how I edit iphone photos for instagram

My iphone is like an extension of my arm – it’s by my side at nearly all times of day (and night). I love it for texting and checking the weather and asking siri important questions like ‘how many days until …?’ (asked by a certain second born who is slightly excited about his upcoming birthday) and watching cute youtube videos like this one and this.

Most of all, I love it for the camera.

Admittedly, an iphone does not take the same quality of photos as a real camera, but the fact that it is always with me, easy to use and quick to capture everyday moments works out just fine for me. It is fun to practice photography with my phone – looking for interesting angles or composition or finding the right light – and sharing those photos on instagram is a favorite, too.

I almost always do some editing before posting to instagram (I like a slightly dreamy, washed out look) and thought I’d show you what that looks like.

raw-and-edited-instagram

We’ll use this photo taken yesterday of a piece of my mom’s blackberry pie (yum).

Here it is straight from the camera:

blackberry-pie-raw

It’s a nice photo and could probably be used as is. But running it through some photo apps gives it just the right amount of artsy-ness to make it a little more visually appealing.

I use the standard camera app to take photos and then edit through Afterlight – a simple to use $.99 photo editing app.

editing-photos-1

I begin by opening Afterlight and bringing in the photo from my photo stream.

editing-photos-2

I brighten slightly, add a bit more contrast and occasionally bring the sharpening up slightly as well.

editing-photos-3

Next (here’s the most important step) I choose the guest filters and then the Russ filter to get the dreamy/washed out look I like. You can change the opacity to adjust how strongly the filter is applied. Once I like the look, click the check mark to save.

Instagram is set up as square photos, so sometimes I use the crop tool to cut the photo into a square before posting.

Sometimes a photo just looks better with it’s original rectangular proportions, so I like to add borders to get the square size without cropping the photo. To do this, I click on the borders icon, and then Original.

editing-photos-4

Next I click on the side borders and it will automatically turn the photo into a square with white margins. Click the check mark to save.

Once finished editing, I click the Done button at the top right and then save as a small image to my camera roll. I like to save a copy to my photos and post to instagram from the IG app, but you could also just click on the instagram icon from Afterlight to post. Your choice.

And here is the final edited image:

edited-blackberry-pie

Just those few simple steps really give an average photo a fancier look!

Here are a few more before & afters to see the subtle, but pretty difference editing makes:

office-desk

audrey-kitchen

concessions

laundry-room

swimsuit

africa-shopping

be-strong

peony

Hope this is helpful in making your photos more beautiful!

RESOURCES:

afterlight

SnapShop iphone course (I took this course last year and it was so good! If you want help learning how to compose interesting images, play with settings, learn more about editing and fun photography tools, Ashley teaches it perfectly. Learn more about her excellent photography courses here).

See my instagram feed here.

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farmhouse inspiration

We’re finishing out our summer with a quick stay with my family at The Farmhouse.

farmhouse

Isn’t it beautiful?! The Jones side of the family has rented this restored 1800′s farmhouse for the past three years and it’s been such a perfect place for our families to be together.

(UPDATE: here is a link for details on The Farmhouse)

Being here reminds me of how much I love the look of a farmhouse. Just clicking through my pinterest boards confirms it. Here are a few of my favorties:

farmhouse-inspiration

farm-porch

I’m particularly drawn to a classic white farmhouse with metal roof.

But a wood barn is also charming.

brownfarmhouse

shingledbarn

woodfarm

Black trimmed windows are an added bonus and give a farmhouse a more modern feel (which I’m particularly drawn to).

farmhousewithgarage

modern-farmhouse

But what we love most about The Farmhouse and what is so appealing about these images is the open space, the views and greenery and endless sky.

barn-in-field

When I think of a farmhouse, it feels like a deep breath, fresh and bright and simple.

farm-in-woods

You can see all of these pretty farmhouses and more on my pinterest board called Home Sweet Home. If your curious about what style I like best, just hop on there and it will become quite obvious (think white, natural wood, stone, lots of windows and pretty lighting.) See all my pinterest boards here.

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rwanda one month later

One month ago today, I was on my way to the beautiful country of Rwanda.

rwanda-collage

I miss it so much.

Since returning I’ve been asked many times, “how was your trip?” “what did you learn?” “how has it changed you?” “what was the best part?”.  I don’t know how to answer any of them except just to say I miss it.

I could tell a thousand stories of things we saw, history we learned, resilient people we met, worship we heard, tears we cried, meals we enjoyed, friendships we made, and yet none of it feels like enough.

Rwanda changed me, for sure, but not necessarily in the ways I would have expected. The best I can do to explain it is just to say that the world for me became smaller. I feel so deeply connected to the Rwandans we spent time with. They are moms with the same love for their children, the same dreams and desires and worries. Their tears and joys are the same as mine and it feels beautiful to hear their stories and enter into them.

A reader who commented on my twirling in Africa post said it best:

I feel like we know these things for a reason and that God knew that when His people from here come in contact with His people from there, for a little while the heart of the kingdom beats softly in unison“.

It makes me cry every time I read that.

Oh, I just loved it. All of it. We cried so much and heard such hard stories to take in. But we also laughed harder than I’ve ever laughed before and ate amazing food and felt encouraged with stories of healing and progress and hope.

I created this artprint for our StyleForJustice trip and would love to offer it to you as well.

justice-artprint

Gary Haugen is the founder of an incredible organization called International Justice Mission and I can’t say enough about how valuable their work is. You can learn much more about IJM here.

To download the print, log in or sign up for our library of freebies.

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q & a day

q&a For the next day or so, let’s have a Q & A. Feel free to ask me any question in the comments and I’ll respond back as a reply to your comment.

Let’s imagine we’re sitting together over a cup of something delicious watching our rambunctious children and having a real life conversation (except without the inevitable interruptions from said children). No topic is off limits and I’m a fairly open and honest girl … so … ask away!

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what she wears (dressing Audrey)

Since the day she was born, I have loved dressing my girl. I like classic styles, easy and comfortable with a little bit of color and pattern thrown in for fun. It’s how I dress myself and what I gravitate to when shopping for Audrey.

My baby is now four, and sometimes she has an opinion on what she’d like to wear, but mostly not. I know. It won’t last long. So for now, I’m running with it.

dressing-audrey

Her closet currently consists of lots of basics – tees, skirts, jeans, shorts and dresses – in mix and match colors/patterns. Stripes are a recurring theme (go figure) and I really like blue on her.

dressing-audrey

Here are a few things I consider while choosing clothes for my daughter:

1. She’s four. I like her to look like a little girl and tend towards classic styles. I’d love to dress her in sweet European designs with peter pan collars and cable knit sweaters (and sometimes I try), but her personality is bright and spunky and so dressing her in fun colors and prints makes sense.

2. We have a few splurge pieces in her wardrobe, but most are inexpensive, washable, and not too precious (see favorite sources below).

3. I’m learning to let her wear her special things on ordinary days. How many party dresses and fancy shoes has she worn once and then outgrown before having another special occasion to wear them to? Too many. So she might show up in her christmas dress to the park, but at least she’s wearing it.

4. As much as I appreciate a cutely dressed child, I don’t want it to be about the clothes. Clothes are fun and darling and make a girl feel pretty, but I really don’t want her to care too much about what she’s wearing. I haven’t totally figured out how to instill this – teaching her to care about how she presents herself, but not put too much emphasis on valuing appearances – a challenge for women of all ages.

5. Sometimes when she’s feeling particularly creative with her outfit (like the time she insisted on wearing a swimsuit over her jeans in the rain – see photo above), I can’t help but go with it. It’s sort of endearing to see a child in a too-small halloween costume in July or with mismatched socks and layered tutus.

I shop for most of Audrey’s clothes at these three stores: gap, target and old navy. I’ll fill in with pieces from j.crew factory, mini boden, and I like the tights from lands end. For special dresses and shoes, I adore Joyfolie. Almost all of my shopping (except for Target because I’m there every other day) happens online. The stores I frequent run online-only sales often, so wait a week or two, join their mailing list and you’ll save a bunch.

Here are some of my current favorites from my regular online stores:

favorites-from-gap-kids

Gap is always a go-to for Audrey and the boys. They sometimes have different items in the store than online, but I do okay just sticking with ordering. Audrey wears a 5t, so I can still shop in both toddler and girl sections. Right now everything at Gap is on sale for 30% off with code THANKS. Shop Gap here.

favorites-from-old-navy

Old Navy is hit and miss for me – sometimes they get a little crazy with their graphics and logos, so I tend to stick with basics or subtle patterns. They run sales all the time and I like getting a good deal. Their current promotion is 20-30% off with code AMPM. Shop Old Navy here.

favorites-from-target

I am at Target a ridiculous amount of times per week, so I’m always grabbing a shirt here and a sweater there when they are on sale.  Again, I go for basics and items that can be mixed and matched. Shop Target here.

favorites-from-boden

Mini Boden has the cutest, best-made clothes. They are more expensive than I typically go for, but everything I’ve ordered, I’ve loved. Check their site for deals (and the cutest graphics ever). Shop MiniBoden here.

favorites-jcrew

We have a jcrew factory store at our local outlet mall. Cute stuff, less expensive, not as good of quality as crewcuts but classic styles and fun accessories. They run promotions all the time, too, so check in often. Shop JCrew Factory here.

For special dresses and shoes, I just adore the cuteness at Joyfolie.

favorites-from-joyfolie

Everything is on sale TODAY for 40% off (!) with code BIG40. I’m thinking about that sweet triangle dress for Audrey’s christmas dress this year. Shop Joyfolie here.

So there you go … my favorite sources for dressing little ones. And now I want to order it all for my Audrey girl.

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