Monday, January 31, 2011

Taking better blog pictures: free editing tools and some things I've learned

One of my goals in the latter part of 2010 was to take better outfit pictures.
  • Ixnay on the mirror shots
  • always using a tripod or having someone photograph me
  • trying to get pictures in outside light if at all possible (spoiler, it's not super possible with the winter weather we've been having here)

While I definitely don't think I have arrived at photo perfection, and there's LOTS of room for me to improve, when I look back, the progress is still very noticeable!

Here's one of my early OOTD pictures:

And here's a recent favorite:

I haven't even changed cameras (heck, I still use my cell phone camera much of the time).

One other way I've been trying to improve my pictures is doing post-processing - i.e., using image editing software. I am not into complicated things, and software like Photoshop just frightens me. There are free versions of image editing software, like gimp for mac, but it is also really complicated-seeming to me.

So, since I was already using Picasa web albums to store and organize my pictures online, when Picasa added Picnik on as a free image editing app, I started taking advantage of it since it was so simple to use!

One thing I always do with pictures is crop and adjust the exposure. Cropping helps take the focus away from the hallway/floor/countertop/desk/cars going by/photobombing pets and put it on you, the stylish blogger.

see the difference cropping makes?

Adjusting the exposure is a great way to salvage indoor photos that you just couldn't get to be light enough. This has happened to me a LOT this winter when outdoor photos weren't an option due to the rain and gloom:

so gloomy!

An outdoor picture in filtered sunlight is always going to look better than an indoor photo that has had more fill light added to it, but that doesn't mean you can't get a serviceable picture from an indoor photo session:

see, this pic isn't perfect but it's still sassy and shows the outfit.

Other than enabling cropping/exposure adjustement, Picnik has a wide variety of other free effects you can try. They are all under the "create" tab > "effects" category.

Here's the result of playing around with a single picture the other night:





There are a couple other things I try to keep in mind as well:
  • Try to shoot at head level or lower to avoid the distorted "myspace angle", but not too low or you get exaggerated chins (which is the name of my band. Just kidding.)
  • There are lots of free, cool iphone and android apps to take pictures with effects (I recommend fxcamera for android and hipstamatic or camerabag for iphone). I will do that sometimes, but I often just shoot plain format so I can add effects later.
  • I decided I'd rather try to post less often and have better pictures than feel like I have to post daily.

What are some of your photo tips and tricks? Are there any photo pitfalls you see yourself falling into time and time again?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Etsy store update

Hello fabulousnesses!

Were you thinking "How can I get my hands on some of Rebecca's awesome taste in clothing?"

Oh, you weren't? Well, now you probably are. Power of suggestion, that.

So, in case you are NOW wondering that, wonder no longer. Because I do, in fact, have an etsy store, where I purvey plus-sized vintage clothing items to buyers far and wide.

I'm listing things slowly. Come check out what I listed today:

The white spots you see in the pictures are rain. Because this is Seattle.

Mention that you are a blog reader in the seller notes and I will give you a 15% discount!

Do you not see anything you like in my shop? Check out the much more well stocked shop of Nly -

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Magical long-hair-land

If you've been following the progression of my hairstyles through my outfit pictures (and admit it, who of us DOESN'T do that? It's FASCINATING! kidding, it's not fascinating, really), you'll notice that I'm growing my hair out. I'm super excited to have long hair that I can do elaborate braids and messy bun hairstyles with.

It will be a glorious future in which we will all have unicorns and castles and eat only the choicest of morsels.


Until that day, I gamely try to make my hair seem bigger and more capable of updos. And I'm about to share one of my secrets with you all.

I tease my hair.

Exhibit A:

(something tells me I should NOT be putting this picture on the internets, but, Beej, you wanted more outtake pictures!

This helps embiggify it so that it looks better in updos. Also, it stays back better (otherwise, my hair is very slippery). It also requires lots less product (I HATE hairspray) to stay put, because the hair sort of grips itself, what with all the knots that I put it in with the teasing. (I like parentheticals, they are like hugs))

So, from that, to this:

lady blue steel!

I basically just braid small sections of it and bobby pin them in place.

I definitely like my hair up better than down. And this teased/braided amalgam is my new favorite hairstyle for sure.

Do any of you tease your hair?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

When wind attacks.

I posted the other day about the awesome hairband hairstyle that Stephanie did a tutorial for at Le Blog De Big Beauty.

I hinted at the awesome outfit that I wore to accompany it, and here is that outfit. I got the dress at Fat Fancy in Portland. It's pretty sheer, but I decided to wear it anyways and trust the overcast weather and fact I would be inside for most of the night to keep me moderately modest.

Starting to get windy:

Ok, seriously, let's turn off those photo shoot fans:

can't... stand.... upright...


Friday, January 21, 2011

(mini) Pay It Forward 2011

(graphic via Grace)

I promise to send something handmade to the first 3 people who leave a comment here. To be eligible, you must also post this in your blog, offering the same thing to 3 other people. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 3 people sometime in 2011.

I'm paying it forward from Curvy Everyday.

Please leave your email so I can contact you when the time comes.

I'm so excited! No restrictions on where I will ship, so int'l readers, feel free to sign up too!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An OOTD that was an effort, plus a hairband hairstyle (not that kind of hairband)

Hey everyone!

I've been wearing clothes lately, but I also have succumbed to my third sinus infection in a month, so, umm, haven't been making much of an effort.

But! then I got tired of not making an effort and tried to make an effort.

Thus, here are my efforts :).

Worn tonight to go to the mall and eat at CPK. Sometimes I like to pretend I still live in the suburbs by driving to the suburbs and recreating there.

Dress: Asos curve, 22
Underdress: black jersey, old navy, ages ago, 1x
cardi: old navy, xl, 2010
boots: target, 11
scarf: AA circle scarf

I also stretched my ears up to 1/2" tonight, using my new silicone eyelets from Kaos. They say not to stretch with them. I'm not a good listener.

I think they look awesome! I know not everyone will agree.

Sunday night I tried Stephanie's awesome tutorial for hairband hair (not, like, Ratt or Poison "hair band", but headband/elastic hair band thingy "hairband"). I had to tease my hair, use bobby pins and hair spray, so it wasn't exactly as easy as I thought it would be, but I was pleased.

(I've got a better pic of this super cute outfit coming later this week)

"Mmm, I love it when hip new pie shops serve tea in ridiculous small and heavy brown diner mugs!" /whiny lady

their pies, however, are DELICIOUS.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm back, and my vacation was fabulous.

From cruise christmas

We had such a wonderful Christmas break - seeing friends and family, being goofy, eating delicious food, and going on an awesome cruise together (my first cruise ever!).

The themes of the cruise were, in no order:
- general geekiness (provided by everyone)
- double chins (provided by me and Bob)
- bellies in bathing suits (provided, again, by me and Bob)
- towel animals (provided by our room steward, Arman)
- filet mignon every single day

I also had great fun hanging out in JUST A BATHING SUIT. IN PUBLIC. It was revolutionary. Also, I found a sun hat that, due to some manufacturing margin of error, fit me when none of the other (identical) hats on the rack fit. So that was a huge win as well!

I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs and hope you all had a fantastic break as well, if you got a break!
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