Thursday, 31 August 2017

4 Ways to Wear 4 Transitional Summer to Autumn Pieces

JD Williams SS17 outfits: Daytime casual (grey leather jacket, orange floral jumpsuit) and date night outfit (khaki shirt, gold metallic pleated maxi skirt) | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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As autumn is knocking on our door we start to get those days where it could still be hot but equally the temperatures may suddenly drop. Like it or not, tomorrow is September and it's time to start thinking transitional wardrobes...!

Last month I wrote about what it's like being a guest fashion editor for a fashion brand's magazine - I featured images from the JD Williams photo shoot where I wore a glamping outfit, something suitable for a city break and an outfit for the guest editor's letter page. As I knew the pieces would work so well going into next season I thought I'd restyle them to show you that four simple pieces can transition seamlessly from your summer wardrobe into your autumn wardrobe.

The pieces that JD Williams sent me are all so good - the grey leather jacket is buttery soft, as is the jumpsuit (LOVE that orange-red colour)!
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Monday, 28 August 2017

White 1940s-Style Vintage Dress and Lots of Red Tassels #iwillwearwhatilike

White cotton vintage summer dress outfit | red tassel earrings \ yellow ochre hobo bag \ pom pom and tassel boho sandals \ white retro sunglasses \ snakeskin belt | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Well would you believe it - it's the August bank holiday weekend and we've had glorious weather in Blighty... that's practically unheard of. And what better way to celebrate heat and sunshine than with a white summer dress?

This dress is a vintage beauty I bought from eBay many years ago - it has been worn on the blog before but it was so long ago I can't find when I last featured it. However if you want a giggle have a look at the FIRST time I featured it... I'd been blogging less than a month and all you got in those days was one picture. I guess that's all I had time for seeing as I had a 9-5 at the time (as well as the fact that I didn't know what I was doing... Oh, such innocent times)!

So it's vintage and probably 1970s or 80s, but when the top button is done up (I don't think I've ever worn it that way before) it definitely looks 1940s - I think it's the little puff sleeves and Peter Pan collar that does it (this vintage one on Etsy is very similar). It's just summer dressing at its best, and who doesn't want to wear a white summer dress when the heat is on? They're second only to yellow sun dresses IMO...!

What really dressed up this outfit, however, was the abundance of red tassels. Tassels have been EVERYWHERE this summer, and yes I know these these red tassel earrings have been everywhere... I'm almost a bit sick of looking at them on Instagram myself, to be honest.

But - and it's a big but - the only place I've seen them worn is in the blogosphere (I've included bloggers wearing them IRL at events I've been to this summer).
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Friday, 25 August 2017

How I Fake Confidence When My Self-Esteem is Low #SaturdayShareLinkUp

How I Fake Confidence When My Self-Esteem is Low | JD Williams Colour Council photo shoot

It's a real up-and-down emotions post for this week's Saturday Share post... Self-confidence is always a tricky beast, especially when it comes to your own. Faking it is something many of us do, not least those who seem the most confident to others.

On Tuesday this week I was working with JD Williams up in Manchester as part of their new season/total rebranding campaign (you may have seen some of the sneak peeks on their InstaStories which I took over for the day)! It was SUCH a fun day and you'll see more about it in due course on TV, on their website and on my blog.

The reason I'm writing this is because of the feelings I had before going up to do this job. As a pro blogger I'm often thrown into situations where I have to meet - and work with - new people. Sometimes it can be five or six new people, sometimes (as this week) it can be about 40 or more. The production team on this campaign was enormous, so it meant meeting a lot of new people and making sure that I did what they wanted me to do (that I delivered, in other words).

However, before going to this shoot my self-confidence was pretty darn low to tell you the truth. I can't say for sure, but I get the impression that most people meeting me probably think I'm quite a confident person. I know I can be a bit on the loud side. I know I show off with my ability to remember everyone's names when I meet a room full of people. And I know I can be a bit of a joker at times, playing the fool and doing my best to be the centre of attention (all in jest, of course).

But believe me, it doesn't mean I'm super confident.

When I travelled up to Manchester on Monday I felt pretty crap about myself. Not for anything major, just all small superficial things that built up to me feeling a bit low in general.

These are things I wouldn't normally share (haven't shared) with anyone other than Keith and my closest girlfriends. Only they know the way I feel. It was one of those occasions when lots of small things added up to... Well, a big pile of poo, basically. We all have those days. But sometimes we don't have to go anywhere and we can just stay at home and ride it out.
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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

16 Unmissable Reads, The Best of the Blogosphere (August 2017)

16 Unmissable Reads, The Best of the Blogosphere (August 2017)

In my Best of the Blogosphere this month I have anti anti-ageing, a supermarket social media dance-off, the gender pay gap, sequins for daytime and more!

(In case you've not seen these posts before my Unmissable Reads are a monthly round-up of things I've seen, watched and liked in the blogosphere that I'm sure you'll love too.)

August is, of course, the quiet month in the blogosphere, but the weather has been so terrible this month in the UK that I feel all the Brits at least will want something to read while the rain takes over yet another day. Wherever you are, do have a read of these great links - you never know who or what you might discover that makes your day/week/month!

WHAT LINKS DID YOU LIKE - AND HAVE YOU FOUND ANY FABULOUS NEW BLOGS TO FOLLOW? COMMENT BELOW, OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

(Photo credits: Top left | Top middle | Top right | Middle left | Middle | Middle right | Bottom left | Bottom middle | Bottom right)

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This is one of the most hilarious Twitter threads I've read in ages: Two supermarket giants have a dance off on social media to see who's the best.

Allure magazine are no longer using the expression "anti-ageing" and I am SO glad. Optimum ageing, anyone?
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Monday, 21 August 2017

One More Mixed Stripes and Florals Summer Outfit #iwillwearwhatilike

Summer style mixed stripes and florals: Blue floral pyjama-style top \ orange stripe Breton top \ wide leg denim trousers \ orange lace-up ghillie shoes \ orange-tinted aviators \ yellow ochre hobo bag | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Seeing as the summer just hasn't really happened in the UK this month, I thought I should squeeze a few classic summer combinations out of what's left of this season. I'm writing this wearing about four layers, including a thick sweater and scarf... It's not funny anymore!

The combo I went with during one of our (numerous) cold August days was the classic stripes and florals - is there a better pattern mix than those two for summer? It may not be sunny or warm here but at least these two scream summer style.

I'd not worn the floral pyjama-style jacket for ages, in fact I'd almost forgotten I had it. It's a lovely silky fabric (similar to this one) and was delighted to discover it went beautifully with my orange stripe Breton top - I'm a bit ashamed to say my favourite colour orange is popping up just about everywhere in this outfit.

We've got orange stripes, orange sunglasses, orange flowers in the jacket and orange lace up ghillie shoes. For someone who couldn't stand the colour a few years ago, I've gone the other way and surrounded myself with all things tango-hued...!

On a different note: I was thinking the other day about when the last time I wore skinny jeans was (not counting wearing them on a photo shot) - meaning of my own accord, just generally at home or anywhere. And I simply couldn't remember. I favour flared, tapered and wide leg trousers so much more these days, especially as skinny really are so uncomfortable (and even more especially when you can't fit into yours anymore). These ones from JD Williams are almost identical to the ones I'm wearing, which brings me onto...
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Friday, 18 August 2017

FOMO: Why It's Okay I Won't See the Total Eclipse After All #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Total solar eclipse

FOMO, or Fear of missing out (almost as good as the other acronym that I love: YOLO, or You only live once) is slapping me square in the jaw this week. The US total solar eclipse is happening on Monday, and for nine years I'd been planning to be there.

Yes, you read that right: NINE years.

But as you've probably guessed we are neither in the US right now nor are we going to be there on Monday. This is despite me knowing about this eclipse since forever (well, since 2008) and revealing in February that we would, indeed, be witness to it on 21 August.

FOMO? You betcha. Except it's not just fear of missing out, but real heartbreak that we're not doing something that we'd been planning to do for so many years.

To backtrack...

2008: A partial eclipse of the sun

Back in 2008 we had a partial eclipse of the sun in (part of) the UK. But as you can imagine with the weather in this country, it was cloudy and we didn't see all that much. Pretty much the same thing happened in the total eclipse of 1999: It was cloudy and apart from everything going very dark, there is always that slight disappointment that you didn't get to actually SEE the moon passing in front of the sun (with safety glasses on, of course).

Seeing as Keith and I are keen amateur astronomers (that would be stars and planets, not star signs...) with our own mahoosive telescope (one of those really short, fat motorised ones that finds the stars and planets you want all by itself), it made sense for us to look up where in the world there would be a total eclipse that could be witnessed as part of a holiday.

In other words, we didn't really want to see one from the North Pole, Russia or the middle of the Pacific Ocean... we wanted somewhere more vacationy. Did you know that there are between two and five solar eclipses every year? There are loads of opportunities to see them in theory, but not always in places you'd like to go to.

So we came up with the US total eclipse of August 2017 and decided to make a (nearly) three-week east coast road trip out of it. Cue lots of excited planning about all the things we wanted to do and all the things we wanted to see. So far, so good.

Solar Eclipse Observed from Space

Fast forward to 2016, and I have the worst financial year of my (self-employed) life. We still have plans to do our eclipse road trip. But although I'm getting more work and more money starts to come in by 2017, it's just not fast enough to be able to start paying for all the flights, hotels, car hire and attractions we're planning.

In Spring this year, Keith and I sat down to look at our finances and see what we could afford to pay for to get the ball rolling, and although I don't know who said it first, we both came to the sad conclusion that we simply couldn't do it financially. We didn't want to pay for flights then find out we couldn't afford anything else because we just didn't have the funds in time.

Making new plans

Therefore we made the sensible but heartbreaking decision that no, we couldn't afford it (right now). We knew it wasn't just a holiday of a lifetime we were planning, but a holiday that included an event that hadn't happened in the US for 99 years. And wouldn't happen again in the UK until 2090 (hoping to live to 118 is maybe asking a bit too much).

AN ECLIPSE CAN BE SEEN IN OTHER PLACES. ALL THE THINGS WE WANTED TO DO AND SEE ON OUR HOLIDAY - FROM NIAGARA FALLS TO DC, FROM CAPE CANAVERAL TO KEY WEST - WILL STILL BE THERE WHEN WE GO IN SEPTEMBER 2018. 

But really, an eclipse CAN be seen in other places. All the things we wanted to do and see on our holiday - from Niagara Falls to DC, from Cape Canaveral to Key West - will still be there if/when we go in September 2018 instead. It will also be slightly cooler (I love the heat but the South and Florida in August may just be a bit too hot and sticky, even for me), and by then it won't be summer holiday time for UK kids, meaning there may be fewer British families in Disney World. I also read this:

"September is a great month to visit Orlando in general, because hotel rates are at their lowest of the year, crowds have thinned, and there are hundreds of terrific deals on the table."

As far as I was concerned that was a done deal.

We may be missing out on the eclipse, but looking at the itinerary we'd planned out for the three weeks, we're going to still make memories that will last us a whole lifetime.

So while I may be feeling the FOMO at the moment, everything points at September 2018 being THE time to go. Organising is my "thing" - what could be better than 13 more months of travel organisation..?

Bring it on!

WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE ECLIPSE - WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS? (PLEASE DON'T TRY AND MAKE ME FEEL TOO ENVIOUS THOUGH!!) TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB :)

(Main image: Kurt Kulac | World GIF: Wiki Commons)


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So all that's left to say is - I've shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it's time to share yours... LET'S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

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Thank you for joining the #SaturdayShareLinkUp! Designed to allow you to share anything you like on ANY topic, it goes live every Friday at 8pm UK time and will stay open for a week. You can share blog posts or Instagram posts, old posts or new posts, and link up as many as you like.

PLEASE be kind and leave a link somewhere on your post, and share your post using the hashtag #SaturdayShareLinkUp - if you tweet your link with the hashtag and tag me in @notlamb I'll even retweet it to my followers for you :)

A hot tip for linking up:

Use clear, bright images (crop in close if necessary) and add a relevant, descriptive title (you've got 75 characters to use). These sorts of thumbnails and text always get the most clicks, so don't waste the opportunity to increase traffic and engagement on your best work!




Catherine


Linking up to: Brilliant Blog Posts
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog Outfit Photos (Part 1: Shooting Tips)

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog Photos (Part 1: Shooting Tips)

Apart from the improve your selfies post I haven't done a new photo tips post in a very long time... I thought it was long overdue. Need to up your outfit photos game? You're in the right place!

As there are things you can do to improve photos when shooting as well things that help post-production, I decided to split the post into two. This post will be covering all the easy changes you can make when taking the photos - so keep reading for handy shooting tips - and come back in two weeks for part 2 which will cover tips for editing.

What I've concentrated on here are things that anyone can do, (mostly) regardless of what equipment they have. These are the ways to combat all the little mistakes that are made when shooting that can easily be fixed, or things you may not have thought of but that would drastically improve the quality of your photos.

Now more than ever beautiful, rich images are what makes some fashion blogs stand out over others. So if you want to up your game and get noticed more, I'd thoroughly recommend starting with your photography. The tips here are really geared towards fashion bloggers, but some of the tips apply to all bloggers or budding photographers.

If you want to work with brands more but don't seem to be getting the attention you'd like, take a long, hard and honest look at your photos. Are they as good as they could be?

Does my outfit jump out of the image?
Are the colours true and bright?
Am I standing out from my backgrounds?
Do I look in proportion and elegant?

If you answered "No" to any of these, then read on for some quick and easy tips to get you on the road to fantastic imagery.

I won't go into much detail about what things like aperture, bokeh and other terms mean - see my A-Z of photography jargon explained (simply!) for everything explained in the simplest language. Here I'll assume you know the basics, but will still explain things in layman's terms as much as possible.

(For ideas on what equipment I'd recommend you have, read 6 camera equipment essentials for great photography, it should give you an idea of what you need to optimise your OOTD photos.)

Don't forget...

Finally: Don't give up if they don't improve straight away. Remember practice makes perfect, and having a good (and understanding) relationship with your photographer takes time. Study the photographs of other bloggers and see if you can emulate particular compositions, use of backgrounds or poses. Show them the sort of thing you'd like to recreate - in the words of Jerry Maguire, Help them help you.

Another important thing to remember is that RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN. I often read photography tips that say "Never, ever, ever shoot in direct sunlight" - 9 times out of 10 this is true. But you need to experiment. We shot this outfit the other day - we took a test shot with me in the shade and the colours went flat. I stepped into the sun and the colours went POW... case in point.

Trust your instinct and check the image on the camera: If it doesn't look good, try something else. Change locations. Wait for an hour or two for the light to change. Swap positions with your photographer and the light will change dramatically. Be prepared to be flexible and your photos will improve from one shoot to the next.

So as this post is all about how to improve things when shooting, you'll need a Part 2: Editing Tips for ideas on how to get the best results in post-production. That'll follow in two weeks' time, so do come back for that (you can sign up for email alerts so you don't miss it if you like)!

Without further ado, here are my best tips for improving your blog outfit photos...

1. Don't use the camera's Auto setting

If you have a DSLR or bridge camera that gives you control over your settings, do not waste the opportunity to get some nice blurry backgrounds (otherwise known as bokeh). If you only use one setting on your camera for outfit photos, use the Aperture priority. By using a large aperture, e.g. f2, you will reduce the depth of field of your image (meaning less distance from the foreground to the background will be in focus).

See below...

Styling summer neutrals: Blue chambray shirt, khaki pants, crossover mules, Panama hat, Cambridge Satchel Co cloud bag | Not Dressed As Lamb
By choosing a large aperture (it was f2.8 here), the light coming through the trees got blown out of focus and created small "balls" of light known as bokeh. Having an out-of-focus background always makes the subject stand out and puts all the emphasis on them, not the (distracting) background.

2. Stand back and zoom in

If you have a zoom on your lens - no matter what camera you use - DO NOT let the photographer stand close to you and shoot on the wide angle setting. Get him/her to stand right back, and zoom right in. It may seem unnaturally far at first - but believe me, you want the distance.

STAND BACK AND ZOOM IN: THIS IS THE BEST TIP I CAN GIVE FOR TAKING PHOTOS (ANY PHOTOS) OF PEOPLE - IGNORE IT AT YOUR PERIL. 

This is THE best tip I can give for taking photos (any photos) of people - ignore it at your peril. By not doing this you will make yourself look very, very strange and out of proportion (you have been warned)! Think of it this way:

When you shoot a selfie and try to get in your whole body, the camera is only an arm's distance away and uses a wide angle lens, yes? And your head is super close and huge, and your body gets gradually smaller right down to your tiny legs and feet? Well, imagine a less-extreme version of that: Your photographer is still standing too close to see you in proportion - he/she is still looking down on you, and whatever is closer to the camera, i.e. your head, will end up looking larger than the rest of you.

What you end up with is a huge body and head, little legs and feet that seem to strangely fall away towards the camera. If you're like me and wish to lengthen your legs as much as possible (who wouldn't?), then tell that photographer to back up, sunshine!

The ideal focal length you want - either on the zoom or with a fixed lens - is around 50mm. Aim to use this "amount" of zoom and you will recreate most closely what the naked eye sees: The least-distorted image is the result.

To see what I mean, have a look at this paparazzi picture of Kim Kardashian with an abnormally large head and torso, and the tiniest legs and feet. As the pap had no choice but to stand really close to her, he (a generalisation but most paps do tend to be men) would have had to have used a very wide angle lens... this is the weird distortion I'm talking about. Even the very leggy Angelina Jolie has no legs and flipper-like feet that fall away in this picture.

See below for a no-distortion image...

Retro 80s styling: Pink Winser coatigan and black and white polka dots, block heel pink glitter shoes | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
By asking the photographer to stand back and zoom in, your body will be far more in proportion because they won't be looking down on you. Here I look elongated and my head is in proportion with the rest of my body. My head and feet look like they're the same distance from the camera which is how they're meant to look.

3. Choose a contrasting background

Choose a background carefully - it can make or break an outfit shot. I understand not everyone has the time or the inclination to drive for miles looking for great places to shoot, but having three or four (local) locations that you use regularly gives you options, especially if one is urban, one is rural, one is a plain wall, etc. - options will improve your photos enormously. Backgrounds of different colours (or even just light or dark backgrounds) will also help you choose the right background for your outfit each time.

It's always a good idea to choose a background that contrasts with your outfit. For example, if you're wearing florals, don't stand in front of trees or flowery bushes or you'll get lost. Don't wear black in front of a dark background, or something patterned in front of something busy.

See the two examples below...

Styling summer denim: White lace top, loose jeans, orange strappy sandals, rose gold choker necklace | Not Dressed As Lamb
As I was wearing white and pale yellow we went to where we know the trees create a dark background - the contrast between dark and light is striking. It also meant the red shoes jump out of the frame. When shooting this type of shot I stand right on the edge of the shadow so I'm not in direct sun, but as much light as possible is shining onto me.

Cold weather \ walking in the woods \ walking the dog outfit \ Tapestry coat, deep hem skinnie jeans, grey cap and wedge desert boots | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style blog
The predominant blues of my outfit show up beautifully against all the autumnal oranges and yellows, despite me being only a small figure in the corner of the image. Although the pattern on the coat is busy and the leaves on the ground create their own busy pattern, the blue/orange contrast is enough to separate the two.

Pin for later!

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog Photos (Part 1: Shooting Tips)

4. Stand further away from the background

If you stand too close to a busy background, you will find that it will be mostly in focus and your outfit won't stand out. There are exceptions of course when having the background in focus does work, but generally you want to create as much distance as you can between the subject (you) and the background. Of course if you're shooting in Auto (see point 1) then it's unlikely your camera will pick the right setting to create blurry backgrounds. By combining a large aperture with a large gap between subject and background you'll ensure you get a dream-like quality to your images.

See below...

Soft whites and pastels summer outfit: Rose print sheer layered top \ mint trousers chinos pants \ nude crossover mules \ orange tinted aviators \ coral clutch | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
This was taken in a field with trees all around - I chose a spot that had the trees far behind me so that the background was thrown out of focus. If I were right up against the trees or bushes then that soft quality would have been completely lost.

5. Reflect light back onto your face

This is one of my favourite tricks and is especially good for older skin. When we shoot outside, light is generally coming from an overhead direction (even on an overcast day). What happens is that it creates an unflattering "five o'clock shadow" around the jawline. If (like me) you have slightly looser jowls than you'd like, it will, unfortunately, highlight them.

Imagine light coming from both above AND below: That means even, flattering light! Wrinkles and jowls (almost) erased!

What you need to do is to either find a light-coloured floor (easier said than done) or use a reflector. I mentioned reflectors in my post explaining how to improve your selfies - they're not expensive but they make a huge difference to unwanted shadows. I recommend this one for about £10 (US link). Of course these will only work on closer shots because you have to hold them under and near your face, but that's why light floors are so fantastic...

If you know somewhere that has a light floor, USE IT. It will bounce so much light back up that the light will be beautiful every time (the shade is far better in this instance). Black tarmac roads are the worst for sucking all the light out of your face - sometimes they can't be avoided, but if you know of a location with a light floor, go try it out.

See below...

Winter weather outfit of pastel pink, cream, camel and denim | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
The new pale grey concrete that was laid at this industrial estate we always used was an absolute gift. No matter what the sky and sun are doing, we always get the most fantastic light now because any available light is reflected back up and onto my outfit and - most importantly - my face. I always, always look so well and rested(!) when we shoot here... It's the light that does it, nothing else.

6. Think about vanishing points

Using diminishing perspective in the background will add drama and a way of making all the attention "point" towards you (the subject). Shooting down a street or down long pathways adds depth. Although I often photograph in front of a flat wall (as above), I do favour vanishing points (so does the husband).

See the two examples below...

Summer style: Off the shoulder ruffle top, floral cropped trousers, orange tote | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
See how that vanishing point "shoots out" from the end of the street (like rays of the sun), emphasising my face as it goes past? An urban background lends itself perfectly to outfit shots, especially if you shoot down a street with tall buildings. The diminishing perspective looks bold and striking - see below for the same idea in a rural setting...

Blush pink summer outfit: Pink sweater with heart motif \ cropped floral trousers pants \ blush pink suede Gucci-style heeled loafers \ pink satchel | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Here I was a long away from the camera so we could make dramatic use of the path winding away into the background and the tall trees. The image is "presenting" the subject (me) to the viewer via the path as it opens up towards the camera. At this point you can probably detect the photography teacher (that I used to be) coming out in full force...!

7. Shoot in RAW (not JPEG)

If you really want to up the ante and get beautiful, rich images, shoot in RAW. I cannot tell you the incredible difference shooting in RAW makes to your photos in post production. If you're unsure about what RAW images are - or if you've never heard of it before: a RAW image file contains minimally processed data from a digital camera image. It's named "raw" simply because it's not yet processed (that's the most basic way of explaining it). It's designed to always need post-production - an unprocessed RAW image looks truly terrible... it's the ugly duckling of photography.

To compare to JPEGS, which can often "get away with" no post-production: RAW files do not simplify data (pixels, in other words) like JPEG images do. It means that during processing in Adobe Lightroom*, RAW images won't lose all the richness and detail that gets lost in JPEGs - instead it enhances them. Blacks will be really black and whites will be truly white in RAW, whereas JPEG makes everything just a little bit flat and grey.

(Most modern DSLR cameras have RAW shooting options. Check the manual to see if yours has the option - if it does I'd advise starting off with some test shots in RAW first as it might take you a while to get the hang of Lightroom. There's nothing worse than trying to learn a new software package when you're in a rush to get a post on your blog. More on this in part 2.)

See this fantastic comparison below:

The difference between JPEG and RAW image files | Not Dressed As Lamb
These two outfit shoots were only months apart and obviously shot in the exact same location, but you can clearly see the difference between the photo shot in JPEG and the one shot in RAW. The RAW image has a beautiful deep, almost 3D quality to it (look how I stand out from the background on the right)! It doesn't look like it, but the light was the same in both cases: an overcast but bright day. Once you start shooting in RAW, you'll never go back.
Original posts left | right

*Lightroom is the daddy of all editing suites, like a different kind of Photoshop - you need Lightroom for editing RAW images (they can't be edited in Photoshop or free online software like PicMonkey). I'll be covering using Lightroom in part 2 of this post: Editing tips, so do come back in two weeks for that.

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Let me know if you've found these tips helpful... I do hope they have! As always shout with any questions in the comments, or tweet me. I'll be happy to help.

ARE YOU HOPING TO IMPROVE YOUR OUTFIT PHOTOS? WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS IMPROVING THE MOST? COMMENT BELOW, OR TAKE IT TO TWITTER @NOTLAMB!


Catherine

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Transitional Season Palm Print Co-Ords #iwillwearwhatilike

Palm print co-ords: Long sleeve top and wide leg crop trousers culottes pants \ yellow suede clutch bag \ black crossover block heel mule sandals \ statement oversized earrings \ cat eye sunglasses | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

This may be one of my absolute favourite outfits this year - I adore wearing co-ords sets with matching tops and bottoms - though I'm posting this nearly two months after actually wearing it (I shall explain)!

I've been going a bit Mango-crazy lately: Basically I'm loving just about everything they have on their website this year. From their statement earrings to the striped shirt I wore last week, I'm having a Major Mango Moment right now.

Firstly, the palm print is to die for. The colours (blue, brown, pink and black) are perfect for the transitional summer-to-autumn season. So the co-ords will work either as a set in the warmer months or as separates in cooler temperatures with boots and a roll neck... I'm actually quite excited at the prospect of adding layers to it this autumn.

(Don't quote me on that, being a die-hard summer fan...!)
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Friday, 11 August 2017

Ditch Guilty Pleasures: If You Like Something, Then LIKE It #SaturdayShareLinkUp

No More Guilty Pleasures: If You Like Something, Then LIKE It | Not Dressed As Lamb

This week I was really saddened to hear about the death of Glen Campbell, one of my favourite singers from my childhood - and whom I still love now. 'Rhinestone Cowboy' was one of those songs that I secretly loved all through my teens and twenties. A song that you sing at the top of your lungs in the car, safe in the knowledge that no one can hear how badly you're singing it.

And this week it also occurred to me that secretly was the operative word. When I was at school I would NEVER have admitted to my friends that I liked Glen Campbell. Or Doris Day. Or Andy Williams. Or The Carpenters. Or Neil Diamond.

Or anyone else that was considered "not cool" in the 80s or 90s.

But I have always loved all those artists, and I guess in the past they would have been what I would have described as my "guilty pleasures".

But a few years back, probably around the time I lost my inhibitions about all sorts of things (like what I chose to wear, asking what words I didn't know meant, asking questions at conferences - otherwise known as "getting older"), I also started to really, truly embrace all the things I liked.

No matter how "uncool" they were supposed to be.

Liking stuff that's considered "uncool"

I had a bit of an epiphany where liking uncool stuff was concerned a few years ago whilst watching The One Show (for non-Brits: The One Show is a daily studio-based magazine programme on after the early evening news covering all sorts of topics from the very serious to the very fluffy).

They had a daily series for one week covering unusual hobbies that different people had, from (if memory serves) breeding rats to spotting and photographing electricity pylons.
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Thursday, 10 August 2017

How to Style a Blue Stripe Shirt, Over 40 Summer Style

Brights basics for summer: Striped wrapover Mango blouse \ black harem pants \ gold 45 Asos necklace \ red wedge espadrilles \ white fringed crossbody bag | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

I've wanted a classic blue stripe shirt for ages - I'd seen them on lots of bloggers and think they always look so fresh and summery. Somehow I'd not got round to getting myself one, simply because I was worried I'd end up looking like a clone if I styled it the same as everyone else (usually my reason for putting off buying something)!

However, when I saw this blue stripe shirt from Mango I changed my mind - rather than a standard button up shirt it had a wrapover front, a tie waist and fabulous long, fold over-able sleeves. Unfortunately - as is the case with just about everything I buy and then wear on the blog - it's pretty much sold out apart from this one I found. (I'm so sorry!) But if you scroll down you'll find more blue stripe shirt options I found... it seems Mango is THE place to go for the best selection.

I especially love this one for its classic oversized style and this one for its subtle frill detail.

Although it's a classic print (narrow blue and white stripes? what's more classic?) the shape is not, so it didn't need much in the way of styling. I wore my so-comfy-they're-untrue black harem pants (a great alternative to sweat pants and far more flattering at the ankle), the red espadrilles that have been such a colourful addition to several outfits both this summer and last, and the real talking conversation starter of the outfit...

The gold 45 necklace. How's THAT for a great big piece of (somewhat tasteless) bling... Talk about aged 45 and proud!

Like t-shirts with your birth year on it, I've found a necklace with my age on it - just after my birthday, in fact, so I'll get at least one year's wear out of it before it seems a little passé. Though WHY Asos would make a necklace with 45 on it beats me - I reckon most girls who've bought it are half that age (or younger). But it makes for a nice bit of cheesy neck bling for a 'girl' (oh, the irony!) of 45 years of age.

Brights basics for summer: Striped wrapover Mango blouse \ black harem pants \ gold 45 Asos necklace \ red wedge espadrilles \ white fringed crossbody bag | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

9 Mid-Size Fashion Bloggers You Should Know

9 Mid Size Fashion Bloggers | Bloggers of all shapes and sizes who are somewhere - anywhere - between a size 0 and plus size

Mid size bloggers: I'm featuring fashion bloggers who are anywhere between a size zero and plus size. As someone who has featured many different types of bloggers on my featured blogger round ups, I have been asked several times to feature those who fall somewhere between the two ends of the size scale.

The dilemma I had was what exactly to call this size range because everyone who contacted me called it something slightly different. Some people asked for average size, some asked for curvy, some asked for mid size.

The media often term this size range (which, to be honest, is especially broad) as "real women" - but it's not an expression I am fond of using. It's been said before that it makes out that there are some women who are not "real women", which I totally agree with. Everyone is a real woman, so we might as well drop "real" and just say women.
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Monday, 7 August 2017

How to Style a Denim Boilersuit (or Jumpsuit) For Summer #iwillwearwhatilike

How to style a denim jumpsuit / boilersuit for the summer \ leopard print belt \ red studded crossbody bag \ pointed toe snakeskin Finery flats | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

I'm starting to build up quite the collection of jumpsuits in my wardrobe - is there anything easier to wear? (Discounting bathroom issues, of course, but then I guess there has to be at least ONE drawback of wearing something that's so easy to style.)

This denim jumpsuit (similar), however, was described on Asos's site as a boilersuit... it made me wonder: What's the difference between a boilersuit and a jumpsuit?* It seems that a boilersuit simply isn't as fitted. So a light denim is actually the perfect fabric for a boilersuit - and when I saw this one in the Asos sale I knew it had to be mine.

It's yet another easy-to-wear, wear-anywhere item for my jumpsuit collection. This year I've worn my dark floral jumpsuit, the red floral jumpsuit at the JD Williams photo shoot and the khaki Winser jumpsuit on the blog. Never mind the times I've worn them on an everyday basis - when you work from home all you have to do is throw it on, add a belt (maybe) and shoes. Add a layer of a t-shirt or roll neck underneath (depending on the time of year) if you need a little extra warmth... AND THAT'S IT.

And as long as you cross your legs and never need the bathroom during the day, you're absolutely fine 😜

I KNOW THE BOILERSUIT IS MEANT TO BE BAGGY, BUT I LIKE TO ADD A LITTLE DEFINITION TO MY WAIST WHERE I CAN. 
This weekend I wore my boilersuit with my super comfy Finery snakeskin flats (so comfy I can walk the dog in them) and added a leopard print belt. I know the boilersuit is meant to be baggy, but I like to add a little definition to my waist where I can.
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Friday, 4 August 2017

Clickbait: "What Women Shouldn't Wear" & Why We MUST Stop Clicking These Links #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Clickbait: "What Women Shouldn't Wear" & Why We MUST Stop Clicking These Links

If you're an over 40 woman then you probably know that there is a long list of things that you should definitely NOT be doing, saying or wearing at your age. For example, you shouldn't be wearing leather trousers or going to festivals. Nor should you be going clubbing or wearing shorts. 

You shouldn't even consider keeping your hair long, especially if it's going (gone) grey. Right?

WRONG.

It seems that today, even after many years of having the internet and more opportunities given to women to express themselves than ever before, journalists are still writing bullsh*t articles offering "advice" to older women about how to live their lives. I mentioned in Monday's post that I'd be talking about this today because The Times (yes, The Times!) wrote an article outlining what women should and shouldn't be doing and wearing and some other utter nonsense.

If you're looking for a link to the article, there won't be one. I'll explain...

Why the media publishes these articles

On Monday I very proudly published my 100th #iwillwearwhatilike link up post, a weekly link up that started because of an article written two years ago listing 24 things that women over 30 (that's THIRTY) should stop wearing. The response from everyone was, quite rightly, something along the lines of Why doesn't she take a running jump, thanks very much - I'll wear what I damn well like.

And thus, #iwillwearwhatilike was born. To date, there have been nearly 16,000 Instagram posts using the #iwillwearwhatilike hashtag (I checked at the time, it hadn't been used before I started it). I'm very proud to have started something that resonates so much with so many vibrant, confident and working-towards-being-confident women. That was TWO YEARS ago.

And yet, here are we are reading the same rubbish yet again (and it's not as if it's a rare occurrence).

When articles like the one in The Times rear their ugly heads, it's as if we've taken two steps forward only to be told to take five steps back. How many women read these articles and think that they really SHOULD be adhering to what they're told in them because they've never heard of the fact that's 2017 and women of all ages can wear and do whatever they like?
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Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Three Basics You Need For an Elegant Wedding Guest Outfit

Wedding guest or garden party outfit: Pale green and pink floral midi dress with ruffles \ straw boater with pink ribbon \ novelty Paris book clutch \ white v neck pointed toe mule heels | rose gold jewellery | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 styleNDAL banner

I'm sure most of you have had a wedding invite drop through the letter box and felt that rush of excitement at the prospect of seeing your friend, sister, cousin, colleague or niece get married, am I right? And I bet I'm also right when I say that the next thing you think is, "What am I going to wear...?!"

What to wear to a wedding as a guest is probably up there with what to wear to your prom and any black tie event as the most important events you go to with regards to what you should wear (second only to your OWN wedding, of course)! Although trousers can be perfectly acceptable to the right wedding, I think most of us would choose a dress over anything else, and then there are two other things you need: Shoes and accessories.

Once you've got your shoes and dress, it's then simply a case of choosing suitable accessories to go with them, and I have to admit sadly that hats aren't worn quite as much as they used to be (which is a shame as I'm a hat girl). No, today I'm talking jewellery: Jewellery gives your wedding guest outfit that special finishing touch it needs, and if you're the type that hasn't a clue where to start then this is the post for you. I'm featuring a beautiful rose gold set today with my floral midi and white mules - I'm tooting my own horn here but how pretty is this outfit...?!

I've teamed up with Links of London to bring you a simple, stylish jewellery set that will work with almost ANY type of wedding guest outfit. It will also fit seamlessly into your wardrobe to be worn on a regular basis, it's that classic. Rose gold jewellery is a brainchild that I wish had been around years ago, or at least more popular years ago. Personally I think it suits most skin tones when silver can be too cold for some and gold is too yellow for others. It also works well with so many colours and prints so you really can't go wrong investing in quality rose gold jewellery.

I was asked to create a wedding guest outfit with three pieces from their Ascot and Essentials collections - I was so happy to see that they have a large selection of jewellery in 18kt rose gold as I'm quite obsessed with all things rose gold at the moment!
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