I like to use select statements to return specific columns.
But I was happy to find out that you can alias your columns just like in sql.
Animal::select('size as units', 'color')->get()
Which can be make things a breeze, depending on what you are doing.
Remember to use the dot syntax to specify a table for joined columns with the same name.
Animal::join('amphibians', 'animals.id', '=', 'amphibians.id')->select('amphibians.color as watercolor')->get()