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As a photography hobbiest, I’m often asked about how I take and edit my photos. I take a lot of candid photos of my children on manual settings, which means I have to move quickly in less than ideal lighting situations, and there have been many times that means I don’t get it quite right in camera. Today I’m going to share my standard PhotoShop editing process that will take your photos from drab to fab.
I know, I know! Halloween is barely over and I’m already talking Christmas. But it’s already time to start getting plans locked in for Christmas cards! It happens every year: photographers pack their schedules for the holiday rush as families procrastinate and, inevitably, miss the card ordering window. Keep reading for 10 inspiring Christmas card ideas you should totally steal, AND a free Christmas Card template to get you started!
Put on your best holiday wardrobe and go for a classic card.
#momreality giveaway! + combatting the social photoshopping of life
Hi Everyone! I’m Jen from Jen Snyder Photo, and I’m excited to be guest posting here today sharing something I’m very passionate about: #momreality.
We have all heard time and time again how the overuse of Photoshop is ruining our definition of beauty– warping it to something unattainable. Just like the way Photoshop skews our perception of beauty, I believe social media is skewing our perception of motherhood. We are all led to believe that our houses should be spotless, gourmet meals cooking, while making intricate crafts with our children. All the time.
This is supported by countless photos on social media of freshly baked bread, clean kitchens with happy kids making crafts in them, and other life-is-perfect images.
But what we see is not always what is real. We aren’t seeing what went into making the photo. We don’t see the mess that is just out of frame. After all, it’s what is just out of the frame where reality rests.
For example… I took a few photos with my iPhone. The photo I would have posted to social media, and the reality behind it.
Any serious blogger hoping to work with brands and advertisers needs a solid media kit. But if you’re fairly new to this game, you might be wondering where to start? Never fear! Today, I’m providing a free media kit template for bloggers.
I recently just made my first media kit. After a few years of casually blogging, I decided it was time to get serious – and no better way than making a media kit for working with others! I customized mine in design, color and content to match the branding on my blog.
I’ve never met anyone who has said, “I WISH I didn’t have SO MANY PHOTOS from when the children were young.” Or, “We have too many photos! We simply must GET RID of all these.”
In fact, in a very unofficial poll of some of my closest friends, the #1 or #2 “thing” they would save in a house fire would be printed photos, hard drives and/or memory cards of photos.
That’s why I’m very passionate about capturing my children during these fast moving years, where each day brings a new milestone:
…learning to read and write
…potty training – all of it. It’s all beautiful.
I’m a huge advocate for getting professional family photos taken each year. I’m all for posed-looking-at-the-camera-smiling photos.
But it’s these moments. These little everyday occasions that I look upon and I remember.
…BRB…I think there’s something in my eye…
So this year, I’m starting my fist #365 project. Every day, I’ll be looking for beauty in our everyday moments and sharing my photos on Instagram. Will you join me? Please let me know! I’d love to follow you in your journey!
I was browsing Anthropologie recently and fell in love with this Striped Heart Tank by Sundry:
So. cute. But the price tag is not so cute. $70 for a cotton tank? No thanks! But it kept popping up in my Facebook feed, willing me to buy it.
That’s when I decided to try to make it myself, but finding a plain white tank was a lot harder than I expected. I ended up just getting a Faded Glory tank from Wal-Mart on a recent grocery trip. It was the first white tank I found without a pocket, and at $3.96, the price was right!
I whipped up an 8″ x8″ template in Photoshop:
I then loaded the pattern into my Silhouette software. My usual method is to use clear contact paper in my Silhouette to make a template because you can get a giant roll for less than $5. Then I use a Tulip soft fabric paint, making sure to insert cardboard into the shirt first to prevent bleeding to the other side. The best part of this application method is that it’s incredibly inexpensive and long lasting.
This time, however, I happened to have some leftover heat transfer vinyl from a project last year. I ran my design through the Silhouette, removed the excess vinyl, and ironed it on.
Next, I added a bit of contrast stitching along the bottom hemline to give it a more expensive, custom look.
I adore this tank and have gotten so many compliments on it. When Eve first saw it, she insisted on a matching tank (I found two great , inexpensive options here and here). I just shrunk the template slightly ( to about 5.25″ x 5.25″) and applied it using the same method. Again, in retrospect I probably would have gone bigger for this one, as well. For this top, I did more stitching to more closely replicate the inspiration top. Instead of using the sewing machine, I hand stitched the hemlines using flossing thread to get that perfectly imperfect look. think it’s even cuter in this mini size!
I hope you’re a fan of my copycat chic Striped Heart Tank. Thanks for stopping by!
*This post contains affiliate links. Please read my affiliate disclaimer in the sidebar.
I’m slowly going room by room and decorating where inspiration strikes. That only happens to be working in the kids’ areas, but I’m embracing it!
Next up is Dub’s bathroom. I love the idea of making it an all-boy kind of space – I absolutely love decorating really boyish spaces – but I want it to be somewhat neutral since it will be shared with overnight guests.
I railroaded Dub into the blue color for his room – I’d rejected the crazy bright aqua color he really wanted (I just couldn’t…) so I let him choose the paint for this space himself.
I tried to convince him that a steel blue color would be great. I go for neutrals everywhere else, so I was hoping this would be a room with some color. However, he really liked the idea of a silvery gray for the space. Out of 5 grays, he chose Sherwin Williams Gray Screen because of the slightly blue tint and light tone. Nice choice!
Here is the working Mood Board I’m using to inspire the makeover.
I designed artwork to add some color to the otherwise neutral, rustic space. I’m not 100% sure on this scheme, but since the artwork is free (I already have the IKEA RIbba frames on hand from a failed attempt to use it elsewhere), I’m going with it for now.
And just because I couldn’t decide…I’m sharing a few variations I worked on:
What do you think? I’m hoping this inspires others to add some color to their spaces, so I’m making several of them available to you for free!
For Dub’s birthday this year, he wanted everything Minecraft. He also loves Legos so, naturally, Lego Steve from Minecraft seemed like the perfect party favors.
I did a lot of research trying to find an easy way to do this. To be honest, I was hoping there would be a sale of Minecraft Lego lots on ebay that would allow me to phone this one in, but it was not to be.
So, I ended up making a Minecraft Lego Steve myself using the Lego Pick-A-Brick feature.
While you can do this in-store if you have a Lego retail location near you, they have a varying selection, so I saved myself the trip and did my shopping online. I wanted to be able to have all the pieces I needed for Minecraft Steve! This is where I insert my Lego PSA – I found out after I placed my order that Pick-A-Brick orders can take up to 18 business days! That’s almost a month! So, this Lego Minecraft Steve favor only really works if you are planning out by at least a month to ensure your Bricks get to you in time.
Here’s what I ordered to make 15 favors:
Item#, color – quantity
300423, blue – x30
4113915, yellow – x15
4155708, yellow – x15
4163696, light blue – x15
4179833, light blue – x15
4211210, brown – x15
4243821, green – x15
4271949, brown – x15
4579260, yellow – x15
For the pick axe, I had to go to Ebay where I got a great deal paying $1.47 total for 15 axes. That brought the total to $26.21 for 15 favors, or $1.74, each. (I didn’t see any swords or pick axes in the Pick-A-Brick section when I was ordering. They do have a “mini Fireman’s axe” or a “warrior weapon,” though.)
Then, I went to work making a face for Minecraft Steve in PhotoShop. I measured it to the size of the 2×2 Lego and then I printed it on Avery label paper. Removing the paper backing first, I cut down each face sticker to the exact size and then replaced it on a small square of the paper backing to place in the favor bag.
I took a photo of the complete Lego Minecraft Steve to include with all the kits. The kids had a lot of fun putting Lego Steve together while they were still at the party, and had a great time showing off their new toy when they were done.
I placed the Legos in a small jewelry ziplock bag. Then, I made a simple tag that I stapled to the top of the sealed bag as a finishing touch.
This was a huge hit among the 6 and 7 year old crowd!
While this Lego Minecraft Steve party favor does take a bit of advanced planning, you and your child will will have so much fun sharing these unique and fun activities for the kids to do!
Thinking of making a Lego Steve for your Minecrafter’s party? You can get a head start by downloading Steve’s face here (compatible with Avery 5260* labels), the finished Steve image inserts here, and the favor tags here. Enjoy!
MORE FREE MINECRAFT PRINTABLES: Like these printables? Be sure to check out my other free Minecraft Printables here and here.
Find my other Minecraft Birthday Party posts here:
Looking for custom decorations for your child’s room or nursery? It’s super cheap and easy to design a custom silhouette in Adobe PhotoShop, and today I’m showing you how.
My daughters share their bedroom, so I wanted to create silhouettes that would match the room but would be a bit unique. I created a digital background using colors from their toile bedding accents:
Here is my result, but you don’t have to create your own custom background to make this work. You can find lots of super cute digital scrapbook paper on Etsy that would be perfect for this project.
Next, I took profile pictures of each of the girls. This does not have to be a high quality photo; in fact, my camera phone snaps leave very little to be desired! All you need is to be able to see the profile of their face – the nose, lips and eyes.
Next, I opened it in PhotoShop, clicked on my selection tool, and got to work outlining her head, neck and shoulders.
Once I was happy with what I selected, I hit Command + J to duplicate just that selected area.
Next, I wanted to fill it with a color that matched the background. I hit Edit + Fill and chose a color from the background.
Then, I simply dragged this image onto my original file with the custom background. You’ll notice a lot of bumps and jagged edges on her silhouette, so I used a hard eraser to smooth out the edges.
Finally, I added their names using Jellyka Delicious Cake font. I had it printed by a professional photography lab, but you can also have it printed at Shutterfly for $7.99
To finish this project, I framed it in a very inexpensive wood cutout that I found at Michael’s for $3.99 on sale (or just $4.79 after using a 40% off coupon). I spray painted it in a high reflective shine metallic gold spray paint by Rust-Oleum.
My final post in the Star Wars birthday party series is to share the custom invitations and thank you cards I designed.
Each year, I’ve been lucky that my children have chosen Halloween costumes that match their birthday party themes for the following year. Dub chose to be Darth Vader, so I used his Halloween costume for the front of the invitation. I created a simple background in PhotoShop, and used the free Star Jedi font.
I used the same background on the back, added the party details, and created a Darth Vader silhouette.
During the birthday party, I made sure to get one shot of all of the kids in the photo booth, wearing their jedi robes and using photo booth props. I used this image for a custom thank you postcard. On the back, I created a simple template that Dub could fill in himself. I love the idea of the postcard because it helps him learn the proper etiquette of showing thankfulness. Sincere, personal, and to the point! And, it’s a little less expensive to mail 🙂
Finally, just to prove how much I utilize those Halloween photos, I also used it for Dub’s Valentine’s card. I wonder if he’ll be sick of Darth Vader by this Halloween?
Wow, I can’t believe how time flies. As little Dub’s birthday approached, I knew his would have to be a superhero theme, but I wanted it to be less focused on commercial super heroes and a little more of a generic comic book vibe.
To set the tone, I set off to create a comic book – inspired invite. I coerced him into taking a Clark Kent/super man photo. I just had him wear his Superman pajama shirt under a button down and snap on tie and then put on a pair of glasses frames I got at the dollar store. I went to work in PhotoShop and created this invite. I used PhotoShop action that made him look like a true comic book character.
Next, I wanted to make a comic book pendant. I was very pregnant and on bed rest while planning the party, so I enlisted my mom for help. I bought a comic book off ebay, cut the comic pages into triangles and placed them inside the fold of some red binding I had on hand. Then she simply sewed along the binding and voila! Dub liked this so much he asked to hang it in his room after the party.
Again, since I was very pregnant I decided to hire out the cake in the form of some amazing cupcakes from our local bakery. I made cupcake toppers in PhotoShop and attached them to lollipop sticks I found at Michael’s in the baking section.
This was Dub’s first party where we invited friends, so I was new to the party favor tradition. I asked all the parents in advance to send me a photo of their children so I could personalize each goodie bag with their photo. I added free superhero overlays like masks and emblems from Lil Blue Boo in PhotoShop and they were a huge hit!
As much as I love having balloons to decorate for parties, I hate watching them pathetically deflate in the days following (my kids refuse to throw them away until the bitter end!) So, I attached a balloon to each goodie bag for a festive display that our little guests could take home with them. This was an inexpensive favor with big impact! The kids were thrilled to take them home and I was just as thrilled to see them go.
I had to figure out how to entertain all these kids in our teeny home. So I set up a superhero mask making station. I pre-cut the masks in craft foam and bought self-stick foam stars and letter so kids could decorate them and add their names.
Next, I really wanted to create a photo booth. I bought some polka-dot wrapping paper that I just taped to the wall. I made some photo booth signs in PhotoShop that matched the cupcake toppers, and printed them on 8.5×11″ sheets of white card stock. I cut them out and taped them to the cardboard tube that comes on dry cleaning hangers – it was what I had on hand! Or, if you’re not the DIY type, you could buy some here.)
Dub and a very pregnant me in the photo booth.
My goal was to get pictures of all the kids at the party to put on the thank-you note. What I didn’t count on was how shy the kids would be. I had to beg to get them all to pose together so I could get my thank-you card shot! But I got it, and here’s how it turned out:
I designed the back like a true post card with a fill-in-the-blank thank-you message for Dub to personalize. I heard later that our little guests were thrilled to see themselves in the card.
So, there we have it! Dub’s 5th birthday. For more superhero birthday ideas check out my Pinterest board.
I’ve linked directly to the customizable invites and thank you notes in my Etsy shop. If you would like me to offer free downloads of the cupcake toppers and photo booth signs I used, please let me know in the comments below!