July 21, 2014

and other stories cotton care range

The brand 'and other stories' are mainly known for their fashion section but what I've discovered is there are so many gems amongst their beauty range too. I'm a huge fan of the face contour cream which is by far the best that I've ever used. Onto the bath and body products and recently I've been trying out the cotton care range, all of the products have a beautiful light scent of fresh cotton sheets which makes them perfect to use in summer. The Nainsook Body Oil is my top pick of the collection, it's by far the best body oil that I've ever used due to it being so light feeling yet it gives the skin a healthy glow too. The Flannel Body Lotion is similar as it feels equally as lightweight but also nourishes the skin too, I'm a big fan of any body lotions that come in a pump bottle. The Madapollam Body Scrub has won a fair few beauty awards and if I was a magazine I'd give it one too, it's thick and grainy meaning it gives the skin a proper good scrub but it also doesn't leave any residue and washes off in an instant, plus it smells wonderful too. 

As you have probably gathered by now I'm greatly impressed by the range, I'm also in love with the packaging and think it looks so chic and understated on a bathroom shelf. 

July 19, 2014

jo malone pomegranate noir candle

Jo Malone candles have been a favourite of mine for around a year or so now, there is just something about the packaging and variety of scents that conveys refined elegance which makes any of their candles an investment piece for the home. My first very own Jo Malone candle was the Fig and Cassis version which I received as a Christmas present, I absolutely loved the scent and it truly made winter evenings feel so much more cosy. Ever since then I've been craving the Pomegranate Noir candle as when I first visited the store it was my next favourite scent just after the fig so was over the moon when the brand kindly sent one over. I know that pricey candles can be seen as unnecessary to a lot of people, but in my mind they are so much more than just a pretty flame to look at. Jo Malone candles fill the entire room with such a beautiful uplifting scent that it improves my state of mind instantly and any stress from the day just melts away, I always find they help me start to drift off to sleep too. I like to save lighting mine just a few nights a week and that way I find it lasts a month or two. If you're looking for an uplifting yet calming scent then go for the Wild Fig and Cassis candle but if you want a more woody and deeply relaxing scent then the Pomegranate Noir will be the one for you, though I'd personally happily own both.

July 17, 2014

how to be a blogger | photo editing

I've been blogging for over four years now as a lot of you will know, yet I'm still constantly picking up new tips and tricks on how to run and design my blog. I was initially one of those people who fully believed that buying a fancy camera would instantly give me great product photos, oh how wrong I was. All of the gear with no idea. Whilst a top of the range Canon camera is pretty foolproof when it comes to taking outdoor shots, you really need to get to know all of it's settings and functions when it comes to product photography. I still haven't read a single manual or how-to guide, everything I've learnt to this point has been through brief googling and my own practising. Once you've cracked a good understanding of how your camera works, you have good lighting and have practised on photoshop then you are well set up for good photos as a result. If the thought of photoshop scares you, don't worry, just have a play around with it and discover what works for you. 

Pixelmator | If you have a Mac then just go through the app store to download this straight to your computer for £20.99. It's by far the best user friendly and easy to use photo editing software that I've ever found, I've also used it to create all of the graphics on my blog too. It's worth every penny and more.

Levels and Curves | I don't know the specifics of exactly what these are and what they do but I just have a play around with them both until my image has been brightened and looks more vibrant. You can see the different between the first and second image, it's subtle with this photo but with many of the examples included within this post having a play around with these is what has made the biggest difference. 

Luminance | If you are just a beginner and are wanting to use the most simple of editing functions, try out the luminance button. It instantly brightens up a dark image and is so quick and easy to do.

Edges and Sharpness | Images very rarely come out absolutely crisp and sharp which is where these two tools help out. Again, having a play around with them is the best way to see what works for you, though don't sharpen your images too much as it just ends up making them look unnatural. 

As you can see with all of the outcomes above, my personal preference is to end up with a bright and radiant image that sparkles with vibrance. It is impossible to get these kind of results purely based on them coming straight from your camera, trust me I have tried. Believe it or not all of the before images were taken against a white background, using studio lights and I had adjusted all of my camera settings for optimum results. I have a lack of natural daylight in my house as the windows are quite small and my photographing desk is never in direct sunlight but natural daylight is definitely your best friend when it comes to product photos if you are lucky enough to have it, otherwise you will have to just cheat it. Please do let me know if you have any tips and tricks and what kind of look you like product photos to have.