How to Take Great Photos for Your Blog.

Being a blogger of any kind today requires one to be a writer, photographer, business person, marketing guru and all round media mogul. Simply writing up an account of your experience no longer cuts it in the blogosphere. So, how does one keep up with the ever evolving world of blogging?

My blog is only a year old and I’ve had to learn new skills very quickly – you need to hit the ground running. As such, if I had to pick one single thing that has helped my blog to stand out, I would have to say that it’s photography. The most successful bloggers I know, use great images to capture and convey moods, tastes, smells and experiences. When it comes to promoting your blog on social media, a single great picture will speak a thousand words. Furthermore in travel blogging, in partiular, being able to take a good photograph is vital.

Until recently, I was using my iPhone6 for taking pictures. It has a great camera and was easy to use. When it came to editing, apps such as VSCO, Snapspeed, Mextures, Squareready and Camera+ are simple to use and great for use within the phone. Life was good!

However, a year into setting up my blog, I was ready to move it up a notch. I had long toyed with the idea of purchasing a digital camera and finally took the leap and invested in one. But…things didn’t go as planned – I missed the convenience of using my phone. I didn’t like how heavy my new camera was and resented having to carry it around! I had no idea how to use it and would occasionally shoot in ”auto” mode. Consequently, I went back to using my phone (yes, I did!).

Convinced that this particular camera was not serving my needs, a few months later I invested in a DSLR camera – Cannon EOS1300D. It certainly suited me better as a complete novice. I liked how it felt in my hands. Also, as it’s a slightly older model, I was less intimidated by it. We clicked! (Pun intended). Still, I had no idea how to use it. I knew from having researched cameras FOREVER that my new purchase had great potential. I started shooting in “auto” mode and simply LOVED what I was photographing. It captured people, places and objects exactly as I saw them. It was perfect! As much as I loved my new(ish) camera I still had no idea how to use it out of ”auto”. So, I did what I do best – RESEARCH.

I shopped around for a beginners photography course that would help me. I wanted to become a more confident photographer and learn how to use my camera. I came across The London Institute of Photography based at the Truman Brewery in uber cool Brick Lane, East London. I emailed the school to discuss my needs and the response was as quick as it was helpful. I enrolled on the Beginners Photography Course which is taught over 2 days.

So, a few days later, new camera in hand, I arrived at LIoP to begin my journey into becoming a better blogger. My tutor was Holger Pooten, Head of the institute who has over 20 years of professional experience. I was in good hands! The class was small (around 8 people) so it was intimate and engaging.

Day 1 – Fundamentals of Photography

The course began with a great introduction to my camera. It laid the foundation for the rest of the course. Within the first hour I was already beginning to see my camera in a new light. I was amazed at just how much it could do. We also touched briefly on the history of cameras and photography. There were examples from great photographers old and new. I was totally immersed. After lunch we went out into the bustling streets outside to put our skills in to practice. What a difference it made to my confidence to operate my camera outside ”auto” mode. I felt in total control. I began to see light, movement, objects and people from a whole new perspective.

Practice shot – Day 1.
Practice shot – Day 1

Day 2 – Shooting Variety on Location

The second day of the course brought yet more in depth knowledge of the basics of photography. We then moved on to really beginning to understand the camera as a tool for interpreting the world. By this point, I no longer viewed the camera as something outside of myself. I started to understand that my camera was a part me. I began to treat it like my own eyes. The tutor took us to the bustling street food market in Brick Lane and allowed us to put our theory into practice. The light changed from stall to stall and I had to adjust my camera for each shot. All the while I was strolling around the market, my tutor attentively coached me through my settings helping me to understand my camera better.

Practice shot of food – Day 2
Practice shot of detail – Day 2

Consequently, I now carry my DSLR camera with me everywhere. I have formed a new bond with it and am able to convey emotions far better. It is certainly improving engagement with my audience. While I am still very new to this approach of taking pictures, I have invested in extra lenses (great advice offered by my tutor Holger at LIoP) and am the proud owner of multiple tripods. I am finally able to connect the dots and it’s liberating. After just 2 days I had learnt to take pictures that I wouldn’t have thought possible before. To think that this was just a beginners course!

My very first photograph (pre edit) using manual settings and mini tripod (placed on the floor) – Roman amphitheatre, Nimes, France.

Finally, I took this picture on my last trip to Nimes, in the South of France using everything I had learnt. I was happy that I could begin my journey into taking exactly the kind of pictures I want. It makes all the difference to the kind of blog you want to create. Most importantly, when it comes to monetising your blog you definitely need better images to sell yourself. So, for me it makes all the sense to invest in my career. The greatest advice I can offer anyone starting out would be to invest in learning photography, learn how to edit your images, invest in equipment, invest in your blog. It is the best advice I can offer. Happy blogging!


For more information of the course I took and other courses contact:


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The Tea Bus Comes to Town!

Picnic on a Bus

It is a universally acknowledged fact that you can never be bored in London. However, every once in a while something comes along that is so simple that it’s genius! What do you get if you cross the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea with the iconic Routemaster? Behold…B Bakery‘s afternoon tea bus tour!

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Tea and cakes served on a double decker as you take in London’s landmarks is the brilliant idea behind the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. The pick up points are Victoria coach station or Northumberland Avenue which are easily accessible for all. So whether you’re visiting London for first time OR are a born and bred Londoner who happens to love London and tea THIS is for you!

London Sightseeing

We boarded the bus from London Victoria bus station and I was almost giddy with excitement! The tables were set and the bus was decorated with gorgeous flowers all around.

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Picture source:

Starting from Victoria we travelled through the prettiest parts of London. The tour took us to Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Royal Albert Hall, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. As we munched our way through delicious sandwiches and quiches the recorded tour guide narrated interesting and little known snippets of London’s history.

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We hit the cupcakes as the bus reached Embankment and headed towards Big Ben. As for these sweet treats? They are to die for! The sponges were as light as air and the frosting simply melted on my tongue. The diced pineapple custard tarte dusted with cinnamon was simply heaven. I could have eaten a dozen!

I opted for a cappuccino from the drinks menu and it was served in the prettiest travel mug with a lid to avoid any nasty spillages. Furthermore, as the tour was wrapping up we were served English scones with clotted cream and jam that we simply COULD NOT leave behind.

Oh, and you know what else? If you’re not particularly fond of meat or have special dietary requirements, vegetarian, gluten free and Halal menu options are also available.

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The tour ended back at our starting point and a good time was definitely had by all. The tea bus tour runs daily and I couldn’t recommend it enough. I had so much fun and even as a Londoner I felt excited to see my home in this way. Book yourself a ticket and enjoy this ride, I say.

Desert Safari – Qatar.

Desert Safari

As if everything in Qatar wasn’t already cool enough, it is also here that I discovered the incredible adventure that is the desert safari.

So, on a Sunday morning, I joined a group of my fellow bloggers and travel writers to wait eagerly for Falcon Tours to carry us to our next adventure. We headed south, out of Doha, in two 4×4 vehicles accompanied by experienced desert drivers. After a quick mandatory stop to deflate tyres, in preparation for the conditions, we drove out and entered the desert.



As the landscape began to change dramatically the scenery overwhelmed me. The dunes rose above our heads and stood majestically against the horizon. There was little else as far as the eye could see. The sand curved, dipped and rose without warning. At times, the drops were near vertical and our 4×4 slid downwards, almost sideways.


Trying to capture everything around me.

In some places, salt had deposited over the surface and glistened a shiny white. Elsewhere, rain from previous days had nurtured plants which burst through the sand. Then we hit an unforgivingly rocky surface and the jeep jolted over each rock. When I climbed outside, the coolness of the sand under my feet seemed contradictory against the lack of humidity in the air. By this point, I had felt waves of different emotions and we had spent less than an hour in the desert!

Camels Everywhere!

Camel love.
Wild camels

If that wasn’t enough, we then drove around scouring the horizon for wild camels. It was wonderful to watch our experienced guide navigate this harsh landscape which had no roads, signs or landmarks. Eventually, we spotted wild camels in the distance grazing peacefully. We drove up so close that we could almost touch one. In Arabic culture camels symbolise patience, tolerance and endurance. When you see these creatures in the wild it’s easy to understand why.

Desert Plants


Recent rain had changed the landscape. Plants such as these covered large areas with still more tender shoots peeking out of the sand.

The Inland Sea.


The Qatari desert also boasts an inland sea. If the desert is Qatar’s heart beat then THIS surely must be the jewel in its crown. It’s a hauntingly beautiful yet little known natural wonder. The desert and dunes surround the sea where Qatar separates from Saudi Arabia. It’s a beach like no other that I have ever seen. It will require all your energy to get here but I promise it will be worth it.

Regency Sealine Camp



Our final stop was the Regency Sealine camp. It’s a beautiful place to rest and relax – a metaphorical oasis in the desert with tented cabanas, a restaurant and great staff. The restaurant served a mouth watering buffet of grilled meats and kabsa accompanied by vegetables, breads and fresh salads with dips. Sweet deserts and fresh fruit followed with plenty of Qatari sweet coffee – qahwa helw. Everything was colourful and full of flavour. The service was impeccable.


After lunch, I did little but relax and take in the spectacular views. Most of all, following the bumpy ride and the intense experience in the desert it felt good to slow the pace down. The beach here is private so it was possible to walk along it in peaceful serenity.


So, if I must conclude, this safari went beyond expectations. An intense 4×4 adventure combined with a sighting of wild camels and a mesmerising inland sea are more than I could have hoped for in the space of 2 hours! Finally arriving at an oasis of luxury where I could shower, eat, change and stroll along a quiet white sandy beach for the rest of the afternoon was the icing on the cake. It felt like I had kept my cake and eaten it too and when you get here you will know exactly what I mean.