A few weeks ago when I posted about three tips for faster blogging, I received a lot of comments and e-mails asking me how exactly I keep my files organized. So today, I am sharing a brief overview of my system and why it works so well for me.
To begin with, I only keep one item on my desktop: a folder that says ALL. Within that folder are all of my files, broken down into smaller folders. Much like having too many tabs open in my browser window, I can’t stand desktop clutter. Whenever things start getting out of hand, I take a few moments to put files in their proper places and trash anything that I don’t need. The cleaner my digital workspace can be, the happier and more productive I am!
For the most part, I keep my personal photos and my blog photos separate, so within the 2013 and 2014 folders, I store all of my personal photos from each month of the respective year. Each month then gets broken down into events that I will remember by the name I assign it (i.e. Balboa Park).
Since I edit nearly all of my photos (at least, the ones that I plan on using), I always make two folders when importing files from my camera to Finder (by way of Image Capture): EDITS + ORIGINALS. Everything starts out in the ORIGINALS folder, but once it’s been edited, it gets moved the EDITS folder. Pretty self-explanatory, right? This makes the process of finding my favorite photos so much easier since I don’t have to dig through every single file in search of “that one image.” Once I’m done going through all the originals, I chuck the files that I know I will never use and back up the rest on my external hard drive every month or so.
The secret to having a system that works is to make it as fool-proof as possible. The more you can narrow down your folders (i.e. 2013 > 01 | January 2013 > Rose Bowl Flea > ORIGINALS > EDITS), the quicker you will be able to pull up any given photo at a moment’s notice. I will admit that I have not always been so organized, but now that I have this system in place, I can’t imagine ever going back!
Happy Monday everyone! It’s been a busy weekend over here as I’ve been working hard to create my third e-course: Styling | Shooting | Sharing!
In this class, I share all of my favorite techniques for styling, shooting, and sharing your photos + your personal voice to create blog posts that represent the amazing person you are! I divulge all of my top secret tips and tricks, including:
- six video tutorials on my most frequently used Photoshop editing techniques, ranging from adding text to photos to using the clone stamp tool to experimenting with the Gaussian blur filter
- lessons on how to style and compose photos to best fit your personal aesthetic
- my tried-and-true approaches for shooting and editing quality photos that you will be proud to share with your readers
- ways to hone your personal style and boost your blogging speed
- developing your online voice and expanding your reach
As my blog has grown and evolved over the years, I’ve picked up several habits that have not only made my images (and in turn, my entire blog) much more visually appealing, but have also taught me how to blog smarter and quicker than ever before. I’m thrilled to be able to share my best-kept secrets with you!
*Please note: Although this e-course features tutorials and ideas using Photoshop CS3, a digital camera, and a WordPress blogging platform, you do not need any of these things to take this class. It’s also ideal for anyone looking to simply better their photo styling and shooting tips!
You can purchase Styling | Shooting | Sharing HERE.
P.S. This week only, all e-courses (including this one!) are 25% off with the discount code: SPRINGFEVER
The number one question I get asked on a near-daily basis is “what font is that?” And I totally get it. I’m completely font obsessed myself. Here are some of my favorite typefaces that I use regularly:
Trend | Thirsty | Novecento | St. Ryde
All four of these typefaces were purchased through MyFonts, though there are plenty of amazing free fonts out there as well. Whenever I’m in the market for new font families to add to my repertoire, I look for typefaces that will work well with a variety of projects and media (i.e. everything from stamps to blog posts to design work for clients). It might just be the advice of my college professors echoing in my ear, but I find that paying for a font family that I love is always a worthwhile investment (plus, as a freelancer, it’s also a tax write-off!). Not only do I have killer typefaces to pull from at my discretion, but paid fonts also tend to be significantly less overused than free fonts. Win win.
P.S. One of my favorite tools for pinpointing the names of cool fonts that I stumble upon is the What The Font app for iPhone. While it’s not always 100% accurate, it’s helped me to discover so many awesome typefaces along the way!
Although I was lucky enough to take a few awesome photography classes in college, the majority of the tricks and tools that I use on a daily basis for photo editing have come from personal experimentation. In fact, I’d say that statement applies to the bulk of my formal education vs. real life knowledge. I learned so much during my four years of college, but getting out into the real world and having to figure things out for myself has been the best classroom setting of all. So today, I’m sharing one of my go-to photo editing tricks: adding fade!
Adding fade to my photos is one of my favorite ways to create an ethereal vibe or to temper a color palette that doesn’t exactly jive with the look I’m going for. This effect is often seen on Instagram through the help of the Afterlight and VSCO Cam apps (shown above), but can also easily be achieved in Photoshop. Here’s how I do it:
1. Open a photo in Photoshop.
2. Edit it to your liking (I always adjust the levels, contrast, brightness, and curves).
3. Go to Image > Exposure > Offset and play with the dial to achieve your desired “fade” effect.
4. The over-saturated colors have been dulled a bit to create a more subtle, moody image. While I’m positive that I will never master Photoshop, it sure is fun to try!
What Photoshop tricks or techniques would you love to learn?
I have been on the hunt for an affordable pair of gold scissors for-like-ever and after seeing what the designers at BG pulled off for the gold + aqua-hued props for the booth at last month’s tradeshow, I was INSPIRED. As someone who uses scissors in just about every single stylized photo I take (Typo aqua scissors…you’ve served me well), I need options, people.
Not only is this DIY super quick and easy, but it only requires three supplies! (It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?) I used an old pair of fringe scissors found at a swap meet for two bucks, a can of gold spray paint, and blue painter’s tape.
Since I just wanted to gild the handles, I did my best to tape off the bottom portion of the scissors and then wrapped the rest in a small plastic bag. Once that was done, I laid the scissors out (outdoors, of course) and sprayed one side and gave it about 10 minutes to dry. Then I flipped them over and sprayed the other side. After both sides of the handles were completely dry, I lightly sprayed over any spots that I felt needed a little extra paint. And that was it!
To be honest, I anticipated a little sticky residue left over since I didn’t use any primer, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was none! #craftingsuccessstory
I will warn you: the thing about spray paint (much like wood stain) is that you spray one thing and all of a sudden you want to spray EVERYTHING. In fact, I have been known to do a little digging through drawers and cabinets in search of an item that needed (read: didn’t need) a change of color. You’ll see… ;)
I realize it’s mid-June and to most people, it’s not exactly calendar season. But for me, I just want a change of scenery. Since I can’t write on my Rifle Paper calendar (thou shalt not deface any Rifle products with messy handwriting…everyone knows that), I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own. Here’s how I did it:
S U P P L I E S
- Watercolor paper
- Watercolor paints
- Number stamps (mine are from The Curiosity Shoppe, which sadly appears to be closed!)
- Cup for water
To begin, I (roughly) measured out the lines for my calendar squares and then ran my paintbrush right along the edge of the ruler. I should preface this by saying that I am NOT a perfectionist. I have little interest in making everything look uniform; I just want to have fun creating and get things done. Plus, watercolors don’t exactly lend themselves to clean lines. The more freeform, the better!
Once I have the lines and month name painted, I gather my number stamps.
To stamp with watercolors, I simply paint the rubber stamp with the paintbrush and stamp directly onto the paper. Easy peasy.
I decided to go with a light paint color so I can eventually write over the date without competing with the overall design.
Let dry and let the planning begin!
The other day as I was browsing the shelves of the Goodwill, I spotted this muffin tin + knew instantly that I wanted to turn it into a planter. Once I picked up the muffin tin for $1.50 (50% day – look out!), I swung by Lowes and had a wonderful time picking + choosing my succulents.
Click here to see my Vine video of the planting process!
To create this planter, you will need:
- Six succulent plants (I purchased all of mine for less than eight dollars at Lowes)
- 1 muffin tin (the deeper the cups, the better)
- Vinyl Bumpers
- An awl or drill (and drill bit)
After cleaning the muffin tin as best I could (a good rule of thumb for all thrift finds), I flipped it over and punched drainage holes in all six of the cups using a bookbinding awl. Luckily the tin was super easy to punch through, but if yours is thick, I recommend using a drill with a small bit.
From there, I added a vinyl bumper to each of the four corners of the tin to allow for proper drainage. This is key if you prefer living plants.
I then played around with the arrangement of the succulents and placed them in the muffin tin.
Then I began moving the soil around, adding in a handful of small rocks, and finessing each of the plants to my liking. After that I lightly watered the individual plants and called it good. The thing to remember about succulents is that they require minimal watering. In fact, it’s best if you leave them alone until their soil is completely dry. (You can read even more care + keeping tips here!)
So there you have it! A quick + easy Springtime DIY that has yet again fueled my thrift shopping habit! I have plans to make a bunch of these for my wedding and display them amidst other floral centerpieces on our tables. Good times ahead!
This DIY could not be any easier: gloves + gold paint + a flat pencil eraser = festive fingers ready to ‘gram at a moment’s notice!
As wonderful and foolproof as gift cards are, their tiny size sure does tend to spoil the surprise factor when it comes to packaging. I am always looking for ways to “throw off the scent” and using books from thrift stores is my definitely my favorite option. Not only does the recipient receive store credit to their favorite shop (if you play your cards correctly), but they get a free book out of the deal! And we all know how many awesome things a person can do with a book: use it for decor, rip pages out for crafting purposes, upcycle it for another gift, or heck, maybe even read the darn thing! Plus, if the cover art is well-designed (I, for one, always judge books by their covers), it can take the place of decorative gift wrap <—-there’s the recycling fiend in me again!
The packaging process is super simple. For my gift, I used a book I found at the DI last year in Utah (chosen for it’s aqua hues), yellow felt trimmed on one side with pinking shears, and faux-tinsel yarn. The letter “A” was cut out with my Cameo + adhered to the cover using washi tape. I like to create my own envelopes for the actual gift card using kraft butcher paper (or any paper that folds well), a few stamps, and a little bit of tape, but that’s completely optional. Pretty much as simple as simple gets, right?
Reusable tote bags are a big thing around these here parts. They’re so big, in fact, that when I went to NYC last March, I excitedly bought my mom a canvas grocery bag from the Zabars featured in You’ve Got Mail (“get in another line”) because I knew she would appreciate both the reference AND the usability. So in the spirit of recycling + good packaging (no longer mutually exclusive!), I decided to create a few tote bags for myself and for others this holiday season. Here’s how to create your own tote bag design:
1. Make a stencil. I designed mine in Silhouette Studio and had my Cameo Die-Cutting Machine do the hard work for me. If you don’t have a machine, fear not! You can always use an xacto knife to achieve very similar results.
2. Place a sheet of chipboard / cardboard / heavyweight paper inside your tote. (Note: If your bag needs ironing – ugh, ironing! – do this beforehand. It’ll be worth it, I promise.)
3. Position your stencil over the area you would like to paint and adhere it to the bag with removable tape.
4. Using a multi-surface craft paint and a foam paint pouncer, dot over your stencil gently yet firmly until the whole area is covered in paint. I only applied a single coat because that was all I needed. Apply as many coats as you deem necessary.
5. Let dry. Slowly lift your stencil and check for any areas that may need a touch-up.
6. Bring your tote everywhere you shop and let the compliments roll in!
Martha Stewart Gold Metallic Paint // Martha Stewart Crafts Foam Pouncer // Tote Bags // Silhouette Cameo