APRIL – THE SIXTY SECOND PHOTOGRAPH

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The Sixty Second Photograph is a monthly collaboration of beautiful stories by such talented artists. We’re telling stories of our lives through movement… playing and experimenting along the way.

This month came round so quickly. I wanted to carry on exploring the idea of a moving portrait… like last month. So I kept the film really simple. I’ve used The Photo Booth idea in other films of mine, but not for a while and as there is so much change in the boys lately… it’s good to revisit concepts that bring out a certain feeling. And it’s good to get everyone in front of the camera!

This film makes me smile for so many reasons, but mostly I’m grateful for this project to push me to create something I might not have got round to making.

Head over HERE and spend a while getting inspired by the wonderful films on offer this month.

Written by xanthe

April 22nd, 2016 at 10:00 am

TOP TIPS FOR A GREAT PHOTOWALK OR INSTAMEET

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I love a photowalk or instameet – totally LOVE it!

I’m hosting one on Saturday 23rd April for #wwim13 – There are a couple of places left… Details are here if you’d like to sign up.

A photo walk or instameet is group of creatives gathered together… walking… chatting and photographing the beauty around them, sharing tips and Instagram stories… and making fun photos with the people they’re with.

It can be such a good time… opening your eyes to new things to photograph, a chance to learn and see how other creative people work.

If you never been on a photo walk or instameet before…

HERE ARE MY TOP TIPS -

PREPARATION – Charge your batteries, gather your memory cards and make space on your phone. My iPhone is always bringing up the dreaded warning sign of “No more photos” – make room for plenty more photos!

Choose which camera/s you’re going to bring. Bring what you’re comfortable shooting on or a camera you’d like a chance to play with.

Check out the weather – Bring an umbrella if it’s raining or shades for a rare bit of sunshine! and dress appropriately. I think it’s fun to wear colourful outfits, especially if you are on a walk where you might be photographing each other. I always say shoes can be practical, but they’re much more fun, if they’re pretty!

It’s up to you but consider bringing water, snacks or even both. So your energy levels stay up.

DURING THE WALK – Play with shooting your surroundings in a variety of ways – looking up & down, get in close, shoot wide, even shoot along the ground. Be creative… Look for interesting light, shapes, textures, lines and colours. Shoot in abundance & play, this is chance to experiment! and see how other people shoot and approach photographing the same subject differently.

Think about hashtags you love and creating photos for them – some of my favourites are : #doortraits #caughtgramming #instagrammerdown #colorcolourlovers #thisislondon #jumpotd #strideby etc – there are SO many and you might learn some new ones from your new friends!

It’s likely that there will be photographers of all levels, shooting with all sorts of cameras. Don’t get caught up on comparing your skills or equipment. Ask questions about camera gear, photo apps and shooting preferences. Connecting, making new friends and conversation is a big part of the experience. Most people are willing to share what they know – I certainly try my best to share anything you’d like to know.

Be brave… if you have an idea for a certain shot – go for it. There’s nothing worse than going home wishing you’d tried that creative idea in your head. If you like photographing people, ask someone or a group of people to pose for you… if you see something round the corner away from the crowd – sneak off, shoot it and catch up with them after. If you’d like your photo taken, ask someone to snap it for you on your device. If inspiration strikes, embrace it!

But most of all – enjoy this time to play and be spontaneous and open your eyes to this amazing colourful world!

HAVE FUN!

 

 

Written by xanthe

April 21st, 2016 at 9:15 pm

THE TILES OF MARRAKECH

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Fell in love with all the tiles of course…

More tales and photos of Marrakech to come… but I loved all these colours and textures, so they deserved a post all of their own.

Written by xanthe

April 21st, 2016 at 7:03 pm

THE NEW INSTAGRAM UPDATE FOR VIDEO

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As much as I love the challenge of telling a story by creating a film that’s 15 seconds long, it was great to hear news that the ability to share films that are up to 60 seconds, has arrived on Instagram.

This means a little more freedom for film making and the opportunity to get really creative on this platform.

It’s taking a while for me to get used to it… I’ve not shared anything longer 30 seconds so far… just edging myself slowly into it.

I’ve had a lot of questions about it from people taking my online courses and the community on Instagram. So I thought I’d share a little look at how it works and how to know if the update has arrived yet for you. Plus, how to use the multi clips editing feature, which is much more useable now there’s more time to edit clips together.

As mentioned in here, the new function for longer video is rolling out slowly to everyone over the next few weeks. So if it’s not working for you yet, stay patient… it’s coming soon!

Let me know if you’re enjoying the new feature and what stories you’re telling with all this extra time!

P.s For those that have been asking… registration for the next sessions of my online film making courses opens FRIDAY 15TH APRIL.

 

Written by xanthe

April 14th, 2016 at 2:29 pm

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW CANON 80D

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I don’t have loads of gear – one main camera and one lens… shooting the majority of my films on the Canon 5D3 with 35mm 1.4 lens – I love it.

But I’d heard about the auto focus feature on the 70D and was intrigued. Learning to focus video is one of the biggest challenges people on my online courses face, when they first start shooting video on a DSLR. So if there was a way to help the situation, I wanted to try it. At a Canon Instameet last year, I got my hands on a 70D to shoot video and was instantly impressed.

But was only able to shoot for a couple of hours. So when Canon UK offered the new 80D to try for the weekend, I jumped at the chance.

Now this isn’t loads of time to totally understand all of the features of this camera and I can’t share with you the specifications or all the “tech” stuff, because I didn’t really get into that. Other than this model can shoot 60fps at 1080p, which does interest me!. I just wanted to see how this camera would work in terms of how & what I shoot.

Here are my three favourite features -

Auto focus while in video mode – This is brilliant!. Using the touch screen, you tap where you want the focus and if the subject moves… they stay in focus – this is GENIUS. To be honest, I couldn’t get my head around it at first, my muscle memory is so engrained to manual focus, it felt weird. But then it felt brilliant.

This is great for shooting out and about but it’s also really good for filming yourself. I do a fair amount of talking to camera for my courses and I have a long winded approach to setting the focus. This camera would solve all of that. I guess that’s why this model makes a great vlogging camera.

Which leads my onto my next favourite feature…

The flip out screen – You can have it face forward and see what you’re filming… So good! especially for the old favourite of “hold some flowers in your hand”. All the potential problems of choosing your composition and setting the focus – gone!

As you can see demonstrated here…

And you can see your settings… adjust them… it’s a breeze.

You can also move the screen, so you can view from any angle. Again, this took a little getting used too as I’m so used to a fixed screen. But you can really shoot from the hip or along the floor or overhead and still see what you’re shooting.

And the last amazing feature… which I know is common on most devices but not the Canon 5D3, so I’m not used to it – the wifi capabilities… photos direct to phone and video clips ready to be edited in the palm of my hand. This just blows my mind.

It wouldn’t be a balanced review if I just gushed about this camera…

So the only issue I had was the cropped sensor… I generally shoot with a 35mm but I knew this would feel too cropped, so I borrowed the 24-70mm to get the width I prefer while shooting video. It worked well.

Would I add this camera to my collection? – I genuinely think I would. I enjoyed playing with the camera a great deal but don’t feel a weekend is really enough time to get the most out of it. Oh, I just thought of another thing I loved about it – it’s light, well, not as heavy as the 5D3. I could really see this becoming the kind of camera I would carry around to shoot my everyday and weekend films…

So I’ll be adding it to the top of my wish list. What a shame my birthday has just passed!

If you’ve got any questions… just let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.

Note about the collaboration – Canon UK very kindly lent me the camera for the weekend, in exchange for posting some photos or films. I wasn’t asked to do review but as I received a few comments to share my thoughts of this camera, a blog post seemed a good idea. Hope you found it useful.

All photos and films shot on Canon 80D with 24-70mm 4.0 lens, except a couple of sequences and photos where you can see the camera.

 

 

Written by xanthe

March 30th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Posted in canon

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LATELY

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I’ve not posted one LATELY blog this year… What? How did that happen? Just been getting on with ‘the doing’ and not talking about it, I guess…

So… thought I’d check in, as I like looking back on the LATELY posts.

SO many great creative projects have been happening recently -

I’ve been working with Cath Kidston to create some fun content for their social media channels… These gnomes in the garden are super sweet playing hide n seek and the haberdashery ones make me smile.

Plus, I created some fun films for the super lovely people at Sipsmith.

I’m excited to share more from this Boden shoot with Lucy.

And my Easter table setting with Anthropologie has been one of my favourite projects ever.

If you haven’t heard it already… You can find me rambling on the Blogtacular podcast, talking about my creative journey and Instagram love. The rest of the series is pretty awesome, I particularly enjoyed Lisa and Leona being interviewed by Kat. Are you going to Blogtacular this year? It’s shaping up to be another brilliant event!

The Sixty Second photograph is such a wonderful project, I love being part of group creating alongside each other. It’s a challenge for me as there’s so much going on in my life, but that’s the push I need… Personal projects have always been so important to my creative journey, I don’t ever not want to have enough time to focus on them.

Hosted another fabulous colour lovers photo walk in the Brick Lane area… There are more to come and SOMETHING NEW!… as people have been asking for a film making version – So stay tuned or sign up to the mailing list to be first to hear - Sign up here.

It’s been a busy few weeks with my online courses… With the Bloom Forum workshop and Creating Time Capsules running and the beautiful treasures they bring. The first round of MAKE FILMS blew me away, 10 weeks of amazing films full of creativity. The next round has just begun… There’s still time to join in…

At home… Luke’s business grows and grows, with many exciting things in the pipeline. The boys are currently enjoying their Easter break… It’s been a full on term with Ky choosing his GCSEs – what?! How did that happen? Wasn’t he just starting school?. It’s amazing to see how confident he is about what he wants to do next…

Phew! No wonder I’ve felt like I’ve had no time to lie on the sofa…

It’s all good. I’ve been working towards this. There are some really exciting projects and opportunities on the horizon, so I’m keeping the momentum going… putting my feet up can wait.

But, first there’s my birthday tomorrow and then roll on April.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by xanthe

March 27th, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Posted in lately

COLOURFUL PLACES I’D LIKE TO VISIT IN THE WORLD

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I was shooting in the colourful Notting Hill recently and started thinking about all the colourful places I’d like to visit in the world.

A while ago myself and a couple of friends started a Pinterest board of colourful places we’d like to visit in the world.

A dream list of destinations… hoping it would act as a vision board, but alas not a lot of travel has happened lately.

SO I’m putting together my top five colourful places I’d like to visit, so hopefully I can begin crossing them off sometime soon.

In no particular order -

1. Havana, Cuba. 

Every time I see a photo pop up of Havana in my IG feed, I get all heart eyes and instantly want to jump into the photo.

2. Burano, Venice, Italy.

I mean! Seriously! The streets look amazing. House after house painted in beautiful colours.

3. India

I’d head to Rajasthan first and then wander for a long time.

4. Marrakech, Morocco

Spice markets and ornate doorways…. yes please.

5. Amsterdam tulips fields…

I think I would faint if I ever saw these in real life. Flower sensory overload in the best possible way.

So that’s the top five for now… Now to get crossing them off!

Written by xanthe

March 26th, 2016 at 6:09 pm

MARCH – THE SIXTY SECOND PHOTOGRAPH

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The monthly collaboration The Sixty Second Photograph is so wonderful to be a part of…. beautiful stories by such talented artists. Everyone pushing themselves to try something new to them, each discovering different ways to see and capture the movement in front of them.

This film idea has been in my head for over a year, but I’ve not found the situation to bring it to life. It’s different to what I normally shoot, but that’s the point of The Sixty Second Photograph – trying things out of your comfort zone and experimenting, so it’s the perfect playground to try something like this out.

Experimenting is what this film is about. Playing with light… playing with double exposures… playing with a story that’s about the boys growing up and trying to reach out and hold onto this moment.

I hope you enjoy it.

Please do spend some time over HERE and see the wonderful films on offer this month. I’m so inspired!

 

 

Written by xanthe

March 22nd, 2016 at 3:27 pm

LET’S CELEBRATE MAKE FILMS – AN ONLINE COURSE

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Sharing my love of making films and teaching people from all over the world, is such a gift.

Every online course I run brings new people into my life and I get to encourage them to “SEE” their lives in a new way, by capturing their unique stories on film, to have FOREVER.

I can inspire them to try something new, to push through the barriers that making a film for the first time can bring… and then show them what’s possible if you’re willing to just give it a go… I can show them tips and tricks I wish I’d known, when I first started and then give them the support to learn while they’re making. And finally, I get to watch their stories and discover the details that really matter to them.

MAKE FILMS is a new course for 2016, you can find all the details about the course HERE & HERE. The first session is coming to an end and I’ve so enjoyed pouring so much into this course and watching an amazing collection of films appear each week, it’s been pretty magical.

Most of the films have been shared on Instagram, where a film is only 15 seconds… I’ve been so blown away by the creativity, I’m sharing a handful today – it was SO hard to pick which ones to feature, but I thought these were great examples of some of the weekly projects… I’ve also sprinkled a few testimonials at the end, as people have said some lovely things… and you might be reading this, thinking about joining in the next round and this might inspire you to join us.

All the details for the course starting tomorrow are HERE – registration will remain open till the end of March.

Let’s get on with the films! Maybe grab a cup of tea to enjoy while you’re watching?…

Each week there is a prompt or theme or filming technique to focus on… here are some of the films created…

SCENES FROM THE WEEKEND

circleofpines :: karenbhphotos :: locallovely :: sarahljohnstone

STOP MOTION

Kim Klassen :: Alexis Allen :: KatieJanew :: katherinelightner

DAY IN THE LIFE

AllisonGipson :: BonnieDuBois :: Francescarnyc :: lewesmap

SLOW MO

breehester :: tressavent :: celinabailey :: thisisjules

HOW TO OR DEMO FILMS

juliabarnickle :: Debram56 :: carojonesphoto :: fionaannal :: electricdaisyflowerfarm

VIDEO PORTRAITS

staceypotterphoto :: kellywills :: jsaad24 :: ashleybartner :: instannnnagram

TIME LAPSE

Coldatnight :: nancymoon :: katekenny :: lovelylittlememoirs

AMAZING, right?? I hope you enjoyed watching these special stories…

See all the other films here #makefilmscourse

Now for some very kind words… and me blushing and smiling BIG because people are so very sweet.

“I have LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this course so very much. What a refreshing, beautiful, inspiring course and instructor. It is packed with tips and tricks to take your filming skills to the next level.  Each week offers a chance to grow creatively and gives you motivation to tackle some things you wouldn’t have tried on your own. Xanthe is practical, colorful in every way and insanely good at what she does. Jump in. You will treasure the journey it takes you on” - Kelly Wilis

“Learning more about film was a huge goal of mine in 2016 – and enrolling in this course was easily one of the best things I did to further my learning. I knew within the first week – that this course was something special. Not only is Xanthe full of incredible inspiration – her lessons are chock full of wonderful information – especially for those who are wanting to expand their knowledge in the film/video. (I now have a slight obsessions with #minimovies.) As an instructor – she is available, helpful and insanely supportive. I used to think films were slightly daunting and was overwhelmed with the process – Xanthe’s approach helps you tap into your creative self. In the past 10 weeks – I can safely say I have developed a true love for films and cannot wait to create more in the future.” - Allison Gipson

“I have been a student of Xanthe’s for several years and I absolutely love learning with her.  From the very first class, she gave me tools to understand every aspect of the filmmaking process and (more importantly) inspiration to use in my own films.  Anyone can give you the technical skills needed to make a film, but with Xanthe you have a creative teacher and guide who empowers and inspires beyond just the how-to.  I gasp a little each time I watch her work, and it spurs me on over and over again to create my own time capsules memories.” - Deb Achak 

“Make Films has helped me learn to see in new ways. Xanthe’s creativity, inspiration, and gentle nudges to capture the beauty of our every day lives is a gift that everyone should enjoy. I have learned so much about the importance of treasuring the simplicity of my life, as well as making sure I am a part of the films I have created during the Make Films Course.” - Katiusca Guzman

“I have so loved the Make Films course. I learned so much and was inspired to really see what I could do with video. Each week, I was asked to step out of my comfort zone and to create a film that I might not have considered before. I take a lot of online courses and it is rare that I complete each and every assignment, but for this class I came out with a new video each week. I’m so glad that I did – without doing so I would not have discovered that I have many different kinds of stories to tell. Xanthe is a gifted teacher. Her tutorials are easy to follow and even though I’ve made and edited films before, I learned something new each time. I will take any course that Xanthe offers because she is so warm and encouraging. I loved every second of this class. I might even take it again just to continue to be inspired.” -Bree Hester

“Make Films is one of the best ecourses I’ve ever done. It’s full of content and guidance, with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. I especially loved that we were able to share our movies and learn from each other. Thank you so much Xanthe! You’re an inspiration and amazing teacher! I can’t wait to sign up for one of your other courses.” - Dörte

“When I signed up for Xanthe’s course I wasn’t sure how much would be possible using just my phone camera but decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did. I have loved learning how to look at things differently and have found that it’s made me take time to stop and see the world around me. It’s been so rewarding to see what’s possible and fun to be part of a lovely supportive online community too. Ten weeks flew by – I’ll miss the course but will keep on learning and filming. I love it and am grateful that it opened my eyes and let me see what’s possible, has allowed me to capture special people and moments and has taught me how to make cupcakes dance.” – Juliet Simmons

And finally… Lovely blog posts by Katherine Lightner & Laura Pashby

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Written by xanthe

March 21st, 2016 at 7:31 am

Posted in MAKE FILMS

MY EASTER LUNCH TABLE WITH ANTHROPOLOGIE

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I love this time of year… with springtime, my birthday and the Easter four day weekend on the horizon.

So when Anthropologie here in UK asked me if I’d like to create a film, sharing how I would lay the table & cook up a special lunch for a family Easter weekend lunch… I jumped at the chance!

Take a look…

Lately I find weekends are full of work, chores and social engagements… well, it’s mostly the boys who do all the socialising! But we’re always out & about doing something, so taking time to hang out at home was pretty lovely.

The boys helped lay the table, although that might have had something to do with chocolate eggs…

The brilliant Clare of Achillea provided colourful blooms in vintage stone jars, to compliment the duck egg blue plates and pink glassware…

I was so excited at how pretty the table looked. I’m totally in love with all the tableware, especially the table cloth and napkins… they will be wonderful for future summer parties!

So if you’re looking for some menu inspiration for your Easter weekend… I decided to keep it really simple… so we could focus on more time sat around the table, rather than slaving over a hot stove.

To start – Butternut squash soup with warmed baguette. 

Then – A simple roast chicken and potatoes… 

and a garden salad, both colourful and delicious. 

Then dessert – Pavlova with fresh berries… please don’t notice that it’s a shop bought pavlova, I would’ve made a real one, but laying the table was way more fun than spending even more time in the kitchen!

Still tasted amazing… especially on the stunning plates by Lou Rota, those colours make me so happy!.

One last highlight… these glasses are beautiful and the boys loved them…

They’ve never used such fancy glassware, it was so cute to watch them enjoying them.

And naturally Luke had some bubbles…

What a lovely day… hope it inspires you to cook up something delicious, lay the table with some prettiness and celebrate springtime finally arriving.

Note about the collaboration – I was commissioned to create the photos & film for the Anthropologie blog – pop over there to see the post – it’s rather lovely! but I was so excited by the photos, film and all the prettiness, I wanted to share it here too… hope you enjoy it!

Written by xanthe

March 20th, 2016 at 6:00 am