Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

  Icelandic horses are what originally drew me to Iceland. I’d seen countless photos of these majestic animals running freely through the mountains and lush green pastures online. With their long, wild manes and carefree attitudes, they were definitely the main attraction for me as we toured the Island in the 8 adventure filled days that we spent there. Horses have always been a passion and a point of fascination for me. Growing up, I spent 2 summers working as a stable hand with a traveling ponies company. We would handle ponies for children’s birthday parties, fairs, and private events. Over those years, I built up a love and admiration for these animals that still stands today. Handling ponies, I learned a lot about the equestrian world and I’ve come to appreciate the unique personality that each horse brings to the table. When I found these three beauties along the side of the road, I knew that this was my opportunity to get some unique horse shots for the blog. I took a few minutes before I started shooting to get to know them and I used this information to guide me through the shoot. The white horse was definitely the youngest of the bunch. She was filled with a light-hearted dose of energy and curiosity that only a young soul can pull off. It was almost as if she was delighted to have her picture taken and she enjoyed all of the attention that I was giving her along the way. The horse that appears in the middle of the photo below was a bit more mature, but also very care-free and easily amused by the camera. The final horse (on the far right) was older. She gave off a sense of wisdom and kindness that you’ll only find in a horse of her age. In the photos below you’ll see that I tried my best to capture some of the wisdom and maturity in her eyes. All in all, each one was equally cooperative and excited for me to get close, touch and photograph them against that lovely Icelandic backdrop. For the edit, I decided to use the “Blue Raspberry” Lightroom Preset from The Portrait Collection. It really boosts the color in your shots and provides an ample amount of clarity and sharpening. (Looking for more presets? Check out The Complete Collection with hundreds of chic looks to discover!) Photographing these horses will be something that I’ll be talking about for years to come! These shots may even end up on the wall in my home sometime in the near future, we’ll see! Before & After below! 

Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

Icelandic Horses | Chic Lightroom Presets

Before & After – Click & Drag Across!

 

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How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays

How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays

   How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays: Are you a photographer or a blogger who wants to start an Instagram account? Or, do you already have an account and you’re looking to generate more interest in your brand? Well, look no further! Flat lays are a great way to mix up your content and get your followers interacting with you! Today, I’ll be sharing a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way and breaking down what I do to create my own Instagram flat lays. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to download my FREE Lightroom Preset: “Flat Lay” for easy editing, which you’ll find at the bottom of the page! Let’s get started… 

How to Photograph Instagram Flat LaysLighting – Lighting is the first thing that you should consider. There are many ways to light your flat lays, but I’m only going to focus on three common methods. The first is: Natural Light. This is by far the easiest and least expensive method to use. Arrange your flat lay in front of a large window and start snapping! Remember to be mindful of the time of day that you take your photos, avoiding times where there is harsh sun and/or low light. The second method is: Soft Boxes. I use soft boxes to create my own flat lays for the Chic Presets’ Instagram Account. Soft boxes are light diffusers that create a soft/even look that reduces shadows and evenly distributes the light. Set up at least two soft boxes on either side of your subject and adjust until you create a balance of light. The final method is: Tents. Light tents are usually square with translucent sides that diffuse the light. They are commonly used in product photography. You can buy them from a photography store or you can make your own! There are many tutorials on Youtube that take you through the process step by step.  

How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays

Background – Choosing the right background for your flat lay will depend on where you want your followers’ eyes to land when they initially look at your photo. A White background allows your followers to focus their attention on the objects that you’re photographing without interruption (more about this below). A Colorful background attracts your eye to the photo as a whole rather than focusing on each individual object. A Textured background tells a story about where the photo was taken and can easily convey a mood or a feeling. All three are effective in their own way. Think about how you want your followers to interact with your photos and choose accordingly.How to Photograph Instagram Flat LaysContent Consistency – I’ve often asked myself why some Instagram accounts look more pleasing to the eye than others. After months of studying successful accounts, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the main reasons is: content consistency. This means that you pick a theme (including brand colors, style, point of view, message) and you stick to it across all of your content (photos). You don’t necessarily want every photo to look the exact same, rather, you want each photo to relate to your overall brand on some level. When it comes to creating flat lays, make sure that you’re using objects that align with your overall brand. For example: The three photos that you see above are all completely different, yet they share some of the same elements. In this case: a black and white pattern. The photos on the right and left were snaps that I took in London. When I created the photo in the middle, I thought about how I could tie all three together and bring in my brand color (blush pink). I wore a striped sweater to reference the black and white that was dominant in the other photos and I selected pink roses to ensure that all three would relate to my overall theme, which is primarily pink. Quick Tip: Before creating my flat lays I always ask myself: “Does this belong in the Chic Presets world?” If yes, full steam ahead! If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays

Composition – Think about how you compose your photos. Do you prefer a structured look, with a straight composition? Or, do you prefer to photograph your flat lays on an angle? Or, a mix of both? If I’m not sure what looks best, I arrange the items multiple ways and take multiple shots using a different composition each time. Eventually, I find the best composition for the photo.

How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays

Negative Space – Just like with other forms of art, negative space plays a big role in photography. Negative space refers to the empty space that surrounds an object. Negative space is soothing to the eye and provides a place for the eye to rest. Above I’ve provided a snapshot of my Instagram account. I’ve circled the flat lays that feature negative space. As you can see, when arranged in a grid, negative space evens out the gallery and gives followers a place to rest their eyes between the larger travel shots. As we discussed earlier, negative space will also bring your attention to the objects in the photo rather than requiring your eye dart around the image multiple times to understand the message you’re trying to convey. Reminder: Sometimes a lack of negative space can also be effective, but only if it’s executed well and with purpose. Picture a busy mural or a well laid out flat lay with more than 10 items.

How to Photograph Instagram Flat LaysFocus –  Getting the right focus for your shot can mean the difference between a good flat lay and a GREAT flat lay! Using a tripod is always best, but if you don’t have one, steady hands can also do the trick. Quick tip: Set your camera to autofocus, get a solid grip on your camera body, take a deep breath, push the trigger down half way and when you’re confident that your hands are still… push the trigger all the way down. Snap! lol

How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays

Editing in Lightroom – Editing your flat lay photos in Lightroom is a great way to control multiple elements of your image. Editing a flat lay involves adjusting the Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Sharpening and Noise Reduction until you create the perfectly balanced photo. I personally love to boost the White in my flat lays until I get that professional studio look. I’ve created a Free Lightroom Presets called “Flat Lay” that I use for my own Instagram photos. It’s the perfect mix of all the elements that I shared above. Download it here for FREE! Looking for more Chic Lightroom Presets? Check out The Complete Collection.

How to Photograph Instagram Flat Lays

   Well, I hope that this tutorial was helpful and that you take advantage of some of these tips and tricks that I use on a daily basis. Remember, with the right information and a little creativity, you can do this! Have fun making your beautiful flat lays! Cheers.

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Swinging London

Swinging London

Swinging London

Swinging London

   If you’re anything like me (a vintage photo junkie) then you are familiar with the iconic photography that came out of London in the 1960’s. And if you’re lucky enough, you may have even lived through the 60’s. Either way…those cheeky black and white stills, filled with big sunglasses and go-go boots had an undeniable impact on pop culture and society as a whole. The war was over, times were changing and women were liberating themselves. The youth of London had an insatiable appetite for fashion, fun and music…hence the nickname “Swinging London.” Photography was their way to capture the essence of the free-spirited movement that was spreading across the country like wildfire. These witty photographs started pouring out to international media outlets and eventually, the rest of the world followed suit. So why do I connect so much with vintage photography you ask? Well…for me, photography is all about creating a fantasy. And the 60’s was all about fun and fantasy…

Swinging London

Swinging London

  I’ve always wanted to visit England…my father’s side of the family is from a little town north of London called Morpeth. For that reason, I’ve always felt connected to the British. We shot these photos on the second day of our four-day stay in exciting London. When we started walking towards Westminster Bridge that morning, the sky began to open up and tiny drops of rain began to fall. As a photographer, I was thrilled! Not only was the rain making the pavement look shiny and reflective, it was also keeping other pedestrians inside…which meant that we would have this classic London location all to ourselves, puddles and all…

Swinging London

Swinging London

  For my editing process, I used the “Breathtaking” Chic Preset from The Black & White Collection on all the photos. It gives you that iconic 1960’s film look in one simple click. Looking for more presets? Check out The Complete Collection with 347 Presets & Brushes at a very respectable price (If I do say so myself lol). Well…I hope that you enjoyed the blast from the past 1960’s theme this week. Your next FREE Lightroom Preset will be posted on Thursday, so look out for it on your Facebook feed. Not “Facebook Official” with me yet? Click Here to stay in touch and join the fun! As always…sweet dreams until sunbeams find you!

Swinging London

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Free Lightroom Preset – Zoom Zoom!

Free Lightroom Preset - Zoom Zoom!

Free Lightroom Preset - Zoom Zoom!

  I found this white Vespa one day while exploring the streets of Rome. We just finished the most delicious Italian lunch (Spaghetti bolognese & Pinot Grigio) and we happen to take a few wrong turns on our way back to the hotel. The further we walked, the less I recognized. We were lost…which is very easy to do in Rome…believe me! We found ourselves in what seemed like a residential neighborhood i.e. no shops or restaurants for us to stop and ask for directions. Our wifi signal was poor at best, which ruled out Google Maps and it looked like it was up to us to backtrack from memory. After exchanging a few worried looks, we decided to take advantage of the situation and see if we could find something interesting to photograph. I mean hey, we were already lost…why not get a bit more! After a few minutes of shooting, I turned a corner and found this little beauty waiting for me. It was all alone in an alley and begging to be photographed. I named this free preset Zoom Zoom because once I saw it, all I could think about was how much I wanted to take it for a spin. A rental place near our hotel came to mind. My driving skills are decent at best and we had already tested my limits with biking the canals in Amsterdam the week before, so I thought to myself “hmmm…better not.” lol The Zoom Zoom preset will give your shots a chic, aged look. When creating the preset, I took a cue from the crumbling plaster and the chipped paint on the wall in the shot. Click here to be directed to the download page and try it yourself! Until next week…sweet dreams!

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Chic Notes: Pink Peonies in Paris

Chic Notes: Pink Peonies in Paris

Chic Notes: Pink Peonies in Paris

“In pursuit of pink unicorns…”

   One of the goals that I set out for myself in Europe was to capture as many flower shops as humanly possible. Since it was June, I had my eye on one flower in particular. In my eyes, the peony is the unicorn of all flowers. At the beginning of the summer, they magically start to appear all over the world, only to mysteriously vanish after a few short weeks of providing joy and delight. If I had it my way…flower shops would stock nothing but pink peonies, hydrangeas and roses all year round. With that being said, what an amazing time to be in Paris! I found this beautiful flower shop while wandering in the Saint Germain De Prés neighbourhood. We just finished photographing French pastries and other delectable delights at a patisserie down the street when we came across this quaint little place. As I approached the outdoor display, the woman who owned it came out to greet me. “Bonjour!” she exclaimed and proceeded to greet me further in French. I asked her if I could photograph the flowers and she smiled and agreed. After snapping away for a few minutes, I realized that I didn’t want the feelings that these flowers instilled in me to end! I guess you could call this the unicorn effect lol. I swiftly decided that I needed these flowers in my life. I started gathering a beautiful bunch that I planned to bring inside and purchase. As I looked at those ravishing beauties in my hand, reality started to come crashing in. I was staying at a hotel without a proper vase to store them. I was also leaving the next day and I wouldn’t be able to take them with me. At that, I decided to put back my gorgeous flowers and continue on. For a moment, I felt sad as I walked away….I knew that I wouldn’t have many opportunities to purchase them again when I returned home, and I had waited all year for my unicorns to finally appear! After a few moments of self-loathing, I was reminded that I had captured some great photos and I could still enjoy them in digital form. I decided right then and there that I would create a post consisting only of my beloved unicorns and the excitement that they brought me that day. Well…I’m off to the beach this morning, wish me luck and hopefully a minimal sunburn lol Until my next travel post…sweet dreams until sun beams find you!

Chic Notes: Pink Peonies in Paris

Did you miss the pastel balloons? Click here to see the #1 photo shoot on my photography bucket list!

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Free Lightroom Preset – My London

Free Lightroom Preset - My London

Free Lightroom Preset - My London

   This is a shot of one of the many colorful doors that I found in the Notting Hill neighbourhood of London this summer. It was 3:30 pm on a Thursday and we were running around the residential streets trying to capture as many doors as possible before the next wave of rain. That’s the thing about London, even if the weather network tells you that it won’t pour until later in the day, you really can’t rely on the forecast lol. The three of us (we met up with a friend from home) found ourselves all huddling under one umbrella, praying that there wouldn’t be any speckles on the camera lens as we snapped away in a hurry. We ended up making our way over to a large tree with thick branches and waited out the storm beneath it until it passed. That’s the other thing about London, the rain never lasts for long! I named this free preset “My London” because it will bring your photos to life and provide a fresh pop of surprising color. That’s how I remember London, fresh, interesting and always full of surprises. Click Here to be redirected to the free download page. Until my next post on Saturday…sweet dreams until sun beams find you!

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Pastel Paris

Pastel Paris Chic Lightroom Presets & Brushes

Pastel Paris Chic Lightroom Presets & Brushes

Pastel Paris Chic Lightroom Presets & Brushes

   I’ve been dreaming about this moment for years…Pastel balloons in front of the Eiffel Tower was always #1 on my photography bucket list! When we started planning our trip across Europe this summer, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to make this life long dream of mine a reality. It was 6:30 am on the third day of our stay that we arrived at the Trocadéro steps to take these photos. A lot of thought and preparation went into making my sweet little dream come true. Purchasing balloons on the other side of the city, transporting them in the rain (Thank goodness for Uber Vans!) and storing them in our hotel room overnight as staff members looked on in laughter was quite the adventure! lol All of the trouble to get these balloons became more than worth it as we set out towards the Eiffel Tower that morning. As we walked down the beautiful streets of Paris, the balloons were providing a bit of fun for the locals. I can’t even tell you how many people flashed brilliant smiles or stopped us to say a quick hello. It was almost as if the balloons were creating a way for us to connect with the people around us. The Eiffel Tower and balloons seem to be inextricably linked in my mind. Maybe it’s because the tower was built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair…or maybe because they represent the fun, light-hearted spirit that Paris is known for…

EiffelTower (5 of 9)

Pastel Paris Chic Lightroom Presets & Brushes

Pastel Paris Chic Lightroom Presets & Brushes

Once we set up the equipment and I stepped in front of the camera, I realized just how lucky I was to be in Paris with the love of my life. You see…Paris means more to me than just another stop on our Europe trip. For me…the city of lights represents freedom. The first time I visited France a few years ago, something inside me changed. It’s difficult to put the feelings that I had into words, but I will attempt to. At the risk of sounding cliché, it was like traveling to France allowed me to switch to a wide angle lens… to see the world on a larger scale. For years I had only seen a little piece of the world and at times, I felt trapped by how small my surroundings had become. As I’ve shared in previous posts, Paris is built on a foundation of passion and beauty! It radiates from the architecture, the streets, the people…even the food! Something about its undeniable charm provides me with unlimited inspiration. When I used to dream about this shoot, I always imagined it in a soft pastel color. For my Lightroom edit, I used a number of presets and brushes from The Complete Collection to achieve this silky, vintage-inspired look. First, I used the *Ever After” preset to get that sharp/defined look that you see throughout the photos. Next, I layered a “Vintage” and a “Chic Color” finish preset (finish presets are included in all chic collections) that washed out the saturation and added split toning. Finally, I finished off each photo with my Chic Makeup Brushes and Paint Brushes from The Brush Collection. The process gave me photos that were crisp and defined, yet at the same time, incredibly soft and elegant!  Before and after below…

Pastel Paris Chic Lightroom Presets & Brushes

   When we were finished with the shoot, we noticed that a number of other photographers had arrived to take wedding portraits in front of the tower. I walked over to a bride that had been eyeing up the balloons and offered them to her under one condition, that she would pass them along to the other couples that were there once she was finished. She was elated with my gift and promised to make sure that anyone who wanted to use them in their photos would get the chance. I walked away with a grin on my face, happy to know that those beautiful pastel balloons would provide joy and excitement far beyond the photos that you see here today. Until my next travel post…as always…sweet dreams until sun beams find you!

Pastel Paris - Chic Lightroom Presets

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Post Card from Rome

Post Card from Rome

Chic Preset – The Portrait Collection “Shine”

Hello my beautiful photographers! I hope that you will excuse this late post card, I’ve been busy having the time of my life galavanting about Italy. So, what is there to say about romantic Rome you ask? Well, to sum it up in three words or less…I would describe it as this: Historic, Delicious and incredibly Charming! The photo above was taken at Piazza Novana. A very special square that holds the work of talented Roman sculptors from the Baroque period. We arrived at the crack of dawn in order to have this precious place all to ourselves. When I get back I will show you just how large and magnificent this Piazza really is. I also have plenty of architecture and food shots that will whet your photographic appetite! I have to cut this one a bit short but I promise to give you lots of details about my adventures in the Swiss Alps! Until my next travel update, sweet dreams!

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