Photography

Hints and tips covering all areas of photography – my passion!

This Perfect Moment Hashtag October 2016

I’m actually super pleased that this month all my good intentions to keep up-to-date with my blog posts are coming true! I’m hoping it won’t be a case of ‘famous last words’, but at least my #thisperfectmoment post is going up within the first week of a new month! Now if only I can keep up this momentum until Christmas!

This Perfect Moment Hashtag October 2016

It is lovely to see even more of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use the hashtag with me, not to mention some new and gorgeous accounts which have been a revelation to me! How I love Instagram and its’ infinite variety and inspiration!

Capture by Lucy

I must admit I found the variety of images amazing this month completely overwhelming, but I’m using that as an excuse to break with tradition and focus on one of my favourite bloggers and her Instagram feed. Lucy from @capturebylucy has an absolutely gorgeous account, and her photos always encapsulate #thisperfectmoment.

She has a terrific eye for beauty and colour (I love her hashtag #capturingcolour) and yet always posts honestly and with great integrity. We have met only once yet she welcomes you into her world and shares so many special moments with you so that you can’t help but think of her as a friend… I couldn’t resist this image for simply summing up what I want #thisperfectmoment to be about!

this perfect moment october 2016

For a long time Lucy’s blog posts and Instagram photos have been an automatic follow for me, made even more delightful by a shared love of family (our two children are the same ages!) and photography. If you haven’t discovered her account then do take a look, you’ll be in for a treat! Thank you Lucy for being you and providing so much inspiration!

Happy November to you!

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This Perfect Moment Hashtag September 2016

Where did September go?! Wow, the summer holidays seem to be a distant memory, and the familiar school routines are well and truly embedded! I’d forgotten how hectic the autumn routine can be, so apologies for a much later than planned summary of #thisperfectmoment images from September 2016.

It is lovely to see even more of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use my hashtag with me, not to mention some new and gorgeous accounts which have been a revelation to me! How I love Instagram!

I must admit I found the sheer variety of images amazing this month, but that also brought with it a few challenges, as there were so many themes I could have gone with!

This Perfect Moment Hashtag September 2016

For September I opted for a stunning image by Wendy Cook of @modernandvintage  – I loved it, a beautiful yet simple styled image! It reminded me that I need to get back to styling a few flatlays, and I loved the theme as my working week is so busy at present (not entirely through choice) that I really do identify with ‘that Friday feeling’…

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Wendy has a gorgeous bright pastels feed and I love her photography style. If you want to follow her you can find her on instagram here.

We’re now truly in one of my favourite seasons of the year for photography, when everything is bathed in the gorgeous autumnal golden light, and lots of hygge inspired images are starting to appear to counteract the dull days which creep in every so often!

Finally, I can’t wait to see your images for October’s #thisperfectmoment, and thank you to everyone who joined in with This Perfect Moment hashtag September 2016.

Have fun!

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This Perfect Moment Hashtag August 2016

Where did August go?! Wow, the summer holidays seem to have flown by, and here we are back in the familiar school routines! I’d forgotten how hectic our weekly routine can be, so apologies for a later than planned summary of #thisperfectmoment images from August 2016. It is lovely to see even more of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use my hashtag with me.

I guess that it was fairly inevitable that I”d be drawn to summary images this month. Nostalgia is clearly setting in now the holidays are over and all I want to do is turn back the clock and be back on holiday again!

This Perfect Moment Hashtag August 2016

For August I opted for a stunning summer family image by Anna – I loved it, a beautiful family, a beautiful day and a beautiful beach – I really wanted to be there enjoying it too!

Anna has a gorgeous family inspired feed, with some beautiful fashion and interiors images thrown into the Instagram mix too. I love her photography style and if you want to follow her you can find her on instagram as @blossomingbirds.

This Perfect Moment Hashtag August 2016

We’re now coming into one of my favourite months of the year for photography, when everything starts to be bathed in the gorgeous autumnal golden light! I can’t wait to see your images for September’s #thisperfectmoment.

Happy Instagram tagging!

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Why I’m Using Instagram Stories

I have long been a fan of Instagram, but as a person who doesn’t necessarily like change, I was somewhat sceptical about Instagram Stories. I’ve never been a fan of SnapChat – apparently the closest thing to Instagram stories online…

Why I’m Using Instagram Stories

Having said that I have been pleasantly surprised by the enjoyment to be had from viewing and uploading these stories. It can be a bit of a challenge, there is something much more spontaneous about a story. It is less ‘polished’ and pre-planned, more instant and informal! I am still trying to work out how to approach stories, and how to use them to compliment my normal Instagram feed and grow my following. However, here are a few initial thoughts…

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Instagram Stories allow users to create a ‘story’ of images and videos that is automatically deleted after 24 hours. You have the option to draw on photos and videos, and add text and filters. The basic concept is to document and share pictures and videos of your daily life (usually uneventful, hence why being deleted after 24 hours isn’t a problem) without clogging up your main Instagram feed.

To view someone else’s story, just click on their profile photo, and their story will appear, showing all the stories they’ve posted in the last 24hrs. Stories are shown in chronological order from oldest to newest. You can’t like a story, or place a comment on it but if you want to comment on something you see, you can tap and send a private message to that person on Instagram Direct. As with SnapChat, you can tap to move forwards to the next story or swipe back to move to someone else’s story.

Instagram Stories for Small Businesses

This is a new way for users to post content on Instagram. For example, you can post about limited edition offers, products or services as your story disappears after 24 hours. Instagram stories also provides opportunities to post behind the scenes content at events, run takeovers or partnerships with influencers, communicate more informally and quickly on a 1:1 basis by running live, real time and completely up-to-date content.

It also provides a clever opportunity to ‘beat’ Instagram’s new Facebook style algorithm which upset so many users, helping your images and videos to be viewed instantly and chronologically!

I’m hoping to get to the point where I post at least one photo and one story per day! What’s your story? Are you using Instagram Stories? I’d love to hear from you!

Please do connect with me on my Instagram feed, I’m looking forward to seeing your stories!

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This Perfect Moment July 2016

Despite the many changes of late, I really enjoy using Instagram and being part of the wonderful Instagram community! My own Muff and Teacake hashtag  #thisperfectmoment has been going for a few months now and it is lovely to see some of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use it with me.

This hashtag was chosen because it suits my own feed, and so many of the feeds I love to follow too! Whether it’s a summer flower, a beach scene or country landscape, a special summer holiday moment with family and friends, or a project you’re working on, I hope you will use and share your summer #thisperfectmoment hashtags with me and with the Instagram community!

This Perfect Moment July 2016

For July I opted for a summery image by Andrea – I loved it, a stunning sunset and a beautiful beach – surely the ‘s’ in the sky stands for sunset, or summer, sublime…?

The chosen image for July's #thisperfectmoment hashtag competition from Muff and Teacake...

Andrea has a gorgeous feed, and you can find her on instagram as @capetowngirl12

She captures the true spirit of Instagram, posting pictures of her daily life, travel, flowers, texture, colour, sky, and her many loves and interests – basically anything that brings her joy!

I loved This perfect Moment July 2016, what will you submit for #thisperfectmoment in August? I can’t wait to see!

Happy Instagram tagging!

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This Perfect Moment June 2016

I really enjoy the wonderful Instagram community which I’m a member of! A couple of months ago I launched my own Muff and Teacake hashtag  #thisperfectmoment and it was lovely to see some of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use it with me. It will be great to see even more #thisperfectmoment hashtags popping up all over Instagram in July too!

This hashtag suits my own feed, and so many of the feeds I love to follow too! Whether it’s a beautiful flower, a landscape, a special moment with family and friends, or a project you’re working on, I hope you will use and share your #thisperfectmoment hashtags with the Instagram community!

As the hashtag takes off I will continue to share with you some of my favourite images on Instagram and feature the Instagram account of my absolute favourite image each month on my blog here! I’m hoping there will be lots to choose from and I’ll be spoilt for choice!

This Perfect Moment June 2016

For June I opted for an image by Lilian Mackenzie which was both incredibly elegant, seasonal and simple – I loved it and it made me smile! Lilian had treated herself, and during what turned out to be tense and intense month for so many people, it was lovely to see someone who had something to smile about – we all need that!

June 2016 This Perfect moment hashtag winner!

Lilian is a sylist and photographer telling stories of elegance and grace. She is a lover of muted palettes, organic textures and romantic details, and you can find her on instagram as @lingyeungb

I loved This perfect Moment June 2016, what will you submit for this perfect moment in July? I can’t wait to see!

Happy Instagram tagging!

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Flower Photography Workshop Kent

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I’m running my first flower photography workshop in Kent next month. I’m super excited about it and can’t wait to share some of what I’ve been taught and learnt about flower photography over the past couple of years!

Flower Photography Workshop Kent

I’m going to be running the workshop at Millbrook Garden Centre in Gravesend, the perfect place to talk about flowers and flower photography!

A flower photography workshop at Millbrook Garden Centre

We will focus on creating floral close-ups, identifying how to photograph different flowers, developing a flower photography style using natural light, how to get the best from cameras including camera phones, basic editing, and tips and tricks for floral photography  – with some practical opportunities to practice too!

Rose Photography

This workshop is suitable for beginners and intermediate photographers and will take place on Monday 18th July from 10am to 12 noon. The cost is £20 and this includes refreshments and a slice of cake!

I hope lots of people will be able to come along! Places are limited so you’ll need to book online via the Millbrook website!

Muff and Teacake Flower Photography

I popped along to Millbrook the other evening to chat to people about the workshop and attend The Millbrook Rose Festival! There were some gorgeous displays of roses and lots of opportunities to ‘ask the experts’ about roses!

Rose Festival

The annual Millbrook Rose Festival being held from Thursday June 16th until Thursday June 30th in all three of their centres in Kent and Sussex.

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This Perfect Moment May 2016

Since I launched the #thisperfectmoment hashtag I’ve been busy looking at some of the beautiful images appearing on my Instagram feed! Thank you to all those of you who’ve started to join in!

This Perfect Moment May 2016

It’s lovely to see the variety of images and I’ve found it really difficult to choose my favourites! To make my selection easier I decided to keep with a theme, so the two favourite images I’ve chosen this month reflect the gorgeous purple and mauve colours of May, from beautiful larkspur to the magnificent wisteria which has been appearing all over Instagram! I’m all in favour of a bit of Instagram wisteria hysteria!

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Beautiful Larkspur

 

Wisteria is a remarkably important flower in Chinese art and Feng Shui and has distinct symbolism in Buddhism. Wisteria is a symbol of humility and reflection in Shin Buddhism. The Jodo Shinshu sect uses two intertwined, upside-down wisteria flowers as its crest.

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Cascades of Wisteria

 

Thank you @oandystudio and @bognorpete for using the #thisperfectmoment hashtag – they are simply beautiful images!

I look forward to seeing what June brings and the perfect moments we’ll all be sharing! I’ll be back next month with some more favourites! In the meantime do keep sharing and tagging your photos!

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This Perfect Moment

I recently wrote a post on using hashtags on Instagram, and it got me thinking about the wonderful Instagram community which I’m a member of! There have recently been some updates and algorithm changes to Instagram, and these have understandably brought anxiety to those who love this social media platform as much as I do! I really hope that they won’t spoil Instagram and take away from our enjoyment of this wonderful social media platform – I’m remaining optimistic!

This Perfect Moment

Instagram’s clean new look is a winner for me, I love it and the newly designed icons look so much more contemporary. I’m still not sure about the forthcoming changes to our Instagram feeds (and more importantly how these are displayed), and so want to make sure we all find ways to continue to see and interact with each others feeds…

A new Instagram hashtag from Muff and Teacake
A hashtag for Instagram

 

Today I’m launching my own Muff and Teacake hashtag – #thisperfectmoment and hope lots of my followers will use it with me. It would be lovely to see lots of #thisperfectmoment hashtags popping up all over Instagram, and I can quickly search the feed using this hashtag during the week.

I’ve chosen it as it suits my own feed, and so many of the feeds I love to follow! Whether it’s a beautiful flower, a landscape, a special moment with family and friends, or a project you’re working on, I hope you will use and share your #thisperfectmoment hastags!

As it takes off I hope to share with you some of my favourite images and feature the Instagram account of my favourite image each month on my blog here! I’m hoping there will be lots to choose from and I’ll be spoilt for choice!

What will you submit for this perfect moment? I can’t wait to see!

Happy Monday and happy Instagram tagging!

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5 Reasons an Olympus PEN is THE camera for Bloggers

There has never been anything like it! One camera has literally taken the blogging world by storm, and now every blogger wants an Olympus PEN, not least because this stylish camera has become THE camera for bloggers! But does it live up to all the hype? I’ve been doing my research online, with Olympus and via blogger friends!

I’m not an official expert on cameras, but my journey as a photographer and blogger has been immense, and I feel I’ve come a long way since one of my earliest posts on photography for bloggers! So, here goes…

5 Reasons an Olympus PEN is the camera for Bloggers

Instagram Friendly!

The Olympus PEN’s built-in Wifi connectivity and synchronising phone App mean that it literally takes seconds to post your photos on Instagram and Twitter. If you are on WordPress, as I am, you can also import pictures straight into a WordPress app, writing and building your next blog post as you go, completely on your phone. You can (how cool is this…) also adjust your settings to take square shots on your PEN, ready for posting to Instagram.

Handbag Handy!

An Olympus PEN is THE camera for Bloggers
Designed for bloggers!

 

The Olympus PEN isn’t a compact camera, but it’s light weight and compact size make it very so easy for you to carry it around with you in your bag, much easier than a hefty DSLR!

Aesthetics

There is no denying that this camera has bags of style and is photographed by bloggers almost as much as it is used by them! It’s become the ultimate styling prop for flatlays, largely due to its chic and retro (but very ‘contemporary’) style! The cream/white version of the camera seems to be by far the most popular!

Screen Sirens

The Olympus PEN has a flip down screen, so clever, and absolutely perfect for selfies and videos!

If you want to find out more about this amazing camera, then you can view the product description here.

So, is it the ultimate camera? I would argue that if you want absolute quality you will never beat a full-frame DSLR, but I do believe that the Olympus PEN is an amazing camera and does everything a busy blogger wants, whilst producing fantastic images!

Two words of caution though… A camera (any camera) is only as good as the lenses you use with it, so make sure you invest in a couple of really good lenses! I’ll be posting some lens recommendations in another post shortly!

Secondly, the flip down screen does make me a bit apprehensive, you do need to be careful with this and I strongly recommend you buy a good quality camera strap and bag, this camera isn’t as robust as a DSLR and it needs careful protection.

Have any of you bought or used the Olympus Pen EPL-7? If so, what did you think of it?

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NB – This is not a paid for or sponsored post, and all opinions on the Olympus PEN are my own.

How to use Hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags have long been a tool used to ensure that people can find specific content on various social media platforms. They work exceptionally well on Instagram, and can make a real difference to your ability to be found and connect with other Instagram users.

How to use Hashtags on Instagram

The secret to using hashtags well is to make sure you use them sensibly and responsibly. One of the ways people find content and contributors they enjoy on Instagram is to search with often very specific hashtags in mind.

How to use #hashtags on Instagram
Hashtags on Instagram

Each Instagram post can be accompanied by a short caption and a few hashtags. For example, a florist might post a picture and then use #flowerlovers #handmadebouquets etc.. when it’s uploaded to Instagram.

By using these two hashtags, the image is catalogued so other Instagram users who enjoy looking at flowers or floral bouquets can find them, even though they don’t yet follow the florists company’s Instagram feed. Interestingly, when someone shares your Instagram content to Facebook, the Instagram hashtag is also published along with it, unless specifically removed.

This means your content has a much better chance of being discovered by other people who have not seen it on Instagram.

The most common mistake is to use too many or irrelevant hashtags. I tend to think that the optimum is around 3-5, any more and your feed can look a little ‘spammy’!

Many businesses and high-profile bloggers have had great success by using popular hashtags sparingly, often creating new ones that are uniquely related to their brands. For example, my other blog is Backpacks and Suitcases, and I use #backpacksandsuitcases as my ‘trademark’ on my @backpacksandsuitcases Instagram and it provides an easily identifiable hashtag for followers to find and use.

Please be aware that you cannot ‘refresh’ older posts by adding new hashtags in a comment. Instagram has implemented a new update which means that no matter when you add them to your photo or video, it will appear in that hashtag feed with other photos and videos posted at its original posting time. No more ‘bumping’ posts!

Do you regularly use hashtags as an Instagram marketing technique? Do you have your own or do you get inspiration from and use other popular ones – there are some lovely ones to follow if you want to engage with like-minded Instagram members! I’d love to hear from you!

Happy tagging!

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Top Tips for Creative Flower Photography

I often see lots of lovely ‘nine by nine’ grids appearing on Instagram, especially at the end of each month! These montages are beautiful, and other Instagram users have inspired me to create a few of my own Instagram grids on a regular basis.

I love photographing flowers and most of my flower photos end up on Instagram, and so I thought I’d start this post with two Instagram ‘nine’s’ of my favourite 2015 flower photos. Generally speaking I find flower photography quite straightforward, but thought I’d share a few tops tips for creative flower photography with you…

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How to achieve those gorgeous shots!

 

I use my iPhone for my Instagram feed, so these tips are practical and work well for all phone photographers rather than the more technical tips I’d be giving to those using a DSLR!

Top tips for Creative Flower Photography
Experiment and practise!

 

Top Tips for Creative Flower Photography

1. Angle – Once you have chosen your flower to photograph, decide on the best angle to show it off to its full advantage – sideways, straight on, or from above. For example, Daisies and Gerberas lend themselves to ‘looking down’ flat-lay shots, yet lilies and daffodils look better when photographed from a ‘sideways’ angle.

2. Distractions – If you are photographing flowers in a garden or park you’ll need to move around and make sure other distractions e.g. a tool shed or fence are not in the picture. Sometimes you simply need to zoom in and have a tighter framing of the flower.

Creative flower photography tips and tricks...
Think about angles and focal points…

 

3. Focal Point – Decide on your focal point and/or point of interest.. What attracts you most to the flower, the stem, colour, texture, petals, shape etc…? Once you have identified this you can photograph your flower for maximum effect! Remember to tap on your phone screen to ensure your image is in complete focus if you are focussing on a specific area.

4. Specimens – Choose the best specimen! If you have a bunch of flowers and you want to photograph one, make sure you choose one which is unblemished and has no petal discolouration.

5. Background – Think about your background when photographing picked flowers too. You might need a plain background for an elaborate flower, or choose something patterned yet complimentary for a more simple flower. Sometimes this is simply a question of taste and preference rather than a photography issue. Distressed wood works well for flower photography, as do different papers and fabrics!

6. Experiment – When photographing flowers don’t rule out a dead or dying flower, they can make the most amazing images!

7. Light – Always work in good natural light, it makes all the difference as it gives you a truer colour, and you don’t have to worry about using a flash!

8. Be creative – try ‘abstract’ and unusual shots – if they work they can be amazing, and if they don’t  – at least you tried!

9. Practise, experiment and practise some more!

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about flower photography, and would love to see some examples of your own work too! If you love photographing flowers too, then get in touch!

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