Thursday, August 24, 2017

50 Flatlay Photography Props For Your Prop Drawer

When I moved out the first thing I wanted to do was seriously up my flatlay game and create a flatlay prop drawer that I could draw upon when I needed some inspiration. It worked well, admittedly the drawer has now become overrun with receipts and just general junk, but the thought was there.

Flatlays are honestly my favourite thing about Instagram, I love being creative and putting pictures together that I know I would love if I spotted them on my feed. It does help having a prop box drawer or box of some kind so you're never short of different ways to style a flatlay. Whether you're looking for some guidance on flatlays or are running short on some prop ideas, these 50 flatlay props will seriously help you to up your flatlay game in no time, you'll probably have a good majority of the things on this list too!

1. Quote cards (Paperchase have a really good choice and are cheap too!
2. Cheap rings (I have about 3 packs from Primark)
3. Flatlay cards for backgrounds- I use the Range, Hobbycraft, Paperchase for mine - use wrapping paper too!
4. Books - stack them up to add some texture or feature their Instagrammable covers (see above)
5. Fairy lights
6. Candles
7. Cactus'
8. Flowers - a few stems set off any flatlay
9. Tea cups (with tea in. Or coffee)
10. Glasses/sunglasses
11. Watches
12. Scarves - use them at the back of the image to build texture
13. All the makeup
14. Laptop/Macbook
15. Calendar - perfect for 1st day of the month posts
16. Bags/makeup pouches/ cute purses
17. Notebook and pen
18. Ring holders (I love my little Saskia)
19. Coasters
20. Prints (A4, A2, A5 - do your thing!)
21. Cake - cake always looks good as a prop, whole or with a bite taken...
22. Hats - boater hats with a saying on them, berets, flat caps
23. Cameras
24. Rugs/Throws for building texture into the image
25. Macaroons
26. Leaves - perfect for nailing that autumnal shot
27. Pretty shoes! 
28. Sequins
29. Magazines
30. Trinket dishes
31. Saucers (pretty saucers for rings and bits and bobs)
32. Mini eggs - because why the hell not! Pastel perfection.
33. Diaries
34. The screensaver of your laptop
35. Any Lush Cosmetics product
36. Slogan tee/jumper
37. Pretty phone cases
38. Underwear
39. Bikinis (for a holiday packing post)
40. Makeup brushes
41. Perfume bottles
42. Eucalyptus
43. Passport/luggage tag
44. Headphones
45. Pizza, because Pizza
46. Bath caddy/tray - totally killing the bathtime flatlay game right now
47. Wooden chopping boards for food flatlays in bed
48. Photographs/Polaroids
49. Phones - Iphone/Ipod
50. Cutlery - cute cutlery at that

Maybe, I'll do a part 2 to this soon! If you're looking for further inspiration, take a look at my Flatlay board on Pinterest, I'm close to 1,000 + pins on there now...Not obsessed or anything.

Do you have any other flatlay prop ideas? What are the 3 props you can't live without?

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

6 Tips For Taking The Perfect Instagram Picture of Food

I like food, you like food, we all like food. We all want to see each others food, we only want to eat the most instagrammable food, and we certainly don't go without taking pictures. Because how can you possibly eat a slice of cake and not take a picture? I'm getting a rash just thinking of it. On Instagram, food pictures are completely split, you get the perfectly put together ones, laid out to perfection, and the one's where it looks like 2 weeks worth of leftovers have been slopped onto a plate. No thank you.

I'm obsessed. I cannot eat without taking a picture without thinking of the gram, and I almost always opt for the most instagrammable thing on the menu regardless to its price, how it tastes and if it will make me ill. But if it 'looks good' then who cares, right?

There's more to food flatlay photography than you think, this post if for you if you want to nail that shot to perfection!

#1. Choose Wisely

I'm 100% sure I'm not alone here that I will always choose the nicest looking thing over the fact whether it actually tastes any good. Someone gotta do it. For me, brunch always looks good as I pretty much eat pancakes and anything sweet. Sweet stuff always seems to get the most likes over something like a fried breakfast or scrambled eggs. Just ask yourself, if it came up on my feed 'would I like it?'.

#2. The Lighting

Lighting is everything. There's nothing worse than having the most appeasing dish delivered to your table when you realise that your table is situated in a place darker than a dementors soul or you got all the spotlight going on. Get a table that can do both. You need to consider the table you choose too, plastic table cloths are a no no.

#3. No Hands In Shot

Harder than it sounds believe me. Bribe your guests if you have to, or better yet eat alone so you don't have to worry about it. Let their food go cold in the process to get that perfect shot. Hands in photos, bites already being taken are real life, yes, but it ruins the photo. Less is more here.

#4. Lay It Out

Turn your dishes around, move the pot of flowers over into the shot, move your plates closer, do your thing. Just like you play around with products or items for a flatlay the same should apply for any food shots. Keep changing it around until you get it right. Waiters/waitresses are inconsiderate and will not take Insta needs into mind so this part is up to you.

#5. Grab Some Props

I love me some props for a food flatlay. I haven't got to the stage of taking my own props in a bag yet, but it is going that way. Use what's around you, but some things that are perfect for foodie flatlays are; newspapers, magazines, sunglasses, flowers, quote cards (in case you got a spare one in your bag..), laptops, hands & watches etc, etc.

#6. Aerial View

Get the aerial view going. Standing up to take photos of dishes is common place now, everyone is getting in on the act and there is no need to be embarrassed. Embrace the food shots! Standing up will always give you the cleanest, laid out look, you can then shoot as much or as little in it as you want. 
Have you got any tips for nailing the perfect food shot?

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

What I Do For My Day Job

Yup, that's right. I'm not a full time blogger, Influencer or whatever else they're called these days. Much to the surprise of people that only lurk on my social media platforms, I actually do have a day job. As my Instagram posts dwindle during the week, and about 20 Insta stories go out on Saturday, it suddenly starts to make sense, no?

My working life is something I haven't really ever put the spotlight on, it's something I have and do like to keep private from my 'online life'. My online life is my escape from my not as interesting every day life. What is there to say about sitting in an office Monday-Friday 9-5pm, huh? Answers on a postcard plz. But I thought I would finally answer that question that so many people ask me in one blog post, also one for my boyfriend and family who seem to change what my profession is every time they get asked, this one's for you guys.

What's My Job Title?

Much to most people's surprise, I'm not entering my third year at Hogwarts. Believe me, I'm surprised too. 

Anyway, back to me. I'm an Ecommerce Partnership Manager which basically means nothing to you all, am I right? In basic terms I'm a digital marketing manager, essentially, plus some. I work at a company based in Plymouth called Vertical Plus. I get to do social media too, and blogging sometimes, so that's nice.

What Does My Job Involve?

Where do I start... At Vertical Plus we work with ecommerce companies to build their websites and help to grow their online presence and sales. I account manage around 12 websites from companies that sell homemade fudge and sea charts to condoms, I know everything from trim condoms and dental dams to glow in the dark condoms, so there's that. I also do agency style social media work for companies too which I love to do, it helps to keep me grounded. 

Then I do everything and anything. We work closely with the sites on growth strategies and manage their online growth in any way that we can, from SEO, social media, google Adwords (PPC), blogging, content writing, amazon & eBay and inventory. It's a very varied role which isn't something you would find at a traditional agency where you would just specialise in one area. It's fast paced, hard work, but I also kinda like it. I guess that always helps.

I've not yet been asked to go on a work trip to New York or Milan, but I will keep you posted on that. Besides the above, I usually have about 3 snacks and some before 11am, I'm in from 9 to 5:30 every day too. I really am living the 9-5 dream.

How Did I Get My Job?

I'd like to think it was because of my little blog, and I think 80% of the reason they first employed me as an ecommerce partnership coordinator of the company, that it was. It showed that I did something a little bit different to the other candidates and employed my time into something I loved, as well as hopefully showing my flair and passion for writing. I guess having a degree also helped.

Having a blog has and will always be a talking point, of intrigue and mystery at times. The readership isn't what it used to be, but it's my own creative outlet online that will always be mine. It helped me get my job today, so for that I am very grateful. 

So, there we go. A tiny, yet hopefully good insight into what I really do Monday to Friday. Tweet me or drop me a comment with any other questions. I will be back with a day in the life of 'moi' post very soon...

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

5 Things You Need To Get From The New Summer Lush Collection

When it comes to the summer I take my foot off the Lush pedal *slightly*, but still secretly long for those cold, winter nights and the releases of the Halloween collection - because is there really any better time of the year, am I right?

In between deciding how I'm going to position my Christmas tree in my new place, I went to Lush Plymouth's blogger evening last week to learn about the new collection. I had seen little snippets of what was coming out on Instagram, and I was incredibly excited to pick up some bits too. There are quite a few products that sadly won't make it into our store, so to give you a quick snapshot of the evening and new ranges, here are 5 things that you totally need to get your hands on this summer!
#1. Jelly Face Masks

I know what you're thinking, HOW? I am loving this take on the jelly shower gels, but believe me it's easier to apply and use than you think. This twist on a traditional face mask is fun and pretty cool. To use, you simply break a piece off and rub together in your hands before applying.

There are currently 4 in the range which all help to target different problem areas, the range includes; Just To Clarify, Bunny Moon, 1000 Millihelens and The Birth of Venus. I picked up Just To Clarify which is juicy, zesty and helps to brighten up the skin. You only need to leave it on for 5-10 mins to reap the benefits. I always end up wearing them whilst I'm doing the washing up or some other adult chore, mask time is up before you know it! What are your initial thoughts on these?!

2. Hot Oil Conditioners

Okay, so these aren't exactly new, but there is a new gal to the collection and I a) never knew these existed and b) have never used one - I blame it on my penchant for bath bombs and nothing else, but it looks like I've been missing out.

There are 5 hot oil conditions in the range now, all targeted specifically at the needs of different hair types. Whether you have bleached or coloured hair that needs a little bit of nourishment and tender loving care or flat hair that needs a bit of oomph, then they have you covered.

They're so easy to use and you simply stir them into boiling hot water to form a 'sort of' thick paste. Dependent on the amount of hair you have, any excess product can be put into a tub to keep in the fridge which can last up to 6-8 weeks. 

I picked the Huge Hot Oil Conditioner to try out which smells like spearmint chewing gum, HELLO. It's the one for fine or flat hair that needs some serious oomph. It contains sea salt for shine and volume and peppermint powder to reduce the drop rate in hair and strengthen the scalp. I'll have to get back to you on the results of this one!
3. Rump Cream

I remember seeing this on Instagram and think WHUT? Before I'd even looked into what the product was. It sounded vaguely familiar to Trump, don't you think? And that is where this idea for this product has come from. It's the product that has got everyone talking who's anyone, to prove that with any cracks, come light.

Designed to soothe, soften and help with chafing, whilst making 'your bum great again' it's a perfect product for cyclists or those who just want, well, a smooth derrier. Without revealing too much about this product, just go in store and read the product packaging, it's really quite clever!

4. Rocket Science Bath Bomb

I mean, come on, what's not to love about this new cutie on the bath scene? I feel like I haven't had a chance to properly enjoy a lush bath bomb in so long and I am sorry for that because that type of 'me time' is so precious and so needed on a day to day basis for me!

Anyway, enough about that. In less than 5 seconds this bath bomb is gonna transport you to another world, filled with bergamot and lemon, it's a serious zesty and delicious scent. I think it's gonna be a new favourite.
5. The Comforter Bubble Bar

So. it's not really a newbie, but this was one of the integral parts of the blogger evening and it made me remember just how much I love this classic bubble bar. We got to make our OWN comforter bars from scratch, I really don't think there is another job I would love more than making Lush products all day every day, imagine just how good you would smell?

It's hot pink, so instantly ticks all the boxes and I love how big it is as it ends up lasting a good few baths. If you've never used it before, it has the most delicious fruity scent that will have your bath filled with blankets of bubbles for slipping under in no time!

So there we have it, my top 5 Lush products you need to be putting into your basket! What are you loving from their new collection?

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