The Better Pictures Project – Get Outside

The Better Pictures Project

I don’t take the train to work anymore, but when I missed my bus this morning I caught a ride with my husband and we found ourselves on our old commute routine.


The sun was rising, the air was chilly, and I felt cozy in my new fall sweater. While I waited for the train I snapped a couple pictures on my iPhone 5s to kick off my participation in Gillian’s Better Pictures Project. This is me, out and about!

I like the pose of this first picture, but I didn’t look happy. In fact I look super tired. I also noticed that the sky was washed out behind me.

So I took another with a smile and activated the HDR setting on my iPhone. This setting, common on many new smart phone cameras takes three pictures and merges them together. So it captures the blue sky without underexposing your face and the person without bleaching out the sky.

You know what? I like it less. Maybe the smile and posture feel inauthentic. The angle of my head, looking down isn’t as flattering. I did feel a little awkward taking self-timer selfies on the train platform with people around.

But the blue sky also distracts from me. In Gillian’s recent post about camera settings, she noted that the portrait mode blurs the background and draws your eye to the main subject of the photo.

Here, not only does the iPhone not have a dedicated portrait mode, but in using HDR it tries to capture everything and it really enhanced the sky, which now competes with my bright sweater.

I like this location, however it is not part of my regular commute anymore. Then I remembered that I work at a museum situated in a city park on the shoreline of a lake. And most of the clothes I make are for work, so the setting is apropos. Yeah!

I snapped a few more hurried pictures on my lunch break, but this was the only one that came out. There is definitely potential here. The park is a peninsula and has views of Lake Union, the Space Needle, a history museum, greenery, and urban buildings.

The two greatest challenges were phone/camera placement and wind. A tripod would be useful, or a friend. All of these pictures were taken with the front-facing camera on my iPhone, which has a lower resolution than the back camera. I like to be able to see where I am in the frame, and watch the countdown of the timer. #BetterPictures, however, would benefit from a higher resolution.

This is a learning process and I’ll be back to try out other locations in the park. Otherwise I think we will all get tired of this hallway:

So let’s talk about the outfit for a bit, shall we?

  • Sweater – LOFT outlet, cotton.
  • Skirt – refashioned thrift dress, blogged about here
  • Boots – Born “Jorah”
  • Infinity Scarf – thrift find, TopShop, Nordstrom?
  • Jacket – thrift find, Jones New York

You may have caught my mini rant on my ineffective Wardrobe Architect. Even with all of those frustrations, I have been able to identify wardrobe-building priorities.

Injecting color and coordinating prints into my wardrobe was probably the most important goal. This sweater color (blood-orange, brick red, pumpkin spice) is one I stumbled on during my first MeMadeMay, when I wore a costume dress to work, and it continues to pop up in my Wardrobe Architect pin boards.

I bought it because my wardrobe was lacking in bright colorful tops to wear with jeans, neutral gray and beige pants. But here is where W-A really helped me. I immediately gravitated toward a dusty rose version of the same sweater. It is a subtle color and I own two sweaters of that color already. I caught myself and looked at the rest of the table for something that would push on the boundaries of my comfort zone and still work with my existing wardrobe pieces.

The scarf was a fun find at Goodwill. Prints are scary to me, so I ease into them with accessories or with low-cost thrift clothes. The scarf itself is polyester but it feels like a soft bamboo cotton. It is the right amount of warmth for early fall. I like it for its ability to coordinate with almost any color.

Overall this outfit makes me feel comfy, confident, fun, and ready for adventure.

This weekend I realized that sometimes I just need to go to the mall and pick up a couple new wardrobe staples to fill gaps quickly and relieve some of the self-imposed pressure.


3 thoughts on “The Better Pictures Project – Get Outside

  1. I’m glad you did this post! I’m totally nosy, so it’s fun to see how your dress for work and what your area is like. That orange sweater is great on you, and I like your denim mini refashion. Win!

  2. I really like the pose on the gridded floor (not a floor, whatever an outdoor floor is. Pavement?)! It completely eliminates the risk of that thing where a back leg or arm looks too small, because we immediately understand the space.

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