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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You can read my previous post here.

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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My Year in Review #3/3 | Photographs

They say a picture speaks a thousand words… Throughout 2016, I took over 5,000 of them.

Despite how overwhelmingly rubbish this year was, when I look back on all of these beautiful photographs, I can’t help but feel thankful that some good came out of it. I saw some wonderful things, I made a lot of life-long memories and I grew hugely as a person. Yes, a lot of these memories were made as a way to distract myself from the big black dog but that doesn’t make those memories any less important!

So, to recognise all of the good that came from this year, I’m going to focus on those best bits in my final instalment of ‘my year in review’.

Here’s my best bits of 2016, summarised in photographs!

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20160907_165854img_20160716_150917img_20160716_17293120160416_141758robinimg_916620160814_214304314163908_10208985609249982_1958375167_o20160902_170348img_9006img_229520160214_155257img_2419img_2441Sewerby Bridlington Cliffs Photographyimg_092520160830_15024920160830_15023420160928_20083120161021_11422920160730_13461220160912_18474120160619_12110620160619_12115620160718_14313220160611_095157Hull Fair 2016 PhotographyHull Fair 2016 Photographyimg_20160124_210619

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Happy new year to all of my lovely followers, friends and family. 

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Getting Festive in the Studio

Can you believe that it’s the first of December? I still don’t have my Christmas decorations up and I don’t actually see it happening any time soon. For someone who normally has their Christmas decorations up in the first week of November, this is a bit of a big deal!

Despite the lack of festivities in my personal life, my photography studio been been regularly bringing a snippet of Christmas Day into my home.

Recently, I had the sweetest little elf visit for a Christmas photo-shoot, and once you see his little smile, you won’t blame me for wanting to share these with you. With his little pointy ears, his festive cheer and his childish wonder, he brightened up my home. I admit, I did feel a festive twinkle whilst photographing this beautiful baby in his little elf outfit. I’m only human!

The Rose Quartz Photography Christmas PhotoshootThe Rose Quartz Photography Christmas Photoshoot

Once he left and the Christmas props had been packed away, however, all signs of Christmas cheer vanished into thin air and the reminder that Christmas is almost upon us made me cringe. I promise, I’m not always this much of a Grinch. This year has been tough – really, unforgettably tough – so mustering up a bit of happiness for something that 2016 has to offer me is proving a lot harder than I thought it would!

The solution: lots of Christmas photo-shoots!

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If you’d like to have a look at my photography page on Facebook, you have find me here.

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Taking On Too Much

Well… howdy. I’ve missed you, the community and my writing an awful lot. I never thought I’d take a break from blogging but, here we are, almost 20 days later saying hello all over again.

Taking On Too Much

The transition between September and October (and the weeks that followed) was a bit manic, to be honest. After finishing my work placement, a.k.a Hell on Earth, I was quickly reintroduced to the life of a not-so-typical university student. A lot of people seem to think I took a year out of university to get a job, but that’s not the case. Instead of sticking with three years, my degree is made up of four with a year of industrial experience plonked right in the middle – that’s what I was up to last year and, frankly, it was crap. It was obvious I’d never be able to smoothly transition back into my final year of university but, as a whole, it hasn’t been so terrible. It’s nice to be back on my own schedule and it’s really nice to not be surrounded by bullies day in, day out.

Despite that, it wasn’t university that led me to take a break. I just took on way too much, way too quickly.

Being all over-excited that I’d finished my work placement, I instantly began building up my photography portfolio. If you know me at all, you sure know how deep rooted my love for photography is, so I jumped at the opportunity to monetise my passion. I began photographing practically all of the children in my family and, without me realising, I didn’t have weekends to myself anymore. After finding myself completely chuffed with the results, I recently moved on to photographing friends of friends’ children and people I’ve never met before. I’m finding this more of a challenge as I have to maintain an air of professionalism whilst entertaining the children, reassuring the parents and working behind the camera. It’s tough, but I love it. The whole journey has been incredible in lots of different ways – incredibly enjoyable, because I am in love with being behind the camera, and incredibly insightful, because who knew it could be this hard?

With my degree, my photography and all attempts at maintaining this standard of mental health, my much loved blog just fell behind. A day hasn’t gone by without me feeling guilty but taking a break was definitely the right decision.

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Anyway, enough of the excuses. It’s good to be back.

What do you think of the new look? Check out my blog’s home page to have a peek at my new design!

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You can read my previous post here.

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills