August 12, 2017

A Photography Talk

 on about how I got started, why I love it, how I edit my instagram photos & more plus including some extra tips.  

Hello, I'm back with a new post or should I say an updated version of this old post from almost two years ago. Before getting into it full in depth, I've been trying to share this one for a while, many of you guys ask me through my tumblr ask box, emails, dm's on how I edit my photos and all of that, and I thought why not share a POST on about it all. I apologize in advance for being this a very long one for you to read but I'm sure you'll want to hear the whole story. So, please forgive me. I tried my best to create this one as a "Q&A" so hope you'll like it!


I guess it’s not news that I’ve got a deeply love for photography and as the days start to go by and I get quite closer to graduate all I can think is about pursuing a career as a photographer first and then as a fashion designer, or I can do both at some point, I don’t know.

It all happened when I started blogging I began to develop this interest, because I mean, we all are the editors, writers, and even photo takers unless you have someone to do the favor for you, not in my case though, even photos of me are self-portraits. I remember my first pictures were of nature, especially of  flowers and pigeons, – weird, I know – little by little it grew more and more, then as I started getting busier with Uni I just stopped doing what I enjoyed the most. My career as a fashion design student took part of my free time as well most of the time that sometimes I felt like I didn’t want to do anything else but just rest after what’s been some stressful days/weeks/months, until this year that somehow changed but still remained the same.


No, never. I’m self-taught and everything I’d learnt so far has been on my own and that’d not been too much until I took this photography workshop course (2017) I took at Uni and learnt some tips and tricks that have helped me a lot to get better since then!

My experience was good to be honest but I know I still have a long way to go to keep on getting better and better, the first thing I learned was to stop using automatic and start with manual mode/settings, now, since I got my camera I’ve been kind of terrified to use that and probably do something to my camera that it wouldn’t work or I wouldn’t even remember what I’ve just done exactly but no, the teacher took its time and so I took mine to learn, as for all the projects I had, I never had any idea about ISO and all of that.

PAUSE: I know I love photography and when you love something, you have to learn more from it, I’m just kind of lazy, like way too lazy to read articles, books, etc. anyway. . . you wouldn’t believe when I finally learned all of that, when I was about to make/work on my final exam, for real, and since that day I’ve just been playing around with it, sometimes I get back to automatic to see which photo looks best but using manual most of the time and which is a double win, because this last makes my photos look dope? Really nice!


When I take pictures, I feel like I'm in my own natural habitat where I can experiment and get creative or at least try to and it just feels so good and I realize it’s something I want to keep on doing for the rest of my life. I simply enjoy doing it, it's something I'm passionate about that it's hard to describe but I can tell you it feels so good and it comes from the heart. Sometimes it does scare me because I love it more than fashion design. lol. but that's actually called insecurity something I deal with and might share that on another post. :)


I’m not a person who looks up to someone but just two amazing persons I can relate to and have inspired me to keep on doing this are Roberto Cavalli and Karl Lagerfeld, both well-known fashion designers and lovers of photography. It’s amazing how they both mix photography with fashion and enjoy doing it, and if I one day sit on a desk to design and work on collections, just like Mr. Lagerfeld, I want to be the photographer of my own editorials, so their words and everything they do and have done has actually inspired me to keep on doing it, so am I.

Not to mention Diane Von Furstenberg. she had like a reality TV show called "House of DVF" and she said some words on about photography and the connection it had with inspiration to then create and work on a fashion collection afterwards and that inspired me even more.


I’ve been surrounded or let’s say influenced by the digital world, blogging, tumblr, pinterest and even instagram. I have had this secret tumblr account that was just my kind of photography goals and fashion goals, etc. in the very beginning. To me, has been also like the perfect Instagram feed I’ve always wanted to achieve, this leads me to another thing (story)

PAUSE: For the ones that have followed me so long on my IG, yes, I deleted some pictures because they didn’t fit in my old IG theme if that makes sense, I messed it up and I don’t know, it was also not the type of content I wanted to share. It felt like forcing myself to post something so that I would make sure people thought I was still alive but truth is it was something I didn’t want to keep on doing, that’s why I’ll post whatever I want to whenever I want to and sorry if I don’t do daily updates/posts I also have other things to do and a life to live and keep on livin’ as well. That’s why I blog every now and then, appear and disappear and then the cycle start all over again. That's life.


Let's just say it's all minimal vibes with a hint of colour, okay this one applies for my IG feed, although B&W photos will forever be my favorite ones, they just speak by themselves been playing with sepia (tones) as well lately but if I ever make a career out of photography I'd love to go more for a conceptual, kind of still life photography like these photos, I don't know it's just my kind of thing and how I've visioned myself and maybe wedding photography at some point, ah, I just love it and would love to do that! :)


I get asked this one a lot, and to make a long story short, well my main reason is that fashion design was something I wanted to do and just came out of a sudden, at the moment I had some "goals" and were related to the fashion industry which I saw as a big one and you can do whatever you want to, like work as a designer, photographer, illustrator, you can do lots of things. But I do love photography as well, and even thought if I didn't got a degree because of it, I've learned it on my own and still want to keep on getting better at it.


I don't use my phone, I rarely have in fact. Instead I shoot and take all of my pictures with a NikonD3100 and the lens that came with it, so yeah, nothing too fancy.


I mostly use PhotoScape which is a free photo editor software. All of my pictures are mainly edited in this place. For the ones that go to my instagram page, they either stay "raw" (by this I mean, just with the photoscape editing) or edit them over VSCO CAM using the brightness/lighting, exposure, sharpen and saturation tools.

Note that I rarely use filters anymore 'cause I'm tweaking a little bit my IG feed but the ones used in the past were instagram filters (Juno, Ludwig & Inkwell) and for VSCO were (HB1, HB2 & A4)


Share whatever your want to, what you like, etc: I think this is the most important thing to have clear. I share mostly snaps from lifestyle, to recent or old trips, to photography, my fashion work, and my love for art and architecture. :) Find something you like the most and start from there.

Find a colour scheme and stick to it: I for example, love neutral colours but I love to share some colour as well being those accent colours on my feed, even though before it all looked more colourful being the top colour black and being the photos so bright, now it's all more minimal, simple with less filters / editing on it but still keeping the scense of it, "minimal vibes with a hint of colour".

It's okay if you don't find or develop a unique style from scratch, we all have been there and it takes some time. That's why there's still a long way to go to experiment and play around with filters. :)

Search for apps to edit your photos: I edit mine on my computer because they’re mostly taken with my Nikon D3100 like I mentioned it before but I also play with VSCO tools. You can get Afterlight, VSCO Cam, there's a wide range of options in fact, or you can edit them directly on instagram to get started. I've heard about LightRoom, so I'll give it a try, so far I love the B&W and sepia effects! :)

Use hashtags or create your owns: Hashtags are good to get your photos noticed in certain topics, like for example if you've shared a flatlay, you may use that one as there will be lots of people interested in it, I think it's just part of the algorithms, or just create your owns to keep track of specific topics.

I have my owns, one to keep track of my travels (#melissacuentastravels) and the other is for things created, taken and made by yours truly (#bymelissacuentas)

Find locations: If you're shooting "ootd" / outfits, scoop to find the perfect spot, this is like a game of object/figure & background, and it will help a lot to make the photo more outstanding.

Find a perfect time to post your IG: Although this may differ and change during the days of the weeks, some days at certain hours it may drives more traffic than the rest of. or just post whenever you want to. ;)


Invest in a good camera and lens or use the one you have at the moment: to be honest, yes the better the quality the camera and lens are the better the photo is going to be, I agree with it but my short years of experience has told me the opposite, the equipment isn't that "important" but instead how much you can experiment with it and get creative during the editing process. My best and favourite photos to this day were taking with a Sony CyberShot. So, that's my piece of advice for you.

If using a DSLR, always shoot on Manual settings: There are three important factors to keep in mind, shutter speed, aperture and ISO, this does a lot of good to your pictures and you're kind of control of it to take great photos. I didn't know this, well I actually heard a lot of it from blogger friends and it's the best thing you can do. That course I took opened up my eyes, so here I'm throwing you another key piece of advice. Take notes!

Lighting is important: I mostly use natural lighting because they work best for my kind of photography and avoid to all coasts using flash. If shooting indoors, I might shoot my photos near a window. You can experiment with it at first. I think it's all up to what kind of photograph do you want to achieve.

  • Also, sunlight can make photos look amazing and makes the editing process easier or at least in my case, I've been playing a lot with that lately, you just have to find the perfect angle and do not over expose the camera and lens directly to it.
  • Note that a bad weather like a cloudy or rainy one can turn out to be the worst idea ever, as they will make your photos look terribly bad and so dark that no filter will make them look as good as you want to, I might be wrong, I don't know but this has happened to me that I have had to re-schedule the shoot session.
  • Also, even thought I barely use flash but this one can be your best friend for either achieving a B&W photo or a make a photo look "better" examples here & here

Find a free editor software or save your money and invest it with Adobe PhotoShop: To be honest, I don't know how long I'll be using the program I use, but would love to upgrade and get onto a new level, because it gives you more options to play and experiment with. But whatever your choice is, get familiar, with exposure, saturation and lighting/brightness and start from it.

Get creative, experiment and have fun with it! 

I guess, that's all. Hope you all liked it, if you have any other question, don't hesitate to direct message me on instagram or ask me directly on twitter. I'll get back to asap! :)

Once again, forgive me for this long post but I just had to! Until next time! xx


  1. Don't need to apologize, I so loved this post and all of your tips! Thanks for taking your time to put all of this together and share it with us! I honestly love your photography and IG account! I really really loved this post and the photos are amazing, I see how much you're leveling up your skills! :)

    xx, Camille!

    1. Thank you SO much Camille! That means a lot to me! xx

  2. I so loved this post! Thanks for all the tips, looks like you've learned so much throughout the years and it's amazing to see your photos improve with time! :) xx

    1. Thank you SO much Tuğba! Yes, I have indeed and that's why I decided to share this with all of you! :) xx

  3. I love photography too! Your tips are great <3
    The Fancy Cats

  4. Great post!!
    I love photography!
    Super interesting reading all you have here :D
    Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you so much Patricia, happy to know that! :) xx

  5. This was such an inspiring and insightful post to read! I've recently fallen in love with photography as well!
    Have an awesome day!
    xx Kris

    1. Thank you SO much Kris! Hope you've found it very helpful as well to get started! You too have an awesome day and happy weekend! xx

  6. What a great tips and photos Melissa! I love it, thanks for sharing it! All I can say is that your photos just keep on getting better, it really shows you're so passionate about it. Been following you since the first day, so it's amazing to see how much has changed and improved throughout the years. Very proud of you and I wish you nothing but the very best, always. You really deserve it and I know you'll also make a career out of photography too. ;-) Sending lots of love to your way! xxx

    1. Thank you SO much Maria Paula! It makes me so happy to know you've been here for so long as well. Thank you for your support always, for your lovely thoughts and words, I appreciate them and also for your wishes! :) xoxo

  7. The alphabeth lamps is so cute love it so much!


  8. Love this interesting post!
    Have a good weekend!

    1. Thank you so much dear! Happy weekend to you too! xo


Thank you so much for all of your lovely thoughts, they're kindly appreciated. I read and even try my best to reply them all! ♡