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Photography

My Work Photography

My Work: Brand Photography with UnOrthodoc Candles

I recently had the pleasure of working with UnOrthodoc Candles to capture product photos for their website and social media pages. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand, it’s a candle company started by Dr. Patrice Smith. The name UnOrthodoc Candles is actually a play on her profession as an Orthodontist!

What I really loved about this project was that the client had a vision and a theme for each candle. For example, the “Good Vibes” candle smells very tropical and was created because Dr. Patrice Smith grew up in Jamaica. When I spoke to her, she asked for an image that would essentially bring that tropical/island smell to life. 

I am so proud of the work that I did with The UnOrthodoc and most importantly, the client loved the finished product. Here’s a look at some of the images that I captured, which can also be found on The UnOrthodoc website.

If you like this and would like to see more or learn how to capture compelling brand photos, be sure to subscribe to my email mailing list!

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Camera Lenses Photography

Canon Camera Lens Buying Guide For Influencers

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As a photographer/blogger/influencer, I understand the importance of having a quality lens or two in my stash. Over the past several years, I’ve invested in a number of lenses to help me take better quality flatlays for Instagram and record better videos for YouTube. That is why I’ve created this Canon Camera Lens Buying Guide for influencers and bloggers.

In this video, I share my top 5 camera lenses that are both affordable and of great quality. In the end, I provide my top three lenses for influencers and bloggers looking to upgrade from the standard kit lens. 

Canon Camera Lens Buying Guide For Influencers

Want more?

Visit the PIX Tips Facebook Group, a community of photographers and content creators looking to share, learn and grow together!

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Flatlays Photography

10 Inspirational Flatlay Instagram Accounts to Follow

If you haven’t already noticed, flatlays have arrived and they are here to stay! Nowadays, you can’t visit an Instagram account without coming across at least one or two. If you’re like me and you want to improve your flatlay skills, the best way to do that is by following as many flatlay Instagram accounts as you can for inspiration!

Not sure where to start with your search? I got you! Here are 10 of my all-time favorite flatlay Instagram accounts right now.

10 Inspirational Flatlay Instagram Accounts to Follow

 

A post shared by Elisa (@elisauc) on

 

A post shared by Lena Saibel🌸 (@lenasaibel) on

 

A post shared by narisha naresh (@narishanaresh) on

 

A post shared by Lemon (@pannalemoniada) on

Do you have a favorite flatlay Instagram account that you follow? Share a link down below!

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Flatlays Photography

5 Tips to Help You Improve Your Flatlays Instantly

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When I first got started as a blogger/influencer, I quickly realized how important flatlays are to a brand. They’re essentially the bread and butter of any social media content strategy. I guarantee that if you visited your favorite brand/influencer on Instagram right now, you’d see a flatlay. They’re everyehwere!

That is why I dedicated the last year to studying and practicing the art of flatlays. I’m now at a place where I want to share the knowledge that I’ve picked up with my fellow bloggers/influencers/brands that may be struggling. I want to help us all slay the flatlay together!

In this kick-off post, I share five tips that will help you improve your flatlays, right away! Enjoy.

Lighting

When it comes to flatlays, I cannot stress enough how important lighting is to your photo. If you do not have enough light for your flatlay, your photos can look dark, out-of-focus and/or grainy. Inversely, if there is too much light, then quite frankly my dear, you’ll have a hot, over-exposed, mess on your hands. Hot mess, I say!

The trick to capturing beautiful, properly exposed flatlays, is to use natural lighting whenever it’s available. It’s bright. It’s everywhere and the best thing about it is, it’s 100% free! I’ll say that again for the folks in the back. It’s 100% free! Oh, yea. We likes free!

If you have big windows in your home that let in a lot of light, it’s best to set up shop nearby. If you’re like me and you don’t get a LICK of light in your home, pack things up and move outside. The great thing about shooting outside (besides all the warmth!) is that you can get beautiful shadowing that will help add a bit of dimension to your flatlays. This is especially handy for product photography!

Props

Let’s make a long story short! If you want to create amazing flatlays, you’re going to need to prop it like it’s hot! Props are great for adding a little jazz and pizazz to a photo. Some examples of props include silverware, clothing, jewelry, makeup, shoes, etc. Pretty much, anything can be used as a prop. Some of my favorite places to purchase props are: Target, Dollar Store, Urban Outfitters, Ban.do, Sugar Paper and Cocuspocus (cutest name, right?!).

The most important thing to remember is that you should use props sparingly (unless you’re going for a more cluttered look) and in a way that makes sense for the theme of your flatlay.

Wait. Theme? What are you talking about Onye?

Theme

Having a theme is essential to any good flatlay. Not only does it makes it easier to decide which props to use in your flatlay, it also helps make the flatlay look cohesive. For example, if you’re going with a pink theme, you’ll want to grab props that are pink in color (preferably a similar shade of pink). If you’re going with an “in bed” theme, you’ll want to use props that make the most sense on the bed. Maybe it’s breakfast food (I can’t be the only barbarian that eats in their bed!), makeup, clothes or a combination of all three. 

Photo Styling

When I first started doing flatlays, I didn’t know the first thing about photo styling. So, I just didn’t do it. I would LITERALLY just stick one item on a white backdrop and call it a diggy-damn-day! Let me tell you something. Those photos were basic, baby. Basic! *hides face in shame*. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with having only one item in a photo. I’m actually a big fan of minimalistic images! When executed right, they can be just as impactful as prop-heavier images.

But I digress…

In order to learn more about photo styling and flatlays in general, I watched a lot of YouTube videos. I searched for inspiration on Pinterest and I did a lot of experimenting.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when styling your flatlay:

  • Identify the main object in the flatlay and ensure that it doesn’t get overshadowed by other items. 
  • Try to stick to no more than 3 main colors in your flatlay (unless your theme is a colorful concoction of sorts).
  • Incorporate small “filler” props like confetti, paperclips or makeup in order to help fill in empty space in your flatlay.
  • Select a backdrop that does not compete with the props in your flatlay. A multi-patterned, brown carpet may not pair well with super colorful props.
  • Get creative with your crops. Don’t be afraid to crop some things out, partially or completely if they’re not necessary to the story of the flatlay.
  • Experiment! Experiment! Experiment. Don’t expect to get the best flatlay on your first attempt. Trust me. You’d be setting yourself up for disappointment. You have to play around with it, massage it a bit until you get all of the kinks out of it. 
  • Keep some inspirational images near by to spark your creativity when you’re in a rut. *Never copy!*

If you’re looking for some inspirational Instagram accounts to follow, here are a few of my favorite flatlay finessers on Instagram: WhatShePictures (dope!), Ardaisy, and Cocobassey are just a few of my faves.

Editing

Although you can share your flatlays straight out of the camera, I strongly recommend doing some post-editing before showcasing your beautiful work. Post-editing allows you to tweak things like white balance.

Some of my favorite editing tools include Photoshop, Lightroom, VSCO, Snapseed, Facetune and Afterlight.  

Want More?

Join the PIX Tips Facebook Group to learn more about photography and to grow with other photographers of color. And if there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover next, drop a comment down below!

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Sincerely,
Onye The Flatlay Slayer

Content Creation Photography

5 Must-Have Apps For Influencers and Content Creators

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When I first started out as a Content Creator, I was as lost as Nemo when it came to ALL the things. I didn’t know the first thing about taking photos, editing said photos and I definitely didn’t know a thing about creating a cohesive theme. I was a complete and utter newbie.

What helped me navigate the convoluted sea of content creation, was doing some research and putting what I learned into practice. It took me a good two years (and lots of sleepless nights!) to get to the place that I am now. I know that there’s still so much more for me to learn, but I’ve definitely come a long way.

As I learn and grow, I want to share some of the information that I pick up along the way. Hopefully it makes your journey to becoming a kick ass Content Creator a bit easier than mine!

The first nugget of knowledge that I am sharing are 5 must-have apps that will change your life and have you singing praises to baby Jesus. Hope they help!

 

1. Planoly

Planoly is an app that allows you to plan, manage, schedule and auto-post your Instagram pictures/videos from a desktop or mobile phone.

I discovered Planoly last year and it completely changed my content creation process. What I love most about it is that it allows you to upload your assets and move them around on a grid to position them in whatever way your heart desires. This should be music to your ears! Instagram is such a visual-driven platform. As such, being able to strategically plan out your posts is a must and Planoly makes it a cinch!

Planoly-Interface

Price: free – $159/month (Definitely start off with free)

 

2. Trello

Trello, oh Trello. Where have you been all my life?! If you’re like me and organization makes you want to curl up into a ball and give up on life, THIS. IS. THE. APP. FOR. YOU! It’s a beautifully designed app (shoutout to the UX team) that helps you keep track of both your big and small projects. Seriously, I manage everything from my client work to my personal life on this app. It’s everything!

My favorite thing about it is that you can move things around, create boards and checklists with very little effort. It’s a game changer.

Trello-Interface

 

Price: free – $20.83/month (such odd pricing lol)

 

3. VSCO

Ever wonder how your favorite influencers get such beautiful pictures? A big part of it is photography, but another part of it is editing. A good filter can take your photo from single digit likes to Instagram stardom in the blink of an eye.

VSCO is THE only editing app that you really need to elevate the look and feel of your content on Instagram. It offers an endless amount of filters and adjustment settings for you to play around with. Almost too much!

What I love most about VSCO is that it allows you to copy and paste edits from one photo over to another. This helps you keep some consistency on your Instagram account. 

For example, my theme on Instagram is pretty white. As such, I use the app to brighten up all of my images so that they all have a similar look and feel. 

White-Instagram-Theme 

Price: free!

 

4. Canva

I consider myself to be a pretty creative person, but when it comes to making graphics and things like that, I admittedly suck! It’s just not in my skill set. *Cries self a river*

Canva is an amazing app that allows you to create beautiful designs for use on Instagram, Instagram Stories, Facebook, websites and everything under the sun. The best thing about it is that a two-year old can use it! Seriously, it’s fast and easy.

They have hundreds, possibly thousands of pre-made templates, graphics, fonts for you to choose from and edit to make them your own. It’s a great way to elevate your content and have people thinking your some wonderful graphic designer! I won’t tell if you don’t!

Here’s a mood board I created using the Canva app: 
Canva-Moodboard

Price: Free (for the most part). However, there are some design elements that you have to pay for. 

 

5. Photoshop / Lightroom

Photoshop and Lightroom are probably the most expensive apps on this list. However, I wanted to include them for any influencer/Content Creator that really wants to take their photos to the next level. I’m going to keep it real with you all for one quick second. Phone apps like VSCO, Afterlight and Snapseed are great, but they can only do so much. Yea, I said it.

If you really want to have complete and total control of the hues, shadows and saturation of your images, go ahead and make the investment in Photoshop AND Lightroom. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you have a MODERATE understanding of them, you’ll be able to edit your images in no time at all.

Price: $9.99/month. The great thing is that Adobe offers a Photography plan which is a monthly subscription service for both Photoshop and Lightroom. Hooray!

And that’s all she wrote! All 5 of these apps will help elevate your content and just make your life that much simpler. If you found this helpful, let me know in the comments below and I’ll come back with a new list next week!

Photography

New Year, New Me?

Canon70D in Hand

I won’t sit here and pretend like this will be the year that I miraculously turn into a whole new person. Nah, fam. That would be a lie. Truth be told, I’m taking the same ole me into 2018. I’ll just make a few minor adjustments to ensure that at the end of the year I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished.

A Challenge to Myself

This year, I’m challenging myself to do more of the things that make me happy and less of the things that make me want to light my body on fire and jump into a pool of kerosene.

As far as I know, I’m not guaranteed a tomorrow (If anyone knows differently, please holla at your girl!). If this is true, then I don’t want to waste my todays doing things that don’t genuinely make me happy (e.g sitting at a desk for 9-10 hours of my day). I. Just. Can’t. Live. That. Life. Anymore.

In 2017, I was being led by my fears: fears of tomorrow, fears of taking risks, fears of failure, fears of what others may think, etc.). What I’ve learned is that, living in constant fear of things that may never materialize, is not living at all!

So how about we make this the year we step out on faith. Let’s make this the year we stop taking no for an answer. Let’s make this the year we get our Will Smith on and pursue happiness until we set our souls on fire! Who’s with me!?

2018 Goals

I have a ton of things that I’d like to accomplish this year, but if I’m being realistic, I’ll only be able to take on a few. Listed below are the goals that I will be focusing on throughout the year:

  1. Become a full time freelance photographer
    • Develop my people photography skills
  2. Grow as a micro influencer and secure more collaborations with beauty and lifestyle brands for Pieces of Onye
    1. Revive this blog!
  3. Volunteer

Seems doable, right?! I definitely think so! Part of the reason why I’m writing this blog post is so that I’m held accountable for these goals. This time next year, I want to feel proud of what I’ve accomplished and I want to sit back and say, “Damn Onye, you lived your best life in 2018!”

What are some of your goals for the new year?

Photography

I’m Not A Photographer But…

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This week, I had an opportunity to snap a few photos of my buddy Ry-Ry, in the mean streets of Downtown Los Angeles. He’s starting a pretty dope clothing line called Strongin and from what I’ve seen so far, it’ going to be amazing!

Here are a few of the shots from our shoot.

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Photography What To Wear

Plaid is the New Black

I own an abnormal number of plaid shirts. I don’t know how or when it happened, but one day I looked up and there were checkered boxes EVERYWHERE.

One of the best things about plaid shirts is that they pair beautifully with almost everything. Yes, even dresses!

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