12.31.2015

iPhone photo editing tips for Instagram

I take a lot of pictures.
 I know if you have read here long you are going.. 
"um yes, we know."
I take lots of pictures and 99% of those pictures are using my iPhone 6.  In fact- my Canon Rebel SL1 only lands around my neck maybe once a month.  My life is in high speed- and I usually have my phone in my back pocket- making it easy to whip out when the time is right. 
Its definitely not fancy, but its definitely my favorite camera.  
Over the last three years of using my phone as my main source for snapping life's moments I have had my fair share of experimenting with photo editing apps.  I'm no photographer, but I do have a vision for what I'd like to see when taking a picture.  Thats the best part- being able to edit a good moment into a great photo right on your phone. 

Not only is it important to being consistent with your posting (on Instagram), but selecting a filter/editing theme that is similar to ones you have used in the past will give your feed a clean and consistent look.  Something that many people are drawn to and gives your handle the best 'first impression'.  For 99% of my photo editing I use PicTapGo.  There are plenty of awesome apps out there, but this one works for me:)
My favorite 'RECIPES'
I love the idea of being able to essentially create my own filters - PicTapGo actually has the capability to remember your most used 'recipes'.  It allows me to maintain that consistency I'm looking for- theres that word again:)
Spending 30 minutes editing your picture to absolute perfection- but in the end you have zero clue what filters or intensities you used and where.  As you use the app more and more the app will save your most used combinations of filters- calling it my style, and you'll always be able to see the last three recipes of filters you have used. While this is an awesome feature- even better is that you can save your recipes and titling it however you like!
MY STYLE



Layering each filter, you have the ability to reduce the intensity of the filter by using the slide at the bottom of the photo.  Sliding it to the left creates a more subtle version of that particular filter.  To see how you have changed the photo- hold down the left side of the photo and it will allow you to see the original.. and holding down the right side of the photo will show you how the photo looked before you added the most recent filters.
A few more of my filter favorites using PicTapGo:
lights on 
crispity
warm it up
highlights
high fives
skinny jeans
air
milk + cookies
salt + pepper
Below I've given the 'recipes' of  each of the respective the photos from before and after editing.

auto color + lights on + crispity + high fives
 warm it up + crispity + skinny jeans
 auto color + crispity + warm it up + high fives
 As you can see- most of my before photos are much darker and less impressionable than the finished product.  I absolutely focus on using as much natural light as possible.  But even those don't always come out as bright and beautiful as I would like.  One of the easiest and most basic way to edit a photo is by brightening up and changing the lighting of the photo.  If you do nothing else- this will up your editing game tremendously.  
The BASICS
lights on // lights out // warm it up // cool it down
these four filters are a great starting point to bring life to your pictures.  I suggest starting here before adding the finishing touches to your photos.

lights on + crispity + air
 lights on + crispity + high fives
auto color + crispity + highlights + air
 Speaking of those finishing touches!  I was introduced to FaceTune almost year ago and use it pretty consistently for those perfect touches to finish off my photo editing.  It is probably the most expensive 'fluffy' app on my phone -- fluffy meaning that its not a complete necessity -- at $3.99.  Although is it much more expensive than say, those free apps out there- I promise its worth the investment. 
SMOOTH
One of my favorite editing tools of Facetune is smooth.  It smooths out the blur or shadowing of a photo- and not to mention diminishes the patchy spots due to lighting.  Plus, I'll be the first to admit that I always love the look of my skin to be just a little bit smoother.
PATCH
I don't use this patch feature every time, but when I need to cover up weird spacing or discoloration- in the above photo there was a space in the bubbles on top of Baker's head- so I added a patch to fill in where those bubbles were missing.
DETAILS
This feature is like the icing on the cake.  It is my favorite and go-to after the smooth feature.. simply zoom in and swipe over whatever I want to clarify a little more, usually eyes, or enhancing her long eyelashes- and I love this feature for when a really great photo is just a little blurry because my phone didn’t focus quick enough. I also use this feature when I want to enhance wording on a shirt or make the details of a hair bow pop..It always makes Baker's really cool grey eyes a little bolder- bringing 
out their true beauty!  I do want to make note that it is really easy to over-do it when using this feature.  You run the risk of losing the integrity of the photo.. so use 'details'  sparingly and try hard not to create an added harshness to whatever you are trying to enhance.

PicTapGo Editing:
auto color + crispity + lights on + air
Facetune Editing:
smooth + patch + details
While I do play around with Afterlight and VSCO, PicTapGo and Facetune are my favorites these days.  
Quick. Convenient. Easy.  I'm a fan of all three of those words.
You'll have to play around with these apps, familiarize yourself with how they work and what features you prefer.. and sometimes you'll take a photo that no amount of editing can fix the lighting or decrease all that yellow..
just say yes to the black and white:)

12.30.2015

preparing for solids

Her first bites.  
We are SO close to getting Baker's first taste of this messy and delicious milestone. 
At Baker's four month check up, her pediatrician mention starting cereal, but I hadn't noticed her increased interest in food when we would eat around her- besides.. I just wasn't ready yet.  The twins started eating oatmeal cereal at four months, and at 6 months I started making their fruits and veggie purees (part I + part II).  The first time mom in me really loved preparing all their foods..and it never advanced from the purees and oatmeal. By the time they got to twelve months of age- they had only had a little bit of 'real' food and so the struggle was real in the introduction of table foods.
This time around with Baby Baker I am definitely going to experiment and try a hybrid of both pureed foods and baby led weaning.  I'm doing this for a couple reasons..
 o n e.. I want the transition to solid (non-pureed) foods to be easier and well received.
t w o.. toddlers.  twin toddlers. running my life.
Although- I bet they would LOVE to help feed her.

This is going to be such an experience for all of us!
While we are still a couple weeks away from trying our first sweet potato, I've put together a guide to help you and me make this transition easier when the time comes- and that time is coming at high speed!  I think I might be ready.. and Baker is SO ready- homegirl grabs everything in sight and directly puts it into her mouth.  
Here we go!

While I plan to start with soft pureed foods - oatmeal first, as I did with the twins, and then I plan to introduce pureed fruits and veggies pretty quickly.  While I'm all set with my baby brezza, I love this Dr. Brown's mini food masher  for a quick mash when I need something quick.  A bowl with a rubber bottom- because I had my fair share of bowls kicked off the counter (or out of my hand) by the twins on more than one occasion. Spoons with a wide, shallow base make it easy for your babe to get the food to their mouths - and I love these because of the spatula feature to help wipe away the mess that doesn't make it into her mouth.
OF COURSE the bib is essential.. and a bib with a pocket would be preferred:)  It is time like these when I wish we had an inside dog to clean up after us.
Lastly- the storage.  These silicon freezer trays hold about 2 ounces of food in each little pod, and the flexible tray makes popping out the frozen purees easy peasy.
The stackable snack cups make on-the-go really convenient!  Feeding Baker while out and about just got simple with these leak-proof cups!

I'm so excited for this next milestone- maybe its the foodie in me, I dunno.. but she is growing just way too fast!

12.28.2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015.  The best year yet.
This weekend, recovering after the crazy of Thursday and Friday, we are all sad to see this amazing holiday come to an end.. but I must admit I have loved watching the girls wake to their new things with just as much excitement as they had on Christmas morning.   
On Christmas Eve we loaded the babes up, dressed in their best Christmas attire and headed to church for the afternoon service.  The twins had their own class to attend and Baker sat with us- holding her daddy's candle as we sang 'O Holy Night'.  After church, we headed out for our annual Christmas Eve window shopping and dinner with BB and Papa.
After dinner we came home to wear our new pajamas and fuzzy slippers, Christmas Mickey on the tv and sugar cookies for Santa baking in the oven.  After serious discussions about Jesus' birthday and whether Santa likes strawberry milk or not (..and he does.  He likes it a lot..) we finally got the babes down for the night and Jordan and I got to work finishing up the final details for Christmas to be complete.  
Being Santa is probably the coolest job, ever.  
 Christmas morning.
The girls got everything on their wish lists- including the Barbie house they spoke of the a month leading up to this day, and Elsa (and Anna) doll, princess shoes, and more.
stockings are from pottery barn:)




 After we opened presents, we headed over to BB and Papa's house for a Christmas breakfast and to spend the rest of the day.

 My favorite moment of the entire day.  Jolie and her daddy playing a tune with the harmonicas BB got the girls.






Another one for the books!  We didn't get out of our pajamas all day long, snacked on cookies, chocolate delight, and banana pudding in between cups of coffee and hot chocolate..there was honey baked ham, mashed potatoes, green beans and yeast rolls that sat on the counter and doubled in size for hours leading up to the dinner meal.  All while wearing our slippers.. and totally failed at getting a family photo.  
We left for home with full bellies, tired and exhausted from doing absolutely nothing all day- only to have the excitement of Christmas all over again when the twins walked into the living room.. still a complete mess from that morning.
So, I made some hot cocoa and we played Barbie dolls well past everyone's bed time.   

I loved everything about this day. 
I hope you're day was as Merry as ours!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  
Isaiah 9:6

12.25.2015

Merry Masseys 2015

card design: CKFireboots on Etsy
photography credit: BFaith Photography 

Christmas Cards of Years Past:
2014 // 2013 // 2012 // 2011 // 2010 // 2009 // 2008

12.24.2015

Baker's First Christmas // One more sleep

There is something to be said about a baby's first Christmas. 
Nothing sweeter than baby festive Christmas Eve attire, warm bonnets, baby booties, and snuggled up for bed in a union suit etched with her name across the bum.
Ah.  Baker girl I am so excited to have this holiday season to spend with you.  
One year ago on Christmas Eve we announced that we would be having a sweet baby. And here we are. One year later with the happiest and sweetest little thing on the planet. 
Capturing your precious little demeanor, expressive eyes (and those awesome eyebrows!!), and jolly bare belly in this first year of your life was one of my favorite times of this entire holiday season.

Special thank you to the fabulous Brittany, as always, for snapping these pictures!    











photography // b faith photography
santa hat // little blue olive
leg warmers //  simple tree boutique
fuzzy bloomers // wrare doll

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