26 April 2015

PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS | INTERVIEW WITH CHICAGO PHOTOGRAPHER: THEOXPROJECT

Photography is easily one of the most important components of any blog--and one of the most difficult to master. So, obviously, we need to turn to someone who knows what's up and can give solid advice for the rest of us noobs~

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ethan aka the OX, a self-taught Cuban & Nicaraguan photographer & architecture student at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Even though Ethan has only started his photography career less than a year ago, his photography definitely has the feel of professional, high-fashion editorials. And it's totally rad.
Let's just say, he obviously definitely knows his stuff (you can see for yourself)--and today he is sharing tips and suggestions with you!

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HK | What does fashion mean to you? What does photography mean to you? 

EA | Fashion photography is a platform for unlimited creativity. The amount of skill it takes for a model to make the clothes on her body aesthetically invigorating requires the model to know their body as well as the architecture of the clothes. The photographer then has to place and organize objects in space and manipulate light to create a beautiful composition.  Then if the photographer knows how to use Photoshop has to spend hours perfecting the image. This enormous complex process makes looking at the final product extremely rewarding. I love the challenge, the chance at every turn to experiment and be creative.

HK | Where do you usually draw inspiration from? 

EA I draw inspiration from Pinterest, people I follow on Instagram, and my fashion magazine subscriptions to W Magazine, Bazaar, Elle, and Vogue. I make folders of the photos and organize them together to create the moodboard for photoshoots.

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HK | What type of camera(s) do you currently use? What sort of equipment would you recommend for beginners?

EA | I currently use Canon EOS Rebel T3 with a Canon 24-70mm f/4 lens. I recommend a speedlight you can configure manually, a stand, a speedlight softbox diffuser, a boom arm, tripod, 5 in 1 reflector, trigger & radio slave,a Sigma/Tamron zoom lens,(18-250, 50-250,24-70) and extra camera batteries. I still use that equipment to this day. 

HK | ....ah. I don't know what any of that is. Unfortunately. not all bloggers have the opportunity to work with photographers and use *just* a tripod and self timer to take photos of themselves for their blog. Do you have any suggestions/tips on taking photos this way? 

EA | Bring a friend with a similar skin tone and height. Use your friend as a test subject. Check the lighting on their body and especially their face. Use the background to frame the figure and place the model where all the attention is drawn the subject.

HK | Yes! Lighting is SO important! Do you prefer indoor or outdoor lighting? What is the most ideal?

EA Outdoor photography, I love the challenge of having more light that is difficult to manipulate. There is also more to capture within the frame. While other photographers might refer to it as noise, I think overcoming the challenge of including that noise into the composition and making it aesthetically pleasing is a tremendous reward!

HK | What are your suggestions on best utilizing outdoor lighting?

EA Outdoor lighting is fun and changes drastically therefore I’d recommend a lightmeter. The easiest times you work with natural light are during dawn at sunrise and sunset. The 5 lighting set ups I use:
o  Have the model facing directly away the sun. This creates a low contrast soft lighting on their face while also creating beautiful rim lighting on the hair.
o  Have the model facing the sun. There will be extremely harsh high contrast light so be very cautious and carefully watch the shadow created on the model’s face.
o  Place the model in the shadows and bounce light with a silver reflector. This will create a somewhat harsh light and it’ll be in the shape of a spotlight if your reflector is perfectly circular.
o  Portraits/Headshots/Beauty - Place a diffuser over the model and at around the height of the model’s waist use a white reflector or white foamcore to bounce light up towards the model.
o   If it’s mostly or all cloudy, bring a speedlight! Your model will blend into the background and it’ll make your image less appealing.

HK | And for those of us who are still not ready to face the world with our embarrassing posing? Any tips on mastering indoor lighting? 

EA Indoor lighting is quite easy actually, especially when there are large windows. The best way to manipulate light is by using speedlights on stands with boom arms and diffusers that can be easily adjusted. The first thing to consider before setting up the lights is to determine the effects of the ambient light already present as well as the temperature of those lights in contrast to that of the speedlights.

HK | Let's talk posing. From a photographer's point of view, what suggestions do you have for those on the other side of the camera?  

EA Be patient with the photographer. For those models that aren't experienced and are working with a photographer who is responsible then you’ll expect them to either know what poses they’ll want you in or they’ll show you other photos with examples. Come prepared with photos and practice poses if you know the theme before the photoshoot.
HK | Number one tip you'd give to photography beginners? 

EA | Stubborn ambition is key. Make the first move. 

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Be sure to keep up with Ethan's work for The Ox Project via his Pintrest, TumblrInstagram, or Facebook! If you have any particular questions, leave a comment below and I'll ask Ethan to stick around and help answer as many as he can! Also, if you have any suggestions on what type of post you'd like to see next in the blogging tips series, drop me a line! xx

"Blogging Tips" is a new series on JooJoo Azad started due to popular demand and is focused on helping bloggers grow their blogs and speak out on issues that matter to them. New posts are published every Sunday.
For more: { blogging tips series }

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24 April 2015

10 IMPORTANT READS ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY'S INCONVENIENT TRUTH

2 years ago today, the Rana Plaza Factory in Bangladesh collapsed due to brands' negligent safety inspections, killed over 1,100 garment workers.

And, 2 years after, we are still waiting for justice.

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As consumers and influencers, I strongly believe that we have the power to revolutionize the fashion industry and turn it into an industry that is not just beautiful on the outside. One of the most important thing we can do is to educate ourselves and have conversations with friends and family in order to raise awareness and grow the movement.

In honor of this day I'm sharing 10 articles that are really helpful in understanding the extent of its exploitation of marginalized women, utilization of child labor, destruction of the environment and human and animal health, and averse affects on women's mental health--just to name a few.

It's really so important to know where your clothes comes from--it's something you (hopefully!?) interact with everyday~

1. The Fashion Industry's Inconvenient Truth
2. Remembering the 1 Year Anniversary of the Bangladesh Factory Collapse
3. The Real Monsters In Your Closet
4. Victoria's (3 Dirty Little) Secrets
5. American Apparel: 3 Reasons to Boycott
6. The Feminist Shirt Controversy
7. Calculate Your Slavery Footprint
8. Lack of Diversity on the Runways
9. Alternatives to Exploitative Fashion Companies
10. Why Boycotting Works

Also if you are writing about this topic today, please do share a link in the comments section and I would be more than happy to add your article to this list :)

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AND don't forget to join the Fashion Revolution today and snap a selfie wearing your clothes inside out, tagging the brand you are wearing and asking them #whomademyclothes?


Do you know how your clothes are made? How about what is on your back right now?

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22 April 2015

5 UNDER $25: ETHICAL BUYS ON A COLLEGE STUDENT BUDGET

In honor of Earth day and broke college students everywhere // because you shouldn't have to break bank to support ethical brands~

After publishing my 6 (Ethical) Stores You'll Love As Much As Zara response post, a few of you requested a similar post with ethical picks that were a bit more aligned with your college-student budget. Which is such a valid and important request. I think being more conscious of variances in socio-economic class when posting articles is something I will be working on, so thank you always for the post suggestions! :)

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1. The Yarn Kitchen: Felt Succulent Planter | (image above) ohmygosh. I might have sort of squealed when I saw these (my flatmates can attest to this). The plants are adorable, the planters are adorable, and it's handmade with organic cotton: win win win

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2. Papel DePappas: Letterpress Card Bird & Perch Black | this beautiful illustrator creates some of the most beautiful and sweet cards and prints. All products are hand carved, folded, and printed!

3. Charity Water: Everything Tee | along with having a fun print that is focused on an important issue, this shirt is produced by, and supports, an international non-profit organization committed to making drinking water available in areas where it's needed!

4. Greenola Style: Paka Bracelet | handmade and directly helps marginalized artisans become financially independent. Their mission is to "use fashion as a tool to create positive change in the world" because that is just what it should be, right?

5. Suspiro Taller: Eco-Friendly Pouch | handmade from 100% natural or up-cycled materials, Suspiro bags are produced in accordance to Fair Trade and ethical standards in collaboration with Ecuadorian artisans!

Happy Earth Day! xx 
P.S. Have you joined the Fashion Revolution yet?

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20 April 2015

[VIDEO] ISLAM Q&A--*FINALLY* ANSWERED!

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In light of the Islamaphobic hate mail I received following the Charlie Hebdo attack, I opened up JooJoo Azad for questions to help clear up any misconceptions or try to answer any questions you may have about such a misunderstood religion.

Oh right and OHMYGOSH sorry for the 50 year over-due post. My apologies.
Don't hesitate to leave any clarification questions/further questions below! Or any complaints as to my lack of video skills, hehe. 

So here is part I, which is focused more on the basics, general questions, etc. But I talk about all of this in the video, so here goes! 

*Watch at your own risk* (because I've never done videos and talking into a camera is strange) hahaha....... ..... ... ..oh gosh. Enjoy!


P.S. I recorded this in 2 sittings hehe so don't mind the random clothing/etc change, whoops!

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18 April 2015

JOIN THE FASHION REVOLUTION TODAY | APRIL 24, 2015

Every year we come together on the 24th of April--the day that marks the anniversary of the horrible Bangladesh factory collapse at Rana Plaza--to ask "who made your clothes?" and demand a fashion industry that sets high ethical standards and sticks to them. Is it too much to ask brands to care about their workers?

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If I'm any good at reading minds (I'm a woman of many talents, you know), you're probably thinking:
"Wow this is so exciting and perfect for someone who cares about human rights like me!!! How do I join?" 
Perfect! See, this is why we're friends!
This year, there are so many ways that you can get involved: 

1. Learn, Know | totally new to the dark side of fashion? Yeah, unfortunately most people are! Head on over to Fashion Revolution's site and check out what this day is all about, why it exists, and what issues we are trying to tackle. 

2. Share on Social Media | if you're a blogger, join in me & put together a post on April 24th! A lot of bloggers email me asking how to slowly start incorporating a "social action" component to their sites, and I think this is a great way to start! For ideas, you can take a peek at my post last year: 5 WAYS TO TAKE ACTION: REMEMBERING THE 1 YR ANNIVERSARY OF THE BANGLADESH FACTORY COLLAPSE (you've probably already noticed that I like long titles...and caps lock) 

Don't have a blog? No problem! You can still tweet/update your Facebook/pin/tumble messages of your support via whatever social media you're on. Share posts that you enjoy, tweet statistics--anything to get the word out! 

3. Share IRL (In Real Life) | nothing quite as powerful as word of mouth! Aim to have at least one conversation next week with friends/family/peers/strangers on the street (it's actually more creepy fun than you think!) about the Bangladesh factory collapse and strive to become a conscious consumer

4. Take a Selfie | upload a selfie (brownie points if your clothes are inside out & tags are showing), tag the brand and ask them #whomademyclothes? (Bonus: I think by doing this one you most likely will end up doing no.3....a lot)

5. Find an Event Near You | look up Fashion Revolution events near you and bond with your neighbors and fellow activists over human rights (sounds like the perfect day, tbh). I'm sure there will also be free food. Because human rights activists care like that. ;) 

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(Also you should totally pin the above image to remind you to post/hint at others to do the same!) 

I'm joining the revolution for a more ethical fashion industry. Are you?

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