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Post in Makeup Is Life

A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

September/October is here so break time is over!

Time to start with some fundamentals. Photography has it's own set of "rules". Which of course are meant to be broken, but it's really helpful to know some basics. Starting with the rule of 3rds in composition. What you do is place your subject on one of the "imaginary" lines that cut a photo into thirds ( 9 sections). I do this rule often, but sometimes parents don't like it in their pictures and want the subjects centered. Included is images with the lines showing. Just basic set up so you can see it. One of the easiest ways to get something on one of the lines is to crop it down. When you crop an image you usually get the lines that show up, using those lines tells you where the "thirds" are, and just line your subject up with one of them. 


If you want to get really technical I encourage you to look up the Golden Ratio and learn about it. It has many names and it is way too mathematical for my brain to comprehend. To my knowledge I don't think I have ever taken a golden ratio image. I have golden triangle but not ratio. Check it out! photoworkout dot com/golden-ratio-photography/  


Hopefully you can see the lines...I should have thought it out and used a dark background. 



Photo Crop 1.jpgPhoto Crop 2.jpg


What a great first year we had!! Even if I dropped the ball sometimes! I decided to change things up this year with the themes. They will be a little more challenging this year.




April- DOF 2 images.

May- Flash/Artificial Light.

June- What you see vs. What I see

July- Break

August- Break

September/October- Rule of 3rds.


2022 challenges-

April- Lipstick

May- Eye Shadow

June- Primer/Foundation/Concealer/CC/BB

July- Highlighters

August- Brushes

September- Sheet Masks

October- Hair Care

November- Fragrance

December- Nail Polish

January- Blush/Bronzer

February- Candles/Wax Melts/ Diffusers



The challenge and "rules"-

1. Flat lays and staged photos only. I'll post examples below. But no faces or people allowed in your photos. (Though you can include photographs).


2. All photos you take must be your own. 


3. Post as many images as you want, you have a whole month to get creative with each theme. Post one, post everyday, doesn't matter.


4. Let's talk gear and products! Tell us about your image. List the products and colors, talk to us about your concept and how it came to be, taken with your phone or DSLR? 


Here are some helpful reads- digital-photography-school dot com/flat-lay-photography/  and digital-photography-school dot com/tips-for-getting-started-with-still-life-photography/


Here are some of my example images I've taken in the past-

Flatlay 1.jpg

Gucci Flora Gardenia.jpg

Floral Street Sunflower Pop.jpg

Gucci Bloom Eau De Toilette 1 oz/ 30 mL 

Floral Street Sunflower Pop Eau De Parfum Travel Spray 0.34 oz/ 10 mL 


Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

@Buootiful That's awesome! Let's see it!

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

DOF - Depth of Field / Depth of Focus - April 2023 Photography Challenge


This new format for the monthy photography challenges sounds fantastic @Samtian; thank you!


Tools / equipment used: I use my phone (iPhone X) for my photos. This model doesn't include a built in blur functionality. I did some research (YT, Google) and decided on the app: Focus - there's a free 7-day trial; monthly fee applies if not canceled before the end of the trial period. 


Lighting: Photos were taken 20 minutes after sunset, with source of light coming from behind the camera.


I chose VOLUSPA Barbados Grapefruit Jar Candle as the product/image as the focal piece and tried a couple different levels or intensities of shallowness / blurring. 


Portrait - Light Blur / Bokeh (@Samtian, would you refer to it as light bokeh or how does is that term used when describing the blur quality of a phoot?) 

DOF - Close Up - OriginalDOF - Close Up - Original

DOF - Close Up - Blur (light)DOF - Close Up - Blur (light)


Landscape - Heavier or More Intense Blur / Bokeh

DOF - Expanded - OriginalDOF - Expanded - Original

DOF - Expanded - Blur (Heavy/More Intense)DOF - Expanded - Blur (Heavy/More Intense)


There's less blur in the close up, portrait shots; I have to hone in on the Laneige lip mask to the left to see more of the blurring. With the second set of photos, the bokeh is much more evident. The blurring was done manually in the sense that I didn't have number to choose from so some parts of the background are more blurred out than others. I could have been more consistent with the level of blur throughout the background, and will try that another day.

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

I love this, @itsfi !  The candlelight makes these photos so interesting in blur.

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Love that last photo @itsfi! The glow and focus really set that candle apart from the other items in the shot. 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Thank you, @JoSometimes. The glow from the candle really stands out more with the other images in the background blurred. 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

@itsfi Great job! Here is an article that can probably explain the quality of bokeh better than I can photographylife dot com / what-is-bokeh it is a way more technical article with all kinds of examples, mostly talking about the lenses used. 


Have you downloaded the Lightroom mobile app? I believe it's free, and it can really help, and it's fun, with different editing.  

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Thank you @Samtian! I'll take a look at that article this weekend! 😍 I hadn't heard of that app but I just downloaded it. Looks like I will have all sorts of fun to play with! 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

@itsfi Can't wait to hear your thoughts on both! The desktop version of Lightroom is the first step in my editing process. 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Wow, you are a master student of @Samtian . Great composition on the shots. I was going to post a photo with a light blur but hadn't read the article yet.  I clearly have not done my homework yet. 🤣 @itsfi 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Awww, that’s a very sweet thing to say @Buootiful. Thank you! 🥰 I was all about reading that article (instead of some reading for work that I took home with me 😆). It was so much easier to get into the DOF article. Hahahaha! I’ve been learning a lot and have been in awe of people’s photos. It’s been fun to be able to step outside of my comfort zone when it comes to taking photos and try out new things and new tips and tricks. Professor @Samtian is fabulous! 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

@Samtian so here is a wonky one and does the other count? The label is clear but the mints are blurry?

LG Wing phoneLG Wing phone

Samsung Galaxy S23 UltraSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Also, here is one for the candle challenge

Samsung Galaxy S23 UltraSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra


Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Very pretty pictures @Buootiful and the texture of the backdrops are a good contrast too 🥰 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Aww thank you so much @CynthieLu 😘

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Pretty pics @Buootiful! Your wonky is wonderful! 😍 I can see the contrast between the focused and blur portions of the frame on the bag of candies; nice work! 📷

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Haha that word. Thanks so much! 😁 @itsfi 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Me too! It's my word of the month @Buootiful - the plan is to try to drop that word into my everday conversation, at least, but ideally, enough times to get others to start using it in theirs. Heehee! 😅

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

@Buootiful It counts! It's a bit harder to tell, just because the background is all white. I like the wonky one, that is fun! And that candle, ugh their jars are works of art!

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge- Year 2

Thank you! Yes, such lovely, reusable jars @Samtian 😍

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge

I was excited when you put this photography challenge up last year @Samtian - an opportunity to practice my photography and to learn from some of the best at it. 
There have been so amazing shots from folks here, some I have noted as wanting to try for myself, like photo set ups and looks that you and @fatimamummy have posted here, including the monochromatic shot you did as one of your first, if not your first post, on this thread. I tried it first with lipsticks from Fenty and Jason Wu last year (Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challe... - Page 42 - Beauty Insider Community ( They turned out okay, but it was definitely something I wanted to continue to work on, so I decided to try another monochromatic look, well, semi-monochromatic as we close out the first year of the challenge. Meant to post this last night but time got away from me, again. 
3.31.2023 Ami Cole.jpg
Photo Details
Product(s):Ami Colé Lash-Amplifying Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara Rich Black 
Camera:iPhone X 
Background:Table and pashmina
Other Material:None
Lighting: Natural lighting; indoors; light coming in from left side
Editing: Rotate slightly and cropped for closer look at the product
March's catch all theme was a great way to try my hand again at some of the many tips, tricks and techniques I've learned from seeing some of the beautiful photos posted on this thread. I feel like I've learned so much from this challenge and while I have a ways to go, I feel like I've made improvements with both my photo taking skills and my eye for seeing possible shots. 😊 Thank you Samtian! 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge

Awww, you always post fantastic photos, this is no exception 😍 @itsfi 

Re: A Year of Beauty- Photography Challenge

Awww, you're so kind @Buootiful! Thank you! 😍 Taking photos has been a creative outlet for me. I'm really looking forward to learning more!

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