May Favourites '17

Wednesday, 31 May 2017
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I'm back to making videos after a long break! Here are my May favourites. I've included fashion & beauty bits. Enjoy!

What did you love in May?

Other places to find me  | Bloglovin' | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube |

How I Edit Instagram Photos

Monday, 29 May 2017

I'm always curious about how other people edit their photos so today I'm sharing how I edit my Instagram photos. There's no right or wrong way to do it, but these are the steps I follow and the apps I use.

1.      I import the image into VSCO and apply my usual filter.


You can copy & past edits in VSCO, I paste the filter I always use.

2. Next I share the image to the Snapseed app and make further changes, mainly using the brush tool. I generally brighten and darken certain areas using the dodge and burn brush. I also use the saturation brush to bring out the colours of certain areas that I want to pop a little bit and that have been drained out by my filter. I like to experiment with different changes to see what works.

Editing Interface in Snapseed

3. Depending on whether I think I need to, I might increase brightness and contrast or sharpen the image.

Snapseed Tools
4. Once I’m happy with my edits, I open the UNUM app and import the image to check how it appears visually with the other photos on my account. UNUM lets you see what your photos look like next the images you have already uploaded. This means you can better visually plan your feed. Once I’ve done this, the image is ready to upload.


5. I don’t do this much, but sometimes I will tune up an image further using Instagram, mostly just changing brightness and contrast levels before posting.

Other IG Tips


🔼When you’re shooting images for Instagram, frame them up into a square. What I did was actually change the image size on my camera to a 1:1 ratio which is the right size for Instagram. It makes it easier to frame up images without having to crop anything out later. It means I can capture collections of images with Instagram in mind and then drip feed them to my account after I’ve edited them without worrying that they won’t fit well and having to crop them.

🔼Using the same filter keeps my feed looking consistent. To get ideas for VSCO themes check out Pinterest (just search "VSCO themes") or VSCO’s feed.


🔼To be at the top of your IG game and make sure you’re posting regularly, try using Later to schedule your posts.

What are some of your Instagram photo editing tips?

Other places to find me  | Bloglovin' | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube |





The Unicorn Makeup Brushes

Saturday, 27 May 2017
Unicorn brushes, lightinthebox.com

I had to share these makeup brushes, which I finally got my hands on. They arrived about three months after I ordered them so note that if you're thinking of purchasing! I normally go for really minimal understated styles so to find these so appealing was different, I just think they're really fun and sparkly.  They're also beautifully soft and are great for blending out shadows other powder products. I think they brighten up your makeup routine.

Do you like novelty brushes?
Other places to find me  | Bloglovin' | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube |


How to Instagram Like a Pro

Friday, 26 May 2017

Instagram is a very important platform if you’re in a creative area, whether, it’s beauty and makeup, fitness, fashion, food or design, it’s a tool that can be cleverly utilised to represent you and your brand, blog or just personal interests. While I have been a bit absent from my blog, I have been more active on my Instagram so I thought I’d share what I have learned with you, through both using Instagram and reading a lot of ‘How To Instagram’ type content. If you’re reading this you probably already have an account and just want to overhaul or upgrade your theme. I’m going to list the steps to Instagram like a pro.


1.      Pick your niche.

If you’re a blogger, you most likely already have this. But maybe you’re feed is a little bit inconsistent or all over the place in terms of the content your sharing. To fix this you need to pinpoint exactly what kind of content you are going to be mainly sharing. Whatever it is you’re uploading, there should be something common between all of them that the audience you’re trying to reach will appreciate and enjoy. When you’re giving your followers something good you’re providing value, which is the only reason we follow blogs, accounts or channels, because they’re giving us something, whether it’s inspiration, motivation or a laugh, you need to be giving your audience something.

2.      Pick a theme.

Once you’ve decided on what your content is you’re ready to pick a filter theme. You can maybe think of your account as a fashion magazine editorial. What I mean by that is that a fashion editorial has an overall theme, the styling, lighting and props throughout an editorial tend to have something that ties them all together, this is what you need to be focused on when you’re sharing images to your feed. You could pick a bright & white theme, incorporate pastel colours, or certain colours, maybe a combination of 2 or 3 specific colours, use certain textures, just something you are going to incorporate into your images consistently. Even if the content of your images varies greatly using a consistent filter will really help tie them together. I would recommend using VSCO, it’s the app I use and it allows you to create a custom theme which you can simply copy and paste onto any other image you import into the app. This means you know you’re creating a uniform collection of images using the same custom filter consistently. If you’re unsure about what kind of aesthetic, theme or filter you want to use, check out ‘VSCO themes’ on Pinterest, there are a ton of different examples of filters to inspire you.

3.      Take good photos!

This should be the most obvious thing but I’ll include it anyway, know how to frame things in a square! Pay attention to your framing, lighting, angles and props. Spend time reading photography tips and improving your photography skills. Practice makes perfect!


4.      Be realistic about the kind of images you’re going to be able to upload.

When I first tried to develop my Instagram theme, the minimal monochrome look really appealed to me, I love anything clean and minimal. However, I quickly realised, that this particular theme is very high maintenance and didn’t really suit my lifestyle as a student who is always on the go. I’m not the owner of a fab bright and white minimal apartment so finding ‘white’ things to capture was quite challenging. The point I’m making is just know what is going to be easy for you to work around and pick a theme and filter that is going to be easy enough for you to maintain.
     

    5.      Edit, edit, edit.

Know how to edit your photos to create a solid theme. This goes back to the kind of filter you choose to use, but photo editing is a bit more than just applying a filter. Learn a bit about image editing, a good edit can really elevate an image from something average to something wow. Use the right apps. As I said, I use VSCO for my theme and Snapseed to do little tweaks to my images to bring out colours or details and to brighten or darken areas to make for a better image. If you really want to be at the top of your Instagram game, you can check how an image you want to upload will work visually with the other images you have already uploaded by using UNUM. It allows you to better plan your feed visually.


6.      Smart caption.

A clever caption can upgrade an image and add meaning. I tend to keep captions very short or just use emojis, and let the photo mostly speak for itself, but my account is kind of arty/photography based. Know your audience and connect with them through your captions, you can ask questions or create a call to action if you are using Instagram for business. If you take time to plan your content you can plan your captions in advance too, it’s easier to come up with something when you’ve thought about it rather than when you take a photo and are going to immediately upload it.

7.      Know your hashtags.

Hashtags are the only way for your images to get seen by new people who might be interested in your account and the images you upload. Use hashtags wisely to target the people you want to follow you. Check out this list to find some hashtags relevant to promoting your blog if you’re a blogger, but whatever your niche there are sets of hashtags that are relevant. You can always remove your hashtags after a while so don’t worry about using too many and looking ‘desperate’ if your content is good, appropriate hashtags will increase engagement with it. Here are some resources for researching the right hashtags for your account.
 

8.      Upload regularly.

There are tools like Later you can use to schedule posts and to remind you to post at certain times, but you should maybe try and roughly figure out when is the best time for you to post to get engagement from your followers. You should also engage with other users that are similar to you. If you comment genuine positive comments on other people’s images you will definitely see a rise in engagement on your Instagram.


9.      Don’t take it too seriously.

I only have a paltry amount of followers on Instagram, but I like my photography and theme. If you’re blogging as a hobby like me, you shouldn’t get too caught up in the numbers game, there’s a lot of deception on Instagram regarding numbers and the changes in algorithms have made it a lot harder to ‘succeed’ on the platform. Things like buying followers has become a lot more common in the blogging community. (By the way, buying followers is ultimately a pointless exercise. What you grow on Instagram is influence, if your followers are fake, you have no real influence.) Just enjoy creating content and be proud of it. Use it as a way to display your creative interests and talents and don’t worry so much about your follower count, if you want to see consistent growth on Instagram it’s pretty much a full-time job and not one I have the time to spend on. When I began commenting and the posting regularly, I did see a climb in followers though. The problem is if you don’t keep it up you will lose them again and there is more to life than Instagram! As you can probably tell after reading this, it can be an incredibly contrived place! 

Other places to find me  | Bloglovin' | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube |

The Green Tea I Can Actually Drink

Thursday, 25 May 2017

I’m sure you have already heard of the benefits of green tea, that it’s one of the healthiest things you can drink. Unlike a lot of other herbal teas does contain caffeine so it’s a good alternative to coffee if you still need an energy boost. (I definitely needed one, I don't know if you've noticed but it's been a while since I've posted here but I do mean to jump back into a regular posting schedule!)


I really love herbal teas, but green tea was the one tea I could never really drink, every time I tried it I found that it had a strong bitterness I couldn’t get past, despite the fact I often drink my coffee without milk or sugar and I never sweeten my tea either. I tried this green tea anyway and I thought I’d share it with you, because I've been drinking it non-stop since then. I’m sure I have probably mentioned my love of Pukka tea before, but this one was actually bought for me, after I had a bit of study burnout, (I would never have bought green tea for myself!) but I think it helped me get through my last exam and I’ve been drinking it ever since. If you tend to overdo it on the coffee like me, I think it’s something healthy to drink for the summer, and it would be really good iced!

Mug, Tiger | Supreme Matcha Green Tea, Pukka Herbs

Other places to find me  | Bloglovin' | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Snapchat: @sadiyahearts