January 11, 2015

My Favourite Posts of 2014

As I like seeing other bloggers reflect and post about their favourite or top posts of the year before, I thought I might try the same in a small way.
My favourite blog posts of 2014 have to be the ones that have challenged me the most, pushed me a little further, and driven some sort of positive change. It's not all about the photos and the recipes, it's all about the stuff (including a bit of help) that had to occur in the background for it to come to fruition and worthy of a blog post in my eyes. It's no surprise that my favourite posts are the ones that happened right around the time I left corporate, I think I felt much freer and ready for a good change. I hope you enjoy this little commentary behind each of my favourite posts of 2014.

Mini Strawberries & Cream Layer Cakes - A post where I basically shot the photos on a hot day. It's just my luck with posts like this, I focus on shooting a baking post one day, and then it's almost always the hottest day of the week. With our apartment not having air-con, I feared the cream was gonna flop and turn everywhere but to my surprise it held up well. The little paper stands were also not as steady as it looks in these photos, they were a bit wobbly being made of cardboard and meant to only hold one normal cupcake! I probably shot a million angles fairly swiftly before putting the camera down and wiping off my sweat - it's always a bit of a workout moving around with an almost 3kg camera. I like to shoot freely and without a tripod most of the time, so I guess it's the workout I'm willing to do! The off-cuts from this cake were SO GOOD, I devoured it all after shooting this post. Rachael later featured my photos on her website also, here!

Winter Angora - This photo may look cozy and warm, and it did start off that way, but let me tell you, we chose possibly the most windiest chilly street to shoot it on and I ended up having goosebumps all over by the end of the shoot. As we didn't have long until the sun set, and I was adamant on Jase shooting some warm sun flare, we just stuck to this street that we came across. I imagined I was in the sahara though, determined we would get some great shots. I still love this jumper, but probably would choose to wear it on a day where the temp was guaranteed to hover around 16-19 degrees.

Summer Fiesta - My favourite photography subjects to shoot are of things that don't move. Shooting beauty looks has to be the most difficult and challenging thing of life. I probably spent a good 30 minutes just trying to get a good shot of the eyeshadows by myself, and because my SLR camera doesn't have a flip-out screen nor a remote control, playing with a self timer on manual mode has got to be the most tedious task ever! Selfies with such a huge camera is a weight lifting exercise in itself. I'm not yet defeated though and I'm determined to make the process easier by remembering to use my compact full frame camera in the future, and educating myself better in portrait lighting.

Strawberry Bon Bons - I shot this on possibly one of the hottest days in Sydney. I'm not sure why this always happens, but when I have it in my mind to shoot something on one day, I must do it.  Call me stubborn or whatever, but I place deadline pressure for myself on this blog all the time. I don't make a dime from this blog, I just really like staying focussed and getting the job done for myself. I waited until very late in the day before I tried shooting, and gosh it was a rally between the counter, the dining table, the tripod, taking the camera off the tripod, the freezer, back and forth and back and forth like this for ages. Chocolate and ice cream all over my fingers and my hair all frazzled in the process. But boy, I loved the result both on print and in my stomach!

Hamburgular - I absolutely loved the striped crop top trend in 2014, there was something about the way it made you feel Parisian. Jase and I simply shot this look down the road from our place in a quiet alleyway, and it was one of the first fashion-y shoots we did with my new Nikon D610 camera.
Since leaving corporate, I haven't had much of a chance to wear heels on a daily basis like I used to, but this is a good reminder to change things up a bit!

Stripes in Santorini - Ahhh Santorini. Such a distant memory, but such a wonderful memory. I can't believe we spent almost 6 weeks in Europe, it truly went by so fast. I would happily revisit Santorini again, and maybe some of the lesser known Greek islands nearby, but I probably wouldn't visit in such a hot month again (we were there in mid-August). I love this photo as a reminder of the time when I did a lot of reflecting and idea brainstorming while we were away. My Evernote app became full of notes and ideas for Mia Loves Pretty, it was like my brain just switched into full gear. It also was so great to see Jase unwind and switch off from work (he works some LONG hours) and it was the first time in a long time where we had concentrated one on one time together.  This photo is a good reminder that we shouldn't feel guilty about taking a decent break, as holidays like these really does the brain AND soul some good.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes - I just love the mix of tangy and sweet. Lemon Meringue is just the ultimate classic dessert and I had waited quite a long time to try it in a cake form. As you know I'm not much of a cake person, but I am trying to be more of one this year...one of many new tasks for 2015. This was also the start of me playing around with moodier food photos. I want to be able to shoot photos that feel like you're about to sit down with a cup of coffee in a cabin in the woods, cozied up with blankets,  or photos of food that are rich in texture and contrasting colours.
Aside from a few pointers from Jase, and a food photography workshop with Billy Law, I am largely self taught in photography. Playing around with dark background props, the manual settings on the camera, and changing the cupcakes placement a million times took quite a lot out of my afternoon, but when I see a photo that I'm truly proud of like this one, it's just a great reminder to keep on truckin'.

New Years Eve Sparkle - I literally gave Jase 5 minutes to prepare for this shot. We were already running late to a friend's place for New Years eve bbq and I was adamant this was a must do before we left the house. I showed him a sample pic I saw on Pinterest, shoved the camera in his hand and told him I was going to blow a million copper sparkles in his face, while it was his job to freeze frame it into a spectacular photo. No pressure right? To my surprise he lovingly did it with no protest (like he really had a chance to hehe), and I absolutely love the shot. He put the camera on burst mode so there were a fair few pics to choose from, with some very unflattering face smirks and Bailey punching me in the face in the mix. Bailey, Jase and I were covered in glitter afterwards and I actually edited and uploaded the pics for my new year's eve blog post in the car, enroute to our friends place! I quite enjoyed the rush and pressure to work in a small space (hello moving vehicle!) and in limited time frame. Maybe there'll be more jobs to come where I work on the fly?


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