Thursday, August 7, 2014

How I Take and Edit My Photos

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A bit ago, Meredith, aka Monogram Meredith, asked me to do a post on how I take and edit my photos. Honestly, I'm a bit new to taking actual non-grainy iPhone photos, but I'm trying my best, so here are a few of my "pro-tips". 

Tip 1: Learn How to Use Your Camera
This would be my biggest tip. It's so much easier to slightly edit a high-quality, well-lit photo than to de-noise, sharpen, and lighten a crummy one. I watched YouTube videos like this one and read up on blog posts about my specific camera model to learn about things like ISO, F stop, aperture, etc. Here are a few examples of how knowing how to change certain settings and adjust lighting can be beneficial! 


same picture in the same lighting with flash 


same lighting with auto settings 


same picture after adjusting the lighting (hopefully you see the difference) 

Tip 2. Find Editing Software That Works For You 
When it comes to fixing lighting, coloring, sharpening images, etc, I use iPhoto on my Mac. It's very easy to learn how to use and there are tons of online tutorials. My only tip would be to edit it yourself under the adjust tab and not just rely on the "Enhance" button under the Quick Fixes tab. It can sometimes make things look too edited and it's much better to just adjust it yourself. 


For things like frames, minor touch ups, text, and things like that, I use PicMonkey. I used to pay the monthly fee for Royale membership, but I honestly don't think it's worth it. There are tons of free fonts and other things that I never miss the extras. You can also change the photos settings (like dimensions and such) to make things like Facebook and Twitter cover photos as well as blog adds. 

Tip 3. Learn the Art of Staging 
I used to think that all my pictures had to be actually mine and they had to be actually taken in the situation I'm referencing in the blog post, but here's a big secret…they sometimes aren't. While I love blogging and taking super cute photos for Instagram, not all of them were mine (thanks Tumblr) and not all of them are IRL photos. Like this one…little do you know it's 1 pm, I've got a rat's nest hairstyle going on, and I don't generally keep a mason jar with cute flowers on my bed…but I DO love my 1D pen. 
That isn't even my hand because I bite my nails...

I do these posts because A. They're always clear and bright, B. You can make them anytime you want (with Polyvore), and C. You don't have to put in the effort to look cute and take OOTD photos. Plus, I only own half the clothes in this photo…#whoops 
Tip 4: Simplify
Keep it simple by using the least amount of words possible in an easily readable font and keeping the number of items in the picture very low. For the posts that I want to get the most traction on Pinterest, I use Pic Monkey to make and overlay and label the picture as clearly as possible. This makes it easy for people to know what the post is about, no matter where they find it, before they even read it. 

Tip 5: Take As Many Photos As You Can
If you could see my iPhoto before a blog post, it would look like one photo a thousand times…which it basically is. I take the first few to get the lighting and settings right, then I move items around as I take more, and then once I finally get things into their right places, I take even more from different angles. It's a mess, but I always know that a good few will work out for me and I won't have to start from scratch days later when I don't like the ones I'm trying to edit. I never try to take photos when I'm in a rush because that sends my anxiety through the roof. 

My Favorite Phone Apps:
When it comes to Instagrams, I love to edit with these…
PicLab and Studio are great for adding text and things like that onto a photo
Diptic is awesome for making collages because it has plenty of templates and you can adjust the side of the borders
Instasize let's you make photos that aren't square fit onto Instagram
Tadaa can blur the background to give you a smaller depth of field…essentially making iPhone photos look like HD qualities 
VSCOcam has lots of really cool filters that are a bit different than Instagram's selection
Photo Editor and MoreBeaute are apps that whiten teeth, cover dark circles, and smooth skin for those days when concealer just is not cutting it. 

And that's it! I hope this was helpful!
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