Behind the Scenes Tag

I was tagged by Robyn of Lipstick on the Lake! I love behind-the-scene stuff so I’m excited to do this. Thanks for tagging me to do this, Robyn! 🙂

Tag Questions

1) What camera do you use?
99% of the time, I use a point and shoot: Canon Powershot SX610


The 1% I will use my phone which is iPhone 5S (as evident in the Japan Makeup Shopping post for the in-store displays).

2) What editing system do you use?
I do all my blogging on my laptop so I use a desktop software called Paint.NET. No, it’s not MS Paint, the crappy free software that comes with Windows. Paint.NET is a robust free photo editing software that also offer user generated plugins for enhancements.
Paint.NET is perfect for cropping, adjusting contrast, and adding text. Another software option I’d recommend is GIMP – I use it from time to time for certain things like animations and specific filters. I do have Adobe Photoshop but I really don’t need all the bells and whistles for blog photos. If you’re curious about the free photo editing software, please read this article. 🙂

3) Do you use artificial or natural lighting?
95% artificial. Our condo unit just doesn’t receive enough sunlight on a consistent basis for me to regularly use sunlight, unfortunately. Also, I photograph mostly in the evenings so I can’t rely on natural lighting. My set up is quite unsophisticated, I use a chair as my surface:

My photoshoot for the post Summertime Skin Essentials.

I posted this post a long time ago when my blog first started, and my set up hasn’t changed too drastically. I’ve added 2 more lights (I use OttLite daylight bulbs) and instead of just a cloth backdrop, I added white Bristol boards for a smoother background. That’s it.

4) What is the top item on your filming wishlist?
Lighting and a photography room! Big umbrella light in an all white room.


One can dream, right? 😉

5) What is your favorite day in the week to film write / photograph?
I don’t have a preference, I do most of my writing and photography in the evenings during the weekdays. I try to photograph a few posts’ worth of photos during one session but it’s really time consuming and tiring. Some nights I would have spent a couple of hours just taking photos, never mind writing or editing.

6) Do you plan your videos posts. If so, how?
You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I use Excel to plan my posts, right? I’ve been using this system since day 1 of blogging and it has served me well. I like seeing everything laid out in a calendar format:

My upcoming posts are blurred so you can’t see what I’m planning! 😉

I colour code the cells by green = entry is scheduled or posted, yellow = entry is in draft mode, and orange = entry is planned but no draft yet. All of the ideas I have floating around are listed on the side in the blue panel. I also note down if I have certain photos I want to take, or if I need to draw an illustration to accompany a post.  I used to schedule my posts at least a week in advance (on the extreme end, I had scheduled a months’ worth of posts – I was insane) but I found that I felt too “removed” from the time I wrote the entries to when they got posted. So now I try to schedule my posts about 2-3 days in advance.

7) How long does it take you to film an average video write and photograph a post?
It really depends on the nature of the post. If it’s a review, it will take a while because I like to list out some facts about the product (ingredients, product claims, price, volume / weight etc) and then write about my experience with the product.  That probably takes me a good 2 hours.  Photographs for a product review probably takes another hour, I like to include product photos and swatch photos, and possibly colour comparisons if I have any.  Then I take another hour to edit the pictures. Gosh I’m getting tired just writing out the process!  The quickest posts are probably nail polish posts because they’re mostly pictures. 😛

8) How many hours do you spend editing an average video post?
I read and reread my posts a few times.  I’m often hasty when I type (fingers can’t keep up with the brain!) and I will miss words or use the wrong word entirely. For me, it’s better to just write out a post, leave it for a day and then come back to review it so it’s fresh to me. I’ve honestly reread some sentences 3 or 4 times before I realize I’m missing words. So on average, probably an additional 30 minutes to edit.

9) Favorite types of video to film posts to write?
Currently, I’ve been enjoying writing reviews.  Just something about the experience of trying a new product, researching facts about it, and then providing my own personal opinions about it – makes it really engrossing for me. Watch out for more reviews coming up – I’m so backlogged! A few of my personal favourite review posts:
Becca Ombre Rouge Eye Palette
MAC Masterclass Oval 6 Brush
Lise Watier Simply Nude Eyeshadow Palette

10) Do you people at your school or work know about your channel blog?
My current coworkers do not know about my blog at all! My friends do though. They were the most supportive and encouraging of me to start this blog! ❤

11) What is your process of thinking of a video blog idea?
I’ve honestly never run out of blog ideas. Right now I have planned posts on my calendar until the end of September.  And I have 84 entries in my draft folder:
😮  Some of the draft posts are just titles and a few notes, while some are nearly finished and just waiting for photographs.  To generate ideas, I just keep the gears in my brain grinding. I come up with ideas when I’m doing my makeup in the mornings. Or when I’m doing my skincare routine at night. Or when I’m sleeping. I just need to remember them when I think of them – I often jot down notes on my phone. And then they go onto the Excel calendar for planning.

12) Do you feel awkward filming in front of other people or in public?
I don’t often photograph in public but if I’m taking a picture of a display (like I did in Japan) I felt like I was breaking a rule or something – I kept thinking security was going to kick me out! 😛  But yeah I’m awkward a lot in public, regardless if I’m photographing or not. 😆

13) Do you and your Youtube blogging friends plan out videos posts together?
I’m thinking this question is about collaborations? If so, then YES! I love a good collab. 😀
I’ve done a bunch of them, see here for all my collaboration posts, including the epic Blogmas of 2015. 😀

14) What is your subscriber goal by the end of the year?
1 Million! 😆

I don’t have a subscriber goal on the blog anymore, but I would like to reach 500 each on Twitter and Instagram. 🙂  I’m @stashmatters on both!

15) Who do you tag to do this tag next?
I tag:
Polished and Inspired
Ingrid of Curly.Spring.Blossom
Gym Bag Makeup
danniijane of A Beautiful Thing
Jodi of A Brash Attitude
Rachael of Helpless Whilst Drying
The Makeup Case
Mrs Strawberry Blonde
Sangeetha of Lifestylebites3
Stephie Estie

Thanks for reading, and I hope this post gave you some insight into my blogging process. ⭐

47 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes Tag

  1. Great post. You should see how unsophisticated my photos are. Products laid out on the front room rug as that room has the best lighting😂 I’ll have to check out and some editing apps. Thanks for the nomination x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t even really have an option to lay out stuff… the most spacious area is near our front door but the lighting isn’t the best. I highly recommend I’ve also heard that Pic-O-Chimp and VSCO are really great photo editing apps for your phone.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m envious of you with your natural light. We mainly receive light in our bedroom but due to the layout, we have a large dresser blocking half the window! Tight spaces require creative solutions!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the tag. 🙂 Your post is absolutely brilliant! And so is your blogging / planning / editing process. I just take photos with my phone, I use scarves as backdrop, the only editing I do is cropping and resizing the photos. I too use a calendar to plan my posts – but mine is in MS Word, so it doesn’t look as cool as your spreadsheet. At the moment I have 136 drafts – some contain key words, others are almost finished – but they all contain photos because I always take photos of everything right away – otherwise I can’t touch the product. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 136 drafts! Wow, and I thought I was nuts. You’re smart with taking pictures right away. I’ve honestly got BAGS of untouched makeup because they’re waiting for proper photographs. I really should take the detailed photos when I do the haul photos but I get too overwhelmed. And THAT’S why I need to be put on a short hiatus from shopping until October! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s nothing wrong with abstaining from shopping for a short while. 🙂

        I too have bags full of untouched (and even unphotographed) beauty and make-up stuff. Seriously, I’ve got several canvas bags full of stuff… make-up, creams, perfumes, toiletries…

        I’m trying to empty a few more products before I touch anything new. In terms of using up stuff this month is going quite well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. *Sigh* Yes, I can abstain from shopping, it just means I have to stay away from the stores altogether.
          Oh yes, I am trying not to open skincare especially until one is finished. I used to be really bad about half used up skincare. But I’ve pretty much cleared through all of those last year.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this tag, especially the strike throughs on all the video sections 😜. I really can’t believe how similar our photo shoots are. I use almost the same setup minus the chair. Haha but since I use a table the chair is portable and smarter!! I love your organization skills on excell…amazing!! I just draft and keep notes on my phone, so primitive. lol


    1. Hehe, all the questions were for YouTubers! I’m tired of being treated like a second class citizen because I only blog! 😉
      I wish I could do a set up with a table but we don’t have a rectangular table that I can push up against a wall. I’m trying to convince the SO we need a 3rd bedroom! 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was such an interesting read! It’s fun to found out all about the behind the scenes work that go behind all Stashy blog posts 😁
    Ooh, thanks for introducing me to paint.NET! I currently use GIMP which does the job, but it would be nice to have a second option.
    Love that your posts are so well planned out. The planning really shows through in the quality of your posts!
    So smart of you to use a chair. I also use Bristol board but I use one for the ground and one for the background, and often have an issue with making the one used as a background stay in its place without falling 😕
    Those studio lights/white room look positively dreamy!
    Okay, long winded story time – briefly skimmed your post this morning but didn’t have time to comment because I was in a rush to go out. Your post introduced me to OttLite, which I had never heard of. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting indoor lighting, so I was gonna do more research on OttLite/ask you questions when I got home. I was at Costco in the afternoon and what did I see? An OttLite desk lamp. I bought it right then and there 😛 it looks different from the two you have, though. Long story short, thank you for introducing me to OttLite too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I didn’t know about OttLite until I stumbled on one at a yard sale! They were selling it for $5 and I thought why not. Turns out it was worth $80! I found another OttLite lamp in one of those Factory Direct stores for $20 so I scooped that one up too. I really like how they don’t tint any of the products too yellow or too blue. I hope you’ll like it!
      I used to use GIMP but I find it cumbersome with all the docking windows etc. Paint.NET is much lighter in its interface – it still has the ability to do layers and transparency etc, but it’s perfect for simple photo editing – I mean, we’re not photoshopping our pictures pixel by pixel, we don’t need all the functionality. Mine you, I do still sometimes use GIMP for some filters they have, but it’s once in a while only.
      I tried propping up 2 boards for back drops but the seam always annoyed me. Eventually I will get a roll of white paper. I’ve been eyeing some from the art store but I need to figure out how to prop it all up – I’m thinking a foam core board as a structure.
      Haha, now I’ve pulled back the curtains and all my secrets are revealed! 😛


  5. This is such a fascinating post! It’s like a blogging version of “what’s in my bag” 🙂
    You might be the most organized person that I know. Your spreadsheets are truly things of beauty! Can you come organize my life for me?
    Thank you for the links to previous behind the scenes posts! I’m always so curious about what people use for lighting. I use natural light and it’s so finicky and unreliable. But when it’s good, it’s really really good.
    Thanks for the tag! This is a cool one and I look forward to doing it! (Spoiler: you’re going to be completely horrified at my”planning” lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, everyone plan differently. This is just my method which works for me, but maybe it doesn’t work for you.
      The lighting issue was my biggest challenge when I started the blog. I mean, how could things look ok right in front of me look like crap when I take a picture under normal lighting? It’s shocking how MUCH light something requires to look semi-normal. I’m even considering adding a FOURTH light soon.
      Looking forward to seeing your “system”! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my gosh the lighting thing! It’s complete magic! And even if you get a lot of light, sometimes the undertones are still so wonky! So far for me, I get pretty accurate color if I can get outside with direct light (or near a window with really good light). I think that using artificial light would make it easier though.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. one more tag on the list and gosh the behind the scenes will be revealed soon..haha I am not way as organized as you Stash.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know.. I feel so bad. I remember when I first started, i get so excited when I get tagged.. I still do til now but just couldnt get to them like I used to.. 😫

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I realised I read this yesterday but I never commented, I immediately started writing it! Love this tag it’s so different. You’re not alone in the crazy amount of drafts – mine is currently at 72 with a folder on my MAC with 60 folders for different posts with unedited pictures for posts.
    I can’t deal with how organised you are – I thought I was organised being a week – ten days out!
    Thank you for tagging me, it’s almost finished and will be up shortly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to know others are in the same boat as me with the drafts. Mrs Strawberry Blonde up there has 136 drafts! 😮
      Looking forward to seeing your post on this subject! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay! So glad you did this tag! I love reading everyone’s behind the scenes answers because I find it’s a great learning experience. I love your photo set-up! I don’t think I talked about it in mine but my grey “background” is an extra piece of flooring from my recent bathroom reno and my other ones are placemats! I love your excel planning calendar! Did you use a template or did you design it from scratch? I would love to do something similar but I don’t have excel on my mac which is what I primarily use to blog. I try to use my built-in calendar, but I love the colour coding and ideas section you have as well… hmmm, I’m inspired! Great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I decided to read this again because I wanted to check out your photographing set-up again… are you still liking that lamp I’m trying to find something to use for product shots since the daylight is so lacking during this time of year. I either have to take photos at lunch time, on weekends or the second I walk in the door when I get home. This was such a pain last year so I’m hoping to find a solution this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, I just realized that I never answered your question. I prefer the OttLite lamp. I find my original lamp gives off too intense light but the OttLite is more diffused. It’s not cheap though – you can find them at Michaels.

      Liked by 1 person

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