I & Claire hopped into a Tuk to explore what Phnom Penh could offer us.
We found a nice little hut restaurant called Aniali. We, of course, ordered our favourite drink of refreshment, fresh coconut juice. The perfect way to cool down.
Oh wise words, Aniali. I like this place.
After we had finished playing with our lovely bunch of coconuts (oh behave), we took a walk through the market.
This was a fresh foods local market, so, fried insects anyone?
There’s something wonderful about walking through fresh veg, knowing that it has probably been plucked that morning.
I love how they slap-dash hot or cold food into a plastic bag for you in Asia. It’s great.
As soon as we walked into the fish section, we slowly walked backwards, and both looked at each like, ‘erm, yeah, let’s get out of ere’.
The grand Royal Palace caught our attention. Full name: The Khmer language is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol. We were pleased with ourselves that we didn’t have to ask for directions.
After passing through immigration, we secretly thanked ourselves for making it alive. (Sorry mother if you ever read this).
Cambodia is hectic, corrupt, flawed, and barren, but it’s the incredible spirit of the Khmer people, that will make you fall in love with the country. It’s a place where you can still see the rawness from decades of blood, war, violence, genocide and death, yet the people are so warm and kind. You will notice that the locals are always smiling and will always greet you with open arms. With limited resources, they have strong communities. Leaving their homes open, when one family has food, the whole community has food. They live by a genuine, ‘what’s yours, is mine’, mentality. That’s what I love about Cambodia.
The first place we headed to was Siem Reap: a town of tranquillity, green rice fields and almost everything made of bamboo.
Our tour guide PC took us to probably the most scenic restaurant I’ve ever been to in my life.
Yep, that’s right. We had dinner here. It was so ridiculous that I couldn’t resist having a snap taken by it.
Not to sound like a weirdo, but check out the entrance to the toilet.
I had sweet & sour chicken (no, not the Saturday night takeaway kind) and for dessert, I was given a star shaped goodie.
It was crunchy and sweet, and, tasted like sugar heaven. I have no idea what it’s called, but I liked it.
The next morning we headed to a local orphanage located in a small village.
I befriended a cow. I named him Angus.
The children of Spean Cheav is a home for underprivileged children and are taught English to increase their prospects, which is so fundamental in a popular tourist country.
William, aged seven, kept picking up flowers for me, he could do with teaching a few men at home on how to charm the ladies.
Panni, aged nine (the girl waving a dollar), is adorable. We counted to 100 together in English. I was inspired; the founder looks after fifteen children to help them towards a better, brighter future.
The next day, we woke up at 5 am to make the sunrise (my friends know how I feel about waking up), but it was totally worth it. Just look at that view of Angkor Watt.
The Buddhist monument was originally a Hindu temple. Built on water, mysterious and captivating — It’s the Khmer King’s legacy. His face sculptured on almost every wall, with his slaves bowing down to him.
This historical temple has survived invasions and wars yet is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen.
I could happily have spent the rest of the day in the darkness, drinking in the history and gilded artworks, but there were more temples to check out.
Temple hopping, we landed at Ta Phrom — the movie set of Tomb Raider. Pretending to be Lara Croft, we had way too much fun jumping through the maze and discovering treasured ancient rocks. I even got the gun fingers out… I can’t believe I just admitted that.
Ridiculously spoilt, another scenic restaurant came our way. It’s Batchum Khmer Kitchen Food; I thought the first one was my favourite, but this one became a good contender.
What I loved about this restaurant is that they had hammocks outside. IT’S LIKE THEY KNOW ME.
The next day we went quad biking to fuel our adrenaline thirst.
We then headed to the famous Pub Street for a delicious meal (I think you can see a trend here #foodie).
Before heading home, I spotted my very own cocktail bar!
We hopped on a Tuk to catch our coach for our 7-hour journey to Phnom Penh. Siem Reap, you were incredible.
There’s something to be said for a little salt water therapy. This was a beautiful day and one I won’t forget. The sun was fearless.
I escaped the sirens of Manhattan to swap it for the sound of the ocean and the scent of the salty sea breeze.
In preparation for this shoot, I gave my Waterproof Mascara a whizz and headed to Coney Island: New York.
Sometimes you just need to get away. This Aqua post is for you to escape to, whether during a shitty day at work, between uni’ exams on a Monday or just basically if you’re bored and uninspired. See you in Paradise amigos.
Growing up, I didn’t feel confident on camera. I wore an oversized backpack (that made me look like a tortoise), goggle-glasses and elephant shoes. I appeared and was, super nerdy.
At the work-legal age of sixteen, I applied for part-time waitressing & bar jobs at temp agencies. I also joined a film extras agency, and alongside TV work, they sent me to photo shoots, and I somehow became a commercial model.
With the help of photographers, makeup artists and stylists, I want to pass on my fashion photography learnings that I’ve gathered from the experts — to you. From building your confidence, finding the right location, knowing the best lighting and developing your creative eye for imagery — I’ll try and cover as much as I can.
Organisation and location is key
If photography is integral to your business, then pre-planning goes a long way. There are three primary considerations in choosing a location. 1. How long it takes to get there. 2. Accessibility for changing outfits 3. The variety of sites to shoot. I don’t always have an itinerary; sometimes random photo shoots can make the best shots. However, having a clear objective of the shoot, the address of the location, estimated scheduled timings, planned outfits & makeup and having a backup plan helps with making the best out of the day.
Consider the light
Natural daylight is best for taking photos. For flat lays & product shots, experiment with table surfaces, wooden chopping boards and tile prints like marble. You’ll notice that you’ll take much better photos if you drag them by a window. For fashion shots, images taken at sunrise/sunset are much nicer. The photographers that I’ve worked with love playing around with images whereby the sun is behind the model.
Develop your creative eye
Believe it or not, high attention to detail and having a ‘creative eye’ in editorial imagery, requires development. This is why media publications hire creative directors with distinctive & artistic vision. It’s about being able to see what looks aesthetically appealing to your audience. The easiest way to learn how to improve your imagery is by analysis. Look at your imagery. Is it blurry or stained? How does it affect your mood? Do the people in the background change an image?.
No one wants to see the same image over and over again. Choose your best photos and publish only those. This isn’t the same as consistency. Your theme should be consistent, and ideally, you should be posting content regularly.
Boost your confidence within
I talk about being the best version of yourself and self-esteem a lot. Confidence in yourself is the foundation for appearing assertive on camera. Hop over to this link for my personal confidence story (if you haven’t read it, let me know what you think!). Once you feel good about yourself, it will show in your images, and your audience will notice. It’s about feeling good on camera regardless of how you look. As with everything, practice makes perfect.
I hope this post has helped!
Bloggers, if you have any tips, please do share with myself and our blogging community.