Nails - Covergirl "Wine to Five" | Ring - H&M | Post - "In Step"
Today's February Fever post comes with a helpful aim to all of my fellow bloggers out there, but it can also be helpful to anyone who has ever wanted to "photoshop" something, without using photoshop.
I've been into photo editing for a while now, but being me, have always been a stickler for keeping budget to a minimum, or even better, just using whatever is free. I came across Ribbet about a year ago and have been using it ever since for just about everything. From the basics, like cropping, rotating, changing exposure and contrast, to their own equivalent of the clone brush, colour correction/curves, filters, collages, and more, it does pretty much everything, all entirely free (to access "premium" features, simply register for an account). This is what I use whenever I edit photos for a blog post, which is almost always, and here is how I do it!
1) Basic Edits: Under this tab, I tend to start out with the 'Exposure' feature. I increase the exposure up to about 10 usually, and play around with increasing the highlights. Once I find a brightness that I think is appropriate, I head to the 'Colours' feature and make sure that the image saturation appears well balanced. I often will decrease the temperature of the photo as well, seeing as cool lighting tends to be more flattering. For posts where I am photographing an object or product, I tend to end my editing here. For outfit posts, I will continue with the next few steps.
2) Effects: Scroll down all the way until you hit the 'Blur' function. I tend to pump this up to about 15% (both horizontal and vertical), and use the brush tool to soften and blur the background of the photo, drawing more attention to the outfit and also hiding the fact that the background might not be all that nice. Sometimes I will also use the brush tool on the 'Black and White' function for my background, and then fade it out to make the colours of the main outfit stand out more (as demonstrated in this post)
3) Touch-Up: I don't photograph incredibly well. No matter what, you can always see evidence of blemishes, and especially in the winter time, my skin looks blotchy and uneven. So go ahead and use that 'Airbrush' tool. It's a life saver, right? Just be careful because it can look artificial if you don't fade it out to at least 35%, and don't go over any features that you want to appear sharp, like eyes, nose outlines, lips, etc. Save it for large areas of skin, or major problem areas. I've also used it on my legs, arms, and wrinkled fabric in lieu of ironing (lazy, I know). The Mascara tool can also work well to make those eyes pop, but again, faaaaaade it out.
4) Pro: Now for some cool extras. Under the pro tab, there are two great functions that I love. The first is the 'Clone' tool, which you can use by selecting an area of the photo that you want to replicate or copy, and then brushing it onto another spot in the photo. I use this if there is a problem with an image - anything from a green hair elastic making an unsightly appearance on my wrist, to a stray hair, or an ugly object in the background. It's easy and effective. I'm also a fan of the preset filter options under 'Curves,' but don't get too crazy. Velvia faded out tends to look quite nice, I find.
5) Saving: Now here's the annoying part - Ribbet tends to slightly diminish photo quality, so you may need to save at a 9 or 10 if you're blowing it up on your blog, or at least that is what I find for large, vertical images typically used in outfit posts.
5) Insert & Size: So you've typed up a lovely blog post to accompany your images, and it's time to insert them. You know how to do that, so I won't bore you, but what a lot of newer blogspot users don't know how to do, is resize their photos freely without the constraints that are set automatically by blogger. How? Well first you might want to get rid of the default photo border. I'm not a coder, so I won't go into too much detail about that here, but it's really easy and is explained helpfully in this article. Now you will probably want to resize your image to fit the width of your blog. This is even easier, but I remember being at a loss to figure out how to get it exactly the size I need it to be. Go to your blog post, insert the photos as usual, and then switch from "Compose" mode (top left under the title bar) to "HTML" code mode. Find the code of your picture (it should be kind of obvious, with tags like "img" or an image URL, etc.) and where the dimensions of the image are (eg. width="232"height="400"). Delete this part! A few tags over, you will see a section of the image code with "s1600" (or another number). Change the 1600 to something that fits the width of your blog better (I usually use 540 for horizontals, and 780 for vertical.) Play around with the width by previewing the image, and then, you're done!
Happy blogging everyone! Leave any questions as comments or tweet me - @tiaaelis. x