Emily the Strange Make Up Tutorial

So I’m still waiting for the white hair to arrive for the Lily Munster tutorial, in the meantime, here’s another thing you can do with a black wig (or straight long black hair if you’re so blessed), white foundation and black eyeliner.  Enjoy:

Emma Peel The Avengers Cosplay Tutorial feat. Eyelash DISASTER!!

I’m mixing it up a bit this week so here’s today’s Youtube video, it’s a thrilling black-and-white (changes to colour) cosplay tutorial of Emma Peel from The Avengers (fyi it was a TV espionage series starring Patrick MacNee, Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg). There is also an eyelash disaster in this video.  For me, Emma Peel (played by Diana Rigg, currently known for Oleanna Tyrell in Game Of Thrones) is the ultimate female character, she’s just perfect.  She’s warm, witty, intelligent, and can thoroughly hold her own in a gunfight, fistfight, or a swordfight but regularly thinks her way out of dangerous situations.  What more could you possibly want?  Oh yeah, and she was played by the drop-dead-gorgeous Diana Rigg who was later a Bond Girl (as was Honor Blackman).  I have wanted to dress up as Emma Peel ever since I first saw her on TV when I was 7 or 8.  Here’s what she looks like (in case you have no idea), with the caveat that her hair varies in length and colour from black to reddish brown and from a bob to below her shoulders, and she is a spy so she wears a huge variety of costumes.  No single photograph can do her justice:

Emma Peel The Avengers Patrick Macnee
Emma Peel. Obviously I don’t own this picture.
Emma Peel The Avengers Diana Rigg
Emma Peel in the costume that got her banned from American TV. I didn’t have the right corset/bodysuit to do this costume/makeup look but perhaps in the future. Obviously I don’t own this picture.

 

Emma Peel The Avengers Cosplay invoke delight Diana Rigg Jasmine Honey Adams
Emma Peel The Avengers Cosplay.  I didn’t have a gun because you’re not allowed them in the UK.

And I will continue my Interrail adventures tomorrow.

Wednesday Addams: Full Cosplay Tutorial

So I had a long black wig and Morticia was too easy for the first use of the black wig (plus I need something resembling an evening dress before I can do Morticia), so I decided to do a hair, make-up and costume tutorial for a Wednesday Addams cosplay which I uploaded to Youtube.

Here’s the pictures:

wednesday4
Wednesday Addams cosplay.
Wednesday Addams cosplay tutorial
Wednesday Addams cosplay.
Wednesday Addams cosplay tutorial.
Wednesday Addams cosplay.

And here’s the link to the Youtube video with the full Wednesday Addams tutorial. Enjoy.

Click here to find out how to get picture perfect skin for cosplaying.

My new eyebrow tutorial

And how to work out the right proportions for your own eyebrows!  What do you think?  I’ve thickened my brows up a bit since I recorded this (last week, can you tell because my lips are a bit bigger than they were the week before, but not as big as they are in this pic from this morning)!

me this morning.
Me this morning.  Just need to work out a way to get my neck to take fake tan so it’s darker than my face for a change!  My chin is looking so much better now (compare it to in the video); I’d forgotten lip plumping fixed that for me!!

I used the Collection 24 hour eyeliner in Brown to do my brows.  Use what you’re comfortable with (unless you don’t have anything, in which case I recommend this eyeliner because it doesn’t run or smudge which is SO important for brows unless you live in a safe bubble of no rain, steam or showers)!!

Enjoy!

Tripod or No Tripod?

In this article, I want to discuss the question: tripod or no tripod?  Should I use a tripod for photography?  The above picture is what happens when you don’t use a tripod on a long exposure.

“A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.”
– Brigitte Bardot

Tripods are a three legged stand that you can attach your camera to, so it stays put on the tripod.  They are very useful for a range of photography and video situations.  I’ve done several Youtube videos that wouldn’t have been possible without a tripod, because they stray from my usual camera setup, but I rarely use the tripod for photography.  Should I use my tripod more?  It got me thinking about when is an appropriate situation to use a tripod, and when they’re just a faff.  Here I want to share my thoughts about when it’s a good idea to use a tripod, and when it’s better to not bother.  Add your own thoughts in the comments!

Pro’s of using a tripod:

1. They steady the camera.
If getting those horizontal and vertical lines is a challenge for you, then the spirit level on your tripod can be a fantastic tool, because you can just adjust the legs until you get a perfectly level picture.  A lot of lenses these days have image stabilization but nothing beats a good tripod.  I’ve said it before, but if you know how to take a good picture first time, it saves a lot of lost opportunities.
2. Your hands don’t get tired.
Holding a camera in an awkward position while you wait for the subject to get arranged can really tire your hands out – and hand shake is the enemy of a good picture.
3. Essential for longer exposures e.g. astrophotography.
You literally cannot hold a camera still enough to get 30 second photos of space, unless you don’t have a heartbeat.
4. You can spend more time setting up the shot to make sure it’s perfect.
If your camera has a movable viewfinder, you can leave the camera in place and check whether everything you’ve arranged is in-shot.
5. You can learn how to compose the perfect shot.
This will probably improve the quality of your future pictures.  Pictures taken with tripods tend to come out either very static or very dynamic.  There’s no way to really compose the perfect dynamic shot (e.g. sports pictures) because the subject is generally moving independently of the photographer’s control, but for static shots, having a tripod can help you practise framing and using different focus techniques (for example) on the exact same shot to see what works and what doesn’t.
6. You can use the 10 second (or longer) self timer
This enables people to take pictures, and get a good shot without needing anyone to hold the camera, e.g. for family portraits.

Con’s of using a tripod:

1. They add weight to your setup.  Especially the ones that extend enough for you to stand up straight whilst using them – when you add a dolly (wheels) you’re looking at even more weight, and soon you’re going to need a trolley to cart it all around.  There’s a reason cameramen tend to have very strong arms!
2. They add money to your photography expenses.  Granted, you can pick up a tripod for pretty cheap on Amazon, but it’s still another thing to pay for, on top of all the other things you’ve already paid for, and some people simply don’t have the money for a tripod.
3. The ones for outdoor shots tend to be bulky.  The flimsy cheap ones can blow over easily (or get knocked over) if you’re not careful because they’re too top-heavy; would you risk a $1000 (often significantly more) camera and lens combo on a $20 badly made tripod?
4. You can get lazy in your composition
This comes from not snapping pictures whilst holding the camera, and it can lead to poorer quality pictures without the tripod.  Some pro-tripod people don’t even believe it’s possible to get good pictures without using a tripod!

Conclusion:

I have just one tripod, a medium sized one of moderately good build, but I think there’s a time and a place for using it – I generally use it in my house or for astrophotography, as I said.  When it warms up, I’ll start using it for infrared photography as well.  I’ve never taken it up a mountain with me and I’m not sure I ever would (although who knows what the future holds).  I’d like to play around with it more, but the weight is off putting because my camera setup is already fairly hefty.

What do you think?  When do you use your tripod?  Are there any times when you would say it’s essential?

Princess Leia Tutorial: Hair, Make-Up and costume from Episode IV: A New Hope.

Princess Leia Tutorial: Hair, Make-Up and costume from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
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Princess Leia tutorial end result.
Princess Leia tutorial from Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope end result. I promise I’m wearing the floor length skirt in this picture!!
Princess Leia from Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope. I was very tired after such a long tutorial so thought I'd rest my head!
Princess Leia from Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope. I was very tired after such a long tutorial so thought I’d rest my head!
A close up of Princess Leia's face and hair from the Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope tutorial video.
A close up of Princess Leia’s face and hair (mmm… cinnabons) from the Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope tutorial video.

So this is what I spent all day doing yesterday.
Total cost: £12.
2x hair extension ponytails from China £1.56 each (ish).
1x white polo neck top in size UK16 (USA 12), £3.50 (ish).
1x long white skirt in size “one size fits all” (tschah), £4.50 (ish).

If I did it again I’d buy a better skirt because this one had gaps that were too wide and there is no WAY that it would fit anyone bigger than a 10 (US6). Additionally, they listed it as white and it’s *blatantly* cream so it clashes a bit with the top. These things don’t show up in the photos (because the skirt doesn’t really show up in the photos. I am wearing it in every picture and throughout the video, and it’s floor length).

I am actually thinking of buying a better skirt, but I already bought that one, and it’s not worth paying the return postage because it’s going to be nearly as much as the skirt was.

I would also get a top in a size 18 instead of a 16 because the advice on buying baggy clothing was lacking and I was worried I’d be lost in the longer sleeves which was redundant thinking.

Oh well, I am still very proud of this cracking tutorial, so here’s the video of how I did it:

Link here for those like me who prefer to watch on Youtube (I hate it when I can’t click the “like” button on an embedded video): https://youtu.be/oj3dAp5uWaw

I’ve made some comedy videos of Princess Leia (because a 7 hour tutorial ought to be used for something longer than just the tutorial) doing random stuff, they will be on Youtube pretty soon.
I’ll link them when they’re up.

Meat Free Monday: Lentil Moong Dal

The first time I had dal (or dhal, never sure how to spell it) I hated it!  I was at a fancy restaurant where they served up mushy, flavourless stuff that was like yellow mash potato!

The second time I had it, I was at a Nepalese restaurant (the Yak and Yeti Gurkha Restaurant, York, loads of vegan options and very good value for money) and it was wonderful.

Tasty dhal at the Yak and Yeti Gurkha restaurant, York.
Tasty dhal at the Yak and Yeti Gurkha restaurant, York.

I went home and did a few experiments before landing on my own lentil dhal recipe, something delicate but tasty:

1. Yellow mung dhal (moong daal) lentils.  I buy the ones that don’t need to be soaked.

2. Fresh (chopped) or dried coriander (aka cilantro) (2 tsp)

3. Bhuna or balti paste (a tablespoon is ample), or if you can’t find the paste, use a quarter of a jar of the sauce instead.  Patak’s do a nice one.

Get a fine meshed sieve and wash your mung dhal lentils until they are clumping together – this removes some of the starch.

Pop them into a saucepan and cover with boiling water.  Add a teaspoon of coriander (cilantro).  Simmer for about 30-50 minutes, depending on how mushy you want it.

When it has softened enough, drain and add the bhuna paste or sauce (or balti), and stir it into the dhal, stirring in the rest of the coriander (cilantro).  Leave on a very low heat for at least 10 minutes so the flavour penetrates the lentils.  Stir regularly so it doesn’t burn the bottom of the pan.

Serve in a bowl, either on its own or with rice.

Nutrition: Gluten free, dairy free, 80g of moong dal lentils are one of your five a day (and a separate one to regular lentils because they come from different species of plant), 30g of protein per 100g of uncooked moong dal lentils and 45g of carbohydrate per 100g of uncooked moong dal lentils.