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Photography

    Photography, Tips & Tricks

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay

    Ah the flat lay. Everyone loves a good flat lay right? I don’t for one minute think myself as an expert on creating this style of photo, but I figured I’d try to give a few pointers and show my methods. Also, don’t you just love the quote below mixed with Jon Snow’s unhappy little face? I do.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Photography is an art. Just having a ‘good camera’ will not get you good photos. Yes they may technically look good – meaning they’re in focus, they have good exposure, colours etc – but having an eye for composition and detail is what makes a great photo. You can’t just shoot photos without thinking and expect every single one to look good. Those instagrams with the perfect shots? It probably wasn’t the first snap, let’s be honest now!

    Anyway, hopefully these tips will give you a few more ideas of what to do with your photos and get a little more creativity in there.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Backgrounds and props

    The background is arguably the most important thing there. It gives you a clear canvas to start rearranging your items in the flatlay. I personally like to keep my backgrounds as simple as possible. I mostly use a white wooden background that I have, but I do like a good dark wood too. Pretty blankets or bedding also work really great for this.

    Depending on what you’re actually taking a photo of, props are super useful to have. I keep a load of random bits and bobs in a little box within easy reach. Polaroids, prints, quote cards, ribbon, fabric, papers, trinkets etc. My advice? Save everything! Any tags, pretty packaging, notebooks, ornaments, flowers – pretty much anything can be used as a prop. Just make sure that what you’re throwing together looks cohesive.

    Have a theme

    Which brings me to this point – have a general theme in the photo. Whether that’s objects all relating to each other, the same colour, the same concept… Just make sure they fit together. There’s nothing stranger than seeing a flatlay with REALLY random objects on there. Like sports wear and then a book on gardening. Random.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Get Above

    Yep. I usually take photos in my room for ease – it means I don’t have to drag everything out into another room in my house. The best lighting is obviously right in front of the window to get all that lovely natural light. My bed is in front of the window. This means I have to be a little creative. Most of the time I will lean over the side and try to get as above as possible, but sometimes I just need to stand on my bed. Like in the lovely post-gym selfie above. Excuse the mess, please. No, my bedding does not match. Bad blogger right? ;)

    Best results are really going to be taken using a tripod because then you can easily keep your camera in one place above the objects whilst you figure out the composition below. Effort though. Definitely make sure you’re taking the photo directly above the objects, and watch out for distortion from wide angled lenses.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Spacing and layout

    This is the hardest thing to get right in my opinion, and honestly you just have to keep playing around and taking shots until the composition works. Generally, you need a main focus in there, but it doesn’t always have to be so. I like a mixture of flat lay styles. Sometimes I’ll go all out and include loads of little things and then others I’ll go very minimalist.

    The ‘Hello Spring’ photo is a prime example of the latter. I liked it because it reminded me of a scrapbook layout, and I just think it looks all neat! It’s a good blog post title photo. I used some patterned card stock, polaroid photos, bits of plant from the garden and a quote card.

    The photo below is one I was really happy with, as an example of a busier flat lay. I used lots of colour, I picked props that related to the main focus (the journals, right?) and I kept the composition balanced. Well, I think I did. In my opinion, angled items and things chopped out make a busy flat lay work. It views more like a table top then. ‘Artfully messy’

    The Art of Being Mindful | Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Small movements can really make a different in your photo. In the ones below, just a slight change in the background position, and with the order of the books, gives it a more balanced composition. Having the two books with text titles on the outside definitely looks more balanced, and I also think the lines leading into the books works better than just flat across. What do you think though?

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    To be honest, you’ve just got to keep practising and moving things around. The more you do it, the more you’ll recognise what shapes or colours work together. Like I said, photography is an art form. Always new things to learn and improve.

    Well, that’s my thoughts on the magic of flat laying. Are you a fan? Too much effort?

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    Photography

    Photography: Where I Started

    When I first discovered the world of photography, I was a big fan of Flickr communities. I was in a load of groups, I spoke to people, I commented on photos – it was kind of like blogging really! This was before my first wordpress blog existed (but not before Piczo, Myspace, Livejournal and tumblr – oh no!) so I used it as my more public creative outlet at that time. The aforementioned blogs were very much private haha! Anyway, getting back to the point – I loved Flickr.

    It was there I discovered the idea of doing a 365 photo challenge, and in January 2010, I set off on that journey. Taking on a 365 photo a day challenge is huge. It pushes your creative boundaries so hard. Some people may find it easy, but I didn’t. It was difficult, and a lot of the photos ended up being strange or random selfies, but there are some that I’m still kind of proud of. Even if they don’t all quite make sense… The thing is, when I look through the album, I can see how I improved over time. My ideas got a little stranger, sure, but the editing got stronger! Here are a few that I really liked – just a heads up, the third image has fake blood in there!

    365 DAYS: 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2010


    As you can see, some are just downright weird. (I’m still not sure what the clock one is supposed to represent…) I wish I could show you the original of the ‘secret garden’ one but I don’t know where it is. This was a garden gate, straight at the top, with one side full of ivy and the other just a fence. I basically flipped all the ivy onto the other side. So much editing! These inspired some of my photography work in college though. I enjoyed doing the weird stuff – I’m not entirely sure how I ended up moving onto Wildlife haha! After this year I decided that doing another 365 was just too much effort.

    That’s where 52 Weeks comes in. Another challenge on Flickr, this one just needs you to show one photo each week. A lot less stressful, but something I still found difficult at times. It’s clear to me though that my photography vastly improved after the 365. I experimented a lot with the brenizer method this year, and I really love the effect. I’ll definitely be trying it more this year – hoping to get some nice shots in Lanzarote this week! I really think that doing a 365 and then carrying on with 52 weeks really helped me to refine my photography. I learnt a lot about focus, exposure, composition and subject matter in these two years. Helped with me going on to study photography at college of course…

    52 WEEKS: January 2011 to December 2011

    You can see that my 52 Weeks was a little more experimental, with better editing and quality of photo. Some of my biggest inspirations on Flickr were Lissy, esparist and Joel Robison. Joel especially, I mean, he’s amazing – and he’s still doing it!

    The point is, I really miss doing this creative style of photography – making stories, creating different worlds. I’m planning to get back to creating photographs like this. To explore a little more with my creative side. I’ll be back after my holiday with a new Flickr and some new ideas!

    Anyone else play with photography like this?

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    Creative, Photography

    5 Reasons to Love Film Photography

    I love film photography. Way back in my last years of high school, I took photography as one of my options and just fell in love. I went on to start A Levels, and really did not get on with them, so after that first year doing just the AS Levels, I started a Photography BTEC. This is honestly the best decision I ever made. Right from the beginning we got stuck in with SLR cameras – film – and learnt all the manual controls as well as how to expose and then develop a photo. I learnt so much in just that first year alone, and that’s were my love of film photography began.

    5 Reasons to Love Film Photography | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #1 The Challenge: Getting it right.

    Now digital photography is not easy, but it’s easier than film photography. You only get so many shots on a roll and you don’t want to be wasting them; there’s no delete button here. For that reason, you become more thoughtful about your shooting process. You learn all the manual controls, and you get a better idea of lighting and shadow. My college tutor once said to me ‘expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights’. A quote that has stuck with me ever since.

    #2 Happy Accidents: You never know exactly what you’re gonna get.

    There’s no digital screen to see if you ‘got the shot’, nope. It’s a case of point, shoot and hope you got what you wanted. I love that. Even better is when you forget about finished film rolls, and then develop them a couple of years later and see what surprises they hold. Maybe you accidentally created a double exposure? Your photos may get light leaks and lens flares affecting the roll, but this just makes for interesting results and gives film that ‘arty’ feel. Some photos will be absolute rubbish and some will be completely unexpected – that’s the magic of it.

    #3 It feels raw: Film Grain > Digital Noise

    There’s just something about the grainy look of film, and especially in black and white, that makes me adore it. I’ve always told myself that when I have kids (in the far future of course) I’ll take some film photos of them as they grow up. The thing about film photography for me is that it really doesn’t have to be special – even just regular life looks way more interesting in film. Some of the best street photography I can think of is on film: by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Diane Arbus – everyone has seen the ‘Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C.‘ right?!

    #4 No Post-processing: No Pressure

    I edit my photos. I do. Most people do. Film cameras have a better dynamic range and colour quality, so they don’t really need all that editing, and there’s just less pressure for it to be ‘perfect’. How much time do you spend poring over photoshop trying the get the colours or the levels right? Film gets rid of all that fuss. You can actually dodge and burn when developing in the dark room, but it isn’t easy!

    #5 Memories: Developing and Creating Albums.

    Now we’re all mostly digital, it’s all too easy to take 50 of the same photograph to get the right one, and then those images just get filed away in a random folder on your computer. Can you really remember what photos you took last year? I can’t, and I have so many. Maybe it’s just me, but I dream of having albums of photographs. Yep, you could just print digital ones and put them in a folder, but it’s not quite the same is it? I mean I do actually plan to do this as well because I just like being able to hold them, but you know, nothing beats a good old photo album. Some of my favourite film photos are ones I took on my Instax mini in France (you can see those above) and ones I took in Turkey. When I look at them I can picture the scene and feel it immediately.

    ——————————————

    And here are some of the first ever film photographs that I took with an SLR, developed the film and printed the photographs in a dark room. Oh college, I kind of miss it. Nothing better than being in a pitch black room doing the developing and hoping you’ve managed to get it all in the right order and then getting in the dark room with red lighting and seeing those photos coming to life.

    I’m going to write a few different blog posts about my own photography journey because I recently discovered some of my college stuff and it wasn’t all amazing, but there are some great bits in there that I’m still proud of! Have you ever used film? Love it or loathe it?

    5 Reasons to Love Film Photography | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    5 Reasons to Love Film Photography | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    5 Reasons to Love Film Photography | lifeofkitty.co.uk

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    Creative, Photography

    Let’s Talk About Instagram

    Instagram is a topic that seems to appear a lot in twitter chats and on other blog posts, with most people torn between two sides – to have a theme, or to not have a theme. To be honest, whether an instagram has a theme or not does not affect whether I’ll follow. I generally look for photos of things that I’m interested in, a little personality and good photography. And by good photography, I just mean photos that are clear, well lit and not blurred. The odd blurry photo or ‘bad quality’ image doesn’t completely put me off, but a whole feed of just that does.

    Let's Talk About Instagram | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    To theme or not?

    I had a theme for a little while and I tried doing two white photos and then one dark because I liked how it looked. It didn’t last very long because I honestly just felt way too restricted. Taking photos in batches made it 10x easier, but then that also just felt a little forced. However, I did notice that when I was trying this theme out, I got a lot more likes and my followers increased a lot compared to before. We’ve all been on those instagram feeds and just looked on in awe right? A consistent theme just does look appealing to the eye. Upon giving up that theme, I decided to really think about the photos that I posted and chose to include random snapshots as well as some more set-up shots. Since doing that, my followers and engagement has gone up even more and with that I say that the quality of your feed is definitely an important factor. I’m happy with how it is looking, and I like my feed a whole lot more now.

    I do still have my food instagram, although I’m not using it as much now. I like having all my food related photos in one place so you know, I do actually have a themed instagram account. I also follow plenty of others that follow this theme, and a lot of people who have a book related theme. I’m not against themes at all, and I think it just depends on what you want to post regularly.

    Let's Talk About Instagram | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Original Feed – Themed Feed – Current Feed

    Real Life?

    The main sort of consenus about themed instagram accounts is that they don’t show ‘real life’. I’m sure instagram actually began as a place to show snapshots of life and to share daily things, but that is changing and as a form of social media it is evolving. Of course, it still is used like that by a lot of people but as more and more brands and bloggers get involved, we’re seeing a definite change. At the end of the day, it really depends on what you want to use instagram for.

    I’ve loved photography since I first studied it in high school, and when I was in college, I was constantly on Flickr. I took part in challenges (365 days and 52 weeks being the biggest!) and I loved the community that came with groups on there. I see Instagram as very similar to this.

    It’s a place to share photographs and creativity in whichever form you use. I want to use my account as somewhere to really improve my photography, and that means only posting those that I personally think are ‘good’. However, I’m not restricting myself by only posting one type of thing. My ‘theme’ really depends on what I’m doing that week. Sometimes it’s a lot of reading. Sometimes a lot of writing. Sometimes just a lot of cats. In March, you’ll see a lot of travel photography on there as I revisit Lanzarote. But that’s the beauty of it. My instagram shows everything that I am into at this moment in time; it shows my life, my hobbies and my photography.

    TL;DR

    Too long, didnt read? Well basically this is me saying that I don’t have a set theme, besides trying to only post higher quality images, but I don’t hate them eiher. I do like to see a bit of personal life on there and not just blogging related images though. It’s something that I’m trying to include more of, as well as the area I live.

    What do you think? Theme, no theme or indifferent like me?

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    Personal, Photography

    I’m Not Finished Yet.

    The last assignments were handed in, the bags were packed, and the bittersweet journey home completed. Time to start afresh – bring all that knowledge and experience of the last three years together – and get that career on track.

    Ideally, I would now be working full time in a media based role; whether that’s working within digital media, or with a magazine and pursuing my writing/photography. I would have the means and the time to travel whenever and wherever I want. See those glorious landscapes in person, climb up mountains, dive in clear waters, walk through jungles and weave through busy market stalls.

    In reality, I’m still living at home (not unusual for a graduate 7 months out, I’m aware!) and I’m in a part time job that isn’t paying anywhere near enough at the moment. Low periods, eh. I can feel myself settling and I’m not comfortable here. I’m not ready to settle down. I want to explore. I want to experience new things. I want. Want. We all know that saying: ‘I want’ doesn’t always get.

    As I post this, I’m declaring that these next few years are all about finding my path, saving up some money, and someday travel for a least a month or two. It will take a lot of hard work – I’m not blind to that fact – but I know it’ll be worth it when I get there. I think it’s time to start taking control of my life again, and pushing forward. The hardest part is just finding those opportunities, but they’re out there. If I push myself, I can do whatever I want to do. I’m not finished yet.

    But hey, you know what, I’m 22 (almost 23, eek!) and I have experienced great places in my life so far. They may not be completely around the world, but does that really matter? In college I had a photography based trip out to Venice. It was my first ‘proper’ trip away without parents and I really loved it. Then I was lucky enough to visit Finland in my second year of university where I saw bears and wolves, and even got a glimpse of the Northern Lights. That has hands down been my favourite travel trip so far. And then last year I tried out scuba diving for the first time and actually managed to complete two dives, seeing lots of fish and taking video footage. I’ve had more experiences than I realise.

    This year I want to explore my local area more because there’s always something new to find. I need to pick my camera back up and document life. And whilst we’re here, I thought I’d show you some landscapes that I’ve taken from a few different places. Wouldn’t it be great to fill up a portfolio of different landscapes eh? The land is fascinating, and I just really love photographing it. Hope you enjoy!

    Reaching for Healthier Snacks | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    High Rigg, Lake District

    Reaching for Healthier Snacks | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Peak District

    Reaching for Healthier Snacks | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Newquay, Wales

    Reaching for Healthier Snacks | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Gardens in the Palace of Versailles, Paris

    Reaching for Healthier Snacks | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    A snapshot of the beautiful forests in Kuhmo, Finland

    Reaching for Healthier Snacks | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    That magical tiny glimpse of the Northern Lights. Kuhmo, Finland

    Reaching for Healthier Snacks | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Venice, Italy

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    Food, Photography

    A Foodie Instagram

    LifeOfKittyEats instagram | healthy foods and treats

    Have you ever searched through the tags on instagram, and just lost hours at a time looking through all the perfect food photos? Salivating at all the tasty meals and treats that people are posting? I have, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of that little foodie instagram area.

    I’ve tried posting food photos on my normal instagram, and they always get good reception, but I just felt like they were out of place on there. I don’t have the self-control to keep a themed instagram on my main account – there are too many random instances that need documenting – so I’ve finally taken the plunge and created a food theme instagram. I can’t wait to start filling it up, and what better timing than to start whilst in Lanzarote with all the delicious food I’ll be eating on my holiday? By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on my last full day of my holiday and there should be plenty of photos on there to browse through!

    Head on over to runliftkt to see all my food photography! If you have a foodie instagram, I’d love to follow, and also if you know of any foodie community tags please let me know! (:

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    Personal, Photography

    Snorkelling in the Farne Islands.

    Just a little note to say that this post is originally from my photography blog – Katie Louise Photography – so it is the exact same post. All words are of course my own ;)

    Thursday morning was spent feeling very seasick on a boat, but also getting the chance to snorkel in the Farne Islands – surrounded by seals! The weather wasn’t too great, but thankfully we only got a sprinkling of rain throughout the trip. I’ve never really gotten seasick, but staying in one place on a boat on choppy water really wasn’t good for my head/stomach!

    Anyway, as we travelled to the islands, I was amazed by the sight of so many birds. They were everywhere! We dropped half of the group off at one island, and then headed to a different one for us snorkellers. I’d love to tell you which islands, but I cannot remember at all. I got to see my first ever Puffins and Guillemots from the boat, so all was good! I wish I could have gone onto the land and photographed the birds close up, but when booking, I decided that the snorkelling was really something that I probably wouldn’t get to do again. I took the opportunity! We also got a first glimpse of a seal…

    Getting ready to jump into the water, I was pretty terrified. Having never dived before, and only snorkelled in nice, hot and sunny countries, this would be my first time in freezing cold british waters. Scary! It wasn’t that bad actually. The jump was a shock, but thanks to the wetsuit my body surprisingly wasn’t really cold. My hands however were freezing! We swam for a good few metres before stopping in the shallower bits, near to the land. So many seals were out of the water, and so many were swimming around and underneath us. They didn’t come too close, but we could see them very clearly! I’ve made a little (pretty bad!) video of the day, so you can see some underwater seal shots!

    Don’t forget to watch in HD!

    When we got out, we travelled back to the first island to pick up the ITV guys, and then headed back for another snorkel session. I was so cold after getting out, that I didn’t go back in. I wish I had, but in that moment I just felt so cold and soooo seasick. Getting into the water may have helped, but it didn’t feel like it would! I just took photographs from the boat instead, drank tea to warm up and huddled in a big brown windproof jacket…

    Our final stop was part of the water where you could see birds diving underwater, and I didn’t go in then either. This one I really wish I’d just pushed myself to do it. How often to you get to see birds diving and properly swimming under water?! Ah, well maybe it means I will have to do it again!

    Overall, it was an incredible day and I’m so glad we got the opportunity. It was amazing to be swimming in the sea, with actual seals swimming around us. Definitely something I’ll remember for a long while! I really want to go back to the Farne Islands!

    lifeofkitty

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