Tuesday, 27 September 2016

How to Take Blog Photos in Winter

As we're heading into autumn, the days are getting shorter, the temperature's are getting colder, and you're wondering if this blogging thing was such a good thing after all. However, let me just say: please, please, please, don't be a fairweather fashion blogger - consistency is one of the most important elements of blogging, so don't let winter take that away from you! There are many ways to get around the winter months; with a little help, soon enough you'll find that maintaining your blogging game will be as easy as pie.

S H O R T E R    D A Y S

One of the biggest motivation killers when it comes to anything during winter - not just blogging - is the lower amount of daytime hours. Obviously, good light is essential for great photography (unless artificial lighting is part of your aesthetic), and what with work/school/childcare taking up most of those crucial hours of sunshine, taking that killer shot is somewhat of a mammoth task.

Now, there are several ways around this. Firstly, thanks to daylight savings, our mornings will be lighter than evenings in winter. Therefore, it'd make sense to get up half an hour earlier, set up your camera on your tripod (or grab your Instagram husband), and catch your OOTD in the morning sun. The sun will be low in the sky, so you'll avoid those mid-afternoon high contrast shots, and you'll be fresh as a daisy having only just got ready, so your outfit won't have gone through the turmoil of a day's wear.

On the other hand, this isn't the best option for those of us who are attached to our beds, or those who like to go further afield for their shots (as travel might not be an option in the mornings). So, you could always head out on your lunchbreak, source a good patch of shade (perhaps behind a building or under a large tree), and shoot away. This way, you're still avoiding harsh lighting contrasts, but you still have a good amount of light to work with.

In winter, weekends are your friends. Sometimes, I'll spend a good three hours putting together and shooting looks for my blog and Instagram. I know, seems like a lot of work for a weekend, right? But, if you're dedicated and you love to blog, then this is just something that must be done. I shoot mostly on weekends because I don't feel like I'm in a rush, so I can really perfect my look, and even travel to get the perfect background (unfortunately, I don't have a perfect white brick wall at my disposal!).

U N P R E D I C T A B L E    W E A T H E R

So you're finally blessed with an hour to take photos. But, you arrive at your location and it's windy and/or raining. Typical. However, not totally impossible. When unpredictable British weather rears its ugly head, I try and find somewhere that's still outside, but sheltered from the elements. Some creative examples are:

A beach hut with a verandah
Under an archway or bridge
A doorway with a porch canopy
A bandstand or pavilion
By a picnic table umbrella
A narrow alleyway

I wouldn't recommend taking your photos inside unless you're next to a really big window - preferably floor to ceiling to show off your whole outfit - otherwise this can make your shots look unnatural and can often provoke shaky camera blur or ugly flash photography. 

C O L D   T O N E S

Thanks to a lack of sunlight, winter is associated with a blue, grey and white colour palette - and you may notice these hues in your photos. If you're going for a cool-toned or even minimalist aesthetic, winter might be your best friend. However, if you like to keep your shots warm, there are a couple of ways to get around this.

Firstly, if you've got a DSLR, alter your white balance before you start snapping. Most DSLRs will offer this option, and you'll probably find it in a button on the camera body which is marked with 'WB'. Hit this, and you'll find a range of options including Tungsten/Incandescent Light, Daylight and Fluorescent Light, amongst others. If you want to go for a warmer image, select either Cloudy or Shade options - these will bring out the red and green tones in your image to make your subject and scenery seem warmer.

If you don't have a DSLR, your best option is to recreate the effect with your photo editing software. If you have simple software, you may find that a warm filter will do the trick. However, if you have Photoshop or similar, play around with a 'Levels' layer to alter the tones in the image and make it warmer. If you haven't done this before, it's easy to find a YouTube tutorial to help you out!

Let me know what your tips are for taking photos in winter - or if you have any questions about blogging or photography, please let me know in the comments section of this post!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

LFW SS17 Day 2: Pam Hogg & Rocky Star

Every season I tell myself that I won't go to LFW. It's stressful, shows run over and make me late, and there's always an after party where I get a little bit too drunk and regret it in the morning. However, I just can't help the excitement when the tickets land on my desk; what will this season's trends be like? Who will be walking the runways? Will I find a new design house to fall in love with? In the end, I give in to my curiosity, pop my heels on and grab my camera ready for the week ahead.

This time, however, I chose just one day on which to attend so that I could keep stress levels to a minimum and leave my weekend free. On Friday 16th September, Rocky Star, Paul Costelloe and Pam Hogg were showing, along with Fashion Scout's 'Ones to Watch' show, an assembly of rising talent within the industry (this year's catwalk saw Ana Ljubinkovic, Anissa Aida, Billie Jacobina and Ester Kubisz making their LFW debuts).

Rocky Star's gowns were nothing short of breathtaking. His Bollywood-inspired designs showcased delicate floral applique on floating chiffons and silks, intricate necklines and showstopping headpieces. The models wore ornate and, often, oversized drop and chandelier earrings - some with the additional bejewelled choker - and the makeup focused on dark eye shadows, groomed brows and natural lips. Hair was tied back into low ponytails, then plaited in a simple braid.

I loved the whole show. Despite the heavy ruffling, these dresses would certainly fit in well in my dream wardrobe. The colour palette was heavenly, and makes me nostalgic for a moment in time circa 2003 when all I wore was nudes, browns and dusky pinks; however, this is far, far better. 

As I had priority access to the show, I managed to get a half decent seat; however, I longed to get an up-close look at the dresses, so as soon as the show ended I went to the side of the catwalk and snapped a few photos of the models up close. The fabrics were so beautiful; I could liken them to the delicate surface of a painting. And the applique was just stunning: beads, jewels, sequins, coins, all sewn so deliberately on the fabric in perfect lines and patterns.

Also in attendance were Geordie Shore's Charlotte Crosby, Made In Chelsea's Nicola Hughes and Kimberley Garner, Love Island's Olivia Buckland, actresses Lily Frazer and Natalie Anderson, and singer Hatty Keane.

Pam Hogg's show was, as usual, wacky as ever. Her collection consisted of sixties-inspired block colours and shapes, combined with seventies metallics and wigs. There were, of course, several of the designer's famous bodysuits in both mesh and patent fabrics, alongside some extremely wearable pieces including a fiery orange playsuit that gave off a spiced-up Velma Dinkley vibe.

Alice Dellal opened and closed the show in two different tea dress-style outfits, accessorised with huge platform heels and her signature undercut. Pam Hogg herslef made an appearance midway through the show, walking out in a gold tracksuit, aviators and cane, pointing to her friends on the frow as she went, and again at the end to thank everyone.

All in all, an amazing show which definitely gave me an inkling that the sixties is going to be big next season. Thank God I still have a use for my mum's vintage mini skirts. Note: never throw anything away.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

What to Wear for London Fashion Week SS17

LFW is upon us, and if you're attending any shows over the next six days - or even if you're just hanging around trying to get papped - you'll want a killer outfit to stand out from the crowd. 

Note: of course, Fashion Week is a trade event and is meant for people who work in the fashion industry; therefore there should be no fun of any kind, no one should be taking selfies, nor should anyone be documenting said fun or selfies on social media, and you DEFINITELY shouldn't be blogging about it.

I'm kidding. Fashion is fun, so we should have fun, enjoy ourselves and not take life too seriously.

*back to the blog post*

I spent this entire week scouring the internet for something to wear for my LFW shows. For me style is important, but comfort is essential. I don't have the money to get Ubers everywhere, so flats or comfortable low heels are a must. I'll be walking around by myself so I'd rather not wear anything too loud or revealing. BUT it'll be boiling hot so I also need to think about light layers and avoiding dark colours. 

Needless to say I couldn't find anything online. Plus I have just about zero money in my account, so I'll have to stick with what I've already got.

As with every season, I'm using Instagram to find inspiration. I'll think about my own requirements, then build around that using images from bloggers, models, journos and other FW attendees to produce something stylish as well as practical. This month, I'm looking at the babes of NYFW (try the hashtag #nyfw to find your own inspo) - here are my findings:

Jessica Wang, photographed by Ryan Chua, is wearing a gorgeous striped one shoulder top with an oversized ruffle. She's pairing this with ripped jeans, blue velvet heels and a white handbag. I love her sunglasses - definitely the shape of the season.

Caroline Daur is working a lilac tee under a black lace slip, toughened up with studded boots and a YSL bag. Super delicate, with a touch of leather. I love this.

One of my favourite bloggers, Andy Torres, is wearing a Hugo Boss dress for their show, cinched with a nude belt, matching zip-up boots and a black carry-all tote.

Evelyn DiVlach looks so damn chic in this electric blue tulle skirt, simple tee and metallic shoes and accessories for the Anna Sui show. A perfect match for the designer's playful style.

Natasha Poly doubling up her Tod's handbag and trainers with an all black outfit. So casual, but she pulls it off so effortlessly.

Crystal from Obsessions Now wearing her favourite fall colour in an architectural skirt, black cold-shoulder turtle neck and black boots. Her red handbag is to die for, and totally bring this outfit together.

Helena Bordon looking so damn chic whilst wearing her own brand of sunglasses. She's pairing this with an oversized shirt, Prada corset belt, Louis Vuitton boots and little black shorts.

Irene Kim is catching a bit to eat before the Coach show, working heavenly clashing prints to tie in with her coloured hair. So cute!

Jill Wallace is stopping traffic in these knee high lace up boots. She pairs it with an angelic white dress, black sunglasses and, the accessory of the season, a wide choker.

Kaitlynn Carter is looking bewitching in Parisian brand Brockenbow's flared jeans, and a bell sleeve Rachel Zoe top. I adore the lace detailing!

Legend Sandra Hagelstam is wearing those iconic Stella McCartney cleated shoes, paired with an Elena Shisellini bag and a white a-line dress. Matchy, but I like it.

Chriselle Lim is everything I want to be and more on day 6 of NYFW. Her insanely chic outfit sees the use of killer courts, cropped black trousers, and a black cami OVER a white shirt. Pretty sure I couldn't pull this off, but I'm definitely admiring it on her.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Beauty How To: Unicorn Lips

'I like my lips, for kissing' - Scarlett Johansson

Lips are so fun to play around with when it come to makeup. You don't really need as much skill as you do with eye shadow and eyeliner, because the consistency of lip products make it so much easier to wipe away with a cotton bud or go over with concealer and correct where you've gone wrong.

As a celebration of receiving my super cute unicorn phone charger from Coconut-Lane, I decided to create this metallic unicorn lip look. It's insanely easy - you only need four products and a brush - but it makes a great statement.

You'll need:

- Sugar scrub
- Flat eye shadow brush

What to do:

1. Exfoliate your lips using a sugar scrub so that all the dead skin has lifted away and you're left with a smooth surface to work on.

2. Apply a thin layer of Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm.

3. Apply Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipstick in Unicorn. Start from the middle edge and work your way outwards, then fill in. Feel free to over-line slightly.

4. Use a thick, flat eye shadow brush (this one from Morphe is great, as is this one from Zoeva) to apply the MAC Pigment in Vanilla to the centre of your lips. Start with a small amount of product, then add more depending on how strong you like your shine.

5. Neaten up your lines with your choice of concealer if you feel that your look isn't sharp enough - and you're done!

Friday, 2 September 2016

Kids' Fashion: How Much is Too Much

Holly Willoughby Criticised Over £400 Kids' Shoes

If you've been on a celebrity news website today, you'll probably have noticed Holly Willoughby's name floating around, linked to the words 'expensive', 'designer' and 'daughter'. Put those words together and you'll get this general gist: Holly Willoughby took a photograph of her daughter in a pair of £400 Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers and posted it on Instagram next to a photograph of Blue Ivy in the same shoes. She captioned the image: '

Blue Ivy going to the VMA's... Belle going to a birthday party at the farm! #giuseppezanotti@giuseppezanottidesign ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’™'.

For illustrative purposes, here is the original post:

Holly Willoughby Criticised Over £400 Kids' Shoes

Now, to me, Holly has always held a special place in my heart for being so damn gorgeous, smart and hilarious, and therefore I've always had her down for being real. Today, this hasn't changed one bit. For me, anyway.

After reading through the comments on the Instagram image, I found some users bashing Holly for 'bragging' - for example, the below comment:

‘Don’t show off with ridiculously over priced trainers holly… For a child as well, who will grow out of them in weeks and scuff them in seconds…. Bragging wasn’t something I had you down for… [sic].’

Now, hold up just one second. Wasn't Instagram built on bragging? From posts depicting an awesome bacon sandwich you made yourself for breakfast, to a photo of your fresh-out-the-box engagement ring, we've all bragged on Instagram at some point (I hold my hands up if you haven't. Get down with your righteous self).

Secondly, wasn't designer clothing built on bragging, too? I know there are some people, myself including, who prefer the lesser known, less ostentatious brands, but there are also those who will buy designer items just to show off to their friends/family/colleagues. Most of us secretly like that feeling of having something that others don't. It makes us feel special.

So isn't that what Holly's doing here? Just making her daughter feel special? Sure, she doesn't NEED to do that with a pair of £400 shoes, but if she can then why not? Who are we to judge what amount a mother spends on her child?

Another commenter said:

‘She’s loaded and doesn’t live in the real world. Like Beyoncรฉ and her offspring.’

Um. Can we just define what 'the real world' is here? Like, is there some sort of alternate reality where only celebrities and the rich can frolic, wandering through life without having to obey laws, pay bills or taxes and not work a day in their lives? Okay, maybe there is a slightly altered version of this for a privileged few, but in Holly's defense, she is a mother (which is an unpaid job 24 hours a day, seven days a week) as well as a TV presenter (yes, that's a job, too), she owns a house and therefore pays bills, and to the best of my knowledge she lives by the law. Come on. Give this woman some slack.

What's your opinion on Holly's Instagram post? Let me know in the comments below!
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