Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

25 Apr 2015

Instagram photography and floral styling.

I've become such a mahoosive fan of Instagram of late, I guess because its more about pictures than words. My brain is clearly one which responds to visual stimulation, being obsessed with how my house looks, and by that I don't mean neat and tidy, quite the opposite.  I love colour, detail, interesting objects from every era, creating a visual story.  Taking photos and mood shots for myself and others gives me the excuse to hoard, what I call 'props' and have even managed to convince the other half that I need all these 'props' for photos.  Even shoes become props! Darling I need them for a photo idea ...

So maybe its time to talk about photography. My history with a camera goes back to 1978, so you could say that Ive been married to one most of my life, just upgrading now and then.  My first SLR was a Pentax Spotmatic F, fully manual.  I shot on film and printed in a darkroom, oh, how things have changed. 

Without going too far down memory lane, lets jump to now. My latest love is my Canon 5D Mkii. I have two lenses, one zoom and one fixed. This camera is great at shooting in low light and chosen because I hate studio lights and artificial lighting.  Using just a folding reflector to bounce and direct light at times. 

My most recent purchase was a 100mm fixed macro lens which I bought second hand on e-bay.  It is a bit risky buying on ebay, I did once buy a camera body for my step-daughter which totally didn't work, luckily e-bay refunded but it did spoil her birthday surprise. 

Its a shame that camera shops have disappeared, my nearest one is quite some distance.

One thing about Instagram is its format for square photos, having always arranged and shot for old school oblong format either portrait or landscape. Its taken me a few weeks but now Im finding that I arrange and set up for the square format as it works better on social media. 

My drive for taking photos almost daily has been set with Instagram challenges which I have talked about before. And sometimes when I think the subject is out of my comfort zone, I surprise myself. It really keeps you on your toes, plus there are so many brilliant photographers there to aspire too.  I have won some challenges and competitions recently and it is such a thrill to be featured by great taste makers and style setters. 

Next week Im off for a flower styling course I won, so will be bursting to tell you about that. 


Making mood boards is a great way to try colour and texture combinations. Flowers usually feature as the colours of nature are the most inspiring and often the most vivid. Move in closer to see the detail and you will see things you never noticed before, I never really liked Ranunculas until I started photographing them.

This Graphite chalk paint background is the perfect muse for pinks and purples.

A lot of my background colours are using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, some of them are left over pieces from my Painters In Residence project.  

Mobile phone cameras are now remarkably good and I believe that its this that has encouraged a lot of women to take up photography.  I would encourage anyone who finds themselves taking more photos on their phone to think about moving onto a basic DSLR like the Nikon D60 or D90.  

My other tip is don't be lazy, don't just snap from where you stand or sit, get up, bend down, move the right distance away.  Think about the angle and how it changes the perspective.  A table wont look like a table if you shoot it from a standing position, get it at eye level so the legs don't warp. The beauty about digital photography is that you can take hundreds of pics and then go through them on the computer to see which works, a good learning curve.  

Ive met a few interior photographers who say that when they go to shoot homes, whilst the homes look beautiful to the naked eye, they don't always look so great on camera.  Hence why every part of my house looks like its been set up for a photo or a shop display, I just can't help myself. What this has taught me as an interior designer is that you don't need an impressive mansion, my home is very modest small roomed house with no period features but you wouldn't notice that if you came round, with your eyes distracted every which way with crazy colours and objects.

To join in on challenges and competitions just look out for the hashtag # followed by subjects like - my still sunday - capturing colour - gathered style - by arrangement - floral friday - my monday moodboard - this joyful moment - styling the seasons.

I actually have my own one #farfromthemaddingcrowd  where you post a photo and tag me @janiceissitt_life_style with a pic that shows your interpretation of "Far From The Madding Crowd". Please do find me and join in, theres a paperback copy of the book for the winner. I should also mention what a wonderful community it is on Instagram.  If you follow the right people you will not be bombarded with pouting selfies, but lovely insights into creative souls who support each other. Find your likeminded doppelganger who is residing on the other side of the world, the girl in Amsterdam who shares your love of tattoos and clogs, the mum in America who also collects Dala Horses and Swedish folky stuff, they are all out there through this portal called an App.  Modern life eh, its not so bad.

See you next week after Ive been to London for my prize of Syling Spring At Mine.

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