So last Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Jesse, Angela, Iris & Emma for lunch at Fika London located at Brick Lane. ‘Fika’ is a Swedish word that basically means having a coffee break. Lucky for us, Fika London does the whole package: breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea/coffee, dinner, cocktails…you name it. Unfortunately for me, I was too absorbed basking in the beautiful sun & heat that I have forgotten to take pictures of the place. (Not to worry, I am pretty sure I’ll find myself back in this quaint cafe/restaurant real soon). However, do read this lovely review here by Angela. We made our reservations earlier (all thanks to Emma) and we were seated on the rooftop (?). It was very comfy looking, with the artificial grass beneath our feet, lovely wooded tables and benches adorning the area. Not forgetting the whole area bathed in the summery sunshine and warmth. It was like having a luncheon with some close girlfriends at some garden. I had a lovely plate of Swedish meatballs and it was YUM. Very happy with my dish! I didn’t have a very good picture of it because I simply couldn’t wait to devour it. I recommend having it with their homemade iced teas; my current favourite right now is their peppermint, elderflower and mint (£3.50).
Homemade Swedish meatballs with skin on potato mash, red wine sauce and lingonberry jam (£10.20)
The beautiful afternoon beckoned us to leave the comfortable cafe and to take a nice walk around Brick Lane with coffee in our hands. Emma & I had to leave the group, who was going to enjoy the rest of the sun, and made our way to Piccadilly Circus to meet Sarah for an Instagram workshop at 180 Piccadilly Flagship Cath Kidston, organised by The Indytute (you guys should check them out – they’ve got a whole loads of interesting classes and workshops lined up for the whole year!). “Instagram with Jess Macdonald” was the workshop. I was extremely eager and curious about this workshop because 1) I am actually really envious of people with beautiful feeds & 2) I need to LEARN THESE SKILLS, whatever they are.
Jess has several accounts and one of them is just filled with interesting photographs of the Underground. All taken & edited by iPhone only, I was piqued and wanted to know how to make full use of my iPhone 4S who has served me well until now.
We made new friends quickly while we were sent off to perform our three given tasks: Taking three different types of photographs – a lifestyle shot, a window shot and of course, what is Instagram without a portrait or a selfie shot?
Featuring Emma as my portrait model, Ruben & Jazmine in the fun, selfie shots; they are so much fun to work with! Plus I got some tips from Emma on how to behave in front of a camera. I may be an amateur behind a camera, but I am still completely useless in front of one. Takes great courage to be posing for anyone. But it sure is such great fun to work on this challenge, because we learnt that the one ultimate way to look genuine in front of a camera is to get distracted and pray that the photographer gets the au naturel shot. Like so (credits to Emma):
I also really like this red cardigan now, anyone wants to get me a belated birthday present? 🙂
So here are some tips we picked up from the workshop:
1) No Instagram filters!
Surprised? Well don’t be! If you’ve been on Instagram long enough, you would know by now that the filters which were once so interesting, are now looking quite tacky indeed.
2) Photo apps!
Jess recommends using apps like Snapseed and VSCOCam to enhance your photos. Personally, I don’t quite enjoy using Snapseed, way too much finger control for me to handle and it was too intense to get it right (I am so very lazy). VSCOCam on the other hand is my all-time favourite. Filters are interesting, there are a couple which are a little dramatic but yay for filter controls, we are still able to manage the level of intensity of the filter.
3) Jess mentioned the Rule of Thirds which I have never heard before (shame!) and Emma explained a little about it before I got home to Google it. However, she did tell us about a rule of her own – the 3 Ss: Silhouettes, Sunsets, & Symmetry.
4) Follow a few of them famous Instagrammers and check out their feeds. Mimic their style if you can but I would think having your own style will always do you a favour. Also, it does help to build relationships with other fellow Instagrammers, i.e. by replying and leaving comments.
5) Using hashtags – be mindful on what you’re using. While your picture may be #beautiful, using that as a hashtag isn’t exactly ideal. You want it to be relevant to your picture, and not too many hashtags as well.
6) I am slightly obsessed about keeping my feed symmetrical, i.e. I really like them as they are – the Instagram square style. However, I have used Whitagram to fit certain photos and no doubt, that has ruined the nice square pattern. Jess suggests either we stick to using the squares or using borders of the same size. She also suggested we could perhaps alternate it, if we want.
7) Selfies! Some people are good at it; but for some (like me) are probably crap at it. So what you can do is you could always get someone to take a portrait selfie for you! Unfortunately, as I have mentioned, I am quite hopeless in front of the camera so even if I got someone to take it for me, I would look rather awkward. :-/
8) Taking a photograph of a stranger. This is one thing I haven’t gotten the guts to do. You see someone strutting down the street with style, go up to them, strike up a conversation, drop in a compliment or two on their smashing look and maybe ask them for their permission to capture their look! I’m still working on that. 😛
Well, that’s all I remember guys! I do hope it helps you some way or another! Perhaps inspire you to work on taking better pictures on your phone! With better photos, come more followers (if that’s what you are aiming for!). I am truly inspired myself, and can’t wait to build on my Instagram feed! 😀
It was indeed a fun Sundate! A big thank you to Sarah for the invite to the workshop and Jaz for her lovely hospitality. Not to forget Jess with her vast knowledge on Instagram and sharing them with us! You can check out our feeds here:
Yours truly: @alexianatouillia
Enjoy the rest of the long weekend & may you have a great one!
Psssst! Let me let you in on a not-so-secret little piece of gossip – on the 26th May, Fika is letting you pay what you want for their food and all the money will be going to charity! Check it out here (so if you happen to read this during the day, time to get ready for some fun tonight!). Also, if you become their member (free!), you get a cute little keychain and a tote bag on the spot; not to mention, you also get to join in the exclusive Monday Meatball Day where you have a little fun trying to beat the clock and letting it decide how much you pay for them yummy dish of meatballs! It’s definitely worth going for, I say!