How to Create Beautiful Flat lays

PhotoStories, Thoughts

A flat lay is when you photograph items from directly above using objects (most of the time) to tell a story, display a brand, or both and more. Whether for Instagram or for your blog, good flat lays are very appealing. Here are 4 tips to creating beautiful ones:

  1. Choose a neutral background

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You can arrange your items on a white sheet of paper/cardboard/sheet etc. Or you can pick a background that is darker or in my case a wooden background. The above picture was taken using my patio’s wooden floors. You can also pick a background that has a neutral pattern like I have done below. I have used different sheets I bought from Michael’s for a couple of dimes and paired them together.

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2. Pay attention to the lighting/Orientation

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Natural light is better to take flat lays so take your picture close to a window maybe or in a well-lit room in your home. Walk around to find the best lighting for your flat lay. The one above was still taken on my patio since natural light filters in. Make sure that your phone or camera is parallel to the surface.  Stand on a chair if you have to. (which I did to take those). If you are taking the flat lay for Instagram, Make sure you use the square option on your phone camera. If it is on your camera, you can do like I do by taking the photo as wide as you can so you can crop later if necessary.

3.  Make it Pretty

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Use your items in a way that looks good. Pair different items together while styling them in a way that is appealing. Use the way your orient your items along with which ones you  choose to pair. Do you want the focus to be in the center? top or bottom? Arrange your items accordingly. You can also choose to add a pop of color

4. Make a Theme/Create a Story

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Flat Lays tell stories. The items that you choose to pair tell the person seeing it what is it you wanted to convey. Can you come up with themes for the above picture? Comment them below.

Love,

Lori

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What Camera Should I Buy?

Thoughts

                       This is probably the question people ask me the most on social media besides what camera do you use. Truth is, it does not matter as much as you think. Spending time trying to figure out what camera to get is a complete waste, IF time is not spent to further your knowledge in the basics of photography/videography  etc. When I first started my photography business, I had a cheap camera. I had a basic camera. No fancy lenses or fancy equipments.  I still managed to shoot engagements/ graduation/landscapes etc. with happy customers. Yes,  a professional camera has saved me time in processing, but none of that would have mattered if I had not taken the time to learn and develop a technique for myself. It is a learning process and a work in progress. I am also glad I did not have a professional camera to start with because it helped me learn the basics of photography and helped me figure out a lot of things using DIY methods.

I took these photos a while back. When I first started to consider venturing into photography as a business, and not as a hobby as it started when I was a child.

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Disappearing glass. No edits. 2012

 

Factors

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 There are some factors to consider though. Finding a camera that suits you or that you feel comfortable with is also important. I have very small hands for example so I need a camera that gives me a good grip regardless of how big it is. So I think a camera that is comfortable to you should be a factor.

A second factor would be the price. Buy something you can afford. Especially if you are a beginner that intends to make a business out of it down the line. Buy something you can afford and learn on. Later on when your business starts developing, you can upgrade your gear. I know people who spent a lot of money on cameras that they never ended up using because they didn’t/couldn’t figure it out, or because they were not sure it was a passion of theirs to begin with. Don’t break your bank account for something you are not one hundred percent sure of.

What you are using the camera for is also an important factor. If you are using it manly for videography or manly for photography, there are cameras tailored to work best in each or in both. This Post gives good insight about cameras that are well suited for videos  in different price ranges.

Now my advice to you is buy what you can afford. If you can afford a professional camera right away, good! If you can’t, don’t worry about it too much for now. Buy a decent one (Canon and Nikon cameras are usually the go to although there are others out there just as good like Fujifilm and Olympus) that is tailored to your needs, and spend time learning the basics and developing your technique. Later on, you can always upgrade your gear. At the end of the day, that is what makes the difference between the shots you take versus the ones someone else takes: Not the camera or the equipments used, but you and how you see things!

Love,

Lori

 

Haiti Changed Me

Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized

Last week, a group of 63 people (me included) travelled to Cap Haitian, Haiti on a mission trip to partner with the Haitian people through sustainable development. Sustainable development promotes sharing knowledge and things that will last rather than giving them handouts. I participated in youth leadership development classes/presentations, and activities with everyone. Health education and Bible study were also offered.  I didn’t think that this experience would touch me as much as it did. Haiti changed me, and here’s 5 reasons why:

  1. They know what is best for them
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Photo captured by yours truly during Youth Leadership Presentation

In the past, I would often talk about people who come to Haiti and bring Haitians their worn out clothes or stuffs, and I would talk about how that is not helping. In my head though, I would think that the people take it because they do not know what is best for themselves. I was wrong. Hearing a 10-year-old tell me how handouts don’t really do much for the country because they are just temporary blew my mind. He proceeded to talk about the importance of education in Haiti and how he is willing to learn more so he can become a doctor down the road. Haitians do not want handouts. They want to be educated to be able to help themselves. I have heard these statements over and over from children and from adults all throughout the trip and it really changed my perspective of thinking that they don’t know best. They do.

2. They are not poor

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Photo captured by yours truly featuring Brittany, Matthew, Brandi and the kids

Our theme verse was Joshua 1:9 ” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Haitians embody this verse so well. I have heard women tell me of their daily lives while always adding at the end that God is good. When I think of all the time I got discouraged by little things, I felt ashamed. Haitians have so much faith. So much Love for the Lord, and more importantly so much joy in His promises. They were always ready to learn, sing, to be happy, and to have a good time which kept me going no matter how tired I could have been. They live the Gospel out loud and showed me a representation of who God truly is every single day I spent with them. I have met 10-year-old children who knew so much about what the country needs and about life in general. They are so intelligent. So Strong. So resilient. So loving. So joyous. And So Faithful to God. I have learned way more from them than they probably learned from me and I am grateful.

3. I have gained a family 

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Photo Captured by Jordan Walker

 

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Photo captured by Rachel featuring me, Heather, Erica, Nara and her sister, Losandy and her friend.

Being able to share this experience with my Haitian people and with a team who is so fueled by an incredible love for God made all the difference. I have learned something from each and every one of my team member. I admire their passion for service and their love for the Haitian people. You would think that 63 people on a team would be total chaos, but not at all. I admire each and every single one of their hearts for the Lord and this would not have been the same without them.

4. My Country is Beautiful. 

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Photo Captured by Tour guide on iPhone

I had the chance to visit the “Citadelle” while I was there and was it an experience! A masterpiece of engineering built by ex-slaves still standing to this day. Can I reiterate how intelligent and strong Haitians are? It was so empowering walking up there. For all the time that I have felt that I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t strong enough or smart enough or capable enough. I was reminded of where I come from, of whom my ancestors are and of what they were capable of. I was reminded that I am their great (x100) daughter and I am not doing this for myself.

5. God confirmed my Role in all of this

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Photo captured by yours truly featuring Kate Fletcher

We walked to a prayer mountain to pray. The view was beautiful and while I stared at it, I could not stop crying. All I could hear and see was God’s love for the Haitians and God’s love for this very place. While sitting up there, all I could say in my head was: thank you for showing me. Thank you for showing me. I saw that analogy of a group of people stuck somewhere, unable to free themselves or to move forward. Then God blesses one of them, then two, then three etc. so that they are able to go out in the world to come back and help their brothers and sisters, but most of them don’t come back. Yet God keeps trying over and over. I felt that I was one of these people who God blessed in order to do something positive for the country that birthed me. I don’t remember what I prayed for, must have been all the tears, but I did feel lighter and more hopeful when I walked down that mountain.

 

I hope this motivates you into visiting Haiti or partnering with the people of Haiti. For more information about sustainable development please visit projectsforhaiti.org

Love,

Lori

 

All photos are mine unless stated otherwise. 

 

Wynwood through my Eyes (Lens)

Through My Lens, Travel

I live for colorful walls/places, beautiful artsy cities, and living art so as soon as I found out about the Miami art district, I have wanted to go there. I recently visited  and I was not disappointed.

The streets were filled with more people than I thought, the warm air smelled of food, occasional cigarette smoke, and something new. You know like when you just bought new clothes or new shoes. It was pretty hot, 92 degrees Fahrenheit; But it’s Florida, I am used to it, and who cares!   Colors! Colors everywhere! art galleries, fashion boutiques, food, beautiful stores, and so on. I walked around for a while, rested, then walked some more. I took a lot of pictures of course and was completely amazed by the art and even the people there. There is something about walking on the streets and just “vibing” to the beauty around.

I mean look at these colorful walls!

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yes to colors!

 

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And to beautiful patterned walls!

I don’t know who the artists are, but in my head we are best friends or even family because so much talent! I hope they are all getting the recognition they deserve somewhere as beautiful as their art. I usually see God everywhere, especially in the gifts He gave humans and I can say I saw as much in Wynwood.

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There also were quotes everywhere along with little sayings here and there where you’d least expect it… on the floors and walls. Here are some of my favorite.

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Always

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.

I also spotted some lovers’ locks by a store and my mother mentioned that bridge that used to be full of locks somewhere in France.

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Locks

 

Here are a couple more pictures. I hope they’ll make you smile!

 

I will certainly go back for one of these tours that they usually have at night or before real life kicks in to remind me that I am not as care free as I thought. Feel free to join me!! We can be exploring buddies!

Until then,

Love

Lori

ZAKEIMA

Through My Lens

More of my last photoshoot with Queen Z. 
Love,
Lori 

   
   

2016 is a Leap Year and I am Diving Into It

Thoughts

This year has been all about letting go of fear and stepping out in faith to me. I must say that it is going well so far. From traveling solo- ish ( more about that soon) to just approaching strangers, I have truly surprised myself and it feels good. Much better, it feels amazing! Sometimes we don’t know what we are missing out on by holding on to unnecessary fear until we let go.

I was always so afraid of going out there and do what I wanted. I remember back in 5th grade, I did not submit my drawing to a contest I could have won because I was too scared. Just like I waited until high school to take a dance class because I was too afraid and too shy and it goes on and on. I have decided to never let fear hold me back again and I am taking action towards that goal day by day. I mean no it isn’t an easy thing to do, but it is so worth it. I started by taking small actions like speaking to a stranger first ( anyone who knows me knows I never do this lol) or just by being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Before I knew it, I was boarding a plane to a new destination, renting cars, and booking rooms! These are things I’ve always wanted to do but was always putting off because of my irrational fears of the unknown.

I am all here for personal growth and truly living life and that’s exactly what happened. I have done things in the past couple of months that scared me, but made me oh so happy! I am talking about the “Oh my gosh I might die” fear and you know what? I would do it all over again! I am claiming 2016 the right way and I am so ready to love, laugh, and live bigger, bolder, and better. Maybe you should too!

Love,

Lori