Tag: blogging

5 Lighting Tips for Bloggers, Photography Buffs and Beginners

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

Photoshop World 2013

Photographers wield light like authors wield words to tell stories. Different qualities of light evoke different emotions, and poor lighting can make even the most lovely person in the world look like Quasimodo.

From a photography standpoint, you always want to be thinking about light. It’s comprised of three components — quality, color and direction.

Here are five photography tips to help you make the most of your light. 🙂

1. Let there be light!

Your flash is a powerful tool that lets you manipulate light, and with it, you can guide a viewer’s eye, and make them notice what you want them to notice.

But flashes aren’t your only light sources. Windows, lamps, overhead lights, mirrors — heck, even flashlights and the light from the screen on your phone are light sources.

Now, since you can’t always be in the room with someone when they’re looking at one of your pictures, that’s where your ability to manipulate light comes into play in your photography.

One important thing to remember? You don’t always have to point your flash directly at your subject. Light reflects and bounces off surfaces, and you can use that to your advantage. Experiment by taking pictures near windows, lamps, overhead lights, bright walls (keep in mind that walls will throw a colorcast), and combine light sources — literally move them around sometimes — to create different effects.

2. What are soft boxes and umbrellas used for?

Soft boxes — those large, usually black or white rectangular boxes you see mounted on tall poles on film sets and photo shoots — are referred to as light modifiers. They’re often used to diffuse powerful lights, reducing harsh, unflattering shadows, like the kind that the flash on your camera can produce.

Without a light modifier, a flash is like a machine gun of light. Modifiers like umbrellas soften the light as it passes through them. HINT-HINT: bedsheets, curtains and other semi-transparent fabrics you already have around the house do the same thing.

3. Going the distance

Changing the distance between your light sources and your subject can create dramatically different effects. Sometimes, taking one step left or right, or forward or back, can totally change your picture. This is particularly noticeable in direct sunlight on a bright, sunny day. Sometimes all it takes is one or two steps to move your subject into the shadows, where your light is softer and probably much more flattering.

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5 Easy Text and Photo Composition Tips for Bloggers

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

Photoshop World 2013

I’m still getting my learnin’s on here at Photoshop World. 🙂 Yesterday’s classes were great. There are different course tracks for photography, lighting and Photoshop techniques, and you can go to whichever classes you want. Then, between the classes, there’s a huge expo hall with dozens of booths set up by companies that sell photography equipment like lenses, huge studio lights and gigantic umbrellas.

Pretty cool if you’re into this kind of stuff…

Here are five tips I picked up yesterday to help you take your photography to the next level.

  1. Angles increase the “drama!” They also add a sense of movement and energy. You also don’t always need to fit objects entirely in the photo frame. Practice rotating your camera to create different effects.

  2. “When it comes to type,” says Scott Kelby, author of The Digital Photography Book series and NAPP president (National Association of Photoshop Professionals), “make it small, and when you think it’s too small, go a little further.” You don’t want your type to take away from your image.

  3. For your text logos and photo titles, think contrast, contrast, contrast. If using two fonts, pair a script with a sans serif, lowercase and uppercase, no kerning with high kerning (the space between the individual letters), etc.

  4. In photos, the viewer’s eye naturally seeks out text before anything else. Then it looks for the lightest parts of an image. Lighter objects also appear larger than darker objects.

  5. Tangents are points where two objects appear to touch/meet in an image. The eye will seek out these areas — these meeting points. It’s weird… You can’t resist looking at them! Sometimes, if they’re unintentional, they can detract from what you really want people to look at in your picture. Also, purposefully cropping parts of something (like a short beauty blogger) can make it appear larger or taller.

Some of these are crazy, right!? Didn’t your eyes look at that point where the pyramid barely touches the top of the picture frame? And those two apples — they’re both the same size, but doesn’t the lighter green apple look a little bigger than the red one?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. For more tips from Photoshop World and other conferences I’ve attended, click here.

10 Really Useful Fonts for Bloggers, Beauty and Otherwise

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

One of the classes I went to yesterday here at Photoshop World was a class on typography for professional photographers — as in text titles for wedding photo album covers, online galleries, photo books and things like that.

The lessons translate really well to movie poster text and pictures for blogging, too, like when you add a caption or title to an image at the top of your blog posts, which a lot of us do.

The course was taught by Scott Kelby, an awesome photographer and the author of more than 50 books on photography and Photoshop, many of which I love and own.

10 Really Useful Fonts for Bloggers

10 Useful Fonts for Bloggers

  1. Helvetica Neue (Target, MTV)
  2. Trajan Pro (probably the most popular movie poster font)
  3. Futura
  4. Gill Sans (official font for the UK Underground tube signs)
  5. Trebuchet (Microsoft loves this font. It’s a good option whenever you think Helvetica looks too stiff)
  6. Adobe Garamond (the original Apple font, also the Google logo font, but it’s not great for long blocks of text)
  7. Bickham Script Pro (a great font for scripty effects)
  8. Copperplate (looks great, elegant with a lot of kerning/space between the letters)
  9. Minion (Adobe loves Minion; it’s a good alternative to Times New Roman)
  10. Myriad (Apple loves Myriad and uses a version of it for practically everything)

For your next blog post, or if you ever have to create a document for school or work, give one of these fonts a try. Most of them should already be installed on your computer, as a few of them are decades old. Some even predate computers.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. While not makeup related, I think fonts are beautiful, which falls under the purview of “makeup and beauty” to me. 🙂 I’m filing this post under my “blogging” category, and there are quite a few other posts in there as well, if you’re interested.


The Beauty Social, Oct. 2011: How to Turn Beauty Blogging into a Career

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

From the left: Beautylish Beauty Director and segment host Ning Chao, Temptalia Founder and Editor Christine Mielke, Makeup Bag Founder and Editor Erika Valente, me (looking extra Lloyd Christmassy), and Romy Raves Lifestyle and Beauty Blogger Romy Schorr.

Even though I was a little nervous (blast you, Lloyd!) and blinded by the stage lights, I really enjoyed speaking on the blogging panel at The Beauty Social last weekend, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you while they’re still fresh in my mind.

In hindsight, I wish I’d recorded the session, or covertly taken a few notes, but I do remember most of my answers (NOTE: these are paraphrased, because I can’t remember the exact quotes) and some tidbits from my fellow co-panelists, Christine Mielke of temptalia.com, Erika Valente of makeupbag.net and Romy Schorr of romyraves.com.

Q: What inspired you to start your blog?

Me: Well I’d always really loved makeup, and I’ll never forget the day when I was 14 and my mom took me on that first trip to the Clinique counter… I started the blog in 2007. I was freelancing at the time for magazines, mostly doing travel (for the in-room magazines on cruise ships) and health and fitness articles. I really wanted to break into beauty writing, though, and I kept pitching different magazines, but no one would hire me.

They (the magazines) were mostly drawing from their in-house writing staff, so I kept getting rejected from these beauty magazines, yet I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I just couldn’t let go. I knew that I wanted to create and write about beauty, but I didn’t know how to go about it.

Then in February of 2007, the Barbie Loves MAC collection came along. 🙂

I think in every beauty junkie’s life there’s always that one release that turns their casual hobby into a full-blown obsession, and for me it was Barbie Loves MAC. I went to the mall, got my little haul, and then when I got back home, that little voice in the back of my head was whispering, “Wouldn’t it be kinda cool if you took a few pictures and posted them online?”

So I borrowed a friend’s camera — and at the time I couldn’t take a picture to save my life — took some shots, and posted them online (using a free blog from wordpress.com).

That’s how Makeup and Beauty Blog was born. There wasn’t a business plan, a big reveal or a rollout. It all sort of happened organically, and it’s been one of the happiest accidents of my life.

Erica: Erica said that she, too, had always been a lifelong beauty junkie, and one of her main inspirations was her entrepreneurial husband. She’d always loved trying and buying new products, but her beauty stash had grown exponentially. One day her husband suggested that they find a way to turn her obsession into a business so that they could write off her beauty expenses, which eventually led to Makeup Bag.

Christine: Before Temptalia, Christine had been actively posting looks on Live Journal. She was in school at the time and recalls posting looks after class. She started Temptalia to archive all of her looks in one place, and her blog has just grown from there.

Q: What was the turning point that made you realize that your blog was successful?

Me: It was probably about six or seven months in, after I’d gotten an invite to cover SF Fashion Week. The blog had been bopping along as a hobby at the time, with me doing brief product reviews every few days, but I decided to approach that Fashion Week as I would a freelance assignment…and I also used it as an excuse to get a new camera. 😉
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The Beauty Social, Oct. 2011: Want to Start Your Own Beauty Brand?

Published in: News

The Beauty Social
From the left: Beautylish Beauty Director and segment host Ning Chao, Cover FX Founder and Co-Creator Jenny Frankel, theBalm Founder Marissa Shipman, LORAC Founder and Celebrity Makeup Artist Carol Shaw, Celebrity Hairstylist Byron Williams

Marissa Shipman, founder of theBalm Cosmetics, says that starting theBalm was a very organic process, with the idea growing and evolving over time.

On how to get things off the ground with your own beauty brand, she says, “You just really need a good idea and a good place to start.” When she started talking about wanting to sell her own beauty line, her dad had concerns. “Get a job, get a job,” she remembers him saying, but she was determined, felt prepared and decided to just go for it.

Jenny Frankel, founder, co-creator and executive vice president of Cover FX, actually started out as a chemist working for MAC (she created Clear Lipglass!). “It was tremendous for me,” she says of her time at MAC, “because it was a great learning experience.” On starting your own line, she says the real secret is doing your homework. “Before you invest your money, do your homework. Test on your friends, and if it’s something you want to do as a business, do a business plan. Do a little homework.”

Jenny and Marissa both suggest running your ideas by your closest friends and family first, the people you know you can trust, before you invest a lot of your own time and money into it. If your friends love it, other people might, too.

Jenny’s idea with Cover FX was to create a product that was for sensitive skin but provided full coverage and had lots of color choices.

“Seventy-five percent of all beauty ideas fail,” she warns, “but if you have a compelling point of difference, and you’ve done your homework and have a good idea, that still means that the other 25% of the ideas out there succeed.”
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