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31 July 2012

round up: July

Some months just seem to go by and they're wonderful because life is wonderful, but other months really seem to happen. Know what I mean? July happened. It really did. I don't usually do monthly round-up posts (maybe I should start?) but every now and again I feel like I just want to preserve all my end-of-month thoughts.

I feel like so much has happened this month, big stuff and little stuff, minor things and perspective-altering things. It's been an important one. If I'm honest, I spent too much of July doing things that didn't work for me and not enough time doing the things that I love. It taught me a lot. I've always been told that you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes and I'm starting to really see that now. July taught me that I'm not the sort of person that can do something if my heart isn't in it. It showed me that doing something that isn't right for me impacts my entire life. I was stressed - a lot, I felt like I had nothing to write about and no inspiration when I picked up my camera. I was out of balance and I hated it.

That thing that I was so unhappy about? I was supposed to be doing an internship this summer, I was so excited about it. I felt it was a project that would really complement my studies and help me decide where I wanted to go in the future. Sadly, it really didn't work out that way.  I'm okay with it - because although it didn't work out, it had nothing to do with my ability to do the job I was asked to do. The company has apologised and the whole thing is over and done with.


Aside from that, this month has been full of really fun stuff! The first weekend of July was my mum's hen party - me and my godmother organised a completely surprise trip to London. Everyone had such a good day and it was such a nice way to celebrate with all her close friends. On this note, if you're ever looking for something a bit different to do and you're in the Embankment area - head over to the OXO tower and check out their 'Not Afternoon Tea'. Dessert and cocktails? Yes please... I've also been catching up with all the people that I don't get to see whilst I'm away at Uni, which generally involves lots of time spent at coffee places & wandering around shops trying to avoid buying stationary.



Obviously there was an awful lot of wedding preparation going on as well! We did quite a bit ourselves and it was so nice on the day to look around and see all those personal little touches. Mum & Kev got married on Friday and it was such a beautiful day. Nothing could have gone better!


How was your July?

P.S: I know a lot of you have emailed me and I haven't got back to you yet. I promise you'll hear back this week!! 

25 July 2012

sometimes...

Sometimes the right decisions to make can be the hardest ones to call. Sometimes it takes us longer than it should to figure out the root of our unhappiness and deal with it. Sometimes what we need is overshadowed by what we want, and sometimes we let the worlds view of what is right for us dictate the way we live.

Sometimes you learn things you weren't expecting from experiences that you never would have wanted. Sometimes giving up isn't really giving up at all, sometimes its just recognising that the path you've taken isn't the one that you need to be on.

Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts and go with your gut rather than over-analysing absolutely everything. Sometimes you need to talk things through with someone just to figure out what you think about it. Sometimes your life will take you places you didn't ever think you'd go.

Sometimes the bad can teach you more than the good. Sometimes doing something that you really don't like makes you even more determined to achieve everything that you've ever wanted.Sometimes the things that you want will inspire you, exhilarate you and terrify you all at the same time. 

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20 July 2012

weeks fly by

I've spent a couple of afternoons this week playing around photographing wedding rings. Mum really wants some nice close ups of the rings and although the photographer will probably take his own its something that can be done before the big day. Plus it gives me an excuse to get my camera out, so who's complaining? Even though they're having a professional photographer, I'd really like to get a few special shots that I've taken - makes things a little bit more personal. I'm hugely pleased with a few of the shot that I've taken, but I won't be sharing anything until after next week! 

The weddings come round SO fast and I can't believe there's only a week to go! Me and Mum have got the last few bits sorted this week and there's hardly anything left to do. I love that we've made things a bit more personal by doing some stuff ourselves. This is the first wedding I can remember going to, and its been so nice to be really involved with it. I'm so pleased with their wedding present as well... but mum reads this so I can't say much more!

In non-wedding related news... I can't believe its been over a week since I last posted! Usually I feel the need to write every couple of days but this week I haven't really felt it. Life has been a good kind of busy but has slowed down quite a bit, which I'm grateful for. I've taken the time to re-evaluate and re-prioritise and I'm feeling a ton better for it. Sometimes you need to agree to do less in order to get more done. Sometimes you also need to convince yourself that its okay to not be busy all of the time, I struggle with this. 

This week though, I've tried to stress less and go-with-the-flow more. I've hung out with most of my favourite people, made plans, written lists and learnt how to make sugarpaste roses. I also made mum and I the most amazing lunch in the history of time. Salad, tuna & cheese wraps, where have you been all my life?


You don't even know how good this is. 

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to a lazy morning in bed catching up with blogs. I almost hope it rains just for an excuse to curl up and do nothing all day, but then, judging by the summer we're having so far? That's probably going to be exactly what happens. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend (:

12 July 2012

7 ideas for photography projects this summer

I have deemed this summer the summer of photography, because I am unemployed and have decided to take on the role of poverty-stricken artist. I might be exaggerating slightly here, but only slightly. I find having a project to work on is more inspiring than just carrying my camera around and shooting without direction. Sometimes that works for me if I'm in the right mood, but a lot of the time I find it really motivational to create with a purpose in response to some kind of stimulus. So, I sat down and had a good brainstorm and have come up with a few different ideas for photographic projects to tackle this summer, I think I'm going to try all of them!

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Shoot in golden hour light. Don't know what the golden hour is? Read this. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with this because the sun sets much later in the day + its generally a lot warmer! (I say generally because I live in the UK...) Try shooting with  the sun both behind and in front of your subject - behind will give gorgeous light flares and in front will warm your subject. If you've got the option, I'd advise changing the white balance on your camera to 'sunny' or 'cloudy', it'll just bring out the yellow tones in the images a bit more. If you shoot in RAW you can do this in post-processing as well, but I prefer to do as much as I can in-camera! Landscapes and cityscapes are a really good place to start with this - google 'golden hour photography' and have a look!

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Be brave, take a tripod and shoot yourself. No, these are not bizarre suicide instructions. I've written about self portraits before & while it might seem a bit weird to go outside and take pictures of yourself its actually a brilliant way to develop portrait skills without boring someone else to tears! I would advise combining this with 1 to avoid super-harsh midday sun. I'm slowly getting more confident with self-portraits and its definitely helping me improve 

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Be a tourist in your own town/city. Take an afternoon, lunch break, day, evening or whatever and take your camera on a trip round your local area. Try and shoot it like you would if you'd never seen it before, it'll force you to look at things in a new way. Plus, you'll have a record of what everything was like for looking back on - double win! I did this in black and white in my old hometown and I really love having them. 

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Pick an element and look out for it. When I was younger I took pictures of dead things, I know. We won't even talk about this, but it got me loads of credit in my photography coursework so I'm calling it a success. Colours, shapes, things -it doesn't really matter what you pick, just remember to keep an eye out for it! A few years ago I picked a colour before going out, this is still one of my favourite images. 

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Shoot a series that perfectly encapsulates what summer means to you, I'm excited to start this one. You could define a number of shots you want to end up with or you could just wing it and see what you end up with. I'm going to end up with shots of denim shorts, bare feet, magazines in the back garden, glasses of cold water... and rain running down the windows. I do live in the UK after all! I'm also anticipating plenty of pictures of this little guy...

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Lomo it up! If your only experience of lomography is the post-processing then go and read the 10 golden rules. My final piece for my A-Level photography exam was heavily based around lomography and I had an absolute blast shooting for it. Basically its an entirely different outlook and attitude towards photography
- if you're used to focussing on technical perfection then it will be an eye opener but its definitely worth doing! You can do this with your phone as well, image quality isn't really much of an issue

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Pick something out of your comfort zone. Try an area of photography that you don't particularly 'like' or don't have much experience with. I find a lot of the time the reason for me not liking a particular type of photography or subject matter is the fact that I don't feel that my results are that good. Personally I'll be focussing on adult portraits and architecture - for some reason photographing adults makes me nervous and I find it challenging to be creative with buildings! See what I mean - I just feel that any of my pictures of buildings lack that something

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If you have a go at any of these, please please please let me know! I'd love to see how you all interpreted them -especially if you shoot a series defining your summmer! I'll be sharing progress fairly regularly - this blog is great for accountability! 

09 July 2012

making the most of July

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The first few months of this year I took loads of pictures. Of everything. Tiny, insignificant moments that weren't really anything in particular. These last few months I've gotten out of the habit a bit and its a shame because I really love looking back over them. I don't think I've ever really talked about it on here but I'm a believer in making monthly goals rather than yearly ones. I find them far more flexible and more suited to my life. Usually I try to make 4 or 5 a month - rarely anything huge or life changing but just little things that I want to focus on. 

This month I've set myself just one, to make the most of everything.

I've been feeling like this summer is going far too fast, this time at home is precious and I don't want it to just fly by. I almost feel like I'm wasting this time off because I'm not really getting anything 'done'. Its something I need to work on. I need to make myself believe that time off is okay, and necessary. Last week I spent all morning reading a book... and spent the rest of the day feeling guilty because I had other things I could have been doing. How ridiculous is that? Its my summer holidays, it should be a break. Sometimes my mind is crazy.

So this month I'm going to take more pictures, I'm going to spend all morning reading, I'm not going to stress over an unpaid, voluntary internship,  I'm not going to worry if I can't find a job because I'm sure I'll figure it out whatever happens, I'm going to hang out with my mum and make more of an effort to spend time with friends, I'm going to take long walks & I probably will spend too much time with my dog,  Whatever I'm doing, I'm going to make the most of it & refuse to feel guilty for choosing how to spend my own time. 


So hello July, I think you're going to be a good one. 



05 July 2012

what makes a good blog?

love this! here

The past few days I've been working my butt off and I'm finally feeling like I'm on top of everything. Such a good feeling! I've been offline quite a bit the last week or so, I've been reading a ton + giving mum a hand to make sure that everything's sorted for the wedding. Keeping the productivity momentum going tonight by sorting through my subscription list on Bloglovin'. Lately catching up on blogs has started to feel more like a chore than something I look forward to and I'm pretty convinced that its because I'm trying to read too many. I only allocate a little bit of my time to blogging and as much as I'd like to read absolutely every blog that I'm interested in - it just isn't possible!  


I've had a couple of emails recently asking my advice for 'how to start a blog', which is incredibly flattering because I'm still relatively new to this, and am by NO means an expert!  What I am however, is an expert in 'things that I like/dislike when I'm reading blogs'. Whether or not I keep reading something is entirely dependent on how I generally feel about what I'm reading. If I have no feelings, or I'm bored then chances are I won't go back. This is something that people cant 'do' anything about, sometimes you really understand where a blogger is coming from and sometimes you don't. As long as you're blogging about things that you're passionate about and that matter to you then you'll find some like-minded people - it might take some time but you will get there! 


The blogs that I personally enjoy generally fall into two categories:

1. They're inspirational/motivational in some way + I really get something out of reading each post.
2. I like the bloggers voice and can relate to both them and what they're talking about.

Generally, as long as a blog falls into one of these two categories then I'll read it. Whether I subscribe to it and keep reading it is a completely different story. That depends on a whole load of other things...

so true. here

Design/Layout
Call me superficial but I like things to look nice. This doesn't mean that I only read blogs with custom layouts,  I just prefer thing that are easy on the eye and simple to get around. This includes having an 'about' section that's easy to find, because its probably the first place I'll go. Please don't have music playing automatically, playlists are awesome but mostly I'm already listening to music when I'm online, so I just get annoyed when something else starts playing. There's also the problem where I tend to have like, 50 tabs open at once & I can never figure out which one's playing the music. Its a terrible situation to be in. 

Pictures
Just yes. Images are good, they add pizzaz and give people a good idea of what you're talking about before they start reading. Some blogs I 'read' just to look at the pictures. They don't have to be your own - just make sure you credit the original source. Link with love people! 

Comments
I've definitely already mentioned my dislike of comment verification, but the way that bloggers respond to comments makes a big difference to me. I much prefer my comment being responded to by email - I tend to forget which blogs I've left comments on and I rarely go back to check for a response. If I get an email though? Not only does it remind me what I've said but its also a great way of getting a conversation started. Some of my best blogging friendships have started out from a conversation that got going because of a comment. I prefer to respond to comments this way + I find it much quicker as well - I can reply straight from my phone/inbox. 

Sponsored posts/guest posts/giveaways
All of these are great every now and again, so long as they fit the blog. Some blogs randomly have sponsored posts or giveaways that seem to have nothing to do with what the blog is usually about. Promoting  products/other bloggers/ small businesses is a great part of blogging, but its quite easy to tell when someone's just said yes to a feature with no thought for whether it fits with their content. Having guest posters is a great way of introducing your readers to new people, but remember that they're sticking around because they want to hear what YOU have to say! 


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But the biggest thing of all? 


ORIGINAL CONTENT!


Yes, everything else is important to me - but I will still read a blog that does ALL of the above if the content is original and interesting. There are literally thousands of blogs out there and it may seem hard to be original, but no-body else is you. So just be you and you'll be fine.

Question time: What makes a 'good' blog in your opinion? I'm curious!

01 July 2012

Alexandra Wallace Giveaway Winner!

Hi Guys!

Just wanted to let you know that the Alexandra Wallace Photography giveaway has now closed & Lauren is the lucky winner! Congratulations!


If anyone else is interested in hosting a giveaway on Frankly Vic then shoot me an email & we'll get talking! I love having the opportunity to promote other peoples work and I'm looking forward to working with you!

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