Friday, 21 October 2016

5 Easy Things || Which will improve your blog photos

Now, this blog post comes with a preface, I am buy no means an artist or a professional photographer but I like to think that the photos on my blog have come on leaps about bounds from my first blog post (shot on my iPhone FYI *wink*).

There are a few things I've learnt over this past year which I find have improved the quality of my photos without adding a lot of extra work *hallelujah*.
No 5. Take your photos in natural light
This is quite simply the cardinal rule of blogging photography. Find a place inside or out where the lighting is good. For me, it's either the dining room table, opposite 4 ceiling to floor windows or my bedroom with 3 large windows opposite my bed.

Also, when taking photos in natural light you also need to consider the weather conditions. I find that the best conditions for whiter pre-edited photos is when there are bright white clouds oddly enough. Bright blue skies sometimes give off a blue tinge to photos and sunlight can create heavy shadows where you do want them.
No 4. Flay lays are fine ... But perspective is everything
When taking photos, they don't need to be taken from above, especially if you're finding your photos are all looking a little similar. If you get down to eye level with your products you'll create more depth and interest to them.

But, if you really want to take a flay lay, then make sure to take it from a reasonable hight. I usually stand on a chair or perch on the lip of my bedstand with the camera directly above the group of products. Also make sure that your body or camera don't create unnecessary shadows. I usually stand to the side or behind my products which hopefully means my shadow won't affect the image.
No 3. Use a range of backgrounds
Backgrounds don't need to cost a fortune there is no need to spend a tidy sum on a real chunk of marble, or redo the kitchen so you can use it as your new background. I'm partial to a bit of a marble background, as every blogger is, but I fake it till I make it with some self adhesive film from Wilko it's only £4 and the length is more than enough to get all my products in shot.

I also like to mix my backgrounds up. I sometimes find that using a pure white background, whether that's my bed sheets or a piece of A2 card can make editing my photos a lot easier in the long run, especially with the right light (see tip No.5). But, I also use my floorboards, bedside table and magazine covers to add a little extra to a background, especially if the packaging for a product is quite plain.
No 2. Don't use your flash
It may be tempting to walk out the flash on a dreary winter night but for me I find that the flash from my camera can wash out my products. It can ansi cast a flashback, especially if you're taking pictures of products in glass. I would suggest investing in a reflector or plain white board to help bounce more light on your arrangement if the weather outside isn't co-operating and you really need to take those shots, tonight!
No 1. Do some editing
Even if you have the best lighting and run through your photos in your camera's tiny screen, once they get to your computer and the 'big screen' you'll probably agree improvements can still be made.  If I'm on my iPhone i'll use the ColourStory app and if I'm on my iMac I'll use the Fotor Photo Editor both of which have multiple features perfect for editing.

Overall, I tend to do 2 simple editing ticks before I'm satisfied with my images:
  1. Crop your photo - You don't always need to have 100% of your products in all your images, sometimes cropping out part of the product can create a more interesting image. Or maybe you've mistakenly left something in the corner and you just can't take the image again.
  2. Brighten, brighten, brighten - For me, brighter is always better but make sure you don't over expose your images, find your balance and play around a bit.
This is by no means an exhaustive list so if you have some other quick and easy ways to improve the quality of photos for your blog feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Until next time...

Friday, 14 October 2016

How to || Deep clean your makeup brushes

Cleaning makeup brushes is probably one of the most boring but essential beauty jobs we should all get down and dirty with as often as we can.

When I was younger I was very naughty and wouldn't wash my brushes for months at a time... gross I know! If you think about what happens when you use your makeup brushes, every time you touch your face, bacteria transfers to the brush and coupled with whatever product you're using, will fester there until you was the little sucker. You just don't want that stuff on your face!

Luckily, I don't have problem skin, so for me, a weekly or more realistically, bi-weekly wash seems to do my skin no harm.
So, I mainly use 2 products to clean my brushes, the Sigma Beauty Sigma Spa 2 Way Brush Cleaning Glove and Johnson's Baby Shampoo. The glove, I'm not gonna lie, was a rather pricy investment in my brush cleaning regimen and since purchasing it, I have found much cheaper alternatives like this one from Amazon for £5.77 + FREE delivery. But, what I over spent on equipment I don't over spend on shampoo. Baby shampoo is obviously one of the more gentle shampoos on the market and if it's good enough for babies, it's good enough for my brushes. There are lots of makeup brush shampoos on the market these days, but all of them are pricier than a bottle of Johnson's.
So here are my brush cleaning steps:

  1. Collect all those dirty brush and bring them to the bathroom sink firing squad!
  2. Suit up and pop on the cleaning glove.
  3. Dampen the brush with lukewarm water (and then turn off that tap).
  4. Dispense some baby shampoo on the cleaning glove.
  5. Swirl the brush around on the middle wash section of the glove and add a little water if the brush doesn't lather up enough at first to make sure then brush is fully saturated (turning the tap on and off as required, we don't want to be waisting water).
  6. Use the front rinse section of the glove and, under running water, rise out the suds in the brush.
  7. To squeeze out the water I use the ridges in-between the thumb and hand portion of the glove.
  8. For some more dense brushes I do sometimes need to wash them twice but more often than not the once is enough.
  9. The last thing to do... lay your clean brushes out to dry and go get yourself a treat, a cup of tea and chocy bicky is usually what I go for, you deserve it!
I do hope you found this post helpful and I've love to what you use or how you clean your makeup brushes.

Until next time...