Stop Stressing About Getting The Perfect Vacation Photo

Vacation is supposed to be about relaxing, exploring a new place, and living in the moment. However, social media has made it so that so much of travel is focused on getting the perfect vacation shot.

I used to stress about getting the perfect shot in front of an amazing monument, but then I realized that that’s bullshit. When I come back from a trip I don’t just want to remember the sites— I want to remember MY experience of them.

So, stop stressing about getting the perfect photo and just live in the moment!

Here’s how to capture perfectly candid travel content that will help you remember the experience, not just the sites:

1. Shoot in burst mode.

Set your camera to continuous shooting mode or just hold down the shutter button on your phone to capture a bunch of photos quickly. This way you can capture more movement and don’t have to focus on getting the pose just right.

2. Take a video.

Have a friend (or a stranger if you’re traveling alone) take a video of you walking at a pretty site or just goofing around. You can put the video in slow-motion to make an aesthetic Reel for Instagram or just screenshot the video to capture candid shots!

3. Remember to capture the in-between moments.

Not every photo has to be in front of a beautiful site. One of my favorite travel memories is laughing with my friends on a train in Ireland but I didn’t have my camera out. I wish I had taken photos of that amazing time to capture our joy!

4. Bring a disposable or film camera.

Not being able to see your photos in the moment will make you less worried about perfecting them. I love bringing a disposable camera on trips to capture candid moments. Bonus: when you get the photos developed you get to relive the trip all over again!

I hope these tips help you relax a little more on your next trip! Check out this post for more tips on how to make your vacation photos pop!

How To Pose In Travel Photos

When you travel to beautiful places, you really have to bring the fire to stand out in photos. If I never have to see the skinny arm pose in front of the Eiffel Tower again, I will have done my job! Here are my favorite poses to make my travel photos pop!

1. The Hop

Hop at a diagonal angle to the camera. Swing your arms like you’re running or hold them in your hair. This pose is great because it adds movement and makes you look like a natural part of the scenery. This is great for busy city streets or crowded areas with a lot of movement.

2. The Walk Away

Face away from the camera and put your weight on your front foot like you’re walking. This pose is great to use in front of beautiful vistas or on symmetrical streets because it brings the viewer into the image. They can imagine themselves standing where you are!

3. The Lean
Lean on a banister or wall and cross one foot over the other. This pose is one of my favorites because of how casual it is. No matter where you are, you look like you belong! This pose is great to use in doorways or on stairs of beautiful buildings.

Comment with which pose you’re going to try during your next trip!

Travel in The Time of Corona

As someone who loves to travel, the restrictions due to COVID have been particularly difficult. I don’t take safety lightly, so I canceled all my spring and summer travel plans at the beginning of the pandemic. When my boyfriend mentioned visiting his family for a few weeks, I was predictably anxious. Travel brings up a host of unknown factors and potentially risky situations, but seeing family took priority. Now, on the other side of the trip, I’m so glad I didn’t back out. After being cooped up in our small apartment for months, a getaway was much-needed!

When traveling in the time of Corona it’s imperative that we take the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and others safe. Travel looks a lot different these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lovely trip. Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning your trip:

  • Get tested before you go. This was required for us to enter Maine but I think its a good practice to get tested or quarantine before you travel anywhere. This way you can be sure you’re not bringing the virus to your destination.
  • Eat and socialize outside. If you’re going to be visiting with friends or family, spending the majority of your time outside will reduce risk for all involved.
  • Avoid unnecessary errands. For our car ride and camping trip we went shopping beforehand and packed the car up with everything we needed to avoid stopping along the way. This will keep you from possibly exposing local populations to the virus.
  • Pack your PPE. To keep ourselves and others safe, we packed a whole bag with our masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves, a thermometer, disinfectant spray, and paper towels.
  • Travel by car if you can. Keep planes safe for those who really need them by driving if you can! When driving it’s also important to make as few stops as possible. I know you’re wondering about bathroom breaks. Stopping at a bathroom has been rated as a pretty low-risk but make sure to keep your mask on and use gloves if you can. If you don’t like the idea of public restrooms right now, you can also find a campsite or hiking trail along your route for when nature calls!
  • Stick to the outdoors. Gone are the days of traveling for restaurants and museums. By visiting restaurants and other indoor spaces, you risk bringing the virus to locals. Plan your trip around spending time outside: go camping, take a hike, sit on the beach.
  • Respect the locals. This one is huge. Maybe the place you’re traveling has fewer cases than home, but that doesn’t mean you can abandon all precautions. You are a guest in someone else’s town. Be respectful and try to keep it safe and healthy for them.

I hope these tips help you alleviate some travel anxiety and plan a trip that’s both fun and safe!

How to Take Stunning Travel Photos

This may sound harsh, but if I see one more person do the skinny arm pose in front of an incredible monument that’s been admired for hundreds of years, I’m going to snap!

You didn’t come all this way and invest so much into seeing the most beautiful locations in the world only to take a boring picture that just sits in your camera roll!

Here are five easy tips to take travel photos you’re truly proud of while still living in the moment and not spending the whole trip chasing the photo!

1. Hit the most crowded locations during off-peak hours.

We’ve all done it—you get an idea in your head about this amazing photo you’re going to take in this incredible location, only to arrive and see a line of people who all had the same idea. Visit the most popular tourist locations early in the morning or on a weekday to make sure you have the time and space to get the shot!

2. Make a mood board.

This is something I’ve started doing before traveling recently and it’s soo helpful! It helps me to plan what I’m going to pack, how I’m going to pose, and possible photo angles so I know exactly what to do when I get to my destination. It greatly reduces my stress about getting great shots. Click here to see the mood board that inspired these photos.

3. Pack clothing that fits the location.

Once you make your mood board, you’ll have a general idea of a color palette and theme. Use this to plan your outfits and pack things that are going to fit in or stand out in your location. For my trip to Maine I mostly chose neutrals, and knits with a few flowy fabrics to capture the ocean breeze.

4. Browse the geotags.

This is a must before going on a trip! See where others are taking pictures around the area and how they’re styling the photos. You can get some inspiration, think about what you would do differently, and even discover some new locations you never would have found otherwise!

5. Edit on the go.

Being able to edit my photos from my phone and post in the moment was a game-changer for me when traveling. My new camera has WiFi that allows me to download photos right to my phone, but in the past I’ve used a dongle like this one to quickly transfer the photos from my memory card to my phone. I then edit my photos in Lightroom Mobile using my presets and post them right to Instagram! Click here to get the preset pack I use for all of my photos!

I hope you found these tips helpful! Where’s your next destination?

Maine Mood Board

Sources: @andforvintage, @chelseyrouen, @baluevama, @krystal_bick, @rebelrosey, @hannahliza

I’ve started a new habit of creating mood boards before I travel and it has made my packing and content planning so much easier! I use the mood board to guide what kinds of clothes to pack, where to shoot, and poses to use while traveling.

This month, Ben and I took a three-week trip to Maine to visit his family and get out of the city. The weather was still relatively warm, but we could feel the beginning of fall in the air. I wanted my wardrobe to reflect this transition period. I packed cotton button-downs, cable knits, and flowing fabrics to capture the ocean breeze. I kept my color palette confined to neutral tans and blues, but expected the addition of green from the forest scenery.

Coordinating my wardrobe to the scenery and planning my poses and shooting locations made it so much easier to create content while traveling. I didn’t feel stressed about getting the perfect photo from the trip because I had already had a game plan to capture photos I was proud of! Stay tuned for more posts featuring images from my trip!

Want to know more about my packing process? Read my post about how I pack light.

How I Dumped My Instagram Husband

When I first started blogging I enlisted the help of my mom and friends to take quick snapshots of my outfits. If I was lucky, I would end up with one in-focus image of myself centered in the frame that I could post on Instagram. When I moved away from home, my boyfriend became my go-to photographer. He had some experience behind a camera so we were able to take more photos and experiment with angles and locations.

However, as I got deeper into blogging and gained experience, I wanted to create more complex concepts for photos and be more intentional about my content. Shoots started to become longer and more complicated and I was more picky about my vision. Soon we found that taking photos detracted from the precious time we got to spend together. I knew I needed to take the photographer/model dynamic out of the relationship in order to focus on being present during our time together. So, I didn’t dump him as my boyfriend, but I did dump him as my Instagram husband.

I found myself in a difficult position: I needed a photographer with the time, skills, and equipment to execute my vision but I didn’t have money to hire a professional.

What I did have was time and a degree in Studio Art.

I had taken photography classes in high school and college so I knew how to wield a camera, but I had never explored self-portraits. I bought cheap a tripod and remote shutter release on Amazon and started following bloggers whose self-portraits I admired (@sorelleamore, @phobymo, and @anouskapb were big inspirations to me).

A lot of my first attempts were blurry or stiff. I spent so much time trying to get the camera to focus properly. To top it all off, I was worried about what people would think of me walking around with my tripod taking pictures of myself in public!

I persevered and slowly honed my skills. I learned that placing an object in the frame while I focus the camera and then standing where that object was will ensure the photo is focused on me. I learned how to pose in ways that mimic motion to create movement in my photos that doesn’t cause blurriness. I photographed in public so much that now I people’s comments and stares just roll off my back.

Now I’m proud of my ability to take photos of myself anywhere and capture dynamic images that showcase my outfit and my personality. It’s so freeing to be able to make my vision a reality and I’m sure my loved ones are grateful that I stopped asking them to take my picture!

Want to learn how to take better selfies? Click the button below to get my free self-portrait guide sent right to your inbox!

I Recreated 3 of Carrie Bradshaw’s Most Iconic Looks

Let’s talk Sex and the City. I’m definitely a Miranda but I always admired Carrie’s adventurous fashion choices, even if some of them missed the mark (giant flower brooches, anyone?). Her effortless and even unkempt style has stuck with me from my teenage years into adulthood.

While SATC holds a special place in my heart, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to rewatch it all the way through. The show was ahead of its time in some ways but has not aged well in others (I recently watched a clip of the characters discussing bisexuality and damn was it cringe worthy). Topics of race, sexuality, and gender were not handled appropriately by 2020 standards, not to mention the complete lack of diversity among the main cast.

What do we do with shows and movies that become problematic as they age? Leave them in the past? Approach them with a critical eye? Stop putting them on a pedestal? Recognize them as a representation of culture at the time? I ask myself these questions more and more frequently as I age.

Though Sex and the City has aged poorly, Carrie’s style has remained evergreen. I find myself returning to some of her most iconic (or even underrated) looks time and time again. I love how artistic Carrie was with her style, often wearing pieces in a different way than they were intended. I hope to bring that same mindset to my own fashion choices. I decided to recreate and modernize three of my favorite Carrie looks. These re-imaginings are all much more affordable and the majority of these pieces are thrifted.

The Ab Belt

This outfit haunts me. I used to hate it because the belt was so strange with the cropped button-down situation. I don’t actually hate the belt though, so I decided to re-imagine the look as ’80s-inspired workout wear! Work those abs!

The Boyfriend Button-down

I absolutely love the messiness of this look, but she still makes it look intentional with the addition of the belt. I decided to add bike shorts to modernize this look and make it more wearable. I hate to think what would happen if Carrie bent over in this outfit!

The Midnight Walk

Let me think back to the girl I was when I first saw this look in the Sex and the City Movie.
I was a creative and ambitious teenager, though still a bit naive and insecure. I aspired to be like the women I looked up to: successful, fashionable, confident. I remember watching the New Years Eve scene where Carrie throws on Manolos and a fur coat over her pajamas to go comfort Miranda in the middle of the night. “THAT is the woman I want to be,” I thought. It’s uncertain what made this scene resonate with me so much. The opulence of throwing a fur coat on over pajamas. The audacity of walking through the city in mismatched pajamas. The sweetness of trekking through the snow to see a friend.
Whatever it was, that scene stuck with me.
Back then, I spent so much time envisioning the woman I wanted to be. Pasting pictures of her around my mirror, flipping through pages of her in magazines, watching her in movies. But now, a decade later, I’ve realized that I am her. I’ve always been my dream woman. All I had to do is decide that I was. Who knew it could be so easy?
So, to show myself that I am indeed the fabulous woman I’ve always wanted to be, I recreated Carrie’s thrown together New Years Eve look (sans Manolos of course) using all vintage and clothing I already own. The dream woman is a state of mind!

Which look is your favorite? Comment down below and let me know which look I should recreate next!

The Biggest Photo Editing Mistakes Made by Beginners (and how to avoid them)

Editing is an incredibly important part of digital photography. While you should try to master using composition, lighting, and your camera’s settings to controlthe outcome of the photo, post-editing is also super valuable to your toolkit as a photographer.

When photographing myself, I’m acting as both photographer and model, and I can’t always control every element of the photo. This has made me incredibly comfortable using Lightroom to achieve my desired effect.

When I was just learning to use Lightroom and Photoshop, I made a lot of mistakes that made my photos look amateur, and I wish I had someone to guide me through them. You’re always going to run into bumps along the way, but here are the biggest editing mistakes I wish I had known when I was a beginner:

1. Not editing at all. When I first started taking photos I wouldn’t edit them at all. I thought I was preserving the integrity of the photo, but I was actually just missing out on stylistic opportunities. Post-editing your photos can help you create a mood and develop a cohesive style.

2. Editing too much. After getting over my fear of editing, I went the complete opposite direction. I was using selective color and taking the saturation slider up to the maximum. I thought that intense editing and colors would make my photos more interesting. This is not always the case. Photos can easily become overwhelming if the eye doesn’t know where to land. Focus on enhancing the elements that are already present in your photo, this will keep it from becoming too busy.

3. Not using presets. This one is incredibly important, especially when posting your photos on Instagram. Purchasing or creating your own presets in Lightroom helps to create a cohesive artistic voice. It also helps cut down on editing time and gives you a place to start when editing each photo. If you’re just starting out, I definitely suggest purchasing a preset pack from a photographer you admire. This will give you a great starting point and insight into how they edit their photos. You can always make your own changes later.

I could talk about photography forever! Drop your photography and editing questions in the comments and I’ll tackle them in an upcoming post!

Why I Started Blogging

Why did I start blogging?
It’s not because I love having pretty pictures of myself (although, damn, do I look good). Truthfully, it’s because I was disappointed. As a teen living in the Midwest, there weren’t a lot of local resources for fashion inspiration or community, so I flocked to online spaces. However, I quickly became disappointed with with the focus on fast fashion trends and designer labels within the fashion blogging community. It seemed like many bloggers were copies of one another—combining the same trends and designer pieces into nearly identical outfits—claiming they had style just because they had money.
I thought that to be a blogger, you had to have a Chanel purse and a new wardrobe for every season. No one would want to see the little strange pieces pulled from the back of my closet.

Then, I thought about the people whose style I admire most. The reason they inspire me isn’t the brand they’re wearing, but the way the put it together and make it their own. Those weird little pieces in the back of their closet are exactly what I love seeing!
I started blogging to change the narrative of consumption in fashion and bring my creative perspective to the world of fashion blogging. I want to show that you don’t have to buy new clothes every season or have the latest ‘it’ item to have style. Style comes from the vision, ingenuity, and creativity within all of us!

3 Ways To Use a Bed Sheet In Your Photos

If there’s something I want to be known for as a blogger and as an artist, it’s using what I have on hand. I fully believe that art and fashion should be accessible to everyone, and that means you shouldn’t have to keep buying stuff in order to participate. You can have the most high-end camera and the most expensive props, and still take shit photos. It truly is not about what you have, it’s about what you do with it. So, today I’m sharing three things you can do with a simple bed sheet to create fun and interesting photos!

1. Use it as a backdrop! Hang a string (here I tied it to two branches) and affix the sheet using clothespins. Pro tip: if doing this inside you can just tape the sheet directly to the wall!

2. Style it as a skirt. Tie the sheet around your waist and tuck the ends. You may need to fluff and style it to get the look exactly how you like.

3. Let it catch the wind to create movement. Toss the sheet up in the air to create an airy, breezy effect. It may take a few tries to get the shot!

Let me know which photo is your favorite and tag @shea_ish on Instagram if you try any of these so I can share your results!