In case you hadn’t heard, we’ve teamed up with camera wizards Olympus for a series of Summer School sessions at our Oxford Circus store to teach you how to be a photo pro. We headed down this week to get a lesson in creating the perfect flat lays from photographer Cleveland Aaron and fashion and beauty vlogger/blogger Victoria of In The Frow. While the pupils got down to styling their shots and playing around with the super cool Olympus PEN cameras, we grabbed the teachers to find out three of todays tips ‘n’ tricks you need to know:
1. You’ve got to get your lighting right. According to Cleveland, “light is the only thing that really matters” when it comes to taking a great photo. If you’re outdoors, Victoria said it’s best to “take your photos in the daytime, when the sun is either going down or earlier in the morning. Make sure you’re at the right angle and you’re not casting any shadows, get a nice dim light.”
2. Using your camera as an extension of yourself is a surefire way to get a good shot. “The camera is built on our senses, use it like it’s your eyes” says Cleveland, “If you come outside a dark space into the light, you squint. So if you’re in a situation where the light is really bright, you need to play around with the aperture and your shutter speed so you (and your camera) don’t need to squint.”
3. Victoria’s top tip for getting a great flat lay? “Make sure you match all your colours nicely, that there’s not too much white space, and that everything looks really neat and beautiful, good composition is really important.”
Head here to find out how your can get yourself an Olympus treat!
Identical twins Ruth and May are the stars of our Summer of Love film. We caught up on set to chat holiday plans, packing tips and modelling on Icelandic glaciers…
What do you love about summer?
May: I love the English seaside. Those classic little towns with arcades, Mr. Whippy and seagulls that nick your chips.
Ruth: People just get happier in summer. Especially in London – everyone slows down and starts hanging out in the park stress free.
Any plans to go away?
M: I’m going to the Seychelles with my boyfriend – without Ruth for a change! We’ll be kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling. I can’t just sit there in the sun. You’ve got to explore and see the culture.
R: Yeah, I like not having a plan for the day – just packing a bag and going for a walk and coming across a castle or something.
Are you travelling anywhere for work?
M: Ruth’s going to Australia but I refuse to go. She keep telling me stories about spiders and cockroaches - I can’t even deal with spiders in this country.
R: Yeah, I got hit in the face by a spider once in Bondi. I was just napping at a friend’s and this Huntsman spider fell through the window and whacks me in the face! I swear it left a bruise.
Where’s the most exciting place you’ve visited?
M: We went to Iceland for work which was amazing. Travelling around in this old school bus seeing waterfalls, active volcanos, black beaches, puffins.
R: We had to model on a glacier! They made me stand on a ledge less than a metre wide in huge heels and a mini skirt in the freezing cold. It was worth it though – the photo was so cool.
With all the travelling you must be expert packers?
M: Definitely! I always pack smaller bits into shoes and roll clothes to stop things creasing. Oh and wear as much as possible to the airport so you have more space.
If you could only pack one thing what would it be?
M: It would obviously have to be suncream because we never tan.
R: Otherwise we’ll look like lobsters with loads of freckles. For us it’s head to toe in Factor 50 suncream with about seven hats on.
Do you have similar dress sense?
M: No. Ruth’s boyish and I’m feminine, that’s it in a nutshell. I think Ruth’s worn a skirt once this year, if that.
R: You have to force me into dresses – unless I’m being paid. I don’t care what anyone thinks. I just feel more comfortable in jeans and shirts.
Ibiza or French Riviera?
R: French Riviera. My liver hurts just thinking about Ibiza, we’re not massive party animals.
Magnum or Solero?
Backpacking or 5* resort?
R: Backpacking. The kind where you don’t wash for a week.
M: Definitely the 5* resort…
Want more holiday inspiration? Head to our shoppable moodboards for ideas on everything from beach to wedding
This summer we’ve asked our ultimate girls to send us postcards from their holidays! Jetting off to dream beaches or hanging out at festivals, they’ll be sharing their summer photo diaries with you, all captured on an Olympus PEN camera. First up, fashion blogger stars Leanne Lim Walker and Lydia Elise Millen head to Paris. Click through the images below to join them on a tour of the city – from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tour to Paris’ best patisseries.
What’s the best gift to give? What do bridesmaid duties actually entail? We’ve called in professional help from wedding planner London Bride’s Charley Beard to get our wedding guest etiquette nailed with a few handy dos and don’ts to get through the big day.
DO DRESS FOR THE OCCASION
“If it’s just the evening reception it’s kind of like a night out, dress for a party. If you’re there all day anything goes, but it comes from the couple and the venue. If they’re quite laid back then turning up in a huge hat and prom dress probably isn’t the best idea, so always check out first what the vibe will be for the day.”
DON’T WEAR WHITE
“I’ve seen it happen, but if in doubt, don’t wear white. These days bridesmaids wear neutral colours too so you’re more likely to clash with them than the bride.”
DO GET PERSONAL (AND THRIFTY) WITH YOUR GIFTS
“Buying something normal and getting it personalised can be a great way of not spending as much as you normally would. Treating the couple to an experience is good, tickets to the theatre or a nice dinner reservation for when they return from the honeymoon.”
DO WEAR WHATEVER SHOES YOU WANT (CANNES KNOWS NOTHING)
“If you put heels on you know they’re going to come off at some point. As a wedding planner I see pairs of shoes all over the place at the end of the night. Statement flats are huge at the moment, opt for a pointed shoe for something more elegant, they’re just as acceptable as high heels and definitely more comfortable.”
DON’T BE UNREASONABLE ABOUT THE +1 SITUATION
“Everybody is trying to cut costs when they’re planning a wedding, so +1s are always a bit of a grey area! Don’t be offended if you’ve only just started seeing someone and they don’t get invited.”
DO BE THE BEST BRIDESMAID POSSIBLE
“To be a good bridesmaid, do as you’re told! On the morning of the wedding it’s pretty chaotic so be sensible, make sure the bride eats something, make sure she’s got her bag and look after her phone. She also might need help going to the toilet in that giant dress…”
DON’T BURST IN IF YOU’RE LATE
“If the doors aren’t open, don’t go in! The ceremony is a very significant part of the day so it’s best to just hold back and pretend you were there, I wouldn’t say that you missed it, just go along with it.”
DO GET YOUR WEDDING SURVIVAL KIT IN CHECK
“Other than your phone and your keys, make sure you have plasters. If you can foldable ballet pumps in your bag you’ll be very grateful for them later! Headache tablets and indigestion tablets, they’re handy before you go dancing and tissues if you’re the soppy type.”
Can’t decided what to wear? We’ve got it sorted.
Whether you want to get stuck into a shiny new novel, or just fancy having something pretty to look at while you’re poolside, we’ve picked out the best books to pack in your beach bag this summer.
LIFE’S A BEACH by Martin Parr
Martin Parr’s seriously summery photo-book of beaches across the world (and the people enjoying them) is guaranteed to get you in the mood for summer. Plus, it’ll bring holiday vibes to your coffee table when you’re back in blighty.
Where to read: On the beach, where else?!
YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler
If you haven’t already been won over by Amy Poehler’s SNL work or starring role in Parks and Recreation, it’s time for you to get well and truly enamoured with this awesome US comedienne with her debut book, YES PLEASE. Part memoir, part self-help guide, Poehler tip-toes between hilarious anectdotes and life advice. Our favourite? Treat your career like a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don’t depend on it. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you.”
Where to read: Chuckling to yourself on a train to the country.
THE SUNLIT NIGHT by Rebecca Dinerstein
Get away from the grind and immerse yourself in the future of Frances and Yasha, as they leave their everyday troubles for a life under the midnight sun of the Norwegian Lofoten islands.
Where to read: On the plane, the journey will fly by!
LOCALS ONLY by Hugh Holland
If you’re holidaying in the UK, get some guaranteed warmth and transport yourself to the sunny sidewalks of ’70s California. Carefree skateboarders and retro dream-girls will be your stay-cation inspiration.
Where to read?: While you’re kicking back in the park on a lazy Sunday.
THE FEVER by Megan Abbott
Teenage girls, cheerleaders, hysteria. No, this isn’t a remake of Bring It On but a genuinely brilliant thriller that mixes teen rom-com genius with The Craft-like mysterious sorcery and a dash of family secrets.
Where to read: Curled up in bed at a city break vacation.
Need to know what else to pack in your beach bag? Look no further.