How to easily edit blog / outfit photos (with pictures!)

How to edit blog pictures easily

I'm going to tell you all something that will shock you right to your core. I'm not actually perfect and airbrushed in real life *GASPS* ! Just let that sink in for a minute, okay?

I'm the first person to admit that I Photoshop my images. Obviously it's a personal preference - some people like to show the real them in their images..I'm the sort of girl that likes to show the real me..just with a slightly better white balance and less under eye circles. But again, that's my choice! Feel free to ignore my advice on this topic completely, or even pick and choose different bits that apply to you, but here's how I make my photos what I would call internet-friendly. I mean hell, looking back on those old Bebo and Myspace pictures I wish I'd have read my own blog post on this sooner. (I also wish I maybe didn't dye my hair pink and pierce my face several times, but that's a different story). Okay, onto the editing process!

So first off I guess it's probably useful for me to tell you what I use to shoot and edit. For all of my photos I use the Canon 6D, and for outfit pictures we've just started using a combination of a Canon 100mm Macro lens and a Canon 24-105mm L lens. Basically two lenses that give that really nice blurry background effect that we all love. For editing, I mostly use Photoshop, but I'll dabble in a bit of Lightroom here and there (you can buy the Adobe Suite from around £8 per month if you're a student here).

[Left image is a RAW file, image on the right is standard JPEG]

More recently (as in the last few photos on here) I've started editing my photos in RAW, and oh my how I've seen a difference in the way these photos look afterwards! At a glance the two images above (both unedited) may look pretty similar, but when it comes to editing the one on the left is a serious dream. Now obviously being able to edit in RAW depends on the camera you have (a lot of DSLRs will have the option to use RAW) , but the general idea behind RAW is that the image is completely unprocessed and essentially as 'natural as possible'. JPEGs are still a great file, and I always use it for my lesser-edited images, but when it comes to something like outfit posts I always go for RAW as it allows me to edit pretty much anything I want, without losing the photo quality.

How to easily edit blog pictures

So here's how everything looks when I open up my RAW file in Photoshop. The first thing I come across is this little Adobe editor, that allows me to make any quick changes such as contrasts and blacks and whites. With JPEG, I was always just editing the brightness and contrast of my images, but since discovering this little tool I've been able to pinpoint exactly which bits (for example the white on my t-shirt) I want to brighten or darken, without actually altering any of the pixels in the photos. 

How to easily edit blog pictures

Here's how everything looks when I do a bit of editing - instantly a lot better, right? Now of course this is where you can go ahead and play with your photos in different ways. Personally, I love to really up the contrast of my pictures and sharpen them ever so slightly with the clarity bar, but the numbers/amounts always change depending on the image. Everything is still completely as it was in the image before, just with slightly enhanced colours, etc. Then, I click 'open image' button to er, open my image into Photoshop itself (groundbreaking!).

How to easily edit blog pictures

Ah yes, here I am slightly larger, looking a lot better (and less grey) than the original photo, but still with a few too many shadows under my eyes and redness on my face. Okay, okay, I probably look fine, but hey, I'm a girl and I like to pick faults in myself, so let's get rid of these apparent faults with my favourite thing ever: the airbrush tool.

How to easily edit blog pictures

Aaaand apparently in this picture I've decided to Photoshop a monocle onto my face. Heh. Just kidding..but I do like to get up close and personal when it comes to airbrushing. The secret is to do it ever so slightly - unless you're going for that 2D all-over-beige face that's obviously so on trend. It's late and I'm getting giddy. BE PROFESSIONAL STEPH! Okay, I'm back.

When using the airbrushing tool (also known as the paintbrush tool) I always make sure I use the eyedropper tool to match the colour I want. So when it comes to getting rid of dark circles I either select the eyedropper (ALT l) or hold the ALT button when using the paintbrush and select the colour closest to where I want to recolour. If that makes sense? For example, when getting rid of slight dark circles I'll eye drop the colour closest to the dark circles, that's not actually the dark colour (unless I'm looking to add more dark circles? Could happen!). One thing I always like to do is make sure my opacity is pretty low, to make sure it doesn't look obvious. I usually use around 20% opacity (found at the top of the screen) and just build up as I go. Also make sure you put the 'hardness' of your brush fairly low, otherwise you'll just end up with perfectly round, skin-coloured circles all over your face. Again, each to their own though.

I'll do this for anywhere that needs a bit of touching up - usually things like spots and dark circles though. I always like to go back to my original picture to compare the two as I edit, just to make sure I'm not going over board. Now onto the clone tool..

How to easily edit blog pictures

The iron is my least favourite friend, making the clone tool my best. The clone tool kind of works exactly like the paintbrush, only instead of mimicking colour it'll mimic the entire area you've chosen. To make it obvious for you, I decided to close a bit of my hair, which you can see is now on my stomach! So chic. 

As you can see in the image above, I'm not exactly a pro when it comes to ironing out the creases in my close (in fact, it would help if I actually owned an iron..) so to make the photo look a little more polished I've decided to edit the lines out ever so slightly. Not enough to make it look like I'm wearing a perfectly flat top, but just enough so it doesn't look too obvious. Think of it as keeping it really...50% of the time. Ahem.

So again, keep the opacity and brush hardness down low to keep things looking natural, and build up over time. The clone tool takes a little bit of practise, but after a few minutes you should get the idea of it! It would confuse you all a lot more if I tried to explain how to use it in more depth, but just think of it as another airbrush tool, only you copy areas of the picture as opposed to just colours. As always, feel free to shoot me a message if you're ever confused!

How to easily edit blog pictures

And I'm done! I decided to lighten up the background ever so slightly (personal preferences again) but otherwise I think it's turned out pretty well for what only take a few minutes. In fact, it's taken me a lot longer to explain how to do this than actually do it, so don't be put off by the size of this post! Think of it as just a few easy steps. As always, feel free to go ahead and edit however much of the photo you'd like, but if I could throw one piece of advice your way it would be to do it gradually. Here's the before and after if you want to be nosey..

Hope this helped some of you! The same rules generally apply if you're just using JPEG, only you won't get the same Adobe pop up as I did at the beginning. Photoshop is one of those programmes that can be used in 5 million different ways (I'm not exaggerating either) so what might work best for me may be completely different for you lovely lot, but I hope this helped all the same. Failing that, at least you got to see a COMPLETELY UNEDITED PHOTO OF ME!!!!11 Oh internet.

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What are your photo editing secrets?!


Blogging Photography: How to take an awesome flat lay picture

Blogging Photography Flat Lay Tips for Beginners

Yesterday I was out to lunch with an internet-turned-real-friend friend (you know who you are!) and she kindly complimented me on how I take my flat lay images for the blog and Instagram. What is a flat lay, you ask? In short, it's pretty much what it says on the tin - an image of things laid flat. A shot from above if you will. And since Tip Tuesday has come around so quickly I thought, why not touch on a little bit of photography advice for this week's segment? So here are my top tips on creating the perfect flat lay.

Focus on lighting

Just like with all good photography, lighting is key. When I started my flat lay snaps I was lucky enough to have a skylight window in my house, which was amazing for taking pictures. These days, I'm left with two options: a standard window or a few soft boxes. Personally I prefer natural light because it looks a lot more, erm, natural (go figure?!) but sometimes the weather simply doesn't want to cooperate. When dealing with flat lay images I've found that the light is best kept above the image you want to shoot. That way it doesn't create any over the top shadows throughout the picture.

Give your pictures a theme

Chances are you'll already have a particular style in regards to what you post on your blog, but to give your images a little bit more of a purpose, try to keep each flat lay focussed on just one thing. For example, if you're going to flat lay your favourite beauty product, try not to snap it alongside irrelevant things, or other products that take away from the thing you're actually talking about. In short, keep it simple!

Switch up your backgrounds

This was one of my main issues at first. Unfortunately not all of us are blessed with marbled top tables (although you can be with my upcoming DIY..#shamelessplug) and shabby chic floor boards, but that doesn't mean you can't fake the look! I tend to collect different pieces of card and material that I like the look of to use as blog backgrounds. I'm serious! To create the look of a white washed floor all I did was take a few slabs of wood from an old dirty crate and give them a few coats of paint that I had lying around my house. Genius. Magazines also make a great backdrop for flat lay images too!

Stock up on props

Oh yeah. People often think I'm joking when I tell them about my blogging props, but I actually have a huge box filled with things that simply look quite nice in photos. Fake flowers, the odd candle, a nice looking plate here and there. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or anything with an exact purpose, but it's always nice to add a little extra to your photos sometimes. Places like Poundland and Wilkinsons are amazing for cheap decor bits that add a lil summin' summin'.

Shoot from above

This may sound pretty obvious, but when it comes to taking flat lay pictures you really do have to get right above the thing you're shooting. This works in conjunction with the lights you've positioned to create the perfect pic. If you're a little vertically-challenged like I am, stand on a stool! Think of it as a little weekly workout.

Up the contrast

Chances are, unless you really are blessed with the best lighting available, the picture won't come out exactly how you wanted it to. But when do they!? We're not Steven Meisel ladies and gents. I edit pretty much every single image that gets posted on my part of the internet, even if it's just a simple adjustment of the brightness and contrast. It doesn't need to be painstakingly edited for hours on end if it's only going on Instagram, but I've noticed it does help to gain a little interest. Not got Photoshop? No worries. You can download image editing apps pretty much anywhere, but if you're working from a laptop I'd definitely suggest trying out Pixlr.

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Shoot any questions down below, and let me know what you'd like to hear about next Tip Tuesdays!

Blogging tips: Photography backgrounds

Blogging tips photography backgrounds
Blogging tips photography backgrounds

When it comes to dreamy interiors my desk space is about as good as it gets - and even that's filled with papers and empty coffee cups on a regular basis. So when it comes to taking pretty pictures for my blog I like to get a little creative and make an entire day of it. I mean, who really has a perfectly clean white floor to take flatlay pictures on? Not me. So instead I used a large piece of thick white card to chuck on the floor whenever I need it. Voila!

If you want something a little different than a plain background, collect a few pieces of wood and line them up as if they're wooden flooring of some sort (I know, I'm spilling all of my best kept secrets here). I literally just took apart an old wooden palette, added a few licks of paint on one side (so that I can still use them as plain wooden planks) and put them to the back of my wardrobe.

 But the best part comes in the form of props - aka things you probably already own in your day to day life. One of the cheapest things to use as a background is an open magazine. One magazine = countless background options! The next is going for flowers. Since I'm terrible at watering plants I tend to reserve cacti and fake flowers for photo taking time, but obviously this all depends on how much of a dedicated flower shower-er you are. Candles and random vases or pots are always great for filling space in a photo if your pics are looking a little bare.

Lately I've fallen in love with using kitchenware as backdrops - what a wild life I lead. The trays picture above come as a set and are from Dot Com Gift Shop - which is basically crack for anyone into home decor. If you haven't already noticed, I use them in basically every photo I take these days (proof is on Beauty Talk Daily) so to say they have a low cost per wear use is a complete understatement. And the plate? Don't even ask me how pricey that thing was. Who knew pretty crockery was so expensive?

White tray set from Dot Com Gift Shop
Fake flowers from Poundland (!)
Photoframe from Wilkinsons
Candle from Aromatherapy Associates
Plate from Uneeka Life
Blognotes book from Fashaves

How I got over my fear of photography

How I got over my fear of photography
How I got over my fear of photography
How I got over my fear of photography
How I got over my fear of photography

Nothing says awkward quite like an overdressed girl posing for photos in a street full of people - especially people that like to shout things and laugh and - even worse - actually watch you do it. Then again, that's one of the fantastic perks of blogging, and it takes some time getting used to it. Shock horror - a blogger that doesn't actually like having her photo taken! It's not actually uncommon, as I've come to find out from some of my other bloggy friends.

The first thing I've learnt when it comes to getting my pose on is to do just that - pose. Easier said than done when your boyfriend is standing metres in front of you with big fat camera watching your every move. Which is another must when it you're trying to get comfortable in front of a camera - making sure you have a strong relationship with the person taking the snaps. I have a serious case of resting bitch face which means I have a habit of giving the stink eye to the camera way too often. The remedy? Have you photographer make you laugh or smile once in a while. Because trust me, a fake chuckle is completely obvious, and ten times more embarrasing than doing the real thing.

But my main tip? Stop caring. Obviously this comes with time (and practise), but it's probably the most important thing you can do, or not do. The more ridiculous you make yourself look in public, chances are the better your photos will turn out. The better your photos turn out the better you'll feel about going out and taking a whole new set of them next time. That being said, I still have my fair share of horrific out-takes. Maybe that's a whole new blog post in itself?

White jumpsuit from BA&SH (via Girissima.com)
Bag from Forever 21 (or similar here)
Platform sandals from Spy Love Buy