Thursday, 29 September 2016

Blog Photography - Tips & Tricks

I came to blogging, like a lot of people, through a passion for beauty and style. After starting my YouTube channel I knew that although I love making videos, I would always accidentally miss out some of my thoughts and opinions from the videos I was making. I knew I wanted to carry on making content relating to beauty and style to go along with my videos, and already followed a lot of great blogs that gave me lots of inspiration. At that time I’d already invested in a ‘good’ DSLR camera, so all I had to do was open my creative mind and starting snapping some good products shots for my new blog!

I've been blogging for about 5 months now - trying to get at least 1 good post out a week around - and I can definitely say I love taking photos as much as I like writing! I think the biggest rut I've found my self getting into already is being creative with the setting and background; switching it up enough so it doesn't get boring, but still trying to maintain a consistent style to my photos. I think the pinnacle of blog photography, for me, is for someone to see one of your photograph and know who shot it. 
With this in mind I thought it might be useful for me to share some of the tips that have helped start to find my personal style when it comes to my blog photography!

Tip No.1 Props
I love to use various props when ‘staging’ my product shots; jewellery, flowers, leaves; pretty much anything I have lying around that complement the theme or colour scheme of the shot or shots. Be as creative as you can! I like using a magazine article or front page in photos recently, it’s another ‘trend’ but I do love the look of it!

Tip No.2 Background
I think blog readers must sometimes get sick of white marble backgrounds, but white really is the best colour to use to compliments any product. I have an old IKEA table top that I covered in marble contact paper to use as a background. Sometimes I just used a piece of white A4 paper on the windowsill – it works great! I do occasionally use coloured, or even patterned backgrounds, but only if the product is really simple in design and colour. Other products in the background, slightly blurred out, is also another favourite of mine for any standing products.

Tips No.3 Lighting
I bet you’ve heard this a million times (I know I have!) but it’s true that natural daylight is the best light to photograph with. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge what time of day has the best light, but as a general rule of thumb I like to shoot between 4-8 in the Spring and Summer, and between 1-4 in the Autumn and Winter months. Shooting at mid-day when the sun is at its highest and brightest can often cause harsh, problematic shadows. Working full-time however sometimes means I don’t get to take full advantage of the sunlight, so I have a few other tricks up my sleeve! I bought two soft box stands from eBay for around £50 (take a look at something similar here) initially to use for my YouTube videos, but they’re great for my blog shots too! I also have a portable LED box light that attaches to the hot shoe of my camera for when I need a little more top light.

Tip No.4 Staging 
I like to switch between a mix of random and very organised, linear staging for my blog product shots. I normally end up putting things a lot closer than I would normally think necessary to make them look good in the frame; it’s all about changing and adjusting as you go. Take lots of shots with lots of different staging options – you’ll thank yourself later when you come to reviewing and editing!

Tip No.5 Style
The most popular and trendy style at the moment is obviously flay-lay; it’s the easiest way to take a full, complimentary shot of products (especially make up) but it’s important if you are only using this style that you make suitable variations each time to make sure it doesn’t get boring and repetitive! Something I like to do is play with depth and layering. If you can raise some products, maybe having your props in the foreground or background on another level it makes the photo a little more interesting and means that not every shot on your blog is the same. To achieve the perfect flat lay, it’s important to position the camera directly above the set-up, and that the set up style is fully committed to; if it’s a linear arrangement, make sure the spacing is perfect, if it’s ‘random’ placement, be sure to take test shots to make sure everything is still visible in the shot, while still looking fairly effortless. The light should be even throughout the shot, which can be challenging sometimes.

Tip No.6 Editing
I always try my best to get a shot as close to perfect with the camera, as my editing skills are not great, and if you (like me!) don't know what you're doing then editing can potentially ruin a great shot. 
I only recently started editing my blog shots to brighten and sharpen them, and as long as I don't go too far, I can always make improvements. This is always made easier by good shoot lighting and white backgrounds! I edit my shots a lot more for social media (sharper, mainly) but that's another post all together! I like to use Photoshop, although I'll be the first to admit my abilities are very limited! On my Mac I like to use Fotor - its a lot more simple to use for a newbie!

I hope these tips were helpful to some of you who might be starting out with blog photography, or who are just looking to see how other people do it! Let me know if the comments what your favourite tips are - I always appreciate new advice and pointers!



Thursday, 15 September 2016


These tags often feel like just filler to me, but I really fancied sharing a little more about myself today! So, here we go!
No.1 Is your hair naturally curly or straight?
It's just naturally a mess! I guess, in the loosest sense of the word, it's naturally curly...
No.2 Do you dye it yourself or go to a salon?
A bit of both! Last time I went to the salon and got highlights, but I’ve been known to dabble in box dyes!
No.3 Do you wear the same style every day, or do you change it?
I used to be a lot more adventurous with make-up & hair in my late teens and early 20’s, but I’m a bit boring nowadays. Clothing-wise though, I think I’m still good at switching styles with my mood.
No.4 Do you do your own mani/pedi or go to a salon?
I bite my fingernails and my toenails are miniscule so I don’t do either! I do like a nice set of acrylics at the salon from time to time though!
No.5 How often do you change your nail polish?
N/A – see ‘shit nails’ explanation above…
No.6 Do you polish your toes in the winter or just the summer?
No.7 How long does it take for you to put on makeup?
It totally depends what day it is! For work I do it in about 15 minutes on the bus there, but at the weekend I find it really relaxing to take an hour to get my makeup just right and feel all pretty
No.8 What do you do first? Face or eyes?
I have a bit of a weird routine… I like to do foundation, eyes, concealer, powder, mascara then lipstick.
No.9 Do you collect makeup or just buy what you need when you need it?
I like to keep my collection pretty small and invest in more high end stuff… as snobby as that sounds! Oops…
No.10 How often do you wear false eyelashes?
Not often, I’m crap at applying them. Maybe twice a month.
No.11 Do you do a full face of makeup everyday?
Yup! I LOVE make up, and being creative with it! I find it more relaxing than a chore, so I’ll always have a good bit on my face! I suppose the eye product-wearing varies; sometimes barely there, sometimes full. On.
No.12 Do you wear makeup when you’re home alone or with family?
If I’m coming home from work then I love the feeling of taking off my makeup, but it doesn’t irritate me too much if I leave it on. But pretty much any time I’m out of the house I like to at least wear a little make-up.
No.13 Will you leave the house without makeup?
I try not to!
No.14 How many high-end products do you have?
I think most of my stuff is not ‘high-end’ whatever that means. If it means I probably paid too much for it, then yes, almost all of it! Ha!
No.15 Do you plan your OOTD every night or decide when you’re getting dressed?
Oh, as I’m getting dressed. I’m not as bothered by fashion as I am about make up!
No.16 How often do you change your handbag?
Maybe once a month? I rotate them fairly regularly. I get bored so easily!
No.17 What time do you wake up and go to sleep?
Normally I have to be up early for work or dog walking duties, so usually up at 6am weekdays, 8am weekends. Going to bed totally depends on my mood; I regularly suffer with insomnia so some nights I can’t get to sleep at all! I hate it…. :(
No.18 How often or when do you workout?
Hardly ever L I get 6-7 hours of walking in a week with dog walking, but other than that I don’t do much - I really need to start to! When I do work out, I love weight training rather than extreme cardio. I hate everything to do with ruinning
No.19 Left handed or right handed?
No.20 How tall are you?
Not very! 4ft 11”  :)
No.21 Do you speak any foreign languages?
I speak a little French and a little Portuguese!
No.22 How many pets do you have?
One cute pooch – my Jack Russell Terrier rescue dog, Hutch!
No.23 How often are you on Blogger?
I like to get on and write at least once good post every week!
No.24 Do you read comments posted on blogs?
Yeah definitely – there always useful in some way or another!
No.25 Do you keep a list of products to try as you see other posts?
Oh yes! It’s as long as my arm – constantly!
No.26 How did you come up with your blog name?
It’s just my name J
No.27 What kind of camera do you use for your photographs?
I use a Canon 70D and an old Nikon D80 -  I love them both!
No.28 How often do you clean your house?
Well I like to do a little every day and a full clean out every month!
No.29 What’s your favourite colour?
I’m not sure, probably white, or purple?
No.30 Do you swear?
Yes… way too much sometimes!
No.31 What are you doing with the rest of your day?
I’m doing some browsing for homeware for our new place, then hopefully going to NANDOS! EEEK! I love that place!

I'd love to hear a little bit more about you guys! Why not answer your three favourite questions in the comments below?


Tuesday, 13 September 2016


I have to hold my hands up, I'm a little late to the party when it comes to having a regular and thorough skincare routine, but now it's something I can't be without now as I approach the big 3-0! I'm lucky in that I haven't suffered with severe break-outs or ever had particularly unbalanced skin in the past, but I know age definitely begins the level the playing field eventually, and I'm hoping I caught it in enough time to make a difference!

I think there's a lot of scare mongering involved in skincare marketing, but there are definitely some terrifying truths among it all! I don't have a SPF product in this round up, but it's something I always try to incorporate in my daily routine at the make-up stage, even if it's just using a foundation with a little protection! I only recently found out that layering SPF actually decreases it's effectiveness, so I always make sure to choose just one product a day that contains any sun protection.

Although products & technologies are more advanced these days, a good ol' cleanse, tone and moisturise routine is definitely still something I use to base my routine around, although there are now variations of each step that I interchange from time to time.

There are a lot of great cleansers out there, and sometimes I use a couple at once depending on how much make-up/general grime I have to remove! 

At the moment I'm using Clinique's Take the day Off Balm (I lost the photo - sorry guys) as a first cleanse. It's a really great balm cleanser that melts make up off effortlessly! Next, because of 'Summer-sweat-face-syndrome' I've been using an exfoliating/brightening cleanser by Vasanti as a second cleanse, to make sure I'm getting a really deep cleanse. I only use this one 3 or 4 times a week, as it tend to irritate my skin if I use it every day, but my, my - it's amazing!

Next I apply a really light, soothing toner by Patyak. I pour about a table spoon onto a cotton pad and softly rub it around my face. With the Summer we've had, it's cooling which hazel has been a welcomed escape from the muggy UK weather!

Toner is used to re-balance the pH of your skin after cleansing, and is particularly useful when you've been using a heavy cleanser (like the Vasanti) as when it's taking all the gross oily gunk it also strips the skin of some of it's natural oils that are vital for balance and maintain that healthy glow we all love!

Lately I've been adding the next step to my everyday routine more and more, and I'm loving it! After cleansing and moisturising it's time for the masque/mask! There are so many of these on the market, and for me it's definitely been a trial and error exercise to find the right one. But after trying so so many of them, I think I've finally found my golden ticket masque! This Cilantro & Orange Pollution Defense masque from Kiehl's is a-maz-ing! This one works by applying a liberal layer and leaving for 10 minutes, before tissuing off the excess and leaving overnight to work it's magic! You can obliviously use it how you want of course - sometimes I like to put a cheeky smudge of it under my moisturiser or SPF on those none make up days!

The next step for me is eye cream. I think this stuff is normally automatically associated with older skin, but I definitely think it's worth investing in a good eye cream from a young age - especially is you have drier skin. I have a pretty cheap option that I use at the moment, from Ponds, and it works a treat! Eye cream is a lot more gentle that normal moisturiser, as the skin around the skin is a lot thinner and more delicate.

Last in the routine is moisturiser. You can of course use a serum in between toning and moisturising on non-mask days, but I haven't found one I love yet. I'd love to get recommendations, if you want to leave them in the comments! I'm currently using this moisturiser from YesTo Carrots; it's really light and doesn't have any nasties! It leave my combo skin feeling clean and soft, with a good dose of moisture! It's definitely one I'd like to recommend. The whole range is great in fact!

I hope this was useful to someone in some way! I love all things skincare so I'll definitely be posting about it more and more!

Let me know what your skincare favourites are in the comments below!

Monday, 12 September 2016


I love make-up as much as the next girl, don't get me wrong, but I am definitely a fan of having a face-break from time to time, and allow my skin some breathing space. I can go without pretty much any and all products on days like these...apart from mascara!

We're lucky to have a product like mascara that your face never really needs a 'break' from, and that makes such a difference to a naked face! When I have no other make-up I think it allows me to still look and feel feminine, and just that little more put together...

I think I might have tried more mascaras than any other category of make-up over the years, so I decided to really take notice of my go-to's and favorites over the last few weeks and have put together a list of my favourite 5 (in no particular order!) to share with you, along with some reasons why I love them!

BAD GAL LASH - Benefit
This is a cult favourite product, from a cult favourite brand! Bad Gal Lash is a very black mascara that packs a lot of punch! It does get a little clumpy if you apply more than one coat, but I find it's good enough to wear with one coat. It can crumble a little, but again this is remedied by only using one coat. I love this mascara for use with falsies!
£17.50 -  Benefit @ Debenhams

No. 2 
THICK & FAST - Soap & Glory
I don't see this one mentioned much in YouTube or blog reviews, which suggests it's either an acquired taste, or it's a bit of a hidden treasure! I love this mascara for everyday. It's in no way subtle, but it doesn't clump easily and gives me a really flirty lash (which I love!).
It's one of those beauties that gets even better the more it dries out, but I would never suggest using a mascara past it's expiry!
£10.50 Soap & Glory @ Boots

I've probably been using this mascara since my teens - and I'm still in love with it! It was my mascara of choice on my wedding day, probably because it's a bit more of a gentle, more feminine black with lots of staying power! It doesn't crumble and comes off easily with cleanser. It's more of a lengthening mascara, but doesn't too clump easily if you wanted to apply a few layers to build up the volume & drama!
£17.50 - Clinique @ Boots

No. 4 
This is my go-to when I want dramatic top lashes! It seems to grab every tiny lash and gives a good coating with every swipe. I use two coats to get a 'falsies' look, as it doesn't seem to easily clump up. It's very black and really dramatic; a great mascara for the price - a steal at nearly half the price of the others in the list!
£7.99 Maybeline @ Superdrug

THEY'RE REAL - Benefit
Another cult favourite from Benefit! I think this is the most popular of the 5 within the blogging and YouTube community -  and for good reason, it's lush! As the name suggests, it's all about the length and volume with this one, giving you the falsies look. I usually use this on my bottom lashes when I'm wearing false lashes, so that they don;t look to minuscule in comparison to my falsie-d top lashes!
£19.50 - Benefit @ Debenhams

If I'm completely honest, I could use my Maybeline mascara in most situations. I think there's little difference between the higher end and high street mascaras, but lets be honest, they are the first thing in your makeup stash to go 'bad' so it's nice to be able to try different brands and products from time to time!

I'd love to hear about your favourite mascaras in the comments below!
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