Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photo of the Day: Swap & Save

Not much to say today about the photo. It's been a busy day.

I planned to take some new shots, but didn't get to do so. That being the case, old picture for today, from Akon 2010's lolita swap meet. Fitting 12+ lolitas into a single bed hotel room in the middle of a summer convention was not very comfortable. Very hot.

I snagged a seat on the window-seat-cum-air-conditioning-unit and snapped photos throughout, though!

I should have something more "daily" tomorrow. My younger brother will be arriving for his visit!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Photo of the Day: Shotgun Christmas

click above for full-size on flickr

Starting Christmas off with a bang!
The photos over the next few weeks probably won't have much to do with lolita, if at all. My family is in the middle of the holiday fever, and we're preparing for a visit from my older brother with his wife and son. My younger brother is also traveling home, and bringing a roommate along for the trip. Chances are, they'll be the subjects of my photos until a bit after the new year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sources of Inspiration: Photographers

Photographer: Viona ielegems
Website: http://www.viona-art.com/
Specialties: Portraiture (fairy tales, fantasy, alternative fashion)

Photo of the Day: Traveling Back in Time

Not even a ridiculous alice bow can make this book a fun read.

For this photo, I tried to get a ridiculous old-photo vibe going on with the image in terms of color, focus and all that good stuff. I think perhaps I went a bit overboard, but I'll go with it for now, because it actually suits the topic of the ramble I'm in the mood to write. I've been mulling over this a while now, and it's time to get it out of my head and into the keys.

I have a really bad habit of tearing myself up when I'm down. When I was in college, I used to joke with my friends that that was the only thing about me that would get up when I was down.

A lot of people respond to stress and pressure that way, by beating themselves up over what they can't fix rather than trying to fix what they can. They become pessimistic, reactionary. Lately, I'm trying to be more positive and avoid the pitfalls inherent in my my present situation. Unfortunately, I have more time to think than I'm used to, and keeping busy non-stop can be exhausting.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photo of the Day: Eye of the Photographer

The other day, I was lamenting the fact that I don't have anyone who really is willing to let me photograph them. My family has an aversion to having cameras pointed at their faces which is almost as strong as my own, and my friends are in the middle of finals, work, and familial responsibilities.

Because of this, I've been reduced to attempting (really bad) self-portraits and photographing things around me, which (while often very nice) doesn't always fit my mood.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Photos (!!!) of the day: Gone Out

Gotta get out before you can get anywhere.

Like I said I would yesterday, I've taken photos of my daily walk. I headed down the bayou like normal, but got closer to the water than usual (I was trying to get a photo of a bird that was fishing). Unfortunately, I didn't go as far today as I normally do, because I got a little bit side-tracked.

The photos today will be a bit larger than normal, since some of them are so much fun.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Photo of the Day: Go for a Stroll?

These feet were made for walking.

I didn't actually go for a walk all dressed up or anything, but I am doing more of the whole hoofin' it thing lately. I think tomorrow's Photo of the Day will be more reflective of that fact.

This one, well. I was getting ready to go to the post office. Not really within walking distance.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sources of Inspiration: Music

Photography and lolita both require a heavy dollop of creativity just as a matter of course. I find a lot of inspiration from many different sources, but I'm incredibly fond of having music going in the background when I'm working on things. It makes the time pass more quickly, and gets the juices flowing.

The only time I'm not listening to music is when I'm talking to someone, because that's just rude.

I recently rearranged my furniture in order to plug an old, broken laptop into my stereo. It makes things really convenient, as I can turn on Pandora and let it run without having to get up to change CDs the way that I used to. Since I'm also fond of a wide variety of genres, Pandora is a great option for finding new music to listen to. I'm sure that most of the internet is aware of its existence already, but if you don't have an account with Pandora and are looking for some new tunes, I highly recommend their service.

In this entry, I'm going to talk a bit about music I like to listen to when I'm working!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Photo of the Day: Cheeeeeeese!

I gave this one the title it has because of that CHEESY background! Yay, Photoshop!

So today, I mucked around with my new tripod a bit. I've really come to realize the last few weeks how much I miss having ready-made models. My friends back in university were always game to play dress-up for me (or dress down, as the occasion called) and let me put them in front of the lens. My friends here are a lot busier, and much more spread out. Not only that, but it's much harder to get well-cropped, self-snapped portraits than it is outfit snaps (even with a spiffy new tripod).

Guess I'll have to keep practicing, practicing, practicing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Photo of the Day: Now Where Was I?

These signs are really common in my area. Every drainage ditch/bayou has at least four.

Today really has nothing to do with lolita, except to explain why I don't wear it very often. Today, I'm going to tell you a little bit about where I live!

To warn you, this post is not for the faint of heart: I live in Houston, Texas. This is going to be a bit of a word-vomit. I won't be sad if you skip it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Photo of the Day: Waiting

Lisa and Mary in Hermann Park, June 7th 2009

This post is going to be a bit on the personal side for once, because I don't have much to say about today's photo. I took it well over a year ago, and am no longer in touch with the friends I had model for me. I do still like the shot, though.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Photo of the Day: To the Convention! (Not the Gun Show)

It's should come as no surprise that lolitas are just as varied in their tastes in hobbies as
they are in their tastes in clothes.

Once upon a time, I went to a convention called Anime St. Louis. It was a small affair in 2009, with no more than 2,000 guests the whole weekend. I took photos, I helped friends run a lolita fashion panel, and I cosplayed. On the second day of the convention, the day we had our panel, it was half raining, half snowing all day. The parking lot of the convention center was packed in the morning when we arrived, and a giant line snaked around the building.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Photo of the Day: We're All Just Tourists

Lolitas are often more interesting to tourists than the exhibits that they originally came to see.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Digital Photography: Watermarks

A watermark is a recognizable image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light (or when viewed by reflected light, atop a dark background), caused by thickness or density variations in the paper.
- Wikipedia, Watermark

Though the original meaning of "watermark" has changed, its general purpose through time has remained the same. It a type of visual citation, which identifies the source of what you are looking at. In the case of paper, it tells you the mill the paper came from, and frequently tells you the type of paper and fiber content as well.

In the case of photography, watermarks work a little bit differently.

Because digital photography has grown in recent years in leaps and bounds, many photographers feel a need to protect their intellectual property by watermarking their images. These watermarks identify the image as having come from them, and prevents (to a degree) other people from using the images.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photo of the Day: Confetti

So many of my photographs are of my friend Val! She's always just been so accommodating about letting me snap pictures of her no matter what's going on. Like many of my lolita friends, she's total sweetheart, and a real blast to hang out with. I really miss getting to do things with her on a regular basis, but life has sent us in different directions (as it often does).

Hopefully, I'll be able to go see her soon!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Photo of the Day: Closet Cleaning

Sometimes, taking things out makes it easier to decide what to put back in.

Today's photo is what happens when I get to cleaning. I empty out my closet, and to make room for putting things in and out, I hang things from my bed (I have an ancient canopy bed inherited from a cousin from before I was born). I noticed in the course of things that not only does it look a bit funny, but my framed postcards were visible just beyond, so I snapped a quick photo.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Photo of the Day: All Tied Up

This corset is still in the process of being broken in, so I don't tighten it very far.

Just a snapshot today. This photo was taken on a whim while I was trying on a coordinate I've been planning for a while now. I have a (fairly blatant) interest in the wear of functional corsets, and have for quite a long time. However, it was only last year that I started to purchase and wear them.

The use of corsets in lolita is sort of a hit or miss subject. Some lolitas proclaim that it is a perfectly fine piece of clothing, others define it as acceptable only if it's under your other clothing, and yet others have decided that wearing a corset at all is outright ita.

As you may have guessed, I belong to the first category, provided that the corset is the same level of quality as the rest of your ensemble.

Setting the Stage: Creating Your Scene

Utilizing props can really make your photos something special, even if you're on a budget.

The dream of many amateur photographers is to have a studio of their own. Putting together a permanent set-up, or even a semi-permanent set-up, can be expensive and time-consuming, however. The very process of acquiring and constructing said studio can also be daunting if you've never taken on a task of that nature before.

For practice and fun, you can try working with smaller, more temporary scenery, or simply shoot in rooms that already exist where you live.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Photo of the Day: Party Time!

Let your friends know they rock today!

This is a bit of an oldie (but so are so many of the photos I post!), but still a favorite. Given the festivities today in the US, I thought a silly fall photo would be a good choice to post.

To those of you in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving.

To those of you who aren't, I hope you just enjoy the photo!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Photo of the Day: I Knew You Would

click above to see full-size on flickr

I've had a bit of a rough day today, so for once, I don't have much to say about the photo of the day! I will say that my friends are a lot of fun, and taking photos of them never gets boring.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How-To: Photographing Items for Sale

Sad though it can be to part with a piece of your wardrobe, there comes a time in every lolita's life where she wants to sell something. Whether it's a JSK that didn't fit quite right, or a piece of jewelry from a lucky pack that doesn't suit her style, every lolita will eventually have to put something on the block.

The EGL Community Sales are generally the best bet for selling lolita-related items. Your customer base is largely educated in the style, and will know the value of the items you have for sale. However, selling items on Etsy and eBay is not unheard of.

No matter where you sell your items, however, having accurate, clear photos of them is a major part of selling quickly.

Photo of the Day: Red Twins

click above for a larger view

I got a bit tied up yesterday in a sewing project, and failed to do my daily post! I feel a bit bad about this, because while I was gone, I gained several new followers. I'm now at 25 readers (!!!).

Hello, new readers!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Photo of the Day: Prince(ss) Charming

Even though there's always a lot of hype about new cameras coming out or the wonders of the latest technology, oldies are still goodies in the photography world. I love that you can take a photograph with any camera, from any age, and still come out with a good image if you put your mind to it.

The above photograph was shot with a Sony Cybershot DSC-W7. While it is not the oldest camera I own (that honor goes to a Minolta XG7, which my dad used during his youth), it is my oldest (working) digital camera. Its mode selection dial is a bit whimsical in the brainpan these days, but it's still a decent camera and up to the task of taking some nice photos.

I admit that's a bit of a brick, but it's a durable brick. I've dropped it quite a few times (in spite of a wrist strap, oy) and it still shoots clearly. Chances are, those falls are the reason the mode selection enjoys running on auto-pilot sometimes.

Setting the Stage: Finding Your Location

Now, just where shall we go today?

Imagine that you've prepared your ideal coordinate at long last.

It's detailed, it's well-balanced, it fits just right.

Pretty. Perfect.

Now imagine that the only photos you got to take of it are a few outfit snaps in your living room and a few stray shots at a meet-up or convention. Seems a little sad, doesn't it?

Depending on where you take your photos, the coordinate's feel can change drastically! The mood of the outfit can shift from whimsical and quirky to eerie and dark with a simple change in scenery. Identifying a good location for your photos is one way to add extra spice to your coordinate snaps, and can give you a good start to a more formal photo shoot.

Here are five suggestions for general locations which will frame your outfit (or that of your model!) nicely.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Photo of the Day: Rabbit Ears

Friends don't let friends forget to have fun.

Lolita should be fun. Photography should be fun. Sometimes, I think that people forget this.

I got into both of these for my own enjoyment, and they have continued to buoy me in those times where I was down on myself for one reason or another. I have met new and amazing people through both hobbies, and continually find myself trying to learn new things and improve in both.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photo of the Day: Hammock

click above to see full-size on flickr

In both photography and lolita, one of my favorite things to do is meet new people. I went through an awkward period in high school (as most teenagers do) in which I had trouble making new friends. While not precisely reclusive, I didn't go out of my way to ingratiate myself upon my peers. Photography was an escape at that point, and I knew nothing of lolita.

As I got older, and after I went to university over a thousand miles away from my family, I forced myself to open up. Photography became more enjoyable as I found people to populate my images, and I discovered lolita. Now, having moved home in disappointment (with the economy in shambles and a degree that often feels superfluous), the two have become a solace and a means of keeping social and active. I attend lolita meet-ups and hang out with friends I have met that way, and also photography meet-ups, where I get to discuss new techniques, hear about new equipment, and learn new things while in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

Both of these hobbies have introduced me to a wide variety of people, and I am glad to have become involved in them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How-To: Basic Outfit Snap in Five Steps

Photography has the capacity to provide images of man and his environment that are both works of art and moments in history.
- Cornell Capa

The idea behind an outfit snap is to create a visual record. Some wear lolita on a daily basis and use outfit snaps to record their evolution in the style. Some lolitas only dress up for special events, and use their outfit snap to remember the day, even if other photos weren't taken. Yet other lolitas use it as a way to show off their newest purchases. The idea behind an outfit snap is to show the overall look of your coordinate, as well as the details that make it unique.

It really is a very simple, straight-forward type of photography.

Something I've noticed, however, is that many lolitas' photos are out of focus, blurry all over, or have messy floors behind them. So how can you take a clear outfit shots? By paying attention to the details!

I'm going to show you in just five simple steps!

Photo of the Day: Left Out

click above to see full-size on flickr

Something that I love, and consequently love to photograph, are shoes.

This applies to most fashionable footwear, but particularly to lolita. There are so many different kinds of shoes that you can wear with the style, depending on the theme of your outfit. There are dozens of colors and so many materials you can choose from, regardless of whether they are brand name or not. The visual possibilities are endless.

However, more importantly, they can narrate so many stories and make very interesting subjects when you account for their scars and wear. They can act as a stand-in for their owner and wearer, or they can complete a great coordinate. Just like your shoe choices in lolita are endless, so too are their uses as a prop or subject matter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Frills and Photos - The Perfect Marriage

Lolitas attract lenses.
The first time that I went out in lolita in a large group, it was for a meet-up at a zoo. Until that point, I had worn it only with one or to other girls at a time, or else by myself. The day we went to the zoo, there were approximately ten girls in all in our gathering, and we drew quite a lot of attention. During the day, we became something of a tourist attraction, drawing as many photographers' lenses as the animals did in their enclosures.

As more and more people asked us for photographs, I knew that it was because we were so much out of the ordinary, and I began to wonder if there was some way to make use of that "strangeness" in photography. Since then, I have discovered others who have done so, and to great effect (but that's a subject for another article).

So why combine lolita fashion and photography?
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