Alicia Tenise | A D.C. Life + Style Blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

5 Photo Tips for Style Bloggers

photos by: lisa Chiu

I've been blogging for a few years now, and I frequently am asked about my blog's photography. I've gotten the chance to work with some amazing photographers (thank you Pam and Lisa!), however, I've picked up a few tips and tricks of my own throughout the years. For all of you style bloggers who are a little new to the outfit post game or just want to learn something new, here are a few tips and tricks to make your photos pop.

1. It's All About The Lens
First tip: don't think you need to spend $3000 on a full-frame DSLR. If you're just starting out, that is completely unnecessary. Heck, I haven't even upgraded to a full-frame camera yet, but I'm working on that since I'm reaching that point of my blogging career. I use a pretty cheap DSLR. I have a Nikon D40 that I got as a high school graduation present back in the day and never really learned how to use properly, until recently. D40's have since been discontinued, but an equivalent would be a Nikon D5300.

How do I get good photos from such a cheap, 7-year-old DSLR? It's all about the lens. If you're still using your kit lens, stop right there. You need to invest in a new lens ASAP. I shoot with a 35mm lens and Lisa alternates between a 50mm and a 35mm lens. You'll get that dreamy depth of field that all bloggers are craving with these lenses!

2. Timing, Timing, Timing
There are certain times of the day when it's optimal to shoot photos. I love to shoot photos during golden hour, aka approximately an hour before sunset. The lighting is soft and everything looks, well, golden. You could technically shoot photos when the sun is rising too, but this chick right here is not a morning person! Shooting during the middle of a super sunny day is pretty dreadful: you're bound to get a ton of unwanted shadows, it's hard not to squint and the light is going to be harsh. However, if you can't avoid shooting in the middle of the day, try standing under a shaded area to avoid harsh sunlight. I also live for shooting on overcast days too, I've shot some of my favorite photos ever on a cloudy day!

3. Don't forget the accessories
I used to be really awkward in front of the camera. I'm still kind of awkward to be honest, but I've learned a few things to make me appear less awkward. One thing that helps is that I always try to shoot with a bag. If you're shooting with a bag, you can avoid that awkward "I don't know what to do with my hands" moment, grab on to your purse, and instantly look way more natural. I also love rocking a pair of sunglasses in a post too, just in case, you know, my face looks insane. Real talk.

4. Invest in Photo Editing Tools
You're going to need to do a little color correcting to your photos no matter what. I'm going to just throw this one out here: buckle down and pay for Adobe Creative Cloud. Seriously. I'm paying $9.99/month for Photoshop and Lightroom and it is completely worth it. If you opt for Adobe Creative Cloud, you'll always be updated with the latest software versions as well for no extra cost. Score! Also, experience with Photoshop and Lightroom looks fabulous on a resume. As a marketing professional, my Adobe skills often come in handy. I know that there are other photo editing apps out there, but get the real deal. You can also purchase Photoshop and Lightroom actions to make photo editing faster and give yourself a fun filter/look to your photos. I'm digging the Beautiful Mess actions!

5. Make it Pinnable
Over the past year, I've had several pins go viral. After realizing the power of Pinterest and how much traffic it can drive to my site, I always try to make my photos "pinnable". What is a pinnable image, you ask? I've found that my vertical detail shots (like the one above) tend to get pinned more than a full length body shot or horizontal shots. My goal every photoshoot is to come out with at least 1-2 super pinnable images that will hopefully go viral!

Do you have any photography tips & tricks? Share them in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Switch Up

bb dakota galvin, criss cross dress, dc blogger, urban chic boutique, va blogger, style blogger, how to wear a sundress

First things first: let's chat about hair. I've been convinced for the last 8 years that I needed long hair because hello, how else was I going to channel my inner Beyonce? Well, having the same length of hair for 8 years is b-o-r-i-n-g, so it was about time I switched things up. I surprisingly feel super sassy with this shorter style and I don't miss the long locks at all. Can't wait to figure out new ways to style the new 'do!

Speaking of new things, let me tell you about one of my new favorite boutiques in the D.C. area. I was invited to check out Urban Chic in Georgetown (disclaimer: I only live 1.5 miles away from Georgetown and still don't make it over there that much. Oops. I'm working on it) and I fell in love with pretty much everything. They carry amazing brands (Paige, Rebecca Minkoff, Shoshanna and AG Jeans to name a few) and I seriously wanted to buy everything. My wallet wouldn't allow me to do so, but I did snag this cute little BB Dakota dress. I have a feeling I'm going to be living in this dress all spring and summer!

Want to check out Urban Chic for yourself? They happen to have a ton of trunk shows going on this weekend! If you're not local, they have a website where you can shop too. Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Must Have: Spring Coats and Jackets

Duster coats: one // two // three
denim jackets: one // two // three
patterned jackets: one // two // three

I don't know why, but I've always been obsessed with a great jacket/coat. Something about a great piece of outerwear can instantly make you look that much more polished. My friends have dubbed me the "queen of jackets" because of my extensive outerwear collection. 

The key to transitioning into spring with ease is layering. Instead of buying sundresses and sandals right now, I'm on the hunt for the perfect jackets to get me through the chilly days ahead. I love the idea of a longer jacket for spring, so a duster coat is a must. I also love the idea of paring a patterned coat with jeans and heels, such an easy, simple yet chic ensemble. And lastly, denim jackets in any wash are a year-round essential!

Shop More Spring Jackets:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Style Roundup + Giveaway

look one // look two // look three

LOOK four // LOOK five // LOOK six

Happy first day of spring everyone! As I type this post, snow is falling outside of my window. How rude, Mother Nature. How. Rude.

Anyway, I have a lot of folks following me now that weren't following along this time last year. Yay! Welcome. ICYMI, here are some of my favorite looks from last year. I also like looking at these photos from last year as well, because some of these amazing pieces have been hiding in the depths of my closet. I'm never going to claim that I have nothing to wear again!

To kick off spring, I've teamed up with a few bloggers and we're giving away $800 in cash. Yup, that's not a typo. Whoever wins this prize, I'm majorly jealous of you already. This giveaway will go live at 6pm tonight, so mark your calendars!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


True story: I actually won this sweater in a giveaway last year. Yeah I know, I was surprised that I actually won a giveaway too. I'm pretty obsessed with this sweater, but never ended up shooting it for the blog because it wasn't shipped to my house until June and the average daily temps were well into the 80s by that point. A little too warm to actually wear this gorgeous sweater! However, this piece is fabulous for the milder weather we've been experiencing lately! This sweater is a bit cropped, so I plan on rocking it with some high-waisted skirts later on in the season.

Even though this sweater is a year old, I did manage to find the exact same one on Score! I've also linked a few other peach sweaters below because let's face it: we all need to slowly introduce a bit of color back into our wardrobes after this long winter.

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