Friday, 20 June 2014

Picture perfect social media!

We can't all be Henri Cartier-Bresson but we can but try! For those bloggers that rely on images to tell their stories then this fantastic little book can help make the difference between having a blog that has a few dozen readers and a blog that becomes essential reading for hundreds of followers!
You see there are a ton of blogs out there and it's pretty hard keeping readers engaged and interested.

Picture Perfect Social Media gives you the confidence to stand out in an ever evolving, competitive blogosphere. The Internet is a vast and fickle thing as you know, so listen up people... the reality is that you need to up your game and what better way to do so then by making your blog a lifestyle destination!
A Handbook for Styling Perfect Photos for Posting, Blogging and all your social media needs!

Whether you're blogging about your home made cakes or documenting your globe trotting adventures having great complementary photos can increase your web traffic flow as well as reach as many new readers as possible and keep those returning coming back for more.

What the author and photographer Jennifer Young manages to do is prove that you don't need to be a professional stylist to add beautiful, captivating and unique visuals to your blog.
Tapping in on years of experience we're offered simple and direct instruction on how to achieve brilliant compositions, stunning images and even let in on a few trade secrets too. This book has plenty of great examples and easy to follow tutorials including practical things like d.i.y. light boxes to help you achieve the best products shots to retouching and recalibrating images on photoshop (other photo editing programs available!) .


I know I'm not the worlds' best photographer but I'm neither the worst though I'd like to improve my skills!
You see, I know what I should be doing but I also know that I'm far too lazy to sit and read through a huge camera instruction booklet so I tend to just point, snap and hope for the best!

This is the manual I'm yet to read... and why I usually reach for my phone to snap photos!
But this book has simplified it all as it neither blinds you with science nor confuses you with hard to understand tech jargon plus it's less taxing to read then a bulky manual.
However it's far from basic... it's absolutely packed with amazing and useful information. It leaves you with the feeling that you needn't hire a photographer to achieve such great results and that you can do it yourself. Result!
Another bonus is that the actual book size is small enough to take with you on your outings should you need to refer to it... slips straight in to a hand bag, tote or camera bag!

One of the pages from the book...

edited with a smart phone app...

While Section One covers key photography issues relevant to blogs and offers a guide to understanding your camera the chapters in Section Two focus on  a few popular subjects like food, travel, fashion and home interiors plus it has a section including styling tips and advice from other prolific bloggers. Oh yes, and how could I forget, it also features one of my favourite subjects... pets!

Another page from the book... and I'm playing around with filters!

The third and final chapter looks at the technical side which I can happily say is not overly complicated but actually very simple and put into layman's terms which suits me fine!

One of the subjects: Travel photography! 
So if you thought "DPI" and "PDF" were acronyms the kids were using on text messages then fear not as it's all neatly explained!
You'll come away with a better understanding of certain technical terms without feeling completely  overwhelmed. Photographic editing programs aren't done in a secret code nor are they purposely put into mysterious languages but it helps knowing what certain things mean and learning to use them is a doddle with this book!
Believe me, even though I have a good knowledge of acronyms I actually used to think "LOL" meant "Lots Of Love" so not judging you one little bit on whether you speak the program lingo or not

Playing around with apps to get a better looking image can add interest to the photo...

...though the original is amazing and not even my phone with or without filters/apps will do it justice!

Whether you're using a mobile phone camera or a fancy DSLR this book focuses on stylistic and compositional tricks that can help you get the best shots with your existing equipment.
No need to spend a fortune on a new camera... besides Cartier-Bresson had a very basic Leica (and his photos were awesome!) and with a guide like Jennifer you won't fail in adding a certain beauty to your social media projects... she is after all a very accomplished and talented artist in her own right.

A photo from one of the pages of the book... please note that I've played around with filters to illustrate what you can do with a phone camera... and not saying it's great but it's fun trying!

If you'd like to take advantage of the special offer for our readers then order your copy of Picture Perfect Social Media (9781845435509) for £10.00* only then call 01903828503 and quote offer code APG170.

*including postage and packaging

Thursday, 12 June 2014

5 minute tutorial...

I love a good charity shop find and this little egg cup was just too sweet to resist!
As it looked back at me from the charity shop shelves I thought to myself  "Really, do I need you?" but in fact it prompted me into a challenge. What could I make which would be useful, pretty, yet super quick to make? Besides for 30p I couldn't walk away. And my purchase goes to help a charity so a huge "win" all round.

As I took it to the till in my head I was already thinking about how I could make it into something else... I mean I don't normally eat boiled eggs but I couldn't resist it's unusual mix of ceramic and wood.
Well egg cup you made me think outside the egg box and I came up with a very quick but handy tutorial which can be used on other bits of crockery too. The principal is the same. Tea cups, jam jars, coffee cups, little terracotta pots. All can be made into useful pincushions!
Yes, it's safe to say that I have a huge soft spot for pincushions. As you'll find this is not the first tutorial for making pincushions but hey... It's just one of those things that I can't get enough of! It's something so common yet not everyone will have one -and if they do they definitely will need another!- plus it's a great way to start you on your merry way into up-cycling not to mention that it also makes a great gift for anyone. I've said that before, haven't I? Ah yes, gift giving is a blast though I think I might keep mine for now but I'm sure I can find someone who'll absolutely love pincushions as much as I do!

In 5 minutes this is what you can make!!!

To make this egg-celent pincushion...this is what you'll need:
• An egg cup
• Cotton fabric- we used the smallest piece from our off cut bag
• Sewing needle & thread
• Card board
• Ric-rac or any ribbon- be as fancy as you like! Another great alternative is a pom pom trim which takes this to a whole new level of kitsch!
• Stuffing

Here's the making bit...

Step one - cut a small card board circle. This should be smaller then the circumference of your egg cup so it fits neatly inside. You don't want it to sit too close to the base nor the top but somewhere half way in...

Step two - cut a large circle of your fabric (about the size of a tumbler glass) and use a running stitch around the edge of your circle -about 2 cm in- to form a puff which will make your pin cushion.

Step three - when you reach the end pull the thread to form a puff but leave enough of an opening to add the stuffing...
Your fabric circle should now resemble a pouch...

Step four - Fill with enough stuffing to form a plump puff, add the card board circle over the stuffing and pull tightly so to form a tight puff and to keep the card in place. It also serves as a barrier so the needles//pins don't get lost in the puff nor come out the other side! Knot the thread securely into place.

Don't over stuff but make sure it's plump!

Pull and knot firmly!

You should have something like this...



Step five - Check the puff// pin cushion fits your egg cup!

Next form a loop with the ric-rac and stitch onto the edge of the puff. Stitch the remaining ric-rac around the edge to make it look pretty! *p.s. you can add extra details like a little button, a bow etc. Totally up to you! Also I realise I haven't done it but cut a smaller circle from your fabric and tack stitch to the back of the puff so it's super neat! I shall be adding this to mine later...

tabtastic... this will make it easier to pull off the pincushion top!

I used ric-rac but you can use lace, ribbon or leave it plain!

Step six - Add a few bits to the inside like spare buttons, safety pins, thimble, a tape measure etc.

Choose bits you use like buttons, pins and a tape measure... you can also fit a pair of folding mini scissors...

Note: The little loop tab is to help remove your pin cushion away from the egg cup!

And there you have it! That's it. It's very easy and super cute. Plus it can be done in no time though if you take a little longer don't worry... it probably just means that you're enjoying the making process so relax and give in to the craft!!!

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