Labor Day was a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it wasn't a great "last day of summer" as it was a rainy day with bad storms, so I decided to stay indoors and shoot these photos. Ana Luisa, a jewelry brand, was kind enough to send me these earrings and necklace, so I centered the shoot around these pieces. The heart on the jewelry reminded me of a playing cards, so I decided to incorporate those into the shoot. I also got inspired of a photo of Brigette Bardot in the 1960's playing cards and smoking. The combination of the rain and Lana Del Rey's new album playing in my room made me really get into this shoot, so I spent a good chunk of the day trying to bring my vision to life.
Lately I've been changing my approach to how I take my photos and share them on social media. It's no secret that the Instagram algorithm can suck, and over the summer I felt like my engagement was low, and it made me not want to post or even taken photos as much. I'm starting to feel inspired again though, so I have been brainstorming ideas for shoots. However, I've begun to change my approach more as I move forward with these ideas. In the past, when I was trying to get to 10k followers on Instagram, I posted almost every day. I would post "filler photos" of things even if I knew they might not perform as well, just because I figured any time I would post was a new opportunity to gain followers. Now I'm trying to post fewer, more impactful posts, rather than posting something every day just for the sake of it. I've always tried to post with intent, but I've started embracing carousels and Instagram stories to really tell a story, rather than posting just one of photos.
I also want to continue adding as many of my photos to my blog and cross promote on Pinterest as well. Instagram is still fun, but to me, it feels like it's beginning to loose its momentum a bit.
Jewelry: c/o Ana Luisa
If you'd like to check out the brand, you can find their website here.
Beret: old; Dress: Dolly and Dotty
This month I had the opportunity to collaborate with Fujifilm to promote their new instax mini LiPlay camera. It's a camera and printer all in one. I took it out for a day in Brooklyn to snap some little moments that inspired me. The camera was so fun to use. It's great that you can see the photos right on the screen after you take them. You can also choose from a bunch of filters, effects and borders. Once you're done, you can print the photos out right from the camera.
1. Open the photo in Snapseed.
2. Go to the grainy film tool. I always use filter X05. Turn the style strength down (I turn it down anywhere between 35-65, depending on the photo) as well as the grain to 0.
3. Go to the tune image tool and adjust the saturation. I usually turn it up to about 30.
4. Go to the curves tool and select red. You can see where I moved the line to for this photo, but you can adjust depending on the photo. I like adding red because I think it makes the photos warmer and more vintage looking.
5. Save a copy of the photo, then open it in Afterlight.
6. Go to the highlight tone tool, select red, and adjust to about 25.
7. Select the grain tool. I usually like grain 01 and turn it down to about 30.
8. Select the dust tool. I usually like Dust 1 here, then turn the effect down depending on the photo. For "mood" type photos like this one, I keep it higher, I have it on 70 here. Outfit photos I usually lower it to about 30.
9. Select the light tool. Light leak 11 is my favorite. Rotate the effect if needed and turn it down to about 40.
10. Select the contrast tool and increase to about 25. Save the photo.
11. Lastly, open the photo in Instagram.
Before + After!
Last Saturday afternoon, my friend Emily and I headed to Coney Island to take some photos. We both had some colorful and quirky dresses we wanted to photograph there, and Coney seemed like the perfect backdrop. Aside from taking photos, we also rode The Wonder Wheel, even though we were both a little scared ha. We also stopped into the Coney Island History Project. It's a hidden gem with photos and artifacts from Coney throughout the years, if you want to learn more about the history. They also have postcards and some other little knick knacks you can buy and the proceeds go to keeping the history alive. The weather was beautiful this day we went, plenty of sunshine and not too hot. I'm glad I made it back one more time before the summer ends. I'm looking forward to fall, but I'm already sad about summer coming to an end soon...
This Saturday my friends Emily, Katie and I went to check out the Mrs Maisel pop up at the Paley Center for Media here in NYC. The exhibit is a combination of interactive sets, costumes and screenings from Season 2 of the show. The exhibit is FREE and open until September 6th. Read on for more information about our experience there.
The first room was definitely my favorite and where we spent the most of our time. It's the set from when Midge performs on the telethon. Not only can you stand on the set and take photos, but there is a camera that is hooked up to 2 different monitors, so it looks like you're really on TV. I did my best attempt at doing the bop dance performed in the episode.
As you continue through the exhibit, you'll see some of Midge's costumes, and mood boards for different parts of the show. My favorite outfit was definitely the black dress Midge wears on the telethon. I loved the mood boards too, they were honestly probably my favorite part of the exhibit. I especially loved the boards for the Stage Deli and Steiner Resorts.
Next you'll see some more mini sets, like Rose's apartment in Paris and the beauty counter and switchboards at B. Altman's. We had fun sitting in the seats pretending to work the switch boards. They even had a voice talking into the headphones, which was a nice little touch.
Downstairs, there are some more mini sets, like the beauty parlor in the Catskills and a booth at the Stage Deli. There's also some more costumes, including Susie's uniform when she pretends to work at Steiner. There is also a theater where they are showing episodes from Season 2 everyday.
The exhibit is free, but if you can RSVP to guarantee entry. We went at 12pm right when they opened on opening day. There was a line, but it moved quickly and they monitor how many people can come in, so the exhibit never got over crowded. It's open Wednesday-Sunday 12pm-6pm and until 8pm on Thursdays. They are closed on Monday and Tuesdays.
If you want to learn more or make a reservation, you can check out their website here.
The Paley Center is located at 25 W 52nd Street. It's just a short walk from the Rockerfeller Center subway station.
I guess I didn't have enough 1960's last Friday, because the next day after visiting the lounge, I made the trek back to the TWA hotel at JFK airport. I recently found a TWA bag when I was out vintage shopping, so there was really no better place to shoot it than the TWA hotel, specifically outside of The Connie, the airplane turned bar.
Since I really had my heart set on shooting photos of this bag here, I didn't want to wait around for anyone to go with me, so I packed up my tripod and headed to the airport on Saturday afternoon. I guess since I was alone, people assumed I was part of the hotel, especially because they have people dressed up in the TWA uniforms throughout the years walking around the hotel. I shared this anecdote on my Instagram stories how one woman even told me she thought I was "a little nuts" after I told her I wasn't part of the hotel and just dressed up that way because I like too...
After taking my photos outside The Connie, I headed inside the plane and ordered a Roy Rogers mocktail. I also brought along some vintage drink stirrers my aunt recently gave me to photograph. They had a new vintage car parked out front and a new seating area that wasn't there the first time I went. I also stopped in the gift shop and picked up a few little things for a giveaway.
Visiting the TWA hotel makes me so happy, it truly feels like going back in time. I can't wait to go back again. If you want more information about it, you can check out my post about my first trip here.
Last Friday, my friend Katie and I headed to the TWA lounge in One World Trade Center for a Peggy Olson + Joan Holloway inspired photoshoot. We've both been to the lounge before, but Katie just recently started watching Mad Men for the first time, so we wanted to do a shoot that paid homage to the ladies of SCDP and we thought the lounge would be the perfect backdrop.
The lounge serves as a showroom for the newly opened TWA hotel but also as an office space for their corporate team. There are a few small meeting room areas that feel straight out of SCDP, complete with midcentury modern chairs, a typewriter, and vintage magazines.
The lounge is open to the public, you just have to email in advanced and get an appointment. Now that the TWA hotel is open, I recommend just making the trip there instead. We decided to take photos in the lounge because it was closer to my work plus it had more of an office feel instead of an airport vibe. However, when we got there, they told us they were going to close early for the day, so we really had to hustle as we only had about 20 minutes to get our photos done. You can really make a whole afternoon of going to the TWA hotel at JFK airport.
If you've been following along with my blog and Instagram for a while, by now you probably know I shoot the majority of my photos with the help of a tripod. My most recent tripod shoot was last Saturday when I took photos in this lemon dress from Smak Parlour. I ended up taking the photos outside of a bodega in West Village. The bodega was right by a traffic light, so every time the light turned red, cabs and cars would pile up at the light, which meant people stared at me from inside their vehicle. Some people looked pleasantly amused, some people looked at me like I was straight up crazy. I inevitably get stares whenever I shoot photos alone with my tripod, but I probably looked even crazier for this particular shoot because I had two lemons as a prop and kept tossing them in the air.
People often tell me they can't believe I shoot alone or say they'd be embarrassed to take photos by themselves, so I decided to write a little post for some tips if you're thinking of shooting outfit photos alone.
start in an isolated location:
I've been shooting photos with a tripod for about 2 years now. At this point, I'm immune to the stares and comments I get from people who pass by, so I feel pretty comfortable shooting in bars, restaurants, cafes, etc, but when I first started, I was pretty self conscious. The first shoot I did alone, I shot in front of a wall near my apartment, so there wasn't much foot traffic. I definitely recommend choosing quiet locations to get started, then slowly work your way up to more populated spots.
invest in a sturdy tripod:
When I first decided to start shooting photos by myself, I bought a $12 tripod off of Amazon. I didn't want to spend too much money on it because I wasn't sure how much I would actually use it. Well once I got the hang of it, I loved shooting with a tripod. I would carry it everywhere with me because it was so lightweight and came in a convenient drawstring bag I could easily throw over my shoulder. It was great, until I broke my camera TWICE, because I knocked into the tripod and it tipped over while my camera lens was extended. Now I have a more heavy duty tripod, it's a bit more annoying to carry around the city with me, but I have more peace of mind knowing that my camera is secure while I'm shooting.
allow for extra time:
Unfortunately, shooting alone takes extra time. If someone is with me to take the photo, I can easily get a good photo in less than 5 minutes. But with a tripod, getting one good photo can take at least 10 minutes, sometimes more. You have to set up the tripod, experiment with the shot, like where you're standing, what you want to be in focus, etc, run back and forth to check how it looks, then once you get the shot, take the tripod down. If I just need one outfit shot, I usually try to give myself at least 15 minutes to shoot with the tripod. If I'm shooting photos for a full blog post, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
self timers & remotes:
I use a self timer to actually take the photo. For full body shots, I set the timer to a custom setting that gives me a 10 second warning, then it takes 10 shots. For portrait shots, I put it on the self timer setting that takes one photo after a 2 second warning. For this setting, I start by already standing in front of the camera before I click the button to start shooting. My camera isn't compatible with a clicker, but that's another tool you can use to help take photos by yourself. I also recently discovered the Canon app I use to download the photos off my camera also has a feature where you can see what the camera sees from your phone, to avoid the running back and forth to see what the shot looks like.
don't worry what people think:
Even though I've been shooting with a tripod for 2 years now, I still get embarrassed or shy from time to time. What helps me get over it is reminding myself to not care what others think, but that can be easier said than done. My boss at work always talks about "the spotlight effect", where you think everyone is thinking about you, when in reality they're not. True, someone might walk by and think what you're doing is strange for a second or two, but I guarantee 30 seconds after they walk by, they've completely forgotten about it. Reminding myself that them thinking I'm weird is just a fleeting thought helps me feel less self conscious.
If you'd like to shop my dress, you can find it here:
Dress: c/o Smak Parlour
Bag: Sun Jellies
Location: West Village, Manhattan
Last week, I spent a couple days in Florida with my family. These photos are nothing new, you've likely seen them on my Instagram already, but I wanted to share them here as well. Lately, I've been wanting to post as much as I can on my blog, and not just on Instagram. When I first started my blog, Instagram was my main priority and my blog took a back seat. I always knew the importance of having your work somewhere online that you actually own, but even back in 2016 when I first started, blogs were already down trending. I'd pretty much only post there when a brand would send me an item and I'd take multiple photos for them. But going forward, I want to put as much as I can on my blog.
I don't think Instagram is going anywhere anytime soon, but lately it's not been somewhere I want to spend my time. It could be because it's summer and I don't want to be inside scrolling through my phone as much, but I've just also felt very uninspired lately. I used to feel excited to get home and scroll through my feed at the end of the day, but now I'm scrolling sort of out of obligation it feels like. There's not much content that excites me anymore. I know a lot of people are struggling with engagement and follower growth as well, which also makes me want to post less. It makes me feel like, what's the point in creating content if barely anyone sees it? It's also really frustrating seeing people with worse engagement than me or people who obviously buy fake followers/likes getting paid work.
Moral of the story, I'm still going to continue creating content because I love it, but especially for the summer, I'm going to take a more relaxed approach to it. I've been going out less with my tripod or dedicating chunks of my day to shooting different things, and just taking photos more in the moment with the help of friends or family. I want to work on making my blog a resource, and add more travel guides, tutorials and a FAQ page. I've also been trying to cross promote on Pinterest by uploading my more aesthetic type photos there as well. Lastly, I want to start thinking about my personal brand beyond Instagram. I have some ideas for products that I want to try to launch or host some kind of event.
Last weekend was one of my favorite events of the summer (if not the whole year): The Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island. This event is a 1920’s style party with live music, dancing, cocktails, antique cars and vintage vendors. I first attended this event in 2014 with my sister, but last year I got to attend both days and weekends because I perform in the last number as part of the dance class I’m in. Even though the days are long and hot, it’s always super fun. I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in NYC during the summer. They put on the event one weekend in June and one weekend in August every year. It’s very easy to get to from lower Manhattan, it’s just a 5 minute ferry ride. They have a few food trucks on the grounds, as well as various alcohol sponsors you can purchase a cocktail from, but you can also pack your own picnic if you’d rather bring your own food (your own alcohol is not allowed though). If you don’t know how to Charleston, don’t worry because they do a lesson in the beginning of the day so you can learn. Even if you don’t like to dance, it’s still a great event for people watching and taking in the music and watching the performances. It truly feels like traveling back in time for the day.
If you're interested in getting tickets for August, you can check out the website here.