My Degree Results Are In!

Exciting news! I found out I’ll be graduating university with a high First Class degree in computer science. I’m so happy with myself I could scream!

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I’m so proud of myself!

Four very hard, very demanding and very tearful years of university have come to an end and at least I have something incredible to show for it. I may no longer want to pursue this industry but there’s no doubt that, if I ever wanted to find a place back into computing, I’d be welcome with this qualification.

Before the release of my results, I was actually pretty down about graduating. I don’t want to walk onto stage in front of hundreds of people – I feel sick just thinking about it. There’s so many outdated, old-fashioned rules that have to be followed during a graduation ceremony too, so it’s really not my cup of tea. But, now I have my results, it feels like it can be an actual celebration. A goodbye to two of the best and two of the worst years of my life. University has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions!

During this time, me and Matthew built our little family together. We wouldn’t have our home if we didn’t decide to study at The University of Hull. We wouldn’t have our cats. Our life is wonderful and, despite the ups and downs we faced at university, coming home together was always happy.

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Have you had any good news lately?

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You can read my previous post here.

 

Using Cotton Backdrops in Blog Photography

When I buy a backdrop for my photography work, it’s a multi-use purchase. I can use it for blog photography or I can use it for my portrait photography. A backdrop very rarely has one use in my world – maybe because I’m savvy or maybe I’m just cheap. Either way, whenever I do add one to my collection, I always tend to sway towards backdrop paper or vinyl. I’ve never tried material backdrops, which tend to be made from cotton, as I presumed they’d crease easily.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to test and review a cotton backdrop, I was delighted. Courtesy of iBackdrop, I was gifted a backdrop in exchange for a review on my blog.

I ordered a simple white brick backdrop with a pink rose pattern – it’s pretty enough to add something special but it’s also simple enough for me to use it in blog photography and portrait photography. I have hopes of using it in my newborn photography too! I did have a hard time choosing which pattern I wanted because the range of backdrops on the website is amazing – from simple patterns such as wood walls and floors to balloons, bunting, scenic views, fairy woods and dinosaurs.

iBackdrop Rose White Brick Photography BackdropiBackdrop Rose White Brick Photography Backdrop

Whilst a lot of the backdrops are more suited to portrait photography and children’s photography (such as cake smashes), there are a lot of options for bloggers too. I regularly use wood vinyl off cuts for my blog photography, which takes up quite a lot of space. Instead, using a cotton backdrop, which can be folded for easy storage, would save a lot of room and maybe allow you to have a wider range of backdrops for blog photographs!

Here’s a sample of just some of the backdrops they sell:

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The material itself is lovely. It didn’t arrive creased, which I was very surprised about, and it actually feels a lot more like velvet than cotton. It’s a heavy material, meaning it will hang nicely and it’s not remotely see-through which is a problem I’ve seen in other, cheaper backdrops. The pattern itself is not as sharp as I would have liked, but as a backdrop doesn’t tend to be the focus of an image, that’s not a problem at all. In blog product photography, for example, the focus would be on the products, with a lovely shallow depth of field to blur out the background.

Blog photography is a huge part of blogging and any way of being able to improve it is always welcome. People tend to stick with what they know or what a lot of other people also use, which doesn’t easily allow for change! Cotton backdrops are an ideal substitute for the whole range of options that bloggers have out there, whether you’re using wrapping paper, coloured A4 sheets, vinyl cut offs or your shiny white desk. You can add so much more variety to your photography with these cotton backdrops.

Sleek Matte Me Lipsticks iBackdrop Cotton Backdrop

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I’m really happy with this backdrop and I’m sure it will be regularly used in both my blog and portrait photography.

If you’d like to have a look at their range of backdrops, you can find them at www.ibackdrop.com.

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

I was gifted a backdrop from iBackdrop in exchange for a review. As always, all views are my own. 

Taking The Plunge

Guess who’s finished university!? Four very long, very hard years of studying for my computer science degree, and it’s all over. I actually finished last month, but things have been crazy and I haven’t had time to catch you up yet. I graduate mid-July (which I’m incredibly nervous about, let me tell you now) and then I’ll officially be a graduate. For the first time in 18 years, I won’t be a student.

That seems weird to me. I’ve been studying practically my entire life, since starting school at five years old, and then it just goes away. I’m already feeling an ache to take on extra courses, but I’m way too busy at the moment. I’ll get there. I just bloody love learning new things.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what I’ll be doing with my new, fancy, shiny computer science degree that I worked incredibly hard for? The answer is a big fat nothing, actually. In the final two years of university, I had a horrible time – my health and my mental health were in tatters and I had to take nearly 5 months off. During this time, I realised I’d lost all love and passion for the subject and the industry. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my long life sitting in an office with potentially nasty, sexist and unwelcoming colleagues (after all, that’s all I’ve ever experienced). It didn’t matter that I knew there was a very high possibility that a lot of possible work places would be a lot better than my experiences. It didn’t matter that I’d forgive and forget. I didn’t like it anymore.

If you’ve stuck around for a while on this blog of mine, you probably know of my love of photography, that story I always tell you about having to decide between photography or computer science and that choice of happiness or money. I used to go on about all of that quite often ’cause it was always on my mind.

Well, it finally happened. I took the plunge. Instead of frantically applying for jobs in the final months of university, that would ultimately make me unhappy for the foreseeable future, I began frantically working on something else. Late last year, I set up my portrait photography business, The Rose Quartz Photography, with only the unreachable dream of becoming a full-time photographer. I presumed I’d use my weekends alone to photograph all of the happy families, sleepy newborns and cheeky toddlers, whilst working a computing-based full-time job during the week. Nah, sod it.

Me and Matt discussed this a lot in my final months of university. He has been my rock during these two crappy years and I can’t even explain how incredible he’s been with me, especially when I was at my worst. He saw first-hand how unhappy the computing industry was making me and how drastically it was changing me. I was losing my hair, for god’s sake. When we decided that it would be better for my health (and probably our relationship too) to focus on happiness instead of money, he’s been nothing but supportive.

The Rose Quartz Photography is my new, full-time future. It’s my baby and I put all of my time and thoughts into it. Although I started this venture late last year, it’s only the last month that I’ve been working on it full time. When I’m not photographing wonderful people, I’ll be editing their beautiful photographs. Or I’ll be marketing my business on social media. Or I’ll be advertising my sessions all over Hull. Or I’ll be collaborating with other small businesses. Portrait photography, in all forms, is incredible. I’m constantly learning new things. I’m expressing my creativity. I’m meeting new people – regular clients who come to me with their bumps then their babies, models who love the effort I put into our creative, fashion or makeup shoots, families who leave me glowing reviews. It’s a happy place. It’s exciting.

Blog Stock Photo Flat Lay

So, if you’re up in Hull, East Yorkshire some time soon, and you’re looking for a photographer, drop me a message! I’m always happy to help (emphasis on the happy there, cause I really bloody am).

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What have you been up to recently?

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Shadows, Snakes and Studio Photography

Having a makeup artist friend when you’re a portrait photographer is pretty much a golden ticket. Not only is she talented, she’s gorgeous. So, when I had an idea for a dark, Medusa-inspired photoshoot, who else would I ask to be involved other than my gorgeous makeup artist friend, Katherine, who has three pet snakes? Although I’ll soon be creating a whole new website and blog for my photography work, I just couldn’t wait to share a few of the final photographs from this one.

I built up my ideas for the shoot over a few days and, seeing as this was my vision, she gave me free reign on her hair and makeup. Big hair, tight curls, dark eye makeup, green contouring on the face, neck and collarbones, pointed, long black nails. I knew the lighting setup I wanted, I knew the poses I wanted to capture, I knew the snakes were gunna play a huge role. I was so excited and for good reason too – it turned out to be my favourite ever photoshoots.

Although colour was a massive focus during the shoot, I fell in love with the darkness of black and white. Here’s a few of the final black and white images!

Snake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and White

They say never work with animals… man, those snakes were hard work but they were worth it. I absolutely loved this session with Kat and she’s just as over the moon with the final images as I am.

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What do you think?

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Hi, Friends, I’m Back

As I sit here, watching Jeremy Kyle on catch-up TV, with a mushroom and ale pie cooking in the oven and a cup of tea in my hand, I couldn’t shake the guilty pit that was building up in my stomach. My beloved blog, where have I been? All of my lovely readers, I’ve treat you so badly. Don’t for a second think that this came easily. Every single day I think “Is today the day? Do I have time?” and since Valentine’s Day, the answer has always been no.

Blog Stock Photos Camera and Flowers

I have reasons though, so let me explain.

I’m in the final two months of university. As you can imagine, all of my deadlines and exams have come crashing down. That’s not my issue though – I work so well under pressure and I’m great at what I do. The work isn’t the problem. What I’m struggling with is the lack of passion I have left for the whole degree and any prospect of going into this field of work after graduation makes me feel sick. I hate it. Believe me, it’s incredibly difficult to put your heart into working hard on something when you hate it so much.

Silver lining? I realised what I actually want to do for a living. I’ve always known, but I didn’t believe it would be possible. I want to be a photographer. Always have, always will, and I finally think it’s in my reach. I remember debating whether or not I should study photography at university, but I was met with laughter. Being easily influenced by other’s opinions of me, I gave that dream up. However, last year, I set up my own portrait studio at home and I’ve been steadily and happily growing my clientele ever since. I love every second I spend with a camera in my hand. The problem is that I have a hard decision to make – follow my dreams and make very little money after graduation, placing a lot more pressure on Matthew to get a job that supports us both, or follow my degree’s career path, be incredibly unhappy and make a lot of money. Happiness or money?

During my year in industry at university, I spent my time as a software developer for a company that builds software for the fire service. The work was fine but the environment was soul destroying. I broke. My whole mental health was shaken and I’ve never been the same since. It’s been over a year now and I still fight daily. Honestly, I don’t think I could do that again. This is horrible to admit, and I’m sorry, but I wanted to die. I’ve never felt such pain. I’ve been getting better and I don’t want to go back to that dark place.

If I didn’t experience that, without a doubt, I’d be happy running and dancing and bounding straight into a graduate developer role after university. However, I now know better. On the other hand, if I didn’t have a fiance, a home, two precious fur babies, a wedding on the horizon and if I had a bed to return to at my parent’s home like a lot of single students, following my dream would be a piece of cake.

Yeah, there’s a lot going on in my head right now. I won’t know which path I’ll follow for a few months yet, so I can’t imagine I’m suddenly going to be back like nothing happened, but I’ll try. With me in the process of creating social media channels and a blog for my photography, my entire social media presence is soon to increase. Maybe that will influence me to write more often, too. I hope so!

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I’m massively sorry that my reintroduction to this sweet little blog was such an unhappy one, but sometimes the truth needs to be told. Getting something off your chest is always a sure way to make yourself feel a little bit better, and I sure as hell don’t feel that guilty pit in my stomach anymore! Honestly, one blog post later, I do feel a lot more excited to be back (again).

How have you been?

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Why Hate Valentine’s Day?

It’s that time of year again, when the entire world is split into three camps: the lovers, the haters and those who couldn’t care less. Despite the day’s focus on romance, there seems to be a huge amount of bitterness and hostility between the lovers and haters of Valentine’s Day, and I’ve never understood why. Personally, I love Valentine’s Day – I don’t go out of my way to plan something special every year, nor do I buy or expect expensive gifts and gestures. I just really like the idea of a holiday that’s sole focus is romance.

Matthew and I are both thrifty (well, you have to be when you’re a poor student) romantics at heart, so Valentine’s Day has never been a chore for us. Last year, we made a huge blanket fort, watched films and slept in the living room. It was memorable, cute as hell and it meant we could spend the whole night being totally together. Sure, we could have done that any other day of the year too, but our blanket fort felt like a great idea for Valentine’s Day. This year, we’re making our own pizzas, having a glass of wine and watching a film – for us, that’s perfect.

Valentine's Day Flowers - Why Hate Valentine's Day?

The busy parents, unhappy singletons and those who are struggling either physically or mentally, simply can’t and/or don’t want to celebrate, and of course I understand that. However, there are also some popular yet trivial problems that people tend to have with Valentine’s Day, and although I recognise them, I really do not understand them.

I love my partner every single day of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day:

Of course, me too! But, I also don’t see any harm in saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!” instead of “Morning!” when I wake up – either way, Matt still gets a kiss and a cuddle.

You can’t celebrate when you’re single:

Sure you can. Go see your mum or your grandma and, if you have some money, buy them a bunch of flowers. Celebrate with your single friends. Why not just have a night in, with your favourite food and favourite film? Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love, not just romantic love. Celebrate familial love, friendship and self-love.

It’s a day for couples to rub their relationships in other people’s faces:

Definitely not. If love, or seeing love in others, bothers you then you’re clearly going through some hardship that you need to take control of. If you’re not and simply seeing happy couples genuinely bothers you, you have issues and your hate should not be projected onto the happiness of others. That’s your problem, sort it out.

It’s just another money grabbing holiday:

Yep, probably, but who is making you spend money? Romance isn’t expensive gifts and extravagant date nights. It can be a homemade meals, or making your own Valentine’s Day cards. Self-love doesn’t have to be expensive either. No need for fancy spas: run yourself a bubble bath and paint your toe nails.

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There’s no need to hate Valentine’s Day. Even if you don’t celebrate, you have to admit, it’s a pretty cute idea. Love is in the air today, so don’t shoot it down.

What do you think of Valentine’s Day?

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

5 Amazing Tarantino Movie Moments

Before I met Matt, I hadn’t ever watched a famous Tarantino film and it makes me cringe to even admit that. He’s practically a living legend, right? I missed out for a very long time. Even when Matt tried to introduce me to his work, I was apprehensive and I put them off for such a long time – for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

We practically lived and died films for years. We’d fit in 20 minutes of a film whilst on the bus to the cinema to watch one of the new releases, before watching another 20 minutes on the bus back home. Straight after college, we’d see what ‘LoveFilm’ disc had been posted to us and we’d stick one on. All films were discussed and rated afterwards on our IMDB account – if our personal ratings differed, we would even rate them as an average of our two scores. Super nerdy, I know, but we loved it.

Pulp Fiction Dance Scene Tarantino Movie Moments

What I’m trying to say is, after all of that, I still hadn’t watched any film directed by Quentin Tarantino. Thankfully, I eventually sat back and let Matt take me on a Tarantino journey, and although we’re nowhere near finished, we’ve made pretty good progress.

Here are some of my favourite Tarantino movie moments so far. Narrowing it down to five was difficult, so you’re going to have to forgive the countless other incredible scenes that haven’e been included!

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The Bride Vs. Gogo Yubari Fight Scene from Kill Bill Vol. 1:

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Jack Rabbit Slims Dance Scene from Pulp Fiction:

Jack Rabbit Slims Dance Scene Pulp Fiction Gif

Basement Bar Scene from Inglorious Basterds:

Basement Bar Scene Inglorious Basterds Gif

Ear Cutting Scene from Reservoir Dogs:

Ear Cutting Scene Reservoir Dogs Gif

Burning Theatre Scene from Inglorious Basterds:

Burning Theatre Scene Inglorious Basterds Gif

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What’s your favourite Tarantino movie moment?

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