Workshop: Take Better Instagram Photos, with Jess Macdonald & Cath Kidston!

On Sunday, I headed to the 180 Piccadilly Flagship Cath Kidston store with AlexSarah. You’d probably expect me to go on and say how we were doing some casual window shopping, right? Wrong! We were there to learn how to take better Instagram photos at a special workshop. May saw three new free workshops (in collaboration with Indytute) pop up at the 180 Piccadilly store: ‘Vintage plate upcycling’, ‘My Cool Shed: how to make small spaces beautiful, with Jane Field’ and ‘Master Instagram in an instant, with Jess Macdonald’. I am a self-confessed Instagram addict! I was incredibly eager to take part and learn some new skills, so it only made sense that we were the first ones to arrive at the workshop!
Jess is a key player on Instagram, with over 32K followers on her @missundergound account. 
She also co-founded Instagrammers London and IGers UK – this lady knows her stuff! I eagerly took notes on my phone during the workshop and threw my hand up every time Jess asked a question – yes, I am THAT person! I’m sure my enthusiasm was charming…at least that’s what I like to tell myself. Anyway, I was taking notes to share them with all of you on here, so no judging, ok? Read below to find out Jess’s tips on how to take better Instagram photos and gain more followers, and to also see my ‘challenge photos’ from the workshop.

How to Take Better Instagram Photos 

No Instagram Filters! That probably sounds a bit insane when you’re talking about Instagram, but it’s true. The Instagram filters can flatten your images and take away the colour and impact from the original photo. Instead you should…
Use Apps! Jess recommended Vsco (my personal favourite) & Snapseed as two of the best. She also said that you should feel free to use the filters on Vsco because they are made to enhance your photo. Just make sure that you don’t go filter crazy, and try to always use one or two of the same filters.
The 3 Ss: Sunsets, Silhouettes & Symmetry: They can make your photos pop and look amazing! 
The Rule of Thirds: This is a simple photography tip that most people may already know. It’s my go-to rule! It’s a bit much to write in note form though, so read all about it here
Borders: Either use ’em, or lose ’em! Yep, either stick with the Instagram square, or only use borders (of the same size). I have been guilty of mixing both, but will avoid that from now on.
Selfies: It can be a bit awkward trying to take your own photo, which means that you don’t always get a great image. Instead ask someone else to take your photo. 
Take someone else’s photo: If you see someone interesting or someone with amazing style, ask them if you can take their photo. Don’t be scared! Just make sure you get their permission!
Hastags: Use them, but keep them relevant e.g. No #London if your photo wasn’t taken in London. Also remember not to use generic terms such as #nice #pretty etc.
Invest in a portable battery: So you won’t have to worry about running out of battery whilst you’re being the pro-photographer that you are!
Make relationships and reply to your comments: It’s all well and good liking someone’s photos but you won’t make relationships with users based on just that. If you like a photo or have something to say about it, leave a comment and let them know. At the same time, if someone comments on your photos, reply or say thank you. 
Jess’s Recommended Instagram Users

Jess recommended 3 inspirational Instagram users:
After Jess had given us some tips and tricks, we were asked to take part in a special photo challenge. We were told to take one Lifestyle photo (think table top, birds eye view), a photo of the Cath Kidston window, and a Selfie/Portrait.
My entries for each challenge category.
So what do you think? Did I do the themes justice? I was very happy with them. I had so much fun messing around and taking photos with Alex, Sarah, Jaz and Rubo. We played with beach balls, hopped inside the displays and basically treated the store like a big playground. All with the consent of the lovely Cath Kidston staff, of course! A big thank you to Jaz for hosting the event, and Jess for her insight, and for inspiring me to take my photography to the next level!
You can find me on Instagram: @bloomzy

5 Lifestyle Instagrams You Should Be Following

Yes, the ‘Instagram 5 Series‘ series is back, and better than ever! I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite Instagram accounts where you can find some lovely lifestyle inspiration.

Who? @parkncube
Why? I thought I’d start off with a well known little lady by the name of Shini Park – author of the blog Park & Cube. Luckily for us she also posts daily photos on Instagram, and if you’re like me, then her photos are probably why you fell in love with her blog in the first place. She documents her travels, and general day-to-day life in the form of some beautifully composed photos that could easily have come out of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar.

Why? I only recently started following Hannah on Instagram, but it was love at first sight when I saw her photos. They’re clean, crisp and beyond classy, which is probably down to her design/textile background. I don’t think there is one photo of hers that has popped up on my timeline that I haven’t liked. It also helps that she’s a very sweet lady.

Why? Michiko Yamawaki is a Japanese stylist who I recently came upon as she styled a shoot for a Japanese model I also follow. I loved her photos as she made normal everyday things (like putting your shoes on, yes you did hear me correctly) look good. Her images are colourful and enticing yet still simplistic. 


Why? I love Yishyene, she’s such a bubbly and fun little lady. Her instagram is basically everything inside her colourful head (no hair colour pun intended) spewed out in the form of a photo. Sometimes simple and monochrome can be nice, but I also love an injection of colour, and that’s exactly what her photos bring.

Why? Van Anh is a fellow blogger with a love for food…need I say more? Ok you got me, it’s not the only reason I love her Instagram. This lovely lady knows how to use a camera and it comes across in her photos because each one looks as though she has put so much thought into the composition of it. I may enjoy her food photos but I love seeing anything she posts.
I often post lifestyle photos of my own, and you can follow me @bloomzy
Source: Please see individual Instagram accounts listed above.

Photo Diary: Birthday Celebrations

As some of you may have noticed it was my birthday this week.
I know people say that your birthday gets less exciting the older you get, but I dislike that saying.
So I always end up using my birthday as an excuse to fill the whole week with things I love to do.
This week I went out to several different restaurants for meals, with the fiancé, and my friends.
The fiancé and I went for an amazing French dinner at La Sacre Coeur in Angel, Islington.
The food was traditionally French and very authentic, as well as being incredibly delicious.
My birthday is also the date of our anniversary (which makes it a lot easier to remember).
The next day I visited the Saatchi Gallery with Hanni, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages.
We had a lovely lunch on Kings road, which involved pasta and cake…although not altogether.
The following day a bunch of us went for food at Far Rockaway and then for drinks at The Book Club.
I received some amazing birthday presents of course, from some wonderful people, which I’m so grateful for.
Yes that is one of the new Tatty Devine horse brooches, a dino-sir card and a brand new iPhone 5S.
I’ve been uploading photos of them every now and again, because I’m just so giddy over everything.
Going out also means an excuse to dress up, so I’ve been uploading my outfits over the last few days too.
You can follow me on Instagram: @bloomzy

5 Nail Art Instagrams You Should Be Following

Do you remember the ‘Instagram 5 Series‘ I started last year. Well it’s back and I thought we’d start with one of my favourite topics – nail art. I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite Instagram accounts where you can find amazing nail art inspiration.
Who? @nancy_mc
Why? Before we became friends and worked together I loved Nancy’s nail art. I followed her on Tumblr & Instagram, so it seemed only fitting that she should be part of this line up. She is an amazing nail artist who is always coming up with fun, cute and sassy designs – they’re honestly some of the best I’ve seen. I think she has a real signature design to her work too. You know when you spot some Nancy Mc nails!
 
Who? @nailyuu
Why? Luna-che is a Japanese nail salon that really stands out to me. In a country where nail art is so good, it takes a lot for a particular salon, or in this case salon’s Instagram to stand out! I think the more personal aspect to this account is why I like it. Not only do you see the designs created for customers, but you see what Luna Che’s nail artist Yuu (et al) is up to – and it’s always something fabulous. It’s nice to have that personality.
 
Who? @glossin
Why? I’ve been lucky enough to have my nails done by Jessica and she is a great nail artist. Her designs are absolutely gorgeous and always on-trend. She has a lot of experience and has now started her own company – it’s great to see her share her designs and creations through her Instagram. I always end up pressing ‘like’ when I see one of her photos pop up on my feed.
 
Why? DIY Nails is a nail art Instagram with a difference. The brand, started by the lovely Tammy, is all about making nail art easier and more accessible for everyone. It features Tammy’s designs and the DIY Nails products, namely their nail transfers (which are now stocked in Urban Outfitters). The account is full of fun designs, customer photos and the gorgeous Betty (Tammy’s French Bulldog).
 
Why? Of course it wouldn’t be fitting not to include The Illustrated Nail in my line up. Fans of nail art and nail artists alike will have seen or heard of The Illustrated Nail somewhere down the line, and if you haven’t, then what have you been doing all this time? I love that she includes mini-tutorials from time to time, so you can diy it. From creating original designs for celebrities, to designs for Dior, this is one nail artists who has earnt her stripes.
I often post photos of my nails, and you can follow me @bloomzy

Source: Please see individual Instagram accounts listed above.

Photo Diary: It’s Christmas Time…

I know I’ve been a bit quiet the last
few weeks, and I do apologise.
The few weeks leading up to Christmas
were pretty hectic for me.
I spent most of my time working, whilst
trying to hold onto a social life.
Still it was Christmas, and everything
feels better at that time of the year.
I went home and spent the holiday with
my family, and managed to see some friends.
So it was spent mainly relaxing, eating
a lot and generally just having a good time.
I’ve now made the trip across to Wales
and will be relaxing until the New Year arrives.
That means I should have more time to
blog thankfully, so you should see more posts soon.
You can follow me on Instagram: @bloomzy

When Nail Art Becomes…Art

Nail art has only become popular in recent years and it’s still evolving. Still, you’re more likely to see polka dots, leopard print or hearts than Pablo Picasso. Nail technicians like Disco Nail & Britney Tokyo are blurring the lines between the two though. There’s one lady in particular who is the perfect example of this trend.

Susi Kenna is an art enthusiast who just so happens to also love nail art. Thankfully she also likes to share the mini works of art with others via Instagram. She has had nail artists adorn her fingers with various well known artists works, such as: Pablo Picasso, Yayoi Kusama, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bridget Riley and many more.

As someone with a false set of nails depicting Frida Kahlo, I love it! I’ve always been an art lover, and so it’s only natural I’d love nail art. At the end of the day it’s all about expressing yourself isn’t it?

Would you wear a mini piece of art on your nails?
 
Source; 1

Photo Diary: Hot Dogs, Street Art, W♥C & Polaroids

Looking at these photos makes me so happy. I’ve been having so much fun lately, and I’m so glad to share it on here. I went home to Norwich for a couple of days to sort some stuff out and see family. Whilst I was there I really started to feel like it really was going to be Christmas soon. I brought out my Nuxe travel set and fell in love with practically every item inside of it. I also brought out an old polish that felt slightly seasonal and got tons of compliments. I’ve been experimenting with layering shirts & sweaters at work, thanks to the recently chilling weather. I also popped along to the launch of the Drop Dead Winter Collection in their Soho store. That meant I got to bring a plus-one so Laura and I finally got to meet up – love her! My friend in Japan sent me some of the new W♥C items that have just come out. It really took me back to my time living in Tokyo and made me miss everyone so much. This weekend I also took a walk around Shoreditch and caught up with Anna over cake and coffee. I’ve really sucked at keeping in touch with friends lately (due to work), so I’m trying to remedy it. Also food. There was lots of food. Always with the food.

You can follow me on Instagram: @bloomzy