There is no city that embodies elegant sophistication more than Paris. My sister and I found ourselves in the City of Lights for a four day trip there last week, and it ended up being the perfect mix of work and play.One of our most sought out explorations was an evening to enjoy the sunset at the Louvre. It was a picture perfect setting. And of course, with being in France comes a particular nod towards a Parisian state-of-mind when it came to how we dressed. This wasn’t too hard to do actually. Simplicity is key, as any Parisian would say. I packed only my my timeless of pieces and relied on accessories and other details to liven them up. It was a hot week in Paris, so minimalism wasn’t such a bad idea at all. And keeping time while also keeping chic . . . that’s not a bad idea at all, as well.
I sported my new Ralph Lauren RL888 leather strapped watch, inspired by the brand’s 888 Madison Avenue store in NYC. I love the round stainless steel case and the fact that I can interchange the straps with an array of colors in alligator, calf leather, stain or grosgrain. In this case, I chose a purposeful navy blue. The RL888 Collection (of course Swiss-made) is modern and classically elegant at the same time, like how every woman seems to strive to be nowadays. Paris and NYC are two cities that embody that mindset. And it’d good to know that I no longer have to be late for things anymore.
“Don’t ever say you are an ordinary person having no attractive personality. Remember that Poetries is written in black, and still it possesses the power to fill our hearts with its millions of color.” – found quote
Summer, I have found, brings to life the ordinary. A weekend of secluded swimming holes, hikes with no end in sight, wine on the hammock, crossing streams in flip flops, vegan pasta in Woodstock, the sound of waterfalls from our right side or maybe our left (it’s hard to tell), listening to Britney Spears in the car, deer running alongside us wondering what we are, heavy sleeps in our simple little cabin, banana pancakes, mosquito bites on our faces that swell up ten times. It all felt extraordinary.
Actually, I wouldn’t consider this a tip list, but more of a general look at how I taught myself the ins and outs of taking a good picture. One thing to keep in mind, is that I don’t stick to one sort of style, or focus . . . I love all types of photography. Fashion being my first love, then travel and now more lifestyle, as well. I like to challenge myself, and by jumping between these different focuses, I am always met with a challenge. And I am always down to have a new reason to experiment. That’s what makes things exciting.
I never took a single photography class. Everything I learned about photography was simply by experimentation, and of course the good old Internet. My very first camera, an old Canon 10D that my dad found at a yard sale. And a zoom lens to go along with it. That’s when the blog finally said goodbye to the cheap point and shoot camera and hello to its first upgrade. Although, now looking back, it’s quite funny to think we shot a bunch of our outfits with a big old zoom lens. But that’s how I first learned about depth of field, and I just kept learning more and more from that moment on. Some basic online guidelines on shooting in manual mode really helped me out. The first things I had to wrap my brain around was understanding what ISO, shutter speed and f-stop were, and how they all affected one another. Once I figured out how they work together, I experimented with different combinations of them to see what I sort of image I would get.
ISO – number that reflects the camera’s sensitivity to light. The lower the number, the less sensitive it is to the light, while a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera.
Shutter speed – the time for which the lens’ shutter is open at a given setting. The smaller the shutter speed, a lower amount of light is let into the lens. A larger shutter speed allows more light to come in.
F-stop (f/number) – this is an indicator of the size of the diaphragm opening, or aperture, in a camera. Aperture either adds a dimension to a photograph by making the background behind your main subject blurry (high depth of field), or it brings everything in the frame totally in focus (low depth of field). You can control this. The lower the f-stop number, the higher the depth of field, and the higher the f-stop number, the lower the depth of field. Of course, the exact amount of depth of field you will get depends on ISO and shutter speed.
It took a lot of practice for my brain and eye to recognize what was the best combination for certain types of shooting situations (morning light, evening light, indoors, etc). It can never be perfect but it can be close to perfect, and you know what . . . sometimes it shouldn’t be perfect at all. It’s more about the mood and vibe, as opposed to the technicality. But once you get both down pat, you are on the right path.
Pick up a camera that has both an automatic and manual shooting settings, that way you can experiment with both. Beginners usually shoot automatic, but make sure to pay attention to what the camera automatically sets itself to for ISO, f-stop and shutter speed. Check the camera manual to see where you can see these numbers on the camera. This will help you went you begin to play around with shooting manually because you will take all of these factors into account. You control the setting completely this way! After the Canon 10D, my sister and I shared a Canon 6D, and now I have my wonderful Canon 5D that has been treating me well ever since I got it.
Editing is still something I’m always learning new things about. Because the turnaround for most of my projects and postings are quite quick, I am always looking for an efficient way to edit that still gives high quality results. Sometimes I like to use shortcuts, and I am a huge fan of preset filters that I can do little tweaks to to get my image looking exactly how I imaged it to be as soon as I look through the lens. But I always make sure to try to capture my images in a way that don’t need heavy editing, maybe just a little extra boost of something to make the colors more vivid or more moody, depending on the vibe I’m going for. In the same way that I learned how to use my camera, I learned how to use the editing software Lightroom by trial and error, over and over again. And I’m a huge fan of the filters created by VSCO that can be purchased from their site. They have tons of amazing ones, you just need to find the right package of them that suits your style the most. There’s a free starter pack you can try to experiment with and get a feel of the program. It really is super simple. And I just google anything I need help with.
Play around with different lenses to get a feel for one you really like to shoot with, and feel comfortable shooting with. I really love the 50mm fixed lens. It’s super versatile, light and gives a really great depth of field. I use this lens for most of my fashion shoots and pictures for the blog. It’s also great for environment shots when I’m traveling. I think I’m ready to experiment with a new lens, as well, so I will take any recommendations!
One thing to always remember, is that the main goal shouldn’t always be to take a perfect picture. Think more about the mood, a vibe, the environment, the colors, and how all these things can come together in the picture. Maybe the focus didn’t come out perfect, maybe your subject moved and was a little blurry, maybe the exposure was too low . . . there are so many little things that can keep a picture from being perfect. But you know what? That is the beauty of it all. This is a main reason why I’ve really been enjoying playing around with different kinds of cameras that sometimes may never give me the desired result, but will always ensure something cool that is more a reflection of the moment. Lomography cameras, Instax cameras, and disposable cameras always come with me during my travels. You never know what you might capture with these . . . you just have to shoot and see what happens! It most likely will be unexpected, but you might really like what you create in the end.
I think next, I’ll do a little tutorial on how I edit my pictures in Lightroom, since I’ve been getting a few emails about that. What do you guys think?
This is a new spot our friend Kiara was very keen to bring us to since it was new and she has hear many good things since its opening. Plus, it’s decorated with flowers. Isn’t that just a brunch lover’s Instagram dream? lol. I had the Rolled Oat & Chia Bircher Muesli. One of the best tasting oatmeals that I have ever had. And so healthy, too. Look at me. It takes a lot to get me to eat oatmeal in the morning. This place is certainly changing the standards in the breakfast game. Stop by for a healthy snack or a sandwich, or an incredibly good and incredibly strong cup of joe. Anyway you like it! Vancouver, you are literally the bee’s knees when it comes to being all cute and hipster and shit. Love you.