How To Up Your Blog Photo Game

Well hey.

How you all doing? Survived Storm Doris? Seriously though .. DORIS.  The amount of times I’ve seen this name on SM is insane ha. Anyhoo… blog post time, woop. And it’s a good one. Ya know why? Cos a crap load of you have requested it… CHECK ME OUT GETTING REQUESTS FOR POSTS. 

So… I’m finally writing a blog post all about my photography & upping my game. I did a blog post on photos when I first started blogging .. but recently I’ve really been trying hard with my photos, both on the blog & my Instagram (totes should follow me on there if you don’t already .. shameless plug.. I’m at @throughtheglitterglass). And you know what I love? So many people have noticed too. I thought I’d talk you through some of the things I’ve done to up my game, and also just some general tips too.. and I hope it helps some of you out!

Camera

Now.. I recently invested in the EVER so popular Olympus Pen because I knew I really wanted to focus on creating high quality images and this one is so highly raved about in the blogging world. And oh my goodness I can see why.. not only is it the most instagrammable camera EVER.. the photos it can produce are AMAZING. So many of you have complimented my pictures since getting this camera, and it definitely was the first step for me in upping my game. If you also want to do the same .. I highly recommend investing in a good camera.. as the difference is crazy. In fact .. I’m also going to be picking up the 30mm lens too because I want those beautiful, blurred background photos! Another thing I LOVE about this camera is the Wifi feature… it means I can easily send myself photos and post these directly onto my Instagram! If you’re not really feeling the whole spending £400 on a camera, fear not, because my babe Holly over at TheKittyLuxe uses her iPhone for her photos and my GOD her imagery is stunning. She did a whole post on it too.. so make sure you check it out.

   

(Taken on iPhone)

Play around with manual mode

Not gonna lie.. manual mode on my camera scared me at first. All it seemed to do was make my photos blurry and dark.. not a good look. BUT..  a little bit of research really helped and now I refuse to use the auto settings on my camera! A few tips I’ve picked up:

  • Lowering the ‘F’ feature when you want a close up for that gorgeous blurry background. This reduces your focal point, meaning your camera will focus on a small part of your image, and slightly blur out the rest. This is amazing if you want to do a close up of something (i.e. lipstick/bathbomb). I also find it helps when I’m filming YT videos.. as the camera will focus on me and blur out the background. Yay!
  • Increasing/decreasing aperture based on how much natural light you have – this helps so much if you are taking photos on a cloudy day. This allows more light into the lens (if it’s dark) or less if you have a lot of sun.
  • Increasing ISO – Again.. this helps if you do not have a lot of light coming through (this is more about the sensitivity of light). Be careful with this one though.. as a higher ISO means grainier photos.

These are basically the only settings I’ve got to grips with .. there is so much more but I’m learning! If you need more in depth info, Lydia Millen did a fab snap story on the Olympus settings (I think you can find this on YT), as well as an amazing post by Robyn.. who has fab tips on getting to grips with manual mode, and her photos are absolutely STUNNING.

Natural Light

I’ve definitely had my fair share of having to photograph with artificial light and natural light .. and to be honest, natural light wins by FAR. Of course, with it being Winter, we get like 5 hours of light and even then for most of the time it horrible & cloudy… so we don’t really have a choice but to pull out the soft boxes. Where possible though.. I always photograph by a window… and even on cloudy days I can faff around with my camera settings and make it work. The best times for me are between the hours of 9am-11am, and 3pm-4pm. And the best tips for soft boxes? Use 2 and extend them quite high to get as much light as possible (rather then up close & using just one).. I find this helps so much with getting rid of shadows and too much brightness. Instead, you get a nice glow. Perfect.

Have a good backdrop

Since I’ve developed a ‘white theme’ for my Instagram… I needed a good sized backdrop. My solution? A double sized duvet/white sheet. I use this as my base, and add blankets/scarves as needed. This means I have a huge drop to work with and can get really creative with my photography without worrying about anything getting in the way/having to crop anything out.

Get yourself some props

Props. Are. Everything. Literally the most important thing ever if you want to up your photography game. One thing I love to do is match up my props with the type of photo I’m taking/what season it is etc. A few of my favourite props are:

  • Blankets
  • Fake flowers (essential)
  • Small trays
  • Cute bowls/mugs/plates
  • Bows
  • Candles
  • Perfume bottles
  • Fairy lights
  • Plants/cacti
  • Cute notebooks

Literally ANYTHING can be used as a prop… and you don’t even need to buy anything extra if you don’t want to – you probably have plenty of stuff that you can use! The key is to experiment! I’m still learning on how to get my perfect flatlay.. but once I’ve worked it out.. I will definitely do a post on it!

(Taken on iPhone)

Get your editing right

Editing really doesn’t have to take you hours..I honestly think it takes me about 10-15 minutes to edit all my photos for a post/weeks worth of Instagram shots. And you know why? Because I do more or less the same thing for all my pictures:

  • Increase Brightness – but not too much where you can’t see certain things (i.e. images/writing). Just enough to highlight your picture and not make it so dull
  • Increase Contrast – just enough to make the darker things in your photo be slightly more prominent
  • Increase Highlight – this gives your pictures a little but of a “glow” – again increase slightly, not too much otherwise your image becomes too bright
  • Increase Sharpness – to make small details stand out nicely
  • Decrease Temperature – this is a personal thing for me because I like my pictures to have a slightly cool tone to them
  • Whiten Whites – this is where my fave app FaceTune comes in. It is especially helpful in making my backgrounds whiter and giving them that lovely crisp look. It has been my saviour since developing my white themed Instagram too!

That is literally the quickest way to tell you how I edit my pictures – let me know if you want anything in more detail though gals!

 
OK -I think I have covered everything? These are basically the things I have been doing to really up my photo game – and it has helped too because I receive so many compliments on my pictures recently (you guys are DA BEST). If you have ANY more questions about my pictures, make sure to let me know in the comments and I will help you out 🙂 For now – hope this post helped you!

I’m off sofa hunting with my parents & hubby – so hope you all enjoy your weekend!

LOTS OF LOVE,

Saira

xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

BEAUTY FIX: Get RID of Large Pores

Well guess who’s baaaaaaack! Back againnnn. Ok sure you’ve realised by now it’s me ha. Hey guys. It’s been way too long I know.. but I am so excited to be back at yaaaa with none other than a beauty post. ‘Cos everyone loves a good ramble about beauty ey? Well I know I do.

So .. today ladies & gents (if any gents even read my blog), I am going to be talking about pores. Wow.. how much of an obnoxious teacher did I sound like then (seriously, say it out loud in a demanding voice and you’ll get me). Seriously though… pores are a pain. Yep I know they have a use… but my goodness if you have oily skin (like moi), they are pretty annoying.

Let’s have a little lesson in pores shall we? Pores are basically little openings in your skin which allows the release of sebum… and of course, oiler skin can mean larger pores. Also.. picking at your skin/spots can damage your pores too making them more noticable. DON’T do it… I picked at a blackhead and it literally scarred my skin for over a week. I WISH I left the bloody thing alone.

So… that’s my little bit of background .. now it’s time to get to the best bit. MY tips on de-clogging your pores (ew that sounds gross), reducing your pore size, and in turn helping to keep your skin clear!

Thoroughly cleanse your skin

 

You gotta get your skin feeling clean AF girl. Things like makeup, heavy moisturizers and the general environment you’re in all clog up your pores. So firstly, make sure you cleanse your skin really well. I’ve been OBSESSED with removing my makeup with a cleansing balm & going over it with a miceller water. The Body Shop Chamomile balm has been a long term fave of time, and then recently I’ve been enjoying the Soap & Glory Drama Clean 5 in 1 Micellar water to remove any last bits of makeup. Then… I use another Soap & Glory product (FYI.. LOVE the S&G skincare range)… the Fab Pore Purifying Foaming Cleaner, it is AMAZING. There’s just something about foam on my face that I love (lol).. it makes it feel so clean & refreshed! In fact .. to make the most of my cleansing, I use my Magnitone Facial Brush too! And that my friends, is how you cleanse your skin. Boom.

Steam the s*** out of your face

Whether you do this by having a really hot shower, or having your fave over a bowl with hot water… you gotta steam your face guys. This opens up your pores and helps us move onto the next step. EXTRACTION. Ew .. I love/hate this part.

Removing all the dirt from your pores

 

I can’t even remember where I read/saw this.. but one of the best ways to remove dirt from your pores is using Wisdom Clean Between flossing brushes. Yup you read that right. Don’t bother with cotton pads between your hands.. use the brushes. I use them by ‘dragging’ them across my nose/cheeks .. or anywhere you have larger pores. You’ll notice after a while that you are clearing them. I was so surprised by how well they worked .. seriously try it guys!

Rinse & Exfoliate

Right.. after you have cleared your pores as much as possible .. it’s time to give your skin a quick rinse and exfoliate! This will help remove any dirt left over & also remove dead skin cells. I’ve been loving the Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix scrub.. it works so so well .. although does make my skin tingle a little bit (but not too much.. don’t worry!). I love the scent of this too… it’s really citrusy and makes your skin feel so soft after using!

Get That Mask On

 

What would this routine have been without a mask ey? I feel like a mask is ESSENTIAL after you’ve cleansed/exfoliated. I finally got my mitts on the L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity mask and guys let me tell you. They are worth the hype. Oh yes. This mask is frickin’ amazing! I got the purifying/mattifying one and it does a fantastic job at just that. I like to leave this on for around 20 minutes.. and find it really helps to close all my pores and ‘tighten’ my skin up.. if that makes sense?! It also makes my skin glow afterwards which is what you all want from a mask! Definitely try these guys .. they are pretty affordable too ! I want to pick up the other two in the range and see how they work together!

 

Moisturize WELL

After all of that… you gotta remember to moisturize your skin well! I love using an oil free moisturizer… just something simple as you don’t want to be clogging up all those pores again! My favourite has been the Neuotragena Visibly Clear Oil Free Moisturizer…. it sinks into my skin quickly and leaves it feeling soft and moisturized, but not greasy at all. It’s a fab one if you have combination/oily skin! And another good point about it guys, it’s dead cheap :).

 

Woo! Check you out with those clear pores & that beautiful skin! This whole process took me around 45 minutes so it’s definitely one to keep for those pamper evenings. I also only do this once a week because it’s a pretty intense, deep cleanse you give your skin. It definitely works amazingly though … so you have got to try it!

Ah.. it felt good to just babble on about beauty after so long .. remind me to do these more often guys. Do you have anything you do to reduce your pores? Any fave products? Make sure to let me know.. I’m always on the hunt for new skincare things to try (products strictly for oily/combination skin though, Ta).

Let me know your feedback once you’ve tried this… I’d love to know if it worked for you!

Lots of love,

Saira

Xxx

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

What Blogging Has Taught Me♥

Hiya lovelies!!♥

HOW ARE YOU ALL ON THIS LOVELY SUNDAY MORNING! I say lovely.. the sun is out.. BUT THERE IS ICE EVERYWHERE! We are in April.. this should not be happening, ha! ANYWAY…. aside from my update on the weather.. I hope you have had an absolutely amazing week… what have you been up to? I had my first full week at work in what seems like ages.. and surprisingly it passed very quick (woop!).

So… I was having a little think of what I could blog about.. and it dawned on me that I have been blogging for around 7 months.. and I have learnt quite a fair amount (if I do say so myself, hehe) about the blogging world.. and thought it would be fun to share all of these! Now darlings.. bear in mind this is a light-hearted post (as is everything on my blog)… so grab a cuppa, and be prepared to find out what I have learnt from blogging!

Diaries/Notepads will become your most favourite/used thing EVER♥

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Because they make amazing blog props, they are your LIFE when it comes to planning posts/jotting down ideas… etc. ALSO.. there is nothing more satisfying than writing (with coloured pens) in your notebook, and ticking off things. BEST FEELING EVER.. I feel SO liberated when I can tick off a post I have just put up! WOO!

The hours between 6-9pm are dedicated to Twitter chats♥

Now of course.. I am sure not ALL bloggers take part in Twitter chats.. but I try to take part in AT LEAST ONE a day. They are honestly one of the BEST ways to catch up with fellow bloggers and just ramble on about different topics! So… for at least an hour a day.. I am glued to my phone.. typing away… just make sure you have it on silent because your notifications WILL GO CRAZY.. and all you will hear from people around you is “TURN THAT BLOODY PHONE OFF”. Ha.

Flat lays give you the worst back ache EVER♥

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BUT THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL. I am a massive lover of a good old flat lay… I have recently tried REALLY hard to make my photos look as GOOD as I can.. and in the few months I have been doing this.. I heave learnt the pain that comes with getting that perfect image. Picture this guys… me in my PJ’s.. no makeup on.. hair an absolute mess.. standing on my wooden dining chair in front of the massive mirror (I do get a few stares by the way ha)… snapping away! Now.. I like to take all my photos on one day (today is actually my photo taking day).. so obviously all this bending down gives you SUCH a back ache hehe! Oh.. the things we do for a good blog photo (sigh).

Weekends/Evenings become blog orientated♥

Now the good thing for so many of us bloggers is that blogging is our little escape from the craziness/business of our daily lives.. so I LOVE to spend a few hours every weekend/evening especially for blogging. So much of my life revolves around blogging (haha.. COME ON.. fellow bloggers I KNOW you are with me on this).. almost every single beauty/fashion item HAS to featured on my blog. When I discover something AMAZING, spot a good deal or use something that bloggers have been RAVING about.. IT HAS TO BE SHARED WITH YOU ALL. That is just the way it is when you become part of the blogging world.

SO much more happens behind the photo♥

This is what you see:

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This is what I see

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Say hello to Cookie!

There is ALWAYS someone to talk to♥

I have learnt that whatever time it is… if I need an opinion on a product, some fashion tips, a recommendation OR just someone to have a giggle with… I just tweet. YOU GUYS NEVER LET ME DOWN. I am completely obsessed with Twitter, and the majority of bloggers are too.. so a CRAZY amount of time is spent on our phones!! This also means that there is always SOMEONE up to talk to.. yay!

The blogging community is SO supportive!♥

Now… I was welcomed into the blogging world SO WELL by everyone… it is honestly such an amazing community to be part of. Bloggers are always willing to help you out… and because we have SO much in common with each other.. it is SO easy to get along with everyone! I recently started a YT channel.. and the support I have had from bloggers has been absolutely INSANE!!

You can never have enough fake flowers/props♥

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Any cute, flowery, funky looking prop is essential… and I have got a right lovely little collection going on at the moment. I have learnt that no photo is complete without some sort of prop.. whether that is fake flowers, confetti, cute little bunnies… yep I have a little box of blog props going on! My aim for the next few weeks is to DIY a few shoe boxes to create a cute box!! Would you guys like a post on this?

Blogger Emails/Mail is the most exciting thing EVER♥

Enough said. I cannot even tell you the excitement you get when a company you love emails you/responds to you. AND DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED WHEN YOU RECEIVE BLOGGER MAIL! (I love this phrase by the way hehe).

Blogging is the best decision I ever made♥

Hands down. BEST DECISION EVER. I enjoy it so much.. I have “met” so many lovely people.. worked with some of my most FAVE brands.. and love coming home after a hard day at work and just settling down with my blog. My favourite things to do is think up different blog ideas, catching up on other blogs and spend time typing away!

So lovelies.. these are just a few things that spring to mind when I think about how my life has changed since blogging. I honestly cannot believe it has been almost 7 months since I started my blog… it really has been the best decision I have ever made! It even gave me the confidence to start a YT channel.. something that I have wanted to do for the longest time! It is SO weird to think that at one point these things meant NOTHING to me haha! 

ANYWAYS LOVES.. I hope you enjoyed reading this post.. make sure to let me know what things YOU have learnt since blogging. Have you been blogging for months, or years? SO… Lets see what the next 7 months brings us ey?!

Have a lovely Sunday darlings.. and make sure to check out my new YouTube video (that went live yesterday!).. I also cannot even believe the response that has had.. I had over 100 subscribers in less than 2 weeks! Eeeeeek!! That is thanks to all the support you amazing bunch give me.. I really do love you all *gives you all the biggest hug ever*.

Thank you SO much for reading lovelies.. Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already! I will see you all in my next one!

Lots of Love,

Saira

xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin // YouTube ♥♥