New York City Luxury Apartment

Ahh, I’m so excited to share with you guys my first apartment in New York City! Mark and I moved into our luxury NYC apt about 2 months ago and we finally got the place decorated. I share my secrets on how to make a small space feel bigger and how to make your space feel expensive on a budget!

LIVING ROOM

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Boutwell Sofa - http://bit.ly/35hl5Ng

Filippa Coffee Table - http://bit.ly/33j0mqB

Higgin 65.5" Tree Floor Lamp - http://bit.ly/33emFO4

Decorative Brass Tray Gold - Project 62™ - http://bit.ly/2MtJruy

York Brushed Faux Fur Pillow (20"x20") - http://bit.ly/33cN4f2

Plants - https://mycityplants.com

Portofino Print - https://theposterclub.com/product/peytil-portofino/?utm_source=social&utm_medium=Instagram&utm_campaign=TPC_Collaboration_erica_luo&utm_term=story

Antibes Print - https://theposterclub.com/product/peytil-antibes/?utm_source=social&utm_medium=Instagram&utm_campaign=TPC_Collaboration_erica_luo&utm_term=story

KITCHEN

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Jarrow 26" Bar Stool - http://bit.ly/2M2raFy

Gold-plated Paper Towel Holder - Threshold™ - http://bit.ly/2IBPtIy

Solid Soap Pump Black - Project 62™ - http://bit.ly/2ouaoGr

Stainless Steel Small Suction Sink Caddy Silver - Made By Design™ - http://bit.ly/2OxwYc3

New York Cityscape Poster - https://desenio.com/us/artiklar/new-york-cityscape-poster.html

Plants - https://mycityplants.com

BEDROOM

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Spadaro Upholstered Platform Bed - http://bit.ly/2IDpsZj

Dean LED Task Lamp - Project 62™ - http://bit.ly/33kNAIi

York Long Faux Fur Throw - http://bit.ly/2OzaDLg

Mongolian Faux Fur Throw Pillow - Project 62™ - http://bit.ly/2AZfJbI

Pleated Velvet Round Throw Pillow - Opalhouse™ - http://bit.ly/30Wrme1

Radovre Hairpin Ottoman Faux Fur White - Project 62™ - http://bit.ly/2IyibK7

Your Mind, Poster - https://desenio.com/us/artiklar/motivational-poster-your-mind.html

Lull - Get $150 off lull.com/luo

Plants - https://mycityplants.com

BATHROOM

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Solid Soap Pump Black - Project 62™ - http://bit.ly/2ouaoGr

Abstract Marble Poster - https://desenio.com/us/artiklar/abstract-marble-poster.html Coupon: ERICALUO

BIRDROCK HOME Folding Bamboo Hamper - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014LMS79I/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

-Erica

Living in NYC - Thoughts After 1 Month

Hey guys, 

It’s been a little more than a month since I've moved from San Francisco to New York City! The first few weeks were jam-packed with messy buns, unboxing clothes and building furniture. Now that I’ve settled down and fully transitioned to full-time influencer work, I wanted to catch up and share my initial thoughts of the city!

I’m really interested to see how my perspective and style will change living on the east coast. Will, I fold my pizza in half? Will I stop at stoplights? Will I fall into the stereotype of Rude New Yorkers? Only time will tell!

-Erica



Why I've been blocking & unfollowing people and why you should too

Today I wanted to talk about something a little different and share with you why I’ve been I’ve been blocking and unfollowing people on Instagram and why you should too! Instagram as a platform has changed so much through the years and like most social platforms, you either adapt to those changes or grow out of it. Take Facebook, for example, it was the platform of choice in the early 2000s but now it’s only relevant to stay connected to your grandma or to aimlessly watch life hack videos. Myspace and Tumblr have unfortunately fallen into the same trend and it will be a matter of time before YouTube and Instagram fizzle out too. So you might be wondering why I am choosing to become a full-time creator now and how to thrive in this extremely saturated market that is seemingly going downhill. 

First, I am committing to becoming a full-time creator because creating content is something that I’ve always wanted to do as a career. I understand that it is an uphill battle but I am in a position where everything has aligned for me to try this now. Creating content is also where my passion is deeply rooted. I love being able to share my perspective and create something that I am extremely proud of and share it with the world. If I am able to brighten 1 person’s day or change 1 person’s perspective on something, I have accomplished my goal. The best part of Instagram for me isn’t getting likes on a photo but the planning of the shoot, editing the photos and seeing my vision come to life! This is why I shoot all my content with a DSLR, I genuinely love creating and I am actively choosing to be different from every other Influencer. I am also committing to be a full-time influencer now because I truly do believe that Instagram and YouTube will be relevant for the next few years and if I put as much effort into it as I would a real job, I will make something out of myself!

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Second, in order to thrive in this community, you need to make yourself stand out. I have a whole blog post on my Instagram Journey but in short; find your niche and grow with the platform. I have transitioned my focus from beauty to fashion to now sharing industry knowledge with the collective. I also believe that you have to grow with the platform if you want to stay relevant. This means using the built-in features that the platform comes out with. Instagram polls, carousel photos, IGTVs automatically give you a bump in the algorithm so it's stupid to not use it. Growing with the platform also means taking part in trending content. I’m not saying you should switch your whole content strategy to mukbang videos but partaking in a challenge every once in a while will expose you to more and different people!

Now that I’m done with my tangent, let me explain to you why I’ve been blocking and unfollowing people, and why you should too. They say social media is a very negative space but I only find that to be true if you are consuming negative content. Let’s say you have self-esteem issues and your feed is full of skinny plastic girls that are #GOALS. Of course, you are going to feel bad about yourself! Now if you unfollow those accounts and fill your feed with motivation pages your outlook will start to change, social media is just a collection of highlight reels that is carefully crafted to make that individual's life look better. Once a quarter (once every three months) I recommend going through your following and unfollow accounts that no longer inspire you or make you feel bad about yourself! If that is me, I respect your decision, I just ask that you DM me to let me know what I could be doing better. I promise you will not hurt my feelings! 

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I’ve been blocking bots and accounts that don’t fit my target market on the daily. As brands become more educated on influencer marketing they become more selective with the type of influencers they work with. All the brand really cares about is getting a return on their investment and if your followers aren't in line with their target market, you won't get the job. I consider any accounts that have no profile pictures or have a huge discrepancy between the number of accounts they are following vs the numbers of followers they have, a bot. I immediately block these accounts when they come in to make sure my followers are real and engaged! My content is geared for women between the ages of 18-35 and while I don’t block every person outside of this demographic, I have been more selective with followers drastically outside of this target market.

I know the topic of this blog post is vastly different from my usual content and some of you may not agree with my perspective but these are my thoughts on social moving forward. I know my growth won’t be as dramatic, but I would rather have 100 dedicated followers that share my same perspective than 1000 strangers that are only following me because of my looks! I would love to hear what you have to say, leave me a comment down below and follow me on IG and subscribe to my YT if you haven’t already.

Love,

Erica


Back To School Outfit Trends and Ideas 2019

I can’t believe school is starting again, it seems like this year is flying by!  To me, back to school stands for a fresh start and a chance to advance yourself. You get to meet new people and train your brain to face adversity. While I’m not in school anymore I’ve always felt that when I looked my best, I’m able to put my best foot forward, that’s why I’ve put together a lookbook featuring my back to school outfit ideas! I mixed together budget-friendly items with more high-end pieces so use this guide as inspiration! 

Outfit #1:

First Day of School

I love this outfit for the first day of school because it’s trendy without being distracting. I paired a simple bell selves sweater with a rust-colored button-down skirt. Threw on a dainty necklace and slid on these super cute rope detailed mules to complete the look. It’s put together without being boring, perfect for the first day of class!

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Top: Princess Polly

Necklace: Miss Lola

Skirt: Shein

Shoes: Raye via Revolve

Bag: Chole Mini Faye

Outfit #2:

That Bitch 

This look is dedicated to the it girls of the class. It’s bold and daring, completely opposite from outfit #1. Neon has been a huge trend this year and I thought I would continue on the fad by wearing it in to fall in the form of this turtleneck sweater. I paired it with a black and white skirt to neutralize the top and threw on some dad sneakers to complete the look. If you think its too risque for school, try toning it down with a jacket!

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Top: Laura’s Boutique 

Skirt: Shein

Shoes: Naked Wolfe

Belt: Gucci

Bag: Chole Mini Faye

Outfit #3:

On Wednesday We Wear Pink

Mean Girls is one of my favorite movies so you know I had to include a pink outfit in this lookbook. I paired a simple graphic tee with hot pink trousers and threw on some white sneakers to tie everything together. Graphic tees are a great way to bring personality to your outfit and tucking it something more formal like trousers makes it more put together! I added some blue light glasses to remind you guys of protecting your eyes when studying.

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Top: Hometown Collective

Pants: Rebellious Fashion

Shoes: Yeezy Cream White

Glasses: Oscar Wylee

Bag: Chole Mini Faye

Outfit #4: 

Sweatpants Are All That Fits Me Right Now

It’s getting towards the end of the week and energy levels are dropping. Sometimes sweatpants are really the only thing I want to put on and that’s ok! Wear a matching set to elevate the look and find silhouette that are not super baggy on the top and bottom to make it seem a little more put together! 

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Matching Set: Femme Luxe 

Shoes: Louis Vuitton

Bag: Louis Vuitton Mini Palm Springs

Outfit #5

Casual Fridays

Congrats you’ve made it to Friday and the week is almost over! Biker shorts have become a staple in my closet, and they are the key to my last outfit. It can be dressed up or down but for this look, I went with the classic long sleeve graphic crop top and sneakers. I love this outfit because it still looks cute without looking like you have given up!

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Top: Shein

Shorts: Fashion Nova

Bag: Chole Mini Faye

Shoes: Yeezy Cream White

I hope this gives you some inspo on outfits to wear this year! If you guys decide to recreate some of these looks be sure to tag me in your #ootd’s and I’ll repost it! Thank you so much for supporting me and let me know what you guys want to see next.

Love,

Erica


FaceTune Like An Instagram Pro | Glowing Skin

Hey Guys,

I always get questions on how I get my skin to look so highlighted in my photos so today I am unveiling my secret: FACETUNE! I always forget to put on body highlight or it just doesn't show up as much as I want it to so this is how I fix it. If you guys are interested in the rest of my edits or want to learn how I do this in Photoshop or just my photoshopping secrets in general, leave me a comment down below and let me know what you want to see next!

-Erica Luo

San Francisco Photo Guide - Rooftop Edition

Here at last, here at last! As my parting gift to San Francisco, I am FINALLY sharing my favorite rooftops for the best Instagram pictures! Keep in mind that the majority of these spaces are privately owned and will require some trespassing to get to. PLEASE be respectful, be careful and most importantly, you didn’t get directions from me.

1: Sutter Stockton Garage 8th floor

444 Stockton St San Francisco, CA 94108

The 8th floor of the Sutter Stockton Garage is one of my favorites. I’ve shot so many photos here it's not even funny, it looks good from practically every corner and is easily accessible! You can either drive to the garage or just take the main elevators to the 8th floor and snap away. A security guard will patrol this area but as long as you aren't climbing over the railings or doing anything illegal, he’ll let you do your thang.

2: Sutter Stockton Garage 12th floor

444 Stockton St San Francisco, CA 94108

One of the other reasons I love the Sutter Stockton Garage is because there’s not one but TWO rooftops. The 12th floor is almost always blocked off and you can only access it by the “high-speed elevators”. This is a different set of elevators than the main one that only goes up to the 8th floor. Fun Fact: car commercials have been shot here! How I know? Security has kicked me out for shooting without a permit.

3: Vallejo Street Garage - Top

766 Vallejo St San Francisco, CA 94131

By now you’re probably wondering if all my rooftops are parking lots but don’t worry this is the last one! The Vallejo Street Garage still gives you highrise city vibes without being smack dab in the middle of Financial District. You’ll have lots of sun, open space and privacy to shoot for as long as you want. I have, however, encountered tour groups that come up for a few snaps, but they leave pretty quickly. Again you are able to enter with a car or take the stairs/elevators to the top floor.

4: North Ping Yuen Center

838 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

This is the rooftop I’ve gotten the most questions about! I’ve only been here once and that was a few years ago so my memory is hazy. It was also the most difficult rooftop to get to but the view is so worth it! Look for the building below and wait for someone to enter or leave the complex. Once you get inside, climb up the stairs or elevators until you get to the top. I think (really not sure about this) you’ll have to look for another set of stairs (maybe emergency exit...it’s not the stairs that has the open airway) and climb that to get to the roof. One of the residents told me about this after he saw me climbing down the fire ladder… awkward

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5: Maritime Wine Tasting Studio

222 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

Following the hardest rooftop to get to, I’m sharing the easiest rooftop to get to...that is if someone lets you through the door. Maritime Wine Tasting Studio is where you want to map to, but what you’re really looking for is the solid grey double doors that say 222 on floor. Wait for someone to let you inside and take the elevator to the top floor. Once you reach the top floor, you’ll climb about 4 steps of stairs, open the door and voila the roof. You’ll get a direct view of the Transamerica Pyramid and two streets crossing into the building creating some of the most photogenic leading lines.

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6: LinkedIn San Francisco

222 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105

LinkedIn San Francisco is by far my favorite rooftop in San Francisco. The catch? An employee needs to bring you in. I’ve gotten a ton of questions on this space so I’m including it here in case you have a friend that works there! I recommend coming on the weekends so you don't intrude on the working employees and to have more privacy to shoot.

Ok, that's it! My long awaited photo guide to San Francisco rooftops and how to get to each location! It has been a while since I’ve shot at some of these spaces so the information is provided to the best of my ability. If something is wrong or outdated please let me know and be nice about it. I’m sharing this information to help you, not to lead you astray! A lot of these spots are kept secret 1: to respect the property and 2: to avoid Instagrammer from bombarding these locations. I’m trusting that you will be respectful, safe and abide by the law when referencing this guide. Most importantly, get some killer shots and tag me so I can repost!

-Erica

The Real Tea About Uniform Teeth

If you’ve been following me for some time you know that I’ve been raving about my treatment with Uniform Teeth – San Francisco’s clear aligner teeth straightening service. Today I’m going to share with you the real tea about my experience...

Background: 

When I was young my parents could not afford dental work let alone braces. I had major crowding and my two front teeth overlapped with my canines – needless to say, I was insecure about my smile. I was 19 when I got my first set of braces, it was traditional, metal wires, rubber bands and impressions that made you gag. I had them for the full two years and at the end of my term, I told my orthodontist I wanted it off. At this point, I was about to graduate college and I didn’t want the metal brackets to encroach on my lifetime achievement. So she took them off and I went about my life. I think my retainers made it all of 2 weeks before it fizzled out and a year later my bottom teeth started to overlap again.

Smile Direct Club:

With the help of heavy advertising, I came across a brand called Smile Direct Club. They claimed that their clear aligners will straighten your teeth at a fraction of the cost without ever having to go to a dental office. All they needed was a set of good impressions (from a kit they send you) and in return, you’ll get clear aligners to help you achieve your perfect smile. So I bought the kit with a single time payment at $1895 and hoped for the best. 

A few weeks later I received a kit in the mail and tried to do the impressions myself. From there I waited about 1.5 months before I actually got my first set of aligners and guess what, it didn't fit. I consulted the customer care team and they advised me to try it out for a few months before they would send me another kit. By the end of my 3rd month, I was aggravated, to say the least, nothing had changed. I had forked over about $2000 and it was time to give up.

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Uniform Teeth: 

I wasn’t unhappy with my teeth but I knew if I didn’t fix them they would potentially get worse or go back to the way they used to be. So a few years after my Smile Direct experience, I decided to do a little research and came across Uniform Teeth. They are a San Francisco based company that pairs clear aligners with a real orthodontist to oversee treatment. Not only were they trusted by employees of Google, Airbnb, etc. they incorporated precision 3D X-Rays to ensure your treatment plan will actually work. 

I loved everything I saw and the more I learned about the company, the more I trusted Uniform Teeth. Full disclosure, I reached out to them at this point to see if we could work out a partnership and they said yes! I booked my free consultation (yes, it’s actually free for everyone) and went over my treatment plan. They explained that the 3D X-Rays were important, not only to get accurate fitting trays but to see how the root of your tooth will affect treatment. With an at-home impression kit, you are creating a treatment plan based off of the tooth that is showing but the majority of your tooth is beneath your gums. Moving the tooth without seeing the roots can result in major tooth damage in the future. I felt safe to know that my treatment was handled by doctors with years of education that had a passion for changing the industry with science rather than profit.

I was also told that the majority of my check-ins would be done via the Uniform Teeth mobile app. All I had to do was take a photo of my smile and the doctor will check to see if everything is fitting correctly. Apparently, the appointments with Invisalign is to give you the trays, but with Uniform Teeth, they send you the trays via mail to cut down on the office visits. I am near the end of my treatment and I’ve only gone into the office 3 times. Once for the initial consultation, once to get my bumps put on (my treatment included the attachment of tooth-colored bumps to help my teeth move faster) and once to get it polished off.

Downside: 

Uniform Teeth is not the cheapest option but it's also not the most expensive. Treatment ranges anywhere from $2500-$5000 while direct mail treatments cost around $2000 and Invisalign can go up to $9000. Also, be prepared to have your a few of your teeth filed down a hairline to achieve perfection. This is common with other Invisalign treatments and will not make the tooth more sensitive. Dr. Stephanie Purnomo actually took the file to her skin to show me that it was extremely gentle. At this time they are only in San Francisco but they plan to expand across the country very soon.

Overall I’ve truly enjoyed my experience with Uniform Teeth and I’ve recommended family members that feel the same way. The staff is extremely attentive and their technology is next level. Most importantly, it works!

Book your Free Consultation Here and Mention “Erica Luo” for $150 off your treatment!

-Erica


My Instagram Story - How I went from 18k to 100k followers in one year

Whenever someone finds out about my Instagram their immediate follow-up question is how I got started on the platform. Since we hit 100k yesterday, I thought I would commemorate this moment by sharing with you my story and how I was able to break free and grow my account after being stuck for years! So let's take it from the top...

2013

I downloaded Instagram in 2013 when the platform was just starting out and YouTube and Facebook were still the platforms of choice. Back then Instagram was brimming with candid shots, real friends and Valencia filters. No one had a curated feed and social strategy did not exist. In fact, if you’ve been following me for a while, you would know that my handle used to be “il0veerica” with a zero, or “xxil0veerica” if you’ve been with me since the beginning of time.

I was attending college at the time and my social aspiration was to make YouTube beauty tutorials/fashion lookbooks. But I got on Instagram for the simple reason everyone else did – everyone else was doing it. It was fun back then! No algorithms, no gear, and everything was chronological. What a time to be alive…

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My first post

If you scroll all the way back to my first post, you’ll see a stack of polaroids of my friends and I in Vegas captioned “Night 1 in #vegas with my loves ❤️” dated December 15, 2013. In my archives, however, I found a gem of an #ootd dated August 9, 2013, captioned “ 🍙”. Like what? A rice ball? I wasn’t even wearing all black and white, but then again there was no social strategy and captions didn’t matter as much. Now if we’re being honest, I know that picture was not my very first post, #ootd’s did not exist so there was no way that could’ve been it. I’m pretty sure my first post was a picture of food, maybe a sandwich or noodles? Either way, it's long gone and we’ll never find out.

#OOTD

OOTD’s or outfit of the days (if you’ve been living under a rock) is the lifeblood of my feed. I post one almost every day but now I shoot the content ahead of time. Back then, however, it truly was the outfit I wore for that day. I remember setting my phone on timer, propping it up against a stack of books and shooting against a white wall. The inspiration for posting outfits came from my close friend Lisa (@hilisaa) who I would help shoot content for and @desiperkins lookbook videos. At the time I was still more interested in creating YouTube content rather than Instagram content. In fact, a lot of my #ootd’s back then were just snaps of my outfit to promote the lookbooks I posted on YouTube.

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My first collab

In early 2014, I got my first collab! I think I was sitting around 1k-2k followers on Instagram but the collaboration was for YouTube. It was for a brand from Thailand called Miss Tichy (which doesn't exist anymore) who sent over 5 different bustiers asking to be styled in a lookbook. Shortly after I got my first Instagram collaboration which was for @sunglassspot to promote their frames.

Working Full Time

I graduated from college in June of 2014 and started working corporate by August 2014. I had been steadily growing my account up until this point and think I reached the 12k mark by the time my first day rolled around. However, once I started working 9-5, I wasn't able to dedicate as much time to creating content and my growth plateaued. I also chopped off all my hair and dyed it brown (terrible for brand recognition) and Instagram was soon to change its algorithm. I was uninspired, unmotivated, and posting just to post. Between August 2014 - December 2016 I only grew 2k, bring me to 14k. At the same time, I saw accounts that used to have the same following as me skyrocket and even new influencers surpass my follower and engagement count – I was ready to give up.

The Turning Point

In December of 2016, Lisa asked me to join her shoot with a few photographers. We bought changes of outfits, explored the city, and for the first time in a long time, I felt inspired again! Creating this content was fun and no longer something I had to do just to have something to post. Not to mention the change in perspective did wonders for my feed. After that shoot, I reached out to every Bay Area photographer I could find and exclusively posted photographer shot photos. I was so addicted to this process I would pack a duffel bag full of clothes and bring it to work just to go shoot when I got off. My account slowly started to grow again and I reached the 18k mark! For a while, I thought the growth came from posting professional camera photos, but I reality it was because I was expanding my network. Every time I shot with a photographer, not only did I have content to post on my page, but they would post me on their account exposing me to their network! Who would’ve thought the secret to growth on social media was to be social?

Going from 18k to 100k

In May of 2018, I quit my full-time job to go back to school which ended up freeing up a lot of my time for social media, but this time my approach was a lot different. I found myself writing more thoughtful captions and responding to comments hoping to connect with my audience. I also no longer looked at influencers as competition but as a community that needed support. The more I supported that community, the more support I got back. Meeting people off platform was also huge for me. I was lucky enough to be invited to a few events but have also reached out to people I’ve admired for lunch/coffee dates. In order to grow, you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Be nice and be genuine, don’t socialize with the intention of getting something out of them. This is truly how I got out of my rut and grew from 18k to 100k in a year!

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I really hope you enjoyed reading about my journey – I started this blog to give you behind the scenes and to share my secrets with you! As you can see my story is a long one and my growth did not happen overnight. Everyone has their own path and everyone feels stuck at some point. If this is you, try something new or engage with your community/idols. I guarantee the influencer you reach out to will appreciate it more than you know. Last but not least, THANK YOU FOR 100K! I used to think that when I reached 100k I will finally think of myself as an influencer but the truth is you could have 1 follower and be an influencer. It all comes down to having a stance on a topic and willing to share your beliefs/knowledge with the world!

-Erica

PS: Thank you to my boyfriend Mark, the ultimate Insta hubby, for helping me take photos since the beginning and supporting me more than I support myself. Here’s a photo of him surprising me with balloons & Susie Cakes yesterday because he was so proud!  

San Francisco's Photo Guide For The Best Instagram Pics

I’ve lived in San Francisco my whole life and over the years I’ve learned about some top tier photo spots that will have your followers swooning for the exact location. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you some of the city’s hidden gems and how to get that best tourist photo!

1: Fort Point - Golden Gate Bridge

Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129

San Francisco’s most iconic landmark has to the Golden Gate Bridge, not only is it the most beautiful bridge in the world, it is the most photographed. It can be shot from various points around the city, from the Marin headlands to Baker’s Beach everyone is fighting for the perfect shot. This is why I love taking pictures at Fort Point, not everyone thinks about this spot when it comes to capturing the bridge meaning there are not as many tourists. You can also get up close and practically under the bridge giving you a different angle for the gram.

Pro tip: Once you snap a picture at the entrance down the hill, continue driving towards the bridge. You’ll see a brick building with a small parking lot and a rusty metal chain. Step over that chain and walk along the path to get extremely close to the bridge. Vertigo was shot here and most people give up before reaching this point but it makes for the best photo!

2: Bernal Heights Park

10 Bernal Heights Blvd San Francisco, CA 94110

It’s been a while since I’ve shot here but Bernal Heights Park overlooks the whole city with a cute little swing that is perfect for IG! I recommend driving to the top until you see a chained off driveway and park along the adjacent road. There are many paths you can take up this hill but this will be the easiest. People come here all day long but my favorite is right as the sun sets. You’ll be able to see the lights come on and cotton candy skies to follow.

Pro Tip: Bring bug spray

3: Mount Davidson Park

Dalewood Way & Myra Way San Francisco, CA 94127

On the subject of parks, I have to drop Mount Davidson in this guide. While it’s not the most sought after location, it is extremely different and perfect for Halloween. There’s plenty of street parking and is always foggy helping set the mood for that spooky shot.

4: Legion of Honor

100 34th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

The Legion of Honor is a historic museum with clean pillars in front making it perfect backdrop for engagement or family photos. I’ve used this spot many times when shooting around the holidays or more formal outfits.

5: Cherry Blossom Fields

Vacaville, CA. Take I-80 East and it’s 1 or 2 exits after Sonic.


At the end of winter or early spring, you might be able to catch some cherry blossom fields out in Vacaville or Fairfield area. Unfortunately, I don't have an exact location because we drove until we saw the flowers and these fields are private property but if you look around the area you’ll be able to find it.

Pro Tip: It’s really muddy so don't drive on to the field unless you have four-wheel drive and wear cheap boots because they will get messed up.

6: Pier 7 & Pier 14

Pier 7 San Francisco, CA 94105

Pier 14 San Francisco, CA 94105

I always forget about these piers but they make for a great backdrop! You have the bay bridge on one side and skyscrapers on the other. No matter what direction you shoot or how far down the pier you go, you’ll be able to get a good pic. The best part - even on the busiest Saturday you can get a shot with no one in the background.

7: Maiden Lane

Maiden Ln San Francisco, CA 94108 - Near Union Square

I hate that I’m including Maiden Lane in this guide because all the little teeny boppers shoot here, but I also shoot here so it is what it is. When I have a lot of outfits to shoot and I need a nice clean backdrop I opt for Maiden Lane. All the designer stores are in the area and there are string lights around the block making it the perfect ambiance for a fashion shoot. The streets around Maiden Lane also have a similar vibe if you don't want to be so obvious with your location.

8: Sausalito

350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA 94965

Just across the Golden Gate bridge is a cute little city called Sausalito. It’s the place where people dock their boats and yachts making it the perfect place for a summer photo. Getting on the boat is technically considered trespassing, but I won’t tell if you won’t ;) However, I would be careful because some people actually live on these boats so you may be breaking into their house!

9: Mount Tam

3801 Panoramic Hwy Mill Valley, CA 94941

Mount Tam, summertime sunset. Do it. There are so many spots you can stop at, just explore and look for cars parked in a certain area. This is usually a good indication a banger is right around the corner.

10: Treasure Island

Treasure Island San Francisco, CA

Treasure Island is halfway across the Bay Bridge making it the perfect location to capture the city and the bridge in one fellow swoop. It has been under construction these past few months (June 2019) but I wanted to throw it in here in case you are planning far in advance. Wait for the sun to set to capture a colorful sky and be sure to bring a jacket because it does get really cold!

11: Sunflower Fields

Davis, CA. Take I-80 East until you see the flowers on the freeway

I’ve shot at the sunflower fields many times and it's always a blast. They come in season around the summertime and it’s easily spottable on the freeway. Typically I drive towards Davis, CA from San Francisco and stop once I see a nice field. Don’t be scared by the bees, they are there to pollinate and bring bug spray if you’re sensitive to mosquitos!

Random fact: These sunflowers are grown for seeds meaning the flower part is extremely heavy and never face the sun.

12: Breather Spaces

All over

Depending on the type of content you’re shooting, sometimes you just need to be indoors. Breather is an app where you can rent an office or coworking space by the hour. I’ve found some really nice spaces with great lighting for extremely cheap. You’ll get a code a few minutes before and the instructions to enter the buildings are usually pretty straight forward. The best part - you get $45 off your first rental (code: FD6GRV) meaning some places are free!

I hope you guys found this guide helpful! If you’re traveling to SF, welcome. If you’ve lived here for a while, I hope this gave you a new perspective. At times the photo community or social media at large can be really secretive but I want to share what I know with you and hopefully get inspired by your creative content! Please be mindful that some of these locations are private properties and to be respectful when shooting or hanging around the area! Up next I’ll be releasing my long-awaited rooftop guide! Stay tuned <3

-Erica

5 Things I Wish I knew Before Getting Lip Fillers

Since I posted about getting lip fillers many of you expressed that it’s been something you’ve been thinking about it and had a ton of questions about my experience and pain level. To be honest, it was an impromptu decision and I didn’t do too much research so here are the top 5 things I wish I knew before getting lip injections:

 
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1: It’s Painful!

I would say that I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I’m not scared of needles, so discomfort did not cross my mind. In fact, I’ve gotten botox and fillers in other areas of my face and those injections felt like light pinches so I really had my guard down. However, lip injections are different, your lips are really sensitive and the cosmetic doctor/nurse has to build your desired shape. That means a lot of little pokes and be prepared for the needle to wiggles as they fill, at minimum be you'll need 4 shots -  top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right. That being said, they do numb you beforehand and there is lidocaine (numbing solution) in the filler so after the initial injections you won’t feel it as much.

2: Pay attention to the pre-op and post-op instructions

I went to Skin Refine Med Spa and they informed me to stay away from fish oils, multivitamins, aspirin, and drinking for at least a week before. I remembered all of it except for the last one and truly paid for it. Basically, these instructions are in place to help minimize swelling and bruising so just do yourself a favor and follow the instructions. I was also told to not suck out of a straw or kiss for at least a day to prevent the product from shifting. It took me about 1.5 days to not feel self cautious about going out.

Pro Tip: Pineapples contain a specific enzyme called bromelain that can help dissolve blood clots and fade bruising.

3: You will be swollen and you will feel like a duck

I was warned about the swelling but it was still a bit shocking when it happened to me. I got my lips done around 1 pm and by 8 pm that night I felt like a little duck. Everyone told me the swelling is the worst the next day so I was eager to see how big my lips would actually get. I also thought this was how my lips were going to look when the swelling went down and almost freaked out. But then I woke up the next day and the swelling went down and the trend continued for about a week after.

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4: Be clear about your end results

If you’re thinking about getting fillers, I hope that means you’ve thought long and hard about how you want your lips to change. For me, I wanted to balance out a dent that I had on my upper lip and also wanted my lips to look the same with or without makeup as I always overline. A lot of the times, people feel as if they’ve wasted their money because their lips haven’t changed enough or have changed too dramatically. If you do want a noticeable difference, make sure you communicate this with your doctor. They will be able to recommend what type of filler and how much to use for the desired results. For a plump, pillowy pout try Juvederm, which is a newer variation of the Hyaluronic acid filler. Or, if you want a more natural look, Restylane is a great option. The usual amount of filler per session is one syringe, which is normally 1 ml. If you want that “Kylie Jenner lip” effect, you would probably need to go up to two or three ml.

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5: It’s expensive

Like most fillers you will have to get topped off - it’s not permanent. I got Restylane Defyne which last for a year but some solutions only last for 4-6 months. One syringe can cost anywhere between $400 to $1000, so be prepared to drop that cash. My friends over at Skin Refine Medspa were kind enough to offer my followers a discount, just mention my name “Erica Luo” and they’ll hook you up!

I hope this gave you a bit of insight on the lip filler experience. My last bit of advice is to not make your final judgment until a week after your procedure. I had a pretty swollen pout and was borderline regretting my decision but after everything settled I’m left with the perfect pillowy pout. If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to reach out!

-Erica