Future Goals for 2019 (Blogmas Day 7)

Hello everyone! It’s Friday!! Hope you are all doing well and are ready for the weekend. I know it’s a much needed break for me. For Blogmas Day 7, I wanted to keep it fairly simple and write down some future goals I have for the coming year. I find this very helpful to look back on a year from now and see what things I accomplished or what I added to the list. Let me know if you guys are planning any of the same things for the coming year or anything new I should add! Let’s get to it.

  1. Travel: I’m sure this is something that’s on everyone’s list for the new year. As you can tell from my multiple travel posts on the blog, I adore exploring new countries or cities. There’s something about traveling that just makes me feel so happy and like I’m doing something right. I’d love to go back to Europe sometime within the next year. Although this may be wishful thinking, I can still dream, right?
  2. Apartment hunting: This is definitely something that’s going to be a big part of my life in the coming year. Although looking for a new place comes with lots of complications, it’s something I’m really looking forward to. I want to make a little home for myself and take this big leap. I loved having my own space in my past apartment when I was in school, and I think my next apartment will be even more exciting!
  3. Make more videos: Creating content for YouTube becomes more fun with each upload. Editing is coming easier, which has given me more creative possibilities. I want to make videos that I’m genuinely interested in and grow a collection that I’m proud of. I would love to post consistently once a week or even more if possible!
  4. Continue my health journey: 2018 was a major shift in my health. I reached goals I didn’t think I’d ever get to and my lifestyle is going in a more positive direction every day. Once I quit soccer when I was younger, I struggled to keep fit (which is a whole other story) but I’m starting too feel more like me again. Instead of seeing fitness as a task I have to check off a list, it’s simply becoming part of my life. My health takes top priority now and I’m seeing the results. I plan on taking this mindset into 2019 and reaching my end goal by summer.
  5. Seeking other avenues in my education: Grad school has always been in the back of my mind. Since graduating and taking a break from my studies to work and pursue a career, part of me can’t help but to wonder how much further I could go. Going to grad school would be a huge decision but I’d like to at least give myself the option by researching. 2019 will tell which path life will take me. That’s a bit terrifying but also exciting!

I hope you guys enjoyed this little list! What exciting things do you have planned for 2019?? I’d love to know down in the comments! Happy one week of Blogmas! xx

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The Christmas Tag! (Blogmas Day 5)

What’s up everyone?? It’s Blogmas Day 5! I thought today would be a good opportunity to put up a more simple post. As well as something that’s more interactive and that you all can participate in if you like! I searched Christmas tags online and stumbled upon a ton of results! I didn’t know The Christmas Tag was at thing in this little blogger world but I’m so happy it is! The tag consists of tons of fun questions around the theme of Christmas and I encourage anyone and everyone to participate if you have a blog or Instagram (it could make a great caption to a holiday photo). However, I will also be tagging some of my favorite bloggers to participate in this tag specifically. These questions are from a blog called Makeup Savvy. So let’s kick it off!


1. What is your favorite Christmas Movie?

This is a bit of a difficult one because I love a good Christmas movie marathon at night. However, I’ll have to say “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my absolutely favorite movie. My family and I have a tradition of watching it every year on Christmas Eve night and it’s something I still want to do when I have a family of my own. It’s a black and white film from 1947 that follows a boy from childhood to adulthood. He of course falls in love but also finds himself in some messy business situations. Eventually he wishes he never existed in the first place around Christmastime, so an angel grants his wish. I won’t spoil the end for you, you’ll have to watch it yourselves but I highly recommend this American classic!

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

When I was a kid, my parents allowed my sister and I to open one present on Christmas Eve in anticipation for Christmas morning. It was always something fun like a video game that would keep us busy since we were so excited for the coming morning. Although we are both adults now and receive very different gifts, the tradition has stayed alive.

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3. Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?

I think I create new favorite memories every year. We host Christmas at our home so we always have lots of family around on Christmas Day. I think I simply love spending time with my family every year that I don’t get to see too often. Yeah yeah, call me corny!

4. Favorite festive food?

I want to do a post on this soon, but Trader Joe’s offers their peppermint Joe Joe cookies in a holiday version. By that I mean dipped in chocolate with peppermint chunks on top. If you’re unfamiliar with Joe Joe cookies, they’re basically Trader Joes’ “healthy” version of an Oreo. But let’s be real, it’s probably just as bad for you, LOL! I’d say these are more of a snack or dessert but you guys know I literally cannot go a day without chocolate…I acknowledge it’s a problem. My mom and I will also do some baking for the holidays. One of my faves is a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey’s kiss in the middle. They’re to die for and make the house smell like a bakery!

5. Favourite Christmas gift?

The best Christmas gift I was every given was from my parents last year, actually! They had planned for all of us to go to London and Paris in the summer of 2018. I’ve written all about that trip and what an amazing time I had (minus my bedridden days in Paris). Traveling will always be the best gift. Especially as I’ve gotten older, experiences have becomes so valuable to me. I’ve mentioned this so many times before but London feels like a second home to me and I’ll always want to go back.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?

Again, I’ve got to hand it to Trader Joe’s! Recently my coworker has been burning the most amazing candle from there. It’s a pine tree scent that would make you believe there was a large pine tree right in the middle of our office. It’s the most Christmasy scent I’ve ever smelled and I’ve been wanting to stock up for my room at home. Most times candles give me a headache but this one hasn’t done that at all! I’d definitely recommend this if you’re sensitive to scents but still want to get into the holiday mood!

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

I kind of answered this in the first question but I love my family’s tradition of getting all snuggled up on the couch and popping in a Blu-Ray of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (Did anyone get my YouTube reference? Anyone?) Anyways, it will always be one of my favorite films of all time and with the lights from our tree, it makes the perfect Christmas evening.

8. What tops your tree?

Honestly, some years nothing at all! Sometimes we will tie a big bow around the top but our tree is 7 or 8 feet tall so there’s not much room for a topper.

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9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?

As a kid, there is no way I could ever complain about what I received for Christmas. My parents, I mean Santa, always pulled through and got me the most thoughtful gifts. I was never disappointed and this is a feeling I hope to give to my own kids some day. I’ll always hope they feel loved and surprised every Christmas morning like I was.

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

Hmm, I think for me just the overall happy vibe that comes with Christmas. People get time off from work, students come home and are finished with finals, and it’s a great time to give back. Everyone always seems just a little bit happier. I know I’m definitely in a better mood when it starts to get a little bit chilly and rain starts falling (even though I don’t have the best wardrobe for cold weather). It’s also the end of one year and the start of something completely fresh and new. It’s so rejuvenating knowing a new year is coming with so many new possibilities. What better way to kick this off than with the Christmas season??

My nominations. I’d like to nominate the following bloggers in no particular order to participate in this tag!
Don’t Give a Jam
Absolutely Olivia
Blog About A Latte
Lattes Darling
Mack Marie
Just Hannah Here
Chanelle Hayley
With Love, Caroline
Kristen Shane
Kittyp0p

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Christmas at Santa’s Village by the Sea (Blogmas Day 3)

Christmas at Santa’s Village by the Sea (Blogmas Day 3)

Happy Blogmas Day 3 everyone!!! We’re still going strong! I’m actually really excited about today’s post. Not only because a lot more work went into it, but because this event is sure to get you in the Christmas mood! Living in south Orange County, my city puts on an event every year on December 1st. The city is often referred to as the “Spanish Village by the Sea” but to transform it for Christmas, this event was called “Santa’s Village by the Sea.” Great marketing in my opinion! The shops along downtown are all open with some sales and decorated with Christmas lights. Some of my favorite shops even offered Christmas cookies, champagne, and charcuterie. Everything was so lit up and beautiful. It was also quite the chilly night so us Californians got a little taste of what a cold December night is like, LOL.

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I bundled up in one of my favorite holiday sweaters with some boots and a beanie from Topshop. Downtown was way more busy than I expected but it was awesome seeing so many people out celebrating. Lots of shops had little kiosks that lined the streets. Hot chocolate and coffee was of course being sold (and you know your girl couldn’t pass that up.) If you were in the mood for a snack, kettle corn and cotton candy was also being sold. This event was a great opportunity for small business to sell their jewelry or homemade goods as well. It’s always fun to support a local business! One shop even had a small skate ramp for the kids (you can see that in the video) and was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever set my eyes on.

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It was honestly so fun just walking around, taking in all the sights and shopping around some of my favorite clothing stores. It really did feel like a winter wonderland (minus the snow of course because we’re still in California people!) This would be the perfect date for you and your special someone if you’re ever in the area next year. What would make this event even more special would be a small ice skating rink or fake snow! So without me rambling on about this awesome event, check out the video below to watch all the fun, Christmasy things that went on! Talk to you all tomorrow xx

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Christmas Bucket List (Blogmas Day 2)

Hey guys! Happy Blogmas Day 2!! Hope you all enjoyed my Blogger Gift Guide yesterday. For today, I wanted to put together a little Christmas bucket list! I did this when autumn rolled around and although I definitely didn’t complete everything, it was fun to have some goals! You can check that out here if you like. So here are some things I’m looking forward to during this Christmas season!

Hot chocolate by the fire: One of my absolute favorite things to make during Christmas time is hot chocolate. (Well really, I could drink hot chocolate during any season). Regardless, I go all out with my hot chocolate during the holidays. My family normally has the Nestle hot chocolate packets for quick cups of hot cocoa. I think these are honestly delicious but another great way to make hot chocolate is to put dark chocolate almond milk from the brand “Silk” into a pot on the stove. Heat that up, put it in your favorite Christmas mug, and top it with whipped cream, cinnamon, and a mini candy cane. Extremely unhealthy but hey, it’s Christmas!

Decorating the tree: This is something every family all over the world does during the holidays, but for my family it takes a few hours. We’ve saved so many ornaments throughout the years that range from birthdays, traveling, homemade ornaments, anniversaries, etc. We have a large artificial tree that looks amazing once all the ornaments are placed and the lights are turned on. We also have a smaller Christmas tree that’s beach themed so all the ornaments have little sandmen instead of snowmen with waves and seashells everywhere!

Christmas light sight seeing: Driving around watching all the Christmas lights in different neighborhoods. This is something I have never failed to do. My parents used to drive my sister and I around during the holidays when we were little to see all the fun lights. Some houses sync the movement of the lights to a radio station, so it’s a full on light and audio show. Now that’s Christmas commitment! Whether you’re driving around with your family or your significant other, this is a holiday tradition you can’t miss!

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Watching/reading Blogmas posts & videos: This one may be a little obvious, but I love sitting down and watching Christmas vlogs from some of my favorite YouTubers like Zoella (she slays it with the Christmas vibes). I love watching longer vlogs that will distract me when I’m on the treadmill or need some sound on while I’m working or putting things away. It’s also a great opportunity to find Christmas gift ideas or places to visit during the holidays. They really get me in the mood for this time of year and I always look forward to it!

Christmas makeup looks: Creating more makeup looks for you guys is something I want to get back into. I feel like my creativity with makeup goes in and out but I’d love to create a few different looks and possibly make some videos on them? While I wear makeup everyday, it’s been rare lately when I actually sit down to create something unique. It’s also one of the only times of year when you can own a red or burgundy lip. I tend to move towards the burgundy or wine shades when it comes to lip color so I’d love to play around with that again!

Ice Skating: While I feel like I’m getting more and more uncoordinated every year, I actually really enjoy going to the rink and ice skating. It’s one of my only opportunities to wear something truly winter inspired without worrying about the sun popping out and roasting me alive, LOL. I’m definitely not used to being on the ice but it also makes for an extremely fun date!

What are you guys looking forward to this holiday season?? Do you do anything special where you live? Let me know down in the comments and I’ll see you tomorrow on Blogmas Day 3! xx

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Best Christmas Gifts for Bloggers (Blogmas Day 1)

Well, it’s that time of year again everyone! Not only is it the first of December, but it’s the first day of Blogmas!! I participated last year and consistently posted once everyday from December 1st to December 25th. It was a huge accomplishment when it came to my blog and it helped its growth immensely. I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it again this year though. Since starting my job and graduating college, consistency has still been difficult for me and I don’t want to commit to something I can’t follow through with. However, I remembered how much I enjoyed Blogmas last year and I really don’t want to miss out on that. With that being said, I’m going to try my absolute hardest to post everyday while making content I love.

So kick off the first post of Blogmas, I thought I’d make a little gift guide for the blogger in your life. Whether that’s yourself or someone close to you, these are a few items that I couldn’t create a post without!

Nikon D5500

Where would I be without my Nikon?? I received this camera a few years ago and it has made the biggest difference when it comes to blogging. While it is definitely a big investment, there is no doubt that high quality photography will be an enormous asset to any blog. I personally find photography a great creative outlet, so I love editing photos to add into my blog posts. I took a digital photography class in college, so I got a chance to learn in the ins and outs of my camera. While I’m definitely not close to being a professional, it’s a learning experience with each post and each photo. Taking blog photos with your phone is totally acceptable, but having a DSLR camera simply makes your posts much more impressive. Another great camera brand is Canon. I’ve actually considered switching to Canon in the future. From my research Canon is a better brand when it comes to video creation. So if you or a friend also enjoys creating videos, I’d recommend a Canon.

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Etsy Presets

I have a post dedicated to Etsy photo presets and how to find them, so I’ll link that here. To recap, you can find extremely affordable photo filters on Etsy! This would be such a unique gift to any blogger or Instagrammer in your life. Most of the presets are only $1 to $8. If you know the person’s aesthetic, this could be a gift they really appreciate and actually use. I know I personally would love to have a collection of Etsy presets, especially if they’re being created by other bloggers or creators. Here is the url if you’d like to search some of Etsy’s photo presets.

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Ring Light

This is something I bought a few weeks back for a few reasons. First of all, I’d love to have the perfect lighting when I’m taking product or outfit photos indoors. Secondly since I work all day, it’s nighttime when I get back home so there’s no opportunities for me to take photos outside or in any decent lighting. A ring light will eliminate all issues like these and make your blogger’s life so much easier. If they like to create videos as well, this will be the absolute perfect gift for them. While they also get a bit pricey, there are some cheaper options on Amazon, which is where I got my ring light.

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Notebooks

This is definitely a cheap option when it comes to blogger gifts. From personal experience, some of the best and most popular posts I’ve written have been planned out in my notebook first. I’ll write down all the details to a post or video and allow them to guide me as I create. If it’s a simple lined paper notebook from Michaels, or something a little more ornate, it really doesn’t matter much. The fact that you are encouraging them to write, plan out, and release blog posts is such a huge gesture and sometimes the simplest way to support them is with a little notebook. Even though we live in such a digital age, I still strongly believe in writing things down whether you are studying or being creative.

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Blogger Gift Basket

Jumping from that idea, a blogger gift basket would be such an incredible present. Buying a small wicker basket from a craft store and filling it with small notebooks, pens, and pencils would be incredibly cute and thoughtful. Another blogger hack: Michael’s sells poster board with textures and patterns. For example they have a white wood pattern option. We’ve all had to buy these for projects in middle school and high school and they’re seriously so cheap. I’m talking a buck or two. Including these in a gift basket to be used as lay flat backdrops would be perfect. Maybe throw in some healthy snacks like almonds, protein bars, microwaveable popcorn for your blogger to snack on while they write posts. This is totally customizable and depends on the person but I know I’d love to receive this as a gift this Christmas!

If you have someone in your life that loves to blog, I hope this gift guide was helpful! It can be difficult to find that perfect gift for someone but whether you splurge or create a customizable present, it’s the thought that counts. As someone who is fairly creative, I love receiving anything that will help me with my blog. Even if it’s something so small like a photo backdrop! Let me know what other blogger gifts you’ve found this Christmas! Talk to you all on Blogmas Day 2! xx

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How I Edit my Instagram Photos! (Step by Step Tutorial with Apps I Use)

Hey everyone! Happy Monday! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are ready to start a new week. You guys have been leaving me the sweetest comments on my Instagram about how I’m editing my photos. I’ve been using some new processes and loving how they’ve been turning out. I think my photos are getting a fairly similar look, so I thought I’d go step by step with what I’m doing. Some apps I use you must have an Adobe Creative Suite account and others are completely free to use without an account like that. I’ll be editing a photo I took the other day down by the pier. You can find the version I posted here. With that being said, let’s jump right into this edit!

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Alrighty guys so here is the original photo, straight from my camera, untouched by any editing apps. This was taken vertically, which I normally don’t do but wanted to get as many of the palm trees in the shot as possible. PRO TIP: I prefer to take my photos from farther away or zoomed completely out because I can always crop them later. As you can see, the colors are kind of dull and this just seems like an average photo. Until editing comes in of course!!

So to start off this edit, I’m going to open my Lightroom CC app, which is part of the Adobe Creative Suite, but most of these adjustments you can make on any other editing app. I simply use Lightroom for the filter I bought on Etsy, which I have an entire post on. IMG_1564.jpeg

So firstly, I will import the photo into the app. The first thing that I like to adjust is the size of the photo. I normally will do the 1:1 ratio crop, which makes a perfect square and will fit Instagram perfectly. However for this photo, I will customize the crop length and go for something more vertical so the palms will be included. Cropping is something you can do on literally any editing app or even in the Photos app which is configured on your iPhone.

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Next, I will apply the filter I use on every one of my photos. This one is called “Golden” and it’s from a preset pack I bought from Etsy. In the post I linked above, you can learn all about how I got this filter into Lightroom from Etsy. As you can see, once the filter is applied it changes the colors quite a bit. It’s a little less saturated and the tones have shifted a bit. I prefer my colors a little less saturated and tones more on the cool side, which you’ll see later on how I achieve that. The cool thing about the Etsy presets is that you can still adjust aspects like saturation, brightness, contrast, white balance, etc. So what you see here is not set in stone. Every photo is different so the preset will actually be altered depending on the photo.

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So now I will go into detailing. It’s a bit hard to see here, but my skin actually has some red splotches and I look white as a ghost (which yes, I’m not extremely tan right now but don’t @ me, LOL). So I will go into the “Light” section at the bottom of the screen, where you can find shadows, whites, blacks, brightness, and anything to do with lighting. Since this preset makes my skin look extremely white, I usually have to bring down the shadows and exposure. It’s honestly all about playing with these options and figuring out what works best for a specific photo. I probably spend the most time in the “Light” section trying to fix any bugs the preset may have applied. Normally by the time I’m done the odd marks on skin or anywhere else is gone and we can move on to the next step.

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So now I head over to the “Color” tab at the bottom. I usually have to change the luminance in the red tones, which helps fix that reddish color in my skin. Usually the orange tones need adjusting as well, which helps bring a little more color back into your skin tone. I’ll then head over to the teal and blue colors for adjusting. I’ll bring down the hue of both of them, which changes the color of my jeans and the sky quite a bit. I prefer them to be more on the teal side than the navy side. Of course, my jeans aren’t actually that color as you can see in the original, but I personally think it’s a great color and matches my Instagram theme. If you look closely, it changed the hue of anything that was the color of my jeans in the photo. For example the ocean is now more teal as well as the lining of the roof in the background and the blue in my flannel.

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Now for the final step (in the Lightroom app) is to make small adjustments with vibrance and saturation. If I think any of the colors I changed are too much, I simply bring down the saturation or vibrance. Similarly, if I think the colors just aren’t there yet, I’ll bring up the saturation and vibrance. So simple! As I mentioned before, it’s all about playing with these settings and finding what works best for the colors in your photo. I will also keep in mind some of the colors that are already in my feed and try to match them as best I can. Once all of this is done, make sure to SAVE what you’ve just edited.

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Okay guys we’re switching it up and heading over to the Afterlight app. This is where I apply subtle dusty filters, which gives a bit of a vintage effect. It’s something you can see on almost all of my photos on Instagram, as well as many other Instagrammers. These filters in Afterlight are accessible to anyone. At the bottom you’ll see a little film icon, which is where you’ll find dusty filters, light filters, and more! I go to the dusty section, where there’s a ton of different types of “dust.” Some have more specs, some have less, some will apply a faded effect to your photo, others will darken. It honestly all depends on the photo for which dusty filter works best. For today’s edit, I used #9, as I thought the placement of the dust specs looked nice. You can rotate and flip the filters depending on your photo. You can totally skip this effect, but it’s simply an extra step I like to take with my photos.

IMG_1574.JPGIMG_1575.JPGSo here is the final edit and a side by side! As you can tell, a lot of the ones have changed a bit to my preferences. Editing photos in this way definitely takes some time, but I personally find it very fun to watch a photo transform and added to the rest of my theme. It’s all about finding fun in being creative and not simply “doing it for the gram.” Let me know what you think of this edit or if this post was helpful to you! If you guys have any questions regarding editing, please leave them below! Talk to you all soon and have an amazing week! xx

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Creative Tips from a Graphic Designer! (Tricks to Create an Aesthetically Pleasing Composition)

Hey everyone! Wow, I’m so sorry it’s been almost a week since I’ve made a blog post. I’ve been trying to post at least twice a week but unfortunately, life gets in the way sometimes. However, this weekend has been filled with filming videos for YouTube and planning Instagram posts, so more content is definitely coming your way, I promise! For today’s post, I thought I’d do something a little different. Since I went to school for four years to study Graphic Design and have now become a working Graphic Designer, I realized I could probably be sharing tons of tips that could help all of you creatively. Whether that be with your blog, Instagram, Canva, YouTube, Tumblr, or whatever other platforms you use! That’s all I ever want to do with this blog: help you guys!!! So let’s jump into it!

The Rule of Thirds

Alright so I want to start off with one of the most important rules when it comes to design or art: The Rule of Thirds. This is a very common idea if you’re an art major or involved in any creative community. This is basically a guideline to follow to produce aesthetically pleasing images that fill the space nicely or allow for white space (empty space). Sometimes, having white space in any of your compositions is actually more aesthetically pleasing than completely filling the space.

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For example, here is my most recent Instagram post. In this photo I have three main objects: my hat, the “Stay Spooky” sign, and the pumpkin. Although there are other elements in this photo, those are the three main objects your eye is drawn to. Your eye is drawn from the sign/text, to the hat, and down to the pumpkin, taking your view through the entire composition. At least, that’s how my brain works, LOL. It is also very helpful to think of your image as a grid.

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Now normally, I prefer to use my own photography in a blog post, but I wanted to illustrate this idea clearly. Here is an image from Google illustrating the grid idea. It is best to place subjects where the grid intersects, which is always off center. Notice how the surfer in this photo is placed in the right hand corner. Having something placed directly in the middle will most likely not create an interesting composition or catch someone’s eye.

Take Your Time

Sometimes when you’re doing something creative, you hit a block or things just aren’t turning out how you wanted. Especially in the design world, this happens quite often. I know when it comes to blog photography for me, sometimes I just can’t get the right shot and it’s definitely frustrating. However, I notice when I take my time on something and not simply rushing through it will create better results. Even if you need to step away for a few minutes, you will come to a solution quicker. This is something even I’m trying to get better at. Being a creative person isn’t always easy, but you still must find solutions.

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Instagram Themes

This is another great way to get creative and focus on beautiful compositions. Personally with my Instagram, I like changing up my photos so my overall theme will have a variety visually. What I mean by this is posting a different photo each time. For example, I will try to post a full OOTD, then maybe a close up of an outfit, and after that a flat lay. While this is sometimes hard to accomplish, I always try to keep it in the back of my mind. My Instagram definitely isn’t perfect, but I have a lot of fun with it! Keeping a consistent color theme and working to be better has been such a fun hobby!

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Visual Hierarchy

Another very important aspect of design is visual hierarchy. I touched on this a bit previously but this is especially important if text is included in your photo. When it comes to posting information, you want the title to be larger, in a bold font, or have some quality that makes it stand out from any other text. Any small details should be in a smaller or less heavy font. For example when I’m promoting a new photo from Instagram on my story, I always include a title and some extra information about it. I create this with the Canva app, and it’s been a great addition to my blog/Instagram!

While all of these are very simple tips that I use everyday, I know most people did not go to school for design. So I genuinely hope this helped any of you! Let me know down in the comments if you have any composition tricks that you can share! I’d love to know what you guys love creating! Talk to you all very soon! xx

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