Styled Shoot | Horniman Museum

Hello hello! Today I am sharing this stunning fine art shoot that was featured on Bloved a few weeks ago. The whole shoot was shot on film by the wonderful Faye Cornhill and it is just perfection. I am lucky enough to live about 10 minutes away from The Horniman Museum which is home to this stunning 19th century glasshouse which I LOVE (seriously though I am like totally mad for any kind of conservatory/glasshouse). It also happens to be the place that we went for Oscars first outing when he was a teeny tiny babe at three weeks old...so I love it even more for that reason.

The team for this shoot were absolutely amazing - so lovely and so talented that it was an absolute dream to be a part of. I created a deep burgundy and white suite with a vellum wrap around and twine and wax seal details ( obseeeeeeessed) along with some delicate vellum place settings that looked so beautiful amongst the stunning tablescape. You can see the whole original feature here and some of my favourite images below.

I would love to know what you think about this shoot! Leave me a comment or pop over to my Instagram and leave me one there!

L x

Dream Team || Photography Faye Cornhill Photography | Styling + Coordination Lovestruck Weddings | Venue The Conservatory at the Horniman Musuem | Floral Design Blue Sky Flowers | Cake Little Bear Cakery | Stationery Oh Wonder Calligraphy | Hair + MUA Kylie McMichael | Silk Runner + Ribbons Lancaster & Cornish | Veil & Accessories Britten Weddings | Beaded Gown Needle & Thread | Off the Shoulder Wedding Dress Stephanie Allin | Lace/Tulle Bridal Separates So Sassi| Tableware Rentals Classic Crockery | Chair & Linen Hire Options Hire | Bridal Shoes Harriet Wilde| Film Processing Canadian Film Lab | Floral Hair Vine Paper Petal & Wild | Styling Assistant Heartshaped Weddings | Videography This Modern Revelry | Model - Maid of Honour Maria Laszlo | Model - Bride Holly Phillips | Model - Groom Sergio Verdug

Monthly Recap | March

Erm. Right. So the first QUARTER of this year is now done. How? Is there some kind of time lord shenanigans happening here? Because days, weeks, months, QUARTERS seem to be flying by. 

So moving on swiftly from those scary thoughts - March has been a super fun month - with the main events being that I exhibited at my first two wedding fairs which I really enjoyed! The first Sunday of March was spent at the Chosen Wedding Fair in Islington. It was such a nice day and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of lovely couples and suppliers. As it was my first fair I didn't really know what to expect and it was the first time that we had properly set up my stand background and shelves (lovingly built by my darling baby daddy) so I was a bit nervous but I was really happy with how it turned out. A couple of weeks later I exhibited at Most Curious with all the cool kids and although it was the looooongest weekend - I was totally exhausted by Sunday - it again was so fun, I met loads of lovely lovely people and discussed lots of amazing wedding plans. I had the same stand set up but this time the AMAZING Gee from Bloom and Burn gave it a little spruce up with some florals which were total PERFECTION, I literally sent him one inspiration image and he nailed exactly what I wanted. Total Babe.

During March I also did the March Meet The Maker Instagram challenge which was great - I had been in a little bit of funk with Instagram during Feb so this really picked me up and I really enjoyed all the daily prompts - in total honesty I didn't quite manage to get all the prompts but I actually did more than I thought I would, so well done me :) 

I have had two shoots out in March - Secret Garden Banquet on Rock My Wedding and the Victorian inspired Horniman shoot on Bloved both of which I loved and will be blogging about this month (promise). I also took part in a couple of shoots which I can't wait to share - so watch this space for them too.

Along with generally getting prepped for the fairs March was also full of lots of client work - some for private wedding clients and some corporate work. Both including lots and lots of envelopes which I really enjoy because it's just doing calligraphy for hours no faffing about on the computer, which in a life full of admin, is nice from time to time.

April is yet another busy month but the sun is shining and I feel pretty ready for it (I think....maybe....kind of?) it is also full of lots of fun 'life' stuff as well as work with Oscars second birthday this week, a trip to the New Forest for Easter planned and also a girly weekend to Oxford with my sister at the end of the month - so lots of exciting things to look forward to. Work wise I have quite a few exciting on the day projects to get started on for early summer weddings along with some new collection plans....ooooooo. I feel like I need a lie down just thinking about it....

So here we go....April, Spring, Quarter Two....I am coming for you! 

L x

What I Have Learnt | Instagram | Part Two

Well hello there and welcome to part two of What I have learnt about Instagram! If you haven't yet read part one (WHY?!) you can find it here. So settle down with a cuppa and fight the attention seeking toddler and dog away (surely that can’t only be my life?!) and get reading all about what I think about hashtags, having a cohesive page and lots more! As discussed in my last post about Instagram I am so far away from being insta-famous (goddamnit) but I am happy with where I am with my posting and engagement so I just wanted to share some tips that I have found helpful! 

HASHTAGS

Hashtags - those pesky little buggers. Annoying but essential. It is how the search system of platforms like Instagram and Twitter work and also if you don't use them then you aren't going to be getting in the #dream top nine and people can’t find you. You can use a maximum of thirty per post and in my opinion I would use them all. I personally have a little note in my phone with them all in and I just copy and paste and then add a couple which are more targeted to each post. When searching for hashtags to add to your ‘catalogue’ if you type into the search bar one of your hashtags it will come up with related ones if you are falling short of ideas! 

HAVING A COHESIVE PAGE

For me as a creative and visual person having a cohesive page is really important as I see my Instagram as an extension of my website. The images on my account are a mix of professional styled photos and pictures I have taken myself with my iPhone. I don't touch professional images (huge no no to edit any photographers images) but with my phone pictures I always edit with VSCO and use the same filter each time. Now I do not profess to know anything about photography lighting drives me crazy and getting whites took look the same quite literally makes me want to throw my phone in the bin BUT I do have a little area that I do most of my flat lays and I try to do it when the lighting isn't direct sunshine but before dusk. It is worth finding a little area where the environment is pretty constant to take your photos. Find a filter that suits your branding and style and then stick to it, apps like VSCO are great they have so many options for editing. I am also one of those insanely annoying people that posts a picture to see what it looks like on my grid and then deletes it straight away (SORRY to anyone that gets notifications for my account!) to make a proper post. Uber annoying I know. Sorry. 

STYLING

This point follows on slightly from the last - I am SO far away from being any kind of styling guru but after I went to a Makelight workshop and saw the styling GENIUS Emily Quinton style some of my calligraphy I started to pull together a bit of a styling box which I pull out when I am putting together a flat lay. This has made life waaaaay easier as I know where everything is and its super easy to grab the bits I need. I have a selection of ribbons and materials and also a couple of backdrops from Capture by Lucy which are amazing and since getting my Ash Bush penholder that has made a lot of appearances! Using the same selection of items to style up my images also brings together the cohesiveness of my page…for me, luckily, the things that I am taking photos of are generally pretty small so I don’t need a lot of styling tools just adding a bit of ribbon or material in brings a bit of depth to the photo. 

SEEING YOUR PROFILE AS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR WEBSITE/PORTFOLIO

As I mentioned on my previous point I see my profile as an extension of my website, it is essentially a up to date portfolio for my work. On my website I only use professional images that I have got from shoots but on Instagram I can post less than perfect images of my works in progress and show them off. Quite often when I get enquiries from potential clients i will point them in the direction of an Instagram post if I have done something similar in the past. For me also it is a great way of attracting new clients and I do get a lot of my work through people that have found me on there. Because of this obviously it is important to be professional on your profile when communicating with your followers and also posting on other peoples pictures. In short. Don't be a d*ck on Instagram.

INSTAGRAM CHALLENGES

I love an Instagram challenge, its great if your lacking a bit of inspiration and the people who organise them generally know what they are talking about so you’ll be posting content that people react well too. If you follow me you will know that currently I am doing Joanne Hawkers march meet the maker and I am really enjoying it. I have also previously done week long Rising Tide society challenges and one by Jenna Kutcher. It is also a great way to engage with other creatives who are doing the challenge by looking through the associated hashtag.

STORIES

Instagram stories are awesome. I love them. In a world of perfect curated Instagram pages they are a great way to show real life and behind the scenes without the pressure of it looking Instagram perfect. I love to use stories to show new materials, projects I am working on and sneak peeks along with a little insight into my life (mainly videos of my son and dog BECAUSE THEY ARE CUTE plus they literally follow me everywhere and I can’t get rid of them) I am yet to talk on stories as I sound like a four year old when I talk in videos so yeh probably going to keep avoiding that, but if you have the confidence to then go for it, I think its a great way to communicate with your followers. To top it off you can filter them and add a little bit of text to explain to your followers what the hell is going on. 

WOW so to round the second part of this essay up. I love Instagram. These tips might not work for everyone but I am very happy about where I have got in the last year of having my business account and I wanted to share a little bit of my learning process with you…just incase it can help…and if it does then please let me know - it’s always nice to know that someone out there is reading this.

L x

What I have learnt | Instagram

Get your party pants on because it is time for another dose of wisdom I like to call ‘What I have learnt’ and this post is all about the glorious little app called Instagram. I have split it into two parts because it is super long and I didn't want to send anyone to sleep, so you can catch part two next week! I am so so so far away from being any kind of Instagram genius but in a year I have built up, what I feel is, a honest following which is engaging and I also get a lot of my work and sales from it, so I thought I would share my insight into what I have learnt about using Instagram for your business.

HONESTY IS KEY

This isn't only one of my tips for Instagram but also in general small business running. I believe that it is really important that in all aspects of your business you are honest and true to yourself, your morals and ethics. On Instagram I write my captions like I speak using language that I would use if I was describing a picture to someone face to face. I feel like it is important when portraying yourself online that your viewer/customer gets a feeling of who you are, yes your work is speaking for itself but they aren’t only buying your product/service they are also buying into you being a part of their wedding/event/very important occasion and it is important that they have some connection with you as a person as well. 

GETTING PERSONAL

I have two Instagram accounts - I have my personal one which is basically full of baby and sausage dog spam, and then I have my business Oh Wonder account. I personally chose to keep them separate as I love posting pictures of my son and dog and know that potential clients probably don't want to see that all the time (although I don't god knows why, my son and dog are magnificient), whereas my friends do and they in turn probably don't want to be spammed with my calligraphy work. That is not to say that it isn't important to show personal parts of your life on your business profile as well. I like to do introduction posts every so often (especially when I reach a milestone of followers) and share snippets of life, for the very same reason I mentioned in my first point - your clients are buying into you and its important that they know who that is and know that there is a real person behind the computer screen. When picturing my ideal client she has similarities to me and in some ways is the person that I aspire to be (i.e. she's engaged) therefore by putting parts of myself and personality out there she may be attracted to similarities that we have and feel like she will have a stronger connection to me and therefore reach out to me to work on her project (and be best friends forever because she's a total babe).

INSTAGRAM IS NOT REAL LIFE

In this online world that we live in it is SO hard not to compare yourself to everyone that is not only in the same niche as you but also doing everything that you want/hope/wish to be doing (goddamn those skinny tanned super mum bitches dripping in designer handbags and sunglasses). The thing is that social media is not always a true representation of what is REALLY going on behind the scenes. A lot of the time outside the picture is a load of chaos and that real person probably has the same struggles that everyone else has. Yes as per my first point honesty is key and my images are honest in the sense that it is my work, and my captions are written with my personality and I don't hide my struggles (you wont have to scroll through far to find a whinge about me being overwhelmed) but when I am taking a picture of my desk - you don't need to see the pile of plates, mugs, stress binge eating wrappers and general sh*t storm that is my studio. Thats not pretty. A lot of people who have accounts for business plan and prep their content in advance so just because they have posted a million stunning photos this week doesn't mean that they aren’t sat in their PJs on the sofa with a toddler hanging off one arm trying to reply to emails and eat all the food in the world whilst whimpering at that exact moment (just like you are) so don’t feel bad about it. (NB: This does not mean that you have to or should plan your content, just than you can. I personally don’t because I can barely pull together a food plan for the week to help food shopping, let alone plan my Instagram content.)

REGULAR POSTING

I try to post once a day but I am not super regimented about it and if two exciting things happen in one day then I will post them both - however I find that generally my engagement is lower if I have multiple posts close together in one day. I also really believe that if you aren't feeling it then don't force yourself to post something that you don't love. Your Instagram - just like your business is an extension of you and if you don't love something then don't post just because you haven't got anything else to post that day. Just chill…and next time you have something you love then post then. Timing wise I tend to post late afternoon, early evening as most days (when I am mothering too) the afternoon is when I work so then I will post my picture as I am toddler wrestling at dinner time - multi tasking at its finest. There are analytics about when to post but honestly if I had a specific time I would just forget it or be late so I figure its better for my sanity not to bother.

COMMUNITY AND NETWORKING

If you have read any of my blogposts or Instagram posts then you will know how I feel about community. PRETTY DAMN STRONGLY. As always I strongly suggest finding your competitors and making really really good friends with them, because they are the people that will carry you through and have your back. Instagram is also the place where I network. Because I love the platform I can quite easily spend time on it falling down a hole clicking from profile to profile finding new suppliers that I want to make beautiful stationery babies with and I have reached out and met lots of people this way. So even if it feels a bit unusual for you to send strangers a messages on the internet (I mean why would you find that unusual?!) - just do it, it will pay off I promise and then you'll build a tribe of online pocket friends.

ENGAGEMENT

Engagement on Instagram is SO important. It is a SOCIAL media after all, it was meant for socialising and with all the algorithms in place you really get rewarded for it. I used to be a liker - everything that I saw that I liked, I liked, but never commented. Now I make sure that I comment on stuff that really interests me, it boosts the algorithm for those who's images I comment on but also I think it means that those people are more likely to follow and like your posts (if they genuinely like them of course) plus its nice to have someone tell you thats great, I love it or good job. Why would you not want to do that for someone else? I also make sure that I always reply to comments on my images, it again helps your algorithm and its polite. With the new heart and reply button there really is no excuse not too.

COMMENT PODS

A comment pod is a little community of a maximum of 15 people that share their posts in a private message and then comment on posts to boost everyones algorithm. The pod has to be in your niche - for me either wedding suppliers, stationery or calligraphers - as those are the people who's engagement will boost your algorithm. The dream for all of us is to reach the top nine posts for our hashtags so we are found easily by people interested in the type of content that we post and having more engagement on your posts, especially by people that are in your niche, will get you there…so that is the point of the comment pods. Basically everyone giving each other a hand to boost each others profiles.

So folks that is it for part one of this mega post (seriously university me would be so jealous of the length of this post that I wrote with ease). I am really not an expert on the subject but I am happy and pleased at where my profile is and wanted to share my insight incase it can help anyone else. I will post part two next week which will look at hashtags, having a cohesive page, seeing your profile as an extension of your website, Instagram challenges annnnnd stories! 

Ciao for now!

L x

Disclaimer: I nearly called this post ‘Instagram and how I found my Instajam’…I just thought that you should know that.