5 THINGS WE LEARNT AT OLYMPUS AND TOPSHOP'S STYLISH SUMMER SCHOOL
Who would have thought that the bustling lower ground floor of Topshop’s Oxford Circus store could also double up as an awesome summer school? Aspiring fashion and beauty bloggers united for a series of photography how-tos and workshops, taught, of course, by those who have already conquered the blogosphere – from Disney Roller Girl and Pandora Sykes, to Mademoiselle Robot and London Beauty Queen.
To kick off summer school Olympus threw a three day long live photo shoot, free for anyone in the store to attend, with pro photographer Jay McLaughlin, fashionista blogger Lydia Elise Millen, a fab dressing up box and an on-hand Topshop glam squad – because who doesn’t want one of those?!
Here’s what we learnt about stylish photography…
Shooting Street Style
It’s outfit first, shoot location second, say bloggers Leanne Lim Walker and Yanin Namasonthi of the perfect street style shot. Plan your look and then start to think about scenes and set-ups that could complement it – lighting, colours, framing and zoom are all important. Fashion photographer Jay McLaughlin was on hand to deliver his top tips on composition and everyone got to have a go themselves, styling up a storm on pro model Charlotte De Carle.
Back To Basics
‘Light is the only thing that really matters when it comes to taking a great photo,’ photographer and Olympus ambassador Cleveland Aaron told us at the beginning of his Back To Basics talk. Cleveland was accompanied by Victoria Magrath of InTheFrow to give us a crash course in how to use our Olympus PEN cameras properly. ‘If you’re outdoors, take your photos when the sun is either going down or earlier in the morning,’ said Victoria.
‘The PEN camera is built on our senses, use it like it’s your eyes,’ Cleveland added. ‘If you come outside a dark space into the light, you squint. So if you’re in a situation where the light is really bright, you need to play around with the aperture and your shutter speed so you don’t need to squint.’
How To Shoot A City
Mademoiselle Robot, (Laetitia Wajnapel) was a natural choice to teach us this one, as her cityscape pictures are amongst the most popular on her Instagram. Mastering this one, she explains, is all about using your eyes. No really, it’s that simple. Ms Robot considers all angles of the building before choosing which part to shoot – think floor tiles, roof views and close ups of architectural details. ‘It’s about seeing a picture in your head first, knowing exactly what you plan on shooting and knowing about the angles and composition of the image,’ said Laetitia.
Another essential skill for any aspiring #FBlogger or #Bbloggers (that’s a fashion or beauty blogger for the uninitiated) is taking pictures of clothes and make up that we’re not actually wearing. Enter masterclass number 4, on how to shoot still life. Make-up is best, say blogger LondonBeautyQueen and photographer Cleveland Aaron – it’s all about pretty packaging and colour pops on cool backdrops
Time to bring out the big guns. Super bloggers Disneyrollergirl and Pandora Sykes (also of The Sunday Times’ Style magazine) gave us our most technical class so far. From aperture to white balance to depth of field, this was a chance for us to experiment with all the settings on our Olympus PEN camera and re-consider exactly how we could use them when shooting our outfit or still life collections.
Take a quick look under the Insta hashtag #TopshopxOlympusPEN and you can already see attendees putting what they’ve learnt to the test – these were the kind of classes that taught everyone how to give a picture that professional gloss, making the Insta world a more beautiful place in the process.