Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Getting to Know my DSLR

Well, technically it's not's my boyfriend's. But anywho.

One of my goals for this year is to improve my photo skillz. Technology has made taking amazing photos more and more possible for the everyday public than ever before. And especially since we're in the digital world, there's no worry of wasting film, so you can screw up as many times as you want with no impact on your film stash or wallet. Score!

However, despite having potential to do awesome things, DSLR cameras are a bit...overwhelming. And while I usually am a manual girl, flipping through pages upon pages with no glossy photos to help me has proven to be ineffective for this particular venture. So I have been doing some online learnin'. And I thought I would share the most helpful resource I've found...and it may be as surprising for you as it was for me, because it's Ree Drummond. Yeah, like the woman on Food Network.

Ironically, she did not take that photo because she is in it. Moving on to her photos and helpful stuff...

It took me a while to find Ree's photography section on her website because it isn't prominent, which I still don't understand because it's AWESOMESAUCE (unintentional food pun). I'm guessing it's because she doesn't really write about photography too much anymore because she is super busy with her foodie life. However, it's still there, just not easy to find. On her website, if you scroll all the way to the bottom until you get to the tannish/yellow box, there is a column that says "PW Links." Click on "Pioneer Woman Photography," and you're there! Alternatively, you can use the Googlez, which is how I returned to this section repeatedly after finding it on Pinterest or some other blog...can't remember.

Ree's posts are awesome because they aren't too wordy or overly long, and they include pictures to break it up and demonstrate what she is talking about. Her writing style is easy and silly. The most helpful series I have found is her "What the Heck is an Aperture" series, which is a group of 4 blog posts that helped whip my brain back into shape after my high school photography class info turned to mush. I've also really enjoyed her post on Exposure Compensation, which I had never ever even heard of until I saw this post. Just these 5 blog posts have helped my photography skills take a ginormous leap forward in only a few days (but I mean...I'm no pro. Let's not get too serious here.) I totally recommend you check them out! Ree is the bomb dot com.


I'm hungry. Time for breakfast!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beauty V/Blogger/Guru Spotlight: Post 1

I have a problem. I'm addicted to beauty v/blogger/gurus.

Guys, it's bad. I know their posting schedules and get annoyed when I have no new vids to watch. I go through withdrawal when any of them go on a rare vacation. My boyfriend knows half of their names because I talk about them in real life. Also, they make me buy stuff.

When I discovered the beauty YouTube community, it was like eating cream cheese frosting by the bucket and never feeling sick or getting fat. Or like angels were all floating above my head singing Adam Lavigne songs and delivering puppies into my lap. I had no idea it was there, but once I found it, I couldn't stop watching.

In reality, it was this weird accident where I googled "smokey eye tutorial" and I randomly clicked on a video that led to another video...and another million more and I have been hooked ever since. Growing up in a family of sciency nerdos, my affection for makeup was not exactly...understood (read: my family thinks beauty products are for suckers). So I suddenly found a whole world of people who were into makeup, but were also normal everyday people like me. Like so many people in the YouTube community say, I just felt like I had a connection with these people, like I had found other "mes" out there. It was awesome.

Since then, I've refined my subscriptions and reading to people I like best. I mostly gravitate toward people who:

  • aren't (obviously) over sponsored
  • post regularly (and often, at least once a week)
  • often do reviews
  • provide a mix of everyday makeup with special occasion stuff sprinkled in
  • focus mostly on drugstore products
  • put real work and effort into their work

I'm not adventurous in my personal makeup (neutrals all the way, baby), but I am learning to appreciate more and more looks that are pushing out of my own comfort zone (I tried the orange lip and wore it out of the house for about 30 minutes the other day before wimping out and wiping it off--progress!). I lean more toward those who focus on drugstore products, as I am just not ready to make the plunge into regular high end purchases; however, I don't mind some references to pricy products, especially when compared to similar drugstore items. I also tend to be drawn to people who aren't super young (high schoolers tend to be too immature for my taste, which isn't meant to be insulting...but I mean, they're 10 years younger than I am and just into different things). I have also noticed that I've mostly become pickier with video quality, and I pretty clearly prefer those who film with high quality sound and cameras (from what I can tell, DSLRs), and who carefully edit their footage. Lighting quality is really important to me when I watch videos. In other words, I appreciate those who work hard and take their beauty venture seriously.

Personality-wise, I notice I'm more drawn to those with calmer, more easy-going, but happy personalities. I find it difficult to watch a lot of people long term who are overly bubbly, too energetic, or create crazy choppy videos, as it tends to be mentally tiring for also usually reads as fake, in my opinion. It's just not my taste. But that's not to say it can't be yours! You should always watch/read/follow who YOU like! :)

So, without further ado, here is the first in a series of posts about beauty v/bloggers/gurus that I am just hearting so much right now!

Spotlight 1: Emily Eddington (emilynoel83/Beauty Broadcast)

Emily's smokey eye tutorial was the original video I found that fateful day back in 2008 when I was googling around for some help. I just love her. She recently(ish) left her news anchor position to be a full time YouTuber and blogger, and she makes. so. many. videos. Seriously guys. She posts a review of a new product every weekday on her Beauty Broadcast Express channel, in addition to tutorials on her original channel multiple times a week, PLUS blog posts pretty much every weekday. It's insane!

My favorite event on Emily's channel/blog is "The Emily Awards" that she does each January where she picks her favorite high end and drug store product in every makeup category you could possible want. I reference this list religiously. She breaks it down into multiple sectors (face, eyes, lips, etc.), and puts so much care and consideration into her picks. She even tracks how often a product has won over time (yeah, she's been doing it that long!). Her dupes are also THE BOMB DOT COM. Unlike most gurus who discuss what I consider to be "dupes" (in quotations because they are somewhat similar, but really not true duplicate products), Emily's choices are spot on. Everything needs to line up in her book: color, texture, wear time--they are true dupes.

I also really appreciate (and I hope that on the off chance that she ever sees this post that does not take offense to this) that Emily is older than a lot of the hip beautiful gurus in college who often seem to be successful purely based on their painfully good-looks only. Emily is the real deal, and from what I can tell has never accepted a sponsorship (though she often reviews products sent to her for free), so I really trust her opinions. I just love her to pieces! Also, we have the same name, soooo...bonus.

Like all my spotlight peep posts, I totally recommend you check her out!

What about you? Who are you crushing on these days beauty v/blogger/guru wise?