DailyKaty & Beginner Photography Tips

Way back when I was finishing up high school, I really wanted to be a full-time photographer, but I just didn’t have the background and expertise for an art-based college education. I was always the girl carrying around a camera, borrowing my mom’s DSLR whenever I had the chance. But the truth is, I never really learned how to take beautiful photos aside from having a nice camera and letting it run on auto mode.


One of the reasons I started this blog was that I was so drawn to the artistic visuals I saw on other blogs I was following. I never made it to photography school (business and marketing were a better fit for me), but I’m using this blog as an opportunity to learn. My photos have come a long way in the past year or so, but I have so much to learn. I’ve signed up for a few classes and I’m so excited to take this blog to the next level with what I learn.


As I build my photography skills, I’m excited to share that Samsung is giving me the opportunity to try out their Samsung NX3000 camera for a few months! I’m already seeing a big difference in my pics and I’ll be sharing more about my experience using this camera in the coming months. I was drawn to this camera for a few reasons:

  • Great feedback from other bloggers and online reviews
  • Nice and compact but doesn’t sacrifice the features – fits right in my bag
  • Screen that flips out for fun selfies or pics taken using a tripod
  • Wifi connection for easy uploading to my computer, Instagram, etc.

And while we’re on the topic of my photography journey, I wanted to share a few beginner photography tips that have already made a huge difference in my pics. Lots more to come – and full disclaimer that I am certainly no expert and have a lot to learn!


1. Lighting is important. Trust me, paying attention to this will drastically improve your photos. I’ve been finding it best to stage photos outside, a couple hours within sunrise or sunset, not in direct sunlight. This can be challenging during the winter months or when shooting home decor indoors, so I’ll be purchasing a ring light soon to help with those situations.

2. Aperture = that professional, blurry background look. Aperture is measured in “F numbers” – the lower the number, the more blurry your background will be. When I’m shooting portraits, recipes or products where I want the background to be blurry to focus on the subject, I tend to use f/4.0. If I’m taking a scenic shot, then I have f value higher, so it lets in more light and the whole frame is in focus. And since I haven’t quite learned how to use the manual settings, I’ve been using “Aperture Priority” setting, which allows me to select the aperture and the camera automatically picks the appropriate shutter speed.

3. Composition is where you can get creative. There are a few standard tips to keep in mind, but for the most part, this is how you make your photos your own. Composition basically is how you arrange items in your photo. In general, the rule of thirds will help – picture a 3×3 grid and then position the main subject at one of the corners of the center rectangle. From there, you can get creative and develop your own photography style.

4. Shutter speed + ISO sensitivity are also key. They’re the other 2/3 of what’s called the “exposure triangle,” along with aperture. I’m learning more about these, but I do know that shutter speed controls how quickly the shutter opens and closes – and the amount of light that is let in. ISO sensitivity is a bit more challenging to explain, so I plan on sharing examples in future posts. Usually, you’ll want the ISO to be lower to prevent “noise” in your photo unless you’re shooting at night or in the dark.

5. A little editing can go a long way. This is another area I have a long way to go on, but I started playing around with the basics on my iPhone using the VSCO Cam app and now I have Adobe Lightroom 5. It’s pretty amazing how easily you can transform your photos to make them so much more visually appealing. Changing the contract and composure are the two things I’ve been focusing on.

Example below! The top photo was taken indoors using Aperture Priority setting on f/4.0 with no photo editing. The bottom was taken with the same aperture setting but was taken outdoors in natural light and then I edited it just a tiny bit in Lightroom.

4.18.15-Photo Tips

What photography tips do you live by? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to include links to your favorite tutorial posts!

Friday Faves {April 17, 2015}

It’s been a crazy week and now I’m thankful for a long weekend. The sun is shining, I’m about to head out for a walk on the water with Hank. For now, I’ll leave you with this week’s Friday Faves…




1. Stylish sneaks. I’ve been meaning to pick up a pair of Superga sneakers and now I think I might need this pair! Joyus has teamed up with Superga to bring you this suede version with perforated detailing. And you can even get them for 10% off thanks to People with code PEOPLE10. {peoplestylewatch.com}

2. Wine that speaks for itself. One of my girlfriends shared this “12 Honest Wine Labels that Say Why You’re Really Drinking” article with me yesterday and I had to share it here. The bottles that describe my typical wine drinking are “Netflix & Pizza Night” and “Watching ‘Scandal’ in the Dark” (I have a serious addiction to binge-watching that show…). {huffingtonpost.com}

3. Bedside style. How cozy does this bedroom look? I’m working on redecorating our guest bedroom to make it as welcoming for guests as possible. I’ll be sharing this one the blog when it’s done! What are your best tips for guest room decor and hosting guests? {stephaniesterjovski.com}

4. Avocado everything. Especially for breakfast. This round-up of avocado toasts has me craving them all. My favorite thing to do is make some scrambled egg whites and put them on an english muffin with avocado, slices of tomato, cheese and red pepper flakes. {glitterguide.com}

Target x Lilly Pulitzer {Collection Preview & $300 Giveaway!}

When I started hearing the hype over the Target x Lilly Pulitzer launch, which starts on April 19, I admit that I was excited, but not nearly as excited as I was when I saw the actual collection. I had my obsession over Lilly during high school and will pick up a few pieces here and there nowadays, but I’m telling you, I want almost everything in this Target line. Everything is cute, practical, bright and affordable.

I’m sure the Target x Lilly Pulitzer collection is going to sell out quickly, so today I’m sharing a preview of some items I have my eye on. I’ll update it with links once it launches – and in the meantime, you can enter to win a $300 Target gift card below!

For the Beach…

Target x Lilly Pulitzer - Shop the Looks on DailyKaty.com


For the Home…

Target x Lilly Pulitzer - Shop the Looks on DailyKaty.com

For Everyday Style…

Target x Lilly Pulitzer - Shop the Looks on DailyKaty.com


Giveaway Details…

$300 Target Giveaway on DailyKaty.com

Prize: $300 Target Gift Card

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Check the Rafflecopter for the link to our other Target gift card to double your chances of winning! Giveaway ends 5/5 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

**This post is not sponsored by Target**

Friday Faves {April 10, 2015}

Cheers to the weekend, the weather in New England finally starting to feel like spring today. Now time for my Friday Faves…


1. Home office perfect for city living. Why didn’t I discover this mini desk before I put a not-as-perfect desk into a tiny random room we have that doubles as an office and storage? This desk is both a functional desk and nightstand – great for a spare bedroom. Buy it here in white or chocolate – it’s even on sale. #iwantit {popsugar.com}

2. DIY floral arrangements. Is there anything Blake Lively doesn’t do? She has a trick for creating her own floral arrangements, and all it takes is heading to your local grocery store and picking up a few of their generic, pre-made bouquets. Then you rearrange into prettier bouquets for around the house. {brit.co}

3. Make-ahead Chipotle-style burrito bowls. That says it all, doesn’t it? I’m all about a mexican “bowl” of any type, but mine usually consist of lettuce, taco meat, veggies and the usual toppings. This recipe takes it up a notch but is still pretty easy and can be prepped ahead of time (and it can even be stored in the freezer). You just make chicken, cilantro-lime rice, black beans and corn salsa, then add toppings. {today.com}

4. More habits of organized people. I do a few of these (write everything down… check – I’m a crazy list person)… but I could use some work on others (having a home for everything, having less stuff, etc.). This is a good, realistic list of things that do work if you commit to them. I’m organized when it comes to productivity, but my desk and house certainly don’t look like they belong to an organized person… {refinery29.com}

Shopbop Sale Style & Accessory Finds {Shop the Post}

One of the best sales of the year is on through Thursday, the Shopbop sale! You can’t go wrong with 25% off on so many designer items – just use code SPRING25 to apply the discount to your entire order. Shop some of my favorite Shopbop finds using the links below!

Shopbop Sale Accessories on DailyKaty.com

From top to bottom…

Sunglasses: One / Two / Three / Four

Sandals: One / Two / Three / Four

Bags: One / Two / Three

Shopbop Sale Style Picks on DailyKaty.com

Top: One / Two / Three / Four / Five

Bottom: One / Two / Three / Four / Five

San Francisco Weekend {Travel}

I have the best group of girlfriends from college and we’ve been trying to plan a girls trip with all eight of us for what seems like forever. We don’t all live in the same state, and the older we get, the busier we all seem to get with that whole us being adults thing (ugh). But we finally pulled it together for a trip to Cali – San Francisco, Sausalito, Sonoma and Healdsburg – after one of the girls moved to Sausalito and her husband happened to be out of town for the weekend.

This trip was more about girls time over (many) bottles of vino, but we managed to do a little sight seeing too (mixed with more food and wine). Read on for some highlights from the mini vaca via pics I took along the way.


Ferry ride between San Fran and Sausalito is quick and only $10 – so worth it!


How cute is Sausalito?!


More Sausalito… wouldn’t mind living here…


… especially with this view of the city out my window.


Benefit of staying on East Coast time… catching sunrises like this one.


Lots of cute restaurants right on the water in Sausalito (shown here: Scoma’s).


Running around town, loving the nice weather (shop this kimono for under $15!).


Touring wine country – here at Armida Winery in Healdsburg.

photo 1-21-2

Taking in the views (not pictured: other winery stops at Geyser Peak and Balletto)

photo 2-20-2

Touring around San Fran – had to drive down Lombard Street

photo 4-13-2

… and get a sundae at Ghirardelli.

photo 3-18-2

More food after walking around Fisherman’s Wharf (shown here: Pier Market).


Catching the seals after lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf before heading to the airport.

Not shown: quality time and lots of laughs with my gfs and plenty more delicious food and drink. Until next time, San Fran!

Friday Faves {April 3, 2015}

TGIF & time for this week’s Friday Faves…

4.3.15-Friday Faves

1. Funfetti everything. What’s better than a round-up of all things funfetti? From the funfetti marshmallows shown above to cupcakes, ice cream, hot chocolate and more, you really can’t go wrong. {popsugar.com}

2. Buzz-worthy dress. One day I was scrolling through my Insta feed and realized I kept seeing the same dress over and over again. Turns out, it was just a smart marketing campaign for Design Lab, a new line at Lord & Taylor. They win, I did exactly what they wanted – I immediately clicked through and checked out the dress on the website and wished I had one of my own. {refinery29.com}

3. Summer reading list. I subscribe to about a million magazines, and sometimes I get so wrapped up in staying up-to-date with them on my daily train rides that I find myself not reading enough books. This is a good list of must-reads that promises to “rekindle your love of reading.” {brit.co}

4. A store I’m in denial about ever getting too old for. I may be reaching my 30’s soon, but I’m not embarrassed at the fact that I still pick up my I-don’t-want-to-spend-much-money-on-trendy-clothes pieces at Forever 21 (I need this maxi shown in the pic above asap). This guide gives you tips on shopping F21 when you’re (sadly) not 21 or under anymore.

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue & Modern Pop Collection {NEW!}

It’s no secret that bareMinerals is one of my absolute favorite makeup and beauty brands. I’ve been wearing it since I first started wearing real makeup in college. It all started with their original Get Started Kit, which has since been updated to feature some of their newer popular products.

I’m always excited when new bareMinerals products are launched because each one seems to get better and better. This year’s biggest introduction is their Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream. Think BB, CC and tinted moisturizer… all in one and mineral-based. After just one day of using Complexion Rescue, it’s become part of my everyday routine, especially on weekdays when I need to look presentable but also get ready pretty quickly.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue #ComplexionRescue

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue gives you several skincare benefits, along with lots of hydration, and a naturally radiant look. It’s a gel cream that has SPF 30 and comes in 10 different shades, ranging from Opal (for the fairest porcelain skin with cool tones) to Sienna (for deep skin with neutral tones). I have very blonde hair and blue eyes but surprisingly have more of medium toned skin, especially during spring and summer, so I’ve been loving the Natural shade.

I’ve found that Complexion Rescue is great for work days when I need a bit of color for my face but don’t have time to put on a full face of makeup. I tend to have a bit of redness on my face, so I just layer on a bit more in those areas and I’m good to go. It’s super easy to apply – you can either use your fingertips or the Smoothing Face Brush for a more professional look.

You can pick up Complexion Rescue at lots of retailers – bareescentuals.com, Sephora, Nordstrom and more – for $29 (it’s so popular that at Sephora, it’s out of stock in some colors!).

bareMinerals Modern Pop #ModernPop

BareMinerals has also launched their limited-edition Modern Pop collection, which includes an eyeshadow palette, mascara, eyeliner, lipsticks and lip gloss topcoat:

  • Modern Pop READY Eyeshadow 4.0 The Modern Icon: Like all bareMinerals eyeshadows, this one gives you long-lasting color. This palette comes with Exhale (smoky taupe), Carefree (peach sherbet), Sophisticate (natural amethyst) and Chic (pink cashmere) that blend together to create looks for both day and nighttime. {$30}
  • Modern Pop Marvelous Moxie LipstickI’ve been loving the Marvelous Moxie line of lip products for a while now, and these lipstick shades are no exception. My favorite – which I’ve been wearing to work nearly every day since it arrived – is Express Yourself, a bright peach. I love the others, Fall in Love (tawny peach) and Dream Big (nude peach), but they didn’t work as well with my skin tone. I’m picky when it comes to lipsticks, but Marvelous Moxie lipsticks are nice and creamy and also give you nice color. Bonus: each of these lipsticks comes with a fun carry case. {$20 each}
  • Modern Pop Cream Glaze Top CoatIf you love the color of lipstick but want it to be a bit more shiny or soften the color, this is your product. It’s a sheer lip top coat that transforms the lip color you’re wearing into a shiny, creamy pastel. I’ve been wearing it over the Express Yourself lipstick color daily. Of course, it also works great on its own if you just need a little shine. {$18}
  • Modern Pop Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara: This mascara has a very unique wand – if you look at it, you’ll see that it has a spiral, which is meant to curve around your lashes and coat all angles with its intense black color. Lash Domination is a 10-in-1 mascara that’s volumizing, lengthening, thickening, separating, long-wearing and more. Plus it has lots of great nourishing minerals to give you lush lashes. {$18}
  • Modern Pop Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner: This is another product I’ve been a fan of for a while, but I had previously stuck with dark colors instead of this “Classic Cream” shade. I also apply this color to the inside corner of my eyes to brighten up my eyes and make me look more awake. All Lasting Line eyeliners have built-in sharpeners and the tip is angled in a way that makes it super easy to apply and blend. {$16}

For more on Complexion Rescue and the Modern Pop collection, visit bareescentuals.com.

**While I received samples for review, all opinions are my own.**

Easter Style with Spring Florals {Shop the Looks}

It’s hard to believe that Easter is this Sunday, and I’m not sure if that’s because we still have snow on the ground or because it happens to fall early in April this year. Either way, I’m hoping for warm weather here in New England so I can finally put on a dress and act like it’s actually spring. I love that floral prints are in right now – so many fun dress options! You can dress them down with flats or up with heels or wedges. Shop some of my favorite Easter style looks with the links below!

Easter Style with Spring Florals

Top: One / Two / Three - on sale! / Four

Bottom: One / Two / Three - under $60!

What are you planning on wearing on Easter? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday Faves {March 27, 2015}

Friday Favorites on DailyKaty.com

1. Target collabs. For a while I felt like there were so many Target collaborations going on that I stopped paying attention to them, but the upcoming Lilly Pulitzer and  Of a Kind shops caught my attention. Just when I thought I had officially outgrown the Lilly trend, they come out with pieces like this perfect pink and white chevron bikini and I’m sold. {popsugar.com & refinery29.com}

2. Celeb lifestyle sites. It can’t be a coincidence that so many of my fav celebs – Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively, Lauren Conrad and now Reese Witherspoon –  all launched lifestyle websites. LC’s has been one of my favorites for a while (this may or may not be an indirect result of my Laguna Beach and Hills obsession) and now I’m pretty excited to see what’s to come on Reese’s new Draper James site, which sounds like it will be more of a shopping experience than editorial. {brit.co}

3. Life tips: how to remove any stain. Real Simple created an infographic that tells you exactly how to get any stain imaginable out – coffee, wine, salad dressing, lipstick, paint and more. I learned from my mother-in-law that Lestoil is one of the best stain removers out there, but I’m no expert, so this will come in handy for sure. {realsimple.com}

4. A Jell-O shot machine. For real. It’s called Jevo and it’s apparently an “automated shot maker that can crank out 20 of your beloved Jell-O shots with the push of a button.” We could have used that in college… or now. {elitedaily.com}