actually get? Just check out my example shots below.

Where to Buy

Moment's products, including the Photo Case, can be found here. If you prefer to go the Amazon route, every item featured in this post can be purchased right below:

Photo Case for iPhone 7 Plus | Wide Lens Macro Lens

Related Post: Creating the Perfect Photography Portfolio Website

How I Keep Track of My Business Income and Expenses

As a small business owner for several years now, I've discovered over time how critical it is that I keep careful track of my finances. Whether they're incoming or outgoing, each and every payment needs to be accounted for. Doing so is especially important when tax season rolls around. After all, you don't want to miss inputting any important numbers that can have an impact on whether you receive a refund from the government. That's why every finance counts.

So, as a one-man show, how do I make sure everything is tracked accordingly? It's simple. I use an iOS app called Pocket Expense Pro, and it costs just $4.99. It's also available on Android. There is a free version you can download, but going pro means seeing no advertisements whatsoever. And considering how much the app has helped me in recent years, the price of admission is more than worth it.

Pocket Expense is advertised as a personal finance tracker, but there's no reason why it cannot be applied to small businesses. The app allows you to manage your finances in a variety of ways:

  • Track income and expenses in multiple accounts
  • Manage recurring and non-recurring budgets
  • Include photos related to payments for easy reference
  • Support for tracking and payment of bills
  • Password protect sensitive information

As you can tell, Pocket Expense does a lot. Actually, it does far more than I will ever need. I simply use the app on my iPhone to track income and expenses. Any time I am paid by an individual or business, I log it in the app right away.

The same goes for anything I purchase that applies to my work. For example, if I buy myself a new camera, it gets recorded in Pocket Expense — along with any other relevant information, including the price, date of purchase and the merchant I bought it from. It couldn't be easier!

One feature I especially enjoy is support for recurring payments. This is quite useful for those monthly bills, such as web hosting and any other services that I pay for every month. Pocket Expense takes care of the work for me, which is something I definitely appreciate. Isn't automation bliss?

Probably the best feature of all, and this is perfect for users like myself who own too many gadgets, is the ability to sync Pocket Expense across multiple devices. This means that if I update my finances on my iPhone, those changes will instantly reflect on my iPad Pro — and vice versa. This also goes for Android devices.

Simply put, Pocket Expense is great. I honestly cannot imagine managing my business without it. It makes my daily routine that much easier. Download it for free, give it a try, and let me know what you think.

Download here: iOS | Android

5 Fun Desk Accessories Every Workaholic Needs

As a self-employed content creator, my days can sometimes feel long. Most of my time is spent sitting at a desk and staring at a monitor. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, there are those moments where I could use a pick-me-up. This is often achieved by focusing on a product or two that I choose to place on my desk.

The following are five items that I personally own and use myself. Perhaps you can use them to introduce some creativity into your daily workflow.

Google Home

Currently selling for $129, the Google Home is Google's answer to Amazon's Echo — often referred to as Alexa. The virtual home assistant uses Google to reference all kinds of information, making it quite useful on a whim. If research is your thing, then this definitely gives it the upper hand over the Echo.

Despite its small size, the Google Home puts out some decent audio. The highs and lows all sound great. And the bass? It's surprisingly impressive.

You can even customize the Google Home by purchasing additional bases. They are available in six varieties: Fabric/Mango, Fabric/Marine, Fabric/Violet, Metal/Carbon, Metal/Copper, and Metal/Snow


Divoom Aurabox Smart LED Speaker

If you're looking to add a bit of fun to your desk, then you are going to love the Aurabox Smart LED Speaker from Divoom. Being marketed as the world's first pixel art speaker, I didn't exactly buy this to play music on. Sure, that's great for some users, but I bought it for one reason...

Lights! When paired with an iOS or Android device, the Aurabox can display user-generated patterns and animations — as well as a few that are pre-programmed out of the box. It can also display social media notifications for Twitter and Facebook.

You can buy the Aurabox on Amazon for just $39. For me, it was easily worth the price. But then again, I'm a sucker for anything that uses LEDs.


Fake Plant

What better way to introduce some color into your setup than buy a fake plant? Yes, I'm being serious. This seems to be a trend nowadays, and I can easily see why.

First off, displaying a fake plant creates a nice accent — something that stands out from everything else. It provides balance. Because who doesn't enjoy a bit of color?

And secondly, you don't have to water it! As silly as that may sound, it's my favorite part about owning a fake plant. There's no responsibility involved whatsoever. Set the plant on your desk and just forget about it. I mean, you can water it if you want, but I don't suggest doing that.


Beverage Coasters

If you're like me, then you absolutely need some kind of beverage by your side while you work. For me, it's usually coffee. But of course, I'm not going to risk damaging my desk with spilled liquids. That's why I use a coaster.

Currently, I'm using a set of floppy disk coasters. They're affordable and they do their job. Oh, and they're geeky as hell. If floppy disks aren't your thing, there are so many more options available. Check out a few sets below that might grab your interest:

Vinyl Record Coasters | Super Mario Bros. Coasters | Elements Glowing Coasters


LED Strip Light Kit

If there is one way to ultimately improve the overall look of your desk, it would be to install an LED lighting kit. Typically sold as a reel of LEDs that is waterproof and flexible, you can cut the strip and adjust it to your liking. This is especially useful when working with desks of different sizes.

Having owned several LED kits over the years, my newest one is from OxyLED. I bought it for just $15. It's easily worth every penny. The kit also includes a remote, allowing you to change the colors of the LEDs and set up custom presets.


It's time to get creative! If you have a photo of your desk that you'd like to share with the community, simply comment below with a link. I'm always up for discovering new ideas to add to one of my many setups.

5 Things I Cannot Vlog Without

Having recently wrapped up my longest series yet on YouTube (watch "Seaside Heights 2017" here), it dawned on me that I've never taken the time to explain the gear I use to create my vlogs. While my camera rig doesn't compare to the bigger YouTubers who have millions of subscribers, it has certainly come a long way in recent years.

In other words, gone are the days of using a camcorder to vlog. Going the DSLR route has dramatically improved the overall quality of my videos — in not only video, but audio as well.

To make things easy, I've created a new kit dedicated to my vlogging gear. It's simply called My Vlogging Gear. Click on anything that interests you and Kit will automatically take you to the respective Amazon product page.

So, what makes up my vlogging gear? Just five items. Yep, that's it. Five. Let's go over each of them.

Canon EOS 80D

Simply put, the Canon 80D is the best camera I have ever bought myself. Really, it's that good. The video quality it produces is amazing, it's compatible with hundreds of lenses, and my favorite of all — the autofocus is surprisingly fast. I'm talking camcorder-like speeds.

Of course, some of this comes down to the lens that I am using (more on that in a bit), but the camera in general is just incredible. It's easily worth the $1,100 price tag, and that's only for the body alone. Yeah, it's a little pricey, but I can assure you the investment is more than worth it. I don't see myself upgrading to another DSLR any time soon.


Canon EF-S 10–18mm f/4.5–5.6 IS STM Lens

I'm not one to obsess over lenses, mainly due to the fact that I have only used a few in my time. However, if there is one lens you need to give a try, it's this one. The Canon EF-S 10–18mm IS STM lens puts out stellar wide-angle shots and uses STM (STepping Motor) technology to produce an ultra quick autofocus without creating noise.

And finally, the price isn't bad. Selling for around $270, there is no better lens in this price range. I think you'll be impressed.

Watch an example video of mine here.


RØDE VideoMic Pro

Before I praise this microphone, it's important to note that RØDE has recently released a newer version that I do not yet own. I plan on buying it at some point. Okay, with that out of the way...

The RØDE VideoMic Pro is an excellent mic that plugs directly into the camera's mic-in jack. Powered by a 9V battery, you can typically expect around 70 hours of run time. Because it uses its own battery, this takes some stress away from the camera itself.

Audio quality is exceptional, just as long as you're attempting to capture anything that is directly in front of the mic. Shotgun mics are designed to work this way, so keep that in mind when recording. Also, be sure to properly configure your camera's settings. It likely will not be set up by default.


Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod

I often say this is the best $25 you can spend as a video creator, and I still stand by these words. The Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod is so simple and reliable, you'll end up asking yourself how you never owned one to begin with.

The PIXI Mini is a miniature size tripod that can be easily opened and closed whenever needed. It features a push button ball head, allowing for flexible adjustment in camera angles. And of course, the PIXI Mini comes in a variety of colors — hence why I already own four of them. What can I say? It's an addiction.

Just buy yourself one. You'll be glad you did.


Transcend 64GB SDXC-UHS Memory Card

Don't let all that mumbo jumbo mess with your head. This is simply a high-speed SD card that does its job well. There's really no other way to describe it.

Although, I will say that Transcend is my preferred brand for SD cards. It has been for years now, ever since I started creating YouTube videos.


And that's it! Those are the five items I cannot imagine myself without, at least while vlogging. My other style of videos can sometimes require different gear, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

Do you have a question about anything I featured today? Don't forget, you can find all five items on Kit, as well as many other products that are featured in my videos regularly.

My First Impressions of the GoPro HERO Session

Just this week, I had the opportunity to purchase my first ever GoPro HERO Session. As someone who has been a big fan of the GoPro brand since owning the GoPro HERO3, I've always been curious about the small cube-like camera. And did I mention it sells for just $149? Considering this is a GoPro product we're talking about, that's a great price.

Throw in an Amazon Prime Day deal and you've got me convinced. I ordered the bundle and eagerly awaited its arrival on Thursday. You can check out my unboxing video right below.

I have only had the GoPro HERO Session in my possession for about 24 hours, but I've noticed a few things that I think are worth sharing — especially if you're in the market for a more affordable action camera. Believe me, you'll want to go the GoPro route. Having recently used two GoPro knockoffs, the difference in quality is like night and day.

Build quality is exceptional

Like any GoPro camera, the build quality of the Session is simply incredible. Despite its small form factor, the camera feels solid in the hand and the onscreen menu is easy to navigate. The sides of the Session have a rubber texture, making the camera easy to grip. It's also quite light, weighing just 0.16 pounds.

If you are looking for a camera that is both compact and well built, the Session will not disappoint.

For a $149 GoPro, video looks great

Whenever you're buying a less expensive version of something better, you can typically expect to find a few shortcomings along the way. While this certainly applies to the Session, I think you'd be surprised by the results.

My first impressions of the recording quality were very positive. I'm actually amazed at how good the video looks for a camera that costs $149. The wide-angle lens captures plenty of information within frame, colors appear bright and vibrant, and white balance performance seems adequate.

It is worth noting, however, that the Session does not feature video stabilization of any kind. This means that your footage is prone to shakiness, so you might want to invest in an accessory or two that can help stabilize the motion. Either that, or consume less caffeine. But I prefer to not think about the latter.

IMG_3268.JPG

For a $149 GoPro, audio sounds good

Continuing to focus on the low price tag, I'm not going to knock the audio too much. However, I will say it's better than expected — at least when compared to my $299 GoPro HERO4. The audio may not sound as defined as to what I'm used to, but it actually sounds pretty damn good.

For an example of how the microphone performs, check out the video above. I plan on doing a more in-depth comparison at some point in the future.

Waterproof made easy

Using a camera with waterproof capabilities is nothing new. The idea has been around for years now. However, doing so usually requires some kind of waterproof housing — much like what's included with most GoPro cameras. But who wants to worry about carrying around another accessory? That has always been a huge turn-off to me. I simply want a product to work as advertised.

The Session is the first camera from GoPro that is completely waterproof right out of the box. Yes, you read that right. If you want to take the Session underwater, you won't have to worry about bringing along any accessories.

Of course, this kind of convenience has its limitations. Without an external housing, the Session is waterproof up to 33 feet below. If you ask me, that's plenty. I don't see myself going any deeper than 8 feet any time soon.

Seriously, just buy it

You'll be glad you did. I recommend going with the Deluxe Bundle, which includes the following:

  • GoPro HERO Session
  • GoPro Headstrap Mount + QuickClip
  • AmazonBasics Carrying Case
  • Samsung 32GB MicroSD Card

Do you have any videos that were recorded using a GoPro camera? Feel free to share them in the comments below!