Gaia – Into the Earth

Nature is a very important element in most of my photography as you probably can tell by now. For this photoshoot, I really wanted the atmosphere to be mysterious and mystical. This specific park was very dense with trees and leaves, thus I knew it was the perfect location. By dressing the model in an all black outfit, she perfectly blends in with the background—which enhances the ominous mood of the images. The mirror was an added prop to the photographs as a slight allusion to Snow White and the Huntsman. Along with the aforementioned movie, the setting and idea of this photoshoot was loosely inspired by the film, Into the Woods. Overall, I absolutely love how these photos turned out! For most of the photos, the white balance was set on cloudy to create the mysterious effect. The mood of the images is very distinct and the model looks absolutely wonderful in all the shots. Below is a small excerpt of her thoughts!

“This shoot was very minimal as I only had my hair curled by Isha and had no make up on. The monochromatic black outfit Isha styled me in was to evoke a sense of mysteriousness and the lace detail on the top added some texture to the outfit. Isha put a lot of thought into the styling and concept of the shoot and is very passionate and dedicated in all that she does. She gave me a lot of guidance on how to pose and where to look which made me feel comfortable with being in front of the camera. It was a great learning experience for both Isha and I and I look forward to seeing more of Isha’s photography in the future!”

Cheryl Choong

5 Reasons For Deleting My Instagram Account

white smartphone

I have officially deleted my Instagram account. Well, it will technically be deleted on August 19th, 2021, but it is officially deleted for me. Social media has become such a huge part of our lives—this is especially true for Generation Z and the upcoming generations. Social media apps such as Instagram give us the one thing most of us love: connectivity and being able to stay in touch with people we may not have been able to in the past. Social media’s connectivity is something I do love. However, the negatives of social media weigh out the positives in my opinion, which is why I chose to delete my personal Instagram account for good. Below I have, one by one, listed all the reasons that led me to this decision. Here are my 5 reasons for deleting Instagram in 2021. 

white beads on question mark sign

1. Who Are These People? 

Yes, connectivity is far greater than ever in this day and age; that can be a blessing at times and sometimes not. Nowadays, many of us are following and being followed by hundreds if not thousands of people. Do we feel close to these people? Do they matter to us? The reality is that we only care about a handful and the rest are just a number indicating our popularity or likeability. Whenever I scrolled through my feed, I was constantly seeing images and faces of people I barely knew and some I hadn’t even met! I genuinely didn’t care about what was going in their lives and they probably felt the same way. But the thing with these apps is the number of followers has become so important that we soon stopped caring about genuine connections. We have just created false and frivolous ones—at least in my case. Instead of unfollowing and reorganizing, deleting my account seemed like a better way to go. This is the first reason for deleting my account permanently. 


2. Lost Connections

Over time, I had grown apart from many people I once knew very well. Many times, other people grew apart from me. Being someone who constantly felt lonely and continues to feel this way—as written in this post—It wasn’t a pleasant experience to see the fun they were having in life with new and exciting friends, whilst I am still stuck in the same spot. Yes, I know I should be stronger, but I am not right now. I hope to be tougher very soon, but for the time being, I just wanted to disconnect with those I just can’t connect with anymore. 


3. Comparing on Social Media

This is probably the one reason that bothers me along with so many others out there. This, I believe, is the primary vice of social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and more. These apps are designed to be addictive as indicated in this video by Absolute Motivation.  Wherever I logged on to the app, I was tempted to scroll my feed and it became hard to stop. I was constantly in front of images of photogenic people, photoshopped images, and images that showed exciting lives. It is hard not to compare. I have been told “don’t compare yourself with others”, but how exactly do I do that? Well, I believe deleting my account—and moving away from the platform that instigated my need to constantly compare myself with others—is a step in the right direction. 

hands smartphone technology faceless

4. Branding and Influencers

I am sure many of you will not agree with what I am about to say or might even be furious, but this is one of the reasons that confirmed my decision to delete my account. I am not very fond of the influencer culture and the way people are starting to brand themselves. I wish we could all just simply be and do the things we love. Why does everything have to be about aesthetics and branding (I know this is ironic as I am a marketing student)? 

I know every other person is trying to become an influencer and constantly posts images of themselves without any apparent reason—to me. Everybody is running the race to become popular without any reason whatsoever. Nobody seems to have an interesting or inspirational story or idea, but everybody (almost everybody I see) desires fame. From personal observation, I believe many of us not only desire fame but want overnight fame. Fame that just comes like that. It was hard for me to see such frivolous content that came with that desire. Of course, this is not the case for every person, but it was for everyone around me. I want to start fresh and simply follow people who I care about and who are showing unfiltered lives. This is the penultimate reason. 

5. Fresh Start

A fresh start. I guess all the reasons above boil down to this one. I wanted a fresh start. The pandemic, like for everyone, has taken a toll on me in some ways. I have felt good and I have felt bad about myself, but lately, I have felt worse. I was so sick of my old habits of constantly comparing myself and thinking less of myself.  I needed a way to stop and as I can’t get a drastic haircut once again this year (hahaha), I decided that deleting my Instagram account—which seems to be the root cause of my problems—seemed like the best way to go. 


These are the 5 reasons that led me to delete my Instagram account for good. As of August 19th, 2021, all the data will be gone and I am positive I won’t change my mind about this decision. I already feel so light and happy! Anyone out there who constantly feels low or compares themselves with others, try and find the things that might be worsening your problem (ie. social media). Once you identify the issues, see what you can do about them. The first steps are hard, but you will come out feeling much better about yourself! 

If you are thinking of deleting your account, simply type “how to delete my Instagram account” into Google and the process to delete your account will be first on your search. The process is simple and within one month your Instagram will be gone for good, enabling you to a fresh start!

How to Build the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe


Being able to create a capsule wardrobe is very necessary nowadays. With out exceedingly busy lifestyles (prior to the pandemic and hopefully everything will resume back to a new normal afterwards), it is very hard to lug around so many clothes! People are constantly travelling for leisure or for business either internationally or locally and the last thing we want is a heavy suitcase weighing us down. At least that is the last thing I want. 

Here I am giving you the the perfect formula to construct a summer capsule wardrobe that is sophisticated with just the right amount of fun. This wardrobe is perfect if you are going on a vacation or simply don’t want to own too many clothes. Below is a complete capsule wardrobe checklist! Continue reading to see the list and how you can mix and match those pieces.

CAPSULE WARDROBE:

White Shirt: a white shirt is a perfect piece that transcends time and can be worn either formally or casually.

Black Shirt: the exact same idea applies to the black shirt as it did to the white shirt.

 White T-shirt: I mean, this is a must right?

Jeans: any pair of jeans you find comfortable. 

Print Skirt: most people stick to neutral tones or blacks and whites in a capsule wardrobe, but I believe a fun print in a must. Check out this post on how to pick the correct printed skirt. 

Blazer: it can be worn casually or formally. Blazers always add an extra edge to an outfit. 

The Little Black Dress: how can we ever forget the power of the LBD?

Footwear: black boots, white sneakers, and a nude colour heel as shown in the images above. 

That is all you need for the perfect capsule wardrobe! Below I have put together many possible outfits you can create through this capsule wardrobe. Remember, you can create even more looks than I have shown!

The first outfit combination: blazer, white t-shirt, and jeans. The blazer elevates the simple white t-shirt and jeans look; this outfit can be worn wither either white shoes or black boots.

The white shirt paired with jeans is a classic ensemble that is chic and comfortable. Any of the footwear  from the capsule wardrobe list can be worn with this outfit. Remember, you can always elevate a look with some sunglasses or cool jewellery! 

The printed skirt paired with a white t-shirt is a nice casual look. This outfit can be worn with a blazer for an extra edge or even without one. Either way, it is a fun and vibrant look. 

The outfit below is one you may have already seen in this post!

 

The last look is just our simple LBD. I paired it with a blazer just in case I was in an air-conditioned area. Black boots or nude heels can be worn with this outfit ensemble.

That is the end of the capsule wardrobe! If you create a capsule using similar pieces as the one above, you will be able to wear wonderful, elegant, and exciting looks without having to heave around a giant suitcase! Let me know what you think and if there are some pieces you might add to the list!

Tea time photography setup





Lens: 18-50mm f2.8 sigma lens

Additional Equipment:

-Reflector

-White sheet and stand

-Falcon Eyes RX-8T 

Being stuck at home because of the pandemic, I had no choice but to start doing photoshoots inside my house. I had to say goodbye to direct sunlight, which has been my only light source up till now. This was my first DIY studio photoshoot and I must say, it went better than I had planned. I had never created a lighting and studio setup before, so it was definitely a challenge. But, with all the equipment I mentioned above, the experience was definitely worthwhile.  

My mother runs a Facebook and Instagram page titled “My Thoughts.” As I had been dabbling in photography for a while, she wanted me to take some pictures for her page. Being a marketing student, I kept going on and on to her about how the photos must be on brand. After a while, she simply let me come up with the whole idea for the indoor photoshoot. 

I followed the colour scheme of her page by incorporating golds, beiges, and whites in the setup. My mother’s writing is very creative, thoughtful, and calming; I wanted to make sure that was conveyed through the images above. The book, glasses, and cup of tea—I believe—evokes the mood I wanted for the photographs. 

My favourite photo is where my mother is resting her head and arms on the book. I love the perspective and concept of that particular photograph. My mother would often mention she falls asleep while reading one of her many philosophy and wellness related books. I wanted to create that moment in the photo—one that connects with the subject of the photoshoot and creates an interesting visual.

I love how my first DIY indoor studio photoshoot went! Comment below or email me what you think!

The Perfect Colour to Add to an All Black Wardrobe

There are many pros of having an all-black wardrobe, as I read in this intriguing blog post by Moda. In fashion history, black was initially considered a colour for mourning, but once the little black dress (LBD) was introduced by Coco Chanel, the conversion of black from a colour of mourning to one that felt fashionable became undeniable. Audrey Hepburn in a sleek black dress and white pearls is an iconic image from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the little black dress is a wardrobe staple for almost everyone around the globe today.

Wearing all-black outfits all the time is convenient in many ways. It allows you to think less about what to wear when you are heading out hastily to work or class in the morning. It is very flattering for all body types, skin tones, and heights. Not to mention, all black is pretty much a staple uniform for students at Central Saint Martins (CSM)—from what I have noticed—and for any contemporary or modern dancer. It is definitely a look! Lastly, having an all-black wardrobe allows you to travel light; you won’t need a specific top to go with a specific skirt as black goes with everything!


However, there are many cons to having a wardrobe filled entirely with black pieces. You could start feeling your outfits are monotonous; it might be boring to get dressed every morning and look the same. Lastly, it is limiting. But, how do you change that and still maintain the many pros of the so-called ‘all-black wardrobe’ fashion statement? Well, there is one specific colour that is the perfect addition to make your outfits a bit more exciting and lively. That colour is dark olive green.

As shown in the images above, olive green seamlessly blends in with black. It can almost be mistaken for black from a distance. From close, olive green will add that little spark and excitement your all-black outfit needs. Being a petite person myself, wearing all black is convenient, but it does make me feel smaller than I really am. A colour such as olive green will still keep your wardrobe convenient, but add that pop of colour to your outfit. If you are looking to transform your wardrobe, try this colour! You won’t regret it. Comment down below if there is anything else that would be a perfect addition to an all-black wardrobe!

Outfit Combination Idea:

Top: black loose shirt or tight black top

Bottom: olive green skirt or olive green jumpsuit

Footwear: black boots

Accessories: black sunglasses and a black purse

Here is How You Can Stop Doomscrolling

person using a smartphone

Allthough lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease in many parts of the world, the pandemic is still not over. Many of us, including me, find ourselves at home more often than usual. Being at home all the time gets boring after a point; we miss being outdoors playing sports, dancing, or doing any of our other hobbies. At least, I know I miss doing all the things I did once before. One terrible consequence of being at home all the time is our inclination towards doomscrolling. I read this concept in a BBC article and I found it terrifying and very indicative of the culture we are breeding nowadays. The act of constantly scrolling through social media sites nonstop day and night is the meaning of doomscrolling. All of us have probably done it during the pandemic and it has taken a negative toll on our mental health knowingly or unknowingly. What is wrong with doomscrolling? We are essentially consuming way too much information at once. Either negative information on the news, ‘fake images’ of people living glamourized lives, and photoshopped images of social media influencers that morph the way we view our own bodies. An overload of social media consumption can harm our wellbeing, but how do we stop when these apps are designed to be addictive? How do we stop doomscrolling? Well, rest assured, I have some tested and tried ideas that can help you reduce your time on social media and reduce your stress levels. 

crop faceless person filling water from kettle while brewing pour over coffee

First, my previous blog post: 5 Tips to start your Day the Right Way, provides interesting and doable tips that can help start your morning better. Starting your day without looking at any social media accounts is a key takeaway and one that can help you stop the habit of doomscrolling. Next, stay logged off of all social media sites like Facebook and Instagram at all times. Opening your Instagram or Tik Tok app has become a reflex for some and staying logged off is a reminder that you need a mental break from the toxicity overload a social media addiction can give us. I personally deleted my Instagram app (the most problematic platform for me) so it is not in front of me all the time. However, deleting your app may not be a viable solution if you are active on any of these social media platforms. 

Creating strict rules for yourself is key. Create a schedule that indicates what times you are allowed to spend time on social media. I told myself I cannot access any of my accounts before 12pm and after 9pm—this rule, although was only self-enforced, helped monitor myself. I highly recommend everyone to create strict and self-enforced restrictions! 

My last advice to end the habit of doomscrolling may seem a bit odd, but it does work! Instead of keeping social media as your primary mode of entertainment, start reading new books and watch shows and documentaries that interest you! While doing these activities, it is critical that you keep your phone away from reach. Most people I know have the habit of multi-tasking (this also includes me). We love using our phones while reading, writing, watching tv, and doing a plethora of other activities. By keeping your phone away from you, you will soon forget the need to check your phone constantly. Reading and watching TV will provide the same entertainment, but you are engaging your brain to think thematically and avoid constant comparisons with other people—such as social media influencers. 

If you are stuck in the cycle of doomscrolling and social media addiction, don’t worry, we have all been there, try implementing some of the tips I mentioned above! It will be very hard and uncomfortable initially. But once you stay away from endlessly scrolling on your feed, you will start to feel an unknown stress lift off of your shoulders. If you have any other strategies, feel free to email me or comment down below!

The Perfect Summer Dress

The perfect summer outfit…

 

Nothing, to me, feels more fresh and light than an all-white clothing ensemble. I have always loved it over wearing an all black look—being a petite person, wearing black from head to toe usually makes me feel smaller than I really am. Additionally, a white flowy dress feels more summery and easy to wear over any other outfit. This type of dress is also sustainable as its simplicity makes it a timeless piece for your wardrobe. 

The above images present a minimalist look. I wore a white dress with a white hat and white shoes. A lazy summer day outfit that still feels put together; the perfect look to go to the park for a walk or a picnic! To transition the dress for a formal occasion, you can simply change the shoes for white heels and chuck out the hat. All the talk is about a little black dress, but I think a white dress is equally important. If you have a 70s style white dress, that is one of my favourite styles! I definitely recommend everyone to buy a white dress; especially one that is vintage, sustainable, or maybe even borrowed from your mom’s closet! 

Outfit Combination Idea:

Body: white dress

Footwear: white shoes or heels

Accessory: hat

Jungle House Photography


Lens: kit lens, 50-250mm, f4-5.6



Lens: kit lens, 18-55mm, f3.5-5.6

This is, once again, a photoshoot I did during lockdown. In my neighbourhood, this specific house fascinated me all the time. When I first moved to my neighbourhood, this house looked completely normal. The grass was trimmed, the trees were kept at bay, and a full family lived there. Eventually, the entire place became enveloped with trees and plants once the owners left. I call it the Jungle House. It really does look like a jungle, don’t you think? One morning, I took my camera to do some photography of this very complex subject. 

For the images above, I set my white balance to ‘cloudy’ in order to ensure they emanated a mysterious mood. The house itself has such beautiful details and sections that the photoshoot was very easy and relaxing to do. Sometimes, when your subject is very intriguing and intricate, photographing it can be very fun, leaving you with so many images to pick from at the end. Comment down below what you thought of the photos and if you would like to see more new and exciting images of the Jungle House!

6 Things to Watch When you Need a Distraction

couple love date sitting

Instead of talking and talking and feeling and feeling, sometimes, you just need to get out of your head. You need a distraction. There are some days when I am just not feeling good about myself; I am feeling down about my life and the way it is going. Having to talk about it feels unnecessary at times—unimportant. That is ok. Sometimes not talking about your problem is the way to go forward.  Realizing that your problem just needs to be forgotten instead of dwelled upon, is completely fine. But in the meantime, you may need a distraction. What is better than to relax on your sofa and watch something that feels warm and larger than life.  I am going to give you 6 things you must watch when you are in need of diverting your mind from certain dark and stressful thoughts. These movies and shows are heartwarming, filled with joy, humorous at times, and will really help you see life in a new light. Or maybe you will simply have a good time. Well, here is the list! The beautiful characters and wonderful storylines of everything listed below make them a must-watch, especially when you are feeling blue!

young woman relaxing at home and watching movie

A beautiful movie based on a beautiful book. Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) was a successful, active, and wonderful man who lived an extraordinary life. After an unfortunate accident, he was left paralysed. Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke), a chatty a happy girl, cares for Will and soon he starts to find some joy in life. This movie is heartwarming, filled with characters you will love. I have even watched this movie 3 times in a row once, and it touched my soul each time. Although the ending leaves you heartbroken, you are still left with a sliver of hope and a bitter-sweet feeling. 

Anne with an E

Intelligent and inquisitive Anne (Amybeth McNulty) finally finds a home at Green Gables, when Mathew (R.H Thomson) and Marilla (Geraldine James) Cuthbert adopt her. Anne’s positive outlook in life, the beautiful setting of the show, and the mood are all very touching. One of my absolute favourite shows to watch, especially when I am feeling blue! 

Gifted

Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is taking care of his niece, Mary (Mckenna Grace), after her mother commits suicide. Frank wants Mary to grow up as a good human being, living a normal life. He believes that’s what her mother, Diane Adler, would have wanted. When Mary’s gifted abilities are discovered, Frank risks the chance of losing her as Mary’s grandmother enters the picture after a seven-year absence. This beautiful movie presents the importance of growing up as a good person and learning to love people based on who they are rather than what they own or their gifts. Life is much more than what we think. I absolutely love the humour, heartwarming characters, and themes in this film! A must watch. 

The Blind Side 

This movie is based on a true story. When Michael (Quinton Aaron), a sweet and young African-American teenager is left homeless, he is adopted by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her caring family. Michael is nourished, nurtured, and his talent for playing football takes him far in life once he is given that chance to live in a proper home. This movie presents the importance of humanity and thinking beyond yourself. The importance of support and good communication in a family. Life is much more than yourself and the betterment of anybody betters society as a whole. A perfect movie to inspire everyone to become better human beings. A must watch if you have not already seen the film! 

Letters to Juliet 

I absolutely love movies like this one. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is an aspiring writer who goes to Verona with her fiancé for a vacation just before they get married. In Verona, she discovers the secretaries of Juliet. An informal organisation that collects letters hung on a wall—about love, being heartbroken, and family—and responds to them. Sophie chooses to help and comes across a letter that was hidden deep inside the wall. The letter was from Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) and was written 50 years ago. Sophie decides to write back and soon Claire and her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) arrive in Verona. Sophie joins them on their journey to search for Claire’s long lost love. A truly heartfelt film that ends happily for the characters and leaves you with joy.

The Good Place

Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) is dead and she has arrived in The Good Place. That is how this fun and slightly absurd show starts. Eleanor meets her soulmate, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), and confesses that she is not a good person and doesn’t belong here. This show is one of the most interesting shows I have watched; essentially all the characters are dead and we see an afterlife that is, in fact, filled with tumultuous and exciting events—disproving the idea of absurdism in a way. This a really fun and unique show. A perfect watch to distract yourself from a bad day!

This is the end of the list! If you are having a bad day, as we all do sometimes, kick off your shoes, watch one of the movies or shows I mentioned above and you will soon forget why your day was even bad at all!

How to Enhance the Denim Short

The denim short returns just as summer hits. A perfect staple in your summer wardrobe and a classic piece that transcends time. However, the denim short does feel very basic—at least to me. Most of us just throw on a t-shirt, some white shoes, and head out the door. I wanted to give the denim short a nice spin, so it feels comfortable and simple, yet a bit more sophisticated. In the photographs below, I first wore a buttoned blouse, instead of a t-shirt, with my shorts. This is to add a bit more excitement to the outfit; where casual wear meets formal wear. Next, wearing heels instead of sneakers always dresses up a look—this is especially true for denim shorts. Wearing kitten heels or any heels with less height would be ideal. Lastly, accessorising with a scarf is the way to go. My scarf is a traditional batik scarf that elevates the entire look on so many levels. If you wear a traditional scarf from the country you reside in or you are from, it adds character and personality to your look. Isn’t that what all of us want at the end of the day? Lastly, dark sunglasses always edge up an outfit. If you are wearing sweatpants, sunglasses ought to do the trick!




Outfit Combination Idea:

Top: cream buttoned blouse

Bottom: denim short

Footwear: white heels

Accessories: batik scarf and sunglasses 

Indian Ethnic Photoshoot




Camera Lens: sigma, 17-50mm, f2.8

Image settings:

1 – ISO: 100, f4.0, 1/2000

2- ISO: 100, f4.0, 1/500

3- ISO: 100, f4.0, 1/800

4- ISO: 100, f3.2, 1/1000

I finally upgraded myself from a kit lens to a new sigma lens! I must say, I do feel the difference. Although your equipment does not determine your photography skills and creativity, it is definately nice to buy and use something new. 

During lockdown, it is very hard to do photography. But what I have learned is, even in a small location, there are so many ways you can expand your creativity. My mother was after my life to do a photoshoot of her in a red sari. I was very hesitant as it was not the style of photography I normally do and we were unable to go to a different location due to lockdown restrictions. At this point, I believed I had over exhausted my neighbourhood as a photography location. However, after much thought, I decided to go through with photoshoot and I am so glad I did. The photos turned out wonderful and by walking around my neighbourhood once again, I was able to find spots that had not been used before!

Remember, even a small room can look different for every photoshoot; you just need to look at things from a different perspective. Below, as you might have guessed, I have a small excerpt from the model of this photoshoot: my beautiful mother!

“Thank you Isha Arora for taking this photo. ️You made such an introverted and camera-shy person like me comfortable in front of the camera.”

– Sarika Arora