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The Best TECH for Creatives: What I Use And Why



As a creative this stuff is integral to my process and over the years I've found certain things superior to others and lots of great little hacks which have made a huge difference to my workflow. These are the products I recommend.


Apple is a must for me, it's user friendly, intuitive and their goo

d customer care if there is ever a problem makes it an absolute no brainer. My first ever computer was a Dell and it used to drive me nuts, it crashed constantly and whenever something went properly wrong I'd be on the phone for hours and then have to send it off for weeks to repair, where as I've found apple super reliable, but even if an issue does crop up I'm grateful I can just pop into an apple store and often they can sort it there and then. I need something portable but screen space as a creative is one of the most valuable assets so when they updated the line to 16" it was a good day. I like to run a lot of programs at once and go back and fourth between them so the higher the RAM and processing speeds the better. When I do get a new macbook I try to always go for the newest version so I maximise the years I get out of it before the OSX updates start slowing it down. This macbook is my favourite yet, it's so speedy -I usually run Photoshop, Lightroom and Indesign all at once, often with multiple projects and websites open, and it works seamlessly. I heart it.


Likewise, my Ipad has become invaluable. I use Astro Pad App to turn it into a graphics tablet for my macbook which is especially good when I travel because I don't want to have to pack my Graphics Tablet and lug it about. I use it with an Apple Pencil and although not as pressure sensitive as my Graphics Tablet it does the job and it's a small price to pay for convenience. I also love the Procreate App and ability to save and export files to photoshop. It's wonderful for drawing on the beach! I use the Kindle App for travel books as well (although there's nothing quite like turning the pages of a real book it's a small price to pay for the extra luggage space/weight).


Trust me on this -it feels so close to drawing on real paper, just do it. (At time of witing their the 12.9inch 2020 ipad version was out of stock so this links to an older version that has space for the home button, please make sure you get the right version for your ipad. This one is a different brand but has excellent reviews and covers the most recent models.


Basically an absolute necessity if you have an Ipad and want to do anything creative. Pretty much zero lag. Especially love the sensitivity when using Procreate.


Wacom is the industry leader for graphic tablets, their pressure sensitivity is second to non and they're very reliable -I have had my graphics tablet for almost a decade (yep 😅) and it still works perfectly, I've never had any issues with it despite upgrading laptops and software over the years -which you would think would slow it down! Mine does not have a visual screen so if I feel the need for one on a specific piece of work I use my ipad with Astro Pad, but the wacom pad has far superior pen tilt and sensitivity and you do notice a difference. If I could afford it/when I finally do update I will probably go for a Cintiq Pro, but whichever you go for I would suggest getting a decent size because it makes it a lot easier, natural and enjoyable when you're not constantly having to scroll to another part of your drawing - if you're not worried about portability, the more screen real estate the better in my opinion.


I use this scanner to scan in hand made illustrations and textures. It captures incredibly detailed high resolution images which mean I have lots of flexibility for editing and what I'll use them on and I can blow them up larger than the original piece 👌. It's really easy to use and it's a workhorse, I've had mine several years and it's never caused me any problems.



I absolutely adore my Fuji. ADORE it. I used to have a Nikon DSLR and it really annoyed me how many menus you'd have to scroll through to select the settings you wanted and it was SO heavy- not ideal when travelling or even just a full day shooting. The Fuji was a total game changer because a lot of the settings can be quickly and easily adjusted directly on the body of the camera- this has the added benefit of being able to see what they're all on at once, which I find so much more intuitive and the camera body is weather proofed. Being mirrorless it's super light so ideal for travel or long days, and it has a phone app so you can use your phone as a remote control and even change settings remotely as well. You can also bluetooth photos directly to your phone from the camera in smaller sizes should you want so it doesn't decimate your phone storage. As a non necessity but total bonus -it's small and looks beautifully retro, because of this it doesn't tend to freak people out as much if you're taking their photo, it's far less obtrusive than my old Nikon anyway. There's now a new version of this camera- the XT4 which has equally excellent reviews. The Fuji Cameras are really good value, if I was updating the other mirrorless I would consider is a Sony A7 III, they always have similarly excellent reviews, but are a bit pricier.

Lenses with Hoya Filters:



I like all things boho what can I say ✨

☝️This is the one I have, but this one's also super cute:


Lets face it, sometimes you just can't take your camera for fear of loosing or damaging it, but you always take your phone. Iphones are so sophisticated now they actually take some pretty gorgeous photos and videos for web purposes, so long as you aren't printing them out their quality is 👌, they're easy to adjust and their auto low light settings are awesome, and they're now waterproof... (I'm not sure it's the best idea I've ever had but I actually took mine swimming to capture the moment a giant sea turtle swam past me in Indonesia 🐢 it was magical and I was so excited, my GoPro was out of battery so I just grabbed my phone and thought sod it... but actually when I look at the footage- it's so much clearer, brighter and more colour accurate than anything my GoPro has ever taken 😅🤷‍♀️ having said that... I'm not sure how much sea salt one little iphone might be able to handle so I didn't repeat the exercise and I wouldn't recommend doing it. But I also wouldn't go travelling without one- I use several apps that are super helpful for travel as well and I'll mention those further down. Again, as with my macbook, I try to last as long as possible before I update so when I do I go for the most recent model so it lasts as many years as possible before apple's OSX updates slow it down. It also massively helps that my computer, tablet and phone all link together seamlessly- being able to airdrop links, photos and videos from one to another with minimal effort is actually on another level of helpful, and I've recently noticed that if I copy something on my phone and go to paste on my Macbook it'll paste the words I just copied on my phone- cray.


Classic, comfortable and extremely accurate. They may not be the sexiest but these near tone perfect headphones are still used by the BBC and other recording studios the world over for good reason, and they don't break the bank.


I love this little thing, a lady came up to me on my first day at my first Burning Man, asked if she could take a photo on one of these and then gave me the photo to keep- it was so unexpected and lovely! There's something magical about knowing there's only one of those photos in existence. A few months later someone actually gave me one of these cameras as a gift and it's probably my favourite gift I've ever been given. It's gone to Burning Man with me twice, I often take it parties or friends birthday dinners -as that lady taught me -a gifted polaroid snap is a sweet way to make someones day.



---------- A Note On Storage ---------

When it comes to storage, I have some tactics, especially when travelling. I take an ADATA 1TB external SSD everywhere (think of it as a large USB pen, I've formatted it to Ex-Fat so it can seamlessly work on Mac/PC), when I get back home or to the hostel I backup new stuff onto my G-Drive 2TB SSD which is effectively my working drive where I keep everything. This and my MacbookPro get backed up with Time Machine to my WD 4TB External Hard Drive, I try to leave that WD Hard Drive at home because hard drives although cost effective, have moving parts so they're more prone to damage/faults from being moved about (or shoved and squashed in backpacks). My art and photography file sizes can be pretty huge and as drives get towards their upper limits they slow, so I prefer to get relatively large drives and try to keep some space free at all times. Thus far, this system hasn't let me down.


I take this little guy everywhere, he's military grade shockproof and IP68 dust and water proof -great for taking with you when you're not sure what the day might hold. I formatted him to ExFAT so he can handle both Mac and PC files in case I need to plug him into someone else's comp. You can read a guide how to format disks like that here.


Small, good value for money, robust and fast. This dude is 1000 pounds crush resistant, IP67 water/dust resistant and 3M drop tested. He's not quite as robust as the ADATA but sadly the ADATA doesn't come in 2TB sizes. He's also a little bit quicker and you can get him with a USB-C so no need for adapters 💃


Inexpensive, large size, good solid backup drive for Time Machine. This one is set up for Mac so check out this one if you're on PC or you'll need to reformat using this guide.


Inexpensive, solid protective case, I keep my port adapter in there as well so it doesn't get lost.


Fast and reliable, I haven't had one fail on me yet. My Fuji has two card slots and I can have is set up so one slot is always creating a copy backup of whatever I shoot or I can have it as an independent card. If I'm doing something very important or the serendipity of a moment is unlikely to happen again, I use one slot as a backup, if not I keep them shooting separately so I have more space. Either way it really helps to have large disks so you don't run out and several cards so if you're away for a while and may not get time to take them off you can keep different countries or days separate. I once got the most incredible rare photo of a tiger drinking from a stream, a few weeks later I ran out of space and thinking I'd already taken those photos off I re-formatted the disk 🤦‍♀️🙄 NOT a good day. So now I'm super conscious of taking files off at the earliest opportunity, but sometimes it just doesn't happen like that, you could be wild camping, on a basic boat for a few days or staying somewhere without power so it helps to have spares of these. I'd also really recommend getting several spare batteries and keeping them all charged up ready to go.


SD cards are small, easy to lose and snap when they're not in a case. This one gives extra peace of mind. I also keep my Sim Card in there if I've swapped it out for a local one.


The only thing about macbooks I don't like is their lack of ports, but this does the job. It has an SD reader, 2x USB 3.0 slots, TF and HDMI slot.


Solid and stable with a broad height range. Especially good for taking clear photos of art or products.


I use this for travel and locations (unless I think they'll be windy), it packs small and it's super light and inexpensive.


If you intend to take videos on your Iphone this is a game changer, it makes them so smooth it looks like a movie -my friend once commented it looked 3D after I shot walking through a forest. It also works as a desktop tripod and you can operate it from the control on the grip.


Ideal for taking work-in-progress videos, time lapses, recording tutorials or even just facetiming friends. I used to try to use a regular flexible tripod and it used to drive me nuts because it wall fall over or I wouldn't be able to stack enough books to get it high enough on the desk, using this makes life a lot easier and it's super quick to set up.


Dry bags are great for your stress levels when you're travelling with expensive equipment and hopping on and off boats, which lets face it- often don't look too sea worthy (flashbacks to a particular boat in Indonesia). I usually take a small one to put my external drives, SD case and passport etc in, and a larger one which fits my camera and laptop in if I think there's a chance I'll be going somewhere where they could get wet (think monsoon season, beaches or boats). This isn't the exact one I have, I'm not sure it's sold anymore but if I replace it it'll be with this one -it's so pretty ☺️!


When I look for a bag for travel, I think security. We've all heard the stories of the friend that had their camera stolen from the back of their bag while they were wearing it. I like that this has the laptop compartment against your body so while you're wearing it there's no way anyone's getting at it and the double zippers mean you can lock the compartments with travel padlocks. It also has a chest strap and a rain cover with high vis and the ability to open if from the side as well as the front to access your camera which is awesome. The only thing I don't like is that it's faux leather and polyester, if it was waxed canvas it'd be perfect and if you have a bigger budget this might be a good buy, but for everything else this bag offers it's a great buy and similar ones I looked at just don't have the same features.


Software:

Adobe full suite: I mainly use Photoshop/Lightroom/InDesign/PremierPro/After Effects/Acrobat Pro (Really recommend memorising your most used shortcuts it'll cut your time in 1/2 -you can download the shortcut crib sheet for Photoshop here:

Photoshop CC short cuts
.pdf
Download PDF • 338KB

Microsoft Word/Excel

Ableton Live

Useful Apps:

Astro Pad (standard version)

Procreate

Trello

Lightroom Mobile

iOverlander (wildcamping spots)

Duolingo

Calm

Headpace

Planta (bit random for this article but if you have lots of plants just do yourself a favour & get it🌿)



✨ So- that's a rough overview of my gear and why I use it! ✨



Please note some links may be affiliate. If you buy through one of them within 24 hours of clicking I will make a small amount. I only recommend products I believe in, they are things I recommend to friends and family. If you choose to purchase through a link it does not cost you anything, amazon foot the bill, it just helps me save a little extra for my next adventure.







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