Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Product Photography Tips & Ideas

 


Welcome back to a new post. Today I wanted to share some tips I’ve picked up while doing product photography for my blog. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but I thought it would be interesting to share what I’ve learnt so far.

When I say product photography, I am mainly referring to when I photograph beauty products but I sometimes go through the same process when photographing my baking, books, and other things. So, let’s get started…


1.) Props can really elevate your blog photos. Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy new props, often there are day to day things you can use for example stationery, an attractive mug or a necklace.

2.) Use a pretty background. I always do this, and it really makes a difference to the end photos. I find myself reaching for gift wrap, scrapbooking paper or the inside of a coffee table book.

3.) Look for interesting light. This can depend on the time of year, but natural light is normally best. If it’s warm enough outside you can take your props in your garden or on a walk.

4.) If you are aiming for a small batch of photos, try including variety in each shot. For example, include some close up, far away or vary your set up.

5.) Find inspiration on blogs, Pinterest, magazines or books. Often the information you read will naturally come out in your own work. When I first started getting into lifestyle blogging, I remember finding lots of lovely blogs including props in their photos which gave me inspiration.

6.) Don’t worry about having all the best equipment, sometimes all you need is a phone camera, good light, and a bit of creativity.

7.) Take lots and lots of photos, then pick out the very best to share/keep.

8.) Photograph your passions, so if you like natural make-up, stationery, flower arranging, etc. make sure you include these as your love for the subject will come across.



I hope at least a couple of these tips have been useful!
Please feel free to include your own ideas in the comments below. :-) Xx

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Jigsaw Log #7

 

Hello and welcome back to a new jigsaw log. I finished this jigsaw last month, and felt it was a really enjoyable one to do. The quality was great, and the picture was the right level of difficulty. My Dad gifted me this Christmas jigsaw last Christmas, and I finally decided to give it a go despite it being summer time.

The brand is called Corner Piece Puzzles, and The Works stock many of their designs. This particular puzzle has five hundred pieces. I thought it would be interesting to include some tips for those of you getting into this hobby.


1.) The different pictures on jigsaws will vary the difficulty of the puzzle. If you are a beginner, I would suggest going for an image with lots of variation, colour, and a medium scale so each puzzle piece looks individual.

2.) Start with separating the edge and corner pieces. Once these are placed down, separate the main themes on the picture. So, if you were doing this Christmas jigsaw you would start with the red pieces to make the postman’s van.

3.) Work out how you would like to fit jigsaws into your routine. You may prefer to set out an afternoon to do it, while listening to music, and having a cup of tea. For me, I like short, active sessions where I keep coming back and updating my progress.



Do you like to do jigsaws?
What kind of pictures do you gravitate towards? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

These are a few of my favourite things #10

 

Books:

Greetings Cards using Digital Photos by Cheryl Owen

This book is packed with creative ideas to use digital photos in card making. I could 
see myself recreating some of the designs and generally I found tons of inspiration.


My Heart by Corinna Luyken

This was a highly anticipated read for me. The meaning of a heart that can grow 
and mend is beautiful. Quite emotional and heartfelt with stunning art work.


Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Carl the earthworm explores the question of why he is here and discovers his important 
place in the world. A beautifully told story with a special meaning. A picture book to treasure.


Urban Photography by Tim Cornbill

Extensive information on all aspects of urban photography. I learned a lot 
and gained much inspiration. The book could appeal to beginners or 
experts in photography. I can’t wait to start applying my new ideas!


The Night Sky and Other Amazing Sights in Space by Nick Hunter

A fantastic starting point if you want to learn about space. Quite 
insightful in places and interesting to read, I enjoyed it very much.


The No-Sugar Desserts & Baking Cookbook by Ysanne Spevack

A thoroughly researched no-sugar baking book. The author knows her stuff for example she includes a break-down of alternative ingredients with pros and cons. The book is beautifully presented providing lots of foodie photography inspiration. Bear in mind I haven’t tried the recipes yet but I liked the look of the healthier gingerbread men and pumpkin pie.


Lifestyle:

Paper High – A Handmade, Fair-Trade & Sustainable Brand

My Dad kindly gifted me this beautiful leather pocket notebook for my birthday. I was impressed by the information I read on the label and later did some research into the brand. Paper High share their story online, including how the fair-trade products are made. I recommend you check out the links if you are looking to buy someone or yourself sustainable gifts. I like the look of the cosy socks and rugs. The postage price is very reasonable too.
https://www.paperhigh.com/
https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/paperhigh



Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

I really enjoyed watching the Olympics as there have been some new, more unusual sports featured. Examples include skateboarding, rock climbing, etc along with the usual dressage, hockey and so on. 

Did any of my favourites interest you?
What things have you been loving lately? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

The Body Shop Shea Butter Richly Replenishing Shampoo

 

Hope my readers are doing well. Today I have a product review to share. I’m taking a pause from buying on Superdrug to try other shops. I’ve recently been into The Body Shop as they have a lot going for them. 

I’ve been using this shea butter shampoo for a little while now and I’m so pleased with it. It has a gentle formula, targeted at dry, prone to damage hair which appealed to me because lately my hair has felt pretty dry. After using the shampoo, I found it has been in much better condition, and more so after each wash.


The shea butter has a lovely, clean fragrance which lingers on in my hair. I bought the 400ml bottle but it’s possible to buy a smaller quantity. The packaging features the cruelty-free logo and mentions it’s 100% vegan. 

After buying this item I noticed The Body Shop have changed the packaging of their haircare to recycled materials. I think this is awesome and I would recommend you take a look on their website. I have already ordered the matching conditioner.



Do you use many body shop products?
Have you got any haircare recommendations for me? :-) Xx

Monday, 19 July 2021

These are a few of my favourite things #9

 

Books:

Vintage Style by Sarah Kennedy 

This covers just about everything you would want to know about recreating vintage style from different eras. It’s not cliché in anyway, instead it’s practical and interesting. The history was fascinating and perfect for vintage enthusiasts. For each style/era information is noted on key looks, style tips, celebrity examples, history, colour palettes, and much more. I would recommend it to people who are interested in the topic, it’s a great book to have!

Creating Creatures of Fantasy and Imagination by Claudia Nice

A beautifully crafted book showing readers how to draw creatures of fantasy. Chapters are broken down into different mythical creatures such as faery folk, dragons and sea monsters, etc. The author takes us through her creative process including step by steps and photos she has used to help her. 

The art is truly stunning and her fictional stories are fascinating. This book would make a good gift for artists wanting to draw out of the box or fantasy fans looking for something different to read.


Shelf Life by Simon Parke

This is a memoir in diary format of a vicar of twenty years, Simon Parke who shares his 
experience of moving jobs and working in a supermarket stacking shelves. One of those 
books that makes you feel like a fly on the wall. Entertaining and interesting to read.

Smile! by Leigh Hodgkinson

Absolutely loved this, quirky fun picture book. It didn’t go in the obvious direction 
I was expecting. Sunny the protagonist really shone and felt believable to me as 
a girl wanting to get her smile back. The ending sealed the deal for me.


The Garden of Hope by Katie Rewse

This story of love and hope really pulls on the heart strings. Maya 
and her Dad miss Mum very much so in her memory they transform 
their garden. Beautifully told with equally lovely illustrations.

Jamela's Dress by Niki Daly

A lively, atmospheric story about Jamela who goes to buy 
some dress material with her Mother for a wedding outfit.


How to be an Astronaut and Other Space Jobs by Dr Sheila Kanani

A highly informative, fascinating book for children who want to have a job in 
the space field. The author discusses the real logistics of what it takes in a way 
that’s accessible to children. It’s also a fun read with engaging illustrations.

Fireside Feasts and Snow Day Treats by Ryland Peters & Small

An evocative cookery book for those cold but cosy autumn and winter months. 
All of the recipes look delectable. I enjoyed the photography and reading experience.


Music:

Music Played by Humans Gary Barlow

This has been a very recent love of mine. The songs on the album
 have a unique, chirpy sound that is different from Gary’s usual style.


Beauty:

Avon Face and Body Bronzing Gel in Shade Light

I thought I would give a shout out to this amazing product I’ve been using. This was the first 
Avon make-up product I have bought in years. Luckily, it’s been a big hit and I’ve been applying 
the wash off bronze gel to the legs and arms for a skin kissed glow. (Not cruelty-free/vegan)


What have you been loving lately?
Do you have any entertainment or beauty recs for me? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Eco-Friendly Hobby Suggestions | Part Two

 

Make Your Own Clothes

Everyone has to start somewhere, don’t be put off thinking you have to be an expert. Maybe start with mending or customizing things. If you get really keen you could join a class, read books and watch videos, or even write a blog.

Make Handmade Gifts/Cards from Recycled Materials

I’ve been making cards for years now, and it’s one of my favourite things to do. I don’t use lots of expensive materials though, people who know I craft will pass on (often recycled) materials to me such as old cards, ribbon, etc. that would just normally go to waste. I’ve started using cereal packets for the base card, this would work for many.

Start an Eco-friendly Blog and Support Others Doing the Same

Many blogs begin with a specific passion. If you want to learn more about environmental living, blogs and articles make a good starting point. Your blog can be about anything, some ideas include: natural beauty, slow living, budgeting, books, etc.


Start a Book Club

I love the idea of starting a book club but you can always start small such as buddy reading with a friend, following book blogs, watching book YouTube channels, or start a facebook/Goodreads group. You could choose books about environmental issues.

Start an Allotment

My family have had an allotment in the past, but be sure to know they require commitment. Maybe start one with a group of people or have a vegetable patch in your own garden. If you don’t have a big garden, allotments are ideal, and a nice way to meet like-minded people.

Volunteer and Help Others

There are all sorts of ways to volunteer if you look out for opportunities. My first thought would be charity shops, community events, local groups, etc. Information can be found online. You can also help people as a one off, delivering care packages, baking someone a cake, donating items, and so on. Support causes you believe in.


I hope you have enjoyed this two-part series.
Please leave in the comments any of your ideas!! :-) Xx

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Eco-Friendly Hobby Suggestions | Part One

 

Gardening

Gardening can be a great way to reconnect with nature. I started getting into gardening a few years ago, and my top tip would be to not worry about making mistakes as that’s part of the learning process. If you are feeling unsure, you could watch some YouTube videos or read books on the topic.

Drawing

The good thing about drawing is if you have some basic materials such as a sketchpad, a few pencils, a rubber and sharpener, you can do it anywhere. You could put them in your bag and draw your surroundings. If you want to start small maybe try cartoons or adult colouring books.

Walking

There are many benefits of walking such as exercise and it being good for mental health. If you don’t have a lot of time to walk for pleasure, you could introduce more walking by using stairs not lifts, getting off at an earlier bus stop or watering your plants in the garden every day.


Cycling

This one is similar to walking. If you have a pal who lives local to you and also owns a bike, you could go for a bike ride together. They make a good alternative to driving a car if you aren’t traveling too far. Make sure to wear a helmet.

Visiting Charity Shops

This is something I’ve missed during the pandemic. It feels good to find a bargain and know that the proceeds go to a charity. You can find lots of useful things such as books, jigsaws, clothing, gifts, etc. It’s a much more sustainable way to shop.

Visiting Local Farmers Markets

Supporting local businesses and economy is great as well as helping to reduce your carbon footprint from the unnecessary travel of goods. Shopping seasonally really helps too. It makes a nice day out if the weather is good. You could combine this with other things on my list.


Do you have an eco-friendly hobby?
Which of the ones mentioned interested you most? :-) Xx

The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Body Lotion

 


Recently I’ve been using this body lotion from The Body Shop. It uses ingredients almond milk and honey, that give off a beautiful subtle fragrance. I found a little goes along way with the product, and the scent lingers on. This particular range is aimed at sensitive skin which really appealed to me. The product sinks in lovely which some lotions don’t do as well. My skin feels soft after each use.

On the back of the packaging, it mentions that community trade shea butter is used. It also states that it’s vegetarian and cruelty-free although the leaping bunny logo isn’t shown. Make sure you check out the links to learn more. This item retails at £8.50 for 200ml. I would recommend this product, particularly for those with sensitive skin.

These links include info on The Body Shop cruelty-free and vegan policy:
https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/about-us/activism/faat/a/a00018 
https://ethicalelephant.com/the-body-shop-cruelty-free-vegan/

Do you like The Body Shop products?
Do you have any similar recommendations to share? :-) Xx


Monday, 14 June 2021

These are a few of my favourite things #8

 

Books:

Jamie’s America by Jamie Oliver

This was the first book I have read by Jamie Oliver however the mix of food, culture, and travel interested me. This is so much more than a cooking book as it includes essays, beautiful travel documentary photography and illustrations. 

Many of the recipes are aimed at the more advanced, and are unsuitable for vegetarians, but I can imagine most ‘foodies’ coming away with something. I liked the twists Jamie put on different recipes sourced from around America. I actually don’t cook, although I do some baking, and if you bake as well, there are some dessert recipes in there too. I appreciated all the unusual salads he created, they look so aesthetically pleasing and delicious. 

This book has encouraged me to be more adventurous when I order at restaurants. I learned some new recipes and ingredients I hadn’t previously heard of. If you know of someone with a passion for visiting America, I would recommend this title as a gift. Jamie didn’t choose the obvious route with how the book was put together.


Oliver & Patch by Claire Freedman 

Fun, heart-warming story for children about a boy who moves to the city, rescues a dog and makes a new friend along the way. The quirky illustrations are fabulous. One of my personal favourite picture books of late.

The Little Book of Humanism by Andrew Copson 

I knew very little about humanism going into this book, and I felt this was an excellent way to learn more. The definition I found online describes it as ‘A rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.’

Chapters cover things like religion and faith, science and progress, living well, etc. The book includes mini essays, beautiful poetry and quotes as well as the occasional photograph. The book was short, concise and one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year.

I didn’t agree with everything but I think that’s fine when you are learning about a new topic. Many of the words were incredibly enlightening, and occasionally hard hitting. There were some positive and negative thoughts expressed. 

My favourite chapter was science and progress because I’ve been reading some quite negative oriented books about the environment lately and it was nice to see an author mention all the progress humans have made particularly regarding scientific discovery.


Trick or Treat Poems Chosen by Paul Cookson 

Spooky, atmospheric poems that are fun for Halloween. The clever wording and witty humour made me laugh. The poems came across cohesive even though the authors varied. Lovely little book.

Cool Spaces for Kids by Sam Scarborough 

A book about making cosy places for children to play is a beautiful concept. Everything is very nicely presented and made me feel nostalgic of imaginative playtime as a child. I would recommend this read to creative families.


Lifestyle:

Brain Benders Crazy Crosswords 

I wanted to challenge my crossword ability, so I gave this children’s puzzle book a go. It’s split into three sections: beginner, intermediate and expert which I found both fun and useful. Towards the end, I could feel I had improved my technique and spelling.

Poppies in Bloom

On one of the walks, I go on with my family I noticed the poppies were in bloom. They really are lovely and vibrant and perfect to photograph.


Have you noticed the poppies in bloom too?
Do you have any book recommendations for me? :-) Xx

Saturday, 22 May 2021

These are a few of my favourite things #7

Books:

I'm Bored: Over 100 Inspiring & Imaginative Ideas for 
Hours of Fun With Your Kids by Suzy Barratt

This was a well put together collection of things to do with families. Chapters are broken down into indoors, outdoors, on a journey and on a beach. It was lovely to read snippets of information about the authors family life making the book more authentic and the memories of the different games made me smile. The ideas are mostly original and doable. 

Picasso: 200 Masterworks from 
1898 to 1972 by Bernice Rose

This is a beautiful coffee table book filled with much of Picasso’s work. It was a rewarding experience viewing the art work as it felt like visiting a prestigious art gallery. The famous artist is mostly known for his abstract, colourful portrait paintings but he delves into many other subjects and mediums.


One World by Michael Foreman

This is a gorgeous children’s picture book, with colourful watercolour illustrations, and symbolic text, educating readers about our precious planet and the environmental issues we face. While visiting the beach, two children get in touch with the natural world and learn some valuable lessons. Although originally published in 1990, one world feels more relevant than ever.

The Dragon's Eye (Dragonology Chronicles #1) 
by Dugald A. Steer

We follow Daniel and his sister Beatrice, as they begin their dragonological apprentice with doctor Ernest Drake. The first in the series, they must solve the riddle to discover the whereabouts of the fabled dragon’s eye gem. I loved that this author focuses on the education for these young apprentices and as readers we learn more about the history of dragons. A great start to the series.

Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes
 from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson

This is a beautifully presented and illustrated book with such an important message. The book shares many black heroes in past and present who have done something extraordinary. There were many well-known individuals but it was refreshing to see others I hadn’t heard of. A really great picture book for children of all ages.



Audio & Podcast:

Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart (audio CD)

This was my first audio book which I loaned from the library. Miranda Hart is the narrator, and she does a wonderful job, and made the experience rewarding for me. I read the book years ago, and believe the audio comes across much better. Miranda describes the premise as a manual to adulthood and the conundrums she faces thinking ‘Is it just me?’.

The Daily Pep! With Meg Kissack

I’ve been wanting to get into podcasts for a while. This one popped up on my Spotify, and it appealed to me because each was just a few minutes long making them more digestible. The author has a cheery, reassuring voice, and shares much wisdom for starting off each day positively.



Do any of these books interest you?
Have you ever listened to an audio or podcast? :-) Xx