HOW TO | Edit Your Photos

How I edit my photos for Instagram

I get a lot of questions about how I edit my photos for Instagram so I decided to put together an easy step by step guide to what I do!  I'm definitely not a professional photographer or editor by any means, but I do try keep the look of my photos consistent- bright & airy feeling.  I've gotten these steps down through a lot of trial and error- which I think is the best way to find the look you want!  The main app I use is called Snapseed, and then before I post to Instagram I usually also use Instagram's edit tool to sharpen the image a little bit.  I will list out the steps and then post the photo below so it is easy to reference.

Step 1: Open the Snapseed app and open the photo I want to edit.
Step 2: Click on tools, then the "Curves" option.
Step 3: I usually click on the line more towards the top of the photo and just pull it up a little bit until I'm happy with the amount of brightness. Click the check mark in the lower right to save your changes.

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Step 4: After you press the check mark to save, you will be brought back to the home page. Click on "tools" again and then "White Balance".
Step 5: It should automatically be on the Temperature Adjust control, but you can click the middle button at the button to make sure.
Step 6: Depending on your photo's needs you may need to either make it cooler or warmer.  Slide your finger across the screen to the left will make it cooler, and the other way will make it warmer. Click the check mark when it looks the way you want it to.

Step 7: Click on tools again, and then "Tune Image". 
Step 8: In here, I usually adjust the Brightness, Contrast, Ambiance, Highlights, and Shadows. I don't really have an exact science behind what I choose -- I usually just play around until it looks right. Press the check mark once you're happy.
Step 9: In tools, select the "Brush" tool.

Step 10: You may not always need or want to do these next steps, but it's good to know it's an option. I wanted to lighten up the corner of the counters where the vase is, and I also felt like the backsplash to the left of the window had too much of a warm tone. The brush tool is great for pinpointing specific problem areas without having to apply filters to the entire photo.
Step 11: I used the Exposure brush at +0.3 to lighten up the corner just a little bit.
Step 12: Next, I used the Temperature brush at -5 to cool down the backsplash. 

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You can see below in the before and after, I was able to touch up the image to make it look more like how it looked in real life- versus what my camera captured.  I try to keep my edits as natural looking as possible, just the best & brightest version of the space!

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TIPS FOR KEEPING A CLEAN HOME

Having Nathan has forced my husband and I to keep a much tidier household.  We were never dirty or messy before, but now we have to be more on top of things.  If we don't pick up after Nathan plays, the clutter quickly escalates.  We also have to run the dishwasher and do laundry more frequently.  Making sure we stay on top of everything helps to keep it from getting out of control and also makes us a lot happier- it's so hard to relax when there is clutter everywhere!  I'm still working on creating habits that will help us and I've found some helpful tips that I thought I'd share!

 Photo via  Lauren Conrad

Photo via Lauren Conrad

1.) Always Put Shoes & Coats Away

We always take our shoes off as soon as we walk in the door.  We hate the idea of tracking dirt from outside all over the house.  Nathan crawls around and is constantly putting his hands in his mouth, I want to do whatever I can to make sure he isn't putting anything too nasty in there!  We definitely need to find a better system for our shoes, but when they are all neatly organized, the entry looks so much better.  Coat season is almost over, but during the winter nothing bothers me more than seeing jackets draped over chairs or on the stair railing.  It's so easy to hang them up and the house looks so much neater.

2.) Put Your Clothes Away

This is something I am terrible at!  As soon as you change outfits, you should put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket.  When you take your clean laundry out of the dryer, you should fold and put in your drawers or hang them up.  It sounds simple enough, but I'm super guilty of constantly just piling up my clean clothes instead!

3.) Don't Let Dishes Pile Up

For some reason I hate putting clean dishes away.  BUT I hate seeing dirty dishes in the sink even more!!  Putting the clean dishes away whenever the dishwasher is finished running is probably the best thing you can do to keep your whole kitchen looking clean.  If the clean dishes are out, then there is room to put the dirty dishes in.  Then there is no clutter in or around the sink!  I really recommend getting into the habit of rinsing and putting your dishes into the dishwasher right after using them.

4.) Wipe Down Surfaces After Using Them

I'm going to get myself in the habit of wiping down the bathroom counter and kitchen counter when I'm finished using them.  This kind of goes hand in hand with another tip -- keep cleaning supplies easily accessible in every room.  It would be so easy to just grab a cleaning wipe from under the sink and do a quick wipe down!  This will make sure your counters and sinks are always looking good + prevent tough residue from building up!

5.) Don't Let Paper/Mail Build Up

We get a ton of junk mail, which can easily start to build up in piles on the dining table or be shoved into drawers in the kitchen.  Lately, I've been trying to sort the mail before I even get back inside with it.  I walk past the recycling bin on the way to the door, so any junk can just easily get tossed away.  For mail that isn't junk, I would like to find a wall organizer or a dedicated place where both my husband and I know will be just for important papers or mail.

6.) Make Sure Everything Has a Home

This is not something we've been able to do.  At all.  We definitely need to take the time one day and decide where certain things need to be kept.  Everything should have a dedicated spot in your home so when you're straightening up or preferably when you're finished using something, you can easily put it in it's place- out of site- but easily found again.

7.) Create a Cleaning Schedule

I haven't done this yet, but I've been researching different ideas and I think creating one could be a great idea.  This will make sure you do a little bit every day and do bigger stuff regularly, so that it doesn't build up and force you to try and tackle everything at once.  Below is sample one I put together that could work for our household.  We would still need to sort out which tasks are done on which days, but having a list would help me stay on track.

I think the key is just trying to commit to a different way of doing things, and soon enough it will be a habit!  If you have any tips of your own, please leave them in the comments!

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR RENTAL

Before buying our house last year, my husband and I rented a couple of different apartments.  Rentals definitely have their pros- you don't have to pay for repairs or upkeep, you have the flexibility to move easily, etc.  They also have their downsides, one of them being you lack the freedom to make any major cosmetic changes.
Unless you are renting in a brand new building, most rentals have a very outdated, builder grade type feel.  Even if you only plan to stay a year, there are plenty of easy DIY upgrades you can do to make coming home a little more enjoyable. 

 Image via  Home depot

Image via Home depot

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1.) Temporary Wallpaper

There are so many different amazing options for peel and stick wallpaper right now!!  These are designed to be temporary- so no worries about getting your security deposit back when it comes time to take it down!  The one here is from Anthropologie, but you can also find plenty of designs at places like Target & Wayfair.  If you don't want to commit to full sheets of wallpaper, there are also different wall decals you can put up that will mimic the look.

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2.) Marble Contact Paper

If your countertops are an eye sore, there are a ton of tutorials online (like this one) that show you how to cover them with CONTACT PAPER!  Apparently it's durable enough for bathroom vanities & kitchen counters!  I wish I had heard about this when we were renting!  Amazon seems to have a pretty decent selection of contact paper.

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3.) Hardware

This is something I did do when were renting- switch out the super basic hardware in the kitchen/ bathroom with prettier knobs.  It's such an easy change and really makes a huge difference.  Just make sure you save all of the original hardware in a bag for when you move out.  The hardware in this picture is from SchoolHouse.  I have also found really cute knobs from Target and Amazon at amazing prices!

4.) Plug In Sconces/ Pendants

Adding some plug in wall sconces (like this one from Urban Outfitters) is a great way to make a space feel more custom.  In our last rental, I was able to use command strips to attach two sconces on either side of our bed.  They also sell pendant lights that you can hang from the ceiling (again with a command hook- no damage) and plug in.  If you happen to find a pendant light that is only made to be hardwired, I found this awesome tutorial to show you how to make it a plug in.  AND if your apartment has one of those awful ceiling lights that they all seem to, I found this tutorial on how to temporarily make it look a million times nicer!!  Just remember: make sure to save anything you take down from your rental so you can make sure to put it back at move out!

5.) Area Rugs!

Area rugs are one the quickest ways to transform a space.  They help define to define an area.  If you don't love the color of your wall to wall carpet, or if your hard wood floors have seen better days; area rugs can help cover some of these problems up.

6.) Peel & Stick Backsplash

I have been seeing so many cool options for stick on backsplash lately!  A lot of rentals either have dated backsplash or no backsplash at all, so this is a great way to add your personal style in without fear of causing any damage!  The one picture is from Home Depot.

7.) Paint

Last, but not least, you can try to paint.  You'll have to check with your landlord on this one, but a lot of times you will be allowed to paint the walls if you paint it back when you move out.  If the walls are in pretty rough shape, you could even try to talk to your landlord about taking some money off of one month's rent if you paint the walls for them.  At the very least, if you choose a neutral color, they might not make you paint it back at move out.  These are a few of my favorite shades of white by Sherwin Williams.  A fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference and brightens up a room more than you'd think!