Capturing the bump…

I never planned to do a ‘bump shoot’, thinking I would have lots of selfie style bump shots to suffice and Pete would have taken plenty too. Whilst the former is true, the latter hasn’t been – we have been far to busy in the house to be anywhere worthy of dressing up and taking photos of late. Maybe it’s also the looming end to my pregnancy that has made me cherish it more, I will certainly miss this bump and shifting baby inside, but I hope the reality in my arms will be infinitely better. 🙂

I had planned to have a newborn shoot, when baby is fresh and still scrunched up and small, to capture that newborn bubble the three of us will hopefully be in (read: chaotic, sleep derived blur,) and so at the last minute last week I decided to ask our good friends Laura and Peter Lawson to do a bump shoot too. They made us feel so at ease in front of the camera and I knew they would ‘get’ how blessed out together we both are just now, as they had their little boy Albert only 7 months ago.

I’m so glad we did it now and Pete loves the results too. This was too special a time in our lives not to make some memories to treasure and now I just have to pick some for the wall!





Have a great weekend readers, see you next week!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Snapshots: The Little Things

Sometimes all you need in life is a reminder to take joy in the little things around you. Last week I had a week off and completely unplugged for the majority of it. I felt so much more inspired to write when it wasn’t a last minute chore and spent long car journeys doing one of my favourite things… just thinking.

I thought I’d share the last slices of summer with you this morning before the frenzy of Autumn begins…

Throwing on a beaded dress for a wedding that was just made for dancing…

A new ‘Find’ for my mantle [Find similar here]

Channeling the magic of Stonehenge…

Beach combing…

Remembering that I’m happiest by the sea…

What little things have you been enjoying lately?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

*All shots taken on the Fuji x100

Photography for Bloggers: The Fuji x100 Part 1

This afternoon I thought it might be fun to share a journey with you all that I’m taking right now. I’m working on Florence Finds, Dream. Find. Do. and my day job, but I’ve also decided that I need to get better with my camera. Since this article, I’ve been making so much more effort to take my Canon 40D out. One of the great (intentionally great) things about Florence Finds is that it really forces me to do things that I don’t normally make time for. I have had to practice my photography and editing skills to make my posts look their best. Add to that the best part of 2 years that I spent editing down the selections of wedding photos that I had to put together for real wedding posts, and I like to think I’ve developed an eye for decent photography. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I’m any great shakes myself, but knowing what you want to achieve and recognising when you have achieved it are just as important, right?!

One of the things I have also wanted to do is find a new camera and that is a tall order when you start out with a camera like the 40D. I’ve seen wedding photographers start out with the same camera body that I use and I don’t even scratch the surface of it’s capabilities, so although it frustrates me with my own lack of knowledge, I’d be equally frustrated to lose the functionality it has. My biggest bug bear is that it’s waaaaay too big to be handy for a blogger. I need my camera on me nearly all the time, particularly as literally any aspect of my life can become blog-able. Often when I least expect it. So I wanted something as good but smaller. After all, although the ‘blog camera’ my camera is also really our family camera too, and I wanted something Pete was equally comfortable with. I fell in love when I met Laura and Pete Lawson and saw their new baby – the Fuji Finepix x100, so I was thrilled when Talk PR agreed to loan me one to review for Florence Finds. All the photos in this series are going to document my discoveries with this camera.

For comparison, the Canon 40D has now been replaced with the 60D which retails at almost £1000 with kit lens or you can pick up a second hand body and kit lens like mine for around £400, wheras the x100 is £645 on Amazon.

Todays shots are literally, fresh out of the box. It felt like such a luxury to take the camera last weekend and sat on the front step of my house while Pete was washing the car and start taking a few pictures whilst reading the manual. These notes are just how I have found the camera and things I learned a long the way, and this weeks certainly hold no revelations, but I hope I’ll have a few tips that I pick up along the way that might be useful to some of you reading. Please also note, this is written strictly from the perspective of a blogger and the way I use a camera for that purpose. I’m no pro!

Objective 1: Detail shots
My first concern was the focus as I wanted to see just how specific I could be about the point of focus, probably because my usual camera seems to have a bit of a problem with that right now. I often take shots of things very close up, like nails, jewellery and food so wanted to test that out.

One of the things that comes across most in the x100 reviews is that although a great camera, it’s not the easiest to use. I spent a considerable time on my front step trying to get it set up so I could just focus on anything, never mind something close up. Shot after shot came out blurry and that’s when I turned to the manual and hit reset, so I could start with fresh settings. Once I fathomed them, I was pretty pleased with the results!


As a blogger, all of the photos that I take are important, and honestly, I’m guilty sometimes of getting frustrated and settling for images I’m not that happy with, but the ones I’m most critical of are the shots taken for my What to Wear Posts. My husband Pete usually takes these shots but I set the camera up by practicing on him in the same spot first (so the light is the same,) and then direct him to take the shots of the items I want to highlight in the post. However natural these shots look on any fashion bloggers site – they’re nothing but!

The point of the shot above was to share the new earrings I had found and even in Petes’ hands the camera did a great job! Good fashion shots are the difference I feel between ending up with a cringe-fest or a professional looking blog post, so this is a big must-do for me. The easier it makes things for Pete the happier I am – heated discussions about what is the correct setting, do not for happy outfit shots make!

I should also add that although taken in good natural light, the images here are all straight out of the camera, no editing and the colours are perfectly true to life.

Next week, I’m going to start looking at changing the depth of field manually and playing with exposure… wish me luck!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I’d love to hear if any of you have any great tips for improving photography skills, perhaps books you have read, or courses?

~ With thanks to Talk PR for arranging my Press review of the Fujifilm FinePix X100

Real Rooms: Bex’s Study ‘refresh’

This afternoon it’s an office make-over for a newly married couple, which cleverly combines the colour of the moment grey, with holiday ‘finds’ and subtle splashes of orange. I love how it has all come together and I’m looking forward to hearing what you all think of it!

Take it away Bex!

This room was a bit of a dumping ground for a long time since moving in here three years ago, even more so with all of the ‘wedding stuff’ we had to store (boxed vases being the bulkiest items). We never really used this room to its full potential, especially given its good size. It had always had a daybed for extra guests, (useful when both sets of parents came to stay) and a desk for Nik’s computer, bookcases for all his textbooks and notes while he was still a student and a wardrobe which contained overflow from my own, oops, and some fancy dress items! The room was then added to with coats, wellies, boxes of things waiting to be sorted, a very underused exercise bike (aren’t they all!) and all the other bits and bobs we unceremoniously shoved in there whenever we had to tidy up the rest of the flat if guests were coming. It also housed my collection of framed prints that I used to sell at craft & design fairs around Scotland but have recently had little time for. (These have been re-homed for sale in a local cafe.)

All of the above resulted in this ‘before’ monstrosity…


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

Surprisingly, the plan to tackle this room was something I decided on honeymoon, where I was inspired to re-decorate using some of our African souvenirs as a starting point. This spurred me on through the boring sorting and organising of all that stuff as I started to think of how we could make the room useful and look nice, somewhere we would actually like spending time. It actually became the perfect project to keep me busy after all the wedding frenzy of the months before!

We had a few items from our honeymoon which gave me the basis of what kind of style we wanted, including framing some of my own pictures taken on safari, so I started a Pinterest board for ideas and colour schemes (which inspired the grey walls/white furniture plan). We decided we wanted a modern room with white furniture to match the existing Hemnes Daybed and to set if all off against grey walls. We didn’t want to go too dark on the walls as the window is tucked into a corner and we didn’t want it to end up ‘dingy’. Moving the mirrored wardrobe helped to reflect some of the light back into the room rather than being wasted in the corner. We decided on a Valspar colour, Windswept, from B&Q. Since the room has been finished, I have also made a Pinterest board detailing some of the items in it and where they were from if you like the look of anything.

So here is the ‘after’ with our stripped back room…


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

I tried not to go for green accents again, as in most of our other rooms, so we decided to mix it up a bit more and we had a multi-coloured painting from the Masai market in Nairobi. We also purchased a Masai beaded necklace so I thought I would incorporate more orange into the room with some sunset pictures.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

Luckily the orange colour worked well as most of the African safari pictures had an orange tint to them anyway. I really liked the thought of having them all black and white but decided to make it a bit different by leaving three of them in colour.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

The frames were Neilson frames from Hobbycraft and were £17.99 each so it was pretty pricey all together but I’m really pleased with the overall result! Mounting and printing them ourselves saved money so it was approx £174 in total. I love the fact they look good but also remind us of our amazing time on safari on honeymoon.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

The cushions were from M&S, The White Company (15% off thanks to FF!) and Slumber Slumber. Nik sold most of his old books and recycled his notes so we could downsize in the bookcase department. We replaced 3 bookcases just one from Ikea and filled the bottom shelves with cupboards to try to make it look less square and boxy, and to hide some of the uglier books. I took the old lime green file boxes my Mum had donated when she moved and painted them grey with left over wall paint.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

The unusual string balls were bought by the side of the road in Nairobi and were the main inspiration for re-doing the room. Nik’s conditions when agreeing to buy three was that we had to know where we would put them and I convinced him on my ‘African honeymoon study’ idea. They’re supposed to be light-shades but I just removed the metal hangings from inside as I liked the way they were hung from the trees in bunches like this in Kenya.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

I finally got round to framing our degrees and diplomas to keep them safe and out of the way. We didn’t want them to be too ‘in your face’ so we hung them high up along the ceiling. In retrospect I wish we had stuck the map a little lower but it’s difficult to judge when one of you is holding up a huge sheet of plastic to the wall.

The amazing map of the world wall sticker is also from notonthehighstreet.com and came with coloured dots to mark the places we’ve been. We now want to try and go to more places in the middle of the big black areas to make the dots more obvious and spread out – probably not the usual way to choose places to travel to but it could be fun! We’ve mostly stuck to the coast before due to our love of scuba diving but would love to try travelling in more different places in the future.

I hope you’ll agree it was quite a transformation! We now spend so much more time in there, I particularly love my new snug corner on the daybed where I can curl up under my knitted throw with a good book while Nik’s working on his computer.

I have been dying to share this with the Florence Findettes because I need a little help. We have decided to keep and display our large apothecary jars we used at our wedding but have no idea what, if anything, to put in them. Please help!

Great job Bex – I particularly love how you have managed to make all this things I always want to buy on holiday that then look out of place in cold grey england work so well together, particularly the safari photos and cohesive splashes of orange. The map is a great way to nod to the travel theme in a chic way and I love your certificates placed so high like that – genius idea!

Do leave Bex a comment if there’s something you like or if you want to ask her anything, I’m sure she’ll be around to help you out!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS You can find Bex at her blog The Olive Dragonfly and on twitter @OliveDragonfly. You can also see more of Bex’s stunning photography on her photography website: Bex Photo.

Found: Picfx

Now, you know I like a gadget here at Florence Finds. Not only do I love my iPhone (which Victoria kindly reviewed when the 4S was released,) but I’m addicted to Instagram. You guys see my monthly round ups courtesy of my almost daily Instagram snaps and now I’ve found something that makes your Instagram pics even prettier. Or just your random snapshots for that matter. It’s the best iPhone App I’ve found in ages and it’s called Picfx.

Just like Instagram, or Hipstamatic for that matter, it lets you digitally adjust your images with filters, effects and frames for a vintage, artistic, or just outrageously pretty look. I’ve used the same image of my bedside table throughout this post so you can see the difference and each one is labelled with the name of the effect I used on it.


Red Grunge and Space, Nebula

I’m totally obsessed with the prettiness of some of the amazing shots you can take, and I am soooo excited about using it to capture my holiday snaps and share with you all. It fully integrates (with no faffing around,) with Instagram, twitter, your email and other social networks.


Classics, Sheen and Valentine

This one’s my personal favourite… Bokeh 🙂


Light effect – Bokeh 4

So, do you like it readers? You can get Picfx from the app store. I splashed out, it’s £1.49 but I defy you not to love it!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS, if you’re not already, follow me on Instagram under Rebecca_Norris or on Twitter @florencefinds and @_RebeccaNorris

A [Bloggers] Guide to Camera Conundrums, by Laura Lawson

Recently I have been getting more and more frustrated. Like a lot of bloggers I suspect, I have a huge interest in photography. I also have a little knowledge, having been taught by my Dad how to use his fancy Canon SLR before I even hit my teens. A combination of the passage of time and little time to practice means that put my beautiful Canon 40D into my mitts and I cannot get it to behave.

Not only do I want my photography to get better but I want great images for the blog, and as it’s me who produces those images, in the main, I need to get learning fast. However, the ‘T’ word gets in the way again… time. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’m not exactly swimming in the stuff. Things have gotten so bad recently that I have even thought of selling my camera and over the weekend I abandoned it all together in favour of our old Canon Coolpix then was hugely disappointed at it’s lack of function while we were in London. (Don’t even get me started on the fact that I can’t seem to get the images off the darn thing right now.) One of my biggest issues is that I need my camera to be be a little bit more compact and portable than the huge DSLR that is the D40. I always need it in my bag, literally everywhere and so when Laura Lawson offered to write a bit about cameras and how to use them, I knew my blogging readers and perhaps those of you interested in photography would love to hear her tips. It doesn’t hurt that she’s not only a brilliant photographer but a funny girl, and if you’re coming to the Florence Finds Afternoon Tea in Manchester you can meet her (and her equally talented husband Pete) too!

Thanks Laura – you’re a star. 🙂

WHAT THE HECK IS ISO AND WHY ARE ALL MY PICTURES WHITE?
– A guide to camera conundrums by Laura Lawson.

I have a DSLR and I’m scared to take it off Auto!

Your camera is simply a tool. It doesn’t have a life of its own, it just does what you tell it to do, and once you figure out a few simple things you will feel completely in control. There is nothing more freeing than flicking that little switch off Auto and onto Manual!


Image courtesy of Lawson Photography

Firstly, all cameras are different and it’s important to actually read the instruction booklet! You’ll come up against some stuff you won’t understand – google it. There’s nothing difficult about knowing what settings to use.

The three main things:

ISO – This is how sensitive to light your camera is. A lower setting is like sunscreen – protecting those precious pixels from ‘burning out’. When a pixel ‘burns out’ you get a white image (don’t worry – it’s not permanent!). If you’re outside and it’s sunny then go for a low number like ISO100 or 200. If you’re inside you might need to choose one of the higher ISOs that your camera allows like ISO1600. The higher your ISO the more grainy the picture will be (which is why you always get a bit of grain when it’s dark).

Shutter Speed – This is how long the sensor in your camera is exposed to light. If a shutter is open too long the picture will be too bright, and if it’s not open for long enough it will be too dark. If your picture is too blurry you’re probably using too slow a shutter speed.


Image courtesy of Lawson Photography

Aperture (or ‘f stop’) – This is the size of the opening in the lens, which controls how much light is coming in. A large aperture like f1.8 lets in lots of light, whereas a small aperture like f16 lets in very little light. It can seem confusing because a LARGE aperture is a SMALL number – but basically the lower the number, the better your camera will deal with low light (and as an added bonus, the more awesome and blurry your backgrounds will be!).

When you put your camera on Auto you are giving away the chance to get brilliant pictures. Your camera doesn’t know what you want a picture to look like! A good stepping stone to setting everything yourself on Manual is using Aperture Priority (or AV mode). This basically means you decide what aperture you would like, and what ISO you would like, and your camera will guess the shutter speed itself.


Image courtesy of Lawson Photography

Laura, can’t you just tell me a couple of settings which will probably work?!

  • Inside, with some windows so it’s not exactly dark: Put it on AV mode. ISO1600, f1.8 (or the lowest number your lens will allow).
  • Outside: ISO100 (or 200 if it’s cloudy), f1.8 (or the lowest number your lens will allow)

If your picture is kinda blurry it means the shutter speed your camera chose was a bit too low, put your ISO up a bit.

WHAT LENS SHOULD I BUY?

The lens you use is so important, and getting your hands on a good one can take your photos to the next level. Personally I am a massive fan of prime lenses as opposed to zoom lenses. A prime lens is a fixed distance, so you have to get used to moving your feet rather than standing still and zooming in and out! The benefit of a prime lens is that they have large apertures, and your images will have shallow depth of field. As professional photographers, we go for the top of the line £1000 lenses, but there are actually some great bargains out there which will make a big difference to your pictures and aren’t crazy expensive!

A 50mm lens is a great start and these f1.8 beauties are a bargain at around £100!

I JUST WANT A CAMERA I CAN CARRY AROUND WHICH TAKES NICE PICTURES!
The biggest thing to keep your eye out for is a camera with a big sensor; an increased sensor size gives you better performance in low light, more depth of field (pretty fuzzy backgrounds!) and generally better image quality. The great thing is there are lots of great cameras out there that fit this ‘handbag friendly and much better than your iphone’ category.


Image courtesy of Lawson Photography

£700 BUDGET

£450 BUDGET


Image courtesy of Lawson Photography

Pro Tips…

Ok so you’ve got the camera and you’ve had a play with the settings. Here are some general tips for pretty picture taking:

1. Position yourself so the sun (or main light source) is BEHIND the person/thing you’re shooting. Although it may seem natural to have the sun shining on your subject, this kind of light is actually really harsh and nasty – it will give you bags under the eyes and no one wants that! By back lighting your subject you get a lovely flattering rim light and creamy skin. Even better – if you can choose a spot where a bit of light is bouncing back onto them (i.e. the sun is behind the person and a white wall is behind you – they’ll be lit by the light bouncing of the wall). You’ll have to shoot on Manual mode and have a play with your settings so your subject is exposed correctly and doesn’t appear too dark (slow your shutter speed down a bit if they’re too dark and speed it up if it’s all a bit bright!)


Image courtesy of Lawson Photography

2. When shooting products try to choose a background with complimentary colours. A popular look in magazine product shots is using a shallow depth of field; to emulate this get as close to the item as your camera will allow and use the biggest aperture you can like f1.8. Textures look great when they’re fuzzy in the background, so have a play using floorboards, patterned sheets, old doors etc.

3. Organise your pictures so you can find them easily! We organise our folders by date, so for example: ‘2012_03_09 Tea Party’.

4. Print the pictures you love. There really is nothing like flicking through an album, it beats scrolling through images on your computer any day! I love Blurb books for personal stuff, they’re a total bargain.

Happy snapping!

I’d love to hear if you are a camera enthusiast and have any tips on the right (compact-ish) camera or like me are learning the ropes and frustrated with set backs… Laura will be reading and available to answer any questions you have for her, and Pro togs, feel free to pitch in too! 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...