Boy, BYE! 9 clever photography tips to make your post breakup life easier

Photography tips ot make your post break up life easier

When a relationship ends, the breakup can hit you in one of two ways. You either feel relief for finally having the courage to say goodbye to a cheating, deceitful or abusive ex, or your emotions shatter into a million pieces after realizing that your previously swell “plus one” flame has fizzled from hero to zero in one irregular heartbeat.

So, now that your romantic journey is over and you’ve landed in Splitsville, USA, what do you do? Lock yourself in your house for a while and cry your eyeballs out, of course! Or you play Adele, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift style breakup songs on 24-hour rotation while you gorge on indulgent foods and search for separation advice on Reddit. But after a while, the pity party must end. To heal a broken heart, get over a bad breakup, and move on with your life, you’ve got to create an ex-free environment.

Photography tips to help you get past a breakup

Usual breakup protocol includes blocking calls or changing your number, deleting old text messages, ghosting mutual friends for a while, and getting rid of pictures with your ex. But what if I told you there are ways to avoid having to go on an immediate Facebook and Instagram purge, especially when it relates to the matter of epic vacation photos? I don’t know about you, but it’s incredibly hard for me to destroy evidence of my time in a sweet location, and it’s even more painful when it’s a destination I’d been dreaming of visiting for a long time.

That’s why I’ve studied the techniques of some image-savvy social media accounts that will keep our ‘Gram and Facebook feeds intact.  Even better, these photography tips are guaranteed to elevate our social media game while ensuring that looking at old photos will be a little easier to handle in the event of a post vacation breakup.

Now, enough yapping from me. Check out these rad photo-taking tips and try them out on your next trip!

1. Use the angle and location of natural light to your advantage. Shoot into the sun, and play around with the lens flare for special effects.

In this example, you can’t really see the guy’s face, can you? That’s the idea.

2. Show the back of your heads.

This style places greater emphasis on the destination or details in the background than the person who’s sharing the scene with you.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8ZQd9UAa82/

3. Set up a unique perspective shot, preferably one that positions the other person far, far away. 

In this fun image, one half of the dynamic duo isn’t very visible and looks more like a bite-sized snack.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaGxw73DSaf/

4. Only show parts of your torso in the frame.

This could be two sets of feet hanging over the edge of a boat or cliff, or limbs intertwined in a hammock on the beach.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BirSD7ZnowQ/

Murad and Nataly Osmann have made a name for themselves by holding hands in their shots. Take a page out of their #followmeto playbook, and capture images of yourself holding bae’s hand in front of stunning scenery or notable landmarks.

5. Pose in profile, and go for maximum landscape impact with a long-range ‘tripod selfie’, or ask someone (who looks trustworthy) to take your picture from a distance.

The key is to ensure facial features are not very distinguishable..

6. Up the wow factor by getting playful at sunset – in silhouette!

7. Suit up with protective gear and go deep. 

As you can see, diving gear does a great job of masking identities when underwater.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtWCtmjlXyE/

8. Use a direct overhead angle (maybe even a drone) to get a bird’s eye view of your desired scene.

Additional tip: Accessories like hats help with anonymity.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvrJCJyg33l/

9.  Play the ‘Instagram Boo’ card and have him/her take lit pictures of you solo! Then to be fair, extend the favor too.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtDnLjUFgin/

Do you have any other photography tips that have worked for you that I missed? Please share them in the comments.

My absolute favorite travel gear

From time to time, people ask me what travel products I use on my trips, so for easy reference, I compiled a shortlist of my go-to items and decided to share them here.

Luggage

I know there are fancier designs and much trendier luggage brands available, but I’ve had my Nautica Open Seas set for at least 8 years, and I love it because none of the 5 pieces has failed me yet! The carry-on, which gets the most use, is light and compact, and holds a ton of stuff (if you use good packing hacks). Another plus is the groovy navy & yellow color combo on the exterior that makes your bag super easy to spot if you ever have to wait at the carousel.

The duffle bag is also a cool bonus, because you can break it down and place it inside your carry-on to use as an extra piece for souvenirs on the return trip. At home, I’ve also used it as a gym bag on a few occasions.

Camera

If you follow me on Instagram, it’s pretty obvious I get more than a little snap happy on vacation. But since I’m just an eager amateur and not a professional, I’ve still got A LOT to learn about photo-taking techniques. Knowing when to switch aperture speeds, change lenses, adjust depth of field to sharpen focus or chase the right lighting to avoid overexposure sounds overwhelming to me. So, listen up. If you catch me in dem tourist streets, don’t expect to see me with a DSLR or mirrorless camera strapped over my shoulder – just yet.  

I guess I should be embarrassed to admit this out loud, but here it comes. I’m still using a compact point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot SX530 HS to frame my shots and learn my best angles!  Yes, you can go ahead and GASP. My three-year-old baby has a 50x zoom lens that shoots images at a 16-megapixel resolution and video at 1080p. It also has integrated Wi-Fi with NFC (Near Field Communication), which allows me to transfer photos to my cell phone with an app.

Tripod

I did a solo trip to Peru for my birthday in 2018, and after years of dreaming about walking through the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, I didn’t want to take the chance of not capturing great shots to preserve the visual memories of my time there. So, what did your girl do? She went out and bought a Sunpak TravelLite Pro Reverse Folding 63′ Tripod (with red accents because she’s extra) and taught herself how to use it!

The irony of the situation though, is that tripods are not allowed at the site. I think they’re considered a possible hazard because of the uneven terrain and huge crowds. But it’s all about tenacity and creativity, right? I converted my tour guide into an able art director and wardrobe assistant for my personal Mapi photo shoot. That’s the name locals call their Wonder of the World.

Smartphone

Other than being extremely useful for communicating with folks back home, figuring out directions in unfamiliar territory, and having access to the internet at your finger tips, my smartphone is a must-have on my trips because it’s a handy camera too.

iPhone lovers, I’m an unapologetic Android devotee, and at the moment, a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is where it’s at in my book. First of all, the 128 GB in-built storage and up to 512 GB of expandable space through a MicroSD is just bananas. What’s more, the optical lens has a 2x zoom and it’s also well-documented that the pixel detail and low-light photography capabilities are far superior.

The signature S Pen isn’t shabby either! You can use it to control more than seven devices at one time within a 30-feet radius. Think YouTube, Snapchat, Spotify music and your camera app, among others. Check out this IG post to see what I mean.

Bonus item (a gimbal)

This Zhiyun Smooth-Q is brand new to me, and is going to be my new best friend on all my expeditions. It’s a hand-held stabilizer that allows you to use your phone to record non-shaky video. It comes with an inbuilt battery that runs for up to 12 hours and has a standard tripod mount at the bottom. Yaaass! I’m about to say a permanent BYE BYE to wobbly footage. Now, if you don’t have a gimbal already, maybe you can think about getting one, too!

In case you’re wondering, none of the items mentioned in this post is sponsored. I actually use these brands and have been doing so on my own dime for a while – years, in some cases. However, the Amazon product links are affiliated. That means if you click on the product, review it, and then decide to buy something, I have the potential to earn a small (as in tiny) commission from qualifying purchases.

Master the art of souvenir shopping in 6 easy steps

“Souvenirs? How do you decide what to buy?”

That was one of the questions I received when I polled my Instagram audience to find out what travel-related topics they wanted me to write about.  I’ll be honest, shopping comes so naturally to me I forgot that even the thought of it causes some people major discomfort.  On any given day, hunting for a good deal is fun and relaxing for most of us, but crowds and long lines, indecisiveness about what to get, pushy or patronizing sales people, and the possibility of getting lost while on the hunt for goodies are just some of the turnoffs for others. 

After I imagined how bad the distress could get when panicky, sweaty-palmed shoppers are away from home, in very unfamiliar environments, I realized souvenir shopping is not something to be taken for granted. It’s really an art that needs to be learned and fine-tuned.

If you’re heading on vacation soon and are already starting to worry about what you’ll be able to buy as a keepsake for yourself or aa a gift for someone else, keep calm and keep reading. I’m sharing some ideas to make your next souvenir haul easy.

Avoid the tacky, tired stuff

Every destination has its tourist trap markets and shops where you’re guaranteed to get the same Made in China t-shirts, tote bags, fridge magnets, mugs, and key rings that you’ll see in the next place you visit – just with a different city or country name. So, check all product labels before being sweet-talked into purchasing anything. Please, when the doubts creep in, do yourself a huge favor and walk away politely AND quickly. Don’t fall for the innovative pitches!

Go in search of authentic local art and craft

The increasing global demand for ‘cheap and fast’ has led to a thriving market for fake and subpar goods which negatively impacts the revenues of home-grown artisans who work very hard to produce hand-crafted items. I believe it’s important to support local workmanship whenever possible because local artists pass along irreplaceable craft-making traditions and customs from one generation to the next, and they use the income they get from their daily sales to support their families. If you’re not sure where to look, ask your taxi driver, bellman or waiter for non-tourist spot suggestions. Try to have them steer you in the direction of places where you can see painters at work, seamstresses at their machines, wood workers carving figurines in real-time, or jewelers making custom pieces.

Tap into the music scene

Even though we live in a world of digital downloads and streaming, there are still some people who value owning CDs and even vinyl records, which are mostly collectors’ items these days. For example, the Dutch are known for electronic dance music, Trinidad is home to calypso and pan, and you can’t leave Brazil without hearing samba. So, picking up an original record or a compilation CD of some of the top artists from each country’s genre is a no-brainer if you know someone who is into music.

Consider buying fabric

Trips to places in Africa, Peru, India and others create wonderful opportunities to bring back colorful fabrics and textiles that can be converted into beautiful pieces of clothing and/or unique accessories that will be long-term reminders of the destination.  As examples, think of Kente cloth in Ghana, woven Tartan fabrics that can be traced to family clans in Scotland, Indian khadi, bayeta wool in Peru and the bright, hand-painted textiles that are used in Japan to make glamourous-looking kimonos.

Start a collection

When in doubt, it’s usually a sure bet to purchase items that will enable the receiver of your gift to start a collection. Things that are small and easy to transport such as currency notes or coins, miniature flags, shot glasses and locally produced, travel-sized liquor are great places to start.

Opt for practical items

If all else fails, you can always fall back on practical items that aren’t likely to go unused. Some ideas include locally made soap, massage oils, spoon rests, salt and pepper shakers, and Christmas ornaments.

A few other notes:

Please conduct thorough research ahead of your trip or ask pointed questions when you’re in destination to ensure you know the import/export rules, allowances and fines. Also, try not to purchase anything that even hints at unethical production or looks like it is being sold illegally. Trust me, from the streets of New York to Paris, it happens, so if something looks or feels shady, trust your gut.

Also, try to avoid taking ‘mementos’ from treasured monuments or ancient ruins and anything like seashells with live creatures inside. In addition, it’s always a good idea to shy away from buying animal products as you never know if you could be contributing to the endangerment of rare species or putting your hard-earned money into the hands of poachers.

Save on baggage fees with these packing tips from a carry-on pro

Did you know that U.S. airlines made almost $5 billion in baggage fees in 2018? Yes, you read that right! The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics data shows that airlines have been out there raking in major $$$ from chronic (or unsuspecting) over packers for years. With extra pieces costing at least US$50 a pop on most carriers, that means travelers have been throwing away money that could have been easily redirected into more positive memory-making transactions. Seriously, that’s cash that could have been spent on things like new travel gear, unique dining experiences, additional room nights and extra days spent exploring somewhere cool.

Makes you wonder what the figure for the global airline haul was, huh? Well, I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t really matter to me. Because I’m not about that life.

I work too hard to collect my bi-weekly coins to be throwing them away paying for heavy or extra luggage that I’m going to end up schlepping around miserably anyway. Real talk: If you have to move from city to city, use public transportation, or climb stairs a few times during your trip, all that extra load can be cumbersome!

That, coupled with not liking to wait around for bags on the carousel, is why I’ve learned to pack my life in a carry-on, folks! By utilizing some of these tips, I’m rooting for you to do the same.

Take a good, hard look at your travel bag

Your road to baggage fees freedom often starts with investing in sturdy, lightweight luggage. Sometimes the extra weight is caused by the bags, not you! The older the suitcase, the greater the likelihood that the frame is heavier than the current norm. So, even though you may love the vintage suitcase Dulcimina you have, I encourage you to do some research on the multiple lightweight options that are now available.

Wear or carry your heaviest items

Bulky items like winter coats, jackets, sneakers and boots take up much needed space and weigh a lot. So, since I’m always cold anyway, I always wear my heaviest shoes and sweaters in airports and carry my winter jacket over my arm until I need to put it on.

Plan an interchangeable wardrobe

Have a loose idea of the things you want to see and do while away and plan your outfits accordingly.  Never pack everything you take out of your closet on the first go-round. Also, color coordinate pieces so you can mix and match a bunch of blouses or shirts with a few bottoms, which are usually the weightier items. Lastly, it never hurts to throw in one or two pieces that transition well from day to night, when nicely accessorized.

Roll, rather than fold

There are differing opinions on this technique due to potential wrinkling, but in my experience, clothes that are rolled take up less space and they fit better into all the nooks and crannies of your bag. You know, like those rounded corners or awkward spaces between the support bars down at the bottom? The key to overcoming rumpling is sticking to fabrics like polyester, knits, rayon, fleece, spandex and other microfiber material that don’t wrinkle easily. Or, if you’re into cotton and linens like me, just mentally commit to a one-time mass use of your hotel iron when you get to your destination.  

Don’t be too random

Order matters! Always put the heaviest items like shoes and full-length jeans at the bottom, and closest to the area where the wheels will be when the bag is standing upright. You can also maximize space by filling shoes and hollow items like water bottles with smaller items like socks, jewelry, travel-sized toiletries, and clean underwear.

I know a lot of travel bloggers swear by packing cubes and they look cool, but I’ve never used them. I get that they help you compress items so you can fit more into your bag, but I often wonder if that doesn’t lead to excess weight – the very issue I’m trying to avoid to begin with. If you’ve used packing cubes and they’ve helped you, please tell me all about it in the comments below.

BONUS TIPS

And as a bonus for reading this far, if you feel you aren’t ready to embrace the carry-on life just yet, you can still save on baggage fees by:

Paying for additional bags online

It’s cheaper than doing it at the airport ticket counter.

Joining frequent flyer programs that include complimentary bags based on elite status

Depending on your loyalty level and your destination, you can sometimes get bags checked for free. With American Airlines’ AAdvantage, for example, if you have Executive Platinum, oneworld® Emerald or are active U.S. military with ID on personal travel, you can get up to three bags checked at no additional cost. Delta SkyMiles Medallion members are also eligible for complimentary checked bags when traveling within the United States and Canada.

Using branded airline credit cards

Now, I’m always gonna be a strong advocate for reducing the number of credit cards in your wallet, but if you don’t have one already, consider looking into a card being offered by your favorite airline. Many of them – crazy annual fee notwithstanding – include perks that allow for complimentary checked bags.  The JetBlue Plus Card, Gold Delta SkyMiles® Card from American Express, Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, and the United Explorer Card are just a few examples.