Category Archives: guest

Guest Post: Avoid Being a ‘Wanna-Be’ Photographer

H o w   t o   A v o i d   b e i n g   a   ‘ W a n n a – b e ‘   P h o t o g r a p h e r  

Hey, I’m Amanda, and I blog over at Living in Another Language. I love miss Bonnie Rose, and I’m constantly stalking her blog to see what new and exciting things she’s up to. Including her sweet photography skills.
Speaking of photography, is it just me, or is everyone out there claiming to be a photographer? —>CHEESIEST transition line EVER<—
If you think photography is in your blood, and all you see during big events are great picture opportunities, you are most likely considering becoming a photographer.
Due to the recent boom of picture snapping junkies (hey….I include myself in this category), the trick is to find something that makes you stand out in a crowd. What are your specialties-what do you like to shoot? Stick to what your passionate about. What you see, what interests you, what you envision in a shot DIRECTLY relates to what the final picture turns out to be.
I’m definitely not a professional. I spent the last 4 years going to photography classes, learning my ol’ Canon Rebel xsi like the back of my hand, reading photo tips, tricks, and tutorials online, until I couldn’t do anymore. Once my husband saw how passionate I was for photography he bought me my first real camera. A Canon 5D Mark II. I still drool whenever I see it’s name (granted now I’m using some of that saliva to drool over the Mark III). It was a late birthday/Christmas gift, and even after 7 months I STILL feel like I’ve barely tapped into it.
So how exactly do you go about becoming a ‘credible’ photographer and not just a ‘wanna-be’ (cause Lord knows we all hate that)? Fake it ’til you make it. Um wait. I seriously just gave that advice? No wait. Let me explain. Do your research. Study great photographers. WHY are their images so intriguing? Why will people pay thousands of dollars for a photo session with said photographer? Try to mimic the way they do things (OK this does NOT mean being a copycat. Mimic the camera angles, the lighting, the photo filters). See what you feel most comfortable with.
Also spend some time learning about post-photography editing. You may have scored the perfect shot, but even the most fantastic photo can be completely ruined by post-photography editing. I’ve pulled a few of my photos from throughout the years (mainly 2005-2009) that have been completely ruined by editing them wrong. Have a good laugh or head shake. My pain is your gain. Consider these the DONT’S of photo editing.
1. First of all, this is a SUPER old picture from 2005. I had just gone on a trip to Peru, and didn’t necessarily like this photo because I looked a little tired. So I edited the CRAP out of it.  TIP: If you don’t like a picture, scrap it, or don’t TRY to make it better by editing. Odds are it’ll still look bad.  This photo is over-saturated, over-exposed, and my teeth are overly whitened (why, just WHY). Along with WHO KNOWS what else.
2. The vignette  look. I have plenty of prime examples of this, but 99.9% of them were too embarrassing to show. If you’re wanting to make it in the photography world, stay away from vignetting as much as possible! I honestly believe it makes the photos look a little tacky. I’ve seen some photographers do great things with it, but leave it to those who know how to use it. :) I should also note that there are lenses out there that have a natural vignette to them. I currently own a Canon 28-105mm, and the sucker vignettes like none other. I have to go into Camera Raw to get it out of there. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it does nothing for my photo. The photo above demonstrates the dreaded black corners, as well as the over-exposed, bright (I need some sunglasses) look.
3. I suppose if you find yourself in an exposing ‘saloon girl’ dress, two guns in hand, and sitting pretty for a western photo shoot, you may expect your prints to come out with a sepia tone. After all, that is the old time look. However if you’re out with your girlfriends for a little masquerade party, you’re most likely wanting to keep it current. Maybe at the time I thought the sepia was classy. It just looks out of place…and rather…old. 
4. Selective coloring is a downright NO. just no. I’m not sure what else should be said about it, but it’s not in right now. It’s a fad that went out of style in 2004 (Ironically the year this picture was taken).
5. Don’t change the colors of the photo too much. I understand I was making the picture look like I was really chillin’ with Obama…but seriously? The photo looks terrible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little photo filtering. Or even color tinting a black and white. But when you do ALL of it at the same time? Your photo looks something like this. It’s as if your editing program threw up all over the picture! Stay away my friends.
6. Ok, this isn’t an editing error, it’s a picture taking error. Why? Well…what’s the purpose of this photo? What’s the focus? What am I supposed to be drawn toward? Don’t take pictures just to take them. Have a reason…trust me, your camera, computer, and tired eyes (from filtering through the good pictures and bad pictures) will thank you.
Ok. Now on to the good part. After learning from my past mistakes, I have licked my wounds and started over. The remaining photos below are the result.
Here are a few of my favorite photos I’ve taken in the last few months, and an explanation why I chose to edit them the way I did.
1. To be honest, I almost ditched this one. The exposure was all sorts of funky and I couldn’t get it to lighten the way I wanted without washing the details out. That’s when I decided to go the opposite way. Why not darken the photo and play on the natural highlighted parts from the sun? It didn’t take me very long to get it the way I wanted. I also applied a VSCO setting in RAW to get the faded yellowy effect.
2. I am all about experimenting with my camera and learning new things. I have about 5 hours to myself on Saturdays (the husband is out teaching), and I use some of that time practicing my love for photography. Unfortunately living in South Korea I don’t have many friends (aka photo subjects). I have loved the challenge to practice my skills on MYSELF! I recently did a tutorial on taking professional looking self-portraits here. 
I have this particular photo in both the black and white and color. I chose black in white due to the ‘mystery’ in the shot. It adds more of a timeless quailty to the photo and brings more focus to my face ( I was wearing a neon purple shirt which could be a little distracting).
3.I love this shot I took just down the road at Hakdong Beach. I love the way the sun is climbing down the mountain towards the beach. I love the old concrete dock. I love the wave breaking over the strange pebbles that overtake the beach. I didn’t have to do much to this photo: I increased the saturation and brought up the shadows a bit.703542_590600356149_105682454_o
4. To tell you the truth, I used a VSCO setting for this photo and did absolutely nothing else. If you haven’t played around with VSCO you’re missing out! When I first got it, I spent HOURS seeing what all the different settings did to my photos. I love how this setting not only added a warm color throughout the picture, but it added a soft fade which works really good with all the contrasting details, bringing the photo together. It also probably helped that the background of the Boseong green tea field was breathtakingly beautiful.
5. This is yet another self-photograph inspired by the natural light that was shining through my window. I decided on the soft sepia look instead of straight-laced black and white because it brought a warmth and intrigue the black and white didn’t. You’ll notice I didn’t dig too deep into sepia (like the #3 DONT above), because I didn’t want this photo to scream ‘antique!’
 6. This scenery at Seoraksan National Park, South Korea was breathtaking. I wanted to add this photo to the guest posting to show you the slight vignetting effect my lens has. I decided to leave it, because it somehow works with the photo, drawing you towards the center. For this photo I brought up the highlights, added some saturation, and a slight fade.
Well readers, thank you for sticking with me through my good times and bad (literally). If you’d like to see more of my recent work as well as discover what it’s like to live in South Korea as an expat, drop by my blog! I am constantly posting all sorts of weird things I discover on a daily basis, as well as any sort of domestic tips I’ve learned to make my life easier over here.
You can also check out my TwitterFacebook, and Bloglovin’! Please leave me a comment so I know you dropped by. :)

A Few Favourite Bloggers

Day 19, Sunday: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them.  There are several blogs I check daily every morning for new posts and stalk follow on twitter. I tried hard to share with you only five but you get seven instead. 😉 

Aspiring Kennedy
I love Lauren. We go back to summer camp in cabin 5 and later as students at University. I love reading her blog because her infectious fun personality really shines through her posts. That and I love that we now have more in common as adults now that she also lives the expat life in England and is now raising a daughter. While her blog now has a proud mummy element as she now embarks on life as a parent, she still sticks to her original theme of a lifestyle blog. If you like to live vicariously through other expat and travel blogs, Aspiring Kennedy is perfect as Lauren is always off traveling somewhere new or trying out a new cafe for afternoon tea. 
American Expat with a daughter in London, England.

Expatria, Baby
I knew as soon as I found Erica’s blog that I was here to stay. As a photographer I am in love with her style of expat lifestyle and travel photographs. Her blog truly documents her expat life as a mummy blogger. Indonesia had not been on my radar before but now as an avid reader of Expatria, Baby I have added it another place to which I would love to travel. What really draws me to Erica is her true expat spirit of adventure and exploring the world around her with her daughter in tow. She has a great way of showing what life is like through her daughter’s eyes too.

Canadian Expat married to a Swiss, with a daughter in Indonesia

From There To Here
I have only just recently found out about this blog and it is already one of my favourites. Jay now lives in Norway but also previously lived in Gabon, Africa. I love to read about the places she has been and she writes so eloquently and paired with beautiful photographs. She does a really great job at taking the reader along on the ride in her posts as you travel vicariously through her blog. I look forward to getting to know her better and reading more about her life now in Norway. Oslo has always been one of my favourite places to where I have traveled and so her current location was a magnetic attraction when I first found out about From There to Here.

Canadian Expat in Norway

Casey Cote
I have to admit that I really love Casey’s blog, We Took The Road Less Traveled, because it is a life I had hoped my husband and I could have experienced when he was in the military. Having been stationed in Stuttgart as a girl myself, I love to read about Casey’s life in Germany as a military wife. I love that they take full advantage of their time stationed abroad to enjoy life on the economy and immerse themselves in local culture. She is currently on vacation seeing more of Europe and following her travels is favourite thing about her blog. Her posts are full of life and I find it so fun to read about and see the photos from their latest adventures in Europe.

US Military Wife stationed in Germany

Twitter: @CaseyCote

Living in Another Language
As a nomadic person by birth I am not surprised that I can find kindred spirits in others that live across the world. Amanda is definitely one of those people and I have really enjoyed getting to know more about her through her blog and talking with her on twitter. It can be fun seeing what you have in common with other bloggers. She is also a military brat, is living the expat life, and is also married to a guy who loves to cook and work on motorcycles. While some bloggers show photos of their kids, she has an adorable bunny named Jazz. I think its cool because my husband and I had a bunny named Pippin (and later renamed Harriet when we found out it was a girl) when we first got married too. Since I live in Europe I love following along to her life in Asia. She is a photography lover and so you get photography filled posts and Instagram updates of her life in Korea.

Former military kid living the Expat life teaching in South Korea

Lost in Travels
Chelsea’s blog has been one of my favourites since I found it through another blog where her eye catching button was displayed. I have not stopped following her blog since and have enjoyed getting to know her better. I come away from Lost in Travels blog with the motivation that if you want to do something or go somewhere, you should do it! After getting married she and her husband left the US to travel the world, experience new cultures, and share adventures together. It comes off to me like a modern day expat fairytale, something I would have dreamed of as a younger nomadic girl myself. She keeps it real as she shares the heart of life living and teaching in Korea. Plus she does a great job at sharing her own experiences to aid others in life as an expat and with advice for having a blog. I love that she is very genuine and caring and I ;look forward to continuing following her adventures around the world.

American Expat couple teaching in South Korea

Across the Pond

I found Meg’s blog through Lauren (blog mentioned above) and became an instant follower. I love following her blog because as a person she comes across as having a huge heart and from hearing her story, she comes off as being a very strong individual. She moved abroad with her previous relationship and to go to school and started her blog to document and share her experiences in Europe. She now is getting ready to leave and repatriate back to California as a newlywed to a man from Northern Ireland. I really look forward to following their story as they begin their new life in the US together. As I follow mostly expat and travel blogs, it will be cool to see her life married to an Irish expat in Sunny California.

Newlywed Expat in Scotland getting ready to repatriate back to California

Thank you for looking through some of my favourite blogs, these are some extraordinary women and they all inspire me to continue to live life internationally. I think the general theme is ‘Girl Gone International’ which is the name of an amazing magazine I now have the pleasure of taking part in and of being involved. You can follow on twitter at @girlgoneintl, online at the website:


*photographs found here today do not belong to me but to the blogs to which I have credited. 

HI – Life & Love

Today is the fifth day of May with the Blog Every Day in May challenge.  Feel free to join in and if you catch this anytime through out the month feel free to just jump right in.  

Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don’t have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member.

Let me start this off by saying that I feel blessed to the number of bloggers out there that I consider friends.  Though I have been blogging off and on since 2005, it has only been now in 2013 that I have started blogging every day and interacting with the blogger community.  To be honest I did not know much about it before.  No offense to my  mum (I love you) only family members seemed to read my blog and rarely comment. Now that this whole world of bloggers has been opened to me, I daily read other blogs and interact via twitter and instagram.  My only regret is not knowing about this community back when I moved to England in 2011.  Especially when it comes to the other Expat bloggers.  I could have easily chosen a few different bloggers in the ‘Expat’ category for this post.  I held back because of my TCK personality. I tend to grab on to friendships fast (bipassing whatever social norm of stages it takes to become a ‘best friend’).  To be fair as brave as I am I was a bit afraid to say ‘hey I love this girl!’ even though I may have only been blogging alongside you in this expat life for the last 4 months, 2 months, or even week. Sometimes it can be a little disheartening to keep reading and commenting on blogs where the author never comes over here to read my own.  But I keep up with the truth that friendships are more about giving, than receiving.  Thats why I blog to share myself and to give to others.  
I hope even in despite of times when I get busy or overwhelmed in real life that I can still give and be there for you.  If you feel that I am missing out on something or not keeping up feel free to embarrass me on twitter. I joke, but honestly  I just love making friends and I do not want anyone to feel alienated or alone. This may be my blog, but I have started blogging in 2013 to build friendships with people all over the world.
Behind the Scenes in front of Diamond Head on a photo shoot. She was modeling  and I was the hair & make up artist.

Without further adieu I would like to introduce you to a blogger friend of mine who started out as a real life best friend first.  She actually started blogging because I asked her too. To be fair I surprised her with a designed blog so all she would have to do is start writing and sharing photos.  I can be a bit persistent  😉  She is even more beautiful inside than she is on the outside with a big heart.  She loves her family so much and her blog is focused around her Ohana.  We met while both being stationed in Hawaii with branches of the military.  She is currently on the mainland but will be returning soon to her home on Oahu.  I met her in 2007 and since that time we have both been through a lot. There have been friends that fell off along the way or whom I realized were not friends for the right reasons.  However she and I came through it better friends than when we first met.  I am honoured to call her my best friend.  She is my ISFL (Italian Sister For Life) as I grew up in Italy and she has Italian blood.  She blogs over at HI-Life & Love and her name is Tammy.
Modeling & Photo Shoots

Around the time that I was working on more photo shoots as hair & makeup artist I started getting into photography as well.  I really wanted to keep spending more time with my friend, Tammy, and so I encouraged her to get into the modeling scene in Hawaii.  It was great because we had a common interest we could share together away from the military world. So while I tried to look for some awesome candid of us at Starbucks or on the beach, most of my photographs are from photo shoots. To be fair these were some of my favourite memories together.  Despite how stressful life can be, photo shoots were fun because it was a get away into a different world.  Besides what girl doesn’t like getting to dress up in new clothes, have her hair and make up done, and feel pretty in front of a camera?  

Two of my favourite photo shoots with Tammy were ones where I was behind the camera.  The first was shot for my project ‘Secret Lies of Men & Women’ where we addressed the issue of domestic abuse.  The ‘Polynesian Dancer’ shoot was one of my last shoots before I left the island. 

Why I love reading her blog :

This is my list of why I think you will love reading her blog.  Especially if you want to escape to the life of living on an island or being by the beach you will love her.
Hi-Life&Love is a Hawaiian Lifestyle Blog.

She is love and is not afraid to proclaim it.  Life is empty without love and withit the world is beautiful.

She is loving mom of two, who also shares the joys of raising a son with Aspergers.  (side note: her son created this piece of artwork and I love it.  Its really beautiful to see how he sees the world)

She posts about her wardrobe and how she keeps her hair so healthy, shiny, and long.
I always remember her having such beautiful nails.  As someone whose nails always chip after a day,  I enjoy her posts to see what creative colours and designs she chooses.
She is motivated to fitness and shares how she has gotten her rock hard abs over and over again.
Her heart is also in the kitchen and she posts about the yummy creations that she makes in there.  I made a pie last year from her crust recipe and it was the best tasting pie I ever made.  (thank you Tammy!)
She is also an amazing friend.  Here with my Island Ohana.

Thank you for taking the time to read through about one of my blogger besties.

Thank you also for all of you who visit my blog, who leave comments,

who talk with me on twitter, and like my photos on instagram. 

I look forward to seeing these beautiful blogger friendships grow this year. 

Read about Day: |1|2|3|4|

*photographs found here either belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | or belong to Tammy of Hi-Life&Love blog.  Please get in contact if interested in any photographs shown on A Compass Rose.

Guest Post: ‘Make Me Look’

Today I am pleased to share with you a guest post by my featured sponsor this month, Melissa from Make Me Look.  Not only is she an amazing make up artist and up can coming photographer, she is one of my best friends.  We met on the island of Oahu, working together on photo shoots.  If you have been following my blog, you have seen some of our collaborations together on my throw back Thursday photography posts.  I love Melissa because she is loving, creative, driven, and beautiful inside and out. Without further adieu, I leave you with Melissa and her post:
Melissa and I when she came to visit me in England last year. 

As a Makeup Artist with over 10 years of experience, I had the desire for a more lasting form of beauty. 
This lead me to pick up the camera and create both the palette and the image.  
I recently created a website called “Make Me Look,” 
which is where I create looks that can easily be recreated on anyone.

I love all forms of beauty, but I most enjoy bringing out a woman’s natural and innate beauty. 
Makeup can be fun and simple, and should never be taken too seriously.  
I have been freelancing for Chanel Cosmetics for almost 3 years.  
I really relate to their makeup style, which always enhances, as opposed to covering up.  
When I’m not doing makeup or taking photos, you can find me in the kitchen 
making my own coconut milk, almond butter, and just about any other condiment you can think of.  
As soon as my short layover in Virginia is over, 
I hope to spend a few years in Europe, soaking up the fashion and culture.  
My ultimate goal is to open my own “experience boutique,” so be on the lookout!
Melissa and I on a rooftop in Waikiki, Hawaii.
On the island of Oahu where we worked together and became friends.

Follow Melissa:
Make Me Look Blog
Melissa  Hurley Website
Twitter: @melissahurley_
Instagram: @makemelookmag
Google+: +Melissa

*Photography and make up belong to Melissa Hurley and all rights reserved.