Category Archives: tips

My Top Travel Tips


My favourite thing about Travel Tuesday is having a location where like minded bloggers and readers can meet to share our passion of travel.  The best part for having that camaraderie across an online forum is you get a global view from many different perspectives. I will share with you my most favourite travel tips that I have picked up from my travels around the world.

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How to do Your 2014 Resolutions

How to do your 2014 Resolutions

Welcome to 2014 and a new year to embrace the possibilities! A beautiful thing about life is realizing all the opportunities that await you.  It all starts with a thought and grows with action.  What will you be accomplishing this year? Are there deep hidden passions from within that you have been waiting to act out? A goal you have often thought would be great to have happen, but have not yet seen it through?  Let this be your year!


Brainstorm | Whether you already have one set idea in mine or many floating around in your mind, take the time to think it out.  Get in your zone.  Find a place where you can be a lone and think. Perhaps put on music that will inspire you.  Be inside or outside. The important thing is to be free from distractions where you can really just brainstorm all the possibilities.  You do not have to do everything you think of, you just want to open your mind, your heart, and soul to all that awaits you.

Write it Out | Get that paper handy or write out out on your choice electronic device. Write out all the ideas that spoke to you when you were brainstorming.  Then write under each idea what it is you like about it. What goals do you want to accomplish? What do you want to be able to say at the end of 2014? What grabs you personally about it? This is all about you, so do not worry what others will think.

Make a Plan | Now that you know what you want to achieve in 2014 you have to make a plan.  Starting out with day one.  If you can accomplish one day, you can accomplish two.  Think of it as a day to day thing to make it not overwhelming when thinking in bigger and longer terms of weeks and months. They say it takes 28 days to form a habit so remember that it will get easier and that you are capable of sticking with anything you put your mind to achieving!

Have a Plan B | We are all human and we are going to have our bad days.  So make a plan B.  For example last year I wanted to blog every day.  If I knew I was going to be out of town I would schedule guest posts from other bloggers (ie. Love Week in July/August when we were having our 10th Anniversary Vow Renewal in Wales).  I also wrote up non time sensitive posts that I kept in ‘draft’ mode in case I was uninspired one day and needed something ready to go.  Also remember that sometimes our Plan B will not always work out. It is okay to make mistakes. Pick yourself up and get ready to keep going.

Share it Out | If you keep your plans and goals to yourself and you mess up who will know?  Better yet if you share your goals and resolutions you can have your family and friends help keep you accountable.  The best part is they are not just there for you when it gets hard. They can help encourage and celebrate with you during the great times and moments of greatness too! Perhaps you will inspire others to take part or get involved with their own goals too. Share it forward!

There you have it in five easy steps how you can get started in your resolutions for 2014.  Remember to stay focused and positive. Do not let the negativity get you down or limit yourself to constraints.  Last  year I did not start my blogging every day until February…but I did it through to December. It is up to you to make your plan and what you want to achieve.  Best yet is you can do it!

Q: What will you be achieving this 2014?

8 Tips for Family Photos on a Trip

8 Tips for Family Photos on a Trip

For me when I think of the holidays the first thing that comes to mind is family.  Directly after that my mind wanders to locations across the globe.  Basically because my family is spread out and we have not all ever lived in the same place.  There will come a time in the near future where my side of the family will be split up on four different continents! Returning to a childhood home in the states every year for the holidays just does not fit our expat family.  When it comes to planning our upcoming holidays my family has decided we will start choosing destinations where we can all meet.


Now not only will we be wanting to focus on our travel photography on our holidays, we will want family portraits at the same time too.  For us we never know the next time we will all be together in the same location, let alone that destination.  Time is precious on holidays and when it comes to family photos quality wins over quantity.  Take 600 photographs of your travels with family member scattered in the mix but do not get one great group shot of everyone and the opportunity is gone. How do you plan family photos when there is already so much going on with the holiday and travel plans?

Family Photos Wales

How to take Family Photos on your Travels

1. Communicate with your Group | Once everyone knows where you are going for your holidays it is time to start talking about the photographs.  My family knows that when I leave the house I will have a camera on me.  However, I cannot pretend that everyone is a mind reader and will know that I want to get family photos.  Some people will need reminding, others coaxing, and some will want fair warning so they can be feel amply prepared.

2. Prepare Before Leave | Any task will be pulled off more efficiently with before thought and preparation. Think about the location you are traveling to and how far your family will be traveling from.  It is best to not to ask your family to bring a lot of extra clothes or props just for a family photo.  With the right preparation and communication you can still pull off a rather stylized family shoot.

3. Stylize your Shoot | Think of a colour scheme that will work well with your group and let everyone know in advance.  However do not then leave it up to chance.  You either risk having everyone wear the same outfit or having one person looking out of place because perhaps they did not have dark trousers and wore light blue jeans instead.  The key is coordination and simplicity. For balance check ahead of time what everyone has and what they are thinking of wearing. The best way I have found this to work for my family is to think of a basic colour palette that you know people will have and then build on it with a little bit of colour.  Have different members of the group ‘pop’ that colour into their wardrobe in different ways.  If your ‘pop’ colour is green you may see it introduced in different items of clothing on each person and even in accessories like hats, hair pieces, jewelry, ties, scarves, and shoes.

4. Posing | Once you know what people are wearing you can work with colour balance and family relations to decide who will stand where in the photo.  Before hand look at family poses online that you like and bring it with you on your mobile device or printed out for reference.  You can try different poses but go with your favourite pose first. This will be beneficial if you are working with children (or adults) with short attention spans or a dislike for having their photo taken.

5. Be Efficient | If there will be children, older family members, people with special needs, or pets in the photograph, let them relax until you are read to start snapping away.  Let the other family members work with you to set up the group shot first.  Once you are ready to add everyone in then get ready to smile and aim to get ‘the shot’ there in the beginning.

6. Timing | It really is everything.  Think about the time of day you are shooting and how it will affect lighting and shadows.  Also take in account how the time of the photo will affect the members posing.  As my family photos involve children I like to take photos when they are not hungry, not tired, and before something that they can look forward to after the photos are finished.  My favourite time of day is the golden hour after the sun comes up. Others also like to shoot during the golden hour in the evening during the last light of the day.

7. Take the Shot | Whether you are having someone else take the photos or  you are using your camera’s timer or a remote, remember you are working with a group of people in one photo.  This means some people may be blinking or making a strange face in one shot, while looking great in another.  Start with having everyone feel comfortable and relaxed and then take a lot of photos to achieve a shot where everyone looks great.  The shorter the shoot the nicer it will be on those who feel uncomfortable or would rather be doing something else. Make sure to check the photos before you deem the shoot as ‘over’ to know you are satisfied with the results.

8. Have fun |  Once you have the shot you need then let your group have fun. Maybe break out some props to use or bring in elements from your trip to show off your holiday.  Let people mingle, be themselves, and pose with different people. This is a perfect time to get candids!

Family Photos in Wales

There you have 8 tips for family photos on a trip. Perfect for you to implement on your holidays this year!  I have other photography geared posts that you can check out including the How to Take your Family Portraits which you can read by clicking the image below.

howtotakeyourfamilyportraits_ACRblog (1)

If you would like to know more about photography, check out my B.Lux Online Photography courses at


Share your Travel stories and wanderlust addictions.




1. Share a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. Grab the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie in a link! ;)
3. Linkup goes live every Tuesday after 9 am GMT.
4. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!
5. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
6. The First Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

* Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved |

* Side by side vertical photos by Miriam Pinkston Photography © 2013

No Poo: I Broke Up With My Shampoo & Conditioner

Do you remember that post where I talked about coconut oil, baking soda, and how I Broke Up with my Facial Cleanser?  This is the next post in the beauty series of how I broke up with my shampoo and conditioner.  It all began back at Christmas when we made a costly move within England from Brighton to Bath.  Since then I had been trying to stretch out my shampoos to save on product.  It got to be May and I had read a post on my friend Amanda’s blog where she stated I STILL don’t use shampoo.  Back then she had been no poo (shampoo free) for three months. I had heard about this before from my sister and had half attempted it myself.  However, I had not researched how to do it well and had only been using the baking soda. This time I armed myself with the knowledge on Amanda’s blog and after a twitter conversation with her went to the store to get what I needed.  Being in England I ran into some problems as baking soda comes in either small individual packets for baking or a small container.  So if you are attempting this I recommend buying in bulk! I am now four months in and I am not looking to switch back to shampoo.
Things I learned from breaking up with my shampoo and conditioner:
  • The transition period is frustrating. I heard that it would be and I will not lie and say that it is a breeze.  The trick is to keep your hair back and just stick with it.  I ended up going with a french braid and keeping my hair in a plait, instead of wearing it down. It also benefited that I work mostly from home.  If I was working in the salon still, I am not sure how it would have gone down with my coworkers to be honest. Just remember that it is a transition and will not last forever.
  • One size does not fit all.  In this case what may work for one person may not work for you.  This could also apply to your journey with no poo and you may find you have to switch it up a bit.  The tricky part of breaking up with your shampoo and conditioner is to find the right mixture and ingredients for you. I initially started with using the paste method of baking soda because it was what I tried before.  However it was making my scalp very itchy, no matter how well I tried rinsing my my scalp.  I switched it to the baking soda wash method and went from Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to White Vinegar (WV).
  • I needed a new brush.  As a hairstylist I have a gazillion brushes but oddly enough did not own an all natural Boar Bristle Brush (BBB).  Since my goal is to grow my hair out long I have been trying to not touch my hair if possible.  That means if I needed to brush my hair I used a wide tooth comb and if I needed to use a comb I tried to just use my fingers.  However I realised from trouble shooting online that I needed to use my BBB.  Ever heard of how women used to brush their hair a hundred times every day?  I use to discredit that and say how horrible that was for your hair as a stylist. Upon research I now actually think it is a good thing. One you need the right kind of a brush.  The natural bristles of a BBB will help distribute the natural oils from your scalp down the hair shaft to make it soft and shiny.
  • I lose a lot of hair every day. This is something I know for a fact. I knew this back when I gave birth to my first son eight years ago.  Along with the knowledge that after you give birth you shed even more hair.  I kid you not, I was still bawling my eyes out in the shower as I saw how much hair I was ‘losing’.  So with not brushing my hair very much I started to freak myself out with seeing all the hair in the brush when I did use it.  However all those hairs that were going to come out anyways have just added up.  I am not going bald, nor is my hair thinning.  I am just overreacting to the number of hairs we can lose every day. If you are wondering that could be up to 130 hairs a day! Wash your hair once a week and do not be sad if you see around 700 hairs coming out in your hands.
  • I need to change things up. At my 3 month mark I noticed my hair was almost reverting back to what it was like during my transition stage.  Except I felt that it was almost worse because I was already three months in.  My hair was not just oily near the scalp, but really sticky.  It also seemed like my BS wash and vinegar rinse were not helping.  After doing some research I tried an egg and honey wash.  I used two egg yolks, 1 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of vinegar, and 1/2 tbsp of baking soda. It made a frothy mixture which I rubbed on my scalp for three minutes. I left it on for another five and then rinsed really well. I sprayed my ends with my diluted white vinegar mixture.  I could tell my hair felt better immediately but after my hair dried it was confirmed.  So just know that sometimes you may need to change up your routine.
  • There are many different ways to be ‘no poo’.  You do not have to rely on just baking soda and vinegar. There are so many other ways to go about it and you just have to find what works for you.  I also tried using a mixture of honey and aloe vera fresh from the plant to help when my scalp was itchy from the baking soda paste.  There are so many tea rinses out there that I have been meaning to try out sometime too.
  • I spend less time on my hair. When I was using shampoo (which strips your hair of natural oils, which makes your body then overproduce) I would have to wash my hair every few days.  If I used product or straightened may hair I would have to wash every day.  Now that I can go seven and ten days it has really cut down on how much time I am spending washing my hair.  But it gets better than that! My hair now dries so much faster on its own.  I do not need to be outside in the sun either.  Just being in my house my hair dries on its own in just a few hours.  I have not really timed it, but I know normally my hair would still be quite wet and not fully dry as it is now.  Which means I do not spend tons of time blow drying hair, flat ironing, or using my curling iron.
  • It can work!  Since going about it this time I realised it can work and that has been the best lesson of all.  I can go seven to ten days between washing my hair.  Between that time I will use water only (WO).  Which means yes I still bathe regularly. However I will wear a shower cap to keep my hair out of the way.  Especially if I am going 10 days between my ‘no poo’ wash I will use water only every four or five days.  The trick for me is using hot water and scrubbing my scalp.


Since I have showed you how I wash my hair with out shampoo, I thought it only nice I follow in post with how I style my hair.
PRODUCTS. I am a product queen. Plus as  a hairstylist I was always coming home with new products and samples.  However since I broke up with my shampoo and conditioner I have realised my hair acts much differently.  I do not need tons of products. I am not using heat tools so I do not need heat protectants.  Honestly my bathroom full of products has been replaced with one: coconut oil.  A little bit goes a long way.  I put a small amount in my palms, rub them together to emulsify and the us sparingly.  It is the best product for my hair! We use this product for so many things in my house we are always running out!  Which ignore any frizzies in the photos of this post as we are currently out of coconut oil until our next delivery.  Coco powder has been great as a ‘dry shampoo’ and along with the coconut oil makes me smell like a cookie.
DRYING.  I do not use the hair dryer.  I will say I have used it on a couple of occasions, one being the day of my vow renewal.  Otherwise I squeeze the excess water out in the shower and blot well with a towel. I then air dry and as stated before my hair now dries very quickly. Which I equate to not having used shampoos and conditioners that are filled with chemicals and silicones.
STYLING.  Normally I do not do much.  The less I mess with my hair the better condition it will be in as I grow it out longer.  I will take sections starting from my hair line and twist it to help aid my wavy hair into curling nicely away from my face.  I will pin a section back from each side of my face if I am going to be out and I do not want hair in my face.  My favourite thing to do now is curl my hair with a headband.  I have previously done this with the ‘sock bun’ technique and found using three sock buns helped give me even curls. However with three it was a bit awkward to sleep on.  Plus I will leave the house with my hair in the headband, so its a great way to curl your hair during the day, if you want to let your hair down that night.
The above photos were taken on the same day.  I wore my hair that morning curled up around my headband. We spent the day out kayaking along the river and canal near Bath and it was perfect for keeping the hair out of my face.  Normally had I put it in a bun or a pony tail I would have had to fix it or would have kept playing with it. That night I took my hair down to reveal beautiful curls with no heat!
How to Curl Your Hair with No Heat!
Bonnie Rose’s step by step approach to styling your hair.

What You Will Need:
You will need either a circular stretch headband or you can use a scarf.  I found the headband creates tighter curls, wear the scarf will give you looser curls. If you are going straight to bed you can wet down your hair slightly with water. Do not do this with very wet hair or your hair will not dry fully.  Also your hair can stretch longer when it is wet compared to when it is dry which can cause breakage.

1. Comb out your hair with your fingers or a comb and determine your parting.  Now that my hair is long I am keen to use a center part.  Put your headband or scarf around your head like a halo and position accordingly.
2. Start with one side and take a section of hair in your hands. You will hold it up rap it around the headband and down.  Take the same size section and add it to what you are currently holding and repeat.  You will be working your way all the way to the back of your head.  The trick is to take the same amount of hair each time. Do not feel you have to match the amount of hair that you have accumulated, otherwise your curls will get bigger and looser the farther back you go.
3. Once you have finished one side continue wrapping your end around the headband until the end is secured.
4. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. You should now have a Princess Jasmine looking hair do. Enjoy your beauty rest or your day if you happen to do this as a day up style.
6. When you are ready slowly take your hair down.  If you used the scarf technique the easiest way is to untie it from the back and then slip the scarf out from your hair.
7. Using your fingers comb through the curls gently.  You can re curl sections with the direction they are curled to help refresh the look.
8. Use hairspray if you prefer or just use a little coconut oil to tame any fly-a-ways and add shine.

Questions  You Asked
“Is your hair naturally wavy?” 
Yes. It can also be very curly if I kept my hair chin length.  However, with the length of my hair it has weighted down my curls into waves.
“I notice you have an ombre look with your hair colour.  Are you still colouring your hair with no poo?”
No I stopped colouring my hair about fifteen months ago and wanted to grow out my natural hair colour.  So while I have always loved different variations of the ombre look, mine was not exactly intentional. I have noticed that the very ends of my hair are prone to not curl as much my virgin hair so I am wary to colour my hair again until covering up grays is a need. My natural hair is being so much nicer now that I am on poo so really working towards keeping the chemicals away.
“You worked in the salon. How did you ween yourself off of using heat tools and hair products? I cannot live without mine.”
The way my reacted while using shampoos I would not be able to live without my range of hair tools and products either. My hair really does react better without the chemicals.  I will still use my hair dryer or other heat tools sparingly for special occasions but it works against my main objective.  Long hair.  Anything you are do to your hair is going to damage it, including twirling it around your finger. I just try to work at doing what I can to promote healthy hair growth.
“Do you have a favourite homemade hair mask?”
I use to swear by my monthly coconut oil masks. They really promoted shine and helped my ends.  I did it once with my new routine and found it was very difficult to get all the coconut oil out of my hair.  There are many natural ingredients that are great for hair masks like raw honey, raw aloe, non-fat plain and organic yoghurt, avocado, and egg yolks.  I have not tried every combination yet but so far have tried two which both have included raw honey.  My first thought was ‘honey, will that not make my hair and scalp sticky?’ but it really works!  Raw honey works as a humectant and is amazing on your hair for moisture, shine, and softness.
Raw Honey & Aloe
I used the aloe straight from the aloe leaf and mixed with honey. Make sure you are using all natural organic ingredients.

Egg Yolks & Honey

The benefits of egg yolks are that they reduce breakage and support strengthening your hair.  I used the following as a ‘moisturizing wash’ to help my hair at the 3+ month mark.  I would definitely use it again as a mask.  Two egg yolks, 1 Tbsp of honey, 1 Tbsp of vinegar, and 1/2 Tbsp of baking soda. It will make a frothy mixture.
That is my story about ‘No Poo': I Broke up with my Shampoo & Conditioner.
Feel free to ask me any questions!
*Images belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved |

3 Tips for Visiting Japan

Today I am pleased to introduce you to one of my featured sponsors for July.  Her name is Lisa and she has touched my heart with her photography and gorgeous family photos.  She is a mom to her adorable son and cute dogs, Jasper & Coco, and expecting her next bundle of joy soon.  She also shares my love of travel and is taking over my blog today to share with you a combination of travel and her photography hobby.  Make sure to introduce yourself and share some ACR love her way.


Hi, A Compass Rose readers! 

My name is Lisa and I blog at  
I blog about my family and also my photography hobby. 
Reflected temple (after) | copyright Lisa C. Ng for
I’m so honored to be sharing 3 tips for visiting Japan to you today on Bonnie’s lovely blog. In my former life (before marriage and kids), I lived in Taipei for two years and traveled to Japan twice. Once with some friends, and a second time all by myself. Japan really is one of the countries I’d visit over and over again. I love the food, culture, and how tourist-friendly it is (at least the cities I visited). Hope you enjoy the tips!


Tip 1: A little Japanese goes a long way
I know two Japanese phrases, and they took me a long way while visiting Japan. Need directions? Have a question? Just say “Sumimasen“, which means “Excuse me“. Another I used all the time, “Arigatou gozaimashita“, which means “Thank you very much.” Listen to the locals use these words for their correct pronunciation.

  Flag over river (after) | copyright Lisa C. Ng for

Tip 2: Trains, trains, and more trains
I visited the Kyoto region on my second time to Japan and took trains just about everywhere. If you’re planning to take a lot of trains, look into a Japan Rail (JR) Pass. Be sure to read the FAQ page to find out the details on the pass. For longer-distance trains, I reserved seats and got my pass stamped at the various stations – Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo. It was fun collecting them.

Tip 3: Restaurants with food displays are everywhere
When in doubt, eat at a restaurant with a food display. I once took a waitress outside to the window to show her what I wanted to eat. A few times cold noodle dishes were served when I was expecting a warm dish, but it certainly didn’t affect my appetite. Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisines.


Hope the tips are helpful! 
I’ll leave you with one of my 
favorite photos from my trips to Japan! 
Please let me know when you visit Japan, 
so that I may live vicariously through you.

Reflected temple (after) | copyright Lisa C. Ng for

*All photography in this post is copyright to Lisa C. Ng for © 2013

How to Take your Family Portraits

Family Portraits.  We take them all the time to capture those we love and the memories and moments in time.  Sometimes we even jump in front of the camera just in time to be in the photographs too.  With families getting together for summer vacation, I have been asked to give some advice on how to take your family portraits.  There are many variables to consider.  The number one thing I have to stress is to have fun!  Sometimes things just will not go to plan.  Some of my most favourite family portraits are those unexpected moments that just happened to get captured on camera.  In the image below my kids were not dressed especially for the occasion, nor were they matching.  I was testing out a new lighting set up and they wanted to be included in the process.  In the end this was my favourite shot from the session. 
How  To  Take  Your
F A M I L Y   P O R T R A I T S

You can surely take an impromptu family portrait and love the results.  However you could also prep for a more stylized family portrait and take them yourself.  Look over this list of points to keep in mind before taking your portraits is key to satisfaction.  But do not forget about your equipment.  Make sure your camera batteries are charged and with you, that your memory cards have available space (and not just becoming storage to unbacked up photos) and double check your camera settings.  If you shoot in lower quality for selling items on eBay, make sure to change it back to RAW or a higher res for your portraits to save from crying later.

I do not suggest having everyone wear the exact same outfit.  Just as I would not suggest those that travel to Hawaii to buy all matching ‘Aloha’ shirts and have their photo taken.  The key is coordination and simplicity.  Choose a colour palette and and let everyone dress accordingly.  For balance check ahead of time what everyone has and what they are thinking of wearing.  Otherwise you may have someone’s uncle showing up in blue jeans instead of the suggested khakis simply because he did not have any in his wardrobe.  It will become a case of the ‘one of these things is not like the other‘.  Especially if you are taking a family portrait on vacation you cannot plan on everyone having something that will match.  Plan ahead of time so that you do not run into this problem.

My last family portrait was taken at Christmas time by our home here in Bath, England.  I let my family know ahead of time what the colour palette was and sort of kept tabs on my mum and sister about what they would be bringing.  When it came to plan out the outfits I let everyone ‘punch’ the colour of red in a different way.  I wore a red cardigan, my sister wore red shoes and red accessories, my mum wore a red hat, my eldest son wore a red tie, and my youngest had red stripe detail in his dark plaid shirt.  My husband did not have anything with red but matched the palette.  Since we all punched red into the photo in different ways it did not matter that Ryan stayed neutral because it became a cohesive balance. 

A good rule of thumb for what time of day to shoot is the ‘Golden Hour’, which is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day since the lighting is softer.  You can check online for sun calculators to determine what time you should be outside to do your photograph.  I suggest working together and trying to get it done as efficiently as possible to avoid family members getting restless.  I always tell my boys that if they work really hard to help us get the shot then we can move on quicker to something more fun.  A little bribery never hurts. 

This may be an integral part of your shot if you are on vacation in a place you would like to remember, like on Lanikai beach in Hawaii.  It may be good to location scout first to make sure the place works and that it is a safe location.  Simple is best and try  not to have too much going on in the background.  I have used brick walls, hedges, and even an open field to set the scene.  Depending on your camera, the lens, and your settings you may want just the focus on the the group with a soft blurry bokeh background.  I suggest keeping away from other people or anything that may clutter the shot and take away the focus.  Let the outdoors be your photo studio and keep it simple so that it works with you for the shot. 

Tripod, Timer and a Remote.  
The family portraits I have shown where I am in the photograph have been taken with my camera on a tripod (or another surface) and with a timer.  Easier would be a remote.  It is how I take my self portraits for Self Portrait Saturday.  I definitely recommend looking into all three if you do not have or know how to work them yet. The photo above where I am reading with my kids was taken with the timer.

Elements.  Sometimes the best made plans can be tested by the circumstances like the weather.  You could have a beautiful set up on the beach, perfectly orchestrated morning to get everyone looking just perfect and  have the wind mess everyone’s hair up.  Two of the family portraits we have done in England have been while it is raining.  Of course the rain did not happen until the camera was set up on the tripod and we were ready to start.  At this point you have two options.  You can reschedule or you can attempt to do the best that you can given the circumstances.

Tips: Keep it fun.  As soon as someone starts getting stressed out or upset it is going to show in the face or body language.  If you are dealing with the wind turn your bodies so that the wind works for you, not against you. If you are dealing with the rain my best advice is to know what shot you want to get and get it. If you are not comfortable with the lighting and cannot get a good test shot, don’t force it.  Go back out when the weather is better.

Lighting.  Not enough and your portraits will not turn out.  Too much and you will get harsh shadows on their face. Be aware of the lighting situation.  When we lived in Hawaii if I wanted to shoot in the morning I would have to shoot early because by 1000 it would be too bright.  In England where we have cloudy skies often it becomes one of my favorite lighting situations as it acts like a natural light diffuser.  If you are shooting outside it is good to have your subjects in the shade with the sun light in front of them.  I used this method above while shooting family portraits on a bright sunny day in Arizona.  I also love shooting with the sun behind my subjects for backlighting.

Tips:  If you are still practicing with backlighting try shooting your subjects with trees behind them and shoot so that the sun shines through the trees.  Keeping your subject far enough away from the backdrop with a low aperture, can result in a nice bokeh affect of the sunlight through the trees.  If you are still learning about shooting in manual and ISO settings check out the ‘Sunny 16 rule': for shooting in sunlight. 

Kids & Animals.  They infamous quote is you should never work with children or animals.  However of course those will be the two categories we want to focus on in our photographs.  Keep the little ones in mind when going planning each stage of your family portrait.  If you know the kids will be tired during a certain hour, obviously do not plan to shoot at that time.  It is better to work around the little ones and their schedule.  Make sure the kids present are neither tired nor hungry when it is time to pose.  Bring treats and have something for them to look forward to after the photographs have been taken. 

Props.  They can be fun. Especially with the right group of people a few key props can pull a theme together.  Kids especially will love things they can wear or play with and will be drawn to the excitement.  However make sure you get your standard portraits first. Always aim to get the shot you want in the beginning and then from there have fun.  It could be the shots you do not plan that may surprise you and turn out the best in the end.

Attitudes.  Sometimes it is not the right time to take photos.  If anyone is uncomfortable in front of the camera it will read in the eyes.  If someone is upset it will not only show in their face but will affect the other people in the photograph.  I have taken family photos as a portrait photographer where the husband was in a really nasty mood.  It not only affected the child but made the wife very anxious.  It did not matter what I did to get the mom and the child to smile, the husband was grumpy in ever single shot.  For this very reason on family vacations with my husband’s family I have second guessed my decision to take family portraits.  The camera does not lie and there are some things you just cannot fix in photoshop. Bottom line, do not force a photo shoot if the situation is already stressful.


SPONSORED: How to Quickly Catalog, Cull, and Edit Photos using Lightroom

My featured sponsor for the month, Lisa, is a photographer and has so many great posts on the subject on her blog  One of her posts:  How to Quickly Catalog, Cull, and Edit Photos using Lightroom is a perfect follow up to after you have taken your family portraits.  If you are only using photoshop and have not heard or have not used Lightroom yet, I highly suggest taking a read.  While photoshop is really geared towards graphic design artists, Lightroom is really geared towards photographers.  Let Lisa know how you found her and you can ask her photography questions over Twitter:
*All photography (minus the sponsored photo) belongs to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved |

Pin it Forward UK with 16 Tips

I can see Pinterest becoming the modern woman’s evolving handbook of life.” – Bonnie Rose

I found out about Pinterest after moving to England in 2011 from a friend over facebook.  Pinterest had not officially come over to the UK yet.  However after seeing a short article about Pinterest in the Stylist, a free weekly woman’s magazine in the UK, I began talking about it with my clients at the salon where I worked.  Especially for the younger generation Pinterest seemed to be a simple answer for my clients who were redecorating their rooms, looking for new fashion ideas, and needing new hairstyle options.  I started having my phone on me so that I could pull up my own pinterest boards as reference for haircuts or letting clients search pinterest on my phone for ideas.  Google is great and but when it came to coming up with quality content from searches, Pinterest was hands down the best option for my clients.
Pinterest has now come to the UK and many bloggers have been asked to blog about Pinterest with #PinItForward  As a Pinterest convert myself and who would share it with anyone I met, I felt I should now share it with my readers.  This is my post about what I love about Pinterest and how you can make your Pinterest page and boards exciting for other users.   
W H Y   I   L O V E   P I N T E R E S T 
and how board & pins can change your life
The main concept I love about Pinterest is being able to brainstorm and save ideas about the things I love most about life.  I love to plan for future life events like birthdays, holidays, my vow renewal, pregnancies, and when I finally have a girl of my own. I can search for and save tips for when I need advice on my marriage, holistic health options, and for fixing things that break or go down when my husband is away.  Pinterest has also become the hub for everything DIY.  There are so many that I have categorized my Do-It-Yourself pins into separate boards of beauty & health, tricks, crafts, OCD (organization), gifts & toys, and decoration.  Basically any facet of your life can be made into a board and the ideas you find online pinned to it for future reference.  Which leaves me with only one question?  Where was Pinterest when I was planning my wedding ten years ago in 2003?
M Y   P I N T E R E S T   B O A R D S 
and what my boards & pins say about me
Currently my Pinterest boards say I have wedding fever.  As I am planning my 10th Anniversary Vow Renewal in August, Pinterest has become my best friend.  I did have one board, but found with pinning so many things in a complex subject it was hard to go back and find anything.   I now have twelve separate boards with the prefix title of ‘I Do Again’ to aid me in my endeavors.  I have boards for pins in so many facets of my life as a female, a career woman, a wife, and a mother.  I can see Pinterest becoming the modern woman’s evolving handbook of life. 
W H O   S H O U L D   B E   O N   P I N T E R E S T
and why it is not just made for stay at home mothers
My mum, who has embarked on a new life path, pins on boards focused around her new career choice. My husband, who works in the field of international relations and risk analysis, pins as an extension of his blog. My children, ages eight and six, pin ideas for their upcoming birthday parties on my pinterest account.  That is three generations of pinners in my family alone.  I find it is a good example of how the process of saving ideas is timeless and for all ages and backgrounds. 
W H Y   I   R E C O M M E N D   P I N T E R E S T
and how everyone benefits from having a board

If something works for you in your life you more inclined to talk about it with others.  Be it a new product from the store, a new hairdresser at the salon, or new parenting tactic with your children.  I have found Pinteret to be a positive source of vision that translated well into intergal parts of my life. I have used it to plan parties, to put together a new outfit,  to find new beauty regimens  and find new recipes. However you do not have to have as many boards as I find I need myself.  Even one board could benefit your life.  If I was to recommend one board that would fit everybody I would say to make a ‘Vision board’. Give it a unique name with a personal description that fits your life goals.  Pin things you find online and from browsing Pinterest that represent that goal or dream.  Use your board to identify with your vision and goals.  Pin now and read later to reinforce your wants in life and what matters most to you.  Be specific with the pins on this board to keep your attention on your intended goals. Perhaps you pin a few now and then come back later.  You never know when things you have pinned will be quite helpful to you in the future.  
H O W   B E S T   T O    U S E   P I N T E R E S T
The Best Tips I Have Found To Be User Friendly

1) Have a Smart Looking Profile.  
  • Choose a username that matches your online personality.  If it is mainly personal use your name.  If you own a blog you could go with your blog name.  If you own a business create a business Pinterest account with your company’s name. 
  • Choose a clear and eye catching profile photo for your profile picture.  
  • Have your About You section filled with a short, sweet, and concise description of  who you are in under 160 characters.  Key words are vital. 
  • Add your website and verify it for use of the analytical features of Pinterest. 
  • Simple is Best. Keep your pages looking attractive with simple descriptions. Do not make lengthly paragraphs with too many hash tags. 
2) Have Unique Board Names.  Many people like to have a board for hairstyles and haircuts they find online.  How many of these users do you think use the title ‘Hair’ for their board?  Quite a number of them as displayed in the image below.  Instead of getting lost in the pack, choose unique names to make your board stand out from the rest.  Make sure they are relevant to the subject but stand out amongst the crowd.

3) Board Descriptions.  Each board can and should have a good description with key words and phrases to go with it. This helps other pinners know what content is found on that board and for when searching for specific content.  You can use up to 160 characters in your board descriptions.  Links and hash tags are not needed in this area.  Also make sure that you place your board in a specific category related to that subject.

4) Pretty Cover Photos.  Each board can have a cover photo.  I recommend making sure each one has the best eye catching photo and which may be the most likely to be repined.  You can also keep updating these images so that your boards always look fresh and current to pinners who follow your boards.

5) Use Pin Descriptions.  Include several key words. Make it Personal with using ‘your voice’ and even try to be funny. Use trending hashtags, but do not go overboard. I have heard conflicting information whether Pinterest is currently using hashtags for when it comes to searches.  However hashtags are great to have for pins that get reshared over twitter.

6) Post Unique Yet Related Content.  There are so many pins that get recycled over and over again.  If your followers are avid Pinterest readers more than likely they have seen many of those popular pins before. Find new content aside from just repining what you see from other users.  You can do this easily by adding the Pin It Button to your browser.  So anytime you are online and find something new you can pin it directly to your boards.  Make sure you also pin things that are related to your Style, your image, or your brand.  Furthermore add in the description your explanation on why you think it is interesting.  This will engage others to comment back and repin. 
7) Keep Your Pins Pretty.  For the way Pinterest was created vertical photos for pins look more pleasing to the eye than horizontal ones.  If your are pinning photos from your website, think about cropping your photos to be taller to be more eye appealing.  The prettier your pins, the more likely another user will click it or repin.

8) Check Before you Pin.  Just as you would read the label before buying something, do not take a pin by its word.  Just because that photo looks pretty, does not mean you actually want it on your board. You should always check the pin to make sure that it doesn’t go to spam, that it is content you want to share, and that the link indeed works.  

9) Watch out for Duplicates.  I believe Pinterest has set up something new to prevent you making duplicate pins.  However it is always good to go back and check your board to see if you have already pinned something already.  A great practice to help keep your boards clean and organized.
10) Do not Over Pin.  If you overwhelm followers with too many pins per day, they may stop following you.  Think before you pin. If you find Pinterest to become a black hole that sucks much of your time away, give yourself an allotted time to be on the site and then move on until the next day.  No need to repin items to your  exercise board for an hour, when you could be doing an actual workout.

11) Keep the Boards Organized.  This could be by grouping similar boards together or even alphabetically. Feel free to continually keep your boards organized by moving them around to keep the most engaging boards in the first two rows. These are the first boards other pinners will look at when searching for pins or interesting boards to follow.

12) Tag other Pinners.  To increase engagement between members, you can tag other pinners.  This is great if you want to share something you pinned with someone you think might find it interesting. However it is even more beneficial for you if you tag the original pinned of that pin as a reference.  Just put the @ symbol followed by their interest user name and they will be alerted to the fact that they were mentioned.  By doing this every time you repin you will be introducing your boards to many other pinterest members. This engages communication about things you both have an interest in on your boards.

13) Be Involved in Group Boards.  Pinterest users can create boards with other users to pin together towards the same goal! This is not only a great way to help each other out but to build a community.  It helps in cross promotion and finding new followers.

14) Analyze Data. You will first need to go in setting and verify your pinterest boards. Once you verify your site you can have access to an Analytics section.  You can check your site metrics which includes: pins and pinners by day, repines and repiners by day, impressions and reach by day, and clicks and visitors by day.  You can also check the most recent pins, most repined pins, and most clicked pins.

You can also other websites like:

15) Promote with a Link.  Always include a link to your brand from your pins and vice versa include a link to your interest boards on your blog or website. Do not let any opportunities become missed opportunities when it comes to new followers.

16) Have fun! Pinterest should be fun and if you find it to be work maybe you should take a step away for awhile.  I equate it to trying to build something with legos. After awhile things can get frustrating and it just ends up in more frustration.  Just step away, enjoy life, and come back when you are ready.  Remember too much of a good thing can be bad.  Life is too short not to have fun. Enjoy Pinning!


Since growing sites like Pinterest are constantly evolving, things will change.  In the act of researching before writing this post I learned a lot myself about ways I have been neglecting my own account.  I look forward to correcting my bad Pinterest habits and making some positive changes from what I have shared with you today.  I hope this post has helped you learn something new if you are already in love with Pinterest already. If you have any questions post a comment below.

P I N   I T   F O R W A R D   U K 
Most recent pinners on I love to follow

Q: Do you have a favourite Pinterest board you follow? Let me know which one in the comments so that I can check it out! 
Bonnie Rose

*screen caps sourced from Pinterest using my acount: