My Christmas Photos in Full

I know it has been a month since Christmas and I daren’t even utter that word again until late November! However I put all of my Christmas images on Facebook which seriously compresses images, so I wanted to show you my images in full glory – here they are! Make Up is by my talented sister and friend Georgie and Natalie!

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Natural Light and a Natural Beauty

I love flash photography, studio lighting and anything where I can control the light and make it exactly how I want ! I rarely use any natural light and either have my studio lights or my on camera flash unit. But recently I have been relaxing slightly and taking photographs that don’t require articficial lighting.

I have always wondered how people take amazing photos set up in natural light, and I have always struggled – until now. After my friend had her baby I have only had a few chances to take some nice photos while she was settling in. On these occasions (most of which I haven’t had my dslr with me, or any camera at all !) I didn’t feel that a flash was necessary or would be too instrusive for such a small baby.

I’m going to say here that I am not strictly using ‘natural’ light as I am taking them indoors and although using some light from outside, I also rely on indoor lighting. I have not adjusted or moved any of this lighting though.

I struggled with the first time, she was so little and didn’t move much, we didn’t want to disturb her so didn’t get a great range of shots. However the second time was perfect, we just put her on the floor and I got down on the floor too and we got some lovely photos.

I’ll be the first to admit that these images are not something I usually do, I used to shoot this type of image when I first started working in a studio and soon grew tired of ‘cheesy’ family photos. These however, I feel are different, I think they are beautiful and done in my own style, and nowhere near the cheesy style of images I am really not fond of ! I’m beginning to feel I can apply my style of photography across all different shoots to create stunning images.

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Christmas Cheer : Baking and Decorating

Every month I collect the Asda magazine which has recipes in it, I cut them out and stick them in my Recipe book that one of my friends made me. This month, with Christmas around the corner I decided that I would make some of the ideas in the book.  The first recipe is Star Stained Glass Biscuits.

Stained glass star biscuits

This simple but beautiful way of baking biscuits is one that I absolutely love! It’s fairly simple but makes them look so pretty and makes a great gift for Christmas, I love receiving baked goodies as a present! My favourite thing about these biscuits is the way the light shines through them and makes them come to life. The recipe was so simple to make, infact the hardest part was smashing the boiled sweets, now that was really hard work!

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I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22!

So last Thursday was my 22nd birthday and it’s safe to say that I celebrated it in style. What better way to land comfortably into your twenties than to have breakfast with Mickey Mouse! Yes, you read correctly, I spent another year in Disneyland (Paris this time) and I absolutely loved it!

I asked my boyfriend to plan a couple of days away for my birthday this year and surprise me with where we are going. I told him it had to be fun, not too expensive and I wanted to stay away from home for at least one night, and I then left him to it. Little did I know he would let his imagination run away with him and plan a trip to Disney Land Paris! Part of the inspiration for this trip was his 8 year old cousins birthday, for which his parents and aunt and uncle would be going to Disneyland, once he heard that he knew I would be so jealous! We had a drink with them on the Friday evening and spent a few hours in the park with them on the Saturday too.

Our trip was from Wednesday 19th until Sunday 23rd November and although short and sweet I felt it was just long enough and we had a great time. We travelled by Eurotunnel and it took less than half an hour to get through the crossing! The drive to Paris was about 3 hours but it really didn’t seem too long. On my birthday we had breakfast at Cafe Mickeys which is a character breakfast buffet, where Mickey and friends come to your table for photo opportunities. I love character breakfasts and I love the meet and greats, it’s fun seeing your favourite characters from films come to life!

And it’s official, I am such a big kid!

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Canon Powershot S110 Review

This time last year I was preparing to go to Disney World! Which you can read all about here. Sadly, this year I am not doing anything as exciting, but I am preparing for another trip. I asked my boyfriend to book a little getaway for us for my birthday and surprise me with it, so far I *think* we are going to France, and that it will be Christmas themed (I LOVE Christmas). One of the many things that I am going to pack is my Canon Powershot S110, the best compact camera that I have ever owned. I bought this camera in September last year, in time for my Disney trip – and it was perfect!

Since it has been a year since I bought the camera I thought it would be a great time to do a review as I have frequently used it over the past year. One of the many reasons that this camera is perfect for me is because it is easily portable and can fit in my bag or pocket. This is so important because I love my DSLRs but they are big and heavy and I feel like I can’t always enjoy the moment if I am lugging them around. However I have found that most compact cameras do not have the quality I want – until the Powershot S110. This camera is my baby and I take it practically everywhere.

One of the best features is the manual functions, you can change ISO, shutter speed, aperture and create your own settings for the lighting that you want, rather than relying on the auto setting which doesn’t always have desired results.  I like the way the pop up flash meters with the ambient lighting and doesn’t create a bright over exposed image. I also like that you can turn the flash completely off and just use the camera settings to adjust lighting for your photos. There is a video function which is useful, and the microphone on the camera is better than you would expect for a small device. The quality of this camera is similar to my DSLRs, or at least I think so, it has 12 megapixels and thanks to the manual functions I am taking better photos than I ever have on a compact camera.

Last but not least, there is a wi-fi function which allows you to upload photos to Facebook, Canon Gateway, and a couple of other sites. I found this useful for backing up images, or saving them to email on my phone using the Canon Gateway app (this was particularly useful when I didn’t have a laptop with me on holiday). This function however, should not be one of the main reasons that you choose this camera, as it is quite slow and can be temperamental.

Overall I think this is the best compact camera I have ever used. At £300 it is an investment but well worth it I feel. This model is one of the older ones as they have now brought out the S120 which I have heard has a few updates. I will leave you with a range of images I have taken with this lovely little camera.

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Family Photo Shoot – The Perfect Present

Yesterday I was in the studio with one of my best friends and her family. Earlier in the year we had briefly spoken about doing a family photo shoot, and as Christmas was coming she decided to book me. The family photos are a gift for one of her relatives for Christmas, and I thought this was a lovely idea. In fact, her mum had been nagging her dad to have photos done for ages, but he is a little camera shy – not that you can tell in the images!

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An intimate gig in Brighton

While we were in Hastings we ventured across to Brighton. We went last year too although didn’t make a full day of it as parking is expensive! I’ve always wanted to go to Brighton as I’ve heard great things about it, but it’s too far from Essex for a day trip really. So as we were in Hastings (about an hour away) we took the opportunity to go.

There was also another reason for wanting to go while we were away, one of my favourite bands Wakey!Wakey! were touring, and since we couldn’t go to the London date, the Brighton one was perfect! When we got to the venue The Latest Music Bar we went down some stairs to a little bar area with seats. It was cosy with candles and fairy lights and made for a great atmosphere! The support act was very good although I apologetically cannot remember the name. Then it was time for Mike (the lead from Wakey!Wakey!) to come and do his set, I was so excited. Because of the small room it was such an intimate gig and I loved it. Mike was amazing and I absolutely loved the acoustic versions of the new album Salvation.

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After the gig we waited in the foyer as Mike said he would be doing a meet and greet and I was so disappointed when I didn’t get to meet him at the last gig we were at.

I was waiting in the queue and feeling a bit nervous but I was so excited. For anyone that doesn’t know, Mike had a role in my favourite show One Tree Hill which is where I first discovered him. I think it was a combinatio of loving his music and the fact that he was on One Tree Hill that made it so exciting to meet him. Anyway, I didn’t need to be nervous because he is the loveliest guy ever, so friendly and we had a great chat.

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My cinemagraphs first test

Ever since I first saw them, I have been so inspired by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg’s Cinemagraphs. They are just so interesting and captivating.  I have been researching how to make cinemagraphs and actually made my first one in early 2012. I am planning on making some for my mixed media project at uni. Here is my prototype, it doesn’t quite loop as I didn’t have much time on it but I am please with the result!

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Tutorial; photographing craft products

 

I am part of a huge craft community on Facebook and I love it. They are all so creative and have a great influence on me as they are creating something new everyday and it reminds me to stay in touch with my creative self!

They have asked me to do a tutorial on how to best photograph their craft projects so I thought I would blog it for everyone to share!

Firstly, choose your background well, in these images I have chosen a background that goes with the colour scheme of the items and does not distract away from what it is.

blue scottie dog wooden keyring  Hallloween cake necklace with pumpkin

I have before chosen to photograph products on a white background and do some editing in photoshop, but I prefer more natural images.
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These are two badly lit images that I tried to save which a bit of editing on Photoshop. They are a bit overexposed but you couldn’t really see them otherwise. I don’t really like the white background personally as I think it looks too set up and plain, however that is simply a personal opinion and you could make a white background look great! I added some polka dots to the images which I thought made it look more interesting and matched the colours. If you have simple Paint or Photoshop skills you can use the eye dropped to pick a colour from the items and use the elipse tool to create the dots. If you need any help with this comment below!

Secondly, make sure that you have good lighting. I prefer natural light as it looks better, but I understand that juggling full time jobs with crafting means that you often don’t get home in the daylight! Whatever you do please don’t photograph your products in the dark where you can barely see them, it does not do them justice and buyers may be put off it they can not see it properly.

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Natural Light

 

Christmas cake keyring with red berries and holly
Artificial Light

You need to use the best quality camera or phone that you have, and you need an idea of how to
use it, play around with the settings and see what works for you.

If you need extra lighting inside, place your item on your background and put a lamp close to it. Point the lamp towards the object and check to see if any important parts are in shadow, if they are, adjust the light so you can see most of the details. If need be you can use more than one lamp to evenly light the object.

Thirdly you need to work out what angles work best with your product and it’s always good to take a few from different angles to show the best of you hard work.
red present earings with bright green ribbon

This is definitely all about trial and error but don’t forget if you have important details on your products that they need to be on show and perhaps even photographed close up. Try to vary the images and do close ups paired with longer shots.

Finally it is all about the final image. Check if there are any marks in the background and if they are distracting, re shoot.

Make sure that the products look their best and are true to how they look in real life, this is SO important as it can be a deal breaker for some people. If you find that you can’t reproduce the colours as well as you hoped, you can put a caption on the image saying that colours may vary in real life. This just protects you a little.

Check that the product is in focus, and that it is clear and sharp.

Cropping is very important, if the picture has too much background around the item it may look small and insignificant so it’s often better to take images closer up. You also need to decide whether you take your images in Landscape or Portrait, whichever looks best with the product.

Landscape
Christmas cake necklace with holly and berries
Portrait

I hope that has helped you all out and if you have any questions just comment below!

Incase you wondered these gorgeous items are all from my mum’s Etsy Shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/LellyBs?ref=l2-shopheader-name check it out!

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Boudoir Images – looking classy and sexy!

Now, at the beginning of the summer I did say that I would be doing some more photo shoots and especially some boudoir stuff. Unfortunately with a new part time job and a lot of pieces to pick up from the end of second year I haven’t got around to much. What I have got however, is more clarity, less stress, and more money to spend on camera stuff (can I get a woop?!).

I have however managed to do one portraiture shoot (not including the wedding and the shoot I did for that bride) and it turned out to be a pretty great one at that! Coral had seen that I was advertising for women to do boudoir images and decided she wanted to feel more confident about herself and her body. She said to me ‘I love these images, I came to you so I could feel confident and sexy and that’s exactly how these pictures make me feel!’

I would like to share some with you as I think they are stunning, thankyou Coral for being such a beautiful and easy going model!

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