Sunday, October 4, 2015

Five Photo-Editing Apps for iPhone to Up Your Instagram Game

I've made it my mission to put more effort into my photos. Having a lot of time to myself these past six months since my major break-up (I can't believe it's been that long!), I rekindled a variety of my interests--most notably, my love of photography. I'm notorious for going on these Pinterest "sprees" where I fill my boards with beautiful editorial shots and eccentric-but-cute Tokyo street style looks--because let's be real, there's no fashion like Japanese fashion--but as much as I like curating my own space where I can cite inspiration for my next creative project, I realized that I wasn't contributing my own work as much as I'd like to due to time constraints and not having my camera accessible at all times.

Social sharing sites like Instagram have made it easier to take beautiful photos directly from my phone that I'm able to share with followers on days when I'm not active on the blog. Instagram has clearly stepped up its game since being acquired by Facebook, but I still like having a variety of options based on the mood I'm trying to capture that filters alone can't offer. Below, I've shared my five favorite photo-editing apps (in no particular order) which my readers can use to enhance their iPhone photography. Sometimes, I use them in conjunction with each other or with the filters on Instagram, or other times, I prefer to use them alone.  Versatility in apps is rad.

*Note: These are apps that I use on my iPhone 5c using iOs software. I'm unsure if these are available for Android.*

1. Decopic

Decopic is the newest addition to my photo-editing arsenal, and I am OBSESSED. The app was popularized in Japan as a way to create digital albums on your phone, although I only use it for single images.  There are options to add templates, filters and, my favorite: STAMPS! I swear, there are hundreds of stamps to choose from with more available for purchase within the app.  I love adding kawaii elements to make my photos pop.  Decopic really brings out my inner ~*~magical girl~*~ 

2. Afterlight

Afterlight is a fantastic app that's really popular among bloggers. The app is chock-full of fine-tuning elements (brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation, etc.) that you would find in software like Photoshop but also includes sets of filters, textural elements and light-leak options that give photos a 35-mm film look.  There's even a dual-exposure feature that allows you to create layers, as illustrated above.  People constantly ask me what apps I use, and if you can only buy just one, I would suggest Afterlight hands down.

3. Picfx

Picfx is predominately a filter app.  The filters that they offer are some of the most interesting I've come across by far AND you have the option to layer the filters on top of each other, which you're unable to do in Instagram. I prefer to use Picfx when I'm going for a vintage vibe (the top filter is called "Valentine," how appropriate), which is like 90% of the time if we're being honest.  Picfx is the only app I've come across that has bokeh elements, which really bring a dreamy vibe to my photos that I adore.

4. FilterGrid

FilterGrid is another of those "just for fun" apps. I love the colorblock effect that it gives photos, and the cool part is that you're able to change the shape, colors and size of the filters based on your personal preference.  You can also colored text blocks on top of your pictures with messages like "I Love You," which would be really cute to send to your mom or significant other.  As a heads up, be careful before sharing photos from FilterGrid on your networks because they automatically add a watermark with their logo, so I would advise turning off that feature first.

5. A Beautiful Mess App

It's no secret that I've been following A Beautiful Mess for years.  Elsie + Emma are a huge inspiration to me as a blogger, so when they released their photo-editing app named after their widely-successful blog, I scooped it up on the first day.  Similar to Afterlight, the app features a few basic editing features like opacity, brightness and contrast, but my favorite features are the filters (the black & white ones are impeccable) and the hand-drawn doodles designed by Elsie.  You can add them as stand-alone elements or you can use them as a border or even to add textual elements.  They also have really cool background options if you want to add a pop of color.  I would highly recommend this app (as well as the sister app "Party!Party!" for stop-motion video) because it is user-friendly and geared towards social sharing.  ABM is putting out their third app later this year, so I'm super pumped for the reveal.

If you're looking to step-up your Instagram game, I would recommend purchasing these apps--most of them are under $1 in the App store.  For all you photography pros out there, what are some of your favorite apps to use?  Be sure to list your favorites in the comments so that I can check them out.

'Til next time, kittens!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Brand Crush: Vivetta Resort 2016 Collection Lookbook


Be still, my kitten heart! Vivetta's Resort 2016 Collection debuted last week, and I am completely blown away. I've been obsessively tagging all of my fashion enthusiast friends on Facebook with sentiments like "THIS COLLECTION CHANGED MY LIFE" or "I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT THAT SWAN SKIRT, SEND MONEY PLZ!" 

Vivetta is an Italian fashion label based out of Milan created by Vivetta Ponti.  I learned recently that she previously worked at the fashion house Roberto Cavalli (!!) and credits that experience as inspiring her to start her own clothing line with an emphasis on iconic embroidery, most famously the hand collar popularized a few years ago.  She also really likes animals, which inspires a lot of her work such as the swan details pictured above.  For Resort 2016, she credits the socialites of the 60s and the photography of Slim Aarons as a major catalyst for the collection.
Ponti recruited renowned stylist Leith Clark (my favorite fashion stylist currently working) to find the balance of posh and weird:  the combination of the striking details in the embroidery, the incorporation of pastels paired with bold colors and the graphic elements present in the designs ooze nostalgia while simultaneously maintaining a fashion-forward vibe ideal for the retail circuit.  Now if only I had expendable funds... T_T (More photos of the collection can be found on the website.)

'Til next time, kittens!

Friday, June 26, 2015

OOTD: Big Hair and BB Dakota

Sometimes all it takes is looking at things from a fresh perspective. 

The title of this post is a bit misleading: these are actually outfit photos that I took around a month or two ago.  When I originally looked at the camera roll, I wasn't really feeling the shots Jordan (my now ex-boyfriend) took, so I just decided to give up and try again later. At the time, I was feeling incredibly self-conscious about my weight, and it was painfully obvious (to me) how awkward I felt just by looking at these pictures.

I've been doing a lot of computer work recently, and I came across the folder these photos were stored in. I scrolled through (because I was bored, duh) and started wondering to myself why I felt so crummy about these shots in the first place--they look fine! I think because of the factors I had going on in my life back then (quitting my stable full-time job, reflecting on a disappointing doctor's appointment, being in a relationship that had soured), I overanalyzed these pictures and discarded them from my editorial calendar without really thinking through my actions.  Amazing how your emotions can really affect your outlook on life, and in the future, I'll really consider this point before writing off blog content.

Since this point, I have come to appreciate my curvy new figure, and I'm enjoying finding new styles to wear and cycling out clothes that don't fit anymore. I'm thinking of it less as a "Holy shit, I've gained 40 pounds!" and more of an "Oh, I'm 26, and the body I have at 26 won't be the same as the body I had at 19. Let's get some new clothes to show off that bootay."  Body acceptance is rad.

Dress: BB Dakota (via ModCloth)
Mules:  J. Crew
Cat Eye Sunglasses: ModCloth
Denim Jacket: Forever 21 (I got this jacket when I worked there, but that's a story for another time)
Big Hair: genetics

This dress is from BB Dakota, a style blogger favorite.  I love BB Dakota because they don't play into the stupid notions of exclusivity and financial privilege that are generally associated with the fashion industry; they instead believe that glamor is achieved by the person wearing the clothes and living life in a bold way, not by a price tag which dictates what you can and can't do for fear of messing up your garment. As they say, "It's only fashion." #preach  You can check out the full brand manifesto here, it's a really great read.

'Til next time, kittens!