April 23, 2015

4 Tips to Posting Better Photos on Instagram

Instagram is my favorite social channel these days... (followed maybe by... SnapChat! There, I said it! I admit it!  I love them for very different reasons, but that's for another day... oh, you can follow me there, too, at ChasingDavies).  I love Instagram because I taking pictures is my hobby and I love working on sharing a feeling through an image or capturing my children in a cool or different way. I also love looking at other's photos and finding inspiration to challenge myself to look at something from a different angle. This channel is straight to that point. 

I'm not the best at Instagram at all, but I think if you scroll through my feed you can see an improvement in my photos (in the uniqueness, angles, and colors) . And of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder - we each have different perspectives on what makes an image cool or unique.  I have to show off for a tiny second - One of my photos was just recently selected by famous photographer, Gray Malin as a runner up out of more than 6,000 entries in his #FollowGrayContest!  The image that I entered and was selected can be viewed here!

One thing that I don't do that well at on Instagram is taking similar photos, or only publishing photos that include the same colors for a cohesive feed.  My first priority is capturing and sharing real life and my favorite looks - no matter what colors or scheme it happens to hold.  I think using a similar editing technique (like I tend to do) does help keep my feed looking like each photo is at least part of the same family, though. :)  

So, through my own trials and tribulations, and hopefully apparent improvement on this platform, I share with you 4 tips that I've learned along the way:

1.  Pre-Edit BEFORE you get into the Instagram app. 
I know this sounds like a lot of extra work, and Instagram has some great editing tools, but I've found that a combination of pre-editing and using Instagram's provided filters makes my photos look so much nicer and more unique than other Insta posts. 

The largest folder on my phone is my Photography one, which is filled with tons of different photo apps. I mainly use AfterLight to pre-edit my photos and LOVE the "relic" filter (that is last in the selection, in the "Originals" after the Facebook filters - which I didn't find until more recently). This filter is especially great for indoor or warmer looking pics (it adds a cooler layer).  I also like the added light features this app has - like adding a streak of light on one side!

2. Go cooler than you think.
In temperature, I mean. And this depends on the photo, but for any photo I take indoors or around a lot of warm colors, I use the temperature tool to cool it down.  This might be my favorite tool, actually. 

And I always go a bit cooler than I think, because once it is published and on the white background, the photo always looks warmer.  If there is any white in your photo, it can look tan or pinkish next to the white background, which immediately takes away from the photo...

3. Check your progress.
Once you are editing in the Instagram app, you can check you progress to see how far you have or have not strayed from the original (or pre-edited).  I accidentally stumbled upon this feature and use it all the time to make sure I'm actually improving my photo and not getting to edit-happy.

You just press down on the photo in edit mode and when you release, it goes back to the edited version.

4. Preview on Instagram's white background.
Ah, another stumbled upon trick, and one I'm so happy to have found!  I hate that you edit on a black background - make your photo look different than how it will actually look against the white feed background.  

Before you publish, tap your image and it expands over a white background to preview. I've caught many whites looking to tan in my photos agains this background before, and simply using the back button, you can go back to editing before finalizing it!

Now, spill some of YOUR favorite Instagram tips or tricks and/or other photo editing apps that you love in the comments below!
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April 21, 2015

Favorite Wears: Styling the Fringe for Spring

I think fringe is the perfect trend this season. That pep in your step, sashay in your hip and kick of your foot has that skirt dancing right into spring with you! I've been craving a fringe skirt, and while at first I wanted a leather (or faux-leather) one, I started to think that wouldn't be super practical for warmer weather. And then.... 

Then I found this skirt while looking for Easter presents for the kiddos for and it was under $50!  And when taking a trend for a test drive, I love a more affordable price tag!  And I'm loving the comfort and fun of this frilly skirt, styled simply with black and white.

Not cheap, but TOTALLY splurge and investment worthy are these sunglasses and new summer sandals. Both of these spring-summer must-haves are classic pieces that will last me many years.  Plus, I'm not a big heel wearer anymore... I prefer wedges, but these block heels, and the fact that they are well made by a quality brand, let me spend many hours on my feet, going out, dancing and walking around the past few weekends with NO problems. That's a a must in my book, and I'll gladly spend a bit extra for that kind of comfort, especially when they're this cute.

{Outfit Details: Shirt (on sale!), Skirt, Block Heels, FitBit Bracelet, Gold Bracelets - Madewell, Sunglasses}

Are you taking the Fringe Trend for a swing?

Shop this outfit:

P.S. Kansas Citians - did you notice the Spanish steps on the Plaza got a facelift?  They are so clean and pretty!  The whole plaza is just ready for Spring with flowers blooming, the fountains renovated and on and flags waving in the breeze!
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April 20, 2015

Mama/Daughter Style Series: Spring Shoe Trends

Get those pedicures ladies... it's sandal weather! And this season, there are so many great shoe trends to chose from, so for this month's Mama/Daughter Style Series, we couldn't just show you one... we each picked a trend to style AND we have a special guest mama this month for an additional look!  So keep reading to find out who...

But first, shoes.  I'm styling my favorite summer shoe - the wedge!  I love how versatile and comfortable these black wedges from Rack Room Shoes are, and will pretty much be wearing them with everything (already also worn here!).  Nora hasn't quite master her walk in wedges, so she's still wearing her perfect white sandal.  As you can see, Rack Room Shoes offers the latest on-trend shoes for your entire family through a wide selection of nationally known and private brands.

You can see and shop all the latest trends for this spring and summer at Rack Room Shoes, and remember, every day is a buy one, get one 50% off - so if you can't decide... you know, get two! 

And see how these blogger babes (and their babes) styled this season's trends:
Sandy styled the jeweled sandal
Lynzy showed us how to wear bright shoes
Kacia (our guest mama!) styled boat shoes
Carly is wearing the ankle detail trend

And because Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner and so is the hot summer weather, Nora and I are feeling festive in our bright dress/blouse from the Flor De Luz Shop.  These will be a very airy pieces for us both the rest of the summer!

{Our Outfit Details: Mama // Blouse c/o Flor De Luz, Skirt - old from Target (similar), Wedges c/o, Bracelet; Nora // Dress - c/o Flor De Luz, Leggings, Sandals c/o, Headband - Target}

 Now it's your turn: We want to see YOUR mama/daughter (or son!) spring looks - style some bright colors this month!!  Show us on Instagram for a chance to win a baby or toddler dress from the Flor De Luz Shop! All you have to do is upload a mama/daughter look between now and May 10th with the hashtag #mamadaughterstyleseries and follow CarlyLynzySandy and I (on Instagram) for a chance to win! 

We will be picking and tagging the winner May 11th, so this gives you plenty of time to participate. We will also be sharing some of our favorites on Instagram (follow me here!) over the next month, so keep an eye out!  

Of course, don't forget to go check out my co-mamas and how they styled their spring shoe trends along with their mini-me: SandyLynzy and Carly!  And this month we have a guest mama, Kacia playing along! 

You can see past posts from this series right here!

Thanks to Rack Room Shoes for partnering with us on this month's theme! Of course, all opinions are our own!  

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