Draw increased traffic with the powerful photo editing app “A Color Story”

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The difference well-edited photos can make to a blog or social media post cannot be overstated. Blog posts with images get 94% more views than those without, and it stands to reason the better quality the image, the more attractive your post will be to readers*.

Toward this, and in my search for powerful yet easy and intuitive photo editing apps, I recently discovered A Color Story app. ACS comes to us via the amazing blog A Beautiful Mess (the app’s creators), whom describe its ability to make colors pop and shine. Knowing my love of photo editing (I have been known to miss multiple meals while engrossed in editing!), I decided to try it and I can honestly say I have not been able to stop gushing about it to all and sundry since! (see the shout outs on my twitter and instagram profiles herehere and here)

Not only does the app come bundled with a range of fabulous preset filters but the ability to save all your steps including any of the sophisticated free tools you used. There are further filter bundles which cost from $1.49 – $2.98 or for a limited time you can purchase all filter packs for $10.

Although the filters are amazing, it is the tool pack I want to talk about here. Most photo editing apps come bundled with standard saturation, brightness, vignette and contrast tools. A color story has all these but also comes bundled with the ability to play with the hue, temperature, tint, high and midtone colors, highlight, shadow, grain, and much more. And it has a ‘curve’ tool which is off the charts fun, easy, and super powerful. 

Below are some before and after edit images I created from my own photos to give you an idea of what the app can do:

Before shot: daisies

After shot: daisies with curve tool, hue, tint, and midtone shifts

Before shot: milliner’s patch star

After shot: milliner’s star patch with curve tool

Before shot: long-stemmed roses

After shot 1: black and white with extra saturation

After shot 2: color added back in from b+w shot using hue shift

Before shot: the almost unuseable palm trees on Takapuna beach photo

After shot 1: curve tool, hue and highlight color shift

After shot 2, palms: further curve tool + hue and highlight shift

Before photo: chandellier

After shot 1: curve, tint and hue shifts

After shot 2: curve, highlight and midtone shifts

I also found the app really beneficial for my flatlay work. It brightens up the white backgrounds and sharpens, smooths and pops the colors so nicely your first flatlay shots look immediately professionally done. See my post “Fun with flatlays” for before and after shots using this app.

Just a final note, I’m not sponsered by the app or ABM 😊, I just love it that much. What editing tools do you use? Would love to hear in the comments below X

Editor’s note: A Color Story is free (with in-app purchases as described) and available on both iTunes and Google Play 
*Hubspot’s interesting article showing the data-driven research of adding images to your blog posts can be found here.

#AColorStory #apps #design #DesignEyeCandy #photoediting, #photography

(*all photos copyright Jennifer Jarvis 2016)

Pretty home office inspo to boost your creative spark

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Nothing dampens the creative spirit quite like having nowhere to create!  If you’re like me and have plenty of ideas for crafting, writing, styling, and other creative pursuits, but no fixed spaced for pursuing them in, then check out these fun and creative home office spaces found on pinterest and instagram, for a big boost of style inspo.

For me, a reasonably sized desk with enough room to sit comfortably under it in a good chair is a must. I have a gorgeous mid century teak table gifted to me when I first moved to New Zealand which makes an excellent desk. I’ve yet to settle on a spot to place it however as, with these images below, I’d like a moodboard nearby and a place to put inspirational books and other items, but all my wallspace is already over-crowded and I can’t quite make up my mind whether I want to be in front of the living room ranch sliders overlooking the orange trees or in my spare room where there is plenty of room for everything I need. Once I figure it out and style it though, you’ll be the first to see what I’ve done with it!

Aside from framing your space with shelves, lights, or colourful and interesting images and items, the desk is the key element that pulls the look together. Trestle table desks are very hot right now, with most offices currently being blogged about using this type. With their combination of sleek design and practicality, they are a great go-to for your home:

I also love the creatives forging their own way with warm wood, sleek white metal, and other types of desks – all work fabulously as long as you love it and it makes you want to sit down and get creating!

Do you have a fun/creative/inspirational office space that you enjoy using? Either at home or in the workplace – what touches have you added to make your space “you”? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! X
#homeoffice #interiors #lifestyle #decor #style #design #inspo #creativity #designeyecandy

Trending: Rattan

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The other day while at the weekend market I spied an item in a nearby thrift store which got me quite excited: a round rattan and glass coffee table (see bottom for pic).
I stood debating for a good 20 minutes, knowing exactly how I could see it styled: atop a circular pale pink flokati rug, perhaps in a corner by a funky colourful chair, with some framed prints on the wall behind and a hanging rattan light above the chair (in other words, an amalgamation of all the images of bright and colourful interiors I had seen and loved before). 

However, as I already have 3 coffee tables (don’t ask), and as yet none of the other items to style the table, I let it go. I did post a photo on Facebook asking my friends if I should buy it anyway. I know glass and rattan may seem a bit gauche to the uninitiated, but I felt sure that it was going to make a comeback soon. 

A friend posted that I should only buy the table if I had matching papasan chairs to go with it, and added an image of appalling late 80’s burgundy papasans and a circular (but different than mine) rattan table. I assured her rattan was about to trend and, after doing some research, I happily found this to be true (I’m now seeing it everywhere).

The trick is not to have the entire room kitted out in the stuff. As the images below show, a single big piece, or two to three accent pieces, are all that’s needed to achieve a striking effect. And as one design blog said: “if IKEA is bringing back rattan, you know it is trending!”

I guess the lesson learned here is to trust your instincts. And anyway, ultimately you should be styling your home to make yourself happy, so take the plunge and buy that item today, even if you worry others will think you crazy. I recently saw an article on apartmenttherapy.com where a stylish wedding had a “doughnut wall” – honestly, crazy is the new black in this game!

(bottom three images from Gabrielle Savoie/My Domain, rest are Pinterest, below my own)

#design #decor #interiors #trends #rattan 

Cold Days, Hot Baths

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It’s late winter here in New Zealand and I’m sitting on my sofa with the dogs, bundled up in multiple tops, fluffy socks, and a scarf, and dreaming about baths. Hot, steamy, gorgeous baths. Few things in life quite spoil us like a long hot soak in a good tub – perhaps with a handful of candles lit, some mineral salts, a bit of music if you like, maybe a good magazine.

Outdoor baths have long been  trend and if you have the space and inclination, it can be very worthwhile to set one up. A glass roof to keep out the rain and allow you to star-gaze is perfection:

Perhaps safari-style is more your cup of tea. This setup needs no more than an outdoor clawfoot tub, some bamboo siding, a generous amount of wood, and a cd of cricket and lion noises:

This Moroccan-inspired stunner makes great use of pretty, painted tiles and texture in the form of greenery, rough-hewn wood, concrete, and a hanging design feature in the ceiling:

outdoor bath 1

Indoor rooms with spectacular baths can be soothing to the soul, too. If you’re anything like me, you are inclined to look inwardly when in a tub but I’d definitely be gazing out the window of this lovely room:

outdoor bath 2

If you’re lucky enough to live in a more tropical clime, you can set your bathroom up to be indoor-outdoor, like this one, looking down onto cat-eyed-green waters and with palms swaying around you. Or perhaps gazing into the blue expanse is more your style? If so, don’t forget to drop a posey of petals into the water before you step in, for an all-out inexpensive spa experience.

outdoor bath 6outdoor bath 5

(all images sourced from Pinterest)

#design #bathtubs #lifestyle

The It Rug: Tribal

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Hello everyone sorry I’ve been away so long! Have been travelling and renovating houses. So excited to be back though and bring you more gorgeous images and ideas!

Today I wanted to talk about that interior style element that pulls an entire room together, the rug. Rugs have historically been heirlooms handed down through generations, from emigrating pioneers to the nomads of the world. Rugs usually incorporate tribal and cultural elements and can sit as an example of historical significance to societies that no longer exist or are much changed from their yesteryear.

A favourite style of rug for me is from the Middle East, especially those from the area formerly known as Turkestan. Traditionally made from silk, wool, and even felt, these rugs incorporate styles and motifs both ancient and new.

Long a staple of many stylish homes, these rugs have undergone a renaissance and are now being treated by a process called overdying. Here, vintage rugs are washed and the top layer of design scrubbed away, and then the carpet treated to often vibrant dyes in pinks, purples, blues, reds, and gold. The finished look is as unique (no two rugs would ever be the same due to the process) as it is trendy. These rugs are popping up in the blogosphere and design magazines everywhere, adding bright splashes of colour that can harmonise a room with ease.

Another style of rug that is trending is the Moroccan rug. Usually off white with a minimal flecked and tribal pattern in blacks or greys, these rugs are perfect where homeowners may already have a great deal of colour present in either furnishings or accessories.

(all images from Pinterest)

Little Details

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted thanks to being pretty heavily wrapped up in the world of Instagram and photography.

I don’t know if you use IG but if you, like me, find yourself entranced by unique images of art, architecture, landscapes, and unusual shots of everyday things, then Instagram is definitely for you!

Doorknob, Venetian Jewish Ghetto Water Fountain, Jardins di Boboli, Florence

It didn’t take long for me to realise two things: that I preferred unusual, arty shots of mundane objects (a plane tree up-light at Granville Island, Vancouver, or silvery, flashing pavement grids in Circular Quay, Sydney), but more importantly, that I had finally found a place where I no longer felt like a weirdo for loving the less than usual in the world.  Seed pods, rust, the undersides of bridges, manhole covers, it all spoke to me and for the longest time, thinking the rest of the world only appreciated a nicely captured sunset or orca sculpture, felt like an outsider because of it.

Granville Island Uplight Sydney Sidewalks

Then came Instagram, and with it, tens of thousands of people who loved rust.  Loved how nature takes the ordinary (a door, a window, a seed pod, a manhole cover) and transforms it into art.  Loved unique perspectives (a riot of pink cherry tree blossom cut through by heavy black barbed wire or the rubber tread of a wooden boardwalk, scarred by spray paint tagging, now long faded and beautiful).  And at last, I realised I was not alone in the world.  I was home.

Quirky things 1 Rusty Manhole Covers

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Mysterieux 1

Something that has also come out of my obsession with IG has been, surprisingly, learning that although I love taking photos, it is the editing of them that is my bliss.  The worlds that can be uncovered in the simplest of editing tools!  Oh, if you too could find these things, dear reader.  A world where you feel as at home as though you have always belonged there.

Ancient Tomes Detail, horsehair ornament, Vernon, BC

All photos copyright Jennifer Jarvis, 2015.

Editorial: Todd Selby

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If you, like me, are a big fan of quirky, colourful, unique, and well-shot images of interiors and people, then I bet you’re going to love Todd Selby, if you don’t already.

Selby is a renegade photographer who one could imagine, dared to shoot in a manner that interested him, not in a way that fit in with whatever was trending at the time. An eye for unusual angles, he started out taking photos of his friends’ apartments and putting them up online. This soon let to invitations from the hip-but-underground fashionistas (Lou Doillon et al), various designers, architects, and other sundry creative types into their homes to capture heretofore unheard of intimate portraits of their home lives.

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As a fledgling photographer, I have often worried that my own work is not soft, pretty, or trendy enough. I started off well on Instagram but for every handful of followers I lost one or two, too. I finally asked a French IGer why she unfollowed me and she replied “your photograph style has changed”. This surprised (and admittedly, hurt) me – at least the images were still well-shot and produced! But I rallied and realised that, like me, there are many, many out there who revel in being a bit different, who are starting to realise they stand out from the crowd, and who are slowly but surely no longer afraid of that. Todd Selby is just such a person and shows us that success can come from daring to write your own story and from believing that story will resonate with others.

Another thing I like about Selby is that he asks each subject of his photo essays to describe, always in children’s marker pens, fun details about their life, or how they would imagine it. This adds another layer of playfulness and intimacy to his portraits and is something no-one else out there is doing or would perhaps ‘dare’ to do.

answer_olatz_schnabelansweraprilmarina563_21_13_KimMeineltScottIrvine300984_25_13_YazBukey4503812_19_12_JohnDerian121073_21_13_KimMeineltScottIrvine30059

This one thing I am becoming sure of – be your own judge of what you want to see, read, hear, play with. And if you are true to that, you are guaranteed to find a host of others who will connect with what you are attempting to show them through your art. And this connection will be stronger and longer lasting than any fleeting trends may hold.

All photos shown copywrite Todd Selby and can be found on his site www.TheSelby.com

Dreaming up a Landscape

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I’m about to put the house that I’ve been living in for over eight years, my very first house purchase, on the market.  We’re swinging in to winter here and unfortunately, the property market is sinking like a cold soufflé.  However, a buyers market is a sellers market and although I may not get as much for my home as I would have a half a year ago, hopefully I’ll find the right house for less money than I’d have spent then, too.

I’ve chosen a realtor and she has advised I scrub the place up before putting her on the market.  It’s funny what you get used to living with – cracked hallway tiles, a slight sink in the floor where the back door opens and drips water onto the bare chipboard floor… a broken bottom deck step, slightly unruly garden, and 1980’s kitchen and bathroomware throughout.

I’m incredibly excited about the process, however, and have been grazing google to find landscaping photos to match what I have in my head for a little pathway down from the back deck to the lower garden.  I had no idea there were so many beautiful, quirky, and stylised pathways out there!  It’s hard to choose from the beautiful garden creations out there.

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Given that my house style is townhouse modern, and the garden is a mixture of palms, yucca, and cabbage trees (with a good few rows of hardy agapanthis in the mix), what I want for my garden path is slate grey pavers with white crushed shell or possible white scoria surrounding the pavers, dropping in deep, wide steps to the lower garden.  I’m really liking the combination of the grey with the white, especially as the low retaining wall I’ll have built will be stained black.

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The area next to the new pathway will be filled with topsoil and black bark laid down.  It is currently populated with a handful of lovely, hardy cabbage trees which sprung up out of nowhere, and the palms and yuccas I determinedly planted out last summer amongst the arm-widthed roots of the 4 story glorious but dying magnolia grandiflora I cut down a few years ago. Other areas of the garden have river stone and lavender, and tall “dizzy lizzie” bushes. Hopefully it will all fit together!  I’m new to this design + styling thing so I can only hope my hundreds of long lazy days spent reading through architecture and garden magazines will pay off!

Will have to make sure I post before and after photos when it’s ready!!