What To Look For When Hiring Professionals For Your Wedding


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When it comes to organising a wedding, some people will stick with friends and relatives. But there are some jobs that these friends and family can’t do. Unless you personally know a registrar, you’ll need one to legally get married. Then there’s the added benefits that come with a hiring a professional. They won’t get too drunk and forget to take photos for half the night, neither will they play an inappropriate DJ setlist in the evening.

 

That said, you shouldn’t just hire any old professional to work at your wedding. Research is important in order to get right individual for you. Here are some of main factors to consider when looking for wedding professionals.

 

Cost

 

Expensive rates don’t always entail the best service. It’s worth always collecting multiple quotes from different registrars, photographers, DJs and florists.

 

There are lots of cost-saving techniques. Getting married in winter will often get you less expensive rates as this is when there are fewer weddings, and so those in the wedding trade will compete against one another with deals in order to get business. Bundle deals can be another way of saving money, giving you multiple services at once.

 

Be aware of those that try and sell you extras. Do you really need flowers on every table, or will a large flower feature somewhere central do? Is champagne necessary on the exit to the ceremony, or can you wait until the meal and reception? A breakdown of all the costs can often be useful, so that you know exactly what you’re paying for.

 

Of course, if cost is your main concern, hiring friends and family to do certain jobs may be more sensible. Just be aware that you may not get the desired quality that you’re after.

 

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Reputation

 

Checking someone’s reputation is very important. Anyone can pass themselves off as a photographer or DJ, so check that they’re somewhat established (a good quality website and social media are good things to look for). Reading reviews can also help you to find someone that’s good quality. There are plenty of review sites online. Don’t disregard word of mouth too – reviews and testimonials online can be faked, but if you’re hearing it straight from a previous client’s mouth, you know that they’re worth considering.

 

Experience

 

Someone’s experience can also count for a lot. A catering service that have been cooking food for weddings for ten years may be better equipped than a brand new company. Relevant wedding experience is also important. Just because a DJ has been playing clubs for several years doesn’t mean that they’ll also be able to transfer their talents to a wedding setting, where the audience is different and children may have to be catered for. Many people in the wedding trade will keep a portfolio of their work, either as a photo booklet or online. Always ask to see this so that you get idea of the past clients they’ve worked with.

Photography: Do I Really Need A DSLR?


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It’s only recently that we all started carrying cameras around in our pockets. Much to the frustration of some purist photographers, smartphone cameras have been developing rapidly over recent years. If you’re getting into photography, you might think that the capability of your smartphone camera completely eliminates the need for a DSLR. While this isn’t going to be entirely true, here’s a closer look at the photographic capabilities of modern smartphones.

More Portable, More Sharable, and Less Noticeable

If you’re passionate about photography, then you’ll already know that the best shots can spring up when you least expect them. When you’re going out on a date or meeting some friends for drinks, it’s certainly better to have a smartphone in your pocket, rather than a big, bulky DSLR. As much as you might love photography, lenses, batteries, speedlights, and other gear can make it tough to get around, and make you look very awkward in a lot of situations! Furthermore, a big, expensive DSLR around your neck can label you as a tourist, and make you a target for pickpockets and muggers. Smartphones are also much more convenient for sharing. While there are some models, like the Nikon D3400, that have Bluetooth for instant copying to a smartphone, the camera on your phone is perfect for photojournalism or regularly updating your social media presence.

Less Functional and Versatile

One of the major things that separates DSLRs from smartphones is that the former has interchangeable lenses, allowing the photographer to change the way their device functions according to the photographic situation they’ve been dealt. Smartphones, barring a few tacky gimmick products, can’t accommodate for lenses. This means that with a Sony a6000 Silver, you can switch to a 50mm macro lens for taking portraits, allowing you to capture highly detailed images of people. On the other hand, the iPhone 7 only has a seven-megapixel front camera. Shooting in a dark environment or relying on a smartphone’s flash can also create problems, leading to red eye effect and dimly lit night-time shots. On the other hand, DSLRs have external flash, with a number of settings you can use to manipulate the feature. Finally, we have zooming. As you know all too well, when you try to zoom in on some distant detail with a smartphone camera, it quickly becomes blurry. A telephoto lens can actually magnify the camera’s view, rather than simply enlarging part of the image.

Limited Battery Life

Okay, battery life has always been a pet peeve for smartphone users, and these days portable chargers are a very common accessory. Even if you have a phone that’s great for battery life, this can make them impractical for a full day of shooting. You don’t want to get a handful of snaps in, then get the “low battery” message, and have to go a few hours with a bulky power pack hanging off your phone! Most modern DSLRs allow you to go for days on end with almost constant use, without ever having to charge or change the batteries.

 

Has Photography Overtaken Content In Blogging?

The first blogs were about words. They rarely had pictures, and if they did, they were badly lit and often out of focus. Blogging was an extension of keeping a journal, only one where you let others behind the scenes.

 

Blogging in 2017 is very, very different. Now, it’s hard to see past the amount of images available – and what stunning images they are. From the beautifully curated Instagram grids to the product review photos bathed in light; blog photography has changed. It’s gone from a quick snap in the back garden to an industry in and of itself, involving shoot locations for that perfect background, complicated DSLR cameras, and studio lighting props nestled into bloggers’ bedrooms.

 

It all leads to the thought… what’s more important in modern blogging – is it the words or the photography?

When you look at the major bloggers, the big players whose site is their entire career, then you’d be forgiven for assuming that it’s photography that has stolen the crown. Posts often contain multiple images from a million different angles. Now we don’t read reviews of beauty products, we look at the pictures, the swatches, the comparisons to previous releases. The words are there and we’ll scan them, but we won’t do the reverse and read the words without studying the pictures.

 

Nevertheless, text is still there. Even on Instagram – the home of photography – people use text to talk, engage, and explore the platform. People still write long blog posts and they still get shared; there’s an appetite for both.

 

If you blog, the key seems to be to know what matters. If you’re writing a highly personal post, then the photography doesn’t matter as much. A couple of stock photos or basics you have snapped will suffice, just to break up the text if nothing else.

 

However, if you’re reviewing something or talking about a holiday you have taken, then the photos become all the more important. People don’t want to just hear about what an item looks like, they want to see it in action, see if it comes off as well in your photos as it does the highly-altered brand photos.

 

This is all the more important for fashion bloggers. Photos of clothes we see at online stores and as physical mannequins… they’re pretty much useless. They’re being displayed on models for a start, and then they will go through a PhotoShop process that makes them look even better.

 

One of the reasons fashion bloggers have risen to prominence (to the point of attending runway shows that were once the reserve of the fashion magazine elite) is that they are relatable. Real clothes in real situations, worn by real people. If you want to fashion blog but don’t much care for photography, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

As always, the answer to the question at hand is: “both”. While photographs are becoming more and more influential – especially for particular blogging niches – there is still a need for high-quality content, written by people with a talent for writing. There’s room for everyone!

 

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No Filter Required


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If you love taking selfies and posting snaps of you and your friends on Instagram, you’re probably used to using filters to show yourself in the best possible light, but what if that wasn’t necessary? Want to look your best all day every day, check out these tips to ensure there’s no filter required:

 

Prep

 

If you want to go filter-free, smooth skin is a must, which is why you should invest in a good facial scrub and take the time to cleanse, tone and moisturise twice daily, and before applying foundation, you should always apply a primer.

 

If you want your skin to have a natural glow about it, you might want to up your intake of fruit, vegetables and water, all of which will help to plump out and keep your skin fresh.

 

Blot It

 

If your face is prone to getting oily, after you’ve completed your facial regime, be sure to blot your T-zone with tissues or blotting papers. Do this throughout the day as and when needed, to ensure you’ll never be caught off-guard.

 

Foundation


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To look your best in any selfie, you will want to use a medium coverage foundation, which is as close a match to your natural skin colour as possible, and you will want to blend it expertly into the face and neck area.

 

Contouring

 

Contouring takes time, so it’s not for everyone, but if you don’t mind putting in the work, it can be a game- changer. You can find out more about how to get started with contouring at http://www.instructables.com/id/Highlighting-and-Contouring-for-beginners/. It might take a while for you to learn all of the techniques, but if you want cut-glass cheekbone, a defined jaw line and a thinner face, it is worth the effort.

 

Don’t Forget to Set

 

Once you’ve applied your makeup, be sure to set it with any product that ‘optically diffuses’. This means that it blends and lines and pores, leaving your face looking as smooth of that as a newborn baby.

 

Pearly Whites


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If you don’t want to filter your photos, a great smile is a must, which means you should be brushing your teeth thoroughly and flossing at least twice a day. It might also be a good idea to use teeth whitening strips to get rid of any staining. You can find them at Teethwhiteningathometips.com/best-teeth-whitening-strips/ and they will really help to improve the look of your teeth, especially if you avoid sugar, soda and other foods that will weaken and stain teeth at the same time.

 

Pluck Your Brows

 

It’s surprising how much a well-plucked brow can change your appearance. That doesn’t mean that you should go crazy with the tweezers though! In most cases, a thicker brow, which has been well-defined will give you a younger, more natural look. If you need help taming your brows, it might be worth investing in some eyebrow gel, and if your brows are very light, having them professionally tinted could help you take your selfie game to the next level.

 

All that remains now is to smile for the camera – say cheese!

 

Create What Your Camera Can’t Capture


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When you undertake your photography journey, editing may be far from your mind. When we start, a lot of us don’t think we’ll even use editing software. Until we get our camera. Then, we learn that the perfect photograph isn’t so easy as pressing the button. Of course, we all find the odd gem that doesn’t need work. For the most part, though, editing is the best way to make your photographs stand out. That’s not to say that you need to edit them beyond recognition. But, highlighting the already strong features is sure to bring it to life. So, how do you start on your editing journey?

LEARN FROM THE BEST

Professional photographers are often happy to teach about their editing techniques. So, who better to turn to than those who are top of the field? Do a little research into your favorite photographers, and see if they have any advice. Turning to people who’s work you admire is a sure way to learn techniques you’re going to use. After all, you already know it’s a technique you like the look of!

JOIN A CLASS

As with any new skill, there’s no better way to learn than joining a class. Look into courses like those at Training Connection and see if any suit your needs. You may think that everything you need to know is online, and you’re right. But, flying solo in your editing journey will make things more complicated than they need to be. Having the support of a teacher will ensure you learn a lot quicker. Plus, you can only find what you search for online. A teacher can show you techniques you hadn’t even heard of. And, you’ll also have the benefit of meeting other budding photographers. Who doesn’t want photography friends to go out and about with? You’ll be able to compare knowledge with your classmates, too. It’ll be a worthwhile experience.

 

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KNOW YOUR SOFTWARE

Knowing the software you’re using is essential. The more you know, the better able you’ll be to create fantastic new effects. You’ll learn a little about this in your course, but you’ll soon see that the basics are just the tip of the iceberg. The more research you do, the better position you’ll be in. Have a look around. If you spot anything you’re unsure of, research what purpose it serves. It’ll take a while before you know everything you need. Researching in small chunks like this will ensure you get a good grasp eventually.

 

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PLAY AROUND

All the serious learning aside, playing around with your editing techniques is invaluable. You can only learn by doing, after all . Learn the best techniques for telling a visual story. Learn how to manipulate color. Play with contrast to enhance your images as much as possible. Don’t show anyone your initial attempts. That will only increase the pressure and stop you having fun. Edit for no one but yourself. That way, there’s no pressure on you to do a good job.

Telling A Visual Story In Your Home


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If you have a natural talent for photography then you are very lucky.  The ability to capture emotion on film (although it’s pretty much all digital nowadays) is a skill that many are envious of.

 

Ok, so these days it is much easier to take a good photo.  With new technology at our fingertips we can shoot, edit and send all within a matter of seconds.  Companies such as Instagram have enabled us to add more drama to an ordinary photo by giving us a set of pre designed filters.  We can crop and highlight, add fade and warm the edges.  It is even possible through apps such as Facetune to touch up our faces, smooth out the skin and slim down our waists.  However, none of this beats what a creative eye can see.

 

If you talk to professional photographers, the old school ones who shot on film, had a dark room and spent hours perfecting their art, they will tell you that a great photo doesn’t need any editing at all.  The skill back then was to capture the emotion in one second.  From animals to humans, war or celebration.  Some of the most famous photos the world shares are completely untouched by human edits.  They were simple.  Honest.  Bold.

 

The ability to do this should never be underestimated and if you have it, you need to share it.  One of the best places to do that is through your own home.

 

Our homes should tell the story of who we are.  From the first steps into our hallway, right down to the bathroom.  The wall should be a visual display of you.  What is in your heart and how you see the world.  

 

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You will probably shoot on a digital camera, just about everyone does now, so you can easily have your best images made into large artworks.  Using companies online you can get some pretty good deals, especially using a snapfish coupon code.  Then you just need to work out how to present your images.  You could go with a timeless black frame and a deep white border, or consider a large canvas print.  Whatever you do, think of your home as an exhibition.  What order will you share your journey.  Where should you add really thought provoking pieces.  Perhaps the hallway is better for lighthearted work then the living room becomes an area for people to really engage with your images.

 

If you don’t think you are quite ready to fill your home with your photography then you could consider a workshop or course to help improve your technique.  There are so many things to learn and it could be a fun social event too.  You may learn that you are using a camera that is too complicated for you, or learn how to make the most of natural light to help you create even better black and white images.  Take your hobby to the next level and really educate yourself on all the finer details of the professional photographers.

 

Then show off a little.  You never know, someone might even commission you to shoot something for their home!

Making It Big In The Creative World

If you watch films and TV shows, you will notice that there is a stereotype of people who have creative jobs being hard up. Unless they make it to the big time and become an international pop star or best-selling author, there isn’t much money to be had from creative careers.

 

So, is it really worth following your dreams and trying to forge a career from the creative world? Well, yes it is! After all, you may hit the big time and become rich and famous. But even if you don’t, you will be happy to hear that the popular stereotype of broke creatives is just that – a stereotype! It doesn’t really ring true in the real world. Here are some popular creative careers, and how you can turn yours into a success.

 

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Photographer

 

Anyone can buy a camera and take photographs, so if you want to be a professional photographer, you need to practice your art to ensure that yours are better than anyone else’s. Once you have fine-tuned your photography skills, you then need to get your photos out into the world so people can find your work and hire you. The best way to do this is to publish your images onto social media. Just make sure you always add a watermark so that no one can steal them! It’s also a good idea to use one of the Nationwide Disc duplication services and produce DVDs and CDs with your images on. You can then send these out to potential clients and galleries.

 

Writer

 

It can be hard starting out as a writer, as you need to build up a strong portfolio. To get this going, you might have to write for free at first. But once you have some great pieces under your belt, you can then start pitching to online and print publications for paid work. It’s worth setting up your very own blog. Then at least your unpaid writing will be for yourself! Sharing your work on Facebook and Twitter is a good way to spread it around. You will have to develop a very thick skin as a writer because pitches and book manuscripts are often rejected. But this should make you more determined to succeed!

 

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Singer

 

One way to make it as a singer is to go on TV talent shows and hope you win the recording contract! Don’t fancy being judged in front of the nation? Fair enough! You need to try and get noticed by a record producer or agent, so start uploading videos of yourself onto YouTube. If they get enough hits, someone will start to take notice! It is also worth posting tapes to agents and record labels. Just like with sending off writing pitches, you will face a lot of rejections. But this is just part of the creative lifestyle; simply brush them off and keep smiling!

 

There you have it – it isn’t so difficult to make it in the creative world after all! Good luck with your career!

Photography For Fashion Bloggers 101


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When it comes to blogging, good photos are of course crucial. They entice the reader and draw them, in so that they want to read the content you’ve written. There are a few niches where pictures are especially important, and fashion definitely is one of them. Taking pictures of clothes is difficult, but the best fashion bloggers will capture the scene as well as the outfit. With a stunning background and great lighting, you get a sense of when and where the outfit should be worn, as well as how the items look. If you’re looking to up your photography game as a fashion blogger, here are some of the ways you can go about it.

 

Get The Right Camera

A DSLR camera is your best bet when it comes to fashion photography. A long lens with a large aperture will give you a sharp, focused subject and a soft blurred background. This helps to create a setting with your photo without ‘losing’ your subject. You could check out a Fuji user’s photography blog to give you inspiration and ideas on how to use a camera like this. Otherwise play around with the settings and do plenty of practice. Using a standard digital or a smartphone camera will keep the background in focus which can make the image look cluttered.

 

Find a Blogging Buddy

The thing about fashion photography is that you can’t really take photos of clothes when you’re in them! For this reason having a friend who lives nearby is extremely useful- if they’re also into fashion blogging, then you can take pictures of each other. Otherwise, you could rope a partner or non-blogging friend in to take photos when you need them, or even invest in a good tripod and use a camera remote. While this won’t give you the same flexibility as a person who can move around, it means you can take pictures yourself when you need to when there’s no-one else to help.

 

Think About Your Background

If you’re showing off a cute summer dress, it makes sense to wait until a sunny day and find a suitable summery background. If you’re showing a chic jet setter outfit, something with a city background could work well. Have a think about not just how you look in the clothes but how the entire image comes together. You’re telling a story with the photo with the outfit as the focus.

 

Get Acquainted With Photoshop

Even the best pictures can benefit from a little editing. It could be as simple as increasing the brightness, or it could be removing blemishes or marks that are spoiling the photo. Photoshop can seem complicated at first, either go on a course for beginners or have a play around with it to familiarise yourself. It’s the best way to take your pictures from good to great- just be sure not to over edit. You want to enhance, not completely change how the photo looks.

 

Do you have any tips for fashion bloggers? How do you take the best pictures possible for your fashion blog?

Ready For Your Close Up? How To Take The Ultimate Selfie


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Since the rise of social media it appears the world has all become a little bit narcissistic.  That’s not a bad thing, according to experts being on the narcissistic spectrum is perfectly healthy, it means we have confidence in ourselves and want to promote our best assets.  However there is an end to the spectrum that you don’t want to find yourself on, the self obsessed end!

 

Whilst Instagram and Twitter are packed full of images which promote our lives in the best light of all, you don’t see many images of your friends in the morning after a terrible night out or snap shots of them spilling soup down their tie at lunch because they are having a difficult hump day, most of us manage to find the happy balance between snapping a great shot and becoming completely obsessed with perfection.

 

If social media is ruling your life then you need to master the art of it’s biggest craze, the selfie.

 

Taking a selfie doesn’t have to be complicated.  Just spin the camera around and click.  However, there are lots of factors to consider if you want to look your best and not end up posting shots that widen your face, allow people to see up your nose or make you look like you have a double chin.  Easy when you are in control, not so much when your friends grab you together for a quick shot.

 

Would you believe there is even a photography course on the art of the selfie? No, neither could we, but it exists.  So we grabbed some tips from the professionals and thought we would share them with you.

 

Aim low!

 

No not in your standards, we are talking camera angle.  If you shoot from a higher angle pointing down onto your face, you will give the appearance of a slimmer face and even reduce the size of some of your features.  Don’t go too high or you will draw focus to your forehead.  You want to catch your eyes and that will become the focal point of the image.  

 

Don’t duck face!

 

The craze of duck face seems to be the order of the day but don’t fall victim to it’s allure! Instead opt for a delicate smile or better still, show some teeth.  Just make sure they are nice and white! Although if they aren’t, you can fake it!

 

Check your surroundings.

 

There have been some incredible selfie fails due to a dirty bedroom or unwanted feature behind you.  When snapping a selfie remember to choose a good environment.  The internet can be pretty unforgiving of a dirty bathroom.  Opt for a nice plain coloured wall and use it to keep the focus on your face.

 

Fake it!

There are hundreds of apps on the internet which can improve the quality of your photos.  From Facetune where you can smooth out your skin and brighten your eyes, to instagram where you can add filters and edit like a pro!

 

Have fun and enjoy yourself.  This craze seems set to stay!

Why We Should All Be Printing Our Photographs


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Now that most phones have cameras, fewer people are choosing to print their photographs. Instead, they opt to edit and share them immediately on social media, websites, and blogs. For many, it’s also easier and more cost effective to store their photographs onto a computer or tablet.

While there is nothing wrong with digitally storing photos or sharing them on social media, it’s not the same as holding a photo in your hand. Traditional printed photographs may seem old-fashioned to some. But there are still relevant in this modern world. Here are some compelling reasons why we all should be printing our photos rather than just having digital copies.

 

They can improve your skills

When you print one of your photographs, particularly on a large scale, it allows you to see them in more detail. You can spot editing mistakes you may have made or areas which have blurred when you captured the image. There may even be issues which you might not have picked up on when you viewed or edited your images on your computer or phone. Once you’ve identified these mistakes, you’ll make a more conscious effort not to repeat them again in future. This motivation to do better can then help to improve your photography skills and editing abilities. Printing one of your first and latest images can also show how much you have progressed with your photography. This too can make you feel more confident and eager to continue progressing.

 

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 They can inspire you

When your photographs are displayed around your home in frames, you get to see them more regularly. Being able to view them so often can make you eager to grab your camera and capture the things that excite you. There are also many ways in which you can print your photographs. For instance, you can use a Polaroid camera for instant images or use traditional methods of developing your film. Seeing the varying outcomes you can create can also be a wonderful source of inspiration. See this best polaroid camera selection guide or watch tutorials to start experimenting with your photos. You never know what you might create.

 

They can be a useful backup

 As amazing as technology can be, it’s not always the most reliable. One click of a button or a simple fall onto the floor can result in the permanent loss of your photographs. If you don’t have a means of backing up your photos, you could potentially lose your entire portfolio. This can be devastating for any photographer, whether they are just starting out or a seasoned pro. But when you get your photos printed, they act as a useful backup that can prevent this loss from happening. You can store your photographs in albums or boxes and quickly rescan them into your computer should they get deleted accidentally. This can save you a lot of stress, while also allowing you to have both a physical and digital copy of your work.

Hopefully, now you will consider printing your photographs, rather than just storing them onto your phone or laptop. It may cost you more money, but the benefits of doing it make it a worthwhile expense.