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Fashion, Travel

Bella Roma

Time for my second installment from beautiful Rome, and a few non-nerdy photography notes while we go from Rome’s oldest sights to one of its most picture-perfect neighbourhoods.

Before we headed off to Rome, Olympus cameras very kindly supplied us with upgrades on our trusty cameras and challenged us to document the city using a few different lenses while away. Tough gig I know. If you’ve followed me for the last few years, you’ll know my Olympus Pen and Jamie’s Olympus OM-D have come with us on many a trip over the years but for this getaway we had the new and improved Olympus Pen-F to play with. Quick aside, lots of the pictures on my instagram have been taken on my Olympus Pen over the years too as my old phone was so rubbish and the Olympus cameras have in-built wifi which I use on an almost daily basis. After playing around with the cameras before we left, we were both totally hooked, loved the new features and as with our old Olympus, the interchangeable lenses that makes the small camera pretty mighty in my opinion. We both loved the new inclusion of the sight hole in addition to the screen and the various custom modes where you can adapt colours (like de-saturating greens or blues slightly) for in-sync photos in line with your own aesthetic before you even start editing afterwards. Jamie is a film photographer by trade and the Olympus Pen-F got a massive seal of approval from him, the black and white mode especially satisfied the 35 mm nerd in him as you’ll probably tell from the volume of monochrome shots in this most and the last. Nice and grainy without being OTT and overly contrast-y, it really feels like a great compromise between film and digital.

We took 4 lenses with us which sounds like a lot, but with one on each camera at a time, it’s really doable and portable. My standard go-to is the 14-42 EZ zoom lens (the only zoom lens we had) which is super easy and ideal for taking shots of views, landscapes and no-fuss, natural looking outfit-pics that don’t look too stylised or editorial (just how I like travel pics). You get a bit of flexibility with the zoom, but don’t have to stand miles back to get the shot you want so it’s ideal for spontaneous street shots and details of surroundings and outfit-stuff when you don’t have lots of room thanks to crowds or narrow streets.  Jamie leant towards the 17mm f1.8 primarily so lots of the pics of me are taken on that as well as the surreptitious snaps of old men and gossiping groups of Roman women you’ll also spy throughout both posts. The 17 mm is slightly wide-angle but in no way feels like a fish eye lens or anything, and is perfect for city scapes and views. It’s a slightly more technically-able lens if you’re wanting to play around more in the custom colour settings and it shoots better than the 14-42 in low light.

Anyway, back to our time in bella Roma… We were staying really close to Villa Borghese gardens so on the Saturday morning, we headed for a sunny stroll around Rome’s equivalent to Hyde Park. Tourists and Romans alike flock here for a dog-walk, a cycle or a romantic read by a fountain so we decided to do just that to get into the weekend spirit of things and ease into out tourist duties for the day.

On our final day in Rome, we still had a lot we wanted to squeeze in. We deliberately booked a night time flight home so we had all day to wander to out hearts content. First up, was the Roman Forum. Essentially, this is the centre of the ancient Roman empire, where trials, speeches, elections and processions took place as well as being the sight of some of Rome’s oldest temples and shrines. It’s pretty vast and definitely worth a visit seeing as it’s the epicentre of ancient Rome, with amazing views over the city with thousands of years worth of history overlapping in front of you.

The one lens I have a bit of a soft spot for is the fixed 75mm, the one on my camera in the pictures above. I’ve been using this lens on my old Olympus Pen for years and while I hate it for pictures of me, mainly because you have to stand miles back and it’s a very narrow crop, I adore it for travel shots. Getting great rooftop shots, capturing flora and fauna or close-up details from a view, I love this lens for cutting through the crowds in cities or capturing little details in hotels. Stuff like the below basically… To me, it’s shots like these that just add a bit of ‘depth’ to travel stories. If you look through Monday’s Rome post, you’ll notice lots of pictures in their using that lens too (most of the ones inside the hotel for example). If you’ve ever noticed pictures of up-close palm leaves or signage that doesn’t look like it’s been shot from miles below, that’s normally take on this.

From the Roman forum, we headed to the Colosseum and after seeing the length of the queues were killer to say the least, we decided to take it in from the outside only. Plus, it’s always nice to have something to do ‘next time’…

After soaking it all in, we were starving (another reason we couldn’t survive those queues) and ready to find lunch so we walked 10 minutes to the river and crossed into Trastevere. I’d been told this was essentially the ‘Notting Hill of Rome’ which was enough of a sell for me. As soon as we started winding through Trastevere’s wisteria-lined, quiet streets, we fell even more in love with Rome. We grabbed lunch at a random restaurant with tables lining the cobbles and had our final fill of Roman pasta, pizza and home-made wine before wandering the streets aimlessly like all good Sunday’s should be spent. Trastavere has no end of pretty streets, wisteria-porn, market stalls and gelato places, and while lots of other tourists have also got the memo, it felt like ‘real’ Rome and the first time I could actually get a feel of day-to-day life in Rome. When we start chatting over lunch about hypothetically living in the city you’re visiting, that’s when I know I’m getting to grips with somewhere!

Lots of the shots below were taken with the pretty special 25 mm 1:1.2 lens. This was new to both of us on this trip and the one we fighting over the most, if only because we’re children at heart and don’t like sharing new toys. Essentially, the simplest way to describe this lens is to say it turns a compact camera into an DSLR and tun your photos from amateur to the latest issue of Conde Nast Traveller (my favourite monthly). It makes everything look and feel more professional and is great for getting those more editorial shots (like the ones in yesterday’s post with the ice cream too). The best examples are probably the people pictures below, of both me in the sun at the end and Jamie at lunch. If you like achieving ‘gooey’ backgrounds in portraits too, this really helps achieve that and you don’t have to be as far back as the 75mm. Of course, it’s glory is reflected in the price but it’s definitely an investment. You can see a picture of this lens from yesterdays post here.

All in all, we couldn’t have had better camera companions for the weekend. I’ve taken my big DSLR on a couple of trips with me in the past but this trip reconfirmed I’m so much happier both shooting and being shot while roaming with a smaller camera that has just as much functionality. I like feeling inconspicuous on trips (I’ve never been one for using an enormous lens to takes pics of my lunch) and the Olympus definitely slots into that mentality. Hopefully this post has shed some light on how we shoot and the kind of lenses we rely on and use for different things. Any questions, let me know!

That’s all from Rome this time but I feel like Italy has got under my skin once and for all so hopefully there’ll be many more travels here in the future. I already have plans to head to Puglia and the land of Trulli houses in July which I’m so excited for…

As always, any questions or extra info, pop it in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.

Red skirt | Urban Outfitters 
Stripe shirt | H&M
Trainers | Converse
Mid length red skirt | Faithfull The Brand 
Leather biker jacket | Coach 
Suede Espadrilles | Loewe 
Brown bucket bag | Simon Miller (sold out in this cloud but black and green are so cool)
Coin necklace | Theodora Warre 
Cat eye glasses | Gucci 
White tee | Redone 
Black shades | Rayban 
Suede bag | Gucci 


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Ph. by myself and James Wright using the Olympus Pen-F. 
This post was created in collaboration with Olympus Cameras. 



  • Loved the photoraphy notes, its one of my biggest passions so love hearing about other peoples kits and styles. I shoot on a Canon 5DIII most the time, but also have the pen and more recently the OM 10 (which I prefer), but the Pen F is on the list as it seems like a great alternative to my big DSLR & takes great pics. As for lenses, they’re everything in my opinion. I’ve been using the 25mm 1.7 lumix on my OM 10 and love the shots it takes.

    Fab pics :)

    Mel x

  • Loved this post, it’s so informative!
    I’m looking to buy a new camera and having been looking at the Olympus pen. In terms of lens, which one would you recommend for mainly shooting outfit photos and occasionally shooting landscapes etc.?

    Love your blog as always! Thanks,


  • Incredible photos from Rome! Thanks for the lovely post, it was so informative! I absolutely love seeing people’s travel pictures, you can really tell a lot about someone by what they take photos of while they’re travelling I think! Ha!

    I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday,

  • Lizzie

    Absoloutely stunning photos, unbelievably I have never been to Italy even though I have been dreaming about it for years! I just don’t know where to start…Rome, Venice, Positano…

  • Claudine

    Love the pictures and all the information about the cameras and the used lenses. This is really helpful!
    The red skirt is really amazing, so simple, but eye-catching.
    xo ♥
    Claudine /

  • The Gold Lipstick

    Absolutely love it!

    Mireia from TGL

  • The midi skirt is gorgeous!! I like how you paired the different outfits with sport and chic clothing. The biker gives so much casual vibes to the outfits. The red skirt with Converse sneakers is amazing!

  • Beautiful photos! ;)

  • Jovita Antanovich

    Very nice pictures, thanks for sharing some photography tips ;)

    Jovita from Black Vanilla

  • Cathy Vu

    We went to Rome-Tuscany-Venice for our honey moon a couple years ago and i must say Rome was our favorite, even though it was our first leg of the trip and we were deliriously jet lagged…I have to dig your blog and see what and when you did Venice because tbh it was our least favorite – omg it was like The Chinese Merchants in Venice. Crazily touristy. We kept following all the construction workers to see where they ate because we were so sick of tourist traps and sub par pasta and pizzas. Anyway this trip looks like a dream and makes me want to go back with my husband (sans our two year old toddler).

  • Looks like amazing views all over. Also love that red skirt!

  • Great pictures, but what I like the most is your smile and your zest for life that you communicate to us.

  • Pardon My Obsession

    These pictures are just sooo beautiful ! Love that city so much !

  • Sian Hunter

    I’ve never been to rome before and now i want to go even more! thanks for the photography insight, I’ve never been able to understand lenses but this post was really helpful

  • Annie

    Thank you SO much for this piece! I am planning a trip to Rome in September, and have been struggling to find somewhere to stay – I had been looking for places close to the city centre. Since reading this, I have found the PERFECT little apartment in Trastevere and I am so relieved/excited!
    Absolutely love your blog, thanks again!

  • Emma

    Good point about the 75mm lens – the photos do capture the details which make up the soul of a place, but that otherwise wouldn’t necessarily be reflected so well in your usual holiday snaps. Spring really is a beautiful time to visit Rome, and it feels like you’ve captured that. Plus as a local here, I know what’s been wisely cropped out of the shot – like an overflowing bin or hoards of selfie-taking tourists!

  • Little Miss Notting Hill

    Love this post Lucy, super interesting to hear your always honest approach to reviewing – I’m still on the Olympus pen for every day and looking to upgrade so good to know about all of the other lens options. Rome looked gorgeous – just back from Florence and Portofino and so sad not to be sat in a trattoria eating burrata every day still! xx

  • What a lovely Italian escape! Your pictures are beautiful as always !!

  • Loove this outfit babe!! Amazing images and hope you had an amazing time x

    Millie x

  • New lenses and cameras to play with on holiday = ideal :) Loving both of your outfits too – especially that beautiful red midi skirt. xx

    Tamsin | A Certain Adventure

  • These photos made me so happy – they’re incredible Lucy. I’ve got the Olympus Pen 17mm, 45mm, pancake and kit lens but would LOVE to get the 75mm, would you recommend it? Great post lovely Xx

  • I love my Olympus e-pl8 great post with sample photos!