Photography 101 | Part 2


Calling all photography beginners. I’m sharing some tips that I have learned over the last little while… With the help of a short photography course (School of Light.)

It can be quite overwhelming trying to figure out the many aspects of a DSLR. You can check out my previous post on photography where I explain the lingo a bit. 

So first things first, always look for good, natural light! It really does make all the difference when capturing that perfect shot.

Perspective is a big one. One thing that really helps with perspective is the rule of thirds, which is really simple once you grasp the idea. Basically, when looking at what you’re shooting divide the image up into three pieces horizontally & vertically  (as seen in the picture below.) You want your focal point to be in the 1st or 3rd section to gain a good, aesthetically pleasing perspective. 


Another trick I learned that is super helpful: take your photo in landscape and portrait with a couple different angles. Pace about 10 steps around what you are shooting to capture different shots. See how this image is shot 3 different ways:


Chat soon!



Photography 101, Well For Us Beginners Anyway...


Hello friends. 

Ever dabble in photography at all? It seems like almost anyone can take a relatively good looking photo now that smart phones are around. Even magazine covers are being taken with iPhone’s:

(Read on for more info about the Times cover series shot by Luisa Dörr.)

That said, I do enjoy the quality and artistic expression a DSLR allows its user. The more I learn how to use my camera, the more I’m able to express my creativity and personality through my photos. 

Here are a few tips from a course I’ve been doing called School of Light (pop over to their website for more info on the course and what's offered) where I’ve been learning all the basics you need to know! 

Light is probably one of the most important (if not the most important) aspects of capturing an amazing photograph. Good natural light is always best, unless you’re shooting in a studio with studio lighting of course.

All in all it’s about finding that amazing, soft, beautiful light. Usually found just after sun rise or sun set… Golden Hour! Light really does make all the difference.

Here are some pictures I took just after sun rise in Kalk bay, we went as a group for a practical lesson with School of Light.


When taking landscape photos it’s usually best to shoot on a wide angle lense. These could have been cropped a little better with more of the landscape in the picture.


Some basic terms to learn:

  • Aperture: Controls the amount of light entering the camera through the lens, measured in F-stops.
  • Lightmeter: Measures the amount of light that hits your camera’s sensor.
  • ISO: The sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light.
  • Shutterspeed: The speed that the light enters the lens.

I can’t wait to show you more of what we’ve done at School of Light, it has been such an amazing course so far!



I looked in the mirror and thought to myself… Is this as good as it’s going to get? I didn't feel like wearing pretty clothes, putting makeup on and doing my hair was worth it. I didn’t feel I was worth it all. 

That was me, comparing myself to my friends… Wondering why they looked so happy and how on earth they looked as fantastic as they did.

Even as I write this I know it is a reality for many, many women to feel like this. I’m writing this because I care, and I want to help. I haven't made it and I’m constantly learning but I’ve discovered that looking beautiful isn't as important as feeling beautiful. Being comfortable in your own skin and being able to look in the mirror and feel confident about what you look like is an amazing feat. 

I know that it’s a bit cheesy to say that beauty starts from within but I live that and I value it deeply, every day. I see the importance of looking after yourself by meditating, having healthy relationships and a healthy day to day life. 


Easier said than done right? I started my Personal Styling business because I want women to know that they are beautiful. I want you to feel beautiful when you step out of the door in the morning because I truly believe that you are. We are all unique and what makes us different is really quite incredible.

It’s no fairy godmother moment that makes one feel great about themselves again, it’s a process but I believe that knowing how to present yourself makes a massive difference in this journey of feeling beautiful.

Knowing what to wear and how to wear it makes a huge difference to how you feel about yourself.

Join me this August for a Personal Styling workshop, it’s a step in the right direction and a whole lot of fun. Think mani’s, gifts, delicious breakfasts and a little champagne of course! Book your seat now, limited space available.

I’ll be sharing some tips on what to wear for your body type soon so stay tuned.




Ideas Into Action

I was recently reading this book called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love her writing because she's imaginative and quite hilarious. She speaks about how ideas can run away with us and how we can end up losing them. In her eccentric way, she describes how we should execute our ideas when we have them otherwise they could be gone forever. 

Have you ever thought about something and come up with a fantastic idea, pondered on it a bit and then forgotten about it the next day? I have! It's rather annoying.

This brings me to talk about some reading I did for the course I'm currently working through with GetSmarter. Gareth Cotten (the head tutor) speaks about having a book handy at all times to write your ideas in because he says, you will forget them. He went on to say that when you practice coming up with ideas it becomes a natural way of thinking and you can, in fact, come up with hundreds of ideas every day. 

I've enjoyed the course so much because it has shed light on important aspects on my entrepreneur journey. I would find myself googling and Youtubing through crazy amounts of content to figure out how to do something (even though they are good platforms). The 'virtual campus' is great for people on the go and it's easy to fit in wherever you are... I've even done an assignment at the airport! It's easy to use and really versatile. If you're looking to expand your knowledge in whatever profession you're in, GetSmarter is a wonderful option to look at!

So friends, write your ideas down! You'll have a wealth of ideas to build on and you'll feel encouraged when you're having an off day...



Business Advice | 'GetSmarter' an Online Learning Platform


Hey friends, I'm back from hiding in between boxes in my new home... Frantically trying to get them unpacked so I can get back to normality. Re-locating is not for sissies, especially if you like order and feel the need to organize everything you can see, like me. *Pause for dramatic effect. Haha, I seriously sympathize with people who move across the world, I only moved across the country and I'm feeling shattered!

Anyways, I'm back in the office and feeling more ready than ever to get back into gear for my upcoming Spring/Summer line. I can't wait to show you what I've been working on!

On another note, I’ve recently been studying a short course online through a company called GetSmarter. They work closely with some of the best universities in the world. My course is called 'Start and Manage a Small Business' through the University of Cape Town.

I see the value in constantly acquiring knowledge, understanding that i’ll never know it all and that being teachable is key.

I like that the learning program is streamline and that they offer help when needed. The site is easy to use and the assignments are well planned and presented.

Some basic yet helpful tips I thought to share with you:

  • Writing up a good, detailed business plan is a must. Not only will it help you with potential investors but it will keep you on track and be your anchor when things don't go as planned.
  • Financial planning sounds like a drag and so much effort yet it's vital to keep your business afloat, for many reasons!
  • Understanding your market place in relation to what service/product you offer is really important. You need to know how you fit in and what makes you stand out in your industry. 

The short course explains things like this in detail and gives great examples of what is needed to run a successful business!

Chat soon!




Pictures by Claire Gruver


Wireless Love

I recently tried out wireless earphones and they're so great for exercising or working at your laptop at a coffee shop. No more moments of being pulled back to your laptop when standing up. (There should be some hilarious YouTube videos of that out there...) 

Sudio Sweden sent me some cute earphones that connect via bluetooth which is pretty handy. They come in a few colours but I had to have the pink ones.

If you like them you can use my discount code JESSICAANNE15 on any purchase from their online store.

I'm wearing our Velvet Jacket. It's so comfy and the perfect shade of pink, if I do say so myself. :)

You can find it online here.

XO, Jess


Photos by Claire Gruver

Sharing Stories | Emma Whiley

Emma_Lindy Truter (177).jpg

Hey friends, I'm starting a series called 'Sharing Stories'. I love that every individual has a story. I have been chatting to some real, authentic ladies lately and I thought it could not be more apt to share a bit about their incredible lives. I think it will be an inspiring read and it will help us to feel like we're not as crazy as we think we are (the type of crazy you're not sure should be there), we're not alone and we have so much to look forward to.

Emma, thanks for sharing a bit of your story with us and for making us giggle. 

Emma Whiley:

If you’d asked 17 year old, living-in-Zimbabwe, knows-everything-there-is-to-know-about-life me where I’d be living and working in 10 years time I probably would have said something like ‘working as a music producer in New York.’

Well, fast-forward 10 years and here I am in London (although New York is still my soul city) working as a copywriter. God works in mysterious (and mischievous ways ;))

Want to know how that happened? I’ll zoot through it as quick as I can – 

After I finished up school I hopped on a plane and headed straight for the bright lights of London. For a farm-girl, I sure did love the lure of the city. Having never been anywhere bigger than Joburg, it was a wild moment of ‘jump now, think later’, luckily it worked out! I spent 10 months working as an au pair – rent and food covered #livingthedream.

Once my ‘gap yah’ was done, I found myself on the edge of a three year stint in Cape Town that involved much trekking up and down the mountain (who builds a university on a mountain any way?) I studied English Lit and Interactive Media (a fancy name for a bit of a skim and skate over what is more commonly known as ‘web design’.) University was pretty spectacular, but during my time there I found myself in a long-distance relationship with a guy I’d known since I was 14 (queue the ‘oohs and aahs’).

A month after we started dating he packed up and headed for London. Talk about timing! Long-distance is no walk in the park and definitely not for everyone, but if it’s your only option you learn how to make it work. For two years we spent hours upon hours on skype, and luckily my long holidays meant I could spend two summers in London. I would have loved to have him around all the time, but that’s not the story God wrote for us. Given OUR dating story ended with a chaotic (but utterly wonderful) two-day wedding, punctuated by the biggest and loudest thunder storm (in which our reception tent nearly blew away, G tripped over the main power cable and plunged all 160 of us into darkness and everyone who was camping over night got a bit soaked) I’d say it turned out alright. And I couldn’t think of a better person I’d want to spend forever (and ever amen) doing life alongside. 
After that I found myself back in London where I started working at an advertising agency as a design intern. ‘How did you end up being a writer?’ I hear you asking. Well my friends, that is a question only Jesus really knows the answer to, but to summarize – I was a terrible designer. Yep. I said it. I must have been at the very bottom of the barrel. Luckily, my agency offered me the chance to try copywriting and it was love at first… word. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

After waxing lyrical for two years about everything from coffee (hello Nescafé fans), flights, cars (I know a whole lot more about Peugeot than your average 20-something female), skincare (isn’t it every advertiser’s dream to work on Dove?), seasonal veg, electricity and ice cream, I decided to take the leap and run head-long into a life of freelance copywriting and creative consulting.

Welcome to the world of flexible working, chasing payments and endless recruiter phone calls. No, I’m kidding, freelance is not bad. In fact it’s actually glorious. Except for the chasing payments bit (can everyone just pay us on time please?) I’ve spent the last two years (hip)hopping my way from one agency to the next, skittering in and out of small businesses, crafting words for photographers and fitness brands, being the business-partner-you-never-had to small businesses who need a sounding board and a fresh eye. It definitely has it’s cons. Not everything about freelance is easy-breezy, fancy-free, but if you’re sensible and hard-working it’s not just doable, it’s the best. And the pros, when they work (like choosing your clients and jobs and taking extra time off) are wonderful.

People often ask me how I find work as a freelancer, how do we get on in the industry. And my answer is pretty much the same as if someone asked me how to do life – just be really nice to everyone you meet. People will remember what you were like to work with before they remember the work you did. Make sure you do something you’re still going to love doing even on the bad days. And have good people around you, because they’re what makes life magic.

Find Emma on

If you're keen on sharing your story with me, pop me a mail on and we can chat.

XO, Jess

My Guide to a Good Facial Routine

Beauty products seem like an endless wave of options. It can be overwhelming to choose the right ones. I'm a little product obsessed, to be honest. I love the feeling of my skin after it's just been cleansed and moisturized. I struggle to fall asleep if I don't wash my face or start my day without my skin routine.

So what's the secret? I always say, what you put in, will come out. If you eat junk, your skin will show it. Trust me, I know! Salt & Vinegar chips are my guilty pleasure and my skin always pays. Drinking loads of water and eating well will do your skin wonders! Going to bed with your make-up on will leave your pores clogged, think about it... Your skin isn't able to breathe all day with makeup on and then it can't repair at night if you don't wash it off. Wearing makeup products with natural ingredients will help your skin in a big way! I like to use an oil base makeup remover, micellar water is also great for double cleansing!

So what does a good skin routine include:

  • A good cleanser. Stay away from chemicals and products that contain alcohol, they will leave your feeling dry and damaged. I like using all-natural products with ingredients that enhance the skin's natural process. 
  • A toner, alcohol-free. This prepares your skin for moisturizing and gets rid of any excess oil and grime your cleanser doesn't get to.
  • A moisturizer that leaves your skin hydrated and not oily. Using natural products will help with your skin's natural process and won't leave it dry or oily. 

Masks and serums are added luxuries in my opinion. I love using them because they feel like a luxury for my skin. I use Aesop's Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask and Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum. 

There are so many great products on the market. Make sure you cleanse, tone and moisturize every morning and evening to keep your skin looking radiant and healthy.

Don't forget to look after your body on the inside too, your skin will reward you. (I'm preaching to myself here.) Chat soon!

XO, Jess