Setting the Stage

casual pattern mixing

How to stage a spectacular setting for a photo shoot

Do you ever wonder how style bloggers find such fabulous settings for their photo shoots? Well, it must be your lucky day because I’m going to spill the beans and reveal some tricks of the trade. You know, how to find the perfect backdrop and set the lighting etc…

Right, so the objective here is to take this rather casual, plain outfit (which I wore to dinner at a nice summer restaurant) to a setting that makes it, well, less plain…

The ideal backdrop should be simple, and not too colourful so as not to distract too much from the subject of the photo (i.e. yours truly). And of course the light should be kind to the somewhat frazzled middle-aged model. I also wanted the red in these pictures to pop, and the blue and white of the outfit to blend in harmoniously with the surroundings. OK, so far so good, we have many ways to do this.

over 50 blogger

gingham bag

However, I also wanted to showcase the stereotypical, almost mythical Finnish landscape that travel brochures are so good at depicting… If we’re talking about stereotypical landscape pictures (in southern Finland, that is), we have two choices:  trees, trees and yet more trees or water (sea, lake, river, whatever). And this time we’re going to the seaside… So, where can we find a remote, uninhabited island bathing in the glow of late summer sunset?

Behind the scenes…

OK, so we found an island (not so remote, but who cares about such minor details anyway?), and it’s just before sunset (i.e. just before 10 pm). If you don’t want to destroy the magic, skip to the end now.

1. See that bit of rock in the picture, in the background, with some boats in front of it? Yep, that’s the island we’re going to. I took this photo standing on the pier waiting for the shuttle boat.

2. There’s a boat every 20 minutes or so, and the trip takes all of 2 minutes. Really.

3. This rather modest looking building is the island restaurant, and the dinner was wonderful.

4. The light brown building in the background is a yacht club on the neighbouring island. Yes, the neighbour island (and another marina ) is just a stone’s throw away…

The Magic of Photography

So, the aim here was to show the severe yet fragile beauty of Nordic nature, with the late summer sunset giving everything a hazy, romantic glow…

Helsinki archipelago


summer in Finland

Outfit details:

t-shirt: Zara / trousers: marks and Spencer (old) / pashmina: Balmuir / 

bag:Coach (old) / shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Michael Kors

Outfits photos by Professor M, all other photos by Tiina L
location: Sirpalesaari, Helsinki

So, how did we do?



PS: have you seen the new Dilettante Artist post

It’s a graphic novel style cityscape based on the skyline of my home town…

Linking up with: 

Not Dead Yet StyleElegantly Dressed and StylishGaray TreasuresHigh Latitude StyleSydney Fashion HunterThe Pleated PoppyStyle ElixirGet Your Pretty OnHappiness at Mid-LifeA Labour of LifeDoused in PinkCurly Crafty MomFashion Should Be FunRachel the HatSincerely Jenna MarieMore Pieces of MeColor and GraceThe Wardrobe StylistNot Dressed As LambStyle NudgeCoco et La Vie en RoseFashionably Employed,The Fabulous JourneyLiving on Cloud NineA Well Styled LifeElegance and MommyhoodPosh Classy MomNancy’s Fashion StyleSheela WritesShelbee on the Edge 


  1. Natalia Lialina
    27 July 2016 / 4:23 pm

    :) Or you just take quick photos at the back of the restaurant where you just had dinner, because it is more or less well lit, and if you aim for driving anywhere else, you risk to loose the last light. :)You look lovely, Tiina! I like the subtle print mix and *your* color of the accessories! And your choice of scenery is always amazing and makes me want to travel to Finland!

    • Tiina L
      29 July 2016 / 9:05 am

      Oh yes, quick photos after dinner, that's exectly how it is. That was the case here, too…

  2. Shybiker
    27 July 2016 / 9:01 pm

    Wow. So impressive. I face an obstacle you don't in that I'm reluctant to shoot outdoors unless the area is secluded or safe. I don't want to be the center of attention 'cause that might lead to trouble.

    • Tiina L
      29 July 2016 / 9:08 am

      Yes, I can understand your point. The last thing you want is trouble. Or have judgemental, narrow-minded people around. I'm not always comfortable posing in a public place, either. I always try to find a place that is somewhat secluded. Or wait till there are no people around.

  3. Suzanne Carillo
    27 July 2016 / 9:13 pm

    You did brilliantly. The lighting is gorgeous.bisousSuzanne

    • Tiina L
      29 July 2016 / 9:12 am

      Thanks, Suzanne. The sun was setting on the other side of the island, and this reflected light over the sea was so gorgeous that I had to take a few pictures. And then the geese appeared, and then we decided to take a few outfit photos (we had photographed the outfit already a few hours earlier, but in the end I decided not to use that batch of photos at all). It was a really quick photo session while we were waiting for the shuttle boat.

  4. Nicole Mölders
    29 July 2016 / 4:32 am

    Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. Great look

    • Tiina L
      29 July 2016 / 9:12 am

      Thanks, Nicole.

  5. Coco
    30 July 2016 / 4:39 am

    You definitely chose the perfect backdrop Tiina. Thank you so much for joining my link up! Happy weekend, Valeria

    • Tiina L
      30 July 2016 / 10:20 am

      Thanks, Coco.

  6. Patti
    30 July 2016 / 12:35 pm

    You did brilliantly! The setting, and your own look, are both soothing on the eyes and so pretty. xox-Patti

    • Tiina L
      30 July 2016 / 8:39 pm

      Thanks, Patti!

  7. Anne M Bray
    31 July 2016 / 2:34 pm

    So beautiful! I love that time of day (though for you it's way late!).

    • Tiina L
      2 August 2016 / 9:25 am

      Thanks, Anne. Well, In northern areas the sunset is very late in summer (and very early in the afternoon in winter). In early summer we only have a few hours of semi-darkness at night, but now the evenings are getting darker again and sunset is earlier.

  8. Jill James
    1 August 2016 / 7:12 am

    Thank you for sharing your secrets of the perfect Nordic summer, it looks quite spectacular. The perfect backdrop for your stylish look. The complete opposite to my cold and wet post.

    • Tiina L
      2 August 2016 / 9:27 am

      Thanks, Jill. I love the summer evenings: the long-lasting sunsets, the temperature finally cooling down…

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