I posted a photo on my Instagram yesterday and got asked how do I find locations for my outfit shoots. It’s been a while since I wrote my last note on here but I honestly miss writing so much. So I thought why not share a few tips and tricks with you, to help you find those dream Instagram-worthy locations. Even the ones that nobody else has discovered yet (just like the one in this post).

Since Instagram is such a hot topic and locations are probably the most important aspect of an Instagram shot, many of you are probably wondering how to find the best ones. Other than seeing the exact location tagged in a photo or using popular landmarks as backdrops, there’s a number of other methods I use to discover shooting locations.

Seasonal Content

Many places in London (not only!) are now just as involved in Instagram as we are. It’s a two way relationship. They provide us with the dreamiest backdrops. In return, we provide the content that makes people visit these places. Most places now have a seasonal makeover, depending on the approaching holidays. My advice is to keep an eye on places that update their decor every season and be the first one to go there, so you can set the trend. Some good examples would be Annabel’s Mayfair, The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Peggy Porschen, etc. You can also follow pages like @prettycitylondon and @prettylittlelondon as they’re usually the first to post about these. Kelsey from CGG has put together a document with all the Christmas/festive locations in London and I highly recommend you to check it out here.

Go with the flow

My usual approach to finding a good location is to just go with the flow. I would often meet someone in an Instagram-friendly area and we would just explore and find the best corners to use depending on the outfits that we have. Apart from the struggle of finding where to change, this is quite a good way of discovering under-the-radar locations, that you won’t see in everyone’s photos on Instagram. If you like standing out from the crowd and you’re quite creative (can make something out of nothing) this is perfect for you.

Explore a new area

Pick an area that you haven’t been to before. Or perhaps one that you like but don’t necessarily go to when you want to shoot outfits. A change of scenery is always inspiring. Think of it as going to a new city. When you’re on holiday, it’s so much easier to spot a good location, because you appreciate the new surroundings. It’s the same with exploring a different area, minus the 3 hour flight time.

Marylebone and Mayfair are quite good areas with cute locations in close proximity to each other. Hampstead is another favourite of mine. I recently went to Marylebone and found so many cute spots to shoot just on one single street. Obviously, if you have more time, it’s good to explore and walk around. If you find yourself walking through an area on your way back from work, take photos of specific locations that you find cute. I also take photos of the name of the street they’re on, so I can go back later.

Go further

On Saturday, I was invited to 601 Queens Rd in Wimbledon for a brunch. Very Instagrammable location by the way and perfect for those cold winter days when it’s raining outside. You can get plenty of content shot there because that place is an interior heaven. Wimbledon is an hour away from where I live and it’s literally on the opposite side on London but I wanted to get a break from the usual spots in London and explore some different locations.

I went there a little unprepared and had about 15 min to explore the area around the station. The area didn’t seem very inviting at first. A quick search for Wimbledon on Instagram to look through the photos that other people have taken. Followed by a Google map search to see what’s around me. Google maps, helped me find out that Wimbledon Village is a short walk away. And thanks to my Instragram search, I found the prettiest house covered in leaves in the perfect autumnal hues. It took us a while finding the exact location, but Shelley went onto a website and found the exact location of the house but I’m sure you can Google it if you know the name of the house. Hint: If it’s a big one it usually has a special name and you’ll be able to spot it on the pictures.

 

What are your favourite ways of scouting shooting locations? Comment below or come over and say hi on Instagram and share your answers. I would love to talk to you.

Michelle x

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The beautiful streets of VeniceVenice Palazzo Ducale

I’ve not written a post on my blog for a while and I was preparing for an Instagram live session yesterday when I realised how much I missed writing and how much I enjoy sharing my insights and being part of a discussion. Instagram is a great place to establish your aesthetic and connect with people but a blog adds a completely different dimension. If Instagram was the picture, then the blog would be a nice frame to put it in.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch our live (we were having technical issues with the connection so you didn’t miss much) Phoebe and I were discussing how Instagram is changing the way we communicate and interact with each other. Thinking about it now, I’ve met more people through Instagram in the last 6 months than I did for my 3 years at university. Has our generation become comfortable with meeting people through this platform? Did we move away from meeting people the traditional way?

I did a poll on Instagram asking people if they met someone on the platform and became really good friends after and the majority of votes (58%) were for ABSOLUTELY. I always thought that Instagram is one of the best things that happened to our generation because there’s no more boundaries and you could meet people halfway across the world and become friends. It removes distances between cities, countries and continents and all of a sudden we’re all part of the same community regardless of where we are in the world.

Another great thing about Instagram is finding people with similar interests and a similar vision to yours. You can tell right away by looking at someone’s feed if they’re “your type” of person. Which leads me to another topic I wanted to discuss at the live yesterday but thanks to technology and bad connection we didn’t get this far. The Social Media Factor – How big a part does Instagram play in shaping your opinion about others? Do you get a certain vibe about people just by reading their captions and looking at the images they post?

I can certainly say I do. And my opinion has been right most of the time with a few exceptions here and there. In that case, can we say that Instagram has become an extension of our individuality? Is it too bad that we would overlook someone’s skills and knowledge just because they don’t “market themselves” correctly on Instagram? Because let’s be honest here, there must have been a time when you met a person, exchanged Instagrams and you were disappointed to see their feed wasn’t that great and the last time they posted something was Christmas. Or the joy of having to request to follow someone because their profile is on private *eye roll*

And the last thing I wanted to mention and I feel like this is probably the most important. How do we make ourselves stand out on Instagram? I’ve been reading so much about copying others on social media lately and Sophie Milner wrote a great post on Instagram’s copycat culture. You can read it here.

Taking inspiration from someone is one thing but trying to copy their content is on a completely different level. I had a very interesting conversation with a lady from an Influencer Marketing agency last week and when she asked me what my favourite influencers were, I gave her a few names. She then said “What is it that you like about all these people?” And then it struck me. What all these people have in common is the same thing that makes them stand out. It’s called PERSONALITY. Being you is something nobody can replicate and if you have to make sure you inject your personality into your content as much as you can. Because at the end of the day, this is what people will relate to, and this is what’s going to keep them coming back again and again.

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First of all let me start with a little disclaimer. I’m by no means an Instagram caption EXPERT, so if you’re here for the professional stuff, I just wanted to tell you earlier on that this post is meant to be a little humorous rather than your  tidy little guide. Also, any resemblance to reality in this post is purely coincidental. Or maybe not.

Below you will find some of the phases a modern Instagrammer goes through in an attempt to think of the perfect caption and some situations they have to face in order  to catch people’s  attention. Because let’s be honest here, without a caption that gives your Instagram feed life, it’s like you’re only posting half a picture.

So let’s start, shall we?

There are various types of captions in a bloggers life. As I was going through some Instagram posts, I managed to distinguish three main groups.

– The funny spontaneous caption

– The inspiring quote caption

– The ‘what day of the week is it and how far is the weekend’ caption

Of course there is so many other groups of captions that can be identified throughout an Instagram feed. However, it’s best to keep things simple and focus on the most important ones.

The funny spontaneous caption

Example:

“If looks could kill, you’d all be dead by now. I wish I could explain the look on my face but there isn’t anything I could possibly say that will make me look like less of a serial killer right now.”

The funny spontaneous caption is usually a result of the person writing it being in a silly mood and seeing something in the photo they’re about to post that makes their brain click. After the click, everything pretty much falls into place. It takes less than a minute for the caption to be put together and there’s no Google search involved.

The inspiring quote caption

Example:

“I’m only looking back to see how far I have come and I’m slowly learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things that were not meant for me.”

Add a photo of the person walking away but looking back over their shoulder so the quote makes even more sense. There you have it! The action of writing an inspiring quote caption typically involves a Pinterest quote search because Pinterest has the best ones. The person writing the caption usually has a board with witty and inspiring quotes to choose from. In case he/she doesn’t find anything in there, they would look to expand their collection and find new additions to the aforementioned board. Also, to create an outstanding caption, they might merge two quotes together to create their own version that they can then claim credit for, instead of giving credit to someone with a fancy name like Aristotle.

The ‘what day of the week is it and how far is the weekend’ caption

Example:

“Now that Monday is out of the way is it okay to focus on the weekend again?! And since I can’t deal with countdowns and stuff, every day will be called Friday.”

There is so many variations of that caption and quite frankly they all mean the same thing. But Instagrammers like to change the wording so it looks like a different caption every time. Some common examples include, but are not limited to:  “is it the weekend yet” and “where did the weekend go” but those are just way too simple for us bloggers to use, so we like to quirk it up a bit, if that makes any sense.

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When I was still at the early stages of my blush pink obsession, I never thought this will become a permanent condition. Looking at how bad it is now, I think I’ll never be able to see the world in any other colour ever again. I’m currently making a list of items I need to get for my room and it looks like this:

    • Blush pink curtains
    • Blush pink bedding
    • Blush pink sheepskin rug
    • Blush pink stationary desk set
    • Blush pink towel

You get the picture.

Even my Instagram theme was based on this colour at one point and it still kind of is but I’m trying really bad to hide it by throwing in the occasional post of blue jeans, blue sky sort of business… Booooring! It’s so bad, I no longer order gelato based on the flavour, I just take what’s pink and that’s it. My wardrobe consists of pink jackets, pink skirts, pink dresses, pink shoes, a couple of pink pom poms, pink sunglasses and it goes on, and on, and on.

So instead of going into rehab, I just pretend this is normal and continue adding a huge amount of pink accessories and clothes to my shopping trolley. And guess what? I decided to share what’s on my list with you. Try not to get a blush pink overdose and if you do, call emergency and don’t mention my name. Or you can pour yourself a glass of rosé (as if this wasn’t pink enough already) and immerse yourself in this symphony of pink.

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Now that the weather in London is so much nicer and all the trees are blossoming, it’s all about spending time outside. Organising a fun afternoon in the sunshine seems like an obvious thing to do. London is such a diverse and dynamic city, and there is something for every mood and occasion. So much that sometimes we find it hard to sift through all the options.

When I’m searching for inspiration and places to visit in my favourite city, I normally look on Instagram first. However, the place we visited this time, I discovered by accident a few years ago. It was one of my first times visiting London back in my student days. I was traveling on a budget, so coaches back then were the only affordable option for me. I met my friends near Victoria coach station and right next to where they had parked, I saw this girly, blush pink cafe. It was like a fairy tale come to life.

A couple of weeks ago, while browsing on Instagram and Pinterest for some girly inspiration to match my new pink skirt, I stumbled upon the same pink cafe again! I could not hold my excitement and messaged my friend to meet up. Cake included, of course! You cannot go to Peggy Porschen without trying her award-winning treats. I highly recommend a slice of the strawberry and champagne one, with a side of macarons, if you too are a fan. A selection of Peggy’s own blend teas, inspired by flavours from her kitchen, is also available. We couldn’t get enough of the jasmine one, which had such a beautiful aroma.

Later that afternoon we went on a quest to find the most instagrammed pink door in the area. I’ve seen it scrolling through my Instagram feed a million times but I had no idea where exactly it was. I remember taking a screenshot of it on my phone but it wasn’t there anymore. That’s the problem with having no memory – you end up deleting important stuff. Luckily, everything’s online these days, if you are lucky enough to have battery on your phone of course.

After a long stroll down King’s Road in the sunshine and a few stops on the way (mainly at florist shops), we found ourselves on Oakley Street. We had to stop and admire the beauty for a while before continuing ahead. And just when I thought the afternoon could not get any better, we discovered a pink bridge at the end of the street. It lead to the beautiful Battersea Park where we spent the rest of our lovely afternoon.

I would love to know where you guys find inspiration and places to visit. Do you have any tips and different sources to Instagram and Pinterest?

The photos were taken on my Olympus Pen camera.

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H&M Spotted Blouse | New Look Pink Leather Skirt | Dune Patent Heels | Katie Loxton Pouch

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