The Art in Portrait Photography | Blogger collaboration with Always Rise Blog

Well hey there!
I’m Khalipha Ntloko, writing this all the way from Cape Town, South Africa! I’m the brains behind the Always Rise Blog,an Inspiration, Lifestyle and Beauty blog that really is a journal highlighting my growth as a woman within these 3 categories. I’m only 23 years old and I believe that I have many wonderful things to do in life so my blog is a space that not only shares the aspirations I have but also invites women to be inspired so that they too, can rise up and be phenomenal in their own unique and beautiful way.
I’ve recently tapped into my ever-growing love for photography, particularly portrait photography. My aspiration is to become a sought-after [female] portrait photographer in South Africa, but I’m actually self-taught and using a camera that is rather limiting. But, much like life, I’ve learned to get better through these limitations, and I want to share a few tips that I have picked up along the way to help you take better portraits for either your own blogs or personal use.

In the beginning of my photography journey, I took to a lot of social media and Google pictures to source ideas. And whenever I found a picture I really liked, I would work hard at trying to recreate the exact same photo.
Little did I forget that I have a particular camera that can’t capture certain things. And I don’t have the same makeup products (or techniques) to recreate certain looks. And don’t get me started on a studio set up and lighting

As I got frustrated, I realised that recreating an image to the tee just doesn’t work for me. So I started going back to the drawing board and asked myself why I liked certain pictures. Was it the dark shadows and lighter highlights? Was it the super close of the skin that I loved? Was it the particular shade of black and white that was used? These were some of the questions I started asking myself which helped me create a particular kind of image I wanted for my portraits that I now think about whenever I take photographs. What is the mood that I want to give off in my portraits? The emotion that I want to capture instead of copying someone else’s photo? When it comes to portraits (or photography in general), be original. It’s the most beautiful way to stand out.

I’m sure having an automatic car is a dream because of how easy it would be to drive. I mean, a car doing about 80% of the work for you sounds like a breeze. Well, the same could be said for the camera setting ‘Auto’.
As much as the ‘Auto’ setting on your camera easily does the adjusting according to the lighting and environment for you, my advice is to rather stay away from the ‘Auto’ setting. In watching a number of YouTube tutorials and then actually practicing what I was learning, I’ve noticed that 1) capturing images on ‘Auto’ doesn’t make you any different from a smartphone camera user, and 2) there’s a big and personal power in capturing images with settings that you have taken the time to get accustomed to. It no longer becomes a case of the camera doing all the work but you’re now, in collaboration with the camera, beginning to create art.

My advice is to play around with the ‘AV’ setting. This is the ‘Aperture Priotity’ where you set the camera at a certain f-number, whilst the camera selects a shutter speed to match this f-number so that you get better exposure based on what the lighting conditions are in the environment you’re shooting in. This setting is great for landscapes, where you use a large f-number to get a bigger depth of field and crisper background. For portraits, a lower f-number creates a smaller depth of field which blurs out the background and brings more focus to your subject (hello Bokeh!)

Believe it or not, the word ‘art’ is literally in the word ‘portrait’; this is how I approach my own works of portrait photography. How can I create art in the images I want to capture of someone?
I have no PhD in Selfie Taking, like Kim Kardashian-West, but I know I want my work to be more than just a captured pose. I want to capture a mood, a real and raw emotion that selfies don’t always capture. There’s a freedom of creativity when it comes to portraits that I hope you’ll see not only in my self-portraits but in the works of other photographers.
Much like what I mentioned in my first point, be original in the images you capture. During my years of studying Psychology in my undergraduate, I learned that we could all look at a particular object at the same time, but our perspective and interpretations of that object won’t all be the same. I think the same goes for photography. 

During my ‘Photography’ Instagram Highlights, I remember showing my followers the same picture but only changed the temperature during editing – one was more warm, the other cool. I loved the warm version of the photo but I received an incredible favour for the cooler picture, with someone mentioning how much better my skin stood out. Meanwhile, the cooler tone image made my skin more red, which I didn’t like.

With that said, don’t be afraid to stick to our own artistic guns. I’m aware that people will not always love the work I put out, that there will be critiques and unsavoury opinion. But in the end, I will always produce something that I will be proud of. And that’s something I hope you’ll remember. To find the art in the photographs you capture in future. Photographers don’t get enough clout for the hard work we put in but I hope that this post will inspire you to rise up and find your own art that you’ll always be proud of. 

(Thank you so much to Khalipa for writing this. We found it truly inspiring and really helpful! As with all our collabs, you can find our post on her blog too. We wrote a post all about Makeup Revolution, which you all know we love, since it launched in South Africa only 2 days ago. Thanks again to Khalipa, and we hope you all enjoyed. For more information on portrait photography, there is a really great source here
Natasha and Emily x ) 

Ditch the face wipes with Magnitone London's Wipeout Cloths

Face wipes, and wet wipes in general, have a huge impact on the environment due to being non bio-degradable, so every time you remove your makeup with one, you are adding to the environmental impact that they have. Until we were contacted by PR to explain these Magnitone London Wipeout Cloths and their purpose and function, this was never something that I ever considered, even though it is actually a big problem. 

The Magnitone Wipeout cloths are very similar to the Makeup Eraser, which I believe was the first product of it's kind, and aims to remove makeup with water alone. Other companies which have duped this concept include Makeup Revolution and Primark, though there are now numerous versions of these on the shelves. 

In the box you receive two pink microfibre cloths which have 'grab and hold microfibres' to remove makeup gently and with water alone, avoiding adding to landfill and preventing any nasty chemicals from face wipes getting onto your skin. 

All you need to do is add warm water to the cloth and wipe it over the skin to remove all makeup, and then wash at 30 degrees to not harm the fibres and ensure it can be used again. 

I must admit, I was skeptical about these. I have always been a micellar water lover and really enjoy how easy they are to use, but I genuinely think I have been converted! This removed ALL of my makeup with just water (is this wizardry??) and made my skin feel so incredibly soft to touch. As a wipe replacement, I cannot recommend enough, specifically when taking into account the environmental impact of face wipes. I will admit that I would still cleanse after this, but that isn't because I don't feel clean, just because that is part of my skincare routine anyway. 

As I have mentioned, other brands have released similar products, but I can't comment on the performance of these compared to Magnitone prices etc as I haven't tried them. All that I can say is that I love these to pieces and will for sure be using them on the daily!! Also, you get two cloths here for 15 pounds, the same price as the eraser which only gives you one, and if you consider that you need to wash them you do need two really. If you think how many 1000s of times you can wash this, compared to how much you would spend on face wipes a year, it seems a win win.

Thank you so much to FuelPR for sending us these to try, and for opening us up to the world of water based makeup removal.

Have you tried these or any from other brands? What were your thoughts? Let us know x 

Natasha and Emily x 

The two £4 autumnal steals from Makeup Revolution

After a really long, extended summer in the UK autumn has finally arrived, and I for one couldn't be happier. Autumn is the season for all the warm tones and greens, so when I saw both of these palettes in Superdrug for just £4, from my favourite brand, I was sold. The Makeup Revolution Reloaded palettes in 'Iconic Division' and 'Newtrals 2' are the perfect Autumn pair, and provide all you need for the upcoming season. They are even 3 for 2 in Superdrug at the moment, so you could get three of the Reloaded palettes for just £8!

Iconic Division:
This palette reminds me a lot of the colour scheme of the ABH Subculture palette, with a mixture of mainly yellows and greens, but is a fraction of the price. If I have counted correctly, there are 12 mattes and 3 shimmers that all make up the perfect autumn shades. Khaki and burgundy...yes please. 

Swatches: From left to right is from top to bottom. 

This one contains 4 shimmers and 11 mattes, and is the perfect warm toned palette. There's nothing better than a good red/brown eye in Autumn, is there? 

Swatches: From left to right is from top to bottom. 

Though some of the mattes can be a little chalky to swatch, on the eyes they have incredible pigmentation for a £4 palette as you can see on the eye look from the 'Iconic Division' palette, and the shimmers cannot be faulted. They are so beautifully pigmented and blend so gorgeously. 

Have you tried these? What are your favourite Autumn palettes? Let us know x 

Natasha & Emily x

Making changes

If you are followers of us you will have noticed that yesterday we changed our blog name. Let us explain...

When we were 14 we started this blog, and decided to call it FloralsAndCoralsx, with the URL At this time, we were solely beauty bloggers who shared nothing about ourselves, not even our names, and just wanted to talk about our new Lush bath bomb etc etc...trying to take nice pictures even though even that was questionable! We  found it so important that no body found out about our blog whilst we were at school due to the fear of a lack of acceptance, which is why we kept ourselves so concealed. Of course, to grow as a blogger and maintain a following that actually enjoys your content you need to be more personal, and actually give readers an insight into who you are, other wise it is pointless as people, quite rightly, just don't enjoy that content.

Since then, as we have grown both as bloggers and as people, and have decided that we need to be more personal over here. Therefore, we changed our name to 'Twice the Talk', as we are twins, which is so much better than FloralsAndCoralsx which had no meaning behind it at all. We also plan on showing more of us since leaving school, as hopefully any judgement will now be avoided. Hopefully, outfit pictures and more pictures of our day to day student lives will now begin to be shown. Along with changing the blog name we have also changed our social medias to this name too, and we can now be found as @twicethetalkblog on Instagram and @twicethetalk on Twitter. 

We also purchased a domain name when we changed to 'Twice the Talk', meaning we have ditched the and are now just, which is so much more professional and is definitely a step in the right direction. 

We will still of course post about makeup and reviews etc, we just hope to change how open we are about ourselves. At the end of the day, blogging is a really amazing thing to do and is something that we should be excited about, rather than shy away from.

Thank you so much to anyone who reads our posts and we hope you like our new name! We can't wait for the future! 

Natasha & Emily x 

My new found love for Bilou products

Everytime I see a blogger mention a Bilou product I always comment something along the lines of "oooh I would love to try those, the concept intrigues me" or "these look amazing" etc etc..but until now I haven't purchased any. I'm not quite fully sure why I haven't, but my low maintenance attitude for things like shower gels and creams probably explains it; I usually just buy whatever shower gel is on offer at the time for £1 in the supermarkets. However, August's Birchbox contained a 'Rituals'  shower foam which I fell in love with this month, but with a hefty price tag I decided to look at other cheaper alternatives, such as Bilou, a well loved German brand among the blogger community. 

I ordered the Tasty Donut Creamy shower foam (200ml for £3.99) and the Cotton Candy Gentle Cream foam (150ml for £3.99), so that I had the opportunity to trial both a cream and a shower gel. 

As the names suggest, both leave the aerosol can with a foamy consistency, which can be rubbed into the skin.

I absolutely love both of these, and it is safe to say that I won't be going back to regular products for a while. As it is a foam, the cream literally sinks in immediately and therefore doesn't leave a sticky residue feeling which a lot of other creams leave behind. This is really appealing to me, since I literally avoid moisturizing for that reason! I absolutely hate being sticky from creams haha. It also has a gorgeous scent which can be detected after application, meaning that it leaves you smelling good too. I even asked my Mum to try it and she said "oohh..even I could write a review on that!!" haha, so I think it had her seal of approval too. 

The shower foam is the same, with the smell lingering even after showering which I find to be rare. The foam also means that it leaves you feeling more refreshed than a regular shower gel, and means that it can double up as a shaving foam. Win win.  

Overall, I am over the moon with the performance of both of these and I have no idea why it took me so long to try them. The only dig I have is that there are only two creamy foams available in the UK, Cotton Candy and Fizzy Berry, and my new found obsession means that I would have loved to have tried other scents too. That being said, the ones that are available are divine too so I can't complain too much.

Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Let me know!

Natasha x