Who am I? What do I do?
Hello everyone! My name is Valentine, also called « Happiness in a blink » on social medias. I’m 22 years old and live in the beautiful Alps of Switzerland. Since April 2017 I started my little blog, I create recipes, photograph and style, write a lot, create backgrounds and look out for props.
When it’s time to think about styling, I usually have already cooked the subject of the picture. Profoundly fond of local and seasonal cooking, I chose or create a recipe that enhances seasonal ingredients. I normally have the final aesthetic idea of the recipe in mind from minute one! First of all I figure out the colour of the main ingredients, what tastes and looks amazing together, then I chose props to go with that goes along my mental idea of the final picture.
(during the styling)
(after the editing)
You may laugh (I do laugh at myself every-time), but I shoot almost everything in my sleeping room: there’s the best light ever in there! I put my bed and the curtains aside and shoot. Trust me when I tell you I have no space at all… What could I do to take that little space and make something out of it?
I made a plan (once again, you would have laughed, I’m no architect!), went to a big construction store, bought some wood, two trestles, some painting, and went back home to create!
I needed something small with many purposes. I painted two sets of double sided wood boards with four different colours, one for each side! I did the same with a big wood board for my backdrop, one side painted in white and the other black. Then I could begin to shoot with a lot of possibilities (please yourself with the following picture). Once everything is cooked and ready to style, I place the camera on the tripod and take time to set the studio, choosing one horizontal set and another vertical one.
Focus with styling
I loooove asymmetry. I love weird angles (flatlay, two thirds, facing the subject). I always interact between those points of view. What matters the most to me is to valorise the product; adapting the angle, the light and the props for each kind of item. I like to create movement, to invite the eye to wander through the picture. At the same time I also love stillness, finding calm in the picture like in a « nature morte » (as I studied art history, I think it helped my eye being used to those proportions and atmospheres).
Excuse the « loving » part, but I looooove fabrics. I think the more texture there is the more beautiful it becomes! Don’t be surprise, I love wood, metal, stones like slate or granite. I also love organic props; ingredients I’ve used to cook that I place around the dish like they’re dancing around to celebrate the final meal being ready to shoot. The best picture ever? I would love me some linen, a good old wooden cutting board, old cutlery pieces, ceramic plates, flowers all around (if it’s the right season) and the best dish ever in between! I can’t wait for the flea markets season, I’ll dive in every pile of fabrics or plates I’ll find and take it all back home (where, remember, I already have no spare space left?).
I always go for natural light. Always. There are two reasons: first of all I don’t have an artificial one, and two there’s no such thing as natural light to magnify the textures and ingredients! The trick is to be ready to shoot at the right time of the day. I always check on internet when the best light of the day shows up, especially in those wintery days where luminosity is so rare. In case you were wondering, that precious moment is called « golden hour » and you can calculate it directly on internet.
(during the shooting)
(after the editing)
Camera, lenses & tripod
I combine my Nikon D5100 with mostly two different lenses: the Nikon AF-S DX 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G one, and the other, an old lens that my adorable photograph of an uncle lent to me: the 35-70 mm F/2.8 D AF Nikkor macro zoom one. The first one is great for many purposes, but better to shoot from far away. The second one is perfect for really close shooting as it has a macro option to it, and is perfect for almost every use! My tripod has no option for flatlay photography so I have to carry my camera at arm’s length, without moving in order to keep it in focus (it’s a good arm and back training). I’ll try to find a new one soon that allows me to rest a little more while shooting!
I like to use Adobe Lightroom CC to edit my pictures. It allows to clearly visualise all your pictures, dispatched in all the albums you want in one gallery.
That’s really practical and simple to use, once you’re familiar with the editing terms. And for the price… 10 bucks per month is not that bad if you think about all the things it allows you to do! I played a lot with it, it took me several hours to be at ease, now I don’t even have to think while editing anymore!
Blog & Instagram
I first created a blog in april 2017, when I thought about how I liked to create content that makes people happy instantly. In june 2017 I decided to design and create my own website. Once again, I’m no computer scientist! I tried and tried again until I found it represented my personality and what I wanted to give off. After several months of « wordpressing », I could finally take time to create content. That’s what I began doing in december, and what I’ve been doing since then! My website is called www.happinessinablink.ch, and contains recipes that I developpe or that I have been given along the way, articles about what inspires me everyday. On my instagram account, @Happiness in a blink, there is more of a visual conductive thread, I post what I’ve created, what I’ve tested, not necessarily what’s on the website.
Tips & tricks
I have to say the key for me is organisation. I write lists about everything I have to do, daily, weekly, monthly even yearly lists! That’s the best way I found to keep on going and following the tracks. A dear friend of mine offered me my first bullet journal, and it’s a life saver! If I want to cook one day, I program to go shopping the day before, write everything I need to buy on a list, and the D-Day I prepare everything, cook, set the alarm to be sure not to miss the golden hour, shoot, eat (yes, I always cook to eat. If it can have two purposes, being photographed and eaten, it’s all bonus!), edit, and post. I try as much as possible to program when I publish, even though I cannot write the caption in advance as I’m much more of a last minute adrenaline writer!
Where can you find me? And what’s next?
Find me on instagram, facebook, Pinterest and my website. They are are all called « Happiness in a blink ». What’s next? Hopefully my first workshop this summer or autumn in the mountains in Switzerland… And my first big recipe book by the end of 2019!
More behind the scenes: