18 July 2014

Blog Photography Q&A #1


One thing I love most about blogging is actually taking the images, there's just something about bright, interesting photos to accompany a post that I love! So today while my camera is ironically broken I thought I would answer some blog photography questions a few of you asked me! 

Q - What lighting setup do you use? 
 Claire & Nic - Agent Smyth
A - I can't actually say I have a lighting setup as I only use natural light from a window (occasionally outside in summer months) as you really can't beat daylight. I've tried various daylight bulbs (which give off a white light making them good for product photography) in winter which did work okay but I didn't like the harsh tone or shadows to my photos - probably with a better set up of two lamps with daylight bulbs in them would have helped but it's just not the same as natural day light. For really grey days I actually place a large piece of white card on to a window sill and photograph from there, also a mirror to the side with shadow can help. 

Q - I have the Canon 600d & I’d like to have the blurry background to my photos, how do I got about doing it?
A - The easiest way to get a shallow depth of field (basically a blurred background) on Auto is to change the position of the subject, bringing the object you are photographing farther away from the background. So if you held up a lipstick with the background quite far away the lipstick would be in-focus and the background would be blurred, or you could stand up products with a back drop (maybe your makeup storage) to get the same effect. But if you placed products directly on a surface everything will be in focus. Another simple-ish way to alter the depth of field is changing from Auto mode to Av/A mode - Aperture Priority mode, this lets you change the depth of field whilst all the other settings are basically still on auto. Just remember the smaller the number the more blurry the background will be - the photo of the cherries in this photography post here shows this well.

Q - What are some good backgrounds to take photos? My backgrounds are always boring!
A - I think the easiest non-boring backgrounds have to be wallpaper samples! So easy to get hold of and can be changed for each season (here is my one of my favourite wallpaper background for summer and my favourite one here for autumn). Another interesting background can be where you set up a scene, so as you have a book blog maybe photograph a book on a side table with a cup of tea and a bookmark or a book peeking out of your bag with other contents slightly showing. 

Q - Please could you elaborate on how you get that really white background without overexposing the thing you're photographing? 
 Sascha - Beauty Geek UK
A -  Personally I always create a whiter background when I edit the photo, I just use Photoscape and use the 'Bloom' tool, but I realise that Photoshop is miles better - you would probably be better of with that! Also I always make sure to photograph with a white background when I have the most daylight so that the background is as bright as it can be to help with editing. If you don't want to edit each background though (because it is pretty boring) you can actually light the background from either side, out of view of the frame. You would probably want to go for daylight bulbs to give a white/cold light and it would take a bit of playing about. Maybe Google 'High Key lighting/photography' for how to create a setup!

Q - Could you suggest some simple, foolproof decor that just tie the whole photograph together? E.g edges of plates and cutlery for foodie photos. I'm finding it a little hard to keep my beauty product photos + backgrounds interesting! 
 Anita - All Things Anita
A - I actually love your images as they are - really nice and clean and bright! I think adding texture and soft shadows is nice sometimes so using a scarf or throw ruffled up a bit can look really pretty. Or using your makeup setup blurred out as a background could be nice. But really I think your photos look great as they are! 

Q - If you're a newbie how important is it to invest in a decent camera? Can you get away with a point and shoot for a long time? 
  Kelly - The Vegan Taff
A - I think it all depends on how much you like photography and nice bright images. I've always loved photography so once I got into blogging I decided to upgrade to a Digital SLR within a year and was so pleased I did. I think if you aren't excited by the idea of buying a more expensive camera then that's a sign that it doesn't really matter too much to you, so I'd go down the route of learning to edit your photos a bit. I use Photoscape which is a free program I found on Cnet Download that is so easy to use for brightening and sharpening your images!

Hope this has been helpful! 

If you have any other questions just leave me a comment and I will answer them in a future Q&A post. 

Fee xo.

15 July 2014

Lazy Links #15


Lately I've been...

Not blogging as much! - After getting over being ill a few weeks ago I was raring to get back to blogging, I then realised my camera lens wasn't working - arghhhhh! Since then I've been trying to still use it but what was normally a 30 minute job is now a 90 minute chore just to get substandard images. This has made blogging seem a lot more of a task and not as enjoyable! I quickly need to decide whether to spend on a new lens or a whole new camera - bad, bad Nikon.

Confused by the beauty blogging community...  The beauty/fashion blogging community is vast and with lots of people you are bound to get personality clashes and bad eggs from time to time. So while I think having a community is great I realise we all can't like we other, however recently I've been seeing bloggers I used to respect and like 'fighting back' against 'trolls' that are also bloggers. Yes, we should all stand up for yourselves but Twitter now seems the new school playground for bitching and getting just deserts. I don't fully know where I'm going with this but I feel it's time everyone realised we are all adults who don't need cliques or gossip and justice/fairness can be something that is sort without Twitter! 

Concentrating on eating healthy... I'm back on track and feeling more positive about my new way of eating then ever before. I'm someone that has always been tempted to go down the quick fix route that is crash diets or just restrict calories of my normal diet. But after so much research from the internet and books on nutrition over the years I do truly know what a healthy balanced diet is and I'm finally putting it all into practice! Since upping my vegetable and fruit intake, cutting out processed food, switching to complex carbs and enjoying a lot more protein I've found all my old craving disappear (a strange feeling!). For the first time ever I'm seeing how it is a sustainable way of living that I really want to embrace.

Enjoying some great blog posts...  Dear Blogger, It's Okay here (Tiny Paint Pot), Leanne's clever and witty response to them annoying emails we get as bloggers here (Do Not Refreeze), Overcoming Self Doubt here (Jenny Purr).

Avoiding the Space NK summer sale... With Rococo nail polishes only £3 and a mass of reduced Laura Mercier products I am doing my very best to say away but oh, how I'm tempted! You can find the sale here... I can't help but also think that so many products would make great Christmas presents. 

Hopefully back to normal blogging very soon! 

Fee xo. 

11 July 2014

NEW Technic Double Trouble Nail Polishes


Last week I came across the new Technic Duo Nail Polishes that very much reminded me of the Models Own Artstix's (£6 each) and with some amazing combinations and at a snip of the price (£2.99 - eBay here) I had to snap up a few to try out!

Much like the Models Own Artstix's the Technic Double Trouble Nail Varnishes come with double ended polishes - a solid base colour and a glitter top coat. I especially like that the glitter/colour combinations are thought out for you and they are so compact. Plus I can't believe each duo is only £2.99!

Each Technic Double Trouble is fairly fast drying and requires 2 coats of the solid colour with a great formula that I'd actually wear alone with the glitter as an accent nail on my ring fingers. Then just a single coat of the glitter top coat is required. 


Technic Midsummer 
£2.99 - eBay here 
First up a lovely lilac base nail polish with a silver/green glitter top coat. I especially love the lilac nail polish and would wear it alone as with the glitter I think it would look great over a white or nude nail polish to show off the green glitter more. Together I don't love the combination but it's pretty enough and does look quite summery.

Technic Bollywood 
£2.99 - eBay here 
Love, love, love Bollywood! I knew I'd love this from the colour/glitter combo - mint green and gold glitter always look amazing together. But with the amazing creamy formula the base colour applied so smoothly and looked great alone. I also love how packed the gold glitter is so only a single coat is needed for even coverage. Such a lovely duo!

Technic Indian Ocean 
£2.99 - eBay here 
This was my least favourite of the three as the base was just too sheer for my liking and more of a jelly formula than a cream one. However I loved the blue glitter top coat which I know I can pair it with a more opaque blue base so it wasn't a total waste of a purchase. 

In the Double Trouble range there are 3 other shades that I thought I would mention especially for the middle shade - Festival here. Festival I'm pretty sure is Technic's Carnival glitter which is my favourite glitter top coat from the brand (see my swatches here). I know the combination of the glitter with the pink base coat will look amazing so it's definitely now on my to-buy list! 

On a side note if you aren't one for online shopping you can find the Technic Double Trouble range in select Bodycare stores for a bargainous £1.99! 

Highly recommend these! 

Fee xo.

9 July 2014

Nailtiques Formula 2 Kit Review


As most of you know I like to paint my nails, a lot. I'm also lucky enough to provide nail posts for the Avon blog here and generally show off new nail polishes here on Makeup Savvy. Meaning I try to look after my nails and cuticles as much as I can.

 But the thing is I generally only use a cuticle oil and whilst my cuticles looks healthy my nails have become bendy and soft with excessive nail polish use. Plus I'm also noticing my nails starting to peel at the tips as I'm getting older! So when the Nailtiques Formula 2 Kit came on my radar (as Escentual have reduced it to £9.95 from £22.90 here) I decided it was time to give a proper nail care routine a chance.

Fast forward a whole month I thought I'd share my thoughts on the kit as I think it's pretty great for the reduced price! First up, what's included in the kit - Nailtiques Oil Therapy 7ml, Nailtiques Formula 2 7ml and Nailtiques Cuticle & Skin Gel 7g.

On opening the pretty compact box I was initially a bit confused at to what all the products do. However after reading the instructions I realised the gel in a pot is basically an intensive treatment for cuticles/feet/any dry skin, the Formula 2 is a clear treatment polish that you apply to the nails daily to strengthen them and the orange-coloured Oil Therapy is a cuticle oil.


To start off the treatments I decided to use the Formula 2 on bare nails for a week then just wear it as a base coat under normal nail polish . I also applied the Oil Therapy daily when I remembered (generally before bed) and used the Cuticle & Skin Gel on my toes as my fingers didn't require such an intensive treatment. I've now being using all the products on a regular basis and can see a notable difference in my nails with them feeling a lot stronger and no sign of peeling any more... also I feel I should add that I haven't broken a nail in over a month now! Plus my cuticles are in perfect condition! Below are some of my thoughts on the products in the kit.

Nailtiques Oil Therapy 
 This was easily my favourite product as I love a good cuticle oil but they can be hard to come by. A sign of a quality cuticle oil is how easily it absorbs into the skin and this one was amazing for that leaving the skin around my nails hydrated and neat. It also has an amazing apricot scent to it which is beyond yummy. Once I've run out of this I will definitely be considering buying it again.

Nailtiques Formula 2  
 This I think is what truly made a difference to my nails. Results weren't fast but within 3 week I realised my nails actually felt a lot less bendy at the tips and all peeling had gone! I will try to keep this up as a base coat as I still believe it does something even if it's not the suggested way to use it.

Nailteques Cuticle & Skin Gel 
 I kind of feel this is a bit of a filler item as the Oil Therapy is a similar product. However if you did have really dry cuticles then this would be the best product to use first. As I had no real need for it I decided to use it on my feet as my cuticles aren't great. For such a light feeling cream this really does moisturise and hydrate the skin extremely well and within days I noticed a big different in how my feet looked. A great product but not a necessary one for me. 

Overall at £9.95 this kit is worth it if you want to sort out weak, soft, bitten or peeling nails. It's almost like a first aid kit that restores the nails! 

Fee xo.

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