Our favourite poet, the late Maya Angelou, once said, 'How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and sheroes!'
In tribute to one of the greatest female poets ever, we thought it apt in the new year to launch a brand new interview series on creative and inspirational personalities - real women around us who have taken the bull by its horns and accomplished what they preached.
Some of these women juggle different responsibilities and interests in life – being a student and preparing for exams; being a mum and caring for children; managing and growing a business; running errands and doing chores; building a social media following. The list goes on.
Others have chosen the road less taken, harnessing their creativity and setting the world ablaze with their ideas and ambitions.
We want to keep things open and real. After all, we tend to forget that life isn’t as glamorous as it appears on social media or in glossy magazines. Success requires patience, hard work and sacrifice, but it’s easy to overlook that part of the story.
Most importantly, we hope that you will be as inspired by these ladies, as we are.
To kickstart the first of our series, we have Cëe from betweenthelenses.com, whom we love for her beautiful aesthetic sense. Take a peek at Cëe's gorgeous Instagram photos under her handle 'ardaisy_'!
1. Hi Cëe, tell us more about yourself and what you are currently involved in.
Hello! I just turned 21 and I’m currently a first year business student at RMIT. Other than that, I also attend piano class once a week. Whenever possible, I take on photoshoot opportunities.
2. You’ve got a gorgeous Instagram feed and blog and take amazing photos! How did you get started? How much time do you set aside to work on it?
Thank you! I first started my blog as a visual diary back in 2011. I had just gotten my DSLR and wanted a platform where I could share the photos I’ve taken. I am not a fan of Facebook, and this was before I discovered Instagram or Flickr, so I decided that setting up a blog would be best.
When I first started blogging or using Instagram, I had no intention of becoming popular so I didn’t bother to invest a lot of time on them. But as time went on, I noticed that there was an increase in my follower count and traffic, and I felt the pressure to produce better quality content. That was when I decided that I would dedicate a little more time to my social media platforms, but constantly reminding myself that all I am doing is for myself and not for others.
For Instagram, everything is done really quickly! I take a few minutes to snap some photos, filter through them and pick the best shot. Then I would spend somewhere around 5 to 10 minutes to edit the photos before posting them online.
As I have the freedom to post more photos on my blog accompanied with paragraphs of text, the whole process would take a longer time. Typically, I try to give myself about 1 to 2 weeks to prepare a blog post. If the photos can be taken in the comfort of my own home, then the whole duration would shortened. Otherwise, location recceing, actual day photo shoot and what not can actually be really time consuming! Also, I’ve since roped my friend in to assist me with some outfit shots, so I have to try to accommodate to her schedule as well.
3. You seem to have a lot going on, especially during the period of time when you were taking on video projects. Could you describe your typical weekly schedule?
I was a video editor and an assistant videographer for a while and some of the projects that I’ve assisted during my time there included company D&Ds, seminars and of course, weddings. I would usually be the busiest during the weekends because that’s when most weddings take place. Most of the time, I have to be up by 5am and be at the bride’s place before the break of dawn. Corporate events are less stressful than weddings, because we want to make sure that the final footage for the couple is perfect. It’s a special moment for them, as well as for us.
These days, a typical school week would consist of 3 days of school and 2 other days are set aside for assignments. The weekends would be the time I unwind and hang out with my friends. But of course, during submission and exam week, my mantra would be “Sleep is for the weak”.
4. Could you share some tips for photography and styling?
Photography for me is self-taught, so I don’t know much about those jargons that photographers might use. Here are some tips and tricks you might find helpful:
Framing and lighting is key! Before framing your subject, check your surroundings for the lighting conditions – are you in a lowlight condition or backlit condition? Different types of lighting can create different kind of mood and lowlight conditions don’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad time to take photos. If you’re in a backlit situation, try to go for a silhouette type of shot. If you’re taking a ‘flatlay’ and don’t want shadows in your photo then identify where the light source is and don’t stand in front of it.
When framing your subject, be clear about one thing – which/what is your subject? It’s hard to explain how this framing thing works because sometimes you come across some pictures with absolutely no framing at all and it still looks really good!
You might be wondering what the grid thing on your screen is when you are taking photos. Those grid lines are your best helper when it comes to framing your photos! If you’re interested to know more about framing, Google for ‘Rule of Thirds’ and get proper explanation from the masters on the internet.
Once you’ve understood the concept of how to make use of your lighting and how to frame your subject, you should be able to take a decent photo. Photographing something is really not that hard, but managing the lighting (be it studio or natural) to suit your photo is definitely a challenge.
Feel free to read my tutorial on how to edit photos for Instagram here.
5. Have you ever been stuck in a creativity rut? Tell us about these instances, if any, and how you overcame them.
Definitely! Especially when there’s a deadline for certain projects or collaborations that I’m working on, it stresses me out! Stressing myself is just going to make things worse, so I take some time to relax, unwind and look for inspiration online.
6. What advice would you give to other women who are juggling similar priorities as you?
Be calm, keep a clear mind and decide what you would like to have done today. I personally find that it’s really hard to get anything done when everything seems equally important. My advice would be to do the task that you know will affect your life in the long term. For example, if you have to choose between work or family, definitely pick family. Your family will always be there for you even in 10 years, unlike your job, which you could lose at any time.
Oh and no matter how busy you are, at the end of the day you should take some time to relax. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 5 – 10 minutes. This helps to refresh your mind and conquer the next day!
Thank you, Cëe, for sharing your tips and being a part of our #ADCShero community.
Do you know of someone whom has inspired you or whose achievements deserve to be lauded? Do drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org as we would love to hear from you. March forward with us in 2015 as a year of inspiration and dreams!
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