5 Things I’ve Learnt About Blogging Photography

Blogging PhotographyUpon starting a blog, it became apparently clear that photos were not just a case of ‘point and shoot’ and more like ‘two hours of taking 104 photos, from numerous different angles, with different lighting, before deciding that the first one will be the winner’.

It’s not something that just comes naturally to me and I know from taking part in Twitter chats and speaking to my friends, that it is something which we struggle with on a daily blogging basis. With themed Instagram accounts illustrating the perfect use of props and editing, I do feel there is more and more pressure to ensure that my photos try and match up to the same standard. Although I should not be comparing myself to other people, I do, probably more often than I should but it’s only because I admire the flawless work of those who seem to have perfected the art of blogging photography.

As a result of this, I have made a conscientious effort to try and pay a little more attention to the quality of my photos. From staging, to backgrounds, lighting, props and the edited finish, I have tried a little harder and I see a difference but my photos are still far from where I want them to be…Anyway here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:

Natural Light is always, ALWAYS BEST. I think I should get this tattooed across my forehead. Despite purchasing a photo tent, which includes lights, a tripod and different coloured backgrounds, the glorious natural light of day always produces the best results. Plus, although we are struggling through winter and the clouds seem to pour every 10 minutes, I’ve found my best images have been produced by setting up my photography station outside in the garden (although I am always on standby to pack everything up and leg it back inside)! This gives my pictures a fantastic natural light, but I have to admit, working 40 hours a week does mean that the only opportunity I have to snap these shots, is on the weekend, so right now I am longing for spring to come and the clocks jump forward.

Backgrounds. This is something that can make or break a photo. I’ve been playing around with white backgrounds lately, and found that ironing a crisp white pillow case provides a fairly good backdrop for my objects. I would love to play around with wo0d and marble effects, too!  What’s more, some bloggers I know, have printed images of these materials on really good quality card, to achieve the same results as a wooden table or marble tiles would create – genius hey? 😉

Top Tip – For me, the best use of a white background, is a bathroom. During a blogger chat a few months ago, a lovely girly explained that she had taken some photos actually in the bath. While the light was amazing during the warm September months, I managed to nail the use of natural bathroom light (but clearly the Earth, its axis, the Sun, orbit, space and beyond has no consideration for us bloggers and insists on seasons haha and so the struggle is truly real during the winter months)! 

Props – If you’re writing about one product, it’s a great move to have captivating images to compliment your words. For example if you are writing about nail varnish, why not add some nail files, cotton pads or some nail art pens? To add a little sparkle (literally) to my photos, I’ve recently used sequins and little gems from my new favourite shop, Tiger. You can also use ribbons, fabrics, photos, fairy lights, magazines, books, knick knacks and postcards – I LOVE the ones in Paper Chase, in fact anything you like, to help you create your perfect scene.

Staging. Although props obviously play a huge part in staging your photographs, your audience don’t always have to know everything. By this I mean, it’s okay to use blue tac, hair grips or even pipe cleaners to prop your products in position. This is particularly handy for us beauty bloggers who can be found wrestling with a mascara or lipstick which won’t sit still. Also make-up can get everywhere, (I know this only too well using bareMinerals powder on a daily basis), so it doesn’t hurt to give your make-up products a little wipe down, so they look shiny and new ready for the camera.

Don’t Underestimate the iPhone. I am slightly bias on this one because I would never betray my beloved Apple, but I truly believe that the camera quality is outstanding. Sometimes I can achieve much better results when swapping my boyfriend’s DSLR for my iPhone 6, which just goes to show that you don’t need all the fancy equipment, or a swanky camera to snap some shots to be proud of. Don’t believe me? See for yourself and scroll through the Instagram hashtag ‘#iPhonephotography’ for some completely stunning images.

So there you have it, five very important things I’ve learnt about blogging photography, I hope they go a little way in helping/inspiring you, when you are next behind the lens. Do you have any tips? If so, I would absolutely LOVE to hear them! Please leave a comment to share your words of wisdom with other readers too!

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Reasons Bournemouth is the Place to Live

If you ask anybody who lives in Bournemouth, they will probably tell you that they are completely in love with where they live, and that they genuinely did appreciate growing up on the South Coast.

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There are a million reasons why our little tropical-esque paradise is perfect, but I’ve narrowed it down to 23 reasons, and who knows, I might convince you to pay Bournemouth a little visit (and if you do, you will definitely be back for more!).

1. The beach | It would be a criminal offence to not kick this list off by mentioning the beach. With the softest sand and a good seven miles of it, you could easily be convinced that you were in France or Spain on the hottest of summer days. Plus if you’re feeling brave, the sea is just about warm enough to venture further than just paddling, so why not take on Bournemouth and Boscombe piers and swim between them?

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2. Up the Cherries | Some of you reading this might remember watching the boys, hoping and wishing and praying that they may actually win a game one day (I don’t think we ever saw them win, in the couple of games I went to with my Dad and brother), but now it is a completely different story.

3. Sandbanks | Taking a little drive along the peninsula in Sandbanks is always a fun and interesting past time. With unimaginable and gorgeous houses gracing the shores of Poole Harbour, you will find yourself lusting after them and before you know it, you will be mentally moving yourself in.

4. You can never really have a bad night out | With pub quizzes, live comedy and music, karaoke bars and night clubs coming out of your ears, there is something for everybody, young and old, visitor or resident.

5. The BIC (Bournemouth International Centre) | Thankfully our modest music venue in the centre of town is just big enough to host some big names, and even S Club 7 have chosen Bournemouth as a stop on their reunion tour 😉 (You can see me there, with my friend Lolly on the 11th May completely in our element). The BIC holds fond memories for me, it’s where I got a huge black bruise after jumping in the mosh pit at Pendulum and also where my friend Harriet and I made it into One Direction’s ‘One Thing’ video by fangirling at the stage door haha.

6. We made it into the Geography text books | Yep that’s right, with a World Heritage Site on our doorstep, the Jurassic delights of Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Chessil Beach to name a few, are more or less a stone’s throw away for a rural day out.

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7. Clean air | Until I moved away to a city, I had absolutely no idea that the air quality could be so very different in two different places. Even my friends noticed the difference when they came up to Sheffield to visit for the weekend, no wonder the Victorians used to head to the coast to recuperate.

8. The Isle of Wight | Observing from afar, the white chalk cliffs adopt the shape of a polar bear injecting character into the horizon. This island is also home to the annual and aptly named Isle of Wight music festival.

9. The New Forest is on our doorstep | You could be walking on the warm sand down the beach one minute, and just half an hour later be relaxing with a pub lunch in the forest (or falling asleep in a field full of cows, yes this has happened haha).

10. Making a splash | From swan pedalos at Poole Park, to jet skiing and sailing in Poole Harbour and surf lessons on Boscombe Beach, you are spoilt for choice with reasons to get in the water!

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11. Bournemouth Eye | If the view of the picturesque coastline from the cliff top just lies short of your expectations (you must have something wrong with you), then you can take to the skies in the balloon situated in Bournemouth’s Gardens and obtain a true bird’s eye view of your surroundings.

12. The sunsets | Every view of a sunset can be stunning, but each time I log onto Facebook, twitter or Instagram I seem to find a captivating picture that creates a pang of jealousy within me, making me wish I was back home enjoying it too.

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13. The family | While Bournemouth’s population is boarding on a small city, everyone seems to sort of know everyone, yet still maintain a private life.

14. You’re never bored | Apart from adventures with nature, there are so many things to do including ski bobbing down the dry ski slopes at Matchams, hitting the flumes at Splashdown Waterpark, taking on one of the crazy golf courses, swinging from the high ropes with Go Ape at Moors Valley or painting a plate at All Fired Up, you will always have a fun packed day out!

15. Hengistbury Head | My mum’s favourite place in Bournemouth, and probably mine and my boyfriend’s too. It boasts breathtaking views stretching across Christchurch harbour and out to sea across to the Isle of Wight. While the Noddy train is perfect to give both big and little kids a break from all the tiring walks and sea air.

16. Everything is so close | If you fancy escaping Dorset for a while, adrenaline fuelled Thorpe Park is just two hours away in the car, while Gunwharf Quays Shopping Outlet and The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth are an absolute must, try walking across the glass floor – I dare you!

17. The Bournemouth Air Festival | The Red Arrows are a national treasure and you can see them soaring across the summer sky every year during Bournemouth’s Air Festival. The whole town comes to a standstill as tens of thousands of plane spotters decend on the beaches and cliff tops hoping to snap some shots of some of the world’s most famous aircraft.

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18. Fireworks | Every Friday during the school summer holidays, we are treated to a spectacular display launched from Bournemouth pier, always ending a scorching summer’s day down by the sea.

19. The Arcades | Who doesn’t like trying their luck on the 2p machines? At the pier there are pool tables, table football, air hockey, dance and grabber machines beckoning you to take a break from the sunshine.

20. Beaulieu | For those of you who are a fan of cars, the National Motor Museum is less than an hour away in our neighbouring county of Hampshire, with more than 250 iconic cars waiting for you to marvel at. Plus for the historians in you, the 13th Century Abbey is worth visiting too.

21. Rhinefield Ornamental Drive | Nestled in the heart of the New Forest are some pretty impressive trees, known as the Giant Redwoods (they are normally found in America and some are even 3,000 years old!), ours have just hit the 150-year-old mark, but still reach for the sky.

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22. Mary Shelley | famous for her novel Frankenstein, is buried in the town, despite never actually living in Bournemouth. For more information on this amazing legacy click here

23. Aruba | This is one of my favourite places in Bournemouth, night or day this restaurant come bar is just perfect. Whatever the season you can enjoy a delicious meal (in the photo below are calamari and brushetta starters, mmmmmm!) or cocktails while sat either in the cosy warmth inside or sunbathing outside and perhaps even kid yourself for a couple of moments that you are living the Californian lifestyle.

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I have been called a ‘Bournemouth Sales Person’ in the past by someone at university, and it’s no wonder judging by the fact I had to reduce my list a number of times. I am ever so lucky to have been born in such a beautiful part of the country and I absolutely cannot wait to move back home this summer after four years away.

Are you planning a trip down south? If not, why not? Haha, I’m just kidding, if you come and see the place for yourself, you may just find yourself ‘accidentally’ browsing at potential houses to live in (and not just the million pound ones!).

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Let me know your memories of Bournemouth and the South Coast by commenting in the box or tweeting me.

XO

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Easter Sunday – White Post Farm

First of all, Happy Easter everybody! I hope that you are all well and truly full of chocolate eggs!

Today, we spent a perfect day at White Post Farm in Nottinghamshire making friends with all the baby animals.

From lambs to kids, and kittens to piglets we saw them all, and were lucky enough to cuddle a few too.

I definitely overcame a huge fear and held a mouse for the first time in my life. Normally I would have run a mile, there’s just something about their quick feet and long worm-like tail which creeps me out, but today I felt brave. FYI if you avoid touching the tail and just focus on the fact the mouse’s feet just feel like a hamster’s, you will be okay.

Holding the chicks was so relaxing for both them and us, one or two even fell asleep as we stroked them (see the adorable pics below).

Next stop was the reptile house where I ticked off another item on the bucket list and held a very friendly bearded dragon who happened to be called Dave haha.

Outside we took no time to spot the go kart track and were soon hurtling around the field trying to dodge all the children as we went, I would be lying if I said we didn’t collide and ‘forget’ to use our brakes 😉

With a bag of ‘four legged’ animal food in hand, we became extremely popular with the sheep and llamas in the pens outside. In fact we took the opportunity to take one or two llama selfies (say cheese!)

The range of animals at the farm was quite something and along with reindeers and snakes there was an enclosure full of meerkats, although admittedly, they weren’t quite as animated as Aleksandr Orlov.

The meerkats still make great neighbours to love birds in the aviary. Here, we tested our patience and waited a good 15 minutes with arms outstretched clutching a handful of bird seed, eagerly waiting for the birds to swoop down and nibble some.

If you get a chance to pop down to White Post Farm, you definitely should (and quick while there are still babies running around the pens). There’s so much to do in addition to the farm for both the big kids and the little kids, from face painting to pottery painting and a sweet little gift shop, to tractor rides and water balloon fights!

Check out their facebook for events and offers.

Which animal do you think is the cutest? Let me know in the comment box below.

XO

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Confessions of a Blogaholic

When we are little or in our teens we do a lot of mischievous and cheeky things which now as a twenty-something-year-old, I have learnt, can be pretty darn annoying/horrible/silly! I will now confess to you a number of the naughty things I did as a youngster and which I am yet to say sorry for, some are harsher than others, but I hope I am forgiven 😉

I am sorry for all the times…

♡ I ran past a crossing, pressed the button so that the lights turned red when I had no intention of crossing the road.
As a driver who has to commute in rush hour traffic and someone who is always praying for the lights to stay green a little longer, I now understand how infuriating it can be…oops.

♡ I was in a supermarket and thought it was my prerogative to ‘try before you buy’ at the pic ‘n’ mix stand.
I can definitely remember on one occasion sneaking a chocolate raisin, I want to say that it was because I wanted to be sure they weren’t the dreaded rival, (chocolate peanuts-umm, gross!) but truth be told I can’t remember buying any afterwards.

Well we all know that stealing is wrong, a criminal offence in fact, but who would want to hurt a normally innocent 10-year-old? 😉

♡ I stuck chewing gum to the bottom of the desk at school.
Eurgh, yuck, gross. Even I am disgusted at myself, but I thought I was ever so rebellious and simply following in the footsteps of such daring students who sat at that desk once before me… and to those of you who are crying out that you never did such a thing at school, well, your nose just grew 😉

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♡ I am sorry for the one particular time when I wrote in my beautiful purple velvet note book.
It was divided into three sections, a gorgeous note pad in the centre third, a sweetly decorated pocket in the inside cover and completing the set was a slightly slimmer note pad with the words ‘My Wish List’ written at the top. I can’t remember how old I was exactly but I loved this writing set and wrote out wishes quite frequently, ripped out the page and tucked it inside the pocket, hoping it would come true.

However, on one completely horrible occasion (and I don’t know what possessed me), I decided it would be ever so charming of me to write in big letters on a piece of paper from the wish list:

‘I WISH MY BROTHER DIDN’T HAVE CHUBBY HANDS’.

Years and years later, we made this discovery and my whole family can laugh about it now, but by god was I a bitchy sister, haha. So yeah, James, I am really sorry 😉

♡ I am sorry for the time it was a lovely sunny day and I decided to skip school and head to the beach.
For some stupid reason I asked another of my friend’s to explain to the teacher that I couldn’t possibly attend school because the night before I got hit on the head with a basketball and was subsequently suffering. Pfffffft, like my teacher believed a word of it, haha but to be fair I had a marvellous beach day with another friend who I couldn’t possibly name and shame 😉

♡ I am sorry for the time I threw fruit in the road for passing cars to dodge (or squish).
Again, I can’t remember how old I was but my house at home in Bournemouth is in quite a quiet location and children are often seen ‘playing out’. On one particular summer’s evening I remember the fun and frolics I had with my neighbour.

We sat together on the pavement at the side of the road, eagerly anticipating cars to drive past (this was probably a bit dangerous – don’t play in the road kids!)), but while we waited we delicately placed handfuls of fruit which had fallen from a nearby tree, in the middle of the road. For some strange reason we got so much joy out of watching and hearing the cars drive past squashing every piece as they went. Why? I hear you ask, well, I really couldn’t tell you haha, but it probably worried the drivers a little as they went crunch, crunch, crunch over them all, again, oops.

♡ Finally, for the handful of times (I actually loved school) I didn’t do my homework.
However, when confronted by my teacher, I simply ‘admitted’ that my work was on my memory stick and I had left it at home. I guess you could say it was the modern day version of ‘my dog ate my homework’, so in other words, I was a little genius ;).

So there you have it my fellow bloggers and lovely readers, my ever so sweet confessions of my youth. I now nominate the beautiful Kate Harden-England , one of my best friends and fellow blogger, to reveal her confessions of a blogaholic. XO.

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